(Translated from the Chinese of Kumarajiva by Kosho Yamamoto)
The Buddha again addressed the monks, “Those of you who have doubts about the precepts or vinaya, feel free to ask questions. I shall give explanations that will lead your minds to be eased. I have cultivated and studied all things that have the fundamental nature of empty stillness, comprehending them thoroughly. But, monks, do not say that the Tathàgata has only cultivated those things whose fundamental nature is empty stillness.”
Again, he addressed the monks, “If there are any doubts about the precepts or vinaya, you may now feel free to ask about them.”
Then the monks said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, we haven’t the wisdom to question the Tathàgata, the Worthy, the Completely Enlightened One. Why is that? The Tathàgata’s perspective is inconceivable. The concentrations that he possesses are inconceivable. The teachings and instructions he has expounded are inconceivable. This is why we haven’t the wisdom to be able to question the Tathàgata.”
“World Honored One, it is just as when an elder of a hundred and twenty years, whose body was engulfed by old age and ailments, lies down to sleep in bed and is unable to get up again from that position. The strength of his breath was empty and weak, so there was no telling what remained of his life span. Now, there was a wealthy person related to him by occupation who wished to travel to the other with a hundred jin of gold to give to that elderly person. And he said, `I now will travel to the other with this treasure in hand to use for our mutual support, perhaps through the course of ten years, or twenty years. Then once the work is done, I will forthwith return to my home.’ When the elderly and ill person thereupon received it, that elder had no heirs, and not long afterwards, his chronic illness ended his life. The possessions supporting him were scattered and lost. The wealthy lord went back seeking to recover his gold, but it was nowhere. Thus, this deluded person did not know whether calculating the value of their house was possible or not. This is why when he went back seeking to recover his gold, it was gone. Due to the circumstances of the death, he lost his treasure.
“World Honored One, we voice hearers are also again so. While we hear the Tathàgata’s sincere endeavor to teach the precepts, we are unable to receive, maintain, and cause them to remain long. Like that elderly person who had received the other’s investment, we now haven’t the wisdom. What questions shall we ask about the precepts or vinaya?”
The Buddha addressed the monks, “If you put your questions to me now, then you will be able to bless all the sentient beings. This is why I am telling you, those who are entangled in doubts should feel free to put forward their questions.”
Then the monks said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, it is like a person who is twenty five years old and who is prosperous and upright. Much was his wealth in gold, silver, and emeralds. His father, mother, wife, children, family, clan, and friends were all living together.
Thereupon, there was a person who came and entrusted his valuables to them, saying, `I have to make a work-related trip to another place. Once the work is finished, I will return again to my home.’ For that time, the prosperous man protected his things as though they were his own. When that man fell ill, he then commanded his family thus to keep the treasure that the other had entrusted to him in case the traveler came back seeking to retrieve it. The wise thus well know and consider that when they travel and then return to recover their possessions that they will retrieve them without loss.
“The World Honored One is also so. If he entrusts his Dharma treasure to Ananda and the monks, it could not remain for long. And why? The voice hearers and the great Kàsyapa all shall be impermanent, like that elderly person who received the other’s entrusted things. This is why he should instead entrust the unsurpassed Buddha’s Dharma to the bodhisattvas, with thebodhisattvas who are skillfully able at questions and answers. Thus, the Dharma treasure then would remain a long time. Immeasurable thousands of generations would be elevated and the sentient beings would be bountifully blessed with peace. They are like that prosperous person who received another’s investment. What does this mean? The great bodhisattvas are the only ones up to asking questions, but no others. Our wisdom is like that of mosquitoes. How could we beseech the Tathàgata for the profound Dharma?” Then the voice hearers fell silent and waited.
At that time, the Buddha praises the monks, saying, “Excellent, excellent! You well have attained the mind of non-defilement, the Worthy’s mind. I also have thought of these two conditions. It should be that the Mahàyàna is entrusted to the bodhisattvas if I am to cause the wondrous Dharma to remain long in the world.”
At that time, the Buddha addressed all of the great assembly, “Good sons and good daughters, this life span of mine cannot be calculated and discussion of my pleasing discourses also cannot be exhausted. You, moreover, should ask questions as you wish, whether it is about the precepts or refuge. And so too is it with second and third.”
At that time, there were in the assembly a child, a bodhisattva-mahàsattva. This pupil (tara) was from the town of the priestly clan of the great Kàsyapas. With the Buddha’s spiritual power he then rose from his seat, arranged his robes, circled the Buddha one hundred thousand times, and knelt to one knee. With his palms together, he said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, on this day I wish to make a small request. If the Buddha will listen, I would venture to voice it.”
The Buddha addressed Kàsyapa, “If you freely give your question, the Tathàgata, the Worthy, the Completely Enlightened One, will discuss it for you, end your doubts, and cause you to be elated.”
At that time, the Bodhisattva Kàsyapa again said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, since the Tathàgata has mercifully offered to listen, I will now ask it. Verily, the wisdom I possess is very slight, like that of mosquitoes, while the Tathàgata’s, the World Honored One’s, enlightenment and virtue is very lofty. It is undiluted like the lion of a sandalwood forest that is difficult to defeat and cannot be destroyed by the multitude. And so it has a retinue. The body of the Tathàgata is like true adamantine with a color like emerald. It is truly difficult to destroy.
“Again, it is for this ocean of great wisdom that he is encircled. Among the myriad assemblies, the great bodhisattva-mahàsattvas have all consummated measureless, boundless, deep, and wondrous merit. They are like great elephants. How could those at the fore of these great assemblies dare to ask questions now? They must receive the power of the Buddha’s spirit and bring back the great assembly’s good roots and majestic virtue. There are few questions to ask.”
Thereupon, before the Buddha, he asked with verses,
“How does one attain a long life span?
Or that indestructible body of adamantine?
Again, by what causes and conditions
Does one attain the power of its great solidity?
How is it that in this Sutra
There is the ultimate crossing over to the other shore?
I hope the Buddha will reveal his subtle secret
And widely proclaim it for sentient beings.
How does one attain the vastness
That is the support of the multitudes?
Who is really not a Worthy
And who measures up to the Worthy?
How does one recognize the heavenly màras
That create difficulties for the multitudes?
The Tathàgata speaks of Pàpãyàn,
But how should he be discerned and recognized?
How are they tamed?
The mind is elated at the discussion of the real truth
And the right and good is fully consummated.
Extensively discuss for us the four inverted views.
How does one do good deeds (karma)
About which the great sage now speaks?
How are the bodhisattvas
Able to see the nature that is difficult to see?
How should we understand the meaning of the full words
And the half words?
What is their holy practice,
Their most honored (satyadevatà)?
What is like the sun and moon,
The extremely pure and defiled stars?
How is it that having yet to launch the ‘citta
One can still be called a bodhisattva?
How is it that in the great assembly
They still can attain fearlessness
And be like the gold of the Jambu River,
That cannot to be said to be their better?
How is it that while dwelling in the era of decay
They are not stained, like the lotus flower?
How do they dwell in affliction
And affliction is unable to defile them,
Like a doctor who cures the myriad ailments
And is not effected by those ailments?
In the great ocean of birth and death
How do they do the work of ferrying?
How does one abandon birth and death
Like a snake shedding its skin?
How should one contemplate the three jewels
To be just like a heavenly wishing tree?
If the three vehicles have no nature
How then is it said that they are attained?
Just like a pleasure yet to arise
How is it called receiving happiness?
How do the bodhisattvas
Still attain non-harm of the multitude?
How do they for those born blind
Become the eyes to see and guide them?
How is it shown that these numerous heads
Only wish for the great sage’s discourses?
How does the Dharma preacher
Develop like the new moon?
How again it is shown
That the absolute is in Nirvana?
How does the bold advancer
Show men, gods, and màras the path?
How does one know the nature of things (dharmatà)
And receive happiness of the Dharma?
How do the bodhisattvas
Become free of all ailments?
How do they for sentient beings
Extensively propound the esoteric secret?
How do they express the absolute
And compare it to what is not absolute?
As they end the net of doubts
How does one speak to the unsure?
How then do they attain closeness
To the most supreme and unsurpassed path?
I now beseech the Tathàgata
On behalf of the bodhisattvas
Who hope that he will discuss these most profound,
Fine, and wondrous practices.
Amidst all phenomena
They all have the disposition of peaceful happiness.
My only wish is that the great sage, the Honored One,
Would for us give a discerning discourse.
The great support of sentient beings
Is these two feet of honor and wondrous happiness.
And now they wish to ask about the skandhas
Yet I have not the wisdom.
The diligent bodhisattvas
Also again are unable to know
Thus the most profound
Perspective of the Buddhas.”
At that time, the Buddha praised Bodhisattva Kàsyapa, “Excellent, excellent! Good son, you now have yet to attain the knowledge of all modes (sarvaj°Ëa), whereas I have already attained it. Verily, you have asked me about the most profound esoteric doctrine. It is just as that of those who investigate the knowledge of everything. There is no difference. Good son, when I sat beneath the bodhi-tree at the site of my enlightenment and first achieved the true awakening, at that time there were Buddha worlds possessingbodhisattvas that numbered like the sands of measurelessasaïkhyas of Ganges Rivers. And then they also asked me about the most profound esoteric doctrine. Verily, their questions were phrased just as virtuously. They were thus, without any difference. Such a questioner, therefore, is able to bestow blessings on the measureless sentient beings.”
At that time, the Bodhisattva Kàsyapa again said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, I have not the power of wisdom to be able to ask the Tathàgata about such a profound doctrine. World Honored One, like the mosquito that is unable fly over a great ocean to the opposite shore through the sky, I am also so. I am unable to venture questions to the Tathàgata about such a great ocean of wisdom, the nature of things, and sky that is the most profound doctrine.
“World Honored One, it is just as when a king who has in his topknot a bright pearl and he gives it to his minister of etiquette [?]. Once that minister had it, he wore it on his head, respectfully receiving and protecting it. I am also so. I wear on my head, respectfully receive, and protect the Tathàgata’s discourses on the means of the profound doctrine. And why? It is because they lead me to the extensive attainment of profound wisdom.”
At that time, the Buddha addressed Bodhisattva Kàsyapa, “Good son, listen closely, listen closely! I shall discuss for you the deeds that attain the Tathàgata’s long life span. The bodhisattva by these deeds will because of such causes and conditions then attain a long life span. This is why you must with the utmost mind listen and receive this. If these deeds are to be for a cause bodhi, one must with a sincere mind listen and receive this doctrine. Once they have listened to and received it, they then can return it by explaining it to others. Good son, it was because I cultivated constantly such deeds that I attained the supremely unexcelled bodhi.
Now, again, I explain its meaning extensively for others.
“Good son, it is just as a prince who commits crimes and is bound in prison. Because he is very merciful for and affectionately mindful of his son, the king rides his steed around to the place of his son’s is imprisoned. The bodhisattva is also so. Wishing to attain the long life span, he must be protectively mindful of all sentient beings, whom he views equally as his own children.
There arises in him great compassion, great empathy, great joy, and great renunciation. He imparts the precept of not killing and teaches the cultivation of the good Dharma. He also grounds all sentient beings in the five precepts and ten good deeds.
“Further, he goes among the hells, hungry ghosts, animals, andasuras, into all the destinations. He carries out of these places the suffering sentient beings, freeing those yet to be freed and saving those yet to be saved, causing those that have yet to enter Nirvana to attain Nirvana, and pacifying and consoling all those who are fearful. Because of the causes and conditions of such deeds, thebodhisattva then attains the life span that is very long and in wisdom he becomes sovereign. As a consequence, when he life ends he will be born in the heavens above.”
At that time, Bodhisattva Kàsyapa again said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, the bodhisattva-mahàsattva regards sentient beings equally as his own children. This is a doctrine that is profound and hidden, that I have yet to be able to understand. World Honored One, the Tathàgata should not say that the bodhisattva cultivates the mind of equanimity towards sentient beings, viewing them equally as his children. And why is that? In the Buddha’s Dharma there are precept breakers, committers of the contrary misdeeds, and those who harm the true Dharma. How shall one view such people equally as one’s children?”
The Buddha replied to Kàsyapa, “So it is, so it is. I really do view those sentient beings as children like Ràhula.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa again said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, during a past sangha poùadha on the fifteenth day, there was in an assembly that was endowed with precepts purely, a youth who did not well cultivate his bodily, verbal, and mental deeds. He stayed in a dark and hidden corner where he stole away to listen to the pronouncement of the precepts. The warrior Vajrapàõi received the Buddha’s spiritual power and with an adamantine mallet smashed him to bits. World Honored One, this adamantine spirit is rough and wicked such that he was capable of ending this youth’s life. How does the Tathàgata regard this sentient being equally, as a child like his son Ràhula?”
The Buddha replied to Kàsyapa, “You now should not say this. This youth then is a conjured person and unreal. It was only in order to drive away precept breakers and those who harm the Dharma, to cause them to leave that assembly, that Vajrapàõi displayed this illusion, and that alone. Kàsyapa, those who harm and slander the true Dharma and the icchantika, those who have killed beings up to those having wrong views and who therefore transgress the commandments; I have empathy for all of these equally. I view them equally as children like my son Ràhula.
“Good son, it is just as when a group of a king’s ministers transgress the royal law and as a result of these crimes are condemned and punished, but still they do not cease or desist. The Tathàgata, the World Honored One, is not thus. Regarding those who harm the Dharma, he confers the act (karma) of driving it away, the act of rebuke, the act of desisting, the act of holding up the misdeed, the act of being unable to see any, the act of cessation, and the act of having yet to depart from evil views. Good son, when associating with those who slander the Dharma, the Tathàgata performs these that discipline that deed, because he wishes to show that the actions of wicked people do have consequences. Good son, you now should know that the Tathàgata thereupon gives this gift to the wicked sentient beings without anxiety. Whether emitting one light, two, or three, and someone meets them, they all become free of all their misdeeds. The Tathàgata today is endowed with such measureless vital strength. Good son, you are one who has yet to be able to see the Dharma that you wish to see. Now I will discuss its marks and appearance for you.
After my Nirvana, you should follow in its direction. There will be monks who uphold the precepts, their majestic deportment perfected, and who protect and uphold the true Dharma. Seeing those who harm the Dharma, then, they are able to drive them off, rebuke them, and subdue them. You should know that this person will attain merit that is measureless and indescribable.
“Good son, it is just as when a king turns to tyranny, who acts wickedly, and meets with a grave illness. And a neighboring king hears of his reputation, raises an army, and goes there with the wish to kill that king. And then the ill king, because he has no strength, corrects himself then out of fear and apprehension, rectifying his mind to cultivate the good. And so this neighboring king attains merit that is measureless. The monk who upholds the Dharma is also so. Driving away and rebuking those who harm the Dharma, he causes them to practice the good Dharma and attains merit that is measureless.
“Good son, it is just as when a poisonous tree grows in the yard of an elder’s house. The elder having recognized it, he immediately cuts it down so that it will be gone forever. Further, it is just as when the small and large head grows white hair, it becomes embarrassing, and so it is trimmed back so that it does not grow too long. The monk who upholds the Dharma is also so. Seeing the precept breaker and the one who harms the Dharma, he then should drive them away, rebuking them, and holding them up for display. If a good monk sees one who harms the Dharma, and he hesitates, not driving him away, rebuking, and holding him up for display, you should know that this person has some resentment towards the Buddha’s Dharma. If he is able to drive him away, rebuke him, and hold him up for display, this is a disciple of mine, a true voice hearer.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa again said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, according to what the Buddha has said, he therefore does not regard all sentient beings equally, as children like Ràhula. World Honored One, if there is a person who uses a blade to injure the Buddha or there is a person who rubs sandalwood powder on the Buddha, the Buddha should give rise to the mind of equanimity regarding both of these people. How then do you say that one should subdue the breaking of commandments. If one subdues the breaking of the commandments, then this statement is mistaken.”
The Buddha addressed Kàsyapa, “Good son, it is just as when a king’s great minister is the head of a family and raises several sons. Their countenances are straight and proper, with sharp sight, and clever wisdom. If the second, third, and fourth care for and bestow adornments on their teacher, he then says, ‘Sir, you may teach and instruct these sons for me in matters of majestic deportment, rites, music, gardening, writing, and cause them to consummate these skills.
Now I give over my four sons to you, sir, to be your students.’ Supposing that three of the sons were caned and die, the remaining son necessarily would grieve, be subdued, and made more mature. Although attending the funeral of the three sons, in the end he was not resentful.
Kàsyapa, this father and teacher who killed them were wicked, no?”
“No, World Honored One. And why? Because they were affectionately mindful of them and wished to mature them, there was no wicked thought. Thus, their teaching and instruction attained merit that is measureless.”
“Good son, the Tathàgata is also so. He regards the one who harms the Dharma as a child. The Tathàgata now confers the unsurpassed true Dharma to the kings, great ministers, monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen. These kings and the fourfold assemblies should endeavor and apply themselves as students and attain development in the precepts, samàdhi, and wisdom. If there are some who do not study this three-part Dharma and are lazy, then they will break the precepts and slander the true Dharma. The kings, ministers, and fourfold assemblies should then grieve and be subdued. Good son, the kings and fourfold assemblies will have been wicked, no?”
“No, World Honored One.”
“Good son, the kings and fourfold assembles still would not have done wrong. How could the Tathàgata? Good son, the Tathàgata skillfully cultivates thus equanimity towards sentient beings, equally viewing them as his children. One who thus cultivates this is called abodhisattva cultivating the mind of equanimity towards sentient beings, equally viewing them as his children.
Good son, the bodhisattva thus cultivating this deed swiftly will attain the long life span. And as well he may skillfully know the matters of the worldly household.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa again said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, as the Buddha has said, if the bodhisattva has cultivated the mind of equanimity, regarding sentient beings equally as his children, he will swiftly attain the long life span. But the Tathàgata should not say this. And why? As I know the Dharma, a person is able to proclaim a variety of Dharmas of pious agreement. Returning to the household with tiles and stones, he throws them at his the mother and father. And the mother and father’s excellent field of merit has many blessings that are difficult to meet and difficult to encounter. They should be excellently offered gifts rather than bear this anxiety and injury. The person who knows the Dharma says that actions and appearances are mistaken. The Tathàgata’s statement is also again so. The bodhisattva who cultivates the mind of equanimity towards sentient beings, viewing them equally as his children, should attain the long life span, and well know the household life. He would eternally abide in the world without any change. Now the World Honored One by what causes and conditions has a life span that is very short, equal to that among humans? The Tathàgata will give rise to views of enmity and hate towards none of the sentient beings. World Honored One, in former times it was by doing what evil deed that has harmed the length of your life and brought about this short life span that does not measure even a hundred years?”
The Buddha addressed Kàsyapa, “Good son, what now are the conditions for you to now put such a coarse statement before the Tathàgata? The Tathàgata’s is the longest life span among life spans. It is the supreme and greatest who has attained the eternal Dharma that among Dharmas is the very best.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa again said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, how has the Tathàgata attained a life span that is measureless?”
The Buddha addressed Kàsyapa, “Good son, it is like the eight great rivers that are named 1) the Ganges, 2) the Yama, 3) the Sàlva, 4) the Ajiravatã, 5) the Mahà, 6) the Indus, 7) the Vaïkùu, and 8) the øita. These eight great rivers and the lesser rivers all flow into the ocean. Kàsyapa, so it is with all among humans and in the heavens above the earth and sky. Their life spans are like the great rivers. They all flow into the ocean of the Tathàgata’s life span. This is why the Tathàgata’s life span is measureless.
“Furthermore, Kàsyapa, it is just as four great rivers issue from Lake Anavatapta. The Tathàgata is also so. He produces all lives. Kàsyapa, it is just like among all constant things, space is the best. The Tathàgata is also so. Among the constants, he is the very best. Kàsyapa, it is just as among medicines ghee is the best. The Tathàgata is also so. Among all sentient beings, his life span is the best.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa again said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, if the Tathàgata’s life span is so, then he should remain for an aeon or less than a aeon, always promulgating the wondrous Dharma like a downpour, a great rain.”
“Kàsyapa, you should not now give rise to the view that the Tathàgata is subject to birth and death. Kàsyapa, if there are monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, and even those of other paths and the sages of the five spiritual powers, any who have attained sovereignty, remaining for an aeon or less than an aeon, they will continuously practice emptiness while sitting or lying down, with mastery. From their left side is produced fire and from their right side is produced water. And the body produces smoke and heat like a pile of hot coals. If they wish to extend their lives, they are able to attain that as they wish. In the span of their lives, they should cultivate the capacity of shortness. Thus those of the five powers still attain thus the spiritual power of following one’s wishes. How much more so is the Tathàgata’s attainment of mastery in all Dharmas? Still, he is unable to remain a life span of a half aeon or a full aeon, or a hundred aeons, or a hundred thousand aeons, or a measureless number of aeons. And what does this mean? It should be known that the Tathàgata’s is an eternally abiding Dharma and an unchanging Dharma, and that this body of the Tathàgata is a transformational body and not a body of sundry foods. It is in order to save sentient beings that he appears the same as the poisonous tree. This is why he manifests his departure and enters into Nirvana. Kàsyapa, you should know that the Buddha is an eternal thing and an unchanging thing. In the highest meaning, you should endeavor and advance single mindedly in cultivating this and, once you have cultivated it, extensively explain it to others.”
At that time, Bodhisattva Kàsyapa said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, the Dharma of renouncing the world and the worldly Dharma have what differences? As the Buddha has said, the Buddha is an eternally abiding thing and an unchanging thing. The worldly also say that Brahma is eternal, that äsvara is eternal, that they are devoid of any change. The eternal nature of self and the eternal atoms are also eternal. If one says that the Tathàgata is an eternal thing, why does the Tathàgata appear to not be eternal? If he is not eternal in appearance, what difference then? And why? It is because Brahma up to the atoms and the nature of the world do not appear this way.”
The Buddha addressed Kàsyapa, “It is just like an elder who had many oxen. While their colors were various, they belonged to a single herd. As they went out to graze, someone herded them towards the water and grass. They were only for making ghee, not to seek milk or cream. That herd of grazing oxen having been enticed, they ate their food. When the elder’s life came to an end, the oxen he owned were stolen by a group of bandits. Once the bandits had the oxen, though, there were no wives among them. And so they themselves herded and gathered them together and then the oxen ate. At that time, the group of bandits each said to one another, `That great elder who had kept and cared for these oxen, did not seek milk or cream from them, but only ghee. Now how shall we go about obtaining that as well? Ghee is called the best, most supreme flavor of the world. But we have no containers to go about obtaining the milk and have no place to store it.’
Again, they said to one another, ‘If only there were a leather bag that could be filled with it. Although there may be a place to fill it, we do not know how to heat or stir it. Soup is so difficult to make, how much more would it be to make butter?’ At that time, the bandits, in order to make ghee, added water to it. Because the water was too much, the milk and ghee was altogether ruined.
“Ordinary men are also so. Although there is the good Dharma, all overlook the Tathàgata’s true Dharma. And why? After the Tathàgata, the World Honored One, enters Nirvana, the Tathàgata’s inheritance of the good Dharma is stolen by robbers. Be it the precepts, samàdhi, or wisdom, it is just as it was with those bandits who plundered the herd of oxen. Although ordinary men attain the precepts, samàdhi, and wisdom, they have not the skillful means and so are unable to gain liberation. And what is the meaning of this? They are unable to obtain liberation, the eternal precepts, the eternal samàdhi, and the eternal wisdom, just as that group of bandits did not know the skillful mean and so ruined the ghee. They are further like that group of bandits who, in order to make the ghee, added water to it. Ordinary men are also so. In order to gain liberation, they say that my life span is that of sentient beings, that the sage, Brahma, äsvara, atoms, the nature of the world, precepts, samàdhi, wisdom, and the means of the liberation of the heaven with no thought nor non-thought are then this Nirvana. But, really, those as well do not gain the liberation of Nirvana., just as that group of bandits did not gain any ghee. The ordinary men who practice asceticism a little and give offerings to their parents by these causes and conditions attain birth in the heavens above, receiving a little happiness, just like that group of bandits who added water to the milk. And so the ordinary man really does not know the reason that cultivating a little of the ascetic practice and giving support to their parents attains that birth in the heavens above.
Further they are unable to know the precepts, samàdhi, wisdom, or refuge in the three jewels.
Because they do not know them, they speak of the eternal, happy, self, and pure. While, again, they speak of them, they really do not know them. This is why after the Tathàgata appears in the world, he discusses the eternal, happy, self, and pure for their sake, like the wheel-turning king when he appears in the world.
Because of the power of merit and virtue, that group of bandits went back and released the oxen without shortening their lives. Then a wheel-turning king gave the oxen to a custodian, one who had many techniques. This custodian’s skillful means then gained him the ghee. Because of the ghee, all the sentient beings had no worry or distress. When the Dharma-wheel turning holy king appears in the world, ordinary men are unable to discuss the precepts, samàdhi, or wisdom.
And so they have discarded and forsaken them, just like the bandits who went back and turned lose the oxen. At that time, the Tathàgata skillfully proclaims the worldly Dharma and the world renouncing Dharma. For the sake of sentient beings, he causesbodhisattvas to accord with the right discourses. The bodhisattva-mahàsattva, once he has attained the ghee, again causes the measureless and boundless sentient beings to all attain the unsurpassed flavor of the sweet Dharma nectar, which is called the Tathàgata who is eternal, happy, self, and pure. What is the meaning of this?
“Good son, the Tathàgata’s eternal and unchanging Dharma is not like that of the worldly ordinary men, the confused men, who claim that Brahma is the eternal Dharma. This eternal Dharma is proclaimed necessary to the Tathàgata and is not an excepted Dharma. Kàsyapa, you must thus know the Tathàgata’s body. Kàsyapa, good sons and good daughters who constantly fix their mind and cultivate these words, `the Buddha is eternally abiding’. Kàsyapa, if there are good sons and good daughters who cultivate these words, you should know that these people are in accord with my practice, going to me, going to my abode. Good son, if there is one who cultivates thus these words, they will eliminate the characteristics. You should know that the Tathàgata therefore to that person is Parinirvana. Good son, the meaning of Nirvana then is the essential nature (dharmatà) of the Buddhas.
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, what is the meaning of this essential nature of the Buddha? World Honored One, I now wish to know the meaning of this essential nature. My only desire is for the Tathàgata to be merciful and explain it. This essential nature then must discard the body. One who discards the body is said to exist nowhere. If one exists nowhere, how is the body present? If the body is present, how then is it called the body that has the essential nature? How is this body that has essential nature present? How now shall I know the meaning of this?”
The Buddha addressed Bodhisattva Kàsyapa, “Good son, you now should not thus state that cessation is the essential nature. The essential nature is without any cessation. Good son, it is just like the heaven without thought (avçha-brahmaloka) where the consummate form-skandha is without the notion of form. One should not ask those gods there, ‘How then do you abide in joy, enjoying pleasant experiences? How do you think? How do you see and hear?’ Good son, the perspective of the Tathàgata is not known by voice hearers or condition perceivers. Good son, one should not say that the Tathàgata’s body is something that ceases. Good son, the Tathàgata’s Dharma of cessation is the perspective of the Buddha, not fathomed by the voice hearers and condition perceivers. Good son, you now should not think, ‘What is the Tathàgata’s location? Where does he abide? Where does he go? Where does he look? Where is he happy?’ Good son, the meaning of this is also not something you can know, for the Buddha’s essential body and various skillful means are inconceivable.
“Furthermore, good son, you must cultivate the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and create this constant idea that these three things are without any difference, without impermanence, and without change. If regarding these three things, one cultivates other ideas, it should be know he is of the rank for whom the pure triple refuge therefore has no place of support. Those who possess the commandments and precepts, but who have not perfected them, in the end are unable to realize the fruit of awakening the bodhi of the voice hearers and condition perceivers. If one is able to cultivate the notion of constancy regarding the inconceivable, then there will a place of refuge for him.
“Good son, it is just like the reason that a tree therefore has a tree’s shadow. The Tathàgata is also so. Because he has the eternal Dharma, there therefore is refuge in what is not impermanent. If one says the Tathàgata is impermanent, the Tathàgata then would not be a place of refuge for the gods and worldly people.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, it is just as in darkness a tree has no shadow.”
“Kàsyapa, you should not say that a tree has no shadow. It would be only that there is no eye to see it. Good son, the Tathàgata is also so. His nature is eternally abiding and unchanging. When there is no wisdom eye, one is unable to see it, just as in that darkness the tree’s shadow is not seen. That after the Buddha’s death ordinary men say that the Tathàgata is an impermanent thing is also again so. If they say that the Tathàgata is different from the Dharma and Sangha, then they are unable to achieve the place of the three refuges. Just as because your parents are each different, therefore their professions is impermanent.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa again said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, I from this day forwards shall instruct and awaken my parents down to the seventh generation to the eternally abiding Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and lead them to transmit it. It is extraordinary, World Honored One! I now shall study the Tathàgata, Dharma, and Sangha as being inconceivable. Once I am finished studying this, I will also widely explain this meaning to other people. If there are people who are unable to believe and accept it, it should be known that this class for a long time has cultivated impermanence. I will give Such people a cold rain shower.”
At that time, the Buddha praised Bodhisattva Kàsyapa, “Excellent, excellent! You now are well able to protect the true Dharma. Such protection of the Dharma does not delude people. Because of this good deed of not deluding people, one will attain the long life span and well know the household life.”
At that time, the World Honored One again addressed Kàsyapa, “Good son, the Tathàgata’s body is an eternally abiding body. It is an indestructible body, a body of adamantine. Not being a body of sundry foods, it is the essential body.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, I do not see at all such a body of which the Buddha has just spoken. I see only an impermanent, destructible body of sundry food and earth. And why? Because the Tathàgata is about to enter intoParinirvana!”
The Buddha addressed Kàsyapa, “You should not say that the body of the Tathàgata is infirm and destructible like a ordinary man’s body. Good son, you now should know that the body of the Tathàgata over the course of measureless tens of millions of aeons is firm, steady, and difficult to destroy. It is not a human or deva body, not a fearful body, nor a body of sundry foods. The body of the Tathàgata is not a body. This body is does not arise or cease, not continuous, and not cultivated. Measureless and boundless, it leaves no footprints. It is imperceptible, without appearance, and absolutely pure. It has no motion, no sensation, and no activity. It neither abides nor is created; it has neither flavor or ingredients. Nor is it conditioned; neither by deeds nor their results. Not active, not ceasing, not mental, nor numerable, it is inconceivable and eternally not discussible. Lacking consciousness, it is free of mentality, and yet it does not part with mentality. Its mentality is equanimity, not existent and yet existent. There is nothing [in it] gone or coming, and yet it goes and comes. It is not broken or destroyed; not temporary or ending. It is not produced and it does not cease. It is not a master, and yet it is the master. It is neither existent or non-existent, neither sensible or observable. It is not a word, and yet is not wordless. It is neither established or not established. Invisible and entirely seen, it is without location and yet dwells. It is without an abode and yet it has an abode. Neither dark nor illuminated, it has no tranquility, and yet it is tranquil. It exists nowhere, is neither received or given, and its purity is without defilement or purity, it is the end of purity. Abiding by not abiding anywhere, it neither is apprehended or lost. It is neither a thing or not a thing. It is neither a field of merit nor not a field of merit. Inexhaustible, it is not exhausted, parting with all exhaustion. Being empty, it parts with emptiness. Although it does not eternally abide, it does not cease from thought to thought, and has no sullying defilements. Having no words, it parts with words. It is neither heard nor expressed, and also is not cultivated. Not appraised or measured, not same or different, it has no image and no appearance adorning characteristics. Neither courageous nor fearful, without peace or non-peace, without obsession or non-obsession, it cannot be looked upon since it lacks any appearance or countenance.
“The Tathàgata liberates all the sentient beings. Because none are liberated, he is able to free the sentient beings. Because there are none freed, he enlightens the sentient beings. Because there are none enlightened, he explains things as they really are. Because there is no duality, it cannot be measured and is unparalleled. Even like empty space, it has no image or countenance.
Equally of an unborn nature, it is neither temporary or permanent. While always practicing the one vehicle, sentient beings see three. Not reversing or turning back, it ends all bondages. Not hostile or offensive, it is not of a nature nor abides in a nature. He is not unified or scattered, not long or short, not round or square. He is not the aggregates (skandhas), senses, or elements and yet is the aggregates, senses, and elements. It is not increasing or decreasing, won or lost. The body of the Tathàgata is thus the consummation of measureless virtue.
“Having no perceiver or non-perceiver, having no seer or non-seer, it is neither conditioned nor unconditioned. It is not worldly or unworldly, neither created nor not created, not dependent or independent. It is neither the four gross elements nor not the four gross elements. It is not caused nor uncaused, neither a sentient being nor not a sentient being, neither a sramaõa or a bràhmaõa. The Lion, the Great Lion, is neither a body or not a body. It is inexpressible. Remove a single thing or characteristic and it is incalculable. And at the time of Parinirvana it does not enterParinirvana The Tathàgata’s essential body is the complete consummation of all these immeasurable and minutely fine virtues.
“Kàsyapa, it is only the Tathàgata who arrives at the knowledge of its appearance. Neither voice hearers nor condition perceivers know of it. Kàsyapa, thus is the merit of achieving the body of the Tathàgata. It is not the body that has been long nourished with sundry foods. Kàsyapa, the merit of the Tathàgata’s real body is so. How could it be subject to disease, anxiety, distress, fear, fragility, infirmity, or be like a clay vessel? Kàsyapa, the Tathàgata manifests illness and distress because he wishes to harmonize and discipline the sentient beings. Good son, you now should know that the body of the Tathàgata is an adamantine body. From this day forwards, you should concentrate your mind and consider, having no thought of it as a food body. And you should explain for others that the Tathàgata’s body is the essential body.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, the Tathàgata having consummated these merits of his body, how is it that it shall be subject to illness, distress, impermanence, injury, or destruction? From this day forwards, I shall always consider the body of the Tathàgata as being the eternal essential body, the body of peaceful happiness. Also, I shall widely explain of it for others. Verily, World Honored One, the Tathàgata’s essential body is adamantine and indestructible. However, I am still unable to know what its origin is.”
The Buddha addressed Kàsyapa÷, “It is because of being able to protect and uphold the true Dharma’s causes and conditions that one consummates the adamantine body. Kàsyapa, I in the remote past have protected the Dharma’s causes and conditions, and so now I have consummated the adamantine body that is eternally abiding and indestructible. Good son, one who protects and maintains the true Dharma, who has not received the five precepts or cultivated the majestic deportment, should carry knife, sword, bow and arrow, spear, or lance, defending and upholding the precepts of the pure monk.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, suppose a monk leaves such protection to dwell alone in unoccupied and peaceful mountains and forests. Let us say that this person is a genuine monk. Suppose there is another who follows him and seeks to be the protector of this monk’s practice. It should be known that this person is a comrade of that head-shaven worthy.”
The Buddha addressed Kàsyapa, “You should not say this about that head-shaven worthy. Suppose this monk, whom the other person follows to his dwelling, reads and recites the Sutras and considers them in seated meditation. If questions are put to him about the Dharma, then he gives thorough discourses on it. This is called the generous upholding of the precepts, the blessed virtue with little desire, and satisfaction. Although he is able to give various discourses on the Dharma, this is the very reason he is unable to perform the lion’s roar. He is not acting as a lion who is encircled, and so he is unable to discipline evil people who are not of the Dharma. Thus, this monk is incapable of benefiting himself and sentient beings. You should know that this sort is negligent and lazy. Although he is able to uphold the precepts and protect the pure practice, you should know that he has no ability to do more.
“Now, suppose there is a monk who is provided with supplies and who is always comfortable. Again, he is able to protect and uphold the commandments and precepts he has received and is able to widely proclaim the lion’s roar of the wondrous Dharma. This refers to the Sutras, Geyas, predictions, verses, Udànas, Ityuktas, Jàtakas, Vaipulyas, and Abhåtadharmas. Using these nine divisions of the scriptural canon, he gives thorough explanations for others. Because he blesses sentient beings with peace and happiness, he calls out, ‘In the Nirvana Sutra, the restrained monk should not be supported with things that are not of the Dharma such as servants, maids, oxen, and sheep.’
“Suppose there is a monk who is supported with such things of impurity and is nurtured by them. The Tathàgata has previously in other Sutras said that when there are monks supported with such things not of the Dharma, they will drive out a kingdom’s monarch who accords with the Dharma and is nourished by it, and that will lead to the reversion to baseness. Suppose there is that monk who then is able to perform thus the Lion’s Roar. And there is one who breaks the precepts who, having heard his words, responds by becoming angry and offended and injures that Dharma teacher. This teacher of the Dharma continues to promote it until his life ends. Therefore, he is famed for upholding the precepts, benefiting himself, and benefiting others. Because of these conditions, we should listen closely to the kingdom’s ruler, people, scholars, ministers, and laymen who are protectors of the Dharma. If someone wishes to be a defender of the true Dharma, then they should thus train themselves.
“Kàsyapa, one who thus breaks the precepts is not a protector of the Dharma. Such a head shaven worthy is called ‘One who does not uphold the precepts’. He obtains such a reputation.
Good son, in the distant past beyond an measureless and boundless number of asaïkhya aeons, in this city of Kusinagara, there was a Buddha who appeared in the world with the name Joyful Increase of Blessings. He was a Tathàgata, Worthy, Completely Enlightened One, perfect in wisdom and conduct, well gone, a knower of the world, unsurpassed, a tamer of men, a teacher of men and gods, and a World Honored One. At that time, the world was widely adorned in purity, abundantly happy and peaceful, and the people flourished without any hunger or thirst. Those of that peaceful and happy land were like bodhisattvas. That Buddha, that World Honored One, stayed in the world and had transformed an measureless number of sentient beings. And so afterwards he entered Parinirvana.beneath a pair of sàla trees. After that Buddha’s Nirvana, the neglected Dharma remained in the world for measureless tens of millions of years. For the last forty years before the Buddha Dharma perished, there was at that time a monk who upheld the precepts. His name was ‘Awakened Virtue’. Many were the multitudes of disciples and their retinues who surrounded him. He was able to proclaim the lion’s roar, promulgating widely and explaining the nine divisions of the scriptural canon. He restrained the monks so they would not be supported by servants, oxen, sheep, and things not of the Dharma.
“At that time, there were many of precept-breaking monks who, upon hearing that their activities had been proclaimed to be born of an evil mentality, took up blades and sticks and menaced that Dharma teacher. At this point, the nation’s king was named ‘Having Virtue’. Hearing of this happening, he then promptly went to the Dharma preachers’ dwelling and did battle with the evil precept-breaking monks, in order to protect the Dharma and allowing the Dharma preacher to flee and escape from injury. At that point, the king had suffered wounds that he bore all over his body.
At that time, Awakened Virtue immediately praised the king, saying, ‘Excellent, excellent! This king now is a genuine defender of the true Dharma. In future lives this person shall be a measureless Dharma vessel.’ When the king’s mind heard the Dharma, he was greatly elated.
Immediately, then, when his life ended, he was born into the land of the Buddha Akùobhya. And he became that Buddha’s best disciple. The king’s general and the people who had fought under him according were joyful. All their minds being of the irreversiblebodhi, at the end of their lives they were also born into the land of the Buddha Akùobhya. That monk Awakened Virtue after his life ended also was reborn into the land of the Buddha Akùobhya’s and for that Buddha became the second disciple among his voice hearer congregation. When there is a desire for the true Dharma to be destroyed, it is then that it must be received, upheld, embraced, and protected.
“Kàsyapa, at that time, the king was myself and that Dharma-preaching monk the Buddha Kàsyapa. Kàsyapa, the defender of the true Dharma attains thus such a measureless reward. By means of such causes and conditions have I, on this day, attained the various marks adorning myself and brought to fruition the essential body, the indestructible body.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa again said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, the Tathàgata’s eternal body is just like a stone statue.”
The Buddha replied to Kàsyapa, “Good son, because of these causes and conditions, the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen must aid, promote, protect, and uphold the true Dharma. The reward for protecting the Dharma is vast and measureless. Good son, this is why the Dharma protecting laymen should take up blades and sticks to defend such a Dharma-keeping monk. If there are those who take and uphold the five precepts, they are not called people of the Mahàyàna.
Those who do not take the five precepts in order to defend the true Dharma, they are called Mahàyànists. The protectors of the true Dharma shall take up swords and weapons of war and act as guards for Dharma preachers.”
Kàsyapa said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, what if monks and such laymen who take up swords become the companions for a teacher who has no teacher? Is this keeping the precepts or breaking the precepts?”
The Buddha replied to Kàsyapa, “They would not be the equal of a person who breaks the precepts. Good son, after my Nirvana the world will go uncultivated and be confused, the lands turgid and corrupt. People will rob and cheat one another and they will go hungry and thirsty. At that time, because many will be hungry and thirsty, and it will occur to them to leave home. Such people will be known as shaven people. The shaven people as a group will protect and uphold the true Dharma upon seeing that there are monks who uphold the precepts with majestic comportment and perfected purity. They will chase away those who might kill or harm them.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa again said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, the person who upholds the precepts is a defender of the true Dharma. How will they travel through the villages, towns, cities, and metropolises, teaching and transforming others?”
“Good son, this is why I now acknowledge that person who upholds the precepts and depends on the companionship of the white-robed swordsmen. If the rulers of countries, great ministers, elders, and laymen wield swords in order to protect the Dharma, I call this equal to upholding the precepts. Even though the swords they carry should not be used to end a life, if they are able to act thus, then this is called the supreme upholding of the precepts.
“Kàsyapa, being a ‘Dharma protector’ means having the right view and ability to widely promulgate and explain the Mahàyàna Sutras. In the end, he does not seize upon the sovereign’s precious canopies, oil flasks, rice, grain, and various other fruits and berries. It is not for benefit and support that he associates himself with kings, great ministers, and elders. His mind transcends their gifts and he does not curry favor or corruption. Perfecting the majestic deportment, he defeats the precept-breakers and corrupt people. This is called a teacher who upholds the precepts and protects the Dharma, who is able to be a true and good friend to sentient beings. His mind is broad and extensive, like the ocean.
“Kàsyapa, suppose there is a monk who explains the Dharma for others in order to be given benefits and support. And this person possesses a retinue of disciples who also exploit this teacher, coveting and seeking benefits and support. This person’s flattering of himself thus destroys the congregation.
“Kàsyapa, there are three kinds of congregations: 1) the mixed Sangha of precept violators, 2) the ignorant and deluded Sangha, and 3) the pure Sangha. The mixed Sangha with precept violators can easily be destroyed, while the pure precept-upholding Sangha beneficially supports the causes and conditions of that which cannot be destroyed.
“What is a mixed sangha of precept violators? Suppose there is a monk who while upholding the commandments and precepts in order for benefits and support, associates himself with precept breakers, sitting, rising, walking, and returning with them, being a close companion, and equaling their deeds. This is called breaking the precepts and is also a mixed Sangha.
“What is an ignorant and deluded Sangha? Suppose there is a monk who stays in an Araõya dwelling. His faculties are not beneficial, dark, dull, of poor vision, and he has little desire to beg or food. From the day of reciting the precepts to the end of the retreat, he teaches the disciples who are pure and repentant. Seeing non-disciples who numerously violate the commandments and precepts, he is unable to teach and lead them to be pure and repentant when coming together to recite the precepts to the end of a retreat. This is called an ignorant and deluded Sangha.
“What is called a pure Sangha? Suppose there is a Sangha of monks who the hundreds of thousands of tens of millions of màras are unable to destroy. The nature of this bodhisattva congregation’s myriad roots is pure. They are able to harmonize congregations like the two mentioned above and lead all to peacefully abide in a pure congregation. These is called the Dharma protecting, unsurpassed, great teachers; those who well uphold the vinaya. Because they wish to pacify and bless sentient beings, they know the precepts’ marks, whether light or grave.
Those who are not of the vinaya therefore do not realize this knowledge. If one is of the vinaya, then he readily realizes it.
“What is the pacification of sentient beings? Suppose bodhisattvas are transformed into sentient beings, always entering hamlets and villages and not missing an occasion. Some go into the homes of widows and maidens and similarly remain to establish the Sutras over the course of many years if the voice hearers do not do so. This is called [624c] the pacification and blessing of sentient beings.
“What is knowing the grave? Suppose one sees the Tathàgata’s causes and events of the restraining precepts. You from this day forwards should be honest and not further transgress them, such as the four grave commandments that those who have left the household are not to do. So it is because of violating them, that they are not ÷sramaoas nor the sakya clan. This is called the grave.
“What is the light? If one transgresses in trifling matters, thus one performs the three admonishments. If one is able to forsake it, this is called the light.
One who does not follow the vinaya and does not realize it, he may praise impure things, saying they should be accepted and used. It is one who is of the vinaya and realizes it who well studies thevinaya and does not come near to breaking the precepts. Seeing that there are those who practice in conformance to the precepts and vinaya, one’s mind becomes elated. Thus is one able to know the Buddha’s Dharma, who performs the good and is able to understand the discourses. This is called a vinaya teacher. One who well understands each word and upholds the Sutras is also so.
“So it is, good son. The Buddha’s Dharma is measureless and inconceivable. The Tathàgata is also so. He is inconceivable.”
Bodhisattva Kàsyapa said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, so it is, so it is. Sincere is the Noble One who says, ‘The Buddha’s Dharma is immeasurable and inconceivable. The Tathàgata is also so. He is inconceivable.’ Therefore, knowing that the Tathàgata is eternally abiding, indestructible, and without any change, I now will well study it and also will promulgate this doctrine to others.”
At that time, the Buddha praised Bodhisattva Kàsyapa, “Excellent, excellent! The Tathàgata’s body then is adamantine and an indestructible body. The bodhisattva must thus well train himself, rightly viewing and rightly knowing this. If he is able to clearly know and see, then this is seeing the Buddha’s body of adamantine, the indestructible body. It is like seeing forms and images in a mirror.”
Kasyapa said to the Buddha: “O World-honored One! Is there any self in the twenty-five existences or not?” The Buddha said: “O good man! ‘Self’ means ‘tathagatagarbha.’ Every being has the Buddha Nature. This is self. Such a self is, since the very beginning, under cover of innumerable illusions. That is why man cannot see it. O good man! There is here a poor woman. She has in her house the true gold hidden. But none of the people of the house, big or small, know it. But there is a stranger, who, by expediency, speaks to the poor woman: ‘I shall employ you. You now weed the land!’ The woman answers: ‘I cannot do it now. If you let my son see where the gold is hidden, I will soon work for you.’ The man says, ‘I know the way. I will show it to your son.’ The woman says again: ‘No people of my house, big or small, know. How can you?’ The man says: ‘I will now make it clear.’ The woman says again: ‘I desire to see. Pray let me.’ The man digs out the gold that lay hidden. The woman sees it, is glad, and begins to respect the person. O good man! The same is the case with the Buddha Nature that man has. Nobody can see it. This is as in the case of the gold the poor woman possessed and yet could not see. O good man! I now let persons see the Buddha Nature that they possess, which is overspread by illusions. This is as in the case of the poor woman who cannot see the gold, even possessing it. The Tathagata now shows all beings the storehouse of enlightenment, which is the so-called Buddha Nature. If all beings see this, they are glad and will take refuge in the Tathagata. The good expediency is the Tathagata and the poor woman is all the innumerable beings, and the cask of true gold is the Buddha Nature.
“Also, next, O good man! For example, a woman has a child, who, yet very young, is taken by illness. Worried by this, the woman seeks a good doctor. A good doctor comes and mixes up three medicines, which are the butter, milk and rock candy. This he gives her, to have it taken by the child. Then, he says to the woman: ‘When the child has taken the medicine, do not give milk to the child for some time. When the medicine has worked out its way, you, then, may give milk.’ Then, the woman applies a bitter thing to the nipple and says to the child: ‘Do not touch it. The nipple is poisoned.’ The child is dying for the milk and wants to have it. Hearing of poison, it runs away. When the medicine has done the work, the mother washes the nipple, calls the child in, and gives it. The hungry child, having heard of poison, does not come to it. The mother says again: ‘Just to give you the medicine, I put on it poison. As you have already taken the medicine, I have washed it off. Come! Have the nipple. It is no more bitter.’ Hearing this, the child slowly comes back and takes it. O good man! The same is the case with the Tathagata. To save beings, he gives them the law of no-self. Having thus practiced the Way, the beings make away with the mind that clings to self and gain nirvana. All this is to make away with the wrong concept of the people, to show them the way and make them stand above, to show them that they stick to self, that what goes in the world is all false and not true, and make then practice no-self and purify their own self. This is as in the case of the woman who puts bitter things to the nipple for love of the child. The same is the case of the Tathagata. For practicing the void, I say that all do not have the self. This is as in case of the woman who washed the nipple, calling for the child to partake of the milk. The same is the case with me too. I speak of the tathagatagarbha. Because of the, the bhishus do not entertain fear. The same goes with the child which hears its mother, slowly comes back, and take the milk. The same is the case with the bhiksus. They should well know that the Tathagata hides nothing.”
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: “O World-honored One! Indeed, there can be no case in which there is a self. Why? At the time when the child gains birth, there is nothing it knows. If there is a self, the child must know when it gains birth in the world. Because of this, we know that there is no self. If a self definitely exists, there can be no losing of knowing. If it is that all beings possess eternally the Buddha Nature, there can be no breaking away. If there is no destruction, how can there be the difference of ksatriya, brahman, vaisya, sudra, candala, and beast? Now, the work of karma is various, and differences exist in life. If there is definitely a self, there can be no victory or defeat with the beings. By this we may definitely know that the Buddha Nature is the eternal law. If the Buddha Nature is definitely eternal, why do we say such things as killing, stealing, lust, double-tongued, ill-speaking, lying, flattering, greed, hatred, and wrong views? If it is that there is eternally the nature of self, why is it that one becomes intoxicated and mad? If the nature of self is eternal, the blind must see, the deaf must hear, the dumb talk, and the limp walk. If the self is eternal, the hole of fire, the great flood of water, poison, sword, evil persons, and beasts cannot be evaded. If the self is eternal, what has basically been changed cannot be forgotten or lost. If forgotten, how can one say: ‘I have somewhere seen this person.’ If the self is eternal, there can be no old or young, no ups or downs, no remembering what has passed away. If the self is eternal, where does it stay or live? Is it that tears, spits, blue, yellow, red, and white are to remain in all things? If the self is eternal, it will fill the body as in the case of the sesame seed in which there is no space left in between? When the body is bashed, the self too must well be cut off.”
The Buddha said to Kasyapa: “O good man! For example, there is in the household of a king a great wrestler. He has on the brow an adamantine bead. This man wrestles with other wrestlers. As the head of the other person has touched the brow, the bead gets into the flesh, and there is no knowing of where it is. There is a boil there. A good doctor is called to have it cured. At the time, there is a good doctor with a bright head. He knows well how to see and prescribe the medicine. Now, he sees that this boil is come out because of the fact that the bead has got into the body. He has come to know that this bead has got into the flesh and there remains. Then, the good doctor asks the wrestler: ‘Where is the bead which was on your brow?’ The wrestler gets surprised and answers: ‘O great teacher and doctor! Has not the bead on my brow been lost? Where could this bead be now? Is it not a miracle?’ He is worried and weeps. The the doctor appeases the wrestler: ‘Do not too much be worried. As you fought, the gem got into your body. It is now under the skin and is now loomingly to be seen. As you fought, the poison of anger had so burnt that it got into your body and you do not feel it.’ But the wrestler does not believe in the word of the doctor. ‘If under the skin, how could it be that it does not come out because of the impure pus and blood? If in the sinew, we cannot possibly see it. What do you mean to cheat me?’ Then, the doctor takes up a mirror and applies it to the face. The gem clearly comes out in the mirror. The wrestler sees, gets surprised, and is all wonder. The case is like this. O good man! The same is the case with all beings. They do not come near the good teacher of the Way. So, they cannot see the Buddha Nature that is within, even when having it. And they are reigned over by greed, lust, anger, and ignorance. So, they fall into the realms of hell, beast, hungry preta, asura, candala, and they get born in such various houses as of ksatriya, brahman, vaisya, and sudra. The karma worked out by mind leads one, though born man, to live such lives as cripple, limp, deaf, blind, dumb, and to twenty-five existences, when such as greed, lust, anger, and ignorance reign over the mind, and one cannot know the presence of the Buddha Nature. The wrestler says that the gem has gone away, in spite of the fact that it is in the body. The same is the case with the beings too. Not having come near the good teacher of the Way, one knows not the Tathagata’s undisclosed treasure, and does not study the selflessness. For example, even when one is told of the unholy self, one cannot know the true quality of self. The same is the case with my disciples. As they do not befriend the good teacher of the Way, they practice no-self and do not know where it is. One does not know the true nature of selflessness. How could they well know the true nature of self itself? Thus, O good man! The tathagata says that all beings possess the Buddha Nature. For example, this is like the case of the good doctor who makes the wrestler see where the adamantine gem rests. All these beings are reigned over by innumerable illusions and, thus, do not know the whereabouts of the Buddha Nature. When illusion is made away with, there come about knowledge and brightness. This is as in the case of the wrestler who sees in the mirror the gem. O good man! It is thus that what rests undisclosed in the Tathagata is innumerable and is difficult for beings to think about.
“Also, O good man! For example, there is in the Himalayas a medicine called ‘pleasing taste.’ It tastes very sweet. It grows hidden under a deep growth of plants and we cannot easily see it. By the scent, one comes to know the whereabouts of the medicine. In the days gone by, there was a cakravartin, who, placing here and there in the Himalayas wooden tubes, took this medicine. When ripe, it flows out and enters the tube. It tastes truly right. When the king died, this medicine became sour, salty, sweet, bitter, or hot, or light. Thus, what is one tastes differently as places differ. The true taste of the medicine remains in the mountain; it goes like the full moon. Any common mortal, sterile in virtue, may work hard, dig, and try, but cannot get it. Only a chakravartin high in virtue comes out in the world, and he arrives at the true worth of the medicine because of the happy circumstantial relations. The same is the case. O good man! The taste of the undisclosed store of the Tathagata, too, goes like this. Overspread by all the growths of illusion, the beings clad in ignorance cannot hope to see. We say ‘one taste’. This goes, for instance, as in that of the Buddha Nature. By the presence of illusion, several tastes come about, such as the realms of hell, beast, hungry preta, deva, human being, man, woman, non-man, non-woman, ksatriya, brahman, vaisya, and sudra.
"e;The Buddha Nature is strong and vigorous; it is hard to destroy. Therefore, there is none that can well kill it. If there is one that well kills it, the Buddha Nature will die out. Nothing can ever destroy such a Buddha Nature. Anything as nature can never be cut. The nature of self is none but the undisclosed storehouse of the Tathagata. Such a storehouse can never be broken, put to fire, or made away with. Though not possible to destroy or see, one can know of it when one attains the unsurpassed bodhi. Because of this, there is none that well kills it, no karma result will raise the head from evil actions.” The Buddha said to Kasyapa” “There truly goes killing. Why? O good man! The Buddha Nature of the beings rests in the five groups. If the five groups are destroyed, this is the killing. If one harms a living thing, one gains the evil realm. By the working of karma, one transmigrates through such realms as ksatriya, brahman, vaisya, sudra, candala, or man, woman, non-man, non-woman, and the twenty-five variegated existences. One who has not attained the hold stage of a sage is waywardly bound up by the attachment to self. All such phases of existence, big or small, are like the barnyard grass, like the rice or bean, or like the thumb. They thus loosely imagine these things. There can be no true shape in wild fancies. The shape of self that seeks to flee from the world is the Buddha Nature. It is the best way of conceiving self.
“And, next, O good man! For example, there is here a man who well knows what is hidden under. He takes up a sharp hoe, dig the ground, and hits at such as stone and gravel. All go through and nothing hinders. Only when the diamond comes in the way. It cannot go through. Now, all sword and hatchet cannot destroy the diamond. O good man! The Buddha Nature of the beings is like this. It is one which all those people who discuss things, marapapiyas, all men and devas cannot destroy. The characteristic of the five groups is what happens and what is done. Whatever happens and is done can well be destroyed as in the case of stone and sand. The true self of the Buddha Nature is like the diamond which cannot be crushed out. Because of this we call the destroying of the five groups the killing of life. O good man! Know well definitely that the Buddha teaching is not within the boundary of conceiving.
“O good man! The vaipulya sutra is like amrta and poison.” Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: “Why is it, O Tathagata! that you must say that the vaipulya sutra is like amrta and poison?” The Buddha said: “O good man! Do you desire to be informed of the undisclosed storehouse of the Tathagata?” Kasyapa said to the Buddha: “I now really desire to know of the signification of the undisclosed store of the Tathagata.”
Then, the Tathagata said in a gatha:
“There is one who takes amrta, harms life, and dies early,
Or one who takes amrita and gains long life,
Or one who takes poison and gains life,
Or one who takes poison and dies.
The unhindered wisdom, which is the amrta, in none
But the Mahayana sutras. And such Mahayana sutras too
Are what contain poison. It is
Like the butter, sarpirmanda or rock candy,
Which, when taken and digested, is medicine.
If not digested, then it is none but poison.
The same if the case with the vaipulya sutras.
The wise make it amrta, and the ignorant, not knowing
The worth of the Buddha Nature, make it a poison.
Sravakas and pratyekabuddhas make Mahayana amrta.
This is like the milk which is the first of what taste.
Those who thus work and make progress
Ride on Mahayana, gain the shore of nirvana, and become
The elephant king of man. Beings know of the Buddha Nature
As with Kasyapa. The superb amrta is
The birthlessness and deathlessness. O Kasyapa!
Know well of the three refuges. The nature
Of the three refuges is that of self. If one knows
Clearly that the nature of self has the Buddha Nature,
Such a one well enters the undisclosed house.
One who knows of self and what belongs to self
Cames already out of the world.
The nature of the Three Treasures of the Buddhist teaching
Is the upperless and the most to be honored.
Its nature is as I say thus in my gatha”
Then, Kasyapa said in a gatha:
“I do not know how to take refuge
In the Three Treasures, how
To take refuge in the unsurpassed fearlessness.
Knowing no place of the Three Treasures, how can one
Gain fearlessness? How can one who takes refuge
In the Buddha gain peace, how can one take refuge in the Law?
Condescend and tell me of these! How does one gain
Unmolestedness, and how non-unmolestedness,
How does one take refuge in the sangha, and, thereby,
Attain the unsurpassed benefit?
How does one gain the true sermon, how
Buddhahood in the days to come?
If one does not attain it in the days to come,
How can one take refuge in the Three Treasures?
I have nothing to foresee; I shall, by steps, work up.
Not conceiving, can one think of having a child? If
It is definitely in the embryo, we may well say
That we have a child. If the child is in the womb,
It will not be long before it comes out.
This is what means of a child. The same is the case
With what pertains to the karma of man.
The ignorant cannot know what the Buddha says.
By ignorance, the wheel of birth and death turns.
One who is an upasaka by name only cannot know
The true significance. Condescend and explain to me
And cut off the web of doubt.
Oh, the great wisdom of the Tathagata! Have pity
And explain! I pray, open the closed door
Of the treasure house of the Tathagata.quot;
“O Kasyapa! I will now for your sake
Open the closed door of the storehouse and uproot your doubt.
Give ears to what I say with all your heart!
You, all bodhisattvas, and the seventh Buddha, have the same name.
One who takes refuge in the Buddha is the true upasaka.
One no more takes refuge in all other heavens.
One who takes refuge in the Law cuts oneself away
From harming others. One who takes refuge
In the holy sangha does not take refuge in tirthakas.
Thus taking refuge in the Three Treasures,
One attains fearlessness.”
Kasyapa said to the Buddha:
“I take refuge in the Three Treasures.
This is the right path, and this the world of all Buddhas.
That the two treasures are equal
Possesses always the nature of great wisdom.
The nature of self and the Buddha Nature
Do not differ. This is the path the Buddha praises;
This is where man rightly steps forward
And when one abides in peace,
This is the right enlightenment.
This is the Buddhahood. I, too, am a Well-gone, and am
On way to the unsurpassed bodhi praised by all.
This is the best amrta.
This is where there is no existence to name.”
Then, the Buddha said to Kasyapa: “O good man! Do not, like all sravakas and common mortals, see the Three Treasures. In this Mahayana, there is no discrimination in the Three Treasures. Why? The Buddha Nature has in it the Law and the sangha. To teach sravakas and common mortals, discrimination is resorted to and the three different phases spoken of the Three Treasures. O good man! The bodhisattva will think: ‘This I now take refuge in the Buddha. If this I attain bodhi and Buddhahood, I shall not pay respect, worship, or do offerings to all Buddhas. Why? For all Buddhas are all-equal. They are all taken refuge in by all beings. If one desires to pay respect to the law body and the sarira, one should also pay respect to the stupas of all Buddhas. Why? Because of guiding in all beings. It also makes beings conceive in me a thought of stupa, to make them worship and do offerings. Such beings make my law body the place where they take refuge in. All beings stand on what is not true and what is false. I shall now, by steps, show the true law. If there are people who take refuge in priests that are not of true stuff, I shall become the true refuge for them. If there are those who see differently the three refuges, I shall become the single place where to take refuge in. So, there can be no difference of the three to take refuge in. To those born blind, I shall be the eye, and to sravakas and pratyekabuddhas I shall become the true refuge. O good man! Such bodhisattvas do the Buddha works for the sake of innumerable evil beings and all wise people. O good man! There is, for example, a person here who goes to the battle field and thinks: ‘I am the first of all the first of these. All soldiers depend on me.’ Also, it is as in the case of the prince who thinks: ‘I shall subdue all other princes, succeed to the works of a great emperor, gain the unmolested power, and make all other princes pay homage to me. So, let me not entertain a whit of a self-surrendering mind.’ Like as the prince of the king also go things with the minister. O good man! The same is the case with the bodhisattva-mahasattva, and he thinks: ‘How does the three become one with me?’ O good man! I make it that the three things are the nirvana. The Tathagata is the unsurpassed one. For example, the head is the highest part of man’s body, and not the other limbs and the hands and legs. The same is the case with the Buddha. He is the most respected, and not the Law and the sangha. In order to teach the world, he manifests himself severally. It is as in the case of going up the ladder. This being the case, do not regard the refuges as different as do the common mortals and the ignorant take things to be. Abide in the Mahayana as bravely and decisively as a shard sword.”
Q&A Six (out of Nine) [added 8/19]
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: “I ask as I know, not that I do not know. I ask for the sake of the greatly courageous bodhisattvas about the untainted pure actions, so that the Tathagata, will, for the sake of bodhisattvas, proclaim what is wonderful and expound and thus desire to praise the Mahayana vaipulya sutras. The Tathagata, will, for the sake of bodhisattvas, proclaim what is wonderful and expound and thus desire to praise the Mahayana vaipulya sutras. The Tathagata, the great compassionate one, now speaks. I, too, shall peacefully abide in it. The pure actions of the bodhisattva is well proclaimed in the great nirvana sutra. O World-honored One! I shall now, for the sake of all beings, disseminate the undisclosed store of the Tathagata. Also, I shall now well attest and know the three refuges. If any beings well believes [translation not complete]
Then, Kasyapa said to the Buddha: “O World-Honored One! The Tathagata is already away from all illnesses. Illusions and pain already made away with, no fear remains behind. O World-honored One! All beings have four poisonous arrows which become the cause of illness. What are the four? They are greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance. The cause within, illnesses come abut, such as the cold fever, consumption, dizziness, vomiting, paralysis of the body, the maddening mind, loose bowel, convulsion(?), loose urine, pain in the eye and ear, swollen abdomen and back, craziness, drying-ups, or to be tormented by evil spirits. All such bodily ills cannot come about with the All-Buddha-World-honored One. Why is it that the Tathagata looks back and says to Manjushri: ‘I have pain on the back. All of you should teach the great mass.’ By two reasons, illnesses come about. What are the two? First, it is to have pity on all beings; second, it is to give medicine to those who are ill. The Tathagata, already in the innumerable million billion kalpas past, when the Tathagata had practiced the Way of a bodhisattva, had always the word of love. He benefited the beings and extracted the root of worry. He gave various medicines to all who were ill. Why is it that today, now, he should have an illness? O World-honored One! What goes in the world is that a sick person sits or reclines and has no time to rest. He calls for food, gives injunctions to his family people, or tells them to work. Why is it that the Tathagata sits silent? Why is it that you do not teach your disciples and sravakas, the right practices of the silaparamita and the dhyanaparamita? Why is it that you do not deliver Mahayana sutras that have deep meaning? Why is it that with innumerable expedients you do not teach Mahakasyapa, the great elephant among men, and the great persons, so that they do not retrogress from the unsurpassed bodhi? Why is it that you do not teach all evil-doing bhiksus who receive and store up impure things. O World-honored One! You have no illness. Why do you recline with the right hand side down? All bodhisattvas give medicines to patients and what merits that arise from giving are all given to all beings and transferred to all-knowledge? This is for extracting the hindrances of illusion, hindrances of karma, and the karma results. The hindrances of illusion are greed, anger, ignorance, and the anger against what is disagreeable, the illusion that overshadows the mind, hindering thereby good to shoot out the bud, the burning worry, jealousy, stinginess, cheating, flattering, not to feel ashamed at one’s own self, not to feel ashamed towards others, pride-pride-pride, simulative pride, pride of self-conceit, pride of self, bent pride, arrogance, indolence, self-importance, mutual resentment, refutation, wrong living, flattering, to cheat by different appearances, to pursue profit by profit, seek things through wrong channels, seek much, lack respect, not to follow injunctions, and to come near bad friends. There is no end of seeking profit, to entwine and bind one’s self so that all is difficult to understand. One abides in evil desires and evil greed. One is greedily after heretical views of life regarding one’s carnal existence, the ‘is’ and ‘not-is’ view of life; one heaves a groan or is being pleased at drowsing, lets out a yawn or is not pleased, or greedily eats; the mind is dim and one thinks strange things, does evil by body and speech, finds pleasure in talking overmuch; all sense-organs are dark; one talks overmuch, and is always overshadowed by such senses as greed, anger, and harming. These are the hindrances of illusion.
“The hindrances of action are the five deadly sins and serious illnesses of evil.
“The hindrances of retribution give one life in the realm of hell, beast and hungry preta, and also the slandering of the Right Law, and the icchantika. These are the hindrances of retribution.
“Such three hindrances are the ills. Yet, the bodhisattva, when practicing the Way in the innumerable kalpas, gave medicines to all illnesses, and always had taken vows so that the beings could be eternally severed from the grave illnesses of the three hindrances.
“Also, next, O World-honored One! When the bodhisattva-mahasattva practiced the Way, he gave medicines to all those who were ill and had always taken vows: ‘Let beings eternally be segregated from all ills and let them attain the adamantine body of the Tathagata. Also, let all innumerable beings become the all-wonderful medicines and enable them to cut off evil sicknesses; let all beings gain the agada and, by the power of this medicine, make away with all innumerable evil poisons; let not all beings retrogress from the unsurpassed bodhi and quickly accomplish the unsurpassed Buddha-medicine and extract all the poisoned arrows; let all beings make effort, work out, and accomplish the adamantine mind of the Tathagata, becoming this all-wonderful medicine, cure all diseases, so that there can arise no refuting mind; let all beings become the great tree of medicine and cure all serious illnesses of all beings; let one well extract the poisoned arrows; let all beings make effort, work out, and accomplish the unsurpassed light of the Tathagata; let beings enter enter the Tathagata’s undisclosed store of the Law of the wisdom’s great medicine and the close-guarded store of the Law. O World-honored One! The bodhisattva had already, in the innumerable hundred thousand nayutas of kalpas ago, took these vows and had extracted all the ills of all beings. Why is it that the Tathagata today says that he has illness?
“Also, next, O World-honored One! There is in the world one who is ill in bed, cannot sit, stand up, look up, go or stop, and is not able to swallow the food, make the juice pass down the throat; he cannot teach and admonish his sons so that they learn the household works. The parents, wife, children, brothers, relatives, and friends are anxious, and they think that he will surely die. O World-honored One! The same is the case with the Tathagata today. You recline with the right hand side down and say nothing. All the ignorant of this Jambudvipa will think: ‘The Tathagata, the All-enlightened One will enter nirvana!’ Why? They may think that you will cease to exist. But the nature of the Tathagata does not, to the end, enter nirvana. Why? The Tathagata is eternal and does not change. Because of this, there can be no saying: ‘I have pain on my back.’
“Also, next, O World-honored One! There is in the world a man ill in bed. The four great elements augment or lesson so that they do not work and stir well; the body is extremely weakened and emaciated. Because of this, he cannot sit or stand up as he wills. So, he sticks to bed. With the Tathagata, not one of the four elements is out of harmony. You are perfect in your physical power; nothing is weak or less. O World-honored One! The little power of ten cows is not equal to that of a big cow; the power of ten big cows is not equal to that of a blue cow; the power of ten blue cows is not equal to that of one common elephant; the power of ten common elephants is not equal to that of a wild elephant; the power of ten wild elephants is not equal to that of a two-tusked elephant; the power of ten two-tusked elephants is not equal to that of a four-tusked elephant; the power of ten four-tusked elephants is not equal to that of a white elephant of the Himalayas; the power of ten white elephants is not equal to that of a fragrant elephant; the power of ten fragrant elephants is not equal to that of a blue elephant; the power of ten blue elephants is not equal to that of a yellow elephant; the power of ten yellow elephants is not equal to that of a red elephant; the power of ten red elephants is not equal to that of a white elephant; the power of ten white elephants is not equal to that of a mountain elephant; the power of ten mountain elephants is not equal to that of a utpala elephant; the power of ten utpala elephants is not equal to that of a kumuda elephant; the power of ten kumuda elephants is not equal to that of a pundarika elephant; the power of ten pundarika elephants is not equal to that of a Malla; the power of ten Mallas is not equal to that of a Pakkhandin; the power of ten Pakkhandins is not equal to that of one eight-elbowed Narayana; the power of ten eight-elbowed Narayanas is not equal to that of one joint of a bodhisattva of the ten abodes. With the common mortal, the mid part of the body does not meet together; with the Mallas, the mid part and the head meet together; with the Narayana, the joint and the head can well hook together; with the bodhisattvas of the ten abodes, the bones of all joints dispart or join together as in the case of a coiling naga. Because of this, the power of the bodhisattva is the strongest. When the world came out to exist, the vajrasana was raised from the vajra land and then raised up to the bodhi-manda, which came out to be under the bodhi tree. Having sat down, the mind of the bodhisattva attained the ten powers. O Tathagata! You should not be like any little child. No infant, child, ignorant, or the brainless can well expound. Because of this, you sit with the face down and on the side, but none reproach you. You, Tathagata, the World-honored One, have great wisdom and shine over all. You are the naga of men; you possess great virtue and you have divine powers; you are the unsurpassed rsi; you have cut off the web of doubt and have extracted the arrow of poison. In peace, you go and come, perfect in deportment, and are armed with fearlessness. Why should you recline with the right hand side down and make all heaven and men sink in sorrow and worry?”
Then, Kasyapa said in a gatha before the Buddha:
“O Great Holy One of the Guatama clan!
Stand up, I pray, and talk to us about the all-wonderful Law!
Do not recline on bed like any child
Or one who is sick. The Trainer,
The Teacher of Heaven and Earth,
Lies between the sala trees. The lowly
And the ignorant may say that he will surely enter nirvana.
They know nothing about the vaipulya
Or what the Buddha does. They, like one blind,
Do not see the undisclosed store of the Tathagata.
Only all bodhisattvas and Manjushri know well
The depths like any good archer.
All Buddhas of the Three Times sit on great compassion.
What is now the worth of such a great compassion?
With no compassion, the Buddha is no name.
If the Buddha definitely enters nirvana,
This is no eternal, O Unsurpassed One!
Have pity on us, answer our prayer, give
Benefit to beings, and subdue all tirthakas!”
Then, the World-honored One, the mind of his great compassion kindled, realized all that each being wanted to have, desired to do in accord, to answer their prayer and bestow benefit, raised himself from his seat, and sat cross-legged. The visage was bright and sift like a molten ball of gold. The serene face and eye shone like the full moon. His form was pure with no taint. A great light filled the firmament. The light was as bright as those of more than a hundred thousand suns. It shone over the east, south, west, and north, the four corners, the worlds up and down, and all the Buddha lands. It gave beings the torch of great wisdom, brightened the gloom, and enabled a hundred thousand billion nayutas of beings to live in the unretrogressive mind of bodhi.
At the time, the Buddha’s mind had nothing that doubted and he looked like a lion king. He was adorned with the thirty-two signs of a great man and the eighty minor marks of excellence. On each pore of the skin, there came about a lotus flower. The flower was wonderful, each having a thousand petals. Its color was that of pure gold. The stem was of beryl, the stamina of diamond, and the calyx of the turkistan dwarf. It was so big and round that it looked like a great wheel. All these lotus flowers sent out lights of various such colors as blue, yellow, read, white, purple, and crystal. And these lights filled all such hells as avici, samjna, kalasutra, samghata, raurava, maharaurava, tapana, and mahatapana. In these eight hells, all such afflictions as burning, boiling, broiling, cutting, thrusting and stripping off of the skin go. As one is shone upon by this light, all such afflictions hide away. What there is is peace, the cool, and the unending joy. In this light, the undisclosed store of the Tathagata is proclaimed: “All beings have the Buddha Nature.” The beings hear this, the life there ends, and they get born in the worlds of man and heaven. There can be further the eight kinds of hells of cold, which are: the apapa, atata, arbuda(?), ababa, utpala, kumuda, and pundarika. The beings born here are always pressed upon by the cold. What go there are puckering and rending of the body, the smashing and breaking, and mutual harming, all which, meeting with this light, go away; what there comes about is harmony and warmth that please the body. This light, too, proclaims the undisclosed store of the Tathagata, saying: “All beings possess the Buddha Nature.” The beings hear this, life ends, and they get born in the worlds of man and heaven. As it happens, there in this Jambudvipa and in all other worlds, the hells are empty and none do we see there being punished, excepting the icchantika. Those in the realm of the hungry preta get pressed upon by hunger. What they have on to cover the body is the hair, and for a period of a hundred thousand years, they never once hear of juice. But as they meet with this light, the hunger at once disappears. This light proclaims the undisclosed store of the Tathagata and says: “All beings possess the Buddha Nature.” All hearing this, life ends, and they get born in the worlds of man and heaven. All the realm of the hungry preta is empty, excepting those who slander the Mahayana vaipulya sutras. The beings born in the realm of beast harm and devour each other. Meeting with this light, all hatred disappears. The light also proclaims the undisclosed store of the Tathagata and says: “All beings possess the Buddha Nature.” The beings hear this, life ends, and they get born in the worlds of man and heaven. Then, there will be no more in the realm of beast, excepting those who slander the Right Law.
In each flower, there sits a Buddha. The halo is six feet crosswise and bright shines the golden light. It is wonderful and austere. It is unsurpassed and incomparable. The thirty-two signs of perfection and the eighty minor marks of excellence adorn the body. Now of these World-honored ones, some sit, some walk, some lie and stand, and some send out the sound of thunder; some rain down a flood of rain, some flash forth lightening, some fan a great wind, and some send out smokes and flames. The body looks like a fire ball. Some show mountains, ponds, lakes, rivers, forests, and trees, all of gems. Also, they show lands, castle-towns, hamlets, palaces, and the houses of gems. Or they show the elephant, horse, lion, tiger, wolf, peacock, Chinese phoenix, and all such birds. Or all of the people of Jambudvipa are allowed to see the realms of hell, beast, and hungry preta. Or the six heavens of the world of desire are shown. Or there may be World-honored ones who speak about all evils and worries of all that pertain to the five groups, eighteen realms, and twelve spheres. Or the Law of the Four Noble Truths is expounded, or one may be speaking about the eternal and the non-eternal. Or one may be speaking about the pure and the non-pure. Or there can be a World-honored one who may speak for the sake of bodhisattvas about the six paramitas which they practice. Or one may be speaking about the virtues which all bodhisattvas gain. Or one may be speaking about the virtues of sravakas. Or one may be speaking about the teaching of the one vehicle which one is to take; or one may be speaking about the attainment of bodhi of the three vehicles. Or one may be a World-honored one who puts out water from the left hand side of the body and fire from the right hand side. Or one may manifest birth, renunciation, the sitting on the bodhi-manda under the bodhi tree, the wonderful turning of the wheel, and the entering into nirvana. Or there can be a world-honored one who raises a lion’s cry, enabling one in this meeting to attain the stages from the first up to the second, the third, and the fourth. Or there may be one who speak about innumerable causal relations in which one can get out of the life of birth and death. At the time, in this Jambudvipa, all beings meet with this light; the blind see the color, the deaf hear, the dumb talk, the cripple walk, the greedy arrive at wealth, the stingy give, the angry have a compassionate heart, and the unbelieving believe.
Then, all devas, nagas, pisacas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, raksasas, skanda, umadas, apasmaras, men, and non-humans said in one voice: “Well said, well said, O Unsurpassed-Heaven-honored One! Great is the benefit you give.” So saying, they rejoiced and jumped; some sang and some danced, or some moved about and rolled themselves on the ground. They strew all kinds of flowers on the Buddha and the sangha, such as the heavenly utpala, kumuda, padma, pundarika, mandara, mahamandara, manjusaka, mahamanjusaka, santanika(?), mahasantanika(?), rocana, maharocana, gandha, mahagandha, chakui(?), daichakui, kamadrsti, mahakamadrsti, vira, and prathamavira. Also, all kinds of incenses were strewn, such as agaru, tagaraka, candana, kunkuma, various mixed incenses, and those of the seaside produce. Also, the Buddha was done offerings with the hanging ensigns, banners, stitched in with heavenly gems, parasols, all kinds of music by heavenly ones, of cheng, flute, reed-organ, she, and harp.
And, also, they said in a gatha:
“I now bow to you, the Great Effort, the Unsurpassed,
The Right-enlightened, the Two-footed Honored One!
The devas and men do not know, and Guatama knows well.
The World-honored One practiced in the days gone by,
In the innumerable kalpas past, all penances for us.
How comes it that you abandon what you once vowed
And desire now to enter nirvana? All beings
Now cannot see the undisclosed store
Of the All-Buddha-World-honored One.
Because of this, it will be difficult to get out of this world,
And we repeat births and deaths, and fall into evil realms.
As the Buddha says, all arhats enter Nirvana.
But how do the lowly-born common mortals know well
What the Buddha does with the deepest mind?
He rains down on all beings the amrta,
To extract all illusions. If this amrta is partaken of,
One never more repeats birth, age, illness, and death.
The Tathagata-World-honored One cures diseases
Of a hundred thousand innumerable beings
And extracts serious diseases
And makes it that there now remains none.
It is long since the World-honored One
Abandoned all the pains of illnesses.
That is why he can be called the Seventh Buddha.
We pray that the Buddha will rain down
The rain of the Law and give moisture
To our seed of virtue. All the great mass,
Men and devas, sit silent as you see.”
When the gatha was said, all the Buddhas seated in the lotus went around from Jambudvipa up to the Suddhavasa heaven and all heard this.
Then, the Buddha said to Bodhisattva Kasyapa: “Well said, well said! You now possess an extremely deep and delicate wisdom. You do not get broken by all maras and tirthakas. O good man! You now abide in peace and you never get shaken by all evils. O good man! You now have perfected the oratorical prowess and you have already done offerings to all the past innumerable Buddhas who are as many as the sands of the Ganges. Because of this, you now put to the Tathagata, the Right-enlightened One, such a question. O good man! Once in the innumerable, boundless, nayutas, hundred-thousand-million kalpas past, I had already cut off the root of illness and was already away from reclining on a bed. O Kasyapa! In the innumerable asamkhyas past, there came out a Buddha, who was the Unsurpassed-Superior-Tathagata, the Alms-deserving, the All-enlightened One, the All-accomplished One, the Well-gone, the All-knower, the Unsurpassed One, the Best Trainer, the Teacher of Heaven and Earth, the Buddha-World-honored One. For the sake of all sravakas, he delivered the sermon of this Mahayana great nirvana-sutra, opened out the doctrine, discriminated, and expounded it. I then, acted as a sravaka, upheld the Mahayana nirvana-sutra, recited, understood, copied it, and opened, discriminated, and explained its content. I transferred the virtue hereof to the unsurpassed bodhi. O good man! Ever since, I have never once had an occasion to commit myself to evil actions of illusion and evil karmic relations, or to slander the Right Law, become the icchantika, to be born as one with imperfect-, no-, or dual-genital organs, to act against the parents, kill the arhat, break the stupa or the Law of the sangha, cause the blood to come out of the Buddha’s body, to act against the four grave offenses. Ever since, the body and mind are in peace, and I experience no sorrow or worry. O Kasyapa! I have, truth to say, now no illness of any kind. Why? Because the All-Buddha-World-honored One is away from illnesses. O Kasyapa! All these beings do not understand the undisclosed store of the Mahayana vaipulya and say that the Tathagata truly experiences illness. The Tathagata is called ‘man-lion’. And yet, the Tathagata is actually no lion. Any such is the Tathagata’s undisclosed teaching. For example, it is as we say that the Tathagata is a great naga among men. And, yet, I had already in the innumerable kalpas past made away with the action. O Kasyapa! It is as in the case in which we say that the Tathagata is a man as well as a deva. Neither am I a pisaca, gandaharava, asura, garuda, kimnara, or mahoraga. I am no self, no life, and not one who can be nourished; I am not one who feels, nor one who does not feel. I am no World-honored one, nor any sravaka. I am not one who delivers a sermon, nor one who does not. All such expressions are the undisclosed word of the Tathagata. O Kasyapa! It is as we say that the Tathagata is the Great-Sea-King-Mount-Sumeru. And, yet, the Tathagata is not equal to any salty stone mountain. Know that this, too, is the undisclosed teaching of the Tathagata. O Kasyapa! It is as we say that the Tathagata is like the pundarika. And, yet, truth to say, it is no pundarika. All such is the undisclosed teaching of the Tathagata. O Kasyapa! It is as we say that the Tathagata is like the parent. And, yet, truth to say, the Tathagata is no parent. All such is also the undisclosed teaching of the Tathagata. O Kasyapa! It is as we say that the Tathagata is like a great shipman. And, yet, truth to say, the Tathagata is no shipman. And this is also the undisclosed teaching of the Tathagata. O Kasyapa! It is as we say that the Tathagata is like a big merchant. And, yet, truth to say, the Tathagata is no merchant. Such is also the undisclosed teaching of the Tathagata. O Kasyapa! It is as we say that the Tathagata well subdues mara. And, yet, the Tathagata is, truth say, not one who subdues others with an evil mind. Such is also the undisclosed teaching of the Tathagata. O Kasyapa! It is as we say that the Tathagata well cures the carbuncle and pox. But I am not one who cures the carbuncle and pox. Such is also the undisclosed teaching of the Tathagata. O Kasyapa! It is as we have said up to now. There are good men and women who well guard their body, mouth, and mind. When the end comes to life, the relatives come, take the corpse, and burns it with fire, or they may throw it into great waters, throw it between the tombs, and foxes, wolves, or birds may come and competitively devour it. Yet the mind with find birth in a good realm. And the mind has no coming and going, or no place to go. The fore and aft resemble and continue, with no difference of outer appearances. Such is the undisclosed teaching of the Tathagata.
“O Kasyapa! I say that I am sick. But the case goes thus. This is also the undisclosed teaching of the Tathagata. That is why I said to Manjushri: ‘I have pain on the back. You should well teach the four classes of beings’. O Kasyapa! The Tathagata, the Right-enlightend One, does not recline sick on the bed with the right hand side down. And, also, to the end, he does not enter nirvana. O Kasyapa! This great nirvana is the deepest dhyana of all Buddhas. Such a dyana is not what sravakas and pratyekabuddhas can practice. O Kasyapa! You said why it was that the Tathagata should lie in bed, and not sit up, why he should not call for food, teach, and give injunction to the family people to work for a living. But, O Kasyapa! The void does not do anything as to sit up, call for food, give injunctions to family people, to work for a living. There is nothing of the kind as going or coming, to be born or to die, to become old or to be of the middle age, to come out or disappear, to get harmed or to become broken, or to be emancipated or to be bound up. Also, there is no talking of one’s own accord or talk to others. Also, it is not to understand of my own accord or to understand others; it is no peace, no illness. O good man! The same is the case with the All-Buddha-World-honored One. It is as of the void. How can there be any illness?
O Kasyapa! There are three persons who are ill and who are hard to cure. These are: 1) one who slanders Mahayana, 2) one who has committed the five deadly sins, and 3) the icchantika. The three quoted above are the gravest of all sins of the world. These are not those whom sravakas and pratyekabuddhas can well cure. O good man! For example, there is an illness which unfailingly ends in death and difficult to cure. There may be no nursing, no mind to accord with, and no medicine to apply to. Such an illness is a sure death and cannot be cured. One should know that such a person surely dies. The same is the case with these three kinds of persons. There may be sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas who may speak about the doctrine or may not. There is no way to make such aspire to the unsurpassed bodhi. O Kasyapa! There is one who is ill. There may be the nursing, the mind to accord with, and the medicine. And the illness can be cured. If there are not three such, there is no way of cure. The same is the case with the sravakas and pratyekabuddhas. They listen to what the Buddhas and bodhisattvas say, and they well aspire to the unsurpassed bodhi. It is not that one does not listen to the teaching and to aspire to bodhi. O Kasyapa! A sick person is to whom there may be the nursing, the mind to accord with, and the medicine, or there may be no such. All get cured. The same is the case with one of the single mind. One may come across a sravaka or may not; one may come across a pratyekabuddha or may not; or one may come across a bodhisattva or may not; one may come across a Tathagata or may not; one may have occasion to listen to the teaching or may not. One may all naturally attain the unsurpassed bodhi. Some, for the sake of one’s own, for others, for fear, for profit, for flattering, or for cheating others, hold or recite, do offerings, respect, or deliver sermons to others on the great nirvana-sutra.
“O Kasyapa! Five persons go in this Mahayana great nirvana-sutra, the Tathagata excepted, who are ill, but have places to go to. Who are the five? One is the one who cuts off the three bonds and attains the srotapanna, thereby not falling into the three evil realms of hell, beast, and hungry preta. Such a one gains the seven births and deaths in the worlds of man and heaven, cuts off eternally all kinds of sorrow and enters nirvana. O Kasyapa! This is the first case of having illness and a place to arrive at. This person, in the days to come, after eight thousand kalpas, attains the unsurpassed bodhi. The second is the one who cuts off the three bonds, having made light the weight of greed, anger, and ignorance, attaining the sakrdagamin, and, after one cycle of coming and going, cuts off eternally the bond of all sorrow and attains nirvana. O Kasyapa! This the second case of one who gains illness and a place to be born. The person, in the days to come, after sixty thousand kalpas, attains the unsurpassed bodhi. The third is one who cuts off the five bonds of illusion that bind one to kamadhatu and attains the light of anagamin. This person never more gains life here in this world, eternally cuts off sorrow and attains nirvana. This is the case having illness and a place to be born. This person, after forty thousand kalpas, attains the unsurpassed bodhi. O Kasyapa! The fourth is the one who eternally cuts off the illusions of greed, anger, and ignorance, and gains arhatship, and, having no more of the taints of illusion left, enters nirvana. Also, it is no practice monopolized by the pratyekabuddha. This is the case of the fourth person who gains illness and a place to be born. This person, after twenty thousand kalpas, attains the unsurpassed bodhi. O Kasyapa! The fifth is the person who has eternally cut off the illusions of greed, anger, and ignorance, and, having gained the light of a pratyekabuddha, has no more illusions to cut off and enters nirvana. This is indeed the sole case of a kirin. This is the case of the fifth person, who, having illness, gains a place to be born. This person, after ten thousand kalpas, attains the unsurpassed bodhi. O Kasyapa! This is the case of the fifth person who, having illness, gains a place to be born. He is not the Tathagata.”