THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Chapter 14 - Happily Dwelling Conduct
“Further, Manjushri, in the future ending age, when the Dharma is about to become extinct, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva who receives, upholds, reads, or recites this Sutra should harbor no thoughts of envy, flattery, or deceit. He should also not r i dicule or malign those who study the Buddha Way, n o r should he seek their strengths or weaknesses. If there are Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, those who seek to be Hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, or those who seek the Bodhisattva Way, he should not torment them or cause them to have doubts by saying to them, “You are all very far from the Path, and you will never obtain the wisdom of all modes. Why not? Because you are careless and lax in the Way.” Further, he should not frivolously discuss the Dharma for the sake of argument. ”
“He should give rise to thoughts of great compassion towards all living beings and think of all the Tathagatas as compassionate fathers, all Bodhisattvas as great Masters. Always he should deeply revere and pay respect to all the great Bodhisattvas of the ten directions. He should speak Dharma in equal measure for all living beings. In accord with Dharma, he should speak neither too much nor too little; even to those who deeply love the Dharma, he should not speak too much.”
“Manjushri, in the future age, when the Dharma is about to become extinct, it will be impossible to trouble or confuse a Bodhisattva Mahasattva who has accomplished this third happily-dwelling conduct when he is speaking the Dharma. He shall gain good fellow students with whom he may read and recite this Sutra. Large assemblies will gather to listen to and accept it . Having heard it , they will uphold it; having upheld it, they will recite it; having recited it, they will be able to speak it; having spoken it, they will be able to write it out; to cause others to write it out; to make offerings to it; to rever e , honor , and praise it.”
At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses, saying:
“Further, Manjushri, in the future Ending Age, when the Dharma is about to become extinct, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva who upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra, should give rise to thoughts of great kindness for those at home and those who have left home. He should give rise to thoughts of great compassion for those who are not Bodhisattvas.”
“He should think, ‘People like this are missing a great deal. Although the Tathagata speaks the Dharma expediently and appropriately, they do not hear, know, or awaken to it. They do not inquire into it, believe it, or understand it.’”
“Although these people do not inquire into, believe, or understand this Sutra, still, when I obtain anuttarasamyaksambodhi, wherever they happen to be, I will use the power of spiritual penetrations and the power of wisdom to lead them to abide within this Dharma.”
“Manjushri, after the Nirvana of the Tathagata, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva, who accomplishes this, the fourth dharma, shall be free from error when he speaks this Dharma.”
“He will always receive offerings from and be revered, honored, and praised by Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, kings princes, great ministers, common people, Brahmans, lay people and so on. The gods in empty space will always follow and serve him in order to hear the Dharma. If, in villages and cities or in the wilds or forests, someone wishing to pose difficult questions approaches him, all the gods, for the sake of the Dharma, will protect him day and night, and he will cause the listeners to be joyful.”
“Why is this? This Sutra is protected by the spiritual powers of all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future.”
“Manjushri, throughout countless eons, it is not possible even to hear the name of the Dharma Flower Sutra, much less to see, receive, uphold, read, or recite it.”
“Manjushri, it is like a powerful wheel-turning sage king who wishes to subdue other countries by force. But all the lesser kings do not follow his commands. The wheel-turning king then mobilizes his various troops and goes to punish them. Seeing his troops successful in warfare, he is greatly delighted and rewards them, according to their merits, giving them fields, houses, villages, cities, countries or else clothing, personal ornaments, or various precious treasures of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, carnelian, coral, or agate: or elephants, horses, carriages, servants, or subjects.”
“Only the bright pearl on his cowl, that alone, he does not give away. Why not? Only the king can wear this pearl on his crown. If he gave it away, the king's retinue would surely be greatly astonished.”
“Manjushri, the Tathagata is also like this. Through the use of the powers of Dhyana samadhi and wisdom, he has gained the country of the Dharma and is king of the three realms. Still, the demon kings refuse to submit. The Tathagata's generals, the worthy ones and sages, do battle with them. With those who are successful, he is delighted. For the four assemblies, he speaks the Sutras, causing their hearts to rejoice. He confers upon them the Dhyana concentrations, the liberations, the lack of outflow, the roots, and the powers, and all the wealth of the Dharma. He further bestows upon them the city of Nirvana, telling them that they shall attain cessation. He guides their thoughts, causing them all to rejoice.”
“But he does not speak the Dharma Flower Sutra.”
“Manjushri, eventually the Wheel-turning king, seeing among his troops those who have been greatly successful, is overjoyed, and at last gives them the incredible pearl which he has long worn in his top-knot, and which he would never casually give away.”
“So, too, is it with the Tathagata. As the great king of the Dharma within the three realms, he uses Dharma to teach and transforms all living beings. Seeing the army of worthy ones and sages doing battle with the demons of the five skandhas, the demons of afflictions, and the demons of death, and being greatly successful extinguishing the three poisons, escaping the three realms, and rending the nets of the demons, the Tathagata is greatly pleased. He then speaks to them the Dharma Flower Sutra which can lead living beings to All-Wisdom, which meets with resentment and disbelief in all the world, and which he has never spoken of before.”
“Manjushri, the Dharma Flower Sutra is the foremost among the Tathagata's teachings. Among all the teachings it is the most profound, and it is only bestowed at the very end, just like that bright pearl which the powerful king long kept and then gave away. Manjushri, the Dharma Flower Sutra is the secret treasury of all the Buddhas, Tathagatas. Among all the Sutras it is the highest. In the long night of time it has been guarded and never recklessly expounded. Today, for the first time, I am speaking it for you.”
At that time the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses saying,
“Always practicing patience,
And being merciful to all,
One will then be able to proclaim
This Sutra praised by the Buddhas.
In the future Ending Age,
Those who uphold this Sutra,
Should bring forth kindness and compassion
For those at home, those who have left home,
And those who are not Bodhisattvas,
Thinking, “Those who do not hear
Or believe this Sutra
Suffer a great loss.
When I have gained the Buddha Way
I shall use expedients
To speak this Dharma for them
So they may abide within it.”
It is like a powerful
Who bestows rewards
Upon soldiers successful in battle:
Elephants, horses, carriages,
As well as fields, houses,
Villages, cities and countries.
Or he may give clothing
Or various rare treasures,
Servants or other valuables,
Giving them joyfully.
Should there be a hero
Who can do difficult deeds,
The king will take from his top-knot
His bright pearl, and give it to him.
The Thus Come One is also thus.
As king of all the Dharmas,
With patience, great power
And the precious store of wisdom,
With great kindness and compassion,
He transforms the world according to the Dharma.
He sees all people
Suffering pain and agony,
And battling with the demons.
For these living beings
He speaks various Dharmas.
Using great expedients,
He teaches them the Sutras.
Once he knows that living beings
Have become strong,
Then at the very end
He speaks the Dharma Flower for them.
This is like the king who unties his top-knot
And gives away his bright pearl.
Highest among the host of Sutras,
This Sutra is venerable.
I always guard and protect it,
And never speak it recklessly.
But now the time is exactly right
To speak it for all of you.
After my extinction,
Those who seeks the Buddha Way,
Who wish to gain peace and ease,
And to proclaim this Sutra
Should draw near
Such Dharmas as these four.
Those who read this Sutra
Will have no worries or afflictions;
They will be free from the pain of sickness,
With a countenance fresh and clear.
They would not be born poor,
Lowly, or ugly.
Living beings will be happy to see them,
As if they were longed-for sages.
All the children of the gods
Will act as their messengers.
Knives and staves will not hurt them,
Poisons will not harm them,
And should someone revile them,
His mouth will be stopped up.
They shall roam fearlessly
Like the lion king.
The light of their wisdom
Will shine like the sun.
In dreams they will see
Only wonderful things.
They may see the Tathagatas
Seated on their lion thrones,
Surrounded by a host of Bhikshus
As they speak the Dharma.
They will also see the dragons, spirits,
Asuras, and so forth,
In number like the Ganges' sands
Reverent, with palms joined.
They will see themselves appearing
To speak the Dharma for them.
Further, they will see all the Buddhas,
Their bodies of golden hue
Emitting limitless lights,
And proclaiming all the Dharmas
With the Brahma sound.
The Buddhas, for the four-fold host,
Will speak the supreme Dharma.
They shall see themselves there, too,
With palms joined, praising the Buddhas.
Hearing the Dharma, they will rejoice
And make offerings.
They will gain the Dharanis,
And certify to non-retreating wisdom.
The Buddhas, knowing their minds
Have deeply entered the Buddha Way,
And will then bestow upon them a prediction
For the realization of the most proper enlightenment.
Saying, “You, Good Men,
Shall in the future age,
Attain limitless wisdom,
And the Great Way of the Buddha.
Your lands shall be adorned and pure,
Vast and incomparable,
And the four assemblies there
Will listen to the Dharma with palms joined.”
They will also see themselves
Dwelling in the mountain forests,
Practicing wholesome dharmas,
Certifying to the Real Mark,
Deeply entering Dhyana concentration,
And seeing the Buddhas of the ten directions.
The Buddhas, with golden bodies,
Will be adorned with the marks of a hundred blessings.
Hearing their Dharma, they will speak it to others.
And always have good dreams like these.
They will also dream of being a king
Who, forsakes his palace and retinue,
As well as fine objects of the five desires,
To enter a Bodhimanda.
There, beneath the Bodhi tree,
They sit upon the lion throne,
Seeking the Way for seven days,
And gaining the Buddha's wisdom.
After realizing the supreme Way,
They rise and turn the Dharma wheel,
And speak the Dharma for the four-fold host.
Throughout thousands of myriads of millions of eons,
They speak the non-outflow wondrous Dharma,
And saves limitless living beings.
Later they enter Nirvana,
As a lamp goes out when its fuel is gone.
If, in the future evil age,
They can speak this foremost Dharma,
They shall gain great benefit,
Merit, and virtue as told above.”