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 6: Conferring Predictions
With Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

When the Buddha confers a prediction he tells people when in the future they will become Buddhas, what their Buddha-name and what the name of the Buddhaland will be, what their country will look like, and how long their lifespans will be. He tells them how long the Proper Dharma Age will last in that country, and how long the Dharma-Resemblance Age will last.

The Buddha confers the prediction, and one receives it. His prediction is different for each person, because each person becomes a Buddha with his own individual name. Although they are all called Buddhas, each Buddha has his own special name, just like people. Everyone has a different name. A prediction means that one is certain to become a Buddha, beyond any doubt. Once you have got your prediction, you are certain to become a Buddha. Only the Buddha can bestow predictions, so this is the Sixth Chapter of The Dharma Flower Sutra.

Sutra:

At that time, following his expounding of the verses, the World Honored One spoke to the great assembly in this manner, “My disciple, Mahakashyapa, in a future age will serve and behold three hundred thousand million Buddhas, World Honored Ones, making offerings, paying reverence, venerating and praising them; he will broadly proclaim the limitless Great Dharma of all the Buddhas.”


Outline:

F4. Bestowing predictions.
G1. Bestowing predictions to those of average dispositions.
H1. Prediction for Mahakashyapa.
I1. Prose.
J1. Causal practice.


Commentary:

At that time, right after Shakyamuni Buddha had finished speaking the Medicinal Herbs Chapter, following his expounding of the verses, the World Honored One spoke to the great assembly in this manner. He announced to them, “My disciple, Mahakashyapa…” You should all recognize him. He was over a hundred sixty years old at the time that the Buddha was in the world, and, is, in fact, still alive right now! He is probably over a few thousand years old by now. He went to live in Chicken Foot Mountain in Yunnan. He is meditating in samadhi there.

“Can I see him?” you ask.

Yes, if you are sincere. If you are not sincere, then you cannot see him. Buddhism is just a question of sincerity. No matter what it is, if you are sincere, then there is a way. If you are not sincere, then there is no way.

“What should I do?”

If you are sincere, things will work out. If not, they would not. So if you want to know what to do, you should just be sincere, that’s all. Be truly sincere and fear nothing. Do not fear that people would not make offerings to you. If no one makes offerings to you, you can end your suffering. The reason why no one makes offerings is because in the past you cultivated wisdom and did not cultivate blessings. Need you ask?

One who cultivates wisdom and neglects blessings is like an Arhat with empty bowl.

No one makes offerings to him. How does one go about cultivating blessings? By practicing merit and virtue and doing good things.

In a future age will serve and behold three hundred thousand million Buddhas, World Honored Ones. He will serve and make offerings to and reverently view all these Buddhas. When the great officials go to see the King, they “behold” him and report their business to him. Mahakashyapa will serve and revere three hundred thousand millions of Buddhas, World Honored Ones, making offerings, paying reverence, venerating and praising them; he will broadly proclaim the limitless Great Dharma of all the Buddhas.

Sutra:

In his final body he will become a Buddha by the name of Light Brightness Thus Come One, one worthy of offerings, of proper and universal knowledge, one whose understanding and conduct are complete, a well-gone one who understands the world, an unsurpassed Lord, a taming and regulating hero, a teacher of gods and humans, a Buddha, a World Honored One.

Outline:

J2. Attaining the fruit.

Commentary:

In his final body he will become a Buddha by the name of Light Brightness Thus Come One, because his body will glow with golden light.

Sutra:

His country will be called Light Virtue and his eon will be called Great Adornment.

Outline:

J3. Name of country.


Commentary:

Mahakashyapa’s Buddha country will be called Light Virtue, because the people of his country will have both light and virtuous practice. The eon will be called Great Adornment. It will be adorned by great Bodhisattvas, limitless and boundless in number.

Sutra:

His life span as a Buddha will last for twelve minor eons.

Outline:

J4. Life span as a Buddha.


Commentary:

The life span of Light Brightness Thus Come One will last for twelve minor eons. A minor eon consists of one cycle increase and decrease. Twelve minor eons consist of twelve cycles of increase and decrease.

Sutra:

The Proper Dharma will dwell there for twenty minor eons. The Dharma Image Age will also dwell there for twenty minor eons.

Outline:

J5. The length of the Proper and Image Ages of the Dharma.

Commentary:

The proper Dharma of the Buddha remains in the world for as long as twenty minor eons. The image Dharma also stays for twenty minor eons. The Dharma Image Age would seem to be more or less like the Proper Dharma Age; however, although it resembles it, that is merely a resemblance.

Sutra:

His realm will be adorned and free of any filth or evil, tiles or stones, thorns or brambles, excrement or other impurities. The land will be flat, without high or low places, gullies or hills. The land will be made of lapis lazuli, and set about with rows of jeweled trees. The roads will be bordered with golden ropes. Precious flowers will be scattered about, purifying it entirely. The Bodhisattvas in that land will number in the limitless thousand of millions, the assembly of Hearers will be likewise uncountable. No deeds of Mara will be done there, and although Mara and his subjects will exist there, they will all protect the Buddhadharma.

Outline:

J6. The six purities of the land.


Commentary:

His realm, the land of Light Virtue, will be adorned and free of any filth or evil. There will be no impurities; it will all be pure because the ground will be made of lapis lazuli. There will be no evil karma there, either, such as, tiles or stones, thorns or brambles, which scratch you and tear at your clothing. If you are not careful, they can draw blood. Excrement or other impurities. The people will not go to the bathroom. This is a mark of Chan samadhi.

The land will be flat, without high or low places, gullies or hills. The land will be made of lapis lazuli, and set about with rows of jeweled trees, trees adorned with the seven jewels. The roads will be bordered with golden ropes, like railings. Precious flowers will be scattered about, in the country all the time. Purifying it entirely. All places in it will be clean and pure.

The Bodhisattvas in that land will number in the limitless thousand of millions. There will be very many great Bodhisattvas adorning this land. The assembly of Hearers will be likewise uncountable. No deeds of Mara will be done there. There will be no demonic obstacles, which mean that there will be no afflictions, because in that land the people will always be cultivating Chan samadhi. Because they have samadhi power, the deeds of Mara vanish. And although Mara and his subjects will exist there, they will all protect the Buddhadharma . They may be demons, but here they will protect the Buddhadharma; they would not try to ruin the Buddhadharma. Why is this? This is because the Patriarch Kashyapa cultivated a lot of ascetic practices, and so he was victorious over all the demonic hoardes. He has subdued them all, thus they have become dharma protectors. Why do cultivators practice asceticism? Because through it one can turn the demons into dharma protectors. If you cultivate and truly have a measure of attainment, the demons will come to test you out. In the future, these same demons will be your best dharma protectors. If you have no measure of attainment in your cultivation, the demons will remain demons, and they will not turn into dharma protectors.

Sutra:

At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate this principle, spoke verses saying,

“I declare to the Bhikshus that
By using my Buddha Eye
I see that Kashyapa
In a future age
Countless eons from now
Shall become a Buddha
And that in the future he
Shall make offerings to, revere and behold
Three hundred tens thousands of millions
Of Buddhas, World Honored Ones.
And, for the sake of the Buddha’s wisdom
He shall purely cultivate Brahman conduct.
He shall make offerings to the highest
Honored One, doubly complete and then
Cultivate and practice all
Unsurpassed Wisdom.
In his final body
He shall become a Buddha.

Outline:

I2. Verse.
J1. Causal practice, resulting fruition.


Commentary:

At that time, the World Honored One, Shakyamuni Buddha, wishing to restate this principle, spoke verses saying, I declare to the Bhikshus that. He told the Bhikshus and the Bhikshunis. Not that Upasakas and Upasikas were excluded. Upasakas, Upasikas, and Bodhisattvas were also included. Hearers, Arhats, gods and dragons of the eightfold division were also addressed.

By using my Buddha Eye to contemplate, I see that Kashyapa i n a future age,
countless eons from now shall become a Buddha.
Countless eons is much longer than 80,000 major eons. There are incomprehensibly many major eons. Who knows how long that will be? And that in the future he shall make offerings to, revere and behold. Before he becomes a Buddha he will make offerings to three hundred tens thousands of millions of Buddhas, World Honored Ones. He most sincerely and earnestly paid respects to, made offerings to, bowed, and praised all the Buddhas, World Honored Ones.

And, for the sake of the Buddha’s wisdom, he shall purely cultivate Brahman conduct. Why does he make such offerings? Why is he so reverent? He cultivates various kinds of ascetic practices because he seeks the Buddha’s wisdom. That is why he shall make offerings to the highest Honored One, doubly complete. The Buddha is doubly complete in blessings and wisdom. And then cultivate and practice all Unsurpassed Wisdom. The highest wisdom. In his final body he shall become a Buddha. He will realize Buddhahood.

Sutra:

His land will be pure,
With lapis lazuli for soil,
And with many jeweled trees
Lining the roadways,
And with the roads set off by golden cords,
Delighting all who see it.
Fine fragrance will always issue forth,
Rare flowers will be strewn about;
With all manner of rare articles
It shall be adorned.
The land will be flat and even
Without hills or gullies.
The assembly of Bodhisattvas
Will be unreckonable.
Their minds will be gentle
Having gained great spiritual powers;
They will reverently uphold the Buddha’s
Great Vehicle Sutras.
The assembly of Hearers,
Without outflows, in their last bodies,
Sons of the Dharma King,
Will also be beyond all count.
So that, even with the Heavenly Eye,
Their number shall not be known.

Outline:

J2. Verses of purity of the land.


Commentary:

His land will be pure, with lapis lazuli for soil. Because he cultivated pure ascetic practices in the causal ground, as a result, the soil of his land will be made of lapis lazuli. And with many jeweled trees, lining the roadways, and with the roads set off by golden cords, delighting all who see it. Fine fragrance will always issue forth. Both the people and the country itself will always issue a fine scent. Both the Dependent and the Proper Retribution Worlds, then, will be fragrant. Rare flowers will be strewn about; heavenly maidens will constantly toss flowers from the sky With all manner of rare articles it shall be adorned.

The land will be flat and even.
Why? Because in the causal ground, Mahakashyapa cultivated his mind-ground until it was level and even. Consequently, his Buddhaland will also be level and even. Without hills or gullies. Because in the cause ground, Mahakashyapa practiced equal compassion, his Buddhaland is level, too, without mountains of crevices.

The assembly of Bodhisattvas w ill be unreckonable. No one will be able to count them. No one will know where they came from; no one will know where they are going! There will be so many of them, they would not even recognize each other! If, with their wisdom, they cannot even keep each other’s names straight, how much the less will anyone else be able to keep track of them!

Their minds will be gentle having gained great spiritual powers; the Five Eyes and Six Spiritual Penetrations. They will reverently uphold the Buddha’s Great Vehicle Sutras. The assembly of Hearers, without outflows, in their last bodies, sons of the Dharma King, the Buddha, will also be beyond all count. So that, even with the Heavenly Eye, their number shall not be known. Even if you use your Heavenly Eye, you would not be able to count them.

Sutra:

His life span as a Buddha will be
Twelve minor eons, and
His Proper Dharma will dwell in the world
Twenty minor eons.
The Dharma Image Age will dwell
Also for twenty minor eons.

Outline:

J4. The Proper and Image Ages.


Commentary:

His life span as a Buddha will be twelve minor eons, and h is Proper Dharma will dwell in the world t wenty minor eons. The Dharma Image Age; The Dharma Image is slightly more inferior than the Proper Dharma, will dwell also for twenty minor eons.

Sutra:

The World Honored One, Light Brightness
Shall have a history such as this.

Outline:

J5. Conclusion.


Commentary:

The World Honored One, the Thus Come One, Light Brightness shall have a history such as this.

His Buddhaland will be called Light Virtue, but you should not think that this is just ordinary light. It is the light of wisdom, the virtue of prajna, and the virtue of offering up all good conduct. In his land everyone will be wise and intelligent. There would not be a single confused person there. Everyone’s mind will always be pure and manifesting wisdom. They will never be stupid. Everyone will have wisdom and virtuous conduct.

Sutra:

At that time, Mahamaudgalyayana, Subhuti and Mahakatyayana were very agitated. They singlemindedly joined their palms, gazed upward at the World Honored One, not lowering their gaze for a moment, and with a single voice spoke these verses:

Outline:

H2. Predictions for three Arhats.
I1. Request.
J1. Request Proper.


Commentary:

At that time, right after Shakyamuni Buddha had bestowed a prediction upon Mahakashyapa, Mahamaudgalyayana, Subhuti and Mahakatyayana were very agitated. They were all very nervous. “The Buddha gave Mahakashyapa a prediction! What about us? Will we get one? Do we have to ask for one?” They could not wait any longer, so Mahamaudgalyayana, foremost in spiritual powers, Subhuti, foremost at understanding emptiness, and Mahakatyayana, foremost in debate, were very agitated and upset. They were not exactly afraid, but their hair was standing on end. “Mahakashyapa got a prediction! What about us? Will we pass the test? Will we get our degrees?” They were very nervous. Then, they managed to calm down somewhat and singlemindedly joined their palms in respect, gazed upward at the World Honored One, not lowering their gaze for a moment , not blinking, like their eyes had entered samadhi and could not move! I have seen a lot of Americans do this. They stare at each other. Chinese do not do that. They do not consider it polite. If you stare at them, they might think you were crazy. And with a single voice spoke these verses.

Sutra:

Great brave hero, the World Honored One,
The Shakyan Dharma King,
Out of pity for us all
Bestow the Buddha Word!

Commentary:

Great brave hero, the World Honored One. The Buddha is a hero both in and beyond the world. The Shakyan Dharma King, King of the Dharma, born of the Shakyan clan. Out of pity for us all living beings, bestow the Buddha Word!

Sutra:

If, knowing our profoundest thoughts,
You see that we gain predictions,
It will be like a sprinkling of sweet dew,
Dispelling heat and giving cool refreshment.
It’ll be like a person from a famine-stricken land,
Who suddenly encounters a royal feast:
His mind holds doubt and fear,
And he doesn’t dare go ahead and eat.
But, if he gained the king’s permission,
Then he would certainly dare to eat.

Outline:

J2. Setting up parable.


Commentary:

If, knowing our profoundest thoughts, World Honored One, you should know what is deep in our minds. You see that we gain predictions, it will be like a sprinkling of sweet dew, dispelling heat and giving cool refreshment. It’ll be like a person from a famine-stricken land, who suddenly encounters a royal feast: a great king’s banquet!

His mind holds doubt and fear, and he doesn’t dare go ahead and eat. But, if he gained the king’s permission, then he would certainly dare to eat.

Sutra:

We, in the same way, ever think
Of the errors of the Small Vehicle
And do not know how we are
To gain the Buddha’s unsurpassed wisdom.
Although we hear the Buddha’s voice
Saying that we shall become Buddhas,
Our minds hold worry and fear,
Like one who dares not yet to eat.
If we were favored by the Buddha’s prediction,
Then we should be happy and at peace.

Outline:

J3. Correlation with Dharma.


Commentary:

We, in the same way, ever think of the errors of the Small Vehicle. We keep thinking how we have the Small Vehicle disposition. And do not know how we are to gain the Buddha’s unsurpassed wisdom. Although we hear the Buddha’s voice saying that we shall become Buddhas, our minds hold worry and fear, like one who dares not yet to eat. We are so small and petty, we of the Small Vehicle. Can we really become Buddhas?

If we were favored by the Buddha’s prediction. See how nervous they are? Kashyapa got one! Now we want predictions, too! Then we should be happy and at peace.

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