The Coming into Being of Worlds
At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva Mahasattva, by means of the Buddhas’ spiritual power, pervasively contemplated the ocean of all worlds, the ocean of all beings, the ocean of all Buddhas, the ocean of all dharma realms, the ocean of all beings’ karma, the ocean of all beings’ roots and desires, the ocean of all Buddhas’ Dharma wheels, the ocean of all three periods of time, the ocean of all Tathagatas’ vow-power, and the ocean of all Tathagatas’ spiritual transformations.
Having contemplated thus, he spoke to all the Bodhisattvas in the oceanic assemblies in all bodhimandas, saying, “Disciples of the Buddha! The pure wisdom that all Buddhas, World Honored Ones, have of knowing the formation and destruction of the oceans of all worlds is inconceivable. Their wisdom of knowing the oceans of all beings’ karma is inconceivable. Their wisdom of knowing the oceans of arrangements of all dharma realms is inconceivable. Their wisdom in speaking of the boundless oceans of all Buddhas is inconceivable.
Their wisdom of entering the oceans of all desires, understandings, and roots is inconceivable. Their wisdom of universally knowing in a single thought all the three periods of time is inconceivable. Their wisdom of revealing the oceans of all Tathagatas’ limitless vows is inconceivable. Their wisdom of manifesting the oceans of all Buddhas’ spiritual transformations is inconceivable. Their wisdom of turning the Dharma wheel is inconceivable. Their wisdom of establishing the oceans of promulgation is inconceivable.
The purification of their Buddha-body is inconceivable. The pervasive and illuminating brightness of the ocean of their boundless forms and characteristics is inconceivable. The purity of their hallmarks and subtle characteristics is inconceivable. The ocean of the radiant orbs of their boundless, immaculate characteristics is inconceivable. The ocean of the luminous clouds of their various physical marks is inconceivable. The ocean of their sublime, blazing jewels is inconceivable. The ocean of their sounds of speech is inconceivable. The ocean of their manifesting three modes of self-mastery to tame all beings and bring them to maturity is inconceivable. The ocean of their courageous taming of all beings, which is never in vain, is inconceivable.
Their abiding on the level of Buddhas is inconceivable. Their entry into the realm of the Tathagatas is inconceivable. Their awesome protective power is inconceivable. Their contemplation of what all Buddhas practice in their wisdom is inconceivable. The invincible perfection of their powers is inconceivable. Their unsurpassed, fearless merit and virtue are inconceivable. Their dwelling in the samadhi of nondiscrimination is inconceivable. Their spiritual penetrations and transformations are inconceivable. Their pure and independent wisdom is inconceivable. The indestructible Dharma of all Buddhas is inconceivable.
Receiving the Buddhas’ spiritual strength and all Tathagatas’ awesome spiritual power, I will now fully explain all of these dharmas.
I do this in order that beings may enter the ocean of the Buddhas’ wisdom; in order that all Bodhisattvas may dwell in the ocean of the Buddhas’ meritorious virtues; in order that all seas of worlds may be adorned with the self-mastery of all Buddhas; in order that the lineage of the Tathagatas may be perpetuated for all oceans of eons; in order to reveal the true nature of all dharmas in all seas of worlds; in order to explain the teachings according to the ocean of all beings’ measureless capacities to understand; in order to expediently bring forth Buddhadharma in accord with the ocean of all beings’ potentials; in order to fulfill the ocean of beings’ wishes and joys and to topple their mountains of obstacles; in order to be attuned to the ocean of all beings’ mental activity so as to lead them to purely cultivate the essential path of escape; in order that all Bodhisattvas may dwell in the ocean of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s vows.
At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further wished to lead the oceanic assemblies in the limitless bodhimandas to become joyful and happy; to produce even greater delight toward the Dharma; to evince genuine belief and understanding as vast as an ocean; to purely cultivate the treasury body of the Dharma Realm through its universal gate; to become firmly established in the ocean of Universal Worthy’s vows; to purely cultivate the wisdom eye that impartially enters the three periods of time; to expand the great sea of wisdom that universally illuminates the treasury of all worlds; to produce the power of dharani that supports all Dharma wheels; to exhaustively reveal the states of the Buddhas in all bodhimandas; to expound the dharma doors of all Tathagatas; and to expand the deeply profound nature of All-Wisdom to be as vast as the Dharma Realm. Thereupon he spoke verses.
With deep wisdom and merit like a sea,
Buddhas manifest throughout the ten directions’ limitless lands,
Responding in accord with what beings ought to see.
Universally radiant, they turn the Dharma wheel.
Inconceivable, the ten directions’ seas of lands:
Through countless eons, the Buddhas purified them all.
In order to transform beings and bring them to maturity,
The Buddhas appear in each and every land.
Deep beyond conception: the realm of Buddhas.
They show all beings the way to enter.
Beings inclined to the small, who cling to existence
Fail to fathom the Buddhas’ awakening.
Those of pure faith and resolute minds
Always draw near to good mentors.
All Buddhas grant them the strength
To enter into the Thus Come Ones’ wisdom.
Those pure in mind, free from flattery and deceit,
Are joyful in nature, always delighting in compassion;
Those of broad outlook and deep faith
Rejoice to hear this Dharma.
Abiding in the vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva,
One cultivates the pure path of Bodhisattvas.
Contemplating how the Dharma Realm resembles space,
One understands the practice of the Buddhas.
All these Bodhisattvas gain wholesome benefit
From seeing the Buddhas’ spiritual penetrations.
Cultivators of other paths fail to understand;
Only those who practice like Universal Worthy can awaken.
Vast multitudes of beings, beyond any bounds,
Receive the mindful protection of the Thus Come Ones.
The turning of the Proper Dharma wheel reaches all.
Such is the power of Vairochana’s realm.
My body encompasses each and every land,
As well as the Buddhas dwelling therein.
Contemplate my every pore:
I’ll now show you the Buddhas’ realm.
Samantabhadra’s boundless conduct and vows,
I have already cultivated to perfection.
The vast, great body with its universal view of states
Is cultivated by all Buddhas, so listen well!
At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva Mahasattva told the entire great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha! The seas of worlds have ten aspects, which all Buddhas of the past, present, and future have spoken, are speaking, and will speak about. What are the ten? They are, namely, the causes and conditions under which the seas of worlds originate and develop; the basis for the existence of the seas of worlds; the forms and appearances of the seas of worlds; the substances of which the seas of worlds are composed; the adornments of the seas of worlds; the purities of the seas of worlds; the manifestations of Buddhas in the seas of worlds; the durations of the seas of worlds; the distinct evolutionary stages of the seas of worlds; and the ways in which the seas of worlds are undifferentiated.
“Disciples of the Buddha! Generally speaking, the seas of worlds have these ten aspects, which, if explained extensively, have facets as numerous as dust motes in seas of worlds. All Buddhas of the past, present, and future have spoken, are speaking, and will speak about them.
“Disciples of the Buddha! Generally speaking, there are ten causes and conditions under which all seas of worlds have come into being, are coming into being, or will come into being. What are the ten? They come into being because of the spiritual power of the Thus Come Ones; because the Dharma is thus; because of the karmic activity of all beings; because of all Bodhisattvas’ realization of All-Wisdom; because of the good roots collectively amassed by all beings and Bodhisattvas; because of the power of all Bodhisattvas’ vows to adorn and purify lands; because of all Bodhisattvas’ realization of nonretreating conduct and vows; because of the pure, superior understanding and self-mastery of all Bodhisattvas; because of the flowing forth of all Thus Come Ones’ good roots, and all Buddhas’ power of self-mastery upon realizing the Way; and because of the self-mastery of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s power of vows.
“Disciples of the Buddha! This has been a general explanation of the ten causes and conditions, which, if extensively explained, have facets as numerous as dust motes in seas of worlds.”
Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the awesome spiritual power of the Buddhas, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.
Vairochana Buddha adorns and purifies
All the boundless seas of lands mentioned above.
The realm of the World Honored One defies conception;
So do his wisdom, spiritual penetrations, and powers.
Bodhisattvas cultivate an ocean of vows,
Fulfilling the wishes of all beings.
Beings’ thoughts and activities are vast beyond bounds.
Thus, the Bodhisattvas’ lands pervade the ten directions.
Bodhisattvas advance towards All-Wisdom,
Diligently cultivating various powers of self-mastery.
Their ocean of measureless vows swells forth everywhere,
Bringing vast lands into being.
They cultivate a boundless ocean of practices,
Entering the infinite realm of Buddhas.
Wishing to purify the ten directions’ lands,
They spend countless eons in every land.
Beings are vexed and defiled by afflictions.
Their desires and aspirations are not identical.
Following their impulses, they create unthinkable karma.
Thus do the seas of lands come to exist.
Disciples of the Buddha!
Some seas of lands are a treasury of adornment--
Immaculate, radiant, made of jewels.
Arising from vast faith and understanding,
They are thus throughout the ten directions.
Bodhisattvas who cultivate Universal Worthy’s conduct
Roam the Dharma Realm, traveling paths as numerous as dust motes.
Within each dust mote appear limitless Kshetras
As immaculate and extensive as space.
Manifesting spiritual penetrations equal to space,
They visit all Buddhas in their bodhimandas.
Seated upon lotus daises, they display the myriad hallmarks.
The body of each one encompasses all Kshetras.
In a single thought, they manifest in all three periods of time,
As all the seas of worlds come into being.
The Buddha enters them expediently.
Vairochana Buddha adorns and purifies them.
At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further told the great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha! The circumstances upon which the existence of the seas of worlds is based are as numerous as dust motes in the seas of worlds. Perhaps their existence is based upon all adornments; perhaps their existence it based upon space; perhaps their existence is based upon the light of all gems; perhaps their existence is based upon the light of all Buddhas; perhaps their existence is based upon jewel-hued rays of light; perhaps their existence is based upon all Buddhas’ voices; perhaps their existence is based upon the vajra hand of a powerful asura born from illusory karma; perhaps their existence is based upon the bodies of all world rulers; perhaps their existence is based upon the bodies of all Bodhisattvas; or perhaps their existence is based upon the different seas of adornments produced by Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s vows.
“Disciples of the Buddha! Such are the circumstances, numerous as dust motes in the seas of worlds, upon which the existence of the seas of worlds is based.”
At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the awesome spiritual power of the Buddha, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.
Throughout the ten directions of space,
All lands and countries are spread.
By the aid of the Thus Come Ones’ spiritual power,
They appear and become visible to all.
Perhaps there are various lands and countries
Composed of immaculate jewels.
Made of pristine mani, wondrous and sublime,
They appear in an ocean of dazzling light.
Perhaps there are kshetras of pure radiance
Situated in empty space.
Perhaps within the sea of jeweled mani,
Other lands reside in a treasury of light.
In the sea-vast assembly, the Thus Come One
Proclaims the magical wonder of the Dharma wheel.
Vast and boundless, the states of Buddhas
Delight the hearts of sentient beings who see them.
There are lands ornamented with mani,
Shaped like flower-lamps, spread out everywhere.
Clouds of blazing, fragrant light
Provide a radiant, netlike cover of exquisite jewels.
And there are lands without boundaries,
Dwelling in a vast, deep sea of lotus-blossoms,
Expansive and pure, unique in the world
Adorned with the wondrous goodness of all Buddhas.
Some seas of lands revolve like wheels.
Established by means of the Buddhas’ awesome spirit,
They are filled with multitudes of Bodhisattvas,
Who constantly see endless expanses of jewels.
Worlds may exist upon a vajra hand
Or perhaps in the body of a heavenly lord.
Vairochana, the unsurpassed Honored One,
Always turns the Dharma wheel in those places.
Some worlds dwell balanced on jeweled trees;
Others, amid dazzling clouds of incense.
Some are submersed in great bodies of waters,
While others float upon a vajra ocean.
Some are located upon a vajra banner,
While others dwell amid an ocean of flowers.
Such vast, all-pervasive spiritual transformations,
Are manifested solely by Vairochana Buddha.
Worlds may be long or short; there is limitless variety.
Like turning wheels, their appearances are not the same.
Rare in the world, this wondrous treasury of adornments
Is perceived through pure cultivation alone.
All these distinct and various lands
Exist by virtue of a sea of vows.
Some lands are constantly suspended in space,
With Buddhas filling them like clouds.
Some hang upside-down in space,
Sometimes present, sometimes gone.
Perhaps there are lands of utmost purity
Lodged in the jeweled crown of a Bodhisattva.
The great spiritual powers of the Buddhas of the ten directions
Are everywhere seen throughout these lands,
And their voices are everywhere heard.
The power of karma produces such phenomena.
Some lands pervade the Dharma Realm,
Arising from the mind in unsullied purity.
Vast beyond bounds, like shadows or illusions,
They are each unique, like the interstices of Indra’s net.
Displaying myriad adornments,
Some lands are established in space.
These inconceivable states of karma
By the Buddhas’ power are visible to all.
Each mote of dust in every land
In thought after thought displays all Buddhalands,
Infinite as the number of beings.
So, too, Universal Worthy’s deeds are always thus.
Wishing to bring sentient beings to maturity,
Buddhas cultivate for oceans of eons.
Vast spiritual transformations everywhere arise,
Pervading the entire Dharma Realm.
In the lands of the Dharma Realm, in each dust mote,
There exist great seas of Kshetras.
The Buddhas’ clouds evenly cover those lands,
Extending throughout all regions.
The effortless functioning in a single mote of dust
Likewise occurs in every mote of dust.
Vairochana Buddha can fully display
The Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’ great spiritual powers.
All of these Kshetras, vast and extensive,
Resemble shadows, illusions, and flames.
One sees not where they arise in the ten directions,
As they are without origin or destination.
The cycle of decay and extinction, formation and dwelling,
Occurs in the void without the slightest pause.
All lands arise from vows of purity,
Sustained by karma’s tremendous force.
At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further told the great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha! The seas of worlds all have many different appearances and characteristics. They may be round or square, or neither round nor square. There are limitless variations. They may be shaped like a whirlpool, like the soaring flames of a volcano, like trees or flowers, like a palace or a being, or perhaps like a Buddha. Such variations are as numerous as the motes of dust in a sea of worlds.”
Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate these principles, received the awesome spiritual power of the Buddhas, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.
All of you should contemplate
The variations in the seas of lands:
Their myriad adornments and environments,
Their distinct, beautiful forms in the ten directions.
They may be round or square,
Triangular or octagonal,
Or shaped like lotuses or wheels of mani.
Karma produces these distinct forms.
Perhaps their adornments are blazing and pure,
Interlaced with pure gold of the finest quality.
Doors large and small are thrown wide open.
All this results from the vast karma of unmixed intention.
The boundless sea of kshetras, with myriad differentiations,
Resembles a bank of clouds drifting in space.
Jeweled wheels cover their ground in wondrous adornment
Under the dazzling light of the Buddhas’ radiance.
Mere discriminations of the mind,
All lands appear in shining light.
Manifesting within the seas of Kshetras,
Each and every Buddha displays his spiritual powers.
Some lands are defiled, others pure.
The joy and misery of each being
Differs because of the inconceivable sea of karma.
The cyclic flow of dharmas is eternally thus.
A single pore contains inconceivable lands
As numerous as motes of dust, in diverse environments.
Each land has an All-Shining Honored One
Proclaiming wondrous Dharma for the assembled multitudes.
A single dust mote includes lands great and small,
Their variations as multitudinous as motes of dust.
Whether level, high, or low, each terrain is unique.
The Buddhas travel to them all to turn the Dharma wheel.
Kshetras appear in every mote of dust
By the power of spiritual penetrations and past vows.
Fulfilling the different wishes of sentient beings,
The Buddhas can accomplish anything within the void.
Consider all the dust motes in every land:
The Buddhas enter each and every one.
For all beings, they perform spiritual transformations.
The Dharma of Vairochana Buddha is thus.
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