The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra
Chapter 6: Conferring Predictions
With Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate this principle spoke verses saying,
“O Bhikshus, all of you,
Listen with a single mind,
For that which I say
Is true, real, and without error.
K2 . Verses.
L1. Admonishment to listen.
At that time, the World Honored One, Shakyamuni Buddha, feared that some people had not heard him clearly the first time, or else had already forgotten what he said. He used simple verses to restate the principles. Wishing to restate this principle spoke verses saying, O Bhikshus, all of you, listen with a single mind. Listen to me with one heart, unconfused. Do not strike up so much false thinking. For that which I say is true, real, and without error. The Dharma which I speak is true, real, and not false. It does not change throughout the three periods of time.
With a variety
Of fine and subtle articles
Make offerings to the Buddhas.
After the extinction of those Buddhas
He will build stupas of the seven jewels
And also, with flowers and incense
Make offerings to their sharira.
L2. Causal practice.
Katyayana, shall. Katyayana, with his unobstructed eloquence and his first-rate debating skills, with a variety o f fine and subtle articles. The finest, most beautiful things, Make offerings to the Buddhas. After the extinction of those Buddhas he will build stupas of the seven jewels and also, with flowers and incense make offerings to their sharira.
In his final body
He will attain the Buddha wisdom
And realize proper enlightenment.
L3. Attaining the Fruit.
In his final body, he will attain the Buddha wisdom, become a Buddha, and realize proper enlightenment, accomplishing anuttarasamyaksambodhi, the unsurpassed enlightenment.
His country will be pure
And he will cross over limitless
Myriads of millions of beings;
From the ten directions
He will receive offerings.
His Buddha light
Will be unsurpassed
As a Buddha his name will be
Jambunada Gold Light.
Bodhisattvas, and Hearers
Having severed all existence
Unlimited and innumerable
Will adorn his land.
L4. Purity of the land.
His country will be pure without any filth, and he will cross over limitless myriads of millions of beings; from the ten directions he will receive offerings. His Buddha light will be unsurpassed, a s a Buddha his name will be Jambunada Gold Light. Bodhisattvas and Hearers having severed all existence, unlimited and innumerable will adorn his land; having severed the bond of existence in the desire, form, and formless realms.
At that time, the World Honored One, further spoke to the assembly. “I now tell you that Mahamaudgalyayana will in the future, with various articles, make offerings to eight thousand Buddhas, honoring and venerating them. After the extinction of those Buddhas, he will erect for each of them a stupa one thousand yojanas in height and five hundred yojanas in breadth, and made of the seven jewels, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother of pearl, carnelian, pearls, and agate. He will make offerings to it of many flowers, beaded necklaces, paste incense, powdered incense, burning incense, silk canopies and banners. After that, he will further make offerings to two hundred myriads of millions of Buddhas in the same manner.
J3. Prediction for Mahamaudgalyayana.
L1. Causal practice.
At that time, when the World Honored One, Shakyamuni Buddha had finished the verses, he decided to bestow a prediction upon Mahamaudgalyayana. Further spoke to the assembly. “I now tell you that Mahamaudgalyayana will in the future. Maudgalyayana means descendant of bean-gatherers. He was foremost in spiritual powers. With various articles, make offerings to eight thousand Buddhas, honoring and venerating them. After the extinction of those Buddhas, he will erect for each of them a stupa one thousand yojanas in height and five hundred yojanas in breadth, and made of the seven jewels, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother of pearl, carnelian, pearls, and agate. He will make offerings to it of many flowers, beaded necklaces, paste incense, powdered incense, burning incense, silk canopies and banners. After that, he will further make offerings to two hundred myriads of millions of Buddhas in the same manner. So now, when you cultivate, you want to become a Buddha right away! You want to get enlightened right away! And you still have not gotten rid of your jealousy and contrariness. If you became a Buddha now, you would be a jealous and contrary Buddha! No one would make offerings to you. When you cultivate, the first thing is to develop a compassionate mind, a patient, generous, vigorous, concentrated, and wise mind. If you have not developed your mind in accord with the Six Perfections, how can you expect to become a Buddha? Mahamaudgalyayana will be making offerings to eight thousand Buddhas and then, later, to two hundred myriads of millions of Buddhas.
He will then become a Buddha called Tamalapattracandana Fragrance 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, teacher of gods and humans, Buddha, World Honored One.
L2. Attaining the Fruit.
What is “Tamalapattracandana”? Tamalapattra means “worthy one whose nature is without filth”. One who has attained the position of a worthy sage has no filth in his self-nature. Candana, called “Ox-headed Candana”, is a kind of incense that can be smelled at a distance of forty miles. He will be complete with the ten titles of a Buddha.
Time passes quickly. October has gone and November is here. Next Wednesday, five left-home people are going to Taiwan to take the complete precepts of the Great Vehicle. It is a historical first. Never before have so many gone from the West to seek the Dharma. Because it is the first time, it is not easy. It is most difficult and entails the most demonic-obstacles. So these five people must be solid, sincere, and persevering. You must be as solid as a diamond, able to destroy all the heavenly demons and outside ways and not be turned by them. You must also be very sincere. You must also persevere. You are bound to run into a lot of demonic-obstacles and demonic tests. If you want to cultivate, demons will certainly come around. They are your indirect helpers. They are afraid that you would not cultivate, so they make sure that you do. There are demons who were even former friends. They may have been your friends, but as soon as they heard that you were going to leave home, they decided to give you a hard time to test you out. If you do not understand what is going on, you are going to think, “Oh, we were such good friends. Why have you turned on me like this?” Actually, they are helping you.
Others run into the demons of sickness. Before they decided to cultivate, they were not bothered by sickness in the book. Their head is confused, their eyes get blurry, their ears grow deaf, and their teeth start hurting! Sick, sick sick! Just to see if they can take it. If they can stand it, they will come to realize that this body is nothing but a stinking bag of skin. What is with all this pain? There is no pain in the self-nature. In this way, they will overcome their demonic obstacles.
Others run into the demon of poverty. The more they cultivate, the poorer they get. Soon they are so poor they cannot afford a pair of socks or a handkerchief! They start thinking, “What is the good of leaving home? I do not have any money. I cannot buy anything!”
In general, all the various demons attack: wealth demons, sex demons, human demons, ghostly demons, heavenly demons, earthly demons. But all these demons are not as harmful as the demon of your own mind. Take care that the demon of your own mind does not get control. It will cause you to think things like, “Leaving home is really stupid. It is meaningless. Once you leave home you cannot do anything anymore. It is entirely too restrictive”.
Take care to remain in control of the situation. You are going to seek the precepts. When it is time to work, work. When it is time to study, study. Maintain the awesome comportment like the Bhikshu Asvajit, who impressed Maudgalyayana so much that he, too, wanted to leave home. Do not bounce around and get upset at every little thing. When you return, you should have a very special manner. What is that? You will find out when you return. Basically, there were not enough money even to buy your plane tickets, but I recited a mantra and the money came.
His eon will be called full of joy. His country will be called full of joy. His country will be called Delighted Mind. His land will be flat and even with crystal for soil, and jeweled trees for adornments. Real pearl flowers will be scattered about, purifying it entirely, so that those who see it rejoice. There will be many gods, humans, Bodhisattvas and Hearer, limitless and uncountable in number.
L3. The eon and the country.
When the Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana becomes a Buddha, His eon will be called full of joy; everyone there will be happy, filled with the happiness of Dharma. All the citizens of that land will delight in the Buddhadharma, and the land will be called Delighted Mind. His land will be flat and even. The soil would not be dirt, it will be crystal. It will have jeweled trees for adornments, trees made of the seven jewels. In our world, there are coral trees. They are made in the ocean by little creatures. I saw them when I went to Thailand. There was one coral tree that was about three feet tall. I do not know how much it was worth. Priceless, I am sure. Long ago in China, there was a very wealthy person. An official invited him to lunch. After lunch, he showed him one of his coral trees and said, “Do you see this coral tree? It is incredibly expensive and fine.” The person reached out and grabbed it. It was about two feet tall. Anyway, he threw it on the ground and smashed it. The official was very upset, but the man said, “Do not worry, I have lots. I will bring you one tomorrow.” The next day he sent him more than a dozen that were three feet tall. Actually, he was just trying to show off how wealthy he was and make the official think he had all kinds of precious things.
The trees in this Buddhaland were made of the seven jewels. Real pearl flowers will be scattered about, purifying it entirely. Flowers made of real pearls will constantly be falling through space, covering the land. So that those who see it rejoice. Everyone who visits this land has no desire to leave, they choose to stay forever instead. There will be many gods, humans, Bodhisattvas and Hearer, limitless and uncountable in number. Although the text does not say it specifically, the four evil paths will not exist there, either.
His life span as a Buddha will last for twenty-four minor eons.
As a Buddha he will live for twenty-four minor eons. Of the four great disciples, he will live the longest as a Buddha. The other live for twelve minor eons, so his lifespan is twice as long.
The Proper Dharma will dwell there for forty minor eons. The Dharma Image Age will dwell also for forty minor eons.”
L5. Proper and Image Ages.
The Proper Dharma age and the Dharma Image Age will also last twice as long as that of the other disciples mentioned.
At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate this principle spoke verses, saying:
Having cast aside this body
Will view eight thousand
Two hundred myriads of millions
Of Buddhas, World Honored Ones.
And, for the sake of the Buddha Way
Will honor and make offerings to them.
In the presence of those Buddhas,
He will always practice Brahman conduct,
Throughout limitless eons,
Reverently upholding the Buddhadharma.
After the extinction of those Buddhas,
He will build stupas of the seven jewels,
Displaying golden spires
And with flowers, incense, and instrumental music
He will make offerings
To the Buddhas’ stupas.
K2 . Verse.
L1. Causal practice.
Having finished the prose passage, Shakyamuni Buddha The World Honored One, wanted to re-tell the causes and conditions surrounding Mahamaudgalyayana, so he used verses and said, my disciple. The Buddha is obviously very fond of him. Great Madgalyayana, having cast aside his body, after he has gotten rid of his present Hearer Body, will view eight thousand two hundred myriads of millions of Buddhas, World Honored Ones. And, for the sake of the Buddha Way will honor and make offerings to them. In the presence of those Buddhas,
He will always practice Brahman conduct If one conduct is pure, all his conducts will be pure. Throughout limitless eons, reverently upholding the Buddhadharma in every life, life after life.
After the extinction of those Buddhas, he will build stupas of the seven jewels, displaying golden spires. Stupas of Buddhas made of seven jewels will adorn this golden kshetra. Kshetra is Sanskrit word that means ground and field; in other words, it means “land” and with flowers, incense, and instrumental music h e will make offerings to the Buddhas’ stupas.
Gradually, having perfected
The Bodhisattva Path,
In a land called Delighted Intent,
He will become a Buddha
L2. Attaining the fruit and the name of the land.
Gradually, having perfected, gradually having practiced the Bodhisattva Path, that is, the Six Perfections and the Ten Thousand Conducts, in a land called Delighted Intent, he will become a Buddha called Tamala Candana Fragrance, “worthy one whose nature is free of filth”. He will emit a fragrance like Candana Ox-head Incense.
His life span as a Buddha will be
Twenty four minor eons.
His lifespan is twice that of the other great disciples mentioned.
Always, for gods and humans
He will expound and proclaim the Buddha Way.
There will be limitless Hearers
In number like the Ganges sands,
With the Three Clarities and Six Penetrations
And great, awesome virtue.
There will be uncountable Bodhisattvas
Vigorous and of solid resolve
And who, with regard to the Buddhas’ wisdom
L4. Purity of land.
Always, for gods and humans he will expound and proclaim the Buddha Way, he will observe the potential of the beings and speak the Dharma accordingly. He will speak whatever dharma is necessary in order to cross them over. He will proclaim the pathway towards the realization of Buddhahood.
There will be limitless Hearers in number like the Ganges sands, with the Three Clarities and Six Penetrations and great, awesome virtue. There will be uncountable Bodhisattvas, vigorous and of solid resolve and who, with regard to the Buddhas’ wisdom, are irreversible. They will have obtained the three kinds of irreversibility: irreversibility of position, irreversibility of thought, and irreversibility of conduct.
After that Buddha’s extinction
The Proper Dharma will dwell
For forty minor eons,
And the Dharma Image Age will be the same.
L5. Proper and Image Ages.
After that Buddha’s extinction, after he has entered Nirvana, the Proper Dharma will dwell in the world for forty minor eons and the Dharma Image Age will be the same as the Proper Dharma Age.
Now, having given this prediction concerning Mahamaudgalyayana, the Buddha saw that his other disciples had grown nervous, wondering when they would get predictions. Did they have a chance to become Buddhas? So he gives them all predictions here.
All my disciples
Having perfected their awesome virtue,
All five hundred of them
Shall be given predictions
And in a future age
Will become Buddhas.
Of my own and your former
Causes and conditions
I now will tell:
All of you, listen well!
G2. Speaking of former lives for those of inferior dispositions.
All my disciples having perfected their awesome virtue, all five hundred of them shall be given predictions and in a future age will become Buddhas.
Of my own and your former causes and conditions. From former lives we have causal affinities in common, and so we meet here in this Dharma assembly, and I speak the Dharma for you. In the future, you shall receive your predictions of Buddhahood and become Buddhas. Were it not for these affinities, even though the Buddha spoke the Dharma, you would not be able to come and listen.
We are all presently gathered in this Dharma Flower Sutra Assembly because of causal conditions from former lives. If it were not for that causal affinity, we would not have met here. I now will tell: All of you, listen well! Pay attention. Like right now, I am lecturing the Dharma Flower Sutra for you and you should listen. The situation is the same. You should all listen well. Shakyamuni Buddha spoke the Dharma on Vulture Peak. We did not have the opportunity to hear it right then. Now, however, we can look at the portraits of all the Patriarchs. You should not look at the pictures of Han Shan and Shi De and think they are so funny looking. They are Bodhisattvas who deliberately manifested that special style. So, as you meet each patriarch, they will meet you. You will recognize one another because of former causes and conditions.
Speaking of pictures, I remember that when I was in Hong King there was a young child who had heart disease. The doctor told him he had to stay in bed and sleep for five years, without getting out of bed. Somehow, he got hold of my biography and saw my picture in it. For some strange reason, he pulled up in full-lotus, placed the picture in front of him, put his palms together and began to recite my name. Everyone else in the house would recite Namo Amitabha Buddha, but he recited my name! He recited this way, morning to night, for seventy days. Then he saw me come out of the picture and rub him on the head. After that, his heart disease was cured.
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