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

Chapter 28: The Encouragement of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva

Sutra:

“World Honored One, if there is a Bodhisattva who hears this Dharani, you should know that it is through the power of the spiritual penetrations of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva. If the Dharma Flower Sutra is circulating through Jambudvipa, and if a person receives and upholds it, he should bring forth this thought, ‘This is all through the power of the awesome spirit of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva.’”

Outline:

F3. Protecting through the power of his spirit.


Commentary:

“World Honored One, if there is a Bodhisattva who hears this Dharani, you should know that it is through the power of the spiritual penetrations of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva. If the Dharma Flower Sutra is circulating through Jambudvipa, Jambudvipa is the continent on which we dwell. It is named after the Jambu-tree, and the “tree of superior gold,” whose leaves and fruit fall into the river and turn into fine, burnished gold. And if a person receives and upholds it, he should bring forth this thought, ‘This is all through the power of the awesome spirit of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva.’”

Sutra:

“If a person receives, upholds, reads, and recites it, properly recollects it, explains its doctrines, and cultivates according to its teachings, you should know that he is practicing the conduct of Universal Worthy. He has planted deep good roots in the presence of boundless, uncountable Buddhas. His head has been rubbed by the hands of the Thus Come Ones.”

Outline:

F4. Showing the supreme cause.


Commentary:


If a person receives, upholds, reads, and recites it, properly recollects it, explains its doctrines, and cultivates according to its teachings, you should know that he is practicing the conduct of Universal Worthy. Every single word of the Dharma Flower Sutra is inconceivably wonderful. One who understands this Sutra and cultivates according to it—opening, demonstrating, awakening to, and entering the knowledge and vision of the Buddhas—is cultivating Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s door of practice of the Dharma Realm. He has planted infinite, deep good roots in the presence of boundless, uncountable Buddhas. His head has been rubbed by the hands of the Thus Come Ones.

Sutra:

“If a person merely writes out the Sutra, at the end of his life, he will be born in the Trayastrimsha Heaven. At that time, eighty-four thousand heavenly women will welcome him with all kinds of music. He shall immediately don a cap made of seven treasures and enjoy himself among the goddesses. How much the more will this be the case for one who receives, upholds, reads, and recites it, properly recollects it, explains its doctrines, and cultivates according to its teachings! If a person receives, upholds, reads, recites, and explains its doctrines, at the end of his life, a thousand Buddhas will extend their hands towards him, so that he need not fear falling into the evil destinies. He will immediately be born in the Tushita Heaven in the presence of Maitreya Bodhisattva. Maitreya Bodhisattva has thirty-two marks, and is surrounded by a host of great Bodhisattvas and a retinue of hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of goddesses. Being born therein, he shall obtain merit and virtue and benefits such as these.”

Outline:

F5. Showing the proximate result.


Commentary:

If a person merely writes out the Sutra and does nothing else, no reading or reciting or explaining, and so forth, at the end of his life, he will be born in the Trayastrimsha Heaven, the Heaven of the Thirty-three. At that time, eighty-four thousand heavenly women will welcome him with all kinds of music, playing flutes, guitars, pipes, and so forth, to welcome him. He shall immediately don a cap made of seven treasures and enjoy himself among the goddesses, perfectly happy! If one gains such benefits by merely writing out the Sutra, how much the more will this be the case for one who receives, upholds, reads, and recites it, properly recollects it, explains its doctrines, and cultivates according to its teachings!

If a person receives, upholds, reads, recites, and explains its doctrines, at the end of his life, a thousand Buddhas will extend their hands towards him, rub him on the head, and give him a prediction, so that he need not fear falling into the evil destinies--the four evil destinies of asuras, hell-beings, hungry ghosts, and animals.

He will immediately be born in the Tushita Heaven. Tushita means "contentment." The gods there are always satisfied and happy. They do not need food or clothes to make them happy, but they are never without either. The gods can eat by just thinking of food. The food comes, and they are full. This person will be born in the presence of Maitreya Bodhisattva, Invincible Bodhisattva. In the Tushita Heaven there is an inner court and an outer court. The ordinary gods dwell in the outer court. Maitreya Bodhisattva resides in the inner court. Maitreya Bodhisattva has thirty-two marks. He is surrounded by a host of great Bodhisattvas, and he has a retinue of hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of goddesses. Being born therein, he shall obtain merit and virtue and benefits such as these.

Sutra:

“Therefore, one with wisdom should single-mindedly write it out himself, employ others to write it out, receive, uphold, read, recite, and properly recollect it and cultivate in accord with its teachings.”

Outline:

F6. Concluding encouragement.


Commentary:

Therefore, one with wisdom should single-mindedly write it, the Dharma Flower Sutra, out himself, employ others to write it out if he is unable to do it himself, receive, uphold, read, recite, and properly recollect it, and cultivate in accord with its teachings.

Sutra:

“World Honored One, I, now protect this Sutra with my spiritual powers. After the passing of the Thus Come One, I shall propagate it widely in Jambudvipa, so that it will never be cut off.”

Outline:

E2. Vows to protect the Dharma.

Commentary:

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva continues, “World Honored One, I, now protect this Sutra with my spiritual powers. After the passing of the Thus Come One, I shall propagate it widely in Jambudvipa, so that it will never be cut off. I will see to it that the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra always remains in this world.”

Sutra:

At that time Shakyamuni Buddha praised him, saying, “Good indeed, good indeed, Universal Worthy, that you can protect and aid this Sutra and bestow happiness and benefit on many living beings. You have already accomplished inconceivable merit and virtue, and deep and great compassion. From the distant past you have brought forth the resolve for anuttarasamyaksambodhi and have been able to make this vow to protect this Sutra with spiritual penetrations. I shall now use the power of spiritual penetrations to protect those who can receive and uphold the name of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva.”

Outline:

C3. Description of vows.
D1. The protection of Dharma.


Commentary:


At that time Shakyamuni Buddha praised him, saying, “Good indeed, good indeed, Universal Worthy, that you can encourage living beings to bring forth the Bodhi mind, to read and recite, receive and uphold, write out and explain the Dharma Flower Sutra. It is wonderful that you will protect and aid those who uphold this Sutra and bestow happiness and benefit on many living beings. You have already accomplished inconceivable merit and virtue, and deep and great compassion. From the distant past you have brought forth the resolve for anuttarasamyaksambodhi and have been able to make this vow to protect this Sutra with spiritual penetrations. I, Shakyamuni Buddha, shall now use the power of spiritual penetrations to protect those who can receive and uphold the name of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva.

Sutra:

“Universal Worthy, if a person can receive and uphold, read, recite, properly recollect, cultivate, and write out the Dharma Flower Sutra, you should know that this person thereby sees Shakyamuni Buddha. It is as if he had heard this Sutra from the Buddha’s mouth. You should know that this person has made offerings to Shakyamuni Buddha. You should know that this person has made offerings to Shakyamuni Buddha. You should know that the Buddha has praised this person, saying, ‘Good indeed!’”

“You should know that this person’s head has been rubbed by Shakyamuni Buddha’s hand, and that he has been covered by Shakyamuni Buddha’s robe.”

Outline:

D2. The protection of people.
E1. Teaching with inner dharmas.


Commentary:

Shakyamuni Buddha calls out, "Universal Worthy, if a person can receive and uphold, read, recite, properly recollect, cultivate, and write out the Dharma Flower Sutra, you should know that this person thereby sees Shakyamuni Buddha, it is as if he had heard this Sutra from the Buddha's mouth. It is just as if he had personally heard Shakyamuni Buddha speak the Sutra.

“You should know that this person has made offerings to Shakyamuni Buddha. You should know that the Buddha has praised this person, saying, 'Good indeed!'”

“You should know that this person's head has been rubbed by Shakyamuni Buddha's hand. The Buddha has patted him on the head and conferred a prediction upon him. You should know that this person has been covered by Shakyamuni Buddha's robe.” "Patience" is his robe.

Sutra:

“A person such as this will never again be attached to worldly pleasures. He will never again be fond of the texts or manuscripts of externalist ways, nor will he enjoy drawing near such people or other evil people, be they butchers; keepers of pigs, sheep, fowl or dogs; or hunters; or panderers.”

“This person’s mind will be straightforward and his memory proper. He will have the power of blessings and virtue. This person will not be tormented by the three poisons, nor will he again be tormented by jealousy, arrogance, deviant pride or overweening pride. This person will have few desires and will know contentment. He will be able to cultivate the conduct of Universal Worthy.”

Outline:

E2. Showing the supreme cause.


Commentary:

A person such as this will never again be attached to worldly pleasure. He will never again be fond of the texts or manuscripts of externalist ways, nor will he enjoy drawing near such people or other evil people, be they butchers (chandalas); keepers of pigs, sheep, fowl or dogs; hunters; or panderers. “Panderer” means pimps, people who sell men’s or women's bodies for a profit.

This person's mind will be straightforward and his memory proper. It is said, "The straight mind is the Way-place." He will have proper thoughts and recollect the principles in the Sutras. His mind will not be crooked or deviant.

He will have the power of blessings and virtue. This person will not be tormented by the three poisons--greed, hatred, and stupidity. Because he is not greedy, he will not have a temper. Because he does not have temper, he will not be stupid. Nor will he again be tormented by jealousy, arrogance, deviant pride or overweening pride. This person will have few desires and will know contentment. People like this do not get angry. They have few desires and little greed, hatred or stupidity. If you have few desires, you will be content. If you are content, you will always be happy. He will be able to cultivate the conduct of Universal Worthy.

Sutra:

“Universal Worthy, if after the passing of the Thus Come One, in the last five hundred years, you see a person who can receive, uphold, read, and recite the Dharma Flower Sutra, you should think, ‘Before long, this person will go to the Way-place and destroy the demon hordes. He will attain anuttarasamyaksambodhi, turn the Dharma-wheel, beat upon the Dharma drum, blow the Dharma conch, let fall the Dharma rain, and soon sit on the Lion Dharma throne among the great hosts of gods and humans.”

“Universal Worthy, if in the later age, there is a person who can receive, uphold, read, or recite this Sutra, he will never again be greedy for clothing, bedding, food and drink, or any necessities of life. His vows will not be in vain and in his present life he shall obtain the reward of blessings.”

Outline:

E3. Showing the proximate result.


Commentary:

Universal Worthy, if after the passing of the Thus Come One, in the last five hundred years, you see a person who can receive, uphold, read, and recite the Dharma Flower Sutra, you should think, ‘Before long, this person will go to the Way-place and destroy the demon hordes. He will attain anuttarasamyaksambodhi--the Unsurpassed, Proper and Equal, Right Enlightenment, and turn the Dharma wheel. This means lecturing on the Sutras and speaking the Dharma. He is not like certain people who say that is not necessary to speak the Dharma—they turn the “wheel of stupidity” instead. He will beat upon and strike the Dharma drum, waking up the deaf and dumb. The deaf will hear and even the stupid will be able to understand. He will blow the Dharma conch, let fall the Dharma rain, and soon sit on the Lion Dharma throne among the great hosts of gods and humans. He will sit on the Dharma seat and speak Dharma.

Universal Worthy, if in the later age, there is a person who can receive, uphold, read, or recite this Sutra, he will never again be greedy for clothing, bedding, food and drink, or any necessities of life. He will not think, all day long, "The food was not very good today. What shall I have tomorrow? What is good?" to the point that he cannot sleep at night. Not being greedy, he will not be concerned over which clothes look nice or where to get a good sleep. His vows will not be in vain. Since he is not greedy, his hopes and wishes will be fulfilled. If he was greedy, he would not get his wishes fulfilled. And in his present life he shall obtain the reward of blessings.

Sutra:

“If one ridicules and slanders this person, saying, ‘You’re insane! What you are doing is useless and will never amount to anything,’ his retribution will be such that in life after life he will have no eyes.”

“If a person makes offerings and gives praise, then in his present life he will obtain the fruits of his reward.”

“If, again, one sees a person receiving and upholding this Sutra and then speaks of his faults or evils, be they true or untrue, in his present life he will contract leprosy.”

“If one ridicules him and laughs, then in life after life his teeth will be sparse and missing, his lips ugly, his nose flat, his hands and feet contorted, his eyes pointed and askew, his body stinking and filthy. He will be covered with hideous sores, pus and blood. His belly will be full of water or he will be short of breath. He will be plagued with all manner of nasty and grave illnesses.”

Outline:

E4. Being beset with external difficulties.

Commentary:


If one ridicules and slanders this person, saying, ‘You’re insane! What you are doing is useless and will never amount to anything. You are not going to get anything out of this,’ his retribution will be such that in life after life he will have no eyes. He will be blind. And so if you see blind people, you can know that they slandered those who uphold the Dharma Flower Sutra. Having knowledge of cause and effect like this is just to have wisdom. If you have wisdom you will not do stupid things again. You will not call out, 'Crazy!' when you see someone reciting a Sutra. You will not say things like, 'If you recite the Dharma Flower Sutra, can you go without eating and not be hungry?'

If a person makes offerings and gives praise to someone who is speaking the Sutra, then in his present life he will obtain the fruits of his reward. He will not be blind and dumb.

If, again, one sees a person receiving and upholding this Sutra and then speaks of his faults or evils, be they true or untrue. 'He is reciting the Sutra right now, but he is a tiger wearing a string of beads, acting like a good person.' Or you could say like a cat wearing a string of beads. The mouse thinks, 'Oh, the cat now recites the Buddha's name, he will not eat me.' But as soon as the mouse comes out of his hole, the cat grabs and eats him! Whether this person makes up stories or bring up things that actually happened in the past, as a result, in his present life he will contract leprosy--a kind of scaly skin disease. When you see people who have this disease, you can know they spread rumors and said evil things about a person who received and upheld the Dharma Flower Sutra.

If one ridicules him and laughs, then in life after life his teeth will be sparse and missing, his lips ugly and puckered, his nose flat, his hands and feet contorted--his fingers and toes are twisted up, his eyes pointed and askew. If a person has three-cornered eyes, do not make friend with him or else you will be sorry. “His eyes askew” means he is evasive; he will not look at you directly. His body is stinking and filthy. If you use poison gas to poison people, as retribution you will stink. Further, he will be covered with hideous sores, pus and blood. His belly will be swollen and full of water or he will be short of breath, he cannot ever get his breath. He will be plagued with all manner of nasty and grave illnesses--incurable illnesses.

Sutra:

“Therefore, Universal Worthy, if one sees a person who receives and upholds this Sutra, one should welcome him from afar and revere him as one would the Buddha.”

Outline:

E5. Concluding encouragement.


Commentary:

Therefore, Universal Worthy, if one sees a person who receives and upholds this Sutra, one should welcome him from afar and revere him as one would the Buddha.

Sutra:

When this chapter, “The Encouragement of Universal Worthy” had been spoken, uncountable, boundless numbers of Bodhisattvas, as many as the Ganges’ sands obtained the Dharani of a hundred thousand myriad kotis of revolutions. Bodhisattvas equal in number to the motes of dust in the three thousand great thousand worlds perfected the path of Universal Worthy.

Outline:

C4. Benefits.
D1. Benefits of hearing this chapter.


Commentary:

When this chapter, “The Encouragement of Universal Worthy” had been spoken, uncountable, boundless numbers of Bodhisattvas, as many as the Ganges’ sands obtained the Dharani of a hundred thousand myriad kotis of revolutions. The Dharani of revolution means that from one principle one can understand many principles. And the many principles all return to the one principle. The one is the many, and the many are the one. Through understanding one principle, you understand countless principles. Understanding countless principles, you know that they all return to the one principle. Bodhisattvas equal in number to the motes of dust in the three thousand great thousand worlds perfected the path of Universal Worthy.

Sutra:

When the Buddha had spoken this Sutra, Universal Worthy and all the other Bodhisattvas, Shariputra and all the Hearers, as well as the entire great assembly of gods, dragons, humans, non-humans, and so forth, all greatly rejoiced, received and upheld the Buddha’s words, made obeisance and withdrew.

Outline:

D2. Benefits of hearing the Sutra.


Commentary:

When the Buddha had spoken this Sutra, Universal Worthy and all the other Bodhisattvas, Shariputra—“Shari’s son”—and all the great Hearers, as well as the entire great assembly of gods, dragons, humans, non-humans, and so forth, all greatly rejoiced, received and upheld the Buddha’s words, made obeisance and withdrew. Having heard the Dharma Flower Sutra, they bowed and went back to where they came from. This is called, "the Dharma returning to its original place."

The Dharma Flower Sutra was lectured on for twenty-five months. In the West this is the first time such a long Dharma Assembly has been conducted and such a lengthy Sutra has been lectured on. I hope that you will master this Sutra and propagate it everywhere, so all living beings can obtain the wonderful advantages of the Dharma Flower Sutra. To obtain the wonderful advantages yourself and then pass them on to others is just to transmit the teaching and propagate the Buddhadharma, turn the great Dharma wheel, strike the Dharma drum, blow the Dharma conch, and let fall the great Dharma rain. You should take up this work as your personal responsibility and cause all living beings to be filled with Dharma joy.

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