THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Benefits Derived from Seeing and Hearing
At that time, the World Honored One emitted millions of billions of great rays of light from the crown of his head. They were the White Ray, the Great White Ray, the Auspicious Ray, the Great Auspicious Ray, the Jade Ray, the Great Jade Ray, the Purple Ray, the Great Purple Ray, the Blue Ray, the Great Blue Ray, the Azure Ray, the Great Azure Ray, the Red Ray, the Great Red Ray, the Green Ray, the Great Green Ray, the Gold Ray, the Great Gold Ray, the Celebration Cloud Ray, the Great Celebration Cloud Ray, the Thousand-Wheeled Ray, the Great Thousand-Wheeled Ray, the Jeweled Wheel Ray, the Great Jeweled Wheel Ray, the Solar Disc Ray, the Great Solar Disc Ray, the Lunar Disc Ray, the Great Lunar Disc Ray, the Palace Ray, the Great Palace Ray, the Ocean Cloud Ray, and the Great Ocean Cloud Ray.
After emitting such rays of light from the crown of his head, he spoke in subtle and wonderful sounds to the great assembly of gods, dragons, the rest of the eightfold division, humans, non-humans and others. “Hear me today in the palace of the Trayastrimsha Heaven as I praise Earth Store Bodhisattva, telling of his beneficial deeds, of inconceivable events, of the matter of his transcendence to sagehood, of the circumstances of his certification to the Tenth Ground, and of the situation leading to his becoming irreversible from Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”
After he said that, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva named Contemplator of the World’s Sounds rose from his seat in the assembly, knelt, and with palms together said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, Earth Store Bodhisattva Mahasattva is replete with great compassion and pities beings who are suffering for their offenses. In thousands of billions of worlds he creates thousands of billions of transformation bodies through the strength of his meritorious virtue and inconceivable awesome spiritual power.
“I have heard the World Honored One and the numberless Buddhas of the Ten Directions praise Earth Store Bodhisattva in unison, saying that even if all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future were to speak of his meritorious qualities, they could never finish describing them. Upon hearing the World Honored One tell the great assembly that he now wants to praise Earth Store Bodhisattva’s beneficial deeds and so forth, I am beseeching the World Honored One to praise the inconceivable events pertaining to Earth Store Bodhisattva, for the sake of beings of the present and future and to cause the gods, dragons, and the rest of the eightfold division to gaze at him in worship and obtain blessings.”
The Buddha replied to Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva, “You have deep affinities with the Saha world. If gods, dragons, men, women, spirits, ghosts, or any other beings who are suffering for offenses within the Six Paths hear your name, see your image, behold you, or praise you, they will definitely become irreversible on the Unsurpassed Way. They will always be born among people and gods and there experience wonderful bliss. When the effects of their causes come to fruition, they will encounter Buddhas who will give them predictions. You are now replete with great compassion and pity for beings, including gods, dragons, and the rest of the eightfold division. Listen as I discuss events involving the inconceivable benefits bestowed by Earth Store Bodhisattva. Listen attentively. I will discuss it for you.”
Contemplator of the World’s Sounds said, “So be it, World Honored One, we will be pleased to listen.”
The Buddha told the Bodhisattva Contemplator of the World’s Sounds, “In worlds of the present and future, gods whose heavenly blessings are ending may be manifesting the five signs of decay, indicating that they may be about to fall into the Evil Paths. When those signs appear, if those gods, whether male or female, see Earth Store Bodhisattva’s image or hear his name and gaze at him or bow but once to him, their heavenly blessings will thereby increase. They will experience great happiness and will never have to undergo retributions in the Three Evil Paths. How much more will that be the case for those who, upon seeing and hearing the Bodhisattva, use incense, flowers, clothing, food, drink, jewels, and necklaces as gifts and offerings to him. The meritorious virtue, blessings, and benefits they gain will be limitless and unbounded.
“Moreover, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds, in worlds of the present and future, when beings in the Six Paths are on the verge of death, if they can hear the name of Earth Store Bodhisattva even once, such beings will never have to endure the sufferings of the Three Evil Paths again. How much more will that be the case if the parents and other relatives use the houses, wealth, property, jewels, and clothing of such people who are on the verge of death to commission the carving or painting of images of Earth Store Bodhisattva. If those ailing people have not yet died, their relatives can try to help them see, hear, and understand that their houses, jewels, and so forth have been used to carve or paint images of Earth Store Bodhisattva. If those people’s karmic retributions were such that they were to undergo severe sickness, then with such merit they can quickly be cured and their life spans prolonged. If those people’s retributions send them to the evil destinies at death due to their karma and obstacles, then with such merit they can, when their lives end, be born instead among people or gods and there enjoy extremely wonderful bliss. All their obstacles due to offenses will dissolve.
“Moreover, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva, in the future men or women may lose their fathers, mothers, brothers, or sisters while still infants or as youngsters. As adults, such people may think about those parents and other relatives, not knowing into what paths or worlds or heavens they have been reborn. Suppose that such people are able to sculpt or paint images of Earth Store Bodhisattva or to gaze upon and worship him for one through seven days without retreating. Thus, upon hearing his name and seeing his image, they gaze at him in worship and make offerings. If such people’s relatives had fallen into bad paths and were destined to remain there for many eons, those relatives would quickly gain release, be born among people or gods, and experience supremely wonderful bliss. That will happen because of the meritorious virtue generated by their sons, daughters, brothers, or sisters who carved or painted images of Earth Store Bodhisattva and then gazed upon and worshipped them.
“If such people’s relatives have already been born among people or gods on the strength of their own blessings and are already experiencing supremely wonderful bliss, then upon receiving that additional merit, their causes pertaining to sagehood will increase, and they will experience limitless bliss. If such people are able to behold and worship images of Earth Store Bodhisattva single-mindedly for three weeks, reciting his name a full ten thousand times, the Bodhisattva may then manifest a boundless body and describe to those people the realms into which their relatives have been born. Or in their dreams, the Bodhisattva may manifest great spiritual powers and personally lead them to those worlds to see their relatives.
“If they can further recite the Bodhisattva’s name one thousand times a day every day for one thousand days, the Bodhisattva will order the ghosts and earth spirits in the vicinity of such people to guard and protect them for their entire lives. In this world their clothing and food will be abundant and they will have no suffering from sickness or other causes. No accidents will occur in their households, much less affect them personally. Finally, the Bodhisattva will rub the crowns of their heads and bestow predictions upon them.
“Moreover, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva, in the future, good men or women may want to practice great compassion in rescuing beings, may want to cultivate unsurpassed Bodhi, and may want to leave the Triple World. Those people may see Earth Store Bodhisattva’s image, hear his name, and in their hearts take refuge with him. They may use incense, flowers, clothing, jewels, food and drink to make offerings while beholding and worshipping him. Such good people’s wishes will quickly be fulfilled and they will never have any further obstructions.
“Moreover, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva, in the future, good men and women may want to fulfill millions of billions of vows and to succeed in as many undertakings both in the present and the future. They need only take refuge with, gaze upon, worship, make offerings to, and praise images of Earth Store Bodhisattva. In this way, their vows and goals can all be realized. Moreover, they may hope that Earth Store Bodhisattva, being endowed with great compassion, will always protect them. In dreams the Bodhisattva will rub the crowns of their heads and bestow predictions upon them.
“Moreover, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva, in the future, good men and women may have high regard for the Great Vehicle sutras and make the inconceivable resolve to read them and to recite them from memory. They may then encounter a bright master who instructs them so that they can become familiar with the texts. But as soon as they learn them, they forget them. They may try for months or years and yet still be unable to read or recite them from memory. Because those good men and women have karmic obstructions from past lives that have not yet been dissolved, they are unable to read and memorize sutras of the Great Vehicle. Upon hearing Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name or seeing his image, such people should, with deep respect and honesty, state their situation to the Bodhisattva. In addition, they should use incense, flowers, clothing, food, and drink, and other beloved material objects to make offerings to the Bodhisattva. They should place a bowl of pure water before the Bodhisattva for one day and one night. Afterwards, joining their palms together, they should state their request and then, while facing south, prepare to drink the water. As the water is about to enter their mouths, they should be particularly sincere and solemn. After drinking the water, they should abstain from the five pungent plants, wine, meat, improper sexual activity, false speech, and all killing and harming for one to three weeks. In dreams, those good men and women may then see Earth Store Bodhisattva manifesting a boundless body and anointing the crowns of their heads with water. When they awaken, they may be endowed with keen intelligence. Upon hearing this sutra but one time, they will eternally remember it and never forget or lose a single sentence or verse.
“Moreover, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva, in the future there may be people whose food and clothing are insufficient, who find their efforts thwarted, who endure much sickness or misfortune, whose families are not peaceful, whose relatives are scattered, who are accident-prone, or who are often startled in their sleep by dreams. Upon hearing Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name and seeing his image, such people should recite his name a full ten thousand times with extreme sincerity and respect. Those inauspicious circumstances will gradually disappear, and they will find peace and happiness. Their food and clothing will be abundant, and even in their dreams they will be peaceful and happy.
“Moreover, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva, in the future good men or women may have to enter mountain forests, cross rivers, seas, or other large bodies of water, or take dangerous routes either for the sake of earning their own livelihood, or for public or personal affairs, matters of life and death, or other urgent business. Such people should first recite the name of Earth Store Bodhisattva a full ten thousand times. The ghosts and spirits of the lands they pass through will then guard and protect them in their walking, standing, sitting, and lying down. The peace and happiness of those people will constantly be preserved, so that even if they encounter tigers, wolves, lions, or any other harmful or poisonous creatures, they will not be harmed.”
The Buddha told Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva, “Earth Store Bodhisattva has deep affinities with beings in Jambudvipa. Hundreds of thousands of eons would not be time enough to describe the benefits derived by beings who see this Bodhisattva and hear his name. Therefore, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva, you should use your spiritual powers to propagate this sutra, thus enabling beings in the Saha world to enjoy peace and happiness always, throughout hundreds of millions of eons.”
At that time the World-Honored One spoke verses, saying:
I observe that Earth Store’s awesome spiritual strength
Could not be described in eons numerous as Ganges sands.
Seeing, hearing, beholding and bowing to him even once
Benefits people and gods in endless numbers of ways.
Men and women, gods and dragons, near the end
Of their rewards and doomed to fall into the Evil Paths.
Can sincerely take refuge with this Great Being,
Thereby lengthening their lives and dispelling offenses.
Sometimes youngsters lose their kind and loving parents
And do not know what paths they are now on.
Quite often lost brothers, sisters, and other kin
Were never known to their surviving relatives.
By sculpting or painting this Bodhisattva’s image
And then beseeching, gazing at, and bowing to him,
And holding his name in mind a full three weeks,
Those relatives may see the Bodhisattva’s body.
The Bodhisattva may show them where those kin were born
And even quickly free those in bad destinies.
If those praying can sustain their initial resolve,
Crowns may be rubbed; sagely predictions given.
Those determined to cultivate unsurpassed Bodhi
And escape the suffering here in the Triple World
Should let their greatly compassionate hearts unfold,
As they first behold and bow to this Great Being.
Then every vow they make will soon be fulfilled
And no bad karma will ever hinder or stop them.
Some people may resolve to read the Sutra texts
Hoping to help confused beings reach the other shore.
Although the vows they make are quite remarkable,
Try as they may, they cannot remember what they read.
Because of their karmic obstacles and delusions,
Those people cannot memorize the Mahayana Sutras.
But they can offer scents and flowers to Earth Store,
And give him clothes, food, and other special things.
They can set pure water on the Bodhisattva’s altar,
Leaving it there a day and night before they drink it.
They should rigorously abstain from pungent plants,
Alcohol, meat, improper sex, and false speech.
For three weeks they should not kill any creature,
While being mindful of the name of that Great Being.
Then, in a dream, their vision may become boundless.
Awakening, they may find that they now have keen ears.
After that, when they hear the teachings of the Sutras,
They will never forget them for thousands of lives.
How inconceivable is this Bodhisattva
In helping people like that gain such wisdom!
Beings may be impoverished or plagued with disease,
Their homes may be troubled, their relatives scattered.
They may find no peace even in sleep or dreams.
Their efforts may be totally thwarted.
But beholding and bowing to Earth Store’s image
Can cause all those evils to simply disappear.
Dreams will become entirely peaceful,
Food and clothes ample; spirits and ghosts now guardians.
When people need to pass through mountain forests, cross the seas,
Or go among evil birds and beasts, evil people,
Evil spirits, evil ghosts, and even evil winds
Or to put themselves in other difficult situations,
They need only gaze in worship and make offerings
To an image of the mighty Earth Store Bodhisattva.
In response, all the evils in those mountain forests
And on those vast seas will simply disappear.
Contemplator of Sounds, listen well to what I say.
Earth Store Bodhisattva is an unending wonder!
Hundreds of millions of eons is time too brief
To fully describe the powers of this Great Being.
If people can but hear the name “Earth Store,”
Bow to his image, revere and worship him;
Offer incense, flowers, clothes, food, and drink;
Such acts will bring them thousands of joys.
If they can dedicate such merit to the Dharma Realm,
They will become Buddhas, ending birth and death.
Contemplator of Sounds, know this well
And tell everyone everywhere in lands as many as Ganges sands.