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Chapter 40 New Edition

Practices and Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva

Entering the Inconceivable State of Liberation By Means of
the Practices and Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva

Chapter 40, New Edition

 

 

Entering the Inconceivable State of Liberation By Means of the Practices and Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, Chapter 40, Great Means, Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra (Taisho #293, Roll #40 of 40 Rolls)
(Translated on Imperial Command by the Tang Dynasty Tripitaka Master Prajna of Kubha 796-798 CE)

Introduction

At that time, after Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, Mahasattva finished praising the Tathagata's supreme merit and virtue, he told all the Bodhisattvas and Sudhana, “Good men! If all of the Buddhas of the ten directions continuously spoke of the merit and virtue of the Tathagata for kalpas? as numerous as the smallest atomic particles in ineffably ineffable numbers of Buddha kshetra-lands, they would not be able to finish. If one aspires to perfect the gateway to this merit and virtue, one must cultivate ten kinds of great practices and vows.

“What are the ten? The first is to worship all Buddhas. The second is to praise the Tathagatas. The third is to extensively cultivate making offerings. The fourth is to repent of karmic obstacles and reform. The fifth is to follow and rejoice in merit and virtue. The sixth is to request the turning of the wheel of Dharma. The seventh is to beseech the Buddhas to remain in the world. The eighth is to always follow and learn from the Buddhas. The ninth is to constantly conform with living beings. The tenth is to transfer all merit and virtue.”

Sudhana asked, “Great Sage, what is the meaning of ‘to worship all Buddhas’ up to and including ‘to transfer all merit and virtue?’”

 

1. To Worship All Buddhas

Samantabhadra told Sudhana, “Good man, to worship all Buddhas is explained like this. There are Buddhas, World Honored Ones, in the ten directions and the three periods of time, to the exhaustion of the dharma-realm and the reaches of space, that are as numerous as the smallest atomic particles in all Buddha kshetra-lands. Because of the power of Samantabhadra's practices and vows, I have a profound mind of faith in and understanding of them as if they were right before my eyes. With pure karma in body, speech, and thought, I always worship them.

In each and every place where there are Buddhas, I manifest ineffably ineffable number of bodies as numerous as the smallest atomic particles in a Buddha kshetra-land. Every single body worships all Buddhas everywhere, who are as numerous as the smallest atomic particles in ineffably ineffable numbers of Buddha kshetra-lands.

When the reaches of space come to an end, my worship will also come to an end. However, the reaches of space can never come to an end, therefore my worship has no end. In the same way, when the realms of living beings come to an end, when the karma of living beings comes to an end, and when the afflictions of living beings come to an end, my worship will also end. Since the realms of living beings up to and including their afflictions have no end, my worship has no end. It continues in thought after thought without cease. I never tire of this karma in body, speech, and thought.

 

2. To Praise the Tathagatas

Moreover, good man, to praise the Tathagatas is explained like this. In each of the smallest atomic particles in all the kshetralands in the ten directions and three periods of time, to the exhaustion of the dharma-realm and the reaches of space, there are Buddhas as numerous as the smallest atomic particles in all worlds. In each and every place where there are Buddhas, a vast ocean-wide assembly of Bodhisattvas surrounds them. Using a profound and supreme understanding, I should manifest knowledge and vision.

Each body has an eloquence that surpasses the subtle and wondrous tongue of Sarasvatī, the Goddess of Eloquence. Each tongue puts forth an inexhaustible ocean of sounds. From each sound comes an ocean of all words, which praise and exalt the ocean of all the merit and virtue of all the Tathagatas. To the ends of the boundaries of the future, these praises are continuous and unceasing. To the ends of the dharma-realm, there is no place they do not pervade.

In this way, when the reaches of space, the realms of living beings, the karma of living beings, and the afflictions of living beings come to an end, my praise will also end. However, because the reaches of space up to and including afflictions have no end, therefore this praise of mine is without end. It continues in thought after thought without cease. I never tire of this karma in body, speech, and thought.

 

3. To Extensively Cultivate Making Offerings

Moreover, Good Man, to extensively cultivate making offerings is explained like this. In each of the smallest atomic particles in all the Buddha kshetra-lands in the ten directions and three periods of time, to the exhaustion of the dharma-realm and the reaches of space, there are Buddhas as numerous as the smallest atomic particles in all worlds. In each and every place where there are Buddhas, an ocean-wide assembly of various kinds of Bodhisattvas surrounds them. Due to the power of Samantabhadra's practices and vows, I give rise to deep faith and understanding and manifest knowledge and vision.

I make offerings of superb and wonderful gifts to all of them. That is to say, I make offerings of clouds of flowers, clouds of garlands, clouds of celestial music, clouds of heavenly canopies, clouds of heavenly clothing, as well as all varieties of heavenly incense, including incense paste, burning incense, powdered incense, and other clouds of gifts such as these. Each offering is the size of Mount Sumeru, the king of mountains.

I burn all kinds of lamps. This includes butter lamps, oil lamps, and lamps of many fragrant oils. The wick of each lamp is as great as Mount Sumeru. The quantity of oil in each lamp is like the waters of the great ocean. With all manner of gifts such as these, I constantly make offerings.

Good man, of all offerings, the offering of Dharma is supreme. That is to say, it is the offering of cultivating according to the teachings, the offering of benefiting living beings, the offering that gathers in living beings, the offering of undergoing suffering on behalf of living beings, the offering of diligently cultivating the roots of goodness, the offering of never forsaking the karma of the Bodhisattvas, and the offering of never being apart from the Bodhi-mind.

Good Man, the measureless merit and virtue created from making the previous offerings, when compared to the merit and virtue from a single thought of the offering of Dharma, does not equal one one-hundredth, one one-thousandth, one part in a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas, one part in a kala, one part by reckoning, one part by calculation, one part that can be demonstrated by comparison, or one part in an upanishad. Why is this? Because all Tathagatas venerate the Dharma. Because cultivating according to the teachings gives birth to all Buddhas. If a Bodhisattva makes the offering of Dharma, he will have made an offering to the Tathagatas Cultivating in this way is a true offering. It is a vast and most supreme offering.

In this way, when the reaches of space, the realms of living beings, the karma of living beings, and the afflictions of living beings come to an end, my making offerings will also end. However, because the reaches of space up to and including the afflictions of living beings can never end, therefore my making offerings is also without end. It continues in thought after thought without cease. I never tire of this karma in body, speech, and thought.

 

4. To Repent of Karmic Obstacles and Reform

Moreover, Good Man, to repent of karmic obstacles and reform is explained like this. The Bodhisattva reflects to himself, ‘I, from beginningless kalpas in the past, because of greed, hatred, and delusion, have created measureless and boundless evil karma with my body, mouth, and mind. If this evil karma had a substance and form, it could not be contained within the reaches of space.

With my three karmas purified, before the assemblies of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in kshetra-lands throughout the dharma-realm that are as numerous as the smallest atomic particles, I now sincerely repent of and reform my offenses and will never create them again. I will always dwell in all the merit and virtue of the pure moral precepts?

In this way, when the reaches of space, the realms of living beings, the karma of living beings, and the afflictions of living beings come to an end, my repentance will also end. However, the reaches of space up to and including the afflictions of living beings can never end. Therefore, my repenting and reforming is without end. It continues in thought after thought without cease. I never tire of this karma in body, speech, and thought.

 

5. To Follow and Rejoice in Merit and Virtue

Moreover, Good Man, to follow and rejoice in merit and virtue is explained like this. All the Buddhas, the Tathagatas, are as numerous as the smallest atomic particles in all the Buddha kshetra-lands of the ten directions and the three periods of time, throughout the dharma-realm and the reaches of space. From the time they first brought forth the Bodhi-mind for the sake of All-Wisdom, they diligently cultivated and amassed blessings without regard for their bodies and lives.

They did this throughout kalpas as many as the smallest atomic particles in ineffably ineffable numbers of Buddha kshetra-lands. During each kalpa they gave up their heads, eyes, hands, and feet, as many times as there are the smallest atomic particles in ineffably ineffable numbers of Buddha kshetra-lands.

In this way, they cultivated all the difficult ascetic practices, perfected the various paramitas, entered and realized each of the Bodhisattva grounds of wisdom, and accomplished the unsurpassed Bodhi of all Buddhas. Upon their Parinirvana, their sharira were divided and distributed. I follow and rejoice in all of their roots of goodness.

Moreover, I follow and rejoice in the merit and virtue of all the different types of beings in the six paths of existence and the four kinds of birth in all the worlds of the ten directions, even if it is as small as a single particle.
I follow and rejoice in all the merit and virtue of all the Shravakas, Pratyeka-Buddhas, Learners, and Those Beyond Learning in the ten directions and the three periods of time.

I follow and rejoice in the vast, great merit and virtue of all the Bodhisattvas, who in their quest for Unsurpassed, Right and Equal Bodhi, cultivate measureless difficult ascetic practices.

So it is that even if the reaches of space, the realms of living beings, the karma of living beings, and the afflictions of living beings come to an end, still my following and rejoicing in merit and virtue are without end. It continues in thought after thought without cease. I never tire of this karma in body, speech, and thought.

 

6. To Request the Turning of the Wheel of Dharma

Moreover, Good Man, to request the turning of the wheel of Dharma is explained like this. Within each and every smallest atomic particle in the Buddha kshetra-lands throughout the ten directions and the three periods of time, to the exhaustion of the dharma-realm and the reaches of space, there are vast Buddha kshetra-lands as many as the smallest atomic particles in ineffably ineffable numbers of Buddha kshetra-lands. In each and every land, in thought after thought, all Buddhas are accomplishing Equal and Right Enlightenment, their number as many as the smallest atomic particles in ineffably ineffable numbers of Buddha kshetra-lands. An ocean-wide assembly of Bodhisattvas surrounds each Buddha. Using all manner of skill-in-means with body, mouth, and mind, I earnestly request that they turn the wonderful wheel of Dharma.

So it is that even if the reaches of space, the realms of living beings, the karma of living beings, and the afflictions of living beings come to an end, my constant request that all Buddhas turn the wheel of proper Dharma is without end. It continues in thought after thought without cease. I never tire of this karma in body, speech, and thought.

 

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