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The Entrustment of People and Gods
At that time, the World Honored One extended his gold-colored arm, and again rubbed the crown of the head of Earth Store Bodhisattva Mahasattva, saying, “Earth Store, Earth Store, your spiritual powers, compassion, wisdom, and eloquence are inconceivable. Even if all the Buddhas of the Ten Directions were to proclaim their praises of your inconceivable deeds, they could not finish in thousands of millions of eons.
“Earth Store, Earth Store, remember this entrustment that I am again making here in the Trayastrimsha Heaven in this great assembly of uncountable millions of billions of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gods, dragons, and the rest of the Eightfold Division. I again entrust to you the gods, people, and others who are still in the burning house and have not yet left the Triple World. Do not allow those beings to fall into the evil destinies even for a single day and night, much less fall into the Fivefold Relentless Hell or the Avici Hell, where they would have to pass through thousands of billions of eons with no chance of escape.
“Earth Store, the beings of southern Jambudvipa have irresolute wills and natures. They habitually do many evil deeds. Even if they resolve to do good, they soon renounce that resolve. If they encounter evil conditions, they tend to become increasingly involved in them. For those reasons, I reduplicate thousands of billions of bodies to transform beings, take them across, and liberate them, all in accord with their own fundamental natures.
“Earth Store, I now earnestly entrust the multitudes of gods and people to you. If in the future, among gods and people, there are good men or women who plant a few good roots in the Buddhadharma, be they as little as a strand of hair, a mote of dust, a grain of sand, or a drop of water, then you should use your powers in the Way to protect them so that they gradually cultivate the unsurpassed Way and do not get lost or retreat from it.
“Moreover, Earth Store, in the future gods or people, according to the responses of their karmic retributions, may be due to fall into the evil destinies. They may be on the brink of falling or may already be at the very gates to those paths. But if they can recite the name of one Buddha or Bodhisattva or a single sentence or verse of a Great Vehicle Sutra, then you should use your spiritual powers to rescue them with expedient means. Display a boundless body in the places where they are, smash the hells, and lead them to be born in the heavens and to experience supremely wonderful bliss.”
At that time, the World Honored One spoke in verse, saying:
I am entrusting to your care the multitudes
Of gods and people both now and in the future.
Use spiritual powers and expedients to save them.
Do not allow them to fall into the evil destinies.
At that time, Earth Store Bodhisattva Mahasattva knelt on one knee, joined his palms together, and said to the Buddha, “I beg the World Honored One not to be concerned. In the future, if good men and women have a single thought of respect for the Buddhadharma, I shall use hundreds of thousands of expedients to take them across and free them. They will quickly be liberated from birth and death. How much more will that be the case for those who, having heard about all these good matters, are inspired to cultivate. Those people will naturally become irreversible from the unsurpassed Way.”
After he finished speaking, a Bodhisattva named Empty Space Treasury who was in the assembly addressed the Buddha, “World Honored One, I personally have come to the Trayastrimsha Heaven and have heard the Thus Come One praise Earth Store Bodhisattva’s awesome spiritual strength, describing it as inconceivable. If in the future good men, good women, gods and dragons hear this sutra and the name of Earth Store Bodhisattva, and if they behold and bow to his image, how many kinds of blessings and benefits will they obtain? Please, World Honored One, say a few words about this for the sake of beings of the present and future.”
The Buddha told Empty Space Treasury Bodhisattva, “Listen attentively, listen attentively. I shall enumerate them and describe them to you. Good men or women in the future may see images of Earth Store Bodhisattva and hear this Sutra or read or recite it. They may use incense, flowers, food and drink, clothing, and gems to give gifts and make offerings to him. They may praise, behold, and bow to him. Such beings will benefit in twenty-eight ways:
First, they will be protected by gods and dragons.
Second, their good roots will increase daily.
Third, they will amass supreme causes pertaining to sagehood.
Fourth, they will not retreat from Bodhi.
Fifth, their clothing and food will be abundant.
Sixth, they will never succumb to epidemics.
Seventh, they will escape calamities involving fire and water.
Eighth, they will never be threatened by thieves.
Ninth, they will be respected by all who see them.
Tenth, they will be aided by ghosts and spirits.
Eleventh, women who want to, can be reborn as men.
Twelfth, women who want to, can be reborn as daughters of national leaders and officials.
Thirteenth, they will have upright appearances.
Fourteenth, they will often be born in the heavens.
Fifteenth, they may be emperors or national leaders.
Sixteenth, they will have the wisdom to know past lives.
Seventeenth, they will obtain whatever they seek.
Eighteenth, their families will be happy.
Nineteenth, they will never undergo any disasters.
Twentieth, they will leave the bad karmic paths forever.
Twenty-first, they will always reach their destination.
Twenty-second, their dreams will be peaceful and happy.
Twenty-third, their deceased relatives will leave suffering behind.
Twenty-fourth, they will enjoy blessings earned in previous lives.
Twenty-fifth, they will be praised by sages.
Twenty-sixth, they will be intelligent and have keen faculties.
Twenty-seventh, they will be magnanimous and empathetic.
Twenty-eighth, they will ultimately realize Buddhahood.
“Moreover, Empty Space Treasury Bodhisattva, if gods, dragons, or spirits of the present or future hear Earth Store’s name, bow to Earth Store’s image, or hear of Earth Store’s past vows and the events of his practices, and then praise, behold, and bow to him, they will benefit in seven ways:
First, they will quickly ascend to levels of sagehood.
Second, their evil karma will dissolve.
Third, all Buddhas will protect and be near them.
Fourth, they will not retreat from Bodhi.
Fifth, their inherent powers will increase.
Sixth, they will know past lives.
Seventh, they will ultimately realize Buddhahood.
At that time, all the indescribably ineffable numbers of Buddhas, Thus Come Ones who had come from the Ten Directions, and great Bodhisattvas, gods, dragons, and the rest of the Eightfold Division, having heard Shakyamuni Buddha’s praise of Earth Store Bodhisattva’s great awesome spiritual powers, lauded this unprecedented event. Following that, incense, flowers, heavenly garments, and pearl necklaces rained down in the Trayastrimsha Heaven as offerings to Shakyamuni Buddha and Earth Store Bodhisattva, and everyone in the assembly joined together in gazing at and making obeisance to the Buddha and Bodhisattva. Then they put their palms together and withdrew.
End of Part Three of Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva.
The True Words of Seven Buddhas for Eradicating Offenses
li po li po di, qiu he qiu he di, tuo luo ni di,
ni he la di, pi li ni di, mo he qie di,
zhen ling qian di, suo po he. (3x)
Spirit Mantra for Rebirth in the Pure Land
na mo e mi duo po ye, duo tuo qie duo ye,
duo di ye tuo, e mi li du po pi, e mi li duo,
xi dan po pi, e mi li duo, pi jia lan di,
e mi li duo, pi jia lan duo, qie mi li,
qie qie nuo, zhi duo jia li, suo po he. (3x)
Mantra for Patching the Flaws in Recitation
na mo he la da na, duo la ye ye,
qie la qie la, ju zhu ju zhu, mo la mo la,
hu la, hong, he he su da na, hong, po mo nu, suo po he. (3x)
Earth Store’s basic vows and comparative causes of virtue are told.
We learn that crippling illness, physical defects, come from past lives’ deeds.
In this life, those who recite Great Vehicle Sutras,
Bring benefits without end, aiding all
to be reborn from Jeweled lotuses.
Homage to Earth Store Bodhisattva, Mahasattva.
Earth Store Bodhisattva Praise:
Earth Store Bodhisattva, wonderful beyond compare;
Gold-hued in his transformation body he appears.
Wondrous Dharma-sounds throughout the Three Paths and Six Realms;
Four Births and Ten Kinds of Beings gain his kindly grace.
His pearl, shining brightly, lights the way to heaven’s halls;
Six-ringed golden staff shakes open wide the gates of hell.
Leads on those with causes garnered life and life again;
To bow at the Nine-flowered Terrace of the Honored One.
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.
Homage to Earth Store Bodhisattva.