The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law
Translated By H. Kern (1884)
ENCOURAGEMENT OF SAMANTABHADRA
Thereupon the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Samantabhadra, in the east, surrounded and followed by Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas surpassing all calculation, amid the stirring of fields, a rain of lotuses, the playing of hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of musical instruments, proceeded with the great pomp of a Bodhisattva, the great display of transformations proper to a Bodhisattva, the great magnificence of a Bodhisattva, the great power of a Bodhisattva, the great lustre of a glorious Bodhisattva, the great stately march of a Bodhisattva, the great miraculous display of a Bodhisattva, a great phantasmagorical sight of gods, Nâgas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human, who, produced by his magic, surrounded and followed him; Samantabhadra, then, the Bodhisattva, amid such inconceivable miracles worked by magic, arrived at this Saha-world. He went up to the place of the Lord on the Gridhrakûta, the king of mountains, and on approaching he humbly saluted the Lord's feet, made seven circumambulations from left to right, and said to the Lord: I have come hither, O Lord, from the field of the Lord Ratnategobhyudgata, the Tathâgata, &c., as I am aware, Lord, that here in the Saha-world is taught the Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, to hear which from the mouth of the Lord Sâkyamuni I have come accompanied by these hundred thousands of Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas. May the Lord deign to expound, in extension, this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law to these Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas. So addressed, the Lord said to the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Samantabhadra: These Bodhisattvas, young man of good family, are, indeed, quick of understanding, but this is the Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, that is to say, an unmixed truth. The Bodhisattvas exclaimed: Indeed Lord; indeed, Sugata. Then in order to confirm, in the Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, the females among the monks, nuns, and lay devotees assembled at the gathering, the Lord again spoke to the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Samantabhadra: This Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, young man of good family, shall be entrusted to a female if she be possessed of four requisites, to wit: she shall stand under the superintendence of the Lords Buddhas; she shall have planted good roots; she shall keep steadily to the mass of disciplinary regulations; she shall, in order to save creatures, have the thoughts fixed on supreme and perfect enlightenment. These are the four requisites, young man of good family, a female must be possessed of, to whom this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law is to be entrusted.
Then the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Samantabhadra said to the Lord: At the end of time, at the end of the period, in the second half of the millennium, I will protect the monks who keep this Satrânta; I will take care of their safety, avert blows [or punishment], and destroy poison, so that no one laying snares for those preachers may surprise them, neither Mâra the Evil One, nor the sons of Mâra, the angels called Mârakâyikas, the daughters of Mâra, the followers of Mâra, and all other servitors to Mâra; that no gods, goblins, ghosts, imps, wizards, spectres laying snares for those preachers may surprise them. Incessantly and constantly, O Lord, will I protect such a preacher. And when a preacher who applies himself to this Dharmaparyâya shall take a walk, then, O Lord, will I mount a white elephant with six tusks, and with a train of Bodhisattvas betake myself to the place where that preacher is walking, in order to protect this Dharmaparyâya. And when that preacher, applying himself to this Dharmaparyâya, forgets, be it but a single word or syllable, then will I mount the white elephant with six tusks, show my face to that preacher, and repeat this entire Dharmaparyâya. And when the preacher has seen my proper body and heard from me this entire Dharmaparyâya, he, content, in high spirits, ravished, rejoiced, joyful, and delighted, will the more do his utmost to study this Dharmaparyâya, and immediately after beholding me he will acquire meditation and obtain spells, termed the talisman of preservation, the talisman of hundred thousand kotis, and the talisman of skill in all sounds.
Again, Lord, the monks, nuns, male or female lay devotees, who at the end of time, at the end of the period, in the second half of the millennium, shall study this Dharmaparyâya, when walking for three weeks, (or) twenty-one days, to them will I show my body, at the sight of which all beings rejoice. Mounted on that same white elephant with six tusks, and surrounded by a troop of Bodhisattvas, I shall on the twenty-first day betake myself to the place where the preachers are walking; there I shall rouse, excite, and stimulate them, and give them spells whereby those preachers shall become inviolable, so that no being, either human or not human, shall be able to surprise them, and no women able to beguile them. I will protect them, take care of their safety, avert blows, and destroy poison. I will, besides, O Lord, give those preachers words of talismanic spells, such as, Adande dandapati, dandâvartani dandakusale dandasudhâri dhâri sudhârapati, buddhapasyani dhârani, âvartani samvartani sanghaparîkshite sanghanirghâtani dharmaparîkshite sarvasattvarutakausalyânugate simhavikrîdite. The Bodhisattva Mahâsattva, whose organ of hearing is struck by these talismanic words, Lord, shall be aware that the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Samantabhadra is their ruling power.
Further, Lord, the Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas to whom this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law shall be entrusted, as long as it continues having course in Gambudvîpa, those preachers, Lord, should take this view: It is owing to the power and grandeur of the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Samantabhadra that this Dharmaparyâya has been entrusted to us. Those creatures who shall write and keep this Sûtra, O Lord, are to partake of the course of duty of the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Samantabhadra; they will belong to those who have planted good roots under many Buddhas, O Lord, and whose heads are caressed by the hands of the Tathâgata. Those who shall write and keep this Sûtra, O Lord, will afford me pleasure. Those who shall write this Sûtra, O Lord, and comprehend it, shall, when they disappear from this world, after having written it, be reborn in the company of the gods of paradise, and at that birth shall eighty-four thousand heavenly nymphs immediately come near them. Adorned with a high crown, they shall as angels dwell amongst those nymphs. Such is the mass of merit resulting from writing this Dharmaparyâya; how much greater will be the mass of merit reaped by those who recite, study, meditate, remember it! Therefore, young men of good family, one ought to honour this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, and write it with the utmost attention. He who writes it with undistracted attention shall be supported by the hands of a thousand Buddhas, and at the moment of his death he shall see another thousand of Buddhas from face to face. He shall not sink down into a state of wretchedness, and after disappearing from this world he shall enter the company of the Tushita-gods, where the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Maitreya is residing, and where, marked by the thirty-two sublime characteristics, surrounded by a host of Bodhisattvas, and waited upon by hundred thousands of myriads of kolis of heavenly nymphs he is preaching the law. Therefore, then, young men of good family, a wise young man or young lady of good family should respectfully write this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, respectfully recite it, respectfully study it, respectfully treasure it up in his (or her) mind. By writing, reciting, studying this Dharmaparyâya, and by treasuring it up in one's mind, young men of good family, one is to acquire innumerable good qualities. Hence a wise young man or young lady of good family ought to keep this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law. I myself, O Lord, will superintend this Dharmaparyâya, that through my superintendence it may here spread in Gambudvîpa.
Then the Lord Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, &c., expressed his approval to the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Samantabhadra: Very well, very well, Samantabhadra. It is happy that thou art so well disposed to promote the weal and happiness of the people at large, out of compassion for the people, for the benefit, weal, and happiness of the great body of men; that thou art endowed with such inconceivable qualities, with a mind so full of compassion, with intentions so inconceivably kind, so that of thine own accord thou wilt take those preachers under thy protection. The young men of good family who shall cherish the name of the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Samantabhadra may be convinced that they have seen Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, &c.; that they have heard this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law from the Lord Sâkyamuni; that they have paid homage to the Tathâgata Sâkyamuni; that they have applauded the preaching of the Tathâgata Sâkyamuni. They will have joyfully accepted this Dharmaparyâya; the Tathâgata Sâkyamuni will have laid his hand upon their head, and they will have decked the Lord Sâkyamuni with their robes. Those young men or young ladies of good family, Samantabhadra, must be held to have accepted the command of the Tathâgata. They will have no pleasure in worldly philosophy; no persons fondly addicted to poetry will please them; no dancers, athletes, vendors of meat, mutton butchers, poulterers, pork butchers, or profligates will please them. After having heard, written, kept, or read such Stitrantas as this, they will find no delight in those persons. They must be held to be possessed of natural righteousness; they will be right-minded from themselves, possess a power to do good of their own accord, and make an agreeable impression on others. Such will be the monks who keep this Sûtrânta. No passionate attachment will hinder them, no hatred, no infatuation, no jealousy, no envy, no hypocrisy, no pride, no conceitedness, no mendaciousness. Those preachers, Samantabhadra, will be content with what they receive. He, Samantabhadra, who at the end of time, at the end of the period, in the second half of the millennium, sees a monk keeping this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, must think thus: This young man of good family will reach the terrace of enlightenment; this young man will conquer the troop of the wicked Mâra, move forward the wheel of the law, strike the drum of the law, blow the conch trumpet of the law, spread the rain of the law, and ascend the royal throne of the law. The monks who at the end of time, at the end of the period, in the second half of the millennium, keep this Dharmaparyâya, will not be covetous, nor greedy of robes or vehicles. Those preachers will be honest, and possessed of three emancipations; they will refrain from worldly business. Such persons as lead into error monks who know this Satranta, shall be born blind; and such as openly defame them, shall have a spotted body in this very world. Those who scoff and hoot at the monks who copy this Sûtrânta, shall have the teeth broken and separated far from each other; disgusting lips, a flat nose, contorted hands and feet, squinting eyes; a putrid body, a body covered with stinking boils, eruptions, scabs, and itch. If one speaks an unkind word, true or not true, to such writers, readers, and keepers of this Sûtranta, it must be considered a very heinous sin. Therefore then, Samantabhadra, people should, even from afar, rise from their seats before the monks who keep this Dharmaparyâya and show them the same reverence as to the Tathâgata.
While this chapter of the Encouragement of Samantabhadra was being expounded, hundred thousands of kotis of Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas, equal to the sands of the river Ganges, acquired the talismanic spell Âvarta.
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