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

Chapter 27: The Past Deeds of King Wonderful Adornment

Sutra:

The two sons then said to their parents, “Good indeed, Father and Mother! It is time, if you please, to go to the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom, to draw near to him and make offerings. Why is this? The Buddhas are as difficult to meet as the udumbara flower. It is also as difficult as it would be for a one-eyed tortoise to meet with a hole in a floating log. But our blessings from former lives are deep and thick, and so in this life we have encountered the Buddhadharma. herefore, Father and Mother, hear us and allow us to leave the home-life. Why? The Buddhas are difficult to get to meet, and such a time is hard to encounter.”

Outline:

E3. Urging them once again to see the Buddha.

Commentary:


The two sons then said to their parents, "Good indeed, Father and Mother! You are fine parents! You are being very compassionate in allowing us to leave home. It is time, if you please, to go to the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom. Let us all go together to draw near to him and make offerings. Why is this? The Buddhas are as difficult to meet as the udumbara flower. It is not a simple matter to meet with the Buddhas in the world; it is like seeing the auspicious flower, the udumbara flower. It is also as difficult as it would be for a one-eyed tortoise to meet with a hole in a floating log. A tortoise with 20/20 vision would have a hard enough time finding such a log to live in, how much more so for a one-eyed tortoise!

But our blessings from former lives are deep and thick. We have amassed abundant merit and virtue, and so in this life we have encountered the Buddhadharma. Therefore, Father and Mother, hear us, and allow us to leave the home-life. Why? Because the Buddhas are difficult to get to meet, and such a time is hard to encounter.

Sutra:

At that time, eighty-four thousand women in the palace of King Wonderful Adornment all became capable of receiving and upholding The Dharma Flower Sutra.

The Bodhisattva Pure Eye had already long ago penetrated the Samadhi of the Dharma Flower. The Bodhisattva Pure Storehouse had already, for uncountable hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of eons, penetrated the Samadhi of Separation from All Evil Destinies, because he wished to cause all living beings to leave the evil destinies.

The king’s wife obtained the Samadhi of the Buddha’s Accumulation and was able to know all the secret treasuries of the Buddhas.

The two sons, using the power of such expedients, skillfully taught their father, leading his mind to belief and understanding, and causing him to take delight in the Buddhadharma.

Outline:

E4. Description of the merit and virtue.


Commentary:


At that time, eighty-four thousand women in the palace of King Wonderful Adornment, maids-of-honor and concubines, and such, all became capable of receiving and upholding the Dharma Flower Sutra. They all brought forth the Bodhi mind.

The Bodhisattva Pure Eye had already long ago penetrated the Samadhi of The Dharma Flower, which is the samadhi of the Dharma Flower Sutra, and also the Dharma-door of the non-duality of the provisional and the real.

The Bodhisattva Pure Storehouse had already, for uncountable hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of eons, penetrated the Samadhi of Separation from All Evil Destinies, because he wished to cause all living beings to leave the evil destinies. He was able to manifest in all kinds of physical forms to lead living beings out of the three evil paths--the hells, the realm of the hungry ghosts, and the animal realm.

The king's wife, Queen Pure Virtue, obtained the Samadhi of The Buddha's Accumulation. While one is in this samadhi, all the Buddhas manifest to speak the Dharma. And she was able to know all the secret treasuries of the Buddhas. She understood all the secret, un-transmittable Dharmas of the Buddhas.

The two sons, using the power of such expedients, skillfully taught their father, leading his mind to belief and understanding, and causing him to take delight in the Buddhadharma. They caused him to believe in the proper Dharma instead of deviant dharma.

Sutra:

Then, King Wonderful Adornment, together with his assembled ministers and retinue; Queen Pure Virtue, together with her maidservants and retinue; and the king’s two sons, together with forty-two thousand people, all went to the Buddha. Upon arrival, they bowed with their heads at the Buddha’s feet, circumambulated him three times, and withdrew to one side.

That Buddha then spoke the Dharma for the king’s instruction, bringing him benefit and delight, and the king rejoiced greatly.

Then King Wonderful Adornment and his wife removed their pearl necklaces, valued in the hundreds of thousands, and scattered them over the Buddha. In space, the necklaces transformed into a jeweled terrace with four pillars. In the center of the terrace was a large jeweled couch upon which were spread hundreds of thousands of myriads of heavenly garments. And on top of them was a Buddha seated in full lotus, emitting great light.

Then King Wonderful Adornment had this thought, “The Buddha’s body is rare, upright, splendid, and distinguished.”

Outline:

E5. Visiting the Buddha, hearing the Dharma, making offerings, and seeing the portents and rejoicing.

Commentary:

Then, King Wonderful Adornment, together with his assembled ministers and retinue--all the officials of the court; Queen Pure Virtue together with her maidservants and retinue; and the king's two sons, together with forty-two thousand people, all went to the Buddha. Upon arrival, they bowed with their heads at the Buddha's feet, circumambulated him three times, to show their single-minded respect, and, they withdrew to one side.

That Buddha then spoke the Dharma for the king's instruction, bringing him benefit and delight, and the king rejoiced greatly.Then King Wonderful Adornment and his wife removed their pearl necklaces, valued in the hundreds of thousands, and scattered them over the Buddha. In space, the necklaces transformed into a jeweled terrace with four pillars. The four pillars represent the four vast vows of a Bodhisattva:

1. I vow to save the limitless living beings.
2. I vow to cut off the inexhaustible afflictions.
3. I vow to study the endless Dharma doors.
4. I vow to realize the supreme Buddha Path.

In the center of the terrace was a large jeweled couch upon which were spread hundreds of thousands of myriads of heavenly garments. The garments represent gentleness and patience. And, on top of them was a Buddha seated in full lotus, emitting great light.

Then King Wonderful Adornment had this thought, "The Buddha's body is rare, upright, splendid, and distinguished.
Endowed with the thirty-two marks and the eighty subsidiary characteristics, the Buddha’s form is of utmost subtlety and wonder."

Sutra:

The Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom then told the four assemblies, “Do you see King Wonderful Adornment who stands before me with his palms joined? This king shall become a Bhikshu within my Dharma. Diligent in his cultivation of the Dharmas that Aid the Buddha Way, he shall become a Buddha by the name of Sala Tree King. His country shall be called Great Light. His eon shall be called Great Lofty King. The Buddha Sala Tree King shall have a host of uncountable Bodhisattvas as well as uncountable Hearers. His country will be flat and even. Thus shall be his merit and virtue.”

Outline:

E6. The Buddha bestows a prediction upon the king.


Commentary:

The Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom then told the four assemblies of Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasikas, and Upasakas, "Do you see King Wonderful Adornment who stands before me with his palms joined? This king shall become a Bhikshu within my Dharma. He is going to leave the home-life. Diligent in his cultivation of the Dharmas that Aid the Buddha Way, and never lazy, he shall become a Buddha by the name of Sala Tree King. His country shall be called Great Light. His eon shall be called Great Lofty King. The Buddha Sala Tree King shall have a host of uncountable Bodhisattvas as well as uncountable Hearers. His country will be flat and even. Thus shall be his merit and virtue."

Sutra:


The king then immediately conferred his country upon his younger brother, and, together with his wife, his two children, and his retinue, left home within the Buddhadharma to cultivate the Way.

After leaving the home-life for eighty-four thousand years, the king was always diligent and vigorous in his cultivation of the Wonderful Dharma Flower Sutra. Afterwards, he obtained the Samadhi of the Adornment with All Pure Merit and Virtue.

Outline:

E7. Leaving home to cultivate.

Commentary:

The king then immediately conferred his country upon his younger brother. After hearing the Dharma, he thought, "Being a king is just too much trouble. I am going to give up my kingdom and leave home." And, he, together with his wife, his two children, and his retinue, left home within the Buddhadharma to cultivate the Way. Even a king could put everything down to cultivate the Way. We are not minor kings, or even governors, and yet we cannot put things down. We keep thinking about leaving home, but we cannot put things down. We cannot let go of this, cannot let go of that. But the king gave up his whole country!

After leaving the home-life for eighty-four thousand years, the king was always diligent and vigorous in his cultivation of the Wonderful Dharma Flower Sutra. He was vigorous during the six periods of the day and night for eighty-four thousand years. Here we cultivate for a few months or a few years and then retreat. How do we measure up? Afterwards, he obtained the Samadhi of the Adornment with All Pure Merit and Virtue, which adorned his Dharma body.

Sutra:

He immediately rose up into space to the height of seven tala trees, and said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, my two sons have already done the Buddha’s work. With spiritual penetrations and transformations, they have turned me away from deviant thought and caused me to abide securely within the Buddhadharma and to meet with the World Honored One. These two sons are my Good and Wise Advisors. Wishing to arouse in me the good roots planted in former lives and to benefit me, they came to be born in my household.”

Outline:

E8. Praising the two sons.


Commentary:

King Wonderful Adornment left the home-life to cultivate the Way. After he obtained the Samadhi of the Adornment with All Pure Merit and Virtue, he immediately rose up into space to the height of seven tala trees, and said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, my two sons have already done the Buddha's work. With spiritual penetrations and transformations, they have turned me away from deviant thought and caused me to abide securely within the Buddhadharma, to understand the Buddhadharma, and to meet with the World Honored One. These two sons are my Good and Wise Advisors, my true mentors. Wishing to arouse in me the good roots planted in former lives and to benefit me, they came to be born in my household."

Sutra:

At that time the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom told King Wonderful Adornment, “So it is, so it is, just as you say. If good men or good women have planted good roots, in life after life, they may gain a Good and Wise Advisor. The Good and Wise Advisor can do the Buddha’s work, instruct, benefit, and delight them, and cause them to enter anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”

“Great King, you should know that a Good and Wise Advisor is a great causal condition, for he teaches and guides people, and causes them to see the Buddha and to bring forth the resolve for anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”

“Great King, do you see these two children? In the past, these two children made offerings to Buddhas equal in number to the grains of sand in sixty-five hundred thousand myriads of kotis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers, drawing near them with reverence. In the presence of those Buddhas, they received and upheld the Dharma Flower Sutra. Pitying living beings with deviant views, they led them to abide in proper views.”

Outline:

E9. The Buddha tells of their lofty practices.


Commentary:


At that time the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom told King Wonderful Adornment, “So it is, so it is, just as you say. If good men or good women have planted good roots in former lives, in life after life, they may gain a Good and Wise Advisor. The Good and Wise Advisor can do the Buddha’s work with his spiritual penetrations and transformations, instruct, benefit, and delight them, and cause them to enter anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”

Great King, you should know that a Good and Wise Advisor is a great causal condition. There must certainly be a great causal condition. Otherwise, there is no way one can meet a Good and Wise Advisor. And, if you do not meet with a Good and Wise Advisor, you are likely to meet with an "evil advisor." An evil advisor does not want you to understand anything. The stupider you are, the better he likes it. When you get so stupid that you cannot even feed yourself, then he will get to eat your share! Evil advisors are selfish. Good and Wise Advisors are open and unselfish--just the opposite. Evil advisors always want to benefit themselves. Good and Wise Advisors always wish to benefit living beings. This is a very simple criterion for judging them: Good and Wise Advisors are unselfish; evil advisors are selfish.

A Good and Wise Advisor is a great causal condition for he teaches and guides people, and he causes them to see the Buddha. He leads them to see the Buddha, to hear the Dharma, and to bring forth the resolve for anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Great King, do you see these two children? In the past, these two children made offerings to Buddhas equal in number to the grains of sand in sixty-five hundred thousand myriads of kotis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers, drawing near them with reverence. In the presence of those Buddhas, they received and upheld the Dharma Flower Sutra. We see that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the past received and upheld the Dharma Flower Sutra. If we do not uphold the Dharma Flower Sutra, aren't we cheating ourselves out of great benefit? Pitying living beings with deviant views, they led them to abide in proper views. The two sons made vows to pity living beings who had improper views and to find a way to cause them to give rise to proper knowledge and proper views.

Sutra:

King Wonderful Adornment then came down from space and said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, the Thus Come One is extremely rare. By means of his merit and virtue and wisdom, the flesh cowl atop his head dazzles brightly. His eyes are long and broad, violet in color. The hair-mark light from between his eyebrows is as white as the glistening moon. His teeth are white and even, always shining. His lips are a fine red color like the bimba fruit.”

Having thus praised the Buddha for his uncountable hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of meritorious virtues, King Wonderful Adornment then, in the presence of the Thus Come One, single-mindedly placed his palms together and further said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, the Thus Come One’s Dharma is unique, perfect in the accomplishment of inconceivable, subtle, and wonderful merit and virtue. His teachings on the practice of morality lead to security, joy, and goodness. From this day forward, I shall never again follow the course of my own mind. I will never give rise to deviant views, arrogance, anger or any other evil thoughts.”

Having said that, he bowed to the Buddha and left.

Outline:

E10. Praising the Buddha and making vows.


Commentary:

King Wonderful Adornment then came down from space and said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, the Thus Come One is extremely rare. You are one of a kind. It is very difficult to meet with a Buddha. By means of his merit and virtue and wisdom, the flesh cowl atop his head dazzles brightly throughout all worlds. His eyes are long and broad, violet in color. The hair-mark light from between his eyebrows is as white as the glistening moon, the full moon. His teeth are white, even, and always shining. Even the Buddha's teeth emit light. His lips are a fine red color like the bimba fruit." The Buddha's lips are a beautiful red color.

Bimba, a Sanskrit word that means “thinking of each other,” is the name of a bright red gourd.

Having thus praised the Buddha for his uncountable hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of meritorious virtues, King Wonderful Adornment then, in the presence of the Thus Come One, single-mindedly placed his palms together and further said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, the Thus Come One's Dharma is unique, perfect in the accomplishment of inconceivable, subtle, and wonderful merit and virtue. The Buddhadharma spoken by the Thus Come One is perfect in all respects, and brings about the realization of inconceivable merit and virtue. His teachings on the practice of morality lead to security, joy, and goodness. Practicing the precepts, doing no evil and doing all good, one gains inner happiness and always feels really good.

"From this day forward, I shall never again follow the course of my own mind. I will not follow my own false thinking or confused ideas. I will never give rise to deviant views, arrogance, anger or any other evil thoughts!" The king made these solemn vows before the Buddha. Having said that, he bowed to the Buddha and left.

Sutra:

The Buddha told the great assembly, “What do you think? Could King Wonderful Adornment have been anyone else? He was just the present Bodhisattva Flower Virtue. His wife, Queen Pure Virtue, was just the Bodhisattva Mark of Shining Adornment now in the presence of the Buddha, who, out of pity for King Wonderful Adornment and his retinue, was born among them.”

“The two sons are the present Bodhisattva Medicine King, and Bodhisattva Medicine Superior. The Bodhisattva Medicine King and the Bodhisattva Medicine Superior have accomplished such great merit and virtue as this. In the presence of uncountable hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of Buddhas, they have already amassed the roots of virtue and accomplished inconceivable wholesome merit and virtue.”

“If a person knows the names of these two Bodhisattvas, all the world with its population of gods and humans should do obeisance to him.”

Outline:

D5. The conclusion, past and present.


Commentary:


The Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, told the great assembly, "What do you think? Could King Wonderful Adornment have been anyone else? He was just the present Bodhisattva Flower Virtue. He just got involved in a lot of craziness, being a king and everything. Luckily, however, he had a fine wife.

His wife, Queen Pure Virtue, was just the Bodhisattva Mark of Shining Adornment, now in the presence of the Buddha. Why did he become the wife of King Wonderful Adornment? He felt sorry for him, "He has fallen to such a state. He once made offerings to me and now I have realized the Way. I should save him. How should I do it? If I become his father or mother, he might not listen to me. I know! I will be his wife! There are many men who are very obedient to their wives." So he went off to be the king's wife. Wanting some more people to back him up, he told the other two cultivators, "Let us go put on this play. You can be his two sons. All together we can put energy into teaching and transforming him." Therefore, it was he, Bodhisattva Mark of Shining Adornment, who, out of pity for King Wonderful Adornment and his retinue, was born among them.

The two sons are the present Bodhisattva Medicine King, and Bodhisattva Medicine Superior. The Bodhisattva Medicine King and the Bodhisattva Medicine Superior have accomplished such great merit and virtue as this,
just described above. In the presence of uncountable hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of Buddhas, they have already amassed the roots of virtue and accomplished inconceivable wholesome merit and virtue.

If a person knows the names of these two Bodhisattvas--all he has to do is know their names, to say nothing of anything else. If he just keeps their names in mind--then all the world with its population of gods and humans should do obeisance to him.

"Well, I remember those two Bodhisattvas' names, why doesn't anyone bow to me?" you ask. "If people and gods suppose to bow to me, then where are they?"

If they don't, you cannot force them to. They should bow. However, that does not mean they will bow. It is like if you take refuge with your teacher, you should be filial to him and make offerings to him, but if you don't, I cannot say, "You must bow to me. You must be filial to me. You must make offerings to me!"

If you remember the Bodhisattvas' names, you should not expect that living beings will bow to you. Perhaps they do bow to you, and you do not know it. Perhaps the gods, or spirits, or ghosts see that you are recollecting the names of Medicine King and Medicine Superior Bodhisattvas, then bow to you, but since you do not have the penetration of the heavenly eye, you cannot see them! The best thing is not to force people to bow to you. Besides, if you do not have enough merit and virtue, then when people bow to you, you are not going to be able to take it.

Sutra:

When the Buddha spoke this chapter “The Past Deeds of King Wonderful Adornment,” eighty-four thousand people were removed from the dust and separated from defilement. They obtained the Purity of the Dharma Eye with respect to all Dharmas.

Outline:

D6. Hearing this chapter and awakening to the Way.


Commentary:

When the Buddha spoke this chapter, “The Past Deeds of King Wonderful Adornment,” eighty-four thousand people were removed from the dust--the dust of involvement with the objects of the senses--and separated from defilement. Being far removed from filth, they obtained the Purity of the Dharma eye with respect to all dharmas, that is, they understood the causes and conditions underlying all worldly dharmas.

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