LOTUS SUTRA - Chapter 1. Introductory
Thus have I heard. Once upon a time the Lord was staying at Râgagriha, on the Gridhrakuta mountain, with a numerous assemblage of monks, twelve hundred monks, all of them Arhats, stainless, free from depravity, self-controlled, thoroughly emancipated in thought and knowledge, of noble breed, (like unto) great elephants, having done their task, done their duty, acquitted their charge, reached the goal; in whom the ties which bound them to existence were wholly destroyed, whose minds were thoroughly emancipated by perfect knowledge, who had reached the utmost perfection in subduing all their thoughts; who were possessed of the transcendent faculties; eminent disciples, such as the venerable Agñâta-Kaundinya, the venerable Asvagit, the venerable Vâshpa, the venerable Mahânâman, the venerable Bhadrikal, the venerable Mahâ-Kâsyapa, the venerable Kâsyapa of Uruvilvâ, the venerable Kâsyapa of Nadi, the venerable Kâsyapa of Gayâ, the venerable Sâriputra, the venerable Mahâ-Maudgalyâyana, the venerable Mahâ-Kâtyâyana, the venerable Aniruddha, the venerable Revata, the venerable Kapphina, the venerable Gavâmpati, the venerable Pilindavatsa, the venerable Vakula, the venerable Bhâradvâga, the venerable Mahâ-Kaushthila, the venerable Nanda (alias Mahânanda), the venerable Upananda, the venerable Sundara-Nanda, the venerable Pûrna Maitrâyanîputra, the venerable Subhûti, the venerable Râhula; with them yet other great disciples, as the venerable Ananda, still under training, and two thousand other monks, some of whom still under training, the others masters; with six thousand nuns having at their head Mahâpragâpatî, and the nun Yasodharâ, the mother of Râhula, along with her train; (further) with eighty thousand Bodhisattvas, all unable to slide back, endowed with the spells of supreme, perfect enlightenment, firmly standing in wisdom; who moved onward the never deviating wheel of the law; who had propitiated many hundred thousands of Buddhas; who under many hundred thousands of Buddhas had planted the roots of goodness, had been intimate with many hundred thousands of Buddhas, were in body and mind fully penetrated with the feeling of charity; able in communicating the wisdom of the Tathâgatas; very wise, having reached the perfection of wisdom; renowned in many hundred thousands of worlds; having saved many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of beings; such as the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Mañgusrî, as prince royal; the Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas Avalokitesvara, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, Sarvarthanâman, Nityodyukta, Anikshiptadhura, Ratnakandra, Bhaishagyarâga, Pradânasûra, Ratnakandra, Ratnaprabha, Pûrnakandra, Mahivikrâmin, Trailokavikrâmin, Anantavikrâmin, Mahâpratibhâna, Satatasamitâbhiyukta, Dharanîdhara, Akshayamati, Padmasrî, Nakshatrarâga, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Simha.
With them were also the sixteen virtuous men to begin with Bhadrapâla, to wit, Bhadrapâla, Ratnikara, Susârthavâha, Naradatta, Guhagupta, Varunadatta, Indradatta, Uttaramati, Viseshamati, Vardhamânamati, Amoghadarsin, Susamsthita, Suvikrântavikrâmin, Anupamamati, Sûryagarbha, and Dharanidhara; besides eighty thousand Bodhisattvas, among whom the fore-mentioned were the chiefs; further Sakra, the ruler of the celestials, with twenty thousand gods, his followers, such as the god Kandra (the Moon), the god Sûrya (the Sun), the god Samantagandha (the Wind), the god Ratnaprabha, the god Avabhâsaprabha, and others; further, the four great rulers of the cardinal points with thirty thousand gods in their train, viz. the great ruler Virûdhaka, the great ruler Virûpâksha, the great ruler Dhritarâshtra, and the great ruler Vaisravana; the god Îsvara and the god Mahesvara, each followed by thirty thousand gods; further, Brahma Sahdmpati and his twelve thousand followers, the BrahmakAyika gods, amongst whom Brahma Sikhin and Brahma Gyotishprabha, with the other twelve thousand Brahmakdyika gods; together with the eight Nâga kings and many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Nigas in their train, viz. the Nâga king Nanda, the Nâga king Upananda, Sâgara, Vâsuki, Takshaka, Manasvin, Anavatapta, and Utpalaka; further, the four Kinnara kings with many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of followers, viz. the Kinnara king Druma, the Kinnara king Mahâdharma, the Kinnara king Sudharma, and the Kinnara king Dharmadhara; besides, the four divine beings (called) Gandharvakâyikas with many hundred thousand Gandharvas in their suite, viz. the Gandharva Manogña, the Gandharva Manogñasvara, the Gandharva Madhura, and the Gandharva Madhurasvara; further, the four chiefs of the demons followed by many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of demons, viz. the chief of the demons Bali, Kharaskandha, Vemakitri, and Râhu; along with the four Garuda chiefs followed by many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Garudas, viz. the Garuda chiefs Mahâtegas, Mahâkâya, Mahâpûrna, and Mahârddhiprâpta, and with Agâtasatru, king of Magadha, the son of Vaidehi.
Now at that time it was that the Lord surrounded, attended, honoured, revered, venerated, worshipped by the four classes of hearers, after expounding the Dharmaparyâya called 'the Great Exposition,' a text of great development, serving to instruct Bodhisattvas and proper to all Buddhas, sat cross-legged on the seat of the law and entered upon the meditation termed 'the station of the exposition of Infinity;' his body was motionless and his mind had reached perfect tranquillity. And as soon as the Lord had entered upon his meditation, there fell a great rain of divine flowers, Mandâravasâ and great Mandâravas, Mañgûshakas and great Mañgûshakas, covering the Lord and the four classes of hearers, while the whole Buddha field shook in six ways: it moved, removed, trembled, trembled from one end to the other, tossed, tossed along.
Then did those who were assembled and sitting together in that congregation, monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees, gods, Nagas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human, as well as governors of a region, rulers of armies and rulers of four continents, all of them with their followers, gaze on the Lord in astonishment, in amazement, in ecstasy.
And at that moment there issued a ray from within the circle of hair between the eyebrows of the Lord. It extended over eighteen hundred thousand Buddha-fields in the eastern quarter, so that all those Buddha-fields appeared wholly illuminated by its radiance, down to the great hell Avîki and up to the limit of existence. And the beings in any of the six states of existence became visible, all without exception. Likewise the Lords Buddhas staying, living, and existing in those Buddha-fields became all visible, and the law preached by them could be entirely heard by all beings. And the monks, nuns, lay devotees male and female, Yogins and students of Yoga, those who had obtained the fruition (of the Paths of sanctification) and those who had not, they, too, became visible. And the Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas in those Buddha-fields who plied the Bodhisattva-course with ability, due to their earnest belief in numerous and various lessons and the fundamental ideas, they, too, became all visible. Likewise the Lords Buddhas in those Buddha-fields who had reached final Nirvâna became visible, all of them. And the Stûpas made of jewels and containing the relics of the extinct Buddhas became all visible in those Buddha-fields.
Then rose in the mind of the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Maitreya this thought: O how great a wonder does the Tathâgata display! What may be the cause, what the reason of the Lord producing so great a wonder as this? And such astonishing, prodigious, inconceivable, powerful miracles now appear, although the Lord is absorbed in meditation! Why, let me inquire about this matter; who would be able here to explain it to me? He then thought: Here is Mañgusrî, the prince royal, who has plied his office under former Ginas and planted the roots of goodness, while worshipping many Buddhas. This Mañgusrî, the prince royal, must have witnessed before such signs of the former Tathâgatas, those Arhats, those perfectly enlightened Buddhas; of yore he must have enjoyed the grand conversations on the law. Therefore will I inquire about this matter with Mañgusrî, the prince royal.
And the four classes of the audience, monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees, numerous gods, Nâgas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human, on seeing the magnificence of this great miracle of the Lord, were struck with astonishment, amazement and curiosity, and thought: Let us inquire why this magnificent miracle has been produced by the great power of the Lord.
At the same moment, at that very instant, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Maitreya knew in his mind the thoughts arising in the minds of the four classes of hearers and he spoke to Mañgusrî, the prince royal: What, O Mañgusrî, is the cause, what is the reason of this wonderful, prodigious, miraculous shine having been produced by the Lord? Look, how these eighteen thousand Buddha-fields appear variegated, extremely beautiful, directed by Tathâgatas and superintended by Tathâgatas.
Then it was that Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva, addressed Mañgusrî, the prince royal, in the following stanzas:
1. Why, Mañgusrî, does this ray darted by the guide of men shine forth from between his brows? this single ray issuing from the circle of hair? and why this abundant rain of Mandâravas?
2. The gods, overjoyed, let drop Mañgûshakas and sandal powder, divine, fragrant, and delicious.
3. This earth is, on every side, replete with splendour, and all the four classes of the assembly are filled with delight, while the whole field shakes in six different ways, frightfully.
4. And that ray in the eastern quarter illuminates the whole of eighteen thousand Buddha-fields, simultaneously, so that those fields appear as gold-coloured.
5. (The universe) as far as the (hell) Aviki (and) the extreme limit of existence, with all beings of those fields living in any of the six states of existence, those who are leaving one state to be born in another;
6. Their various and different actions in those states have become visible; whether they are in a happy, unhappy, low, eminent, or intermediate position, all that I see from this place.
7. I see also the Buddhas, those lions of kings, revealing and showing the essence of the law, comforting many kotis of creatures and emitting sweet-sounding voices.
8. They let go forth, each in his own field, a deep, sublime, wonderful voice, while proclaiming the Buddha-laws by means of myriads of kotis of illustrations and proofs.
9. And to the ignorant creatures who are oppressed with toils and distressed in mind by birth and old age, they announce the bliss of Rest, saying: This is the end of trouble, O monks.
10. And to those who are possessed of strength and vigour and who have acquired merit by virtue or earnest belief in the Buddhas, they show the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas, by observing this rule of the law.
11. And the other sons of the Sugata who, strivinor after superior knowledge, have constantly accomplished their various tasks, them also they admonish to enlightenment.
12. From this place, O Mañgughosha, I see and hear such things and thousands of kotis of other particulars besides; I will only describe some of them.
13. 1 see in many fields Bodhisattvas by many thousands of kotis, like sands of the Ganges, who are producing enlightenment according to the different degree of their power.
14. There are some who charitably bestow wealth, gold, silver, gold money, pearls, jewels, conch shells, stones', coral, male and female slaves, horses, and sheep;
15. As well as litters adorned with jewels. They are spending gifts with glad hearts, developing themselves for superior enlightenment, in the hope of gaining the vehicle.
16. (Thus they think): 'The best and most excellent vehicle in the whole of the threefold world is the Buddha-vehicle magnified by the Sugatas. May I, forsooth, soon gain it after my spending such gifts.'
17. Some give carriages yoked with four horses and furnished with benches, flowers, banners, and flags; others give objects made of precious substances.
18. Some, again, give their children and wives; others their own flesh; (or) offer, when bidden, their hands and feet, striving to gain supreme enlightenment.
19. Some give their heads, others their eyes, others their dear own body, and after cheerfully bestowing their gifts they aspire to the knowledge of the Tathâgatas.
20. Here and there, O Mañgusrî, I behold beings who have abandoned their flourishing kingdoms, harems, and continents, left all their counsellors and kinsmen,
21. And betaken themselves to the guides of the world to ask for the most excellent law, for the sake of bliss; they put on reddish-yellow robes, and shave hair and beard.
22. 1 see also many Bodhisattvas like monks, living in the forest, and others inhabiting the empty wilderness, engaged in reciting and reading.
23. And some Bodhisattvas I see, who, full of wisdom (or constancy), betake themselves to mountain caves, where by cultivating and meditating the Buddha-knowledge they arrive at its perception.
24. Others who have renounced all sensual desires, by purifying their own self, have cleared their sphere and obtained the five transcendent faculties, live in the wilderness, as (true) sons of the Sugata.
25. Some are standing firm, the feet put together and the hands joined in token of respect towards the leaders, and are praising joyfully the king of the leading Ginas in thousands of stanzas.
26. Some thoughtful, meek, and tranquil, who have mastered the niceties of the course of duty, question the highest of men about the law, and retain in their memory what they have learnt.
27. And I see here and there some sons of the principal Gina who, after completely developing their own self, are preaching the law to many kotis of living beings with many myriads of illustrations and reasons.
28. joyfully they proclaim the law, rousing many Bodhisattvas; after conquering the Evil One with his hosts and vehicles, they strike the drum of the law.
29. 1 see some sons of the Sugata, humble, calm, and quiet in conduct, living under the command of the Sugatas, and honoured by men, gods, goblins, and Titans.
30. Others, again, who have retired to woody thickets, are saving the creatures in the hells by emitting radiance from their body, and rouse them to enlightenment.
31. There are some sons of the Gina who dwell in the forest, abiding in vigour, completely renouncing sloth, and actively engaged in walking; it is by energy that they are striving for supreme enlightenment.
32. Others complete their course by keeping a constant purity and an unbroken morality like precious stones and jewels; by morality do these strive for supreme enlightenment.
33. Some sons of the Gina, whose strength consists in forbearance, patiently endure abuse, censure, and threats from proud monks. They try to attain enlightenment by dint of forbearance.
34. Further, I see Bodhisattvas, who have forsaken all wanton pleasures, shun unwise companions and delight in having intercourse with genteel men (âryas);
35. Who, with avoidance of any distraction of thoughts and with attentive mind, during thousands of kotis of years have meditated in the caves of the wilderness; these strive for enlightenment by dint of meditation.
36. Some, again, offer in presence of the Ginas and the assemblage of disciples gifts (consisting) in food hard and soft, meat and drink, medicaments for the sick, in plenty and abundance.
37. Others offer in presence of the Ginas and the assemblage of disciples hundreds of kotis of clothes, worth thousands of kotis, and garments of priceless value.
38. They bestow in presence of the Sugatas hundreds of kotis of monasteries which they have caused to be built of precious substances and sandal-wood, and which are furnished with numerous lodgings (or couches).
39. Some present the leaders of men and their disciples with neat and lovely gardens abounding with fruits and beautiful flowers, to serve as places of daily recreation,
40. When they have, with joyful feelings, made such various and splendid donations, they rouse their energy in order to obtain enlightenment; these are those who try to reach supreme enlightenment by means of charitableness.
41. Others set forth the law of quietness, by many myriads of illustrations and proofs; they preach it to thousands of kotis of living beings; these are tending to supreme enlightenment by science.
42. (There are) sons of the Sugata who try to reach enlightenment by wisdom; they understand the law of indifference and avoid acting at the antinomy (of things), unattached like birds in the sky.
43. Further, I see, O Mañgughosha, many Bodhisattvas who have displayed steadiness under the rule of the departed Sugatas, and now are worshipping the relics of the Ginas.
44. 1 see thousands of kotis of Stûpas, numerous as the sand of the Ganges, which have been raised by these sons of the Gina and now adorn kotis of grounds.
45. Those magnificent Stûpas, made of seven precious substances, with their thousands of kotis of umbrellas and banners, measure in height no less than 5000 yoganas and 2000 in circumference.
46. They are always decorated with flags; a multitude of bells is constantly heard sounding; men, gods, goblins, and Titans pay their worship with flowers, perfumes, and music.
47. Such honour do the sons of the Sugata render to the relics of the Ginas, so that all directions of space are brightened as by the celestial coral trees in full blossom.
48. From this spot I behold all this; those numerous kotis of creatures; both this world and heaven covered with flowers, owing to the single ray shot forth by the Gina.
49. O how powerful is the Leader of men! how extensive and bright is his knowledge! that a single beam darted by him over the world renders visible so many thousands of fields!
50. We are astonished at seeing this sign and this wonder, so great, so incomprehensible. Explain me the matter, O Mañgusvara! the sons of Buddha are anxious to know it.
51. The four classes of the congregation in joyful expectation gaze on thee, O hero, and on me; gladden (their hearts); remove their doubts; grant a revelation, O son of Sugata!
52. Why is it that the Sugata has now emitted such a light? O how great is the power of the Leader of men! O how extensive and holy is his knowledge!
53. That one ray extending from him all over the world makes visible many thousands of fields. It must be for some purpose that this great ray has been emitted.
54. Is the Lord of men to show the primordial laws which he, the Highest of men, discovered on the terrace of enlightenment? Or is he to prophesy the Bodhisattvas their future destiny?
55. There must be a weighty reason why so many thousands of fields have been rendered visible, variegated, splendid, and shining with gems, while Buddhas of infinite sight are appearing.
56. Maitreya asks the son of Gina; men, gods, goblins, and Titans, the four classes of the congregation, are eagerly awaiting what answer Mañgusvara shall give in explanation.
Whereupon Mañgusrî, the prince royal, addressed Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva, and the whole assembly of Bodhisattvas (in these words): It is the intention of the Tathâgata, young men of good family, to begin a grand discourse for the teaching of the law, to pour the great rain of the law, to make resound the great drum of the law, to raise the great banner of the law, to kindle the great torch of the law, to blow the great conch trumpet of the law, and to strike the great tymbal of the law. Again, it is the intention of the Tathâgata, young men of good family, to make a grand exposition of the law this very day. Thus it appears to me, young men of good family, as I have witnessed a similar sign of the former Tathâgatas, the Arhats, the perfectly enlightened. Those former Tathâgatas, &c., they, too, emitted a lustrous ray, and I am convinced that the Tathâgata is about to deliver a grand discourse for the teaching of the law and make his grand speech on the law everywhere heard, he having shown such a foretoken. And because the Tathâgata, &c., wishes that this Dharmaparyâya meeting opposition in all the world be heard everywhere, therefore does he display so great a miracle and this fore-token consisting in the lustre occasioned by the emission of a ray.
I remember, young men of good family, that in the days of yore, many immeasurable, inconceivable, immense, infinite, countless Æons, more than countless Æons ago, nay, long and very long before, there was born a Tathâgata called Kandrasûryapradîpa, an Arhat, &c., endowed with science and conduct, a Sugata, knower of the world, an incomparable tamer of men, a teacher (and ruler) of gods and men, a Buddha and Lord. He showed the law; he revealed the duteous course which is holy at its commencement, holy in its middle, holy at the end, good in substance and form, complete and perfect, correct and pure. That is to say, to the disciples he preached the law containing the four Noble Truths, and starting from the chain of causes and effects, tending to overcome birth, decrepitude, sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, woe, grief, despondency, and finally leading to Nirvâna; and to the Bodhisattvas he preached the law connected with the six Perfections, and terminating in the knowledge of the Omniscient, after the attainment of supreme, perfect enlightenment.
[Now, young men of good family, long before the time of that Tathâgata Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Arhat, &c., there had appeared a Tathâgata, &c., likewise called Kandrasûryapradîpa, after whom, O Agita, there were twenty thousand Tathâgatas, &c., all of them bearing the name of Kandrasûryapradipa, of the same lineage and family name, to wit, of Bharadvâga. All those twenty thousand Tathâgatas, O Agita, from the first to the last, showed the law, revealed the course which is holy at its commencement, holy in its middle, holy at the end, &c. &c.]
The aforesaid Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, &c., when a young prince and not yet having left home (to embrace the ascetic life), had eight sons, viz. the young princes Sumati, Anantamati, Ratnamati, Viseshamati, Vimatisamudghâtin, Ghoshamati, and Dharmamati. These eight young princes, Agita, sons to the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, had an immense fortune. Each of them was in possession of four great continents, where they exercised the kingly sway. When they saw that the Lord had left his home to become an ascetic, and heard that he had attained supreme, perfect enlightenment, they forsook all of them the pleasures of royalty and followed the example of the Lord by resigning the world; all of them strove to reach superior enlightenment and became preachers of the law. While constantly leading a holy life, those young princes planted roots of goodness under many thousands of Buddhas.
It was at that time, Agita, that the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, &c., after expounding the Dharmaparyâya called 'the Great Exposition,' a text of great extension, serving to instruct Bodhisattvas and proper to all Buddhas, at the same moment and instant, at the same gathering of the classes of hearers, sat cross-legged on the same seat of the law, and entered upon the meditation termed 'the Station of the exposition of Infinity;' his body was motionless, and his mind had reached perfect tranquillity. And as soon as the Lord had entered upon meditation, there fell a great rain of divine flowers, Mandâravas and great Mandâravas, Mañgûshakas and great Mañgûshakas, covering the Lord and the four classes of hearers, while the whole Buddha-field shook in six ways; it moved, removed, trembled, trembled from one end to the other, tossed, tossed along.
Then did those who were assembled and sitting together at that congregation, monks, nuns, male and fe-male lay devotees, gods, Nâgas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men and beings not human, as well as governors of a region, rulers of armies and rulers of four continents, all of them with their followers gaze on the Lord in astonishment, in amazcment, in ecstasy.
And at that moment there issued a ray from within the circle of hair between the eyebrows of the Lord. It extended over eighteen hundred thousand Buddha-fields in the eastern quarter, so that all those Buddha-fields appeared wholly illuminated by its radiance, just like the Buddha-fields do now, O Agita.
[At that juncture, Agita, there were twenty kotis of Bodhisattvas following the Lord. All hearers of the law in that assembly, on seeing how the world was illuminated by the lustre of that ray, felt astonishment, amazement, ecstasy, and curiosity.]
Now it happened, Agita, that under the rule of the aforesaid Lord there was a Bodhisattva called Varaprabha, who had eight hundred pupils. It was to this Bodhisattva Varaprabha that the Lord, on rising from his meditation, revealed the Dharmaparyâya called 'the Lotus of the True Law.' He spoke during fully sixty intermediate kalpas, always sitting on the same seat, with immovable body and tranquil mind. And the whole assembly continued sitting on the same seats, listening to the preaching of the Lord for sixty intermediate kalpas, there being not a single creature in that assembly who felt fatigue of body or mind.
As the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, &c., during sixty intermediate kalpas had been expounding the Dharmaparyâya called 'the Lotus of the True Law,' a text of great development, serving to instruct Bodhisattvas and proper to all Buddhas, he instantly announced his complete Nirvâna to the world, including the gods, Mâras and Brahmas, to all creatures, including ascetics, Brahmans, gods, men and demons, saying: To-day, O monks, this very night, in the middle watch, will the Tathâgata, by entering the element of absolute Nirvâna, become wholly extinct.
Thereupon, Agita, the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathigata, &c., predestinated the Bodhisattva called Srîgarbha to supreme, perfect enlightenment, and then spoke thus to the whole assembly: O monks, this Bodhisattva Srîgarbha here shall immediately after me attain supreme, perfect enlightenment, and become Vimalanetra, the Tathâgata, &c.
Thereafter, Agita, that very night, at that very watch, the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathalgata, &c., became extinct by entering the element of absolute Nirvâna. And the aforementioned Dharmaparyâya, termed 'the Lotus of the True Law,' was kept in memory by the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Varaprabha; during eighty intermediate kalpas did the Bodhisattva Varaprabha keep and reveal the commandment of the Lord who had entered Nirvâna. Now it so happened, Agita, that the eight sons of the Lord Kandrasûryapradipa, Mati and the rest, were pupils to that very Bodhisattva Varaprabha. They were by him made ripe for supreme, perfect enlightenment, and in after times they saw and worshipped many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas, all of whom had attained supreme, perfect enlightenment, the last of them being Dîpankara, the Tathalgata, &c.
Amongst those eight pupils there was one Bodhisattva who attached an extreme value to gain, honour and praise, and was fond of glory, but all the words and letters one taught him faded (from his memory), did not stick. So he got the appellation of Yasaskâma. He had propitiated many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas by that root of goodness, and afterwards esteemed, honoured, respected, revered, venerated, worshipped them. Perhaps, Agita, thou feelest some doubt, perplexity or misgiving that in those days, at that time, there was another Bodhisvattva Mahâsattva Varaprabha, preacher of the law. But do not think so. Why? because it is myself who in those days, at that time, was the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Varaprabha, preacher of the law; and that Bodhisattva named Yasaskâma, the lazy one, it is thyself, Agita, who in those days, at that time, wert the Bodhisattva named Yasaskâma, the lazy one.
And so, Agita, having once seen a similar foretoken of the Lord, I infer from a similar ray being emitted just now, that the Lord is about to expound the Dharmaparyâya called 'the Lotus of the True Law.'
And on that occasion, in order to treat the subject more copiously, Mañgusrî, the prince royal, uttered the following stanzas:
57. I remember a past period, inconceivable, illimited kalpas ago, when the highest of beings, the Gina of the name of Kandrasûryapradîpa, was in existence.
58. He preached the true law, he, the leader of creatures; he educated an infinite number of kotis of beings, and roused inconceivably many Bodhisattvas to acquiring supreme Buddha-knowledge.
59. And the eight sons born to him, the leader, when he was prince royal, no sooner saw that the great sage had embraced ascetic life, than they resigned worldly pleasures and became monks.
60. And the Lord of the world proclaimed the law, and revealed to thousands of kotis of living beings the Sûtra, the development, which by name is called 'the excellent Exposition of Infinity.'
61. Immediately after delivering his speech, the leader crossed his legs and entered upon the meditation of 'the excellent Exposition of the Infinite.' There on his seat of the law the eminent seer continued absorbed in meditation.
62. And there fell a celestial rain of Mandâravas, while the drums (of heaven) resounded without being struck; the gods and elves in the sky paid honour to the highest of men.
63. And simultaneously all the fields (of Buddha) began trembling. A wonder it was, a great prodigy. Then the chief emitted from between his brows one extremely beautiful ray,
64. Which moving to the eastern quarter glittered, illuminating the world all over the extent of eighteen thousand fields. It manifested the vanishing and appearing of beings.
65. Some of the fields then seemed jewelled, others showed the hue of lapis lazuli, all splendid, extremely beautiful, owing to the radiance of the ray from the leader.
66. Gods and men, as well as Nâgas, goblins, Gandharvas, nymphs, Kinnaras, and those occupied with serving the Sugata became visible in the spheres and paid their devotion.
67. The Buddhas also, those self-born beings, appeared of their own accord, resembling golden columns; like unto a golden disk (within lapis lazuli), they revealed the law in the midst of the assembly.
68. The disciples, indeed, are not to be counted: the disciples of Sugata are numberless. Yet the lustre of the ray renders them all visible in every field.
69. Energetic, without breach or flaw in their course, similar to gems and jewels, the sons of the leaders of men are visible in the mountain caves where tbeyare dwelling.
70. Numerous Bodhisattvas, like the sand of the Ganges, who are spending all their wealth in giving alms, who have the strength of patience, are devoted to contemplation and wise, become all of them visible by that ray.
71. Immovable, unshaken, firm in patience, devoted to contemplation, and absorbed in meditation are seen the true sons of the Sugatas while they are striving for supreme enlightenment by dint of meditation.
72. They preach the law in many spheres, and point to the true, quiet, spotless state they know. Such is the effect produced by the power of the Sugata.
73. And all the four classes of hearers on seeing the power of the mighty Kandrârkadipa were filled with joy and asked one another: How is this?
74. And soon afterwards, as the Leader of the world, worshipped by men, gods, and goblins, rose from his meditation, he addressed his son Varaprabha, the wise Bodhisattva and preacher of the law:
75. 'Thou art wise, the eye and refuge of the world; thou art the trustworthy keeper of my law, and canst bear witness as to the treasure of laws which I am to lay bare to the weal of living beings.'
76. Then, after rousing and stimulating, praising and lauding many Bodhisattvas, did the Gina proclaim the supreme laws during fully sixty intermediate kalpas.
77. And whatever excellent supreme law was proclaimed by the Lord of the world while continuing sitting on the very same seat, was kept in memory by Varaprabha, the son of Gina, the preacher of the law.
78. And after the Gina and Leader had manifested the supreme law and stimulated the numerous crowd, he spoke, that day, towards the world including the gods (as follows):
79. 'I have manifested the rule of the law; I have shown the nature of the law; now, O monks, it is the time of my Nirvâna; this very night, in the middle watch.
80. 'Be zealous and strong in persuasion; apply yourselves to my lessons; (for) the Ginas, the great seers, are but rarely met with in the lapse of myriads of kotis of Æons.'
81. The many sons of Buddha were struck with grief and filled with extreme sorrow when they heard the voice of the highest of men announcing that his Nirvâna was near at hand.
82. To comfort so inconceivably many kotis of living beings the king of kings said: 'Be not afraid, O monks; after my Nirvâna there shall be another Buddha.
83. 'The wise Bodhisattva Srîgarbha, after finishing his course in faultless knowledge, shall reach highest, supreme enlightenment, and become a Gina under the name of Vimalâgranetra.'
84. That very night, in the middle watch, he met complete extinction, like a lamp when the cause (of its burning) is exhausted. His relics were distributed, and of his Stûpas there was an infinite number of myriads of kotis.
85. The monks and nuns at the time being, who strove after supreme, highest enlightenment, numerous as sand of the Ganges, applied themselves to the commandment of the Sugata.
86. And the monk who then was the preacher of the law and the keeper of the law, Varaprabha, expounded for fully eighty intermediate kalpas the highest laws according to the commandment (of the Sugata).
87. He had eight hundred pupils, who all of them were by him brought to full development. They saw many kotis of Buddhas, great sages, whom they worshipped.
88. By following the regular course they became Buddhas in several spheres, and as they followed one another in immediate succession they successively foretold each other's future destiny to Buddhaship.
89. The last of these Buddhas following one another was Dîpankara. He, the supreme god of gods, honoured by crowds of sages, educated thousands of kotis of living beings.
90. Among the pupils of Varaprabha, the son of Gina, at the time of his teaching the law, was one slothful, covetous, greedy of gain and cleverness.
91. He was also excessively desirous of glory, but very fickle, so that the lessons dictated to him and his own reading faded from his memory as soon as learnt.
92. His name was Yasaskâma, by which he was known everywhere. By the accumulated merit of that good action, spotted as it was,
93. He propitiated thousands of kotis of Buddhas, whom he rendered ample honour. He went through the regular course of duties and saw the present Buddha Sâkyasimha.
94. He shall be the last to reach superior enlightenment and become a Lord known by the family name of Maitreya, who shall educate thousands of kotis of creatures.
95. He who then, under the rule of the extinct Sugata, was so slothful, was thyself, and it was I who then was the preacher of the law.
96. As on seeing a foretoken of this kind I recognise a sign such as I have seen manifested of yore, therefore and on that account I know,
97. That decidedly the chief of Ginas, the supreme king of the Sâkyas, the All-seeing, who knows the highest truth, is about to pronounce the excellent Satra which I have heard before.
98. That very sign displayed at present is a proof of the skilfulness of the leaders; the Lion of the Sâkyas is to make an exhortation, to declare the fixed nature of the law.
99. Be well prepared and well minded; join your hands: he who is affectionate and merciful to the world is going to speak, is going to pour the endless rain of the law and refresh those that are waiting for enlightenment.
100. And if some should feel doubt, uncertainty, or misgiving in any respect, then the Wise One shall remove it for his children, the Bodhisattvas here striving after enlightenment.
End of LOTUS SUTRA - Chapter 1. Introductory
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