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Saturday, July 15, 2017

From Chapter 23 of the Lotus Sutra, The Former Deeds of Medicine King Bodhisattva

Chapter 23 of the Lotus Sutra, The Former Deeds of Medicine King Bodhisattva

"If, further, a person filled the three thousand great thousand world system with the seven treasures and offered it to the Buddha, to the great Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas, and Arhats, the merit and virtue that person would obtain would not be equal to that of one who receives and upholds even a single four-line verse of the Dharma Flower Sutra, for the latter�s blessings are greater by far.

"Constellation King Flower! Just as, for example, among all the streams, rivers, and bodies of water, the ocean is foremost, so, too, among all the Sutras spoken by the Thus Come One, the Dharma Flower Sutra is the deepest and greatest.

"Further, just as among Earth Mountain, Black Mountain, the Lesser Iron Ring Mountain, the Greater Iron Ring Mountain, the Ten Jeweled Mountains, and the entire multitude of mountains, Mount Sumeru is foremost, so, too, among all the Sutras, the Dharma Flower Sutra is the most supreme.

"Further, just as among the stars, the Moon God is foremost, so, too, among the thousands of myriads of kotis of kinds of Sutra Dharmas, the Dharma Flower Sutra shines the brightest.

"Further, just as the Sun God can disperse all darkness, so, too, this Sutra can disperse all the darkness of unwholesomeness.

"Further, just as among the minor kings, the Wheel-Turning Sage King is foremost, so, too, among the Sutras, this Sutra is the most honored.

"Further, just as in the Heaven of the Thirty-three, Lord Shakra is king, so, too, among the Sutras, this Sutra is king.

"Further, just as the great Brahma God is the father of all living beings, so, too, is this Sutra the father of all the worthy sages, those studying, those beyond study, as well as those who have brought forth the Bodhisattva mind.

"Further, just as among the common people, the Srotaapanna, Sakridagamin, Anagamin, Arhat, and Pratyekabuddha are foremost, so, too, among all Sutra Dharmas, whether spoken by the Thus Come Ones, by the Bodhisattvas, or by Hearers, this Sutra is foremost.

"One who can receive and uphold this Sutra, in the same way, is foremost among all living beings.

"Just as among all the Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas, the Bodhisattva is foremost, so, too, among all the Sutra Dharmas, this Sutra is foremost.

"Just as the Buddha is the king of all Dharmas, so, too, is this Sutra the king of all Sutras.

"Constellation King Flower! This Sutra can save all living beings. This Sutra can lead all living beings to separate from suffering and distress. This Sutra can greatly benefit all living beings, fulfilling their vows. Just as a clear, refreshing pool can quench the thirst of all; as a cold person finds fire; as a naked person finds clothing; as a merchant finds customers; as a child finds its mother; as a passenger finds a boat; as a sick person finds a doctor; as one in a dark place finds a lamp; as a poor person finds a jewel; as the people find a king; as a trader finds the sea; as a torch dispels darkness the Dharma Flower Sutra, in the same way, can cause living beings to leave all suffering and all sickness and pain; it can untie all the bonds of birth and death.

"If a person hears the Dharma Flower Sutra, writes it out himself, or employs others to write it out, the limits of the merit and virtue he shall obtain cannot be calculated even by means of the Buddha's wisdom.

"If a person writes out this Sutra and makes offerings to it of flowers; incense; beads; burning incense; powdered incense; paste incense; banners and canopies; clothing; and lamps of various kinds such as butter lamps, oil lamps and fragrant oil lamps, lamps of champaka oil, lamps of sumana oil, lamps of patala oil, lamps of varshika oil, and lamps of navamalika oil, the merit and virtue obtained is also limitless.

"At that time all the Buddhas will praise this person from afar saying, 'Good indeed, good indeed, good man, that within the Dharma of Shakyamuni Buddha you can receive, uphold, read, recite, and ponder this Sutra, and speak it for others. The merit and virtue you obtain is limitless and boundless. Fire cannot burn it. Water cannot flood it. Your merit and virtue is such that if a thousand Buddhas spoke of it together, they could not exhaust it.

"You have already been able to destroy the thieves of Mara, to ruin the troops of birth and death, and to demolish all remaining enemies.

"Good man, a hundred thousand Buddhas, with their power of spiritual penetrations, all protect you. In all the world with its gods and humans, there is none like you, with the exception of the Thus Come One. The Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas, and even the Bodhisattvas, cannot equal you in wisdom and Dhyana concentration."

"Constellation King Flower, such is the power of the merit and virtue and wisdom accomplished by this Bodhisattva.

"If a person hears this chapter, "The Past Deeds of Medicine King Bodhisattva," and rejoices in accord, praising its goodness, that person's mouth in his present life will always emit the fragrance of a blue lotus. The pores of his body will always emit the perfume of oxhead chandana. The merit and virtue he obtains will be as described above.

"Therefore, Constellation King Flower, I entrust to you this chapter, "The Past Deeds of Medicine King Bodhisattva." After my passing, in the last five hundred years, propagate it extensively in Jambudvipa. Do not let it become extinct, thereby allowing evil demons, demonic denizens, all the heavenly dragons, yakshas, kumbhandas, and so forth to get their way.

"Constellation King Flower, you should use the power of spiritual penetrations to protect this Sutra. Why? Because this Sutra is good medicine for the sicknesses of those in Jambudvipa. If a sick person gets to hear this Sutra, his sickness will be cured immediately. He will not grow old or die.

"Constellation King Flower, if you see a person who receives and upholds this Sutra, you should scatter blue lotuses filled with powdered incense over him as an offering. Having done that, you should reflect: 'Before long, this person will certainly lay out a grass mat, sit in the Way-place, vanquish the troops of Mara, blow the Dharma conch, strike the great Dharma drum, and save all iving beings from the sea of old age, sickness, and death. therefore, when those who seek the Buddha Way see one who receives and upholds this Sutra, they should bring forth a reverent heart in this way."

When this chapter, "The Past Deeds of Medicine King Bodhisattva," was spoken, eighty-four thousand Bodhiattvas obtained the dharani of understanding the speech of all living beings.

From within the jeweled stupa, the Thus Come One Many Jewels praised Constellation King Flower Bodhiattva, saying, "Good indeed, good indeed, Constellation King Flower! You have accomplished such inconceivable merit and virtue that you are able to question Shakyamuni Buddha about matters such as these and to benefit limitless living beings."

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