The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law
Translated By H. Kern (1884)
Thereafter the Bodhisattva Bhaishagyarâga and the Bodhisattva Mahâpratibhâna, with a retinue of twenty hundred thousand Bodhisattvas, spoke before the face of the Lord the following words: Let the Lord be at ease in this respect; we will after the extinction of the Tathâgata expound this Paryâya to (all) creatures, though we are aware, O Lord, that at that period there shall be malign beings, having few roots of goodness, conceited, fond of gain and honour, rooted in unholiness, difficult to tame, deprived of good will, and full of unwillingness. Nevertheless, O Lord, we will at that period read, keep, preach, write, honour, respect, venerate, worship this Sûtra; with sacrifice of body and life, O Lord, we will divulge this Sûtra. Let the Lord be at ease.
Thereupon five hundred monks of the assembly, both such as were under training and such as were not, said to the Lord: We also, O Lord, will exert ourselves to divulge this Dharmaparyâya, though in other worlds. Then all the disciples of the Lord, both such as were under training and such as were not, who had received from the Lord the prediction as to their (future) supreme enlightenment, all the eight thousand monks raised their joined hands towards the Lord and said: Let the Lord be at case. We also will divulge this Dharmaparyâya, after the complete extinction of the Lord, in the last days, the last period, though in other worlds. For in this Saha-world, O Lord, the creatures are conceited, possessed of few roots of goodness, always vicious in their thoughts, wicked, and naturally perverse.
Then the noble matron Gautamî, the sister of the Lord's mother, along with six hundred nuns, some of them being under training, some being not, rose from her seat, raised the joined hands towards the Lord and remained gazing up to him. Then the Lord addressed the noble matron Gautamî: Why dost thou stand so dejected, gazing up to the Tathâgata? (She replied): I have not been mentioned by the Tathâgata, nor have I received from him a prediction of my destiny to supreme, perfect enlightenment. (He said): But, Gautamî, thou hast received a prediction with the prediction regarding the whole assembly. Indeed, Gautamî, thou shalt from henceforward, before the face of thirty-eight hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas, be a Bodhisattva and preacher of the law. These six thousand nuns also, partly perfected in discipline, partly not, shall along with others become Bodhisattvas and preachers of the law before the face of the Tathâgatas. Afterwards, when thou shalt have completed the course of a Bodhisattva, thou shalt become, under the name of Sarvasattvapriyadarsana (i. e. lovely to see for all beings), a Tathâgata, an Arhat, &c., endowed with science and conduct, &c. &c. And that Tathâgata Sarvasattvapriyadarsana, O Gautami, shall give a prediction by regular succession to those six thousand Bodhisattvas concerning their destiny to supreme, perfect enlightenment.
Then the nun Yasodharâ, the mother of Rahula, thought thus: The Lord has not mentioned my name. And the Lord comprehending in his own mind what was going on in the mind of the nun Yasodharâ said to her: I announce to thee, Yasodharâ, I declare to thee: Thou also shalt before the face of ten thousand kotis of Buddhas become a Bodhisattva and preacher of the law, and after regularly completing the course of a Bodhisattva thou shalt become a Tathâgata, named Rasmisatasahasraparipûrnadhvaga, an Arhat, &c., endowed with science and conduct, &c. &c., in the world Bhadra; and the lifetime of that Lord Rasmisatasahasrapariptirnadhvaga shall be unlimited.
When the noble matron Gautami, the nun, with her suite of six thousand nuns, and Yasodhara, the nun, with her suite of four thousand nuns, heard from the Lord their future destiny to supreme, perfect enlio,htenment, they uttered, in wonder and amazement, this stanza:
1. O Lord, thou art the trainer, thou art the leader; thou art the master of the world, including the gods; thou art the giver of comfort, thou who art worshipped by men and gods. Now, indeed, we feel satisfied.
After uttering this stanza the nuns said to the Lord: We also, O Lord, will exert ourselves to divulge this Dharmaparyâya in the last days, though in other worlds.
Thereafter the Lord looked towards the eighty hundred thousand Bodhisattvas who were gifted with magical spells and capable of moving forward the wheel that never rolls back. No sooner were those Bodhisattvas regarded by the Lord than they rose from their seats, raised their joined hands towards the Lord and reflected thus: The Lord invites us to make known the Dharmaparyâya. Agitated by that thought they asked one another: What shall we do, young men of good family, in order that this Dharmaparyâya may in future be made known as the Lord invites us to do? Thereupon those young men of good family, in consequence of their reverence for the Lord and their own pious vow in their previous course, raised a lion's roar before the Lord: We, O Lord, will in future, after the complete extinction of the Lord, go in all directions in order that creatures shall write, keep, meditate, divulge this Dharmaparyâya, by no other's power but the Lord's. And the Lord, staying in another world, shall protect, defend, and guard us.
Then the Bodhisattvas unanimously in a chorus addressed the Lord with the following stanzas:
2. Be at ease, O Lord. After thy complete extinction, in the horrible last period of the world, we will proclaim this sublime Sûtra.
3. We will suffer, patiently endure, O Lord, the injuries, threats, blows and threats with sticks at the hands of foolish men.
4. At that dreadful last epoch men will be malign, crooked, wicked, dull, conceited, fancying to have come to the limit when they have not.
5. 'We do not care but to live in the wilderness and wear a patched cloth; we lead a frugal life;' so will they speak to the ignorant.
6. And persons greedily attached to enjoyments will preach the law to laymen and be honoured as if they possessed the six transcendent qualities.
7. Cruel-minded and wicked men, only occupied with household cares, will enter our retreat in the forest and become our calumniators.
8. The Tîrthikas, themselves bent on profit and honour, will say of us that we are so, and-shame on such monks!-they will preach their own fictions.
9. Prompted by greed of profit and honour they will compose Sûtras of their own invention and then, in the midst of the assembly, accuse us of plagiarism.
10. To kings, princes, king's peers, as well as to Brahmans and commoners, and to monks of other confessions,
11. They will speak evil of us and propagate the Tîrtha-doctrine. We will endure all that out of reverence for the great Seers.
12. And those fools who will not listen to us, shall (sooner or later) become enlightened, and therefore will we forbear to the last.
13. In that dreadful, most terrible period of frightful general revolution will many fiendish monks stand up as our revilers.
14. Out of respect for the Chief of the world we will bear it, however difficult it be; girded with the girdle of forbearance will I proclaim this Sûtra.
15. I do not care for my body or life, O Lord, but as keepers of thine entrusted deposit we care for enlightenment.
16. The Lord himself knows that in the last pericd there are (to be) wicked monks who do not understand mysterious speech.
17. One will have to bear frowning looks, repeated disavowal (or concealment), expulsion from the monasteries, many and manifold abuses.
18. Yet mindful of the command of the Lord of the world we will in the last period undauntedly proclaim this Sûtra in the midst of the congregation.
19. We will visit towns and villages everywhere, and transmit to those who care for it thine entrusted deposit, O Lord.
20. O Chief of the world, we will deliver thy message; be at ease then, tranquil and quiet, great Seer.
21. Light of the world, thou knowest the disposition of all who have flocked hither from every direction, (and thou knowest that) we speak a word of truth.
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