Praise to Earth Store Bodhisattva:
Earth Store Bodhisattva wonderful beyond compare;
Namo Earth Store, Great vows and compassion, Bodhisattva of the dark and dismal worlds; on Nine Flower Mountain, most honored one, with ten wheels of power you rescue all the suffering ones.
This Bodhisattva's Sanskrit name is "Kshitigarbha." He is known for his great vows.
The Earth Store Sutra says:
"Among all the Bodhisattvas, Earth Store Bodhisattva Mahasattva has made the deepest and weightiest vows. World Honored One, Earth Store Bodhisattva has great affinities with beings in Jambudvipa."
The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua explains:
"After he had attained Buddhahood, Skakyamuni Buddha spoke the Dharma for forty-nine years in over three hundred assemblies, yet all along, never once did he get a chance to take his mother across [to the other shore of nirvana]. Shakyamuni Buddha was born from his mother's left ribcage, and his mother passed away after giving birth.
"When he became a Buddha, he learned that his mother, Lady Maya, had ascended to the heavens. After he had spoken the Dharma Flower Sutra and before starting the Nirvana Sutra, he thought of his mother and ascended to the Palace of Trayastrimsha Heaven. He stayed there for three months to expound the Dharma for his mother. And what was that Dharma? It was the Earth Store Sutra, the sutra on filial piety.
For the sake of crossing over his dear mother, Shakyamuni Buddha spoke the Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva in the Palace of Trayastrimsha Heaven—those are the causal conditions leading up to this Sutra."
"Why the name "Earth Store"? Earth nurtures the growth of all things, and "Store" refers to treasure troves—all the treasure troves are in the ground. "Store" can also mean "to keep hidden", i.e., "to keep from view." All the treasure troves are hidden from view underground. The earth can grow the myriad things; it can also keep the myriad things hidden—buried underground.
Like the great earth, this Bodhisattva is able to make the myriad things grow. Like the great earth, he has endless, boundless treasure troves in the ground for people to uncover. Those who believe in this Bodhisattva are entitled to the treasures within."
"What were the vows he made? He vowed:
Until the hells are empty I vow to forgo Buddhahood;
"Let us go over the word "Earth." There are ten meanings to the word, and though the ten still cannot cover all its functions, they give a general idea.
First, Vast and Great: Do you see that the earth is vast and great? Some of you are saying, "Dharma Master, you may skip that one. We all knew it's vast and great. Why bother?"
Just because everyone knew that, all the more I need to bring it up to your attention.
Second, Relied upon by [Sentient] Beings: All [sentient] beings rely on the earth to sustain life. Do you know of any [sentient] beings that do not do that? Surely none of them lives in empty space.
Third, Not Given to Likes and Dislikes: The earth has no likes or dislikes. It does not pick and choose, dictating, "You! Stay here. That [sentient] being there, I don't want you." No way. [Sentient] beings: good, bad, wholesome, and evil, together with tigers, sila deer, monkeys and everything else all live and rely on the earth. All the more, it is not given to preferences or biases.
Some people might claim, "Oh, I know! The earth simply has no awareness. It's insensate."
Do you know for sure that it has no awareness? The earth's awareness and perception is beyond the scope of our awareness and perception. The earth has its awareness, because it is also one of the [sentient] beings.
Fourth, Acceptant of Great Rains: It can withstand the most forbidding of downpours.
Fifth, Bringing Forth Vegetation.
Sixth, A Repository for Seeds: All the seeds are buried underground.
Seventh : The seventh is Bearing Many Treasures: There are lots of valuables in the ground.
Eight, Yielding Various Medicines: All medicines are produced from the earth.
Ninth, Unmoved by Blowing Winds: Not even the gustiest of winds, not even hurricanes, can move the earth. What about earthquakes? They are not caused by movement of winds.
Ten, Unstirred at the Lions' Roars : When the lions roar, all creatures are scared, but the earth does not flinch.
In light of these ten meanings, Earth Store Bodhisattva takes the earth to represent his name."