LOTUS SUTRA - Chapter 11. The Apparition of a Stupa
Then there arose a Stûpa, consisting of seven precious substances, from the place of the earth opposite the Lord, the assembly being in the middle, a Stûpa five hundred yoganas in height and proportionate in circumference. After its rising, the Stûpa, a meteoric phenomenon, stood in the sky sparkling, beautiful, nicely decorated with five thousand successive terraces of flowers, adorned with many thousands of arches, embellished by thousands of banners and triumphal streamers, hung with thousands of jewel-garlands and with hourplates and bells, and emitting the scent of Xanthochymus and sandal, which scent filled this whole world. Its row of umbrellas rose so far on high as to touch the abodes of the four guardians of the horizon and the gods. It consisted of seven precious substances, viz. gold, silver, lapis lazuli, Musâragalva, emerald, red coral, and Karketana-stone. This Stûpa of precious substances once formed, the gods of paradise strewed and covered it with Mandârava and great Mandâra flowers. And from that Stûpa of precious substances there issued this voice: Excellent, excellent, Lord Sâkyamuni! thou hast well expounded this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law. So it is, Lord; so it is, Sugata.
At the sight of that great Stûpa of precious substances, that meteoric phenomenon in the sky, the four classes of hearers were filled with gladness delight, satisfaction and joy. Instantly they rose from their seats, stretched out their joined hands, and remained standing in that position. Then the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Mahâpratibhâna, perceiving the world, including gods, men, and demons, filled with curiosity, said to the Lord: O Lord, what is the cause, what is the reason of so magnificent a Stûpa of precious substances appearing in the world? Who is it, O Lord, who causes that sound to go out from the magnificent Stûpa of precious substances? Thus asked, the Lord spake to Mahapratibhâna, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva, as follows: In this great Stûpa of precious substances, Mahâpratibh'ana, the proper body of the Tathâgata is contained condensed; his is the Stûpa; it is he who causes this sound to go out.
In the point of space below, Mahâpratibhana, there are innumerable thousands of worlds. Further on is the world called Ratnavisuddha, there is the Tathâgata named Prabhûtaratna, the Arhat, &c. This Lord of yore made this vow: Formerly, when following the course of a Bodhisattva, I have not arrived at supreme, perfect enlightenment before I had heard this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, serving for the instruction of Bodhisattvas. But from the moment that I had heard this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, I have become fully ripe for supreme, perfect enlightenment. Now, Mahapratibhâna, that Lord Prabhûtaratna, the Tathâgata, &c., at the juncture of time when his complete extinction was to take place, announced in presence of the world, including the gods: After my complete extinction, monks, one Stûpa must be made of precious substances of this frame (or form) of the proper body of the Tathâgata; the other Stûpas, again, should be made in dedication (or in reference) to me. Thereupon, Mahapratibhâna, the Lord Prabhûtaratna, the Tathâgata, &c., pronounced this blessing: Let my Stûpas here, this Stûpa of my proper bodily frame (or form), arise wherever in any Buddha-field in the ten directions of space, in all worlds, the Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law is propounded, and let it stand in the sky above the assembled congregation when this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law is being preached by some Lord Buddha or another, and let this Stûpa of the frame (or form) of my proper body give a shout of applause to those Buddhas while preaching this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law. It is that Stûpa, Mahâpratibhana, of the relics of the Lord Prabhûtaratna, the Tathâgata, &c., which, while I was preaching this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law in this Saha-world, arose above this assembled congregation and, standing as a meteor in the sky, gave its applause.
Then said Mahâpratibhâna, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva, to the Lord: Show us, O Lord, through thy power the frame of the afore-mentioned Tathâgata. Whereon the Lord spake to the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Mahâpratibhâna as follows: This Lord Prabhûtaratna, Mahâpratibhana, has made a grave and pious vow. That vow consisted in this: When the Lords, the Buddhas, being in other Buddha-fields, shall preach this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, then let this Stûpa of the frame of my proper body be near the Tathâgata to hear from him this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law. And when those Lords, those Buddhas wish to uncover the frame of my proper body and show it to the four classes of hearers, let then the Tathâgata-frames, made by the Tathâgatas in all quarters, in different Buddha-fields, from their own proper body, and preaching the law to creatures, under different names in several Buddha-fields, let all those Tathâgata-frames, made from the proper body, united together, along with this Stûpa containing the frame of my own body, be opened and shown to the four classes of hearers. Therefore, Mahâpratibhâna, have I made many Tathâgata-frames which in all quarters, in several Buddha-fields in thousands of worlds, preach the law to creatures. All those ought to be brought hither.
Thereupon the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva MahApratibhâna said to the Lord: Then, O Lord, shall we reverentially salute all those bodily emanations of the Tathâgata and created by the Tathâgata.
And instantly the Lord darted from the circle of hair on his brow a ray, which was no sooner darted than the Lords, the Buddhas stationed in the east in fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of worlds, equal to the sands of the river Ganges, became all visible, and the Buddha-fields there, consisting of crystal, became visible, variegated with jewel trees, decorated with strings of fine cloth, replete with many hundred thousands of Bodhisattvas, covered with canopies, decked with a network of seven precious substances and gold. And in those fields appeared the Lords, the Buddhas, teaching with sweet and gentle voice the law to creatures; and those Buddha-fields seemed replete with hundred thousands of Bodhisattvas. So, too, it was in the south-east; so in the south; so in the south-west; so in the west; so in the north-west; so in the north; so in the north-east; so in the nadir; so in the zenith; so in the ten directions of space; in each direction were to be seen many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddha-fields, similar to the sands of the river Ganges, in many worlds similar to the sands of the river Ganges, Lords Buddhas in many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddha-fields.
Those Tathâgatas, &c., in the ten directions of space then addressed each his own troop of Bodhisattvas: We shall have to go, young men of good family, to the Saha-world near the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, &c., to humbly salute the Stûpa of the relics of Prabhûtaratna, the Tathâgata, &c. Thereupon those Lords, those Buddhas resorted with their own satellites, each with one or two, to this Saha-world. At that period this all-embracing world was adorned with jewel trees; it consisted of lapis lazuli, was covered with a network of seven precious substances and gold, smoking with the odorous incense of magnificent jewels, everywhere strewn with Mandârava and great Mandârava flowers, decorated with a network of little bells, showing a checker board divided by gold threads into eight compartments, devoid of villages, towns, boroughs, provinces, kingdoms, and royal capitals, without Kâla-mountain, without the mountains Mukilinda and great Mukilinda, without a mount Sumeru, without a Kakravâla (i. e. horizon) and great Kakravâla (i. e. extended horizon), without other principal mountains, without great oceans, without rivers and great rivers, without bodies of gods, men, and demons, without hells, without brute creation, without a kingdom of Yama. For it must be understood that at that period all beings in any of the six states of existence in this world had been removed to other worlds, with the exception of those who were assembled at that congregation. Then it was that those Lords, those Buddhas, attended by one or two satellites, arrived at this Saha-world and went one after the other to occupy their place close to the foot of a jewel tree. Each of the jewel trees was five hundred yoganas in height, had boughs, leaves, foliage, and circumference in proportion, and was provided with blossoms and fruits. At the foot of each jewel tree stood prepared a throne, five yoganas in height, and adorned with magnificent jewels. Each Tathâgata went to occupy his throne and sat on it cross-legged. And so all the Tathâgatas of the whole sphere sat cross-legged at the foot of the jewel trees.
At that moment the whole sphere was replete with Tathâgatas, but the beings produced from the proper body of the Lord Sâkyamuni had not yet arrived, not even from a single point of the horizon. Then the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, &c., proceeded to make room for those Tathâgata-frames that were arriving one after the other. On every side in the eight directions of space (appeared) twenty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddha-fields of lapis lazuli, decked with a network of seven precious substances and gold, decorated with a fringe of little bells, strewn with Mandârava and great Mandârava flowers, covered with heavenly awnings, hung with wreaths of heavenly flowers, smoking with heavenly odorous incense. All those twenty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddha-fields were without villages, towns, boroughs, &c.; without Kâla-mountain, &c.; without great oceans, &c.; without bodies of gods, &c. All those Buddha-fields were so arranged by him as to form one Buddha-field, one soil, even, lovely, set off with trees of seven precious substances, trees five hundred yoganas in height and circumference, provided with boughs, flowers, and fruits in proportion. At the foot of each tree stood prepared a throne, five yoganas in height and width, consisting of celestial gems, glittering and beautiful. The Tathâgatas arriving one after the other occupied the throne near the foot of each tree, and sat cross-legged. In like manner the Tathâgata Sâkyamuni prepared twenty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of other worlds, in every direction of space, in order to give room to the Tathâgatas who were arriving one after the other. Those twenty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of worlds in every direction of space were likewise so made by him as to be without villages, towns, &c. [as above]. They were without bodies of gods, &c. [as above]; all those beings had been removed to other worlds. These Buddha-fields also were of lapis lazuli, &c. [as above]. All those jewel trees measured five hundred yoganas, and near them were thrones, artificially made and measuring five yoganas. Then those Tathâgatas sat down cross-legged, each on a throne at the foot of a jewel tree.
At that moment the Tathâgatas produced by the Lord Sâkyamuni, who in the east were preaching the law to creatures in hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of Buddha-fields, similar to the sands of the river Ganges, all arrived from the ten points of space and sat down in the eight quarters. Thereupon thirty kotis of worlds in each direction were occupied by those Tathâgatas from all the eight quarters. Then, seated on their thrones, those Tathâgatas deputed their satellites into the presence of the Lord Sâkyamuni, and after giving them bags with jewel flowers enjoined them thus: Go, young men of good family, to the Gridhraktila mountain, where the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, &c., is; salute him reverentially and ask, in our name, after the state of health, well-being, lustiness, and comfort both of himself and the crowd of Bodhisattvas and disciples. Strew him with this heap of jewels and speak thus: Would the Lord Tathâgata deign to open this great Stûpa of jewels? It was in this manner that all those Tathâgatas deputed their satellites.
And when the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, perceived that his creations, none wanting, had arrived; perceived that they were severally seated on their thrones, and perceived that the satellites of those Tathâgatas, &c., were present, he, in consideration of the wish expressed by those Tathâgatas, &c., rose from his seat and stood in the sky, as a meteor. And all the four classes of the assembly rose from their seats, stretched out their joined hands, and stood gazing up to the face of the Lord. The Lord then, with the right fore-finger, unlocked the middle of the great Stûpa of jewels, which showed like a meteor, and so severed the two parts. Even as the double doors of a great city gate separate when the bolt is removed, so the Lord opened the great Stûpa, which showed like a meteor, by unlocking it in the middle with the right fore-finger. The great Stûpa of jewels had no sooner been opened than the Lord Prabhûtaratna, the Tathâgata, &c., was seen sitting cross-legged on his throne, with emaciated limbs and faint body, as if absorbed in abstract meditation, and he pronounced these words: Excellent, excellent, Lord Sâkyamuni; thou hast well expounded this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law. I repeat, thou hast well expounded this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, Lord Sâkyamuni, to the (four) classes of the assembly. I myself, Lord, have come hither to hear the Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law.
Now the four classes of the assembly, on perceiving the Lord Prabhûtaratna, the Tathâgata, &c., who had been extinct for many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Æons, speaking in this way, were filled with wonder and amazement. Instantly they covered the Lord Prabhataratna, the Tathâgata, &c., and the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, &c., with heaps of divine and human flowers. And then the Lord Prabhûtaratna, the Tathâgata, &c., ceded to the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, &c., the half of the seat on that very throne within that same great Stûpa of jewels and said: Let the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, &c., sit down here. Whereon the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, &c., sat down upon that half-seat together with the other Tathâgata, so that both Tathâgatas were seen as meteors in the sky, sitting on the throne in the middle of the great Stûpa of jewels.
And in the minds of those four classes of the assembly rose this thought: We are far off from the two Tathâgatas; therefore let us also, through the power of the Tathâgata, rise up to the sky. As the Lord apprehended in his mind what was going on in the minds of those four classes of the assembly, he instantly, by magic power, established the four classes as meteors in the sky. Thereupon the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, addressed the four classes: Who amongst you, monks, will endeavour to expound this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law in this Saha-world? The fatal term, the time (of death), is now at hand; the Tathâgata longs for complete extinction, monks, after entrusting to you this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law.
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
1. Here you see, monks, the great Seer, the extinct Chief, within the Stûpa of jewels, who now has come to hear the law. Who would not call up his energy for the law's sake?
2. Albeit completely extinct for many kotis of Æons, he yet now comes to hear the law; for the law's sake he moves hither and thither; very rare (and very precious) is a law like this.
3. This Leader practised a vow when he was in a former existence; even after his complete extinction he wanders through this whole world in all ten points of space.
4. And all these (you here see) are my proper bodies, by thousands of kotis, like the sands of the Ganges; they have appeared that the law may be fulfilled I and in order to see this extinct Master.
5. After laying out for each his peculiar field, as well as having (created) all disciples, men and gods, in order to preserve the true law, as long as the reign of the law shall last,
6. I have by magic power cleared many worlds, destined as seats for those Buddhas, and transported all creatures.
7. It has (always) been my anxious care how this line of the law might be manifested. So (you see) Buddhas here in immense number staying at the foot of trees like a great multitude of lotuses.
8. Many kotis of bases of trees are brightened by the Leaders sitting on the thrones which are perpetually occupied by them and brightened as darkness is by fire.
9. A delicious fragrance spreads from the Leaders of the world over all quarters, (a fragrance) by which, when the wind is blowing, all these creatures are intoxicated.
10. Let him who after my extinction shall keep this Dharmaparyâya quickly pronounce his declaration in the presence of the Lords of the world.
11. The Seer Prabhûtaratna who, though completely extinct, is awake, will hear the lion's roar of him who shall take this resolution.
12. Myself, in the second place, as well as the many Chiefs who have flocked hither by kotis, will hear that resolution from the son of Gina, who is to exert himself to expound this law.
13. And thereby shall I always be honoured as well as Prabheitaratna, the self-born Gina, who perpetually wanders through the quarters and intermediate quarters in order to hear such a law as this.
14. And these (other) Lords of the world here present, by whom this soil is so variegated and splendid, to them also will accrue ample and manifold honour from this Sûtra being preached.
15. Here on this seat you see me, together with the Lord next to me, in the middle of the Stûpa; likewise many other Lords of the world here present, in many hundreds of fields.
16. Ye, young men of good family, mind, for mercy's sake towards all beings, that it is a very difficult task to which the Chief urges you.
17. One might expound many thousands of Sûtras, like to the sands of the Ganges, without overmuch difficulty.
18. One who after grasping the Sumeru in the fist were to hurl it a distance of kotis of fields, would do nothing very difficult.
19. Nor would it be so very difficult if one could shake this whole universe by the thumb to hurl it a distance of kotis of fields.
20. Nor would one who, after taking stand on the limit of the existing world, were to expound the law and thousands of other Sûtras, do something so very difficult.
21. But to keep and preach this Sûtra in the dreadful period succeeding the extinction of the Chief of the world, that is difficult.
22. To throw down the totality of ether-element after compressing it in one fist, and to leave it behind after having thrown it away, is not difficult.
23. But to copy a Sûtra like this in the period after my extinction, that is difficult.
24. To collect the whole earth-element at a nail's end, cast it away, and then walk off to the Brahma-world,
25. Is not difficult, nor would it require a strength surpassing everybody's strength to do this work of difficulty.
26. Something more difficult than that will he do who in the last days after my extinction shall pronounce this Sûtra, were it but a single moment.
27. It will not be difficult for him to walk in the midst of the conflagration at the (time of the) end of the world, even if he carries with him a load of hay.
28. More difficult it will be to keep this Sûtra after my extinction and teach it to a single creature.
29. One may keep the eighty-four thousand divisions of the law and expound them, with the instructions and such as they have been set forth, to kotis of living beings;
30. This is not so difficult; nor is it, to train at the present time monks, and confirm my disciples in the five parts of transcendent knowledge.
31. But more difficult is it to keep this Satra, believe in it, adhere to it, or expound it again and again.
32. Even he who confirms many thousands of kotis of Arhats, blest with the possession of the six transcendent faculties (Abhigñâs), like sands of the Ganges,
33. Performs something not so difficult by far as the excellent man does who after my extinction shall keep my sublime law.
34. I have often, in thousands of worlds, preached the law, and to-day also I preach it with the view that Buddha-knowledge may be obtained.
35. This Sûtra is declared the principal of all Sûtras; he who keeps in his memory this Stitra, keeps the body of the Gina.
36. Speak, O young men of good family, while the Tathâgata is (still) in your presence, who amongst you is to exert himself in later times to keep the Sûtra.
37. Not only I myself shall be pleased, but the Lords of the world in general, if one would keep for a moment this Sûtra so difficult to keep.
38. Such a one shall ever be praised by all the Lords of the world, famed as an eminent hero, and ouick in arrivinLy at transcendent wisdom.
39. He shall be entrusted with the leadership amongst the sons of the Tathâgatas, he who, after having reached the stage of meekness, shall keep this Sûtra.
40. He shall be the eye of the world, including gods and men, who shall speak this Sûtra after the extinction of the Chief of men.
41. He is to be venerated by all beings, the wise man who in the last times shall preach this Sûtra (were it but) a single moment.
Thereupon the Lord addressed the whole company of Bodhisattvas and the world, including gods and demons, and said: Of yore, monks, in times past I have, unwearied and without repose, sought after the Sûtra of the Lotus of the True Law, during immense, immeasurable Æons; many Æons before I have been a king, during many thousands of Æons. Having once taken the strong resolution to arrive at supreme, perfect enlightenment, my mind did not swerve from its aim. I exerted myself to fulfil the six Perfections (Pâramitâs), bestowing immense alms: gold, money, gems, pearls, lapis lazuli, conch-shells, stones (?), coral, gold and silver, emerald, Musâragalva, red pearls; villages, towns, boroughs, provinces, kingdoms, royal capitals; wives, sons, daughters, slaves, male and female; elephants, horses, cars, up to the sacrifice of life and body, of limbs and members, hands, feet, head. And never did the thought of self-complacency rise in me. In those days the life of men lasted long, so that for a time of many hundred thousand years I was exercising the rule of a King of the Law for the sake of duty, not for the sake of enjoyment. After installing in government the eldest prince royal, I went in quest of the best law in the four quarters, and had promulgated with sound of bell the following proclamation: He who procures for me the best laws or points out what is useful, to him will I become a servant. At that time there lived a Seer; he told me: Noble king, there is a Sûtra, called the Lotus of the True Law, which is an exposition of the best law. If thou consent to become my servant, I will teach thee that law. And I, glad, content, exulting and ravished at the words I heard from the Seer, became his pupil, and said: I will do for thee the work of a servant. And so having agreed upon becoming the servant of the Seer, I performed the duties of a servitor, such as fetching grass, fuel, water, bulbs, roots, fruit, &c. I held also the office of a doorkeeper. When I had done such kind of work at day-time, I at night kept his feet while he was lying on his couch, and never did I feel fatigue of body or mind. In such occupations I passed a full millennium.
And for the fuller elucidation of this matter the Lord on that occasion uttered the following stanzas:
42. I have a remembrance of past ages when I was Dhârmika, the King of the Law, and exercised the royal sway for duty's sake, not for love's sake, in the interest of the best laws.
43. I let go out in all directions this proclamation: I will become a servant to him who shall explain Dharma. At that time there was a far-seeing Sage, a revealer of the Sûtra called the True Law.
44. He said to me: If thou wish to know Dharma, become my servant; then I will explain it to thee. As I heard these words I rejoiced and carefully performed such work as a servant ought to do.
45. I never felt any bodily nor mental weariness since I had become a servant for the sake of the true law. I did my best for real truth's sake, not with a view to win honour or enjoy pleasure.
46. That king meanwhile, strenuously and without engaging in other pursuits, roamed in every direction during thousands of kotis of complete Æons without being able to obtain the Sûtra called Dharma.
Now, monks, what is your opinion? that it was another who at that time, at that juncture was the king? No, you must certainly not hold that view. For it was myself, who at that time, at that juncture was the king. What then, monks, is your opinion? that it was another who at that time, at that juncture was the Seer? No, you must certainly not hold that view. For it was this Devadatta himself, the monk I, who at that time, at that juncture was the Seer. Indeed, monks, Devadatta was my good friend. By the aid of Devadatta have I accomplished the six perfect virtues (Pâramitas). Noble kindness, noble compassion, noble sympathy, noble indifference, the thirty-two signs of a great man, the eighty lesser marks, the gold-coloured tinge, the ten powers, the fourfold absence of hesitation, the four articles of sociability, the eighteen uncommon properties, magical power, ability to save beings in all directions of space,-all this (have I got) after having come to Devadatta. I announce to you, monks, I declare to you: This Devadatta, the monk, shall in an age to come, after immense, innumerable Æons, become a Tathâgata named Devarâga (i. e. King of the gods), an Arhat, &c., in the world Devasopâna (i. e. Stairs of the gods). The lifetime of that Tathâgata Devarâga, monks, shall measure twenty intermediate kalpas. He shall preach the law in extension, and beings equal to the sands of the river Ganges shall through him forsake all evils and realise Arhatship. Several beings shall also elevate their minds to Pratyekabuddhaship, whereas beings equal to the sands of the river Ganges shall elevate their minds to supreme, perfect enlightenment, and become endowed with unflinching patience. Further, monks, after the complete extinction of the Tathâgata Devarâgu, his true law shall stay twenty intermediate kalpas. His body shall not be seen divided into different parts (and relics); it shall remain as one mass within a Stûpa of seven precious substances, which Stûpa is to be sixty hundred yoganas in height and forty yoganas in extension. All, gods and men, shall do worship to it with flowers, incense, perfumed garlands, unguents, powder, clothes, umbrellas, banners, flags, and celebrate it with stanzas and songs. Those who shall turn round that Stûpa from left to right or humbly salute it, shall some of them realise Arhatship, others attain Pratyekabuddhaship; others, gods and men, in immense number, shall raise their minds to supreme, perfect enlightenment, never to return.
Thereafter the Lord again addressed the assembly of monks: Whosoever in future, monks, be he a young man or a young lady of good family, shall hear this chapter of the Sûtra of the Lotus of the True Law, and by doing so be relieved from doubt, become pure-minded, and put reliance on it, to such a one the door of the three states of misfortune shall be shut: he shall not fall so low as to be born in hell, among beasts, or in Yama's kingdom. When born in the Buddha-fields in the ten points of space he shall at each repeated birth hear this very Sûtra, and when born amongst gods or men he shall attain an eminent rank. And in the Buddha-field where he is to be born he shall appear by metamorphosis on a lotus of seven precious substances, face to face with the Tathâgata.
At that moment a Bodhisattva of the name of Pragñâkûta, having come from beneath the Buddha-field of the Tathâgatna, said to the Tathâgata Prabhûtaratna: Lord, let us resort to our own Buddha-field. But the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, said to the Bodhisattva Pragñâkûta: Wait a while, young man of good family, first have a discussion with my Bodhisattva Mañgusrî, the prince royal, to settle some point of the law. And at the same moment, lo, Mañgusrî, the prince royal, rose seated on a centifolious lotus that was large as a carriage yoked with four horses, surrounded and attended by many Bodhisattvas, from the bosom of the sea, from the abode of the Nâga-king Sâgara (i. e. Ocean). Rising high into the sky he went through the air to the Gridhrakûta mountain to the presence of the Lord. There Mañgusrî, the prince royal, alighted from his lotus, reverentially saluted the feet of the Lord Sâkyamuni and Prabhûtaratna, the Tathâgata, went up to the Bodhisattva Pragñâkûta and, after making the usual complimentary questions as to his health and welfare, seated himself at some distance. The Bodhisattva Pragñâkûta then addressed to Mañgusrî, the prince royal, the following question: Mañgusrî, how many beings hast thou educated' during thy stay in the sea? Mañgusrî answered: Many, innumerable, incalculable beings have I educated, so innumerable that words cannot express it, nor thought conceive it. Wait a while, young man of good family, thou shalt presently see a token. No sooner had Mañgusrî, the prince royal, spoken these words than instantaneously many thousands of lotuses rose from the bosom of the sea up to the sky, and on those lotuses were seated many thousands of Bodhisattvas, who flocked through the air to the Gridhrakilla, mountain, where they stayed, appearing as meteors. All of them had been educated by Mañgusrî, the prince royal, to supreme, perfect enlightenment. The Bodhisattvas amongst them who had formerly striven after the great vehicle extolled the virtues of the great vehicle and the six perfect virtues (Pâramitas). Such as had been disciples extolled the vehicle of disciples. But all acknowledged the voidness (or vanity) of all laws (or things), as well as the virtues of the great vehicle. Mañgusrî, the prince royal, said to the Bodhisattva Pragñtakûta: Young man of good family, while I was staying in the bosom of the great ocean I have by all means educated creatures, and here thou seest the result. Whereupon the Bodhisattva Pragñâkûta questioned Mañgusrî, the prince royal, in chanting the following stanzas:
47. O thou blessed one, who from thy wisdom art called the Sage, by whose power is it that thou to-day (or now) hast educated those innumerable beings? Tell it me upon my question, O thou god amongst men.
48. What law hast thou preached, or what Sûtra, in showing the path of enlightenment, so that those who are there with you have conceived the idea of enlightenment? that, once having gained a safe ford', they have been decisively established in omniscience?
Mañgusrî answered: In the bosom of the sea I have expounded the Lotus of the True Law and no other Sûtra. Pragñakûta said: That Sûtra is profound, subtle, difficult to seize; no other Sûtra equals it. Is there any creature able to understand this jewel of a Sûtra or to arrive at supreme, perfect enlightenment? Mañgusrî replied: There is, young man of good family, the daughter of Sâgara, the Naga-king, eight years old, very intelligent, of keen faculties, endowed with prudence in acts of body, speech, and mind, who has caught and kept all the teachings, in substance and form, of the Tathâgatas, who has acquired in one moment a thousand meditations and proofs of the essence of all laws. She does not swerve from the idea of enlightenment, has great aspirations, applies to other beings the same measure as to herself; she is apt to display all virtues and is never deficient in them. With a bland smile on the face and in the bloom of an extremely handsome appearance she speaks words of kindliness and compassion. She is fit to arrive at supreme, perfect enlightenment. The Bodhisattva Praggakûta said: I have seen how the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, when he was striving after enlightenment, in the state of a Bodhisattva, performed innumerable good works', and during many Æons never slackened in his arduous task. In the whole universe there is not a single spot so small as a mustard-seed where he has not surrendered his body for the sake of creatures. Afterwards he arrived at enlightenment. Who then would believe that she should have been able to arrive at supreme, perfect knowledge in one moment?
At that very moment appeared the daughter of Sâgara, the Naga-king, standing before their face. After reverentially saluting the feet of the Lord she stationed herself at some distance and uttered on that occasion the following stanzas:
49. Spotless, bright, and of unfathomable light is that ethereal body, adorned with the thirty-two characteristic signs, pervading space in all directions.
50. He is possessed of the secondary marks and praised by every being, and accessible to all, like an open market-place.
51. I have obtained enlightenment according to my wish; the Tathâgata can bear witness to it; I will extensively reveal the law that releases from sufferance.
Then the venerable Sariputra said to that daughter of Sagara, the Naga-king: Thou hast conceived the idea of enlightenment, young lady of good family, without sliding back, and art gifted with immense wisdom, but supreme, perfect enlightenment is not easily won. It may happen, sister, that a woman displays an unflagging energy, performs good works for many thousands of Æons, and fulfils the six perfect virtues (Pâramitas), but as yet there is no example of her having reached Buddhaship, and that because a woman cannot occupy the five ranks, viz. 1. the rank of Brahma; 2. the rank of Indra; 3. the rank of a chief guardian of the four quarters; 4. the rank of Kakravartin; 5. the rank of a Bodhisattva incapable of sliding back .
Now the daughter of Sâgara, the Nâga-king, had at the time a gem which in value outweighed the whole universe. That gem the daughter of Sâgara, the Naga-king, presented to the Lord, and the Lord graciously accepted it. Then the daughter of Sâgara, the Nâga-king, said to the Bodhisattva Pragñâkûta and the senior priest Sariputra: Has the Lord readily accepted the gem I presented him or has he not? The senior priest answered: As soon as it was presented by thee, so soon it was accepted by the Lord. The daughter of Sâgara, the Nâga-king, replied: If I were endowed with magic power, brother Sariputra, I should sooner have arrived at supreme, perfect enlightenment, and there would have been none to receive this gem.
At the same instant, before the sight of the whole world and of the senior priest Sariputra, the female sex of the daughter of Sâgara, the Naga-king, disappeared; the male sex appeared and she manifested herself as a Bodhisattva, who immediately went to the South to sit down at the foot of a tree made of seven precious substances, in the world Vimala (i.e. spotless), where he showed himself enlightened and preaching the law, while filling all directions of space with the radiance of the thirtytwo characteristic signs and all secondary marks. All beings in the Saha-world beheld that Lord while he received the homage of all, gods, Nâgas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human, and was engaged in preaching the law. And the beings who heard the preaching of that Tathâgata became incapable of sliding back in supreme, perfect enlightenment. And that world Vimala and this Saha-world shook in six different ways. Three thousand living beings from the congregational circle of the Lord Sâkyamuni gained the acquiescence in the eternal law, whereas three hundred thousand beings obtained the prediction of their future destiny to supreme, perfect enlightenment.
Then the Bodhisattva Pragñâkûta and the senior priest Sariputra were silent. End of LOTUS SUTRA - Chapter 11. The Apparition of a Stupa
Previous Chapter «
» Next Chapter
Purchase posters, art prints, media (music CD & DVD)
BUDDHA : STATUE & FIGURINE COLLECTION
→Puchase this Item
→More Art Prints & Media
→Zen & Buddhism books