THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Chapter 7- The Analogy of the Transformed City

The Buddha told the Bhikshus, “long ago, past limitless, boundless, inconceivable, asamkheyaeons, there was a Buddha called Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory, Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, One of Proper and Universal Knowledge, One Whose Understanding and Conduct are Complete, A Well-gone One, One Who Understands the World, Unsurpassed Lord, Taming and Regulating Hero, Teacher of Gods and Humans, Buddha, World Honored One. His country was named “ Good City,” and his eon was named “Great Mark”. O Bhikshus, it has been a great, long time since that Buddha passed into extinction.

Suppose someone were to grind all the earth in the three thousand great thousand worlds into ink powder and then suppose he passed through a thousand lands to the east and then dropped a particle the size of a mote of dust, and then passing through another thousand lands deposited another mote, and continued to do this until all the ink made of earth was exhausted. What do you think? Could a mathematician or his disciple ever reach the limit of the lands and know their number?

“No, World Honored One.”

“O Bhikshus, if the lands this person had passed through, whether or not he set down a particle in them, were all grounded into dust, and if each dust mote was equal to an eon, then the time since that Buddha passed into extinction would exceed their number by limitless, boundless, hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of asamkheya eons.

Using the power of the Thus Come One’s knowledge and vision, I behold that time in the distant past as if it were today.

At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses, saying,

“I recall that in a past age,
Limitless, boundless eons ago,
There was a Buddha, doubly honored,
By the name of Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory.

Suppose a person ground
All of the earth that there was
In three thousand great thousand lands
Entirely into ink powder;
And then suppose he passed through a thousand lands,
And then let fall one particle of it,
Continuing to drop particles in this way
Until all the ink particles were gone.
Suppose all of the countries he passed through,
Whether he dropped particles in them or not,
Again were completely grounded into dust motes,
And each dust mote was an eon;
These grains of dust would in number
Be exceeded by the number of eons
Since that Buddha has passed into extinction;
It has been limitless eons such as this.

The Thus Come One, with unobstructed wisdom,
Knows of that Buddha’s extinction,
And of his Hearers and Bodhisattvas,
As if seeing his extinction now.
Bhikshus, you should know
The Buddha’s wisdom is pure, subtle, and wondrous;
Without outflows and without obstructions
It penetrates limitless eons.”

The Buddha told the Bhikshus, “ The Buddha Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory had a life span of five hundred forty myriads of millions of nayutas of eons.”

When this Buddha was seated on the Bodhimanda, having destroyed the troops of Mara, although he was on the point of attaining anuttarasamyaksambodhi, still the Buddhadharma did not appear before him. So it was for one minor eon and then onwards to ten minor eons that he sat in the lotus posture, body and mind unmoving, and yet the Buddhadharma still did not appear before him. Thereupon, the gods of the Triyastrimsha Heaven, spread out for the Buddha, under a Bodhi tree, a lion throne one yojana in height; on that throne the Buddha was to attain anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Just as he sat down upon that throne, the Kings of the Brahma Heavens rained down heavenly flowers over a distance of one hundred yojanas. A fragrant wind from time to time swept away the withered flowers as fresh ones rained down. This continued without interruption for a full ten minor eons as an offering to the Buddha, the rain of these flowers continuing right up until his extinction. In the same way the gods of the four heavenly Kings constantly played heavenly drums as an offering to that Buddha and the other gods made heavenly instrumental music for a full ten minor eons, right up until his extinction.

Bhikshus, the Buddha Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory passed through ten minor eons before the Buddhadharma finally manifested before him and he attained anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Before that Buddha left home he had sixteen sons, the first of whom was named Accumulation of Knowledge. Each of them had a variety of precious, unusual fine toys. When they heard that their father had realized anuttarasamyaksambodhi they all cast aside these things they valued and went before the Buddha, escorted by their weeping mothers. Their grandfather, a Wheel-Turning Sage King, together with a hundred great ministers and with hundreds of thousands of myriads of millions of citizens all surrounded them and accompanied them to the Bodhimanda, all wishing to draw near to the Thus Come One Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory, to make offerings to him, to honor, revere and praise him. When they arrived, they bowed with their head at his feet, and having circumambulated him, they singlemindedly joined their palms, respectfully gazed upward at the World Honored One, and uttered these verses:

“World Honored One of great and awesome virtue,
For the sake of crossing over living beings
After limitless millions of eons,
You accomplished Buddhahood,
And perfected all your vows;
Unsurpassed is our good fortune.
Very rare you are, World Honored One,
In one sitting, passing through ten minor eons,
With body, hands, and feet,
Still, secure, and unmoving.
Your mind, ever tranquil,
Never knows distraction.
Ultimate, your eternal extinction,
As you dwell firmly in the non-outflow Dharma.

Now we see the World Honored One
Serenely realize the Buddha Path;
We all gain good benefit
And proclaim our delight and great joy.
Living beings, ever tormented by suffering,
Blind, and without a guide,
Fail to recognize the Path which ends that pain,
And do not know to seek their liberation.

During the long night the evil destinies increase,
While the hosts of gods are reduced in number;
From darkness they proceed into darkness,
Never hearing the Buddha’s name.

Now, the Buddha’s gained the utmost
Peace, rest, the non-outflow way;
And we, and all the gods,
To attain the greatest benefit
Therefore bow our heads
And return our lives to the Unsurpassed Honored One.”

When the sixteen sons had finished praising the Buddha, they then entreated him to turn the Dharma-wheel, saying, “World Honored One, speak the Dharma and bring us peace, show us pity, and benefit both gods and humans.” Then they spoke more verses saying:

“O Hero of the world, incomparable
Adorned with a hundred blessings,
And having attained unsurpassed wisdom,
Pray speak for the sake of this world
To cross over and liberate us and
All classes of living beings as well.
And lead us to attain that wisdom,
Demonstrate it: speak it in detail
For, if we can attain Buddhahood,
Other living beings can do the same.

The World Honored One knows the profound thoughts
Within the minds of living beings;
He knows the ways on which they walk
And the strength of their wisdom,
The pleasures and the blessings they have cultivated,
And all the deeds done in former lives.
The World Honored One, knowing all of this,
Should turn the unsurpassed wheel !”

The Buddha, Shakyamuni, told the Bhikshus, “When the Buddha Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory attained anuttarasamyaksambodhi, in each of the ten directions, five hundred myriads of millions of Buddha worlds quaked in six ways. The dark recesses between those lands, that the awesome light of the sun and moon could not illumine then, were brightly lit, and the living beings therein were able to see one another. They all said, “where have all these living beings come from?” Further, in those lands, all the heavenly palaces, up to the Brahma palaces, quaked in six ways. A great light shone everywhere, illumining the entire universe and surpassing the light of the heavens.”

At that time, in five hundred myriads of millions of lands to the east, the Brahma Heaven palaces shone with a light twice that of their usual brightness. Each of the Brahma Heaven Kings had this thought, “now the palaces are brighter than ever before. What is the reason for this manifestation?”

Then, the Brahma Heaven Kings visited one another and discussed this matter. In the assembly there was one great Brahma Heaven King by the name of Rescuing All, who on behalf of the Brahma hosts spoke verses, saying,

“All of our palaces
Are bright as never before;
What is the reason for this?
Let us seek it together.
Is it because a great and virtuous god has been born?
Or because a Buddha has appeared in the world,
That this great light
Shines throughout the ten directions?”

At that time, the Brahma Heaven Kings from five hundred myriads of millions of lands, together with their palaces, each with sacks filled with heavenly flowers, went to the west to seek out this manifestation. They saw the Thus Come One Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory seated on the lion throne beneath the Bodhi tree in the Bodhimanda, revered and circumambulated by gods, dragon kings, gandharvas, kinnaras, mahoragas, and beings both human and non-human. They saw as well the sixteen sons of the king requesting the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel.

Then, the Brahma Heaven Kings bowed with their heads at the Buddha’s feet, circumambulated him a hundred thousand times, and scattered heavenly flowers upon him. The flowers were piled as high as Mount Sumeru, and they offered them as well to the Buddha’s Bodhi tree, which was ten yojanas in height. Having made offerings of flowers, each presented his palace to the Buddha, saying, “pray show us pity, and benefit us by accepting and occupying these palaces that we offer you!”

Then the Brahma Heaven Kings, in front of the Buddha, with a single mind and the same voice, spoke verses in praise, saying:

“World Honored One, you are very rare,
And difficult to encounter;
Complete with limitless meritorious virtues,
You are able to rescue and protect all creatures.
Great teacher of gods and humans,
You who pity all the world
All beings in the ten directions
Receive your beneficence.

We have come from
Five hundred myriads of millions of lands,
Setting aside the bliss of deep dhyana samadhi,
For the sake of making offerings to the Buddha.
Blessings we’ve gained in former lives
Well ornament our palaces,
Now we offer them to the World Honored One,
Only praying you will show mercy and accept them.”

At that time, the Brahma Heaven Kings, having praised the Buddha, said “We only pray that the World Honored One will turn the Dharma-wheel, crossing over living beings, opening up the way to Nirvana.” Then; all the Brahma Heaven Kings, with one mind and the same voice, proclaimed these verses:

“Hero of the world, doubly perfect honored one,
We only pray that
You will expound and proclaim the Dharma,
And through the power of your great compassion and pity
Cross over suffering and tormented living beings.”

Thereupon, the Thus Come One Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory, assented by his silence.

Furthermore, O Bhikshus, to the southeast the great Brahma Kings in five hundred myriads of millions of lands, seeing their palaces in dazzling brilliance as never before, jumped for joy, thinking it rare indeed.

They visited one another and discussed this matter. Then, in the assembly, a Brahma Heaven King by the name of Great Compassion, on behalf of the Brahma hosts spoke these verses:

“What is the reason for this event?
Why has this sign appeared?
All of our palaces
Are aglow as never before.
Has a greatly virtuous god been born?
Or has a Buddha appeared in the world?
We have never seen such signs before.
With one mind we should investigate it,
Passing through a thousand myriads of millions of lands,
Searching for the light, investigating it together.
It must be that a Buddha has appeared
To take across the suffering living beings.”

At that time, five hundred myriads of millions of Brahma Heaven Kings, together with their palaces, each with sacks filled with heavenly flowers, went to the northwest to seek out this manifestation. They saw the Thus Come One Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory seated on the lion throne beneath the Bodhi tree in the Bodhimanda, revered and circumambulated by gods, dragon kings, gandharvas, kinnaras,mahoragas, and beings both human and non-human. They saw, as well, the sixteen sons of the king requesting the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel.

Then the Brahma Heaven Kings bowed with their heads at the Buddha’s feet, circumambulated him a hundred thousand times, then scattered heavenly flowers upon him. The flowers were piled as high as Mount Sumeru, and they offered them as well to the Buddha’s Bodhi tree. Having made offerings of flowers, each presented his palace to the Buddha saying, “Show us pity and benefit us by accepting and occupying these palaces that we offer you!” Then the Brahma Heaven Kings, before the Buddha, with a single mind and the same voice, spoke verses in praise, saying,

“Sagely Lord, king among gods,
With the kalavinka sound,
To you who pity living beings,
We now reverently bow.

The World Honored One is most rare,
Appearing but once in long ages.
One hundred and eighty eons have passed
Empty, without a Buddha.

The three evil paths are full.
The hosts of gods decrease.
Now the Buddha has appeared in the world,
To act as eyes for living beings,
As a refuge for the world,
Rescuing and protecting all creatures,
A father for all beings,
Pitying and benefiting them.
Now, through blessings gained in former lives,
We are enabled to meet the World Honored One.”

At that time, the Brahma Heaven Gods, having praised the Buddha, said, “We only pray that the World Honored One will take pity on all beings and turn the Dharma-wheel to liberate living beings.”

Then, the Brahma Heaven Kings, with one mind and a single voice, spoke verses saying,

“Great Sage, turn the Dharma-wheel,
To reveal the marks of all Dharmas,
To cross over tormented living beings,
So they may gain great joy.

When living beings hear the Dharma,
They may gain the way, or be reborn in the heavens;
The evil paths will decrease
And those of patience and goodness will increase.”

At that time, the Thus Come One Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory assented by his silence.

Furthermore, O Bhikkshus, to the south, the great Brahma Kings in five hundred myriads of millions of Buddhalands, seeing their palaces in dazzling brilliance as never seen before, jumped for joy, thinking it rare indeed.

Thereupon, they visited one another and discussed this matter, wondering, “Why do our palaces glow with the light?” Then, in the assembly a Brahma Heaven King called Wonderful Dharma, on behalf of the Brahma hosts, spoke these verses,

“All of our palaces
Shine with awesome brilliance;
This cannot be for no reason;
We should seek out this sign.

In a hundred thousand eons,
Such a sign has never been seen.
Has a great and virtuous god been born?
Or has a Buddha appeared in the world?”

At that time, five hundred myriads of millions of Brahma Heaven Kings, together with their palaces, each with sacks filled with heavenly flowers, went to the north to seek out this manifestation. They saw the Thus Come One Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory seated on the lion throne beneath the Bodhi tree in the Bodhimanda, revered and circumambulated by gods, dragon kings, gandharvas, kinnaras, mahoragas, and beings both human and non-human. They saw, as well, the sixteen sons of the king requesting the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel.

Then the Brahma Heaven Kings bowed with their heads at the Buddha’s feet, circumambulated him a hundred thousand times and scattered heavenly flowers upon him. The flowers were piled as high as Mount Sumeru, and they offered them, as well to the Buddha’s Bodhi tree. Having made offerings of flowers, each presented his palace to the Buddha, saying, “Show us pity and benefit us by accepting and occupying these palaces that we offer you.” Then the Brahma Heaven Kings, before the Buddha, with a single mind and the same voice, spoke verses in praise, saying,

The World Honored One is very hard to meet;
He who breaks through all afflictions.
Passing through a hundred and thirty aeons,
Only now do we get to see him.

May living beings, starving and thirsty,
Be filled with the rain of Dharma.
He, whom we have never seen before,
One of unlimited wisdom,
Rare as the Udumbara blossom
Today, at last we have met.
All of our palaces
Receiving your light, are adorned.
In your great compassion, World Honored One
Pray accept and live with them.”

At that time, the Brahma Heaven Kings, having praised the Buddha, said, “We only pray that the World Honored One will turn the Dharma-wheel, causing the entire world with its gods, maras, Brahmans, shramanas, all to become peaceful and calm and to attain liberation.” Then, the Brahma Heaven Kings, with a single mind and the same voice, spoke verses in praise, saying,

“Honored One among gods and humans,
Pray turn the unsurpassed wheel of Dharma.
Beat upon the Dharma drum,
And blow the great Dharma conch,

Let fall everywhere the great Dharma rain,
To cross over limitless living beings.
We all beseech you to expound and proclaim
The profound, far reaching sound.”

Thereupon, the Thus Come One Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory assented by his silence.

And so it was in all directions from the southwest to the lower direction.

Then, five hundred myriads of millions of great Brahma Kings in the upper directions, seeing the palaces they rested in shining with awesome brilliance, as never before, jumped for joy, thinking it rare indeed.

They visited one another and discussed this matter, wondering, “Why do our palaces shine with this bright light?”

Then, in the assembly, a Brahma Heaven King by the name of Shikhin, on behalf of the Brahma hosts, spoke verses, saying,

“Now, for what reason
Do our palaces shine
With such an awesome light
Adorned as never before?

Wondrous marks, such as these
We have never seen before
Has a great and virtuous god been born?
Has a Buddha appeared in the world?”


At that time, five hundred myriads of millions of Brahma Heaven Kings, together with their palaces, each with sacks filled with heavenly flowers, went to the lower direction to seek out this sign. They saw the Thus Come One Great Penetrating Wisdom Victory seated on the lion throne beneath the Bodhi tree in the Bodhimanda, revered and circumambulated by gods, dragon kings, gandharvas, kinnaras, mahoragas, and beings both human and non-human. They saw, as well, the sixteen sons of the king requesting the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel.

Then, the Brahma Heaven Kings bowed with their heads at the Buddha’s feet, circumambulated him a hundred thousand times, and scattered heavenly flowers upon the Buddha. The flowers that they scattered were as high as Mount Sumeru, and they offered them as well to the Buddha’s Bodhi tree. Having made offerings of flowers, they each presented their palace as an offering to the Buddha, saying, “We only pray that you will show us pity and benefit us by accepting and occupying these palaces.” Then the Brahma Heaven Kings, before the Buddha, with one mind and a single voice, spoke these verses:


“It is good indeed to see the Buddhas,
Honored Sages who save the world
And who, from the prison of the triple realm
Can effect escape for living beings,
All-wise, revered by gods and humans,
Pitying the flocks of beings
Opening the door of sweet dew,
Vastly saving all beings.

Limitless eons of yore
Have passed emptily, without a Buddha.
Before the World Honored One emerged,
The ten directions were ever in darkness,
The three evil paths increased,
And the asuras flourished,
While the hosts of gods diminished,
Most falling into evil paths at death.

They did not hear the Dharma from the Buddha,
But ever followed unwholesome paths.
Their bodily strength and wisdom,
Both decreased.
Because of offense karma
They lost joy and thoughts of joy.

They dwelt in Dharmas of deviant views,
Not knowing the rules of goodness.
Failing to receive the Buddha’s transforming,
They constantly fell into evil paths.

The Buddha acts as eyes for all the world,
And but once in a long while does appear.
Out of pity for living beings,
He manifests in the world,
Transcends it and realizes right enlightenment.

We rejoice exceedingly;
We and all the other beings,
Are happy as never before,
And all of our palaces
Receive the light and are adorned.

We now offer them to the World Honored One.
May he pity us and accept them.
We vow that this merit and virtue
May extend to all living beings,
So that we and all beings
May together realize the Buddha Way.”

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