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Masters of the Dharma
At that time the World Honored One, through Medicine King Bodhisattva, spoke to the eighty thousand great lords saying, “Medicine King, do you see within this great assembly the limitless gods, dragon kings, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, mahoragas, and beings both human and non human, as well as the Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, those seeking to be Hearers, those seeking to be Pratyekabuddhas, and those seeking the Buddha Path? Upon such ones as these, all in the presence of the Buddha, who hear but one verse or one sentence of The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, or who have even one thought of rejoicing in it, I bestow predictions of their future attainment of anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”
The Buddha told the Medicine King: “Furthermore, after the extinction of the Thus Come One, should there be one who hears but a single verse or a single sentence of The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra or who has even one thought of rejoicing in it, I bestow upon him as well a prediction of anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”
“Further, should there be one who receives and upholds, reads and recites, explains and teaches, or copies out The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, be it even a single verse, looking upon the Sutra text with reverence as he would the Buddha himself, making various kinds of offerings of flowers, incense, beads, powdered incense, paste incense, burning incense, silk canopies, banners, clothing and music, or who even join his palms in reverence, O Medicine King, you should know that such a person has in the past already made offerings to tens of myriads of millions of Buddhas, in the presence of those Buddhas, accomplishing great vows. It is out of pity for living beings that he is born among human beings.”
“O Medicine King, if someone should ask you what type of living beings shall in the future become Buddhas, you should point out to him that these very people in the future certainly shall become Buddhas, Why is this? If a good man or good woman receives and upholds, reads, recites, explains and teaches, or writes out even a single sentence of The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, or makes various offerings to the Sutra text of flowers, incense, beads, powdered incense, paste incense, burning incense, silk canopies, banners, clothing, music, or reverently joined palms, that person should be looked up to in reverence by those in all worlds and should receive offerings befitting the Thus Come One. You should know that this person is a great Bodhisattva, one who has accomplished anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Out of pity for living beings, he has vowed to be born here and to expound upon The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra broadly and in detail.”
“How much the more does this apply to one who can receive and uphold it in its entirety and make various kinds of offerings to it.”
“Medicine King, you should know that this person has renounced his own pure karmic reward and, after my extinction, out of pity for living beings, has been born in the evil world to vastly proclaim this Sutra.”
“If this good man or good woman after my extinction can secretly explain even so much as a single sentence of The Dharma Flower Sutra for a single person, you should know that this person is a messenger of the Thus Come One. This person is sent by the Thus Come One to do the Thus Come One’s work.”
“How much the more so is that the case for one who can in the midst of a great assembly extensively explain it to people.”
“O Medicine King, should an evil person with unwholesome mind appear before the Buddha, slandering and scolding him constantly for the length of an eon, his offenses would be relatively light compared to the offenses of a person who speaks even a single evil word reviling any Sanghan or layperson who reads or recites The Dharma Flower Sutra. That person’s offense would be very grave.”
“O Medicine King, you should know that one who reads and recites The Dharma Flower Sutra takes the Buddha’s adornments as his own adornments. He shall carry the Thus Come One on his shoulders. Wherever he goes, he should be welcomed with obeisance. Singlemindedly, and with palms joined, one should pay reverence, make offerings, honor, and praise him. He should receive the finest offerings among people, offerings of flowers, incense, beads, powdered incense, paste incense, burning incense, silk canopies, banners, clothing, fine food, and music. Heavenly jewels should be scattered over him, and clusters of the finest heavenly jewels offered to him.”
“What is the reason? When this person joyfully speaks the Dharma, those who hear it for but an instant shall directly achieve ultimate anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”
At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate these principles, spoke verses, saying:
“One wishing to dwell in the Buddha Path
And to accomplish spontaneous wisdom
Should diligently make offerings
To those who receive and uphold The Dharma Flower
One wishing quickly to gain
The Wisdom of All Modes
Should receive and uphold this Sutra
And make offerings to those who uphold it.
One who can receive and uphold
The Wonderful Dharma Flower Sutra
You should know the Buddha sent him,
Out of pity for living beings.
Those who can receive and hold
The Wonderful Dharma Flower Sutra,
Have renounced their pure lands,
And, pitying beings, have been reborn here.
You should know that such people,
Are free to be born wherever they wish,
And can, in this evil world
Vastly teach the supreme Dharma.
One should make offerings of heavenly flowers
Incense and heavenly jeweled garments,
And heaven’s finest, most marvelous gems,
To the teachers of this Dharma.
One who can uphold this Sutra
After my extinction, in the evil age,
Should be worshipped with palms joined
As if making offerings to the World Honored One.
Fine food and many sweet delicacies
And various kinds of clothing,
Should be offered to this disciple of the Buddha,
Hoping to hear him speak even for a moment.
One who can, in the latter age.
Receive and uphold this Sutra,
Has been sent by me into the human realm,
To carry out the Thus Come One’s work.
If for the space of an eon,
One were to harbor an unwholesome mind
And scowling, scold the Buddha,
He would incur measureless offenses.
But if one were, but for a moment, to speak ill
Of one who reads, recites, or upholds The Dharma Flower Sutra,
His offenses would exceed the former’s.
If one who seeks the Buddha Path
Were for the length of an eon
To stand before me with palms joined,
Praising me with countless verses,
Because of his praise of the Buddha,
He would gain limitless merit and virtue.
But one who praises the upholder of this Sutra
Would gain blessings exceeding that.
One who, throughout eighty million eons
Made offerings to the upholder of this Sutra
Of the finest forms, sounds,
Fragrances, tastes, and tangible objects,
And having made such offerings,
Gets to hear it for but an instant,
He should be filled with rejoicing
Thinking, “I have gained great benefit!”
Medicine King, I tell you now,
Of all the sutras I have spoken,
The Dharma Flower is foremost.”