THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra

Chapter 26: Dharani

Sutra:

He then spoke this mantra:

“E qie mi. Qie mi. Ju li. Qian tuo li. Zhan tuo li. Mo deng qi. Chang qiu li. Fu lou suo ni. E di.”

“World Honored One, this dharani, this spiritual mantra, has been spoken by forty-two kotis of Buddhas. If anyone harms this Dharma Master, he will thereby have harmed these Buddhas.”

Outline:

F2. Speaking the mantra.
F3. Praise.


Commentary:

The king "Holder of the Country," having spoken his mantra, then said, “World Honored One, this dharani, this spiritual mantra, has been spoken by forty-two kotis of Buddhas.” The number “forty-two” represents the forty-two positions of great masters of the Dharma body: Ten Dwellings, Ten Practices, Ten Transferences, Ten Grounds, Equal Enlightenment, and Wonderful Enlightenment. If anyone harms this Dharma Master, he will thereby have harmed these Buddhas.

Sometimes people cannot read. How can they recite the Sutra, then? They can just recite the title, "Namo Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra." That is one way. They can also ask someone else to recite it on their behalf, or read it, or write it out. In China, if a Dharma Master lectures a Sutra, many people come to make offerings. I am not telling you this because I want offerings. Do not misunderstand me. But after this, if other Dharma Masters lecture on the Sutras, you should make offerings to them. I am doing pioneer work in this area. To say nothing of offerings, I am quite satisfied if people come to listen! You are supporting me by coming to the lectures. But once you know about the merit and virtue gained by listening to the Sutras and by asking people to lecture on the Sutras, then you will be fighting to be first to participate.

In China, some Dharma Masters can lecture on the Sutras, some cannot. There are some who even say, "Do not listen to Sutras. What use is that? Cultivation is just cultivation. What is there to understand?" Wouldn't you say that was just trying to put out everyone's eyes and make everyone blind? People like that cannot lecture, and they advise other people not to listen. This is the conduct of demons, big and small. You should take note of this. I am lecturing the Sutras here, but if other Dharma Masters lecture, you are definitely welcome to go listen to them lecture. I would never get jealous of another Dharma Master and tell you not to go. I would never do a thing like that. You can go wherever you want. Just make sure you listen to the Sutras. Sooner or later the day will come when you understand.

If you think you can just cultivate and not listen to the Sutras, you are cultivating blindly. You can cultivate for as many eons as there are sand grains in the Ganges, but you will never succeed. It is like cooking sand and hoping it will turn into rice. It will never, never happen. You just cannot turn sand into rice. If you do not study the teachings to gain a clear understanding of them, but you just plunge ahead and cultivate blindly, you might as well be cooking sand to make rice. You should take special note of this.

The Buddha praised people who lecture on the Sutras, who read, recite, receive and hold, and explain the Sutras for others and who write them out. Now if someone says, "Do not do it!" wouldn't you say that person is a demon? Such people are just afraid that you will understand, and so they tell you not to study. They do not want you to understand, because once you do, they would not be able to cheat you anymore!

I am not like that. I am delighted if someone understands more than I do; I am really pleased. I am certainly not afraid anyone will surpass me. Do not ever be jealous of people, thinking, "He is higher than me. I think I will get a knife and cut him down to size." That is a mistake! You should never slander a Dharma Master who upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra. If you do, you are just harming all those Buddhas--forty-two kotis of them.

Sutra:

At that time there were rakshasa women. The first was named Lamba, the second was named Vilamba, the third was named Crooked Teeth, the fourth was named Flower Teeth, the fifth was named Black Teeth, the sixth was named Much Hair, the seventh was named Insatiable, the eighth was named Holder of Beads, the ninth was named Kunti, and the tenth was named Robber of the Essence and Energy of All Beings. These ten rakshasa women, along with the ghost mother and her children and their retinues, all went before the Buddha and spoke to him in unison, saying, “World Honored One, we, too, wish to protect those who read, recite, receive, and hold the Dharma Flower Sutra, and keep them from harm. Should anyone seek out the weaknesses of these Dharma Masters, he will not be able to take advantage of them.”

Outline:

E5. Rakshasa women.
F1. The names of those who request in unison.


Commentary:

At that time there were rakshasa women.Rakshasa women are ghosts who eat the essence and energy of living beings. They are very fierce. Anyone who bumps into one of these ghosts will die within a hundred days. They will eat your essence and energy day by day until you can do nothing else but die. You will burn down like a candle. Everyone is afraid of these ghosts. If you say, "I am not afraid of them!" then try it out. But I would not recommend it.

The first was named Lamba.Rakshasa ghosts are predominately female. They do not necessarily look that bad. In fact, they are quite pretty. When most people see them, they become infatuated with and attached to them. Then the ghost can eat their essence and energy. So watch out! Lamba means "into bondage."

The second was named Vilamba, which means "apart from bonds." The third was named Crooked Teeth. She had curved fangs like an elephant or a boar--very scary. The fourth was named Flower Teeth. Her teeth looked like flowers. The fifth was named Black Teeth. Her teeth were normal in shape, but they were as black as coal. The sixth was named Much Hair. She had hair growing all over her head, her face, everywhere. You could not see anything of her at all except for her eyes and her two nostrils. Pretty strange. The seventh was named Insatiable. She always wanted more of everything--one more bowl of food, one more bowl of food, and so on. Everyone else was done eating, but she was still sitting there thinking, "I am not full yet." The same applied to clothes. She had to wear three, four, five, six, seven pieces of clothing and she never felt she had enough. In general, she was never satisfied; she never knew when to quit. Do not become her disciple! Do not imitate her, or you will never amount to anything.

The eighth was named Holder of Beads. She always had beads in her hands, admiring them, holding on to them, never putting them down. The ninth was named Kunti. She was always wanting to be the emperor in the east or a king in the mountains. And the tenth was named Robber of the Essence and Energy of All Beings. Whether you give it to her or not, she is going to steal it. So how do you deal with her? Study the Dharma Flower Sutra. Read, recite, write out the Dharma Flower Sutra.

Rakshasas are quite terrible. They are most unreasonable, and they inflict great harm on people. But here, they have changed for the better. They have changed from the deviant to the proper and so they are about to speak a dharani to protect the Dharma Flower Sutra.

These ten rakshasa women, along with the ghost mother and her children. The ghost mother eats children! If a woman has a child, the ghost mother follows her around, waiting for a chance to eat the child. Perhaps the woman will get angry, get sick, eat or sleep too much, get in a peculiar mood, or drink some wine, or in general, break the rules. At that time the ghost mother can take advantage of the mother’s laxness and eat the child. Even before a child is born, she is already smacking her lips in anticipation, and as soon as it is born, she comes to devour it.

Seeing she had eaten a lot of children, the Buddha thought, "I should save the children of the world," and so he took the smallest of the ghost mother's children, number one thousand. She still had 999 left, but the ghost mother just happened to love her littlest child the best and thought of him as a treasure. She went everywhere looking for her treasure, but to no avail. "Where did it go?" she wondered. Then she listened very carefully, and she could hear her child crying. Where was the little baby ghost? He was stuck underneath the Buddha's bowl. She tried to seize the bowl but she could not budge it. She went back and got her other 999 children and all of them tried using their ghost penetrations to move the bowl. But still it would not budge.

So they went to the Buddha to negotiate. "Buddha, you are most compassionate. Then why have you put my little baby under your bowl? That is not being very compassionate, is it?" She talked very cleverly, like those people who tell you not to study the Sutras. Anyway, the Buddha said, "So I am not being compassionate? How about yourself?"

She said, "I do not need to be compassionate. I am a ghost mother. Why should I be compassionate?"

"If you are not going to be compassionate, the least you could do is refrain from killing and eating people."

"If I do not eat people, what am I going to eat?" she demanded. "What else is there? I only eat children. I do not like to eat grown-ups or old people because their flesh is smelly and rotten. It is children’s flesh that I like, because it is tasty and tender!"

The Buddha inquired, "How many have you eaten?"

"Oh, I could never give you a total. As many as the number of sand grains in the Ganges River, for sure," she replied.

"You have eaten so many human children. How do you think their mothers feel when you do that?" asked the Buddha.

"That is their problem," said the ghost mother.

The Buddha said, "You are wrong. Now, you are missing one child, and you cannot bear it. How do you expect human mothers to stand it when you eat so many of their children?"

"But if I do not eat children, I would not have anything to eat!"

"Yes you will," said the Buddha. "From now on, when my disciples eat, they will give you a share of their food. After this you must not eat any more children."

Since the ghost mother wanted her baby ghost back, she had to relent. "Okay, okay, give my child, and I will be a vegetarian." After that, she did not eat children anymore.

And so these ten rakshasa women came, along with the ghost mother and all of her thousand children and their retinues, the whole ghost gang. People have people retinues, ghosts have ghost retinues, and animals have animal retinues. All went before the Buddha and spoke to him in unison saying, “World Honored One, we, too wish to protect those who read, recite, receive and hold the Dharma Flower Sutra, and keep them from harm and all unlucky circumstances. Should anyone--such as a heavenly demon, an externalist, or a demon king--seek out the weaknesses of these Dharma Masters, he will not be able to take advantage of them. They will have no way to give the Dharma Masters trouble.”

Sutra:

Then, in the presence of the Buddha, they spoke this mantra:

“Yi ti li. Yi ti min. Yi ti li. E ti li. Yi ti li. Ni li. Ni li. Ni li. Ni li. Ni li. Lou xi. Lou xi. Lou xi. Lou xi. Duo xi. Duo xi. Duo xi. Dou xi. Nou xi.”

“Climb on top of our heads, but do not trouble this Dharma Master. No yaksha, rakshasa, hungry ghost, putana, kritya, vetala, ghanta, omaraka, apasmaraka, yakshakritya, human kritya; nor any fever lasting one day, or two days, or three days, or four days, or up to seven days; nor any constant fever; nor any shape of man, woman, young boy, or young girl shall trouble him, even in his dreams.”

Then, in the presence of the Buddha, they spoke this verse:

“If anyone fails to comply with this mantra
Or tries to disturb one who speaks the Dharma,
His head shall break into seven pieces,
Like the branch of the arjaka tree.

Like the retribution for the offense of killing one’s parents,
Or that of pressing oil,
Or cheating others with weights and measures,
Or Devadatta’s offense in breaking up the Shangha---
One who harms this Dharma Master
Shall incur calamities such as these.”

Outline:

F2. Speaking the mantra.
F3. Praise

Commentary:


"Climb on top of our heads, we do not care," said the rakshasa women. "You can defecate and urinate on our heads if you want to, but do not trouble this Dharma Master or cause him to become afflicted. No yaksha, speedy ghost; rakshasa, essence-eater; hungry ghost; putana, stinking hungry ghost—probably this kind of ghost farts a lot and so it is as smelly as can be; kritya, corpse-controlling ghost; vetala, red-colored ghost; ghanta, yellow ghost; omaraka, black ghost; apasmaraka, blue ghost—this ghost looks like a lawn or something so be careful when you walk on the grass; yakshakritya, yaksha corpse-controlling ghost; human kritya, human corpse-controlling ghost; nor any ghost-caused fever lasting for one day, or two days, or three days, or four days, or up to seven days; nor any constant fever; nor any shape of man, a ghost in the shape of a man, woman, young boy or young girl shall trouble him, even in his dreams.

When people are asleep, it is easy for ghosts to get at them; they are more vulnerable to the attack of ghosts. But ghosts are not allowed to trouble the Dharma Master who received and upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra, not even in dreams. Then, in the presence of the Buddha, they spoke this verse: If anyone fails to comply with this mantra, or tries to disturb one who speaks the Dharma, his head shall break into seven pieces, like the branch of the arjaka tree. When the leaves of this tree fall to the ground, they invariably break into seven parts.

Like the retribution for the offense of killing one's parents, or that of pressing oil. The oil presser grinds sesame seeds to make oil. Then bugs come along and eat the oil and get very fat. So what does the oil presser do? He presses the bugs in with the seeds to get as much oil in as he can. In this way he kills many, many living beings. Or cheating others with weights and measures. This is like a retailer who, for purchasing beans, has a scale that says ten pounds when the beans really weigh eleven pounds. Then he has another scale for selling that reverses the procedure: You put ten pounds on the scale, and it reads eleven.

Or Devadatta's offense in breaking up the Sangha. Devadatta, the Buddha's cousin, broke up the harmony of the Sangha. He shed the Buddha's blood. He also tried to persuade King Ajatashatru to kill his father. He committed all of the five rebellious acts, which deserve the retribution of falling into the unintermittent hell. One who harms this Dharma Master shall incur calamities such as these! One who offends the Dharma Master who upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra will reap a retribution just as severe as those received for the serious offenses mentioned above.

Sutra:

Having spoken this verse, the rakshasa women said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, we, too, shall personally protect those who receive, uphold, read, recite, and cultivate this Sutra, causing them to be peaceful and secure, free from all harm and illness, and able to neutralize all poisonous potions.”

Outline:

F4. Their vow.


Commentary:

Having spoken this verse, the rakshasa women said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, we, too, shall personally protect those who receive, uphold, read, recite, and cultivate this Sutra, causing them to be peaceful and secure, free from all harm and illness, and able to neutralize all poisonous potions. If any poison enters the mouth of these Dharma Masters, it will turn into sweet dew.”

Sutra:

The Buddha told the rakshasa women, “Good indeed, good indeed! In protecting those who receive and uphold even the name of the Dharma Flower, your blessings will be unlimited; how much more so for protecting those who receive and uphold it in full; who make offerings to the Sutra text of flowers, incense, beads, powdered incense, paste incense, burning incense, banner, canopies, and music; and who light various lamps--butter lamps, oil lamps, lamps of fragrant oil, lamps of sumana oil, lamps of champaka flower oil, lamps of varshika flower oil, lamps of utpala flower oil, and lamps such as these, of a hundred thousand kinds. Kunti! You and your retinue should protect Dharma Masters such as these.”

Outline:

F5. Certification.


Commentary:

The Buddha told the rakshasa women, "Good indeed, good indeed! It is good that you have turned from the deviant toward the proper. You are not being stupid anymore, you are not confusing people anymore, and you are not cheating people. That is great! In protecting those who receive and uphold even the name of the Dharma Flower, your blessings will be unlimited; how much more so for protecting those who receive and uphold it in full; who make offerings to the Sutra text of flowers, incense, beads, powdered incense, paste incense, burning incense, banner, canopies, and music; and who light various lamps--butter lamps, oil lamps, lamps of fragrant oil, lamps of sumana, yellow flower, oil, lamps of champaka flower oil, lamps of varshika, summer-blooming, flower oil, lamps of utpala, blue lotus, flower oil, and lamps such as these, of a hundred thousand kinds. Kunti! You and your retinue should protect Dharma Masters such as these.”

Sutra:

When this “Dharani Chapter” had been spoken, sixty-eight thousand people obtained the Patience with the Non-production of Dharmas.

Outline:

D4. Hearing the chapter and gaining benefit.


Commentary:

When this “Dharani Chapter,” Chapter Twenty-six, had been spoken, sixty-eight thousand people obtained the Patience with the Non-production of Dharmas.

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