THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Chapters: 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11 * 12 * 13 * 14 * 15 * 16 * 17 * 18 * 19 * 20

The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra

Chapter 1: Introduction
With Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Sutra:

Just like all the Buddha lands now seen.

Outline:

J2. six portents in other worlds

Sutra:

“Maitreya, it should be known that there were at that time in the assembly twenty million Bodhisattvas who took delight in listening to the Dharma. Upon seeing this bright light illumine all the Buddha lands, all the Bodhisattvas obtained what they had never had and wished to know the causes and conditions for this light.”

Outline:

I2. similarity of the doubts

Commentary:

Once again, Manjushri Bodhisattva speaks to Maitreya Bodhisattva saying Maitreya, Humane One, it should be known, you should know, that there were at that time in the assembly, in the Dharma assembly, twenty million Bodhisattvas who took delight in listening to the Dharma. They all liked to hear the Buddha speak the Dharma. Upon seeing this bright light emitted by the Buddha Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp, illumine all the Buddha lands, all the Bodhisattvas gave rise to doubts; they didn’t understand. Seeing the Buddha emit the white hair-mark light from between his brows which illumined eighteen thousand Buddhalands to the east, they also obtained what they had never had. They had never seen anything like it before and wished to know the causes and conditions for this light. The twenty million Bodhisattvas also wanted to know the reason for the light. Why did the Buddha emit the light? What was the reason?

Sutra:

“There was at that time a Bodhisattva by the name of Wondrous Light who had eight hundred disciples. The Buddha Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp then arose from Samadhi and, for the sake of the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light, spoke a Great Vehicle Sutra called the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower, a Dharma for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddha is protective and mindful.”

Outline:

H3. similarity of what was seen in the past with what is about to happen

I1. similarity of persons for whom the Dharma was spoken

Commentary:

There was at that time a Bodhisattva, in the Dharma assembly by the name of Wondrous Light who had eight hundred disciples. The Buddha Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp then arose from Samadhi, he came out of concentration, the Samadhi of the Station of limitless principles, and, for the sake of the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light, spoke a Great Vehicle Sutra. It was called the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra. It was a Dharma-door for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddha is protective and mindful.

Sutra:

“For sixty small aeons he did not rise from his seat. Those assembled listening also sat in one place for sixty small aeons with bodies and minds unmoving, listening to what the Buddha said as if it were but the space of a meal. At that time, in the assembly, there was not a single person who grew weary, either physically or mentally.”


Outline:

I2. similarity of the time

Commentary:

When the Buddha Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp spoke the Sutra, how long did it take him? Sixty small aeons. If you’re talking about a long time, sixty small aeons isn’t really too long; if you’re talking about a short period of time, it isn’t exactly short. One aeons is 139,600 years. One thousand of those aeons makes one small aeon. So count it up. How long would sixty small aeons be?

However, one thought is ten thousand years, and ten thousand years is but a single thought. You could also say that one thought is ten thousand aeons, and ten thousand aeons is but a single thought. In the Heaven of the Four Kings a single day and night is equivalent to fifty years here in the world of human beings. In the Heaven of the Thirty-three, a day and night is one hundred years among humans. One day and one night seems like a very short space of time to them.

When people sit in meditation, if they don’t strike up false thinking, they can sit for an entire day and feel as if it were a single second. If you strike up false thinking, it can seem as if a single second lasted, oh, who knows how many years? You sit there, and you can’t sit still. You want to quit sitting and so:

One thought is ten thousand aeons;
Ten thousand aeons is but a thought

When the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness was speaking the Dharma for sixty small aeons he did not rise from his seat. He spoke The Dharma Flower Sutra for sixty small aeons. Why did it take so long? It was because everyone had entered the “delight in listening samadhi”. Although the Buddha spoke the Dharma, he did it from within Samadhi and didn’t rise for sixty small aeons. Those assembled listening also sat in one place for sixty small aeons with bodies and minds unmoving. The Dharma assembly of twenty million Bodhisattvas, gods, dragons, ghosts, and spirits and all the Arhats, Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas and so forth and so on, sat there listening to the Dharma for sixty small aeons.

For example, we are now listening to Sutras. If you pay close attention, and listen singlemindedly, when the lecture is over you will feel as if a very short time had passed. If you don’t pay attention, what is it like? One the one hand you listen to the Sutras and on the other you strike up false thinking, “Oh… it’s still not over. How much time have we got left? Take a look, would you?”

This is like a student who said that when she sat in meditation she did not meditate but rather waited for the bell so she could get up and be “liberated”. If you do that, how can you work at your meditation? If you do that, then when you sit, you will feel the time drags on, and your legs start to hurt, and your back aches. But if you don’t pay attention to the time, then there’s no leg or back pain; it’s no problem. “Well, who hurts? Who aches?” Just ask and it disappears. They sat for sixty small aeons and did not move in body or in mind. Their bodies didn’t wiggle around or lean this way and that, and their minds also did not move.

Listening to what the Buddha said. They listened to the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness speak the Dharma as if it were the time it takes to eat a bowl of rice, as if it were but the space of a meal.

At that time, in the assembly, there was not a single person who grew weary, either physically or mentally. In the Dharma assembly, there wasn’t a single person who got tired, and wanted to rest, to take a nap. Nobody wanted to rest or sleep.

If you were one who truly listened to Sutras, you wouldn’t feel that it was tiresome to sit there. You should sit there and the more you listened, the more delighted you would become. “Ah, the Dharma is really wonderful, inconceivably wonderful!” If you don’t truly listen, you sit there and your legs wiggle and your hands jerk around and even though there’s no wind, it looks like you’re being blown back and forth, leaning all over the place. Or perhaps you get up and pace the floor, or you just look to the east and look to the west. This is because your heart is not truly in it; you aren’t truly listening to the Sutras, and you aren’t tasting their true flavor. If you tasted the true flavor of the Sutras, I’ll tell you, there would be nothing so important that it could interfere with your attendance at the lectures. You would certainly come to listen. “Everyday I miss a lecture, I will not eat,” you’d say. “If I miss lectures for two days in a row, for two days I won’t eat.” If you pushed yourself like that, you wouldn’t dare not come to listen. Say to yourself, “If you don’t go listen, you won’t get anything to eat!” That’s wonderful dharma. Try it out, if you dare. “So you don’t want to listen to Sutras? All right, no food today. If you go hungry for a day then, next week, you will think, “I’m going to go listen to the Sutra lecture. Otherwise I’ll go hungry!” Besides, not eating is really just not receiving the food of Dharma. In listening to the Sutras one receives the nourishment of Dharma.

Sutra:

At the end of sixty small aeons, having finished speaking the Sutra, the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness immediately announced to the assembly of Brahma, Mara, Shramanas, Brahmans, gods, humans, and Asuras, ‘Today, at midnight, the Thus Come One will enter Nirvana without residue.’”

Outline:

I3. similarity of announcing Nirvana

Commentary:

The Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness spoke The Dharma Flower Sutra for a full sixty small aeons; in all that time not a single person in the assembly grew tired in body or in mind. At the end of sixty small aeons, having finished speaking the Sutra, the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness immediately announced to the assembly of Brahma, the god, Mara, the demon king, Shramanas, that is the Bhikshus who have left home, Brahmans, one of the Indian outside ways who practice pure conduct, gods, humans, and Asuras. He made an announcement saying, ‘Today, at midnight, the Thus Come One will enter Nirvana without residue. The Thus Come One Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness today will enter Nirvana. The Buddha was born at noon and entered Nirvana at midnight. Noon is yang and night, yin. When the Buddha came into the world, it was as if the entire world was illuminated by the sun, moon and lamplight. After the Buddha crossed into extinction, that is, entered Nirvana, it was like the darkness of the night. Not only was this the case with the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness, but all Buddhas are that way. They appear in the world at noon and enter Nirvana without residue at midnight.

Nirvana is of four kinds, according to the explanation of the consciousness Only School. Some texts give four kinds of Nirvana, but not the three kinds. What are the three?

1. The Nirvana of the purity of the nature. This type of Nirvana belongs to the virtue of the Dharmabody. The Buddha has three bodies: the Dharmabody, the Reward body and the Transformation body. The Nirvana of the purity of the nature belongs to the virtue of the Dharma body, that virtue being that it is not produced or destroyed, not defiled and not pure, not increasing and not decreasing.

2. The Nirvana of perfect purity. This type of Nirvana belongs to the virtue of Prajna.

3. The Nirvana of the purity of expedient means. This belongs to the virtue of liberation.

The virtue of the Dharmabody, the virtue of Prajna, and the virtue of liberation are the Secret Storehouse of Great Nirvana, the three virtues of Nirvana.

The purity of expedient means refers to “from emptiness taking up a false (existence)” that is, what is not produced takes on production and what is not extinguished takes on extinction. Although within the six paths of rebirth, there is no defilement and entry into nirvana entails permanent bliss, all actions and practices are conducted from within the Nirvana of expedient means purity. The three kinds of Nirvana are basically the same as the four kinds of Nirvana.

Here, the text says, Nirvana without residue. The first of the four kinds of Nirvana, is the Nirvana of the purity of the self nature. This corresponds to the first of the three types of Nirvana, the Nirvana of the purity of the nature.

The second of the four types of Nirvana is the Nirvana with residue. What is meant by residue? It refers to those of the Two Vehicles. Although they have certified to the fruit, they still have bodies. Because their bodies remain, they still have suffering. As long as you have a body, you suffer. Without a body, there is no suffering. Why are you greedy, hateful and stupid? It is because you take a thief for your son and search outside. Because you have a body, you have to take care of it; consequently, you are greedy, hateful and stupid. If you have a body, you suffer. If you have a body, you undergo pain. This is called Nirvana with residue.

When you have emptied the body and dharmas, there is no attachment to self or to dharmas, and this is called the Nirvana without residue, the third of the four kinds; here, suffering has been ended, cultivation of Brahman conduct has been established, what was to be done has been done, and one undergoes no further becoming; one need not return to be reborn in the Three Realms.

The fourth is the Nirvana of no dwelling place which corresponds to the third of the three kinds of Nirvana discussed above, that of the purity of expedient means. The Nirvanas with and without residue correspond to the second of the three kinds, the Nirvana of perfect purity.

Sutra:

“There was at that time a Bodhisattva by the name of Virtue Treasury to whom the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness transmitted a prediction, telling all the Bhikshus, ‘The Bodhisattva Virtue Treasury will next become a Buddha with the name of Pure-Body-Tathagato’rhan, Samyaksambuddhah.’”


Outline:

I4. similarity of giving predictions

Commentary:

When the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness announced the news that he was going to enter Nirvana without residue, there was a Bodhisattva present by the name of Virtue Treasury. His virtuous practices were especially complete. The Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness transmitted a prediction to him. What is meant by “transmitting a prediction?” It is to announce a future event, one for which the time has not yet come. The event is still “hanging in the air”. It hasn’t yet “fallen to the ground”. It is also said to be an advance prediction which refers to giving you a prediction in this life for your becoming a Buddha in a future life, saying, “You, in a future age, will be a Buddha with such and such a name…”

Telling all the Bhikshus, ‘The Bodhisattva Virtue Treasury will next become a Buddha’. After I have entered into Nirvana, he shall become a Buddha His name will be Pure-Body Thus Come One. Tathagato’rhan, that is Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings; Samyaksambuddhah, One of Proper and Universal Knowledge. Originally the Buddha has ten titles, but here only three are used to represent all ten.

Sutra:

After that Buddha had transmitted the prediction, at midnight he entered Nirvana without residue.

Outline:

I5. similarity of propagation of Sutra after Buddha’s nirvana

J1. entering nirvana

Commentary:


After that Buddha had transmitted the prediction to the Bodhisattva Virtue Treasury, at midnight he entered Nirvana without residue. In the middle of the night, the Buddha went into Nirvana, he “completed the stillness”.

Sutra:

“Following the Buddha’s crossing over into extinction, the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light upheld the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra for a full eighty small aeons, expounding it to others. The eight sons of the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness all served Wondrous Light as their master. Wondrous Light taught and transformed them, causing them to become firmly established in Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”

“The princes, having made offerings to limitless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of Buddhas, all realized the Buddha Way. The very last to become a Buddha was one named Burner of the Lamp.”

“Among the eight hundred disciples was one named Seeker of Fame, who was greedily attached to profit and offerings. Although he read and recited many scriptures, he did not comprehend them and forgot most of what he learned. For that reason he was called Seeker of Fame. Because he had also planted good roots, he was able to encounter limitless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of Buddhas, making offerings to them and honoring them, venerating and praising them.”

Outline:

J2. benefits derived from propagation of the Sutra after the Buddha’s nirvana

Commentary:

Following the Buddha’s crossing over into extinction, the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light upheld the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra. He accepted, upheld, read and recited it for a full eighty small aeons, expounding it to others, explaining it to them.

The eight sons of the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness all served Wondrous Light as their master. They bowed to him as their teacher. Wondrous Light taught and transformed them, the eight sons, causing them to become firmly established in Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. He caused them to bring forth hearts which were solid and irreversible with respect to the Utmost Proper and Equal Right Enlightenment, that is, the Buddha-fruit. They only wished to go forward and had no thought of retreating. They were ever vigorous and never rested. The eight royal sons bowed to the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light as their teacher, and he carried out his responsibilities quite dutifully. He spoke to them all day saying things like, “Don’t be lazy. Don’t sneak off to rest or take naps, and don’t go around stealing food!” That’s how he kept track of them. Even though they were royal princes, they still have to cultivate truly. When Shakyamuni Buddha left the home-life to cultivate, he was by no means lazy. He meditated in the Himalayas everyday. Those who have left home must cultivate the Way if they are to receive the offerings from the ten directions. If you don’t cultivate the Way it can be very dangerous. Don’t think that leaving home is all that easy.

The princes, the eight sons of the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness, after leaving home made offerings to limitless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of Buddhas. Having cultivated both blessings and wisdom to perfection, they all realized the Buddha Way.

What is meant by cultivating blessings and wisdom? Making offerings to limitless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of Buddhas was the cultivation of blessings. Reciting and maintaining hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of Sutras which the Buddha had spoken was the cultivation of wisdom. Through accepting, maintaining, reading, and reciting, making offerings and paying honor, they perfected their blessings and wisdom and later became Buddhas.

The very last to become a Buddha was one named Burner of the Lamp. Among the eight hundred disciples was one named Seeker of Fame. The Bodhisattva Wondrous Light had eight hundred disciples. One of them was called Seeker of Fame. Now, the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light was the Bodhisattva Manjushri. He was the master of the eight princes, and taught them all to become Buddhas. The last of the eight princes was called Burner of the Lamp. He was Shakyamuni Buddha’s teacher and transmitted the prediction of Buddhahood to Shakyamuni Buddha. This means that the Bodhisattva Manjushri was Shakyamuni Buddha’s grand-teacher, his teacher’s teacher.

Manjushri now acts as Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciple. The grand-teacher is now the disciple. What is the principle involved here? In the Buddhadharma, “TheDharma is level and equal with nothing above or below”. Everything in the world is, without exception, just like a play. People all watch the play and then, when it’s over, they go home. Manjushri Bodhisattva acted in the Saha world as the disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha and Shakyamuni Buddha’s teacher was Manjushri Bodhisattva’s disciple. So, take a look: “The Dharma is level and equal, with nothing above or below”, and so when Shakyamuni Buddha became a Buddha, Manjushri Bodhisattva had not yet done so, and so now he is Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciple.

Among the eight hundred disciples was one named Seeker of Fame. He just loved to seek fame and profit. What was he like? He never cultivated; he just laughed and joked all day. He ran around outside, climbing on conditions at the homes of the wealthy people and influential officials. He schemed for his own advantage and he didn’t cultivate. He didn’t recited Sutras. Well, he recited them, but his heart wasn’t in it. He recited them over and over, but couldn’t remember them. Why not? Because his heart was heavy laden with schemes for climbing on conditions. If you can’t remember your Sutra recitations, you should take a clue from Maitreya Bodhisattva for a warning. He couldn’t remember the Sutras because he was too involved with climbing on conditions and seeking fame.

Why can’t you remember your Sutra recitations? It’s because, in your heart, you also seek fame and climb on conditions; you seek fame and profit. If you put down those two words “fame and profit”, then you’d be able to recite any book at all after reading it only once. You wouldn’t have to put forth any special concentration to memorize it. Why? Because you’d have no other thoughts. Without thoughts of greed, hatred, or stupidity or climbing on conditions, your intelligence and wisdom would come forth.

Who was greedily attached to profit and offerings. See? Even Maitreya Bodhisattva had that flaw. He was greedy for profit, craved offerings, climbed on conditions, and got stuck on profit and offerings. Profit just means money. He was greedy for people to give him a little cash, like monks nowadays who receive offerings of money in little red envelopes. They open them up and if there is a sizable amount of money in them, they are delighted. That is what is meant by being greedily attached to profit and offerings. If they get a little less, they grimace and groan. This is just a manifestation of greed for offerings. If you are truly a person of the Way, if won’t matter how much they give. A little is a lot and a lot is a little. A little and a lot--it's all the same.

For example, last Saturday on the eighth day of the lunar month, one disciple saw that people were making offerings to the Dharma Master. Basically, I wouldn’t even bring this matter up because it is likely to sound as if I’m asking for offerings, but unless I talk about it, no one will know. She saw that the Chinese people were all making offerings and so she also gave an offering. At the time I didn’t know how much was in it. Later on, I opened it and saw that it was a penny. I was extremely happy.

You say, “How could a penny make you happy?”

Although it was only a penny, it showed that she had a sincere heart. I think on that day she didn’t have any money and so she only gave a penny. That night, she made another offering of four dollars and told me, “I didn’t have any money today.” I said, “I know. Your penny made merit and virtue for you perhaps as much as giving a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand dollars would have, because you were sincere.” In the Buddhadharma, as long as you are sincere, you obtain merit and virtue regardless of how much money you give as an offering. If you do not have a sincere heart, even if you give a lot, it’s still a little. If you have a sincere heart, if you give a little, it’s still a lot. You need only make offerings with a true heart.

Although he read and recited many scriptures, at that time the Bodhisattva Seeker of Fame, Maitreya, one of the eight hundred disciples, read and recited Sutras. Like now in the morning, the three who have left home along with several laypeople, recite the Shurangama Mantra, The Vajra Sutra, and The Heart Sutra. It would be good to recite the Great Compassion Mantra twenty-one times to seek a response and whatever you seek, you may obtain. If you recite the Great Compassion Mantra, the lecture hall will be filled with a rare fragrance as that state arises when one recites it. If you recite Sutras sincerely a rare fragrance may also manifest. How does that happen? When you recite the Sutras, heavenly maidens will scatter flowers and the fragrance will manifest. But you must recite with a sincere heart, in the same way that you must make offerings to the Triple Jewel with a sincere heart. If you have a sincere heart, when you recite a single sentence of the Sutra, you can startle heaven and move the earth. The ghosts and spirits in heaven and earth will all know about it. If you don’t have a sincere heart, you can recite the entire Sutra and all you do is strike up false thinking. What false thinking do you strike up? You think, “I’m reciting the Sutra today. I wonder if anyone will send me offerings? I’m reciting the Sutra so I can get offerings.” If you have that kind of false thinking, then no one will make offerings to you. Why not? Because your heart is filled with the wish for offerings and so they will not appear. If you have thought, it is false thought. The thought arising is just false thought. Without thought, you may obtain a response. If you do not seek offerings, and they come, that is a response. Although he read and recited many scriptures, not one Sutra, but a lot of them, he did not comprehend them. He couldn’t remember them. If you can’t remember them, then you remember the first part and forget the last part, or remember the last part and forget the first part. If you remember the first and the last, you forget the middle part, and you can’t recite it. You have to listen to the others and follow along with them. If you do that, the merit and virtue is theirs, not your own. Do you understand? You must be able to recite them on your own. You must comprehend them, recite them yourself, understand them and be well-versed in them. Well-versed, you can recite them from the first part to the very end remembering them all.

Now, he read and recited them but couldn’t remember them. And forgot most of what he learned. He didn’t really recite. He recited the first part and forgot the last; forgetting a whole lot of it. For that reason he was called Seeker of Fame. I believe that he probably did not give himself this name. Someone else probably gave it to him saying, “All you do is seek fame and seek profit. We’ll just call you Seeker of Fame Bodhisattva!”

Because he had also planted good roots, although he was called Seeker of Fame, he had also planted many good roots and cultivated many practices, cultivating blessings and cultivating wisdom. He was able to encounter limitless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of Buddhas, making offerings to them and honoring them, venerating and praising them. He made offerings to limitless Buddhas, honored them, venerated and praised them.

Sutra:

“Maitreya, it should be known, could the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light have been anyone else? I, myself, was he. And the Bodhisattva Seeker of Fame was you, yourself!”

Outline:

J3. correspondence of the past and present

Commentary:

Maitreya, it should be known, could the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light have been anyone else? Do you know who he was? He wasn’t anybody else but--who? I, myself, was he. He was just me--Manjushri Bodhisattva! Do you remember? And the Bodhisattva Seeker of Fame, just who was he? You, yourself! You, Maitreya Bodhisattva, you were the one who sought fame and profit. But now, you’re improved yourself a lot, and made a lot of progress compared to the way you used to be.

Sutra:

“The portents now seen do not differ from those, and so, in my estimation, today the Thus Come One is about to speak a Great Vehicle Sutra called The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower, a Dharma for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddha is protective and mindful.”

Outline:

F4. the conclusion

Commentary:

The portents now seen, when Maitreya Bodhisattva heard Manjushri Bodhisattva give away his previous identity as the Bodhisattva who sought fame, he had already gotten rid of his mark of self; consequently, he wasn’t embarrassed and he didn’t feel, “All you do is talk about my bad points. You’re really rude.” He didn’t think that way at all.

Manjushri Bodhisattva said to him, “I now see Sakyamuni Buddha emitting the white hair-mark light, along with the other portents, six in all, and they are just the same as those previously manifested by the Buddha Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp. They do not differ from those. “Those” refers to the portents manifested by the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness; “now” refers to those now manifested by Shakyamuni Buddha. The portents are the same. And so, in my estimation, because of this, I now calculate, think about it. Actually Manjushri Bodhisattva didn’t need to think about it. He knew it all along. But he accords with worldly methods and says, “I have thought it over and it is my considered opinion that today the Thus Come One is about to speak a Great Vehicle Sutra called The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower, that was its title, a Dharma for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddha is protective and mindful.

Sutra:

At that time Manjushri, in the midst of the assembly, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses, saying:

I recall that in ages past,
Limitless, countless aeons ago,
There appeared a Buddha, one honored among people,
By the name of Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp,
That World Honored One proclaimed the Dharma,
Taking limitless living beings across,
Causing countless millions of Bodhisattvas
To enter the wisdom of the Buddhas.

Outline:

E2. verse section

F1. extensive reference to what was seen in the past

G1. similarity with the first Buddha

Commentary:

At that time Manjushri, in the midst of the assembly, wishing to restate his meaning, thinking to repeat the principles once again spoke verses, saying:

I recall that in ages past, Manjushri Bodhisattva says, “I, myself, remember that in the past, a long time ago, limitless, countless aeons ago,there appeared a Buddha, one honored among people, a Buddha who was venerated by both gods and humans by the name of Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp, that World Honored One proclaimed the Dharma,the wonderful Dharma of the Great Vehicle, taking limitless living beings across.He saved and liberated an unlimited number of them; it is not known how many beings he saved, causing countless millions of Bodhisattvas, to enter the wisdom of the Buddhas.

Sutra:

Before that Buddha had left home,
The eight royal sons born to him,
Seeing the Great Sage leave his home,
Also followed him to practice Brahman conduct.

Outline:

G2. similarity with the last Buddha

H1. similarity of what was seen in the past with what has already occurred in the present

Commentary:

Before that Buddha had left home,before the Buddha Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp had left the home-life, the eight royal sons born to him, seeing the Great Sage leave his home,they knew that their father, the Great Sage, had left home, also followed him to practice Brahman conduct. They also renounced their kingdoms, cities, wives, and children; they gave them away, and followed their father to leave home and cultivate the clear, pure Brahman conduct.

Sutra:

The Buddha then spoke a Great Vehicle
Sutra by the name of Limitless Principles;
Amidst the assembly, and for their sake,
He set it forth in extensive detail.
When the Buddha had finished speaking the Sutra,
Seated in the Dharma-seat,
He sat in full lotus and entered the Samadhi
Called the Station of Limitless Principles.
From the heavens fell a rain of Mandarava flowers,
And heavenly drums of themselves did sound,
While all the gods, dragons, ghosts and spirits,
Made offerings to the Honored One;
And, within all the Buddha lands,
There occurred a mighty trembling.
The light emitted from between the Buddha’s brows
Manifested all these rare events.

Outline:

H2. similarity of what was seen in the past with what is occurring in the present

I1. similarity of the portents

J1. similarity of the six portents in this world

Commentary:

The Buddha then spoke a Great Vehicle,the Buddha Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp spoke a Great Vehicle Sutra, Sutra by the name of Limitless Principles; amidst the assembly, and for their sake. In the Great Assembly, he set it forth in extensive detail. For the sake of the assembly, he spoke it in fine detail, explaining the wonderful principles of the Sutra.

When the Buddha had finished speaking the Sutra,
the Sutra of Limitless Principles, while seated in the Dharma-seat, he was then sitting on the Dharma seat where one sits while lecturing on the Sutra. He sat in full lotus and entered the Samadhi. He crossed his legs, sat in the lotus position and entered the concentration called the Station of Limitless Principles. That was the name of the Samadhi. From the heavens fell a rain of Mandarava flowers. At that time the gods sent down a rain of little white flowers and big white flowers, as well as little red flowers and big red flowers. And heavenly drums of themselves did sound. In the heavens, the celestial drums sounded without being struck. While all the gods, dragons, ghosts and spirits, the gods and all the dragons and all the ghosts and spirits made offerings to the Honored One. They all made offerings to the Buddha, to the Dharma and to the Sangha.

And, within all the Buddha lands,
at that time, in all of the lands of the Buddha, there occurred a mighty trembling. The light emitted from between the Buddha’s brows, the Buddha emitted white hair-mark light from between his eyebrows which manifested all these rare events. A great many rare and unprecendented things appeared.

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