The Larger Sukhavativyuha Sutra
#40. Then, the Bhagavat addressed the nobleminded Bodhisattva Ajita, and said: ‘Do you see, O Ajita, the perfection of the array of ornaments and good qualities in that Buddha country; and above in the sky places with charming parks, charming gardens, charming rivers and lotus lakes, scattered with many precious Padmas, Utpalas, Kumudas, and Pundarikas; and below, from the earth to the abode of the Akanishthas, the surface of the sky, covered with flowers, ornamented with wreaths of flowers, shining on the rows of many precious columns, frequented by flocks of all kinds of birds created by the Tathagata?’
The Bodhisattva Ajita said: ‘I see, O Bhagavat.’
The Bhagavat said: ‘Do you see again, O Ajita, those flocks of immortal birds, making the whole Buddha country resound with the voice of Buddha, so that those Bodhisattvas are never without meditating on Buddha?’
Ajita said: ‘I see, O Bhagavat.’
The Bhagavat said: ‘Do you see again, O Ajita, those beings, who have ascended to the palaces which extend over a hundred thousand yojanas in the sky, walking about respectfully?’
Ajita said: ‘I see, O Bhagavat.’
The Bhagavat said: ‘What do you think, O Ajita, is there any difference between the gods called Paranirmitavasavartins, and men in the world Sukhavati?’
Ajita said: ‘I do not, O Bhagavat, perceive even one difference, so far as the men in that world of Sukhavati are endowed with great supernatural powers.’
The Bhagavat said: ‘Do you see again, O Ajita, those men dwelling within the calyx of excellent lotus-flowers in that world Sukhavati?’
He said: ‘As gods called Trayastrimsas or Yamas, having entered into palaces of fifty or hundred or five hundred yojanas in extent, are playing, sporting, walking about, exactly in the same manner I see, O Bhagavat, these men dwelling within the calyx of excellent lotus-flowers in the world Sukhavati.
#41. ‘Again there are, O Bhagavat, beings who, being born miraculously, appear sitting cross-legged in the lotus-flowers. What is there, O Bhagavat, the cause, what the reason, that some dwell within the calyx, while others, being born miraculously, appear sitting cross-legged in the lotus-flowers?’
The Bhagavat said: ‘Those Bodhisattvas, O Ajita, who, living in other Buddha countries, entertain doubt about being born in the world Sukhavati, and with that thought amass a stock of merit, for them there is the dwelling within the calyx. Those, on the contrary, who are filled with faith, and being free from doubt, amass a stock of merit in order to be born in the world Sukhavati, and conceive, believe, and trust in the perfect knowledge of the blessed Buddhas, they, being born miraculously, appear sitting cross-legged in the flowers of the lotus. And those noble-minded Bodhisattvas, O Ajita, who, living in other Buddha countries, raise their thought in order to see Amitabha, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened, who never entertain a doubt, believe in the perfect knowledge of Buddha and in their own stock of merit, for them, being born miraculously, and appearing cross-legged, there is in one minute, such a body as that of other beings who have been born there long before. See, O Ajita, the excellent, immeasurable, unfailing, unlimited wisdom, that namely for their own benefit they are deprived during five hundred years of seeing Buddhas, seeing Bodhisattvas, hearing the Dharma, speaking about the Dharma with others, and thus collecting a stock of merit; they are indeed deprived of the successful attainment of every stock of merit, and that, through their forming ideas tainted with doubt.
‘And, O Ajita, there might be a dungeon belonging to an anointed Kshatriya king, inlaid entirely with gold and beryl, in which cushions, garlands, wreaths and strings are fixed, having canopies of different colors and kind, covered with silk cushions, scattered over with various flowers and blossoms, scented with excellent scents, adorned with arches, courts, windows, pinnacles, fire-places, and terraces, covered with nets of bells of the seven kinds of gems, having four angles, four pillars, four doors, four stairs; and the son of that king having been thrown into the dungeon for some misdeed is there, bound with a chain made of the Jambunada gold. And suppose there is a couch prepared for him, covered with many woollen cloths, spread over with cotton and feather cushions, having Kalinga coverings, and carpets, together with coverlids, red on both sides, beautiful and charming. There he might be then either sitting or resting. And there might be brought to him much food and drink, of various kinds, pure and well prepared. What do you think, O Ajita, would the enjoyment be great for that prince?’
Ajita said: ‘Yes, it would be great, O Bhagavat.’
The Bhagavat said: ‘What do you think, O Ajita, would he even taste it there, and notice it, or would he feel any satisfaction from it?’
He said: ‘Not indeed, O Bhagavat; but on the contrary, when he had been led away by the king and thrown into the dungeon, he would only wish for deliverance from there. He would seek for the nobles, princes, ministers, women, elders (rich merchants), householders, and lords of castles, who might deliver him from that dungeon. Moreover, O Bhagavat, there is no pleasure for that prince in that dungeon, nor is he liberated, until the king shows him favor.’
The Bhagavat said: ‘Thus, O Ajita, it is with those Bodhisattvas who, having fallen into doubt, amass a stock of merit, but doubt the knowledge of Buddha. They are born in that world Sukhavati, through the hearing of Buddha’s name, and through the serenity of thought only; they do not, however, appear sitting cross-legged in the flowers of the lotus, being born miraculously, but dwell only in the calyx of the lotus-flowers. Moreover for them there exist ideas of palaces and gardens. There is no discharge, there is no phlegm or mucus, there is nothing disagreeable to the mind. But they are deprived of seeing Buddhas, hearing the Dharma, seeing Bodhisattvas, speaking about and ascertaining the Dharma, gathering any new stock of merit, and practicing the Dharma, during five hundred years. Moreover they do not rejoice there or perceive satisfaction. But they wish to remove one another, and then they step out behind. And it is not known whether their exit takes place above, below, or across.
‘See, O Ajita, there might be worshippings of many hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddhas during those five hundred years, and also many, immense, innumerable, immeasurable stocks of merit to be amassed. But all this they destroy by the fault of doubt. See, O Ajita, to how great an injury the doubt of the Bodhisattvas leads. Therefore now, O Ajita, after the Bodhisattvas without doubting have quickly raised their thoughts towards Bodhi, in order to obtain power of conferring happiness for the benefit of all creatures, their stock of merit should be turned towards their being born in the world Sukhavati, where the blessed Amitabha, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened, dwells.’
#42. After these words, the Bodhisattva Ajita thus spoke to the Bhagavat: ‘O Bhagavat, will the Bodhisattvas, who have gone away from this Buddha country, or from the side of other blessed Buddhas, be born in the world Sukhavati?’
The Bhagavat said: ‘Indeed, O Ajita, seventy-two nayutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas are gone away from this Buddha country, who will be born in the world Sukhavati; Bodhisattvas, who will never return, thanks to the stock of merit, which they have accumulated under many hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddhas. What then shall be said of those with smaller stocks of merit?
1. Eighteen hundred nayutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Dushprasaha.
2. There lives in the Eastern quarter the Tathagata named Ratnakara. From his place ninety kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati.
3. Twenty-two kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Jyotishprabha.
4. Twenty-five kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Amitaprabha.
5. Sixty kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Lokapradipa.
6. Sixty-four kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Nagabhibhu.
7. Twenty-five kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Virajaprabha.
8. Sixteen kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Simha.
9. Eighteen thousand Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Simha.
10. Eighty-one nayutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Srikuta.
11. Ten nayutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Narendraraja.
12. Twelve thousand Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Balabhijna.
13. Twenty-five kotis of Bodhisattvas, who have obtained strength, having gone to one place in one week of eight days, and having turned to the West during ninety hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of kalpas, will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Pushpadhvaga.
14. Twelve kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Jvalanadhipati.
15. From the place of the Tathagata Vaisaradyaprapta, sixty-nine kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati, in order to see the Tathagata Amitabha, to bow before him, to worship him, to ask questions of him, and to consult him.
‘For this reason, O Ajita, I might proclaim during a full nayuta of kotis of kalpas the names of those Tathagatas, from whom the Bodhisattvas proceed in order to see that Tathagata Amitabha in the world Sukhavati, to bow before him, and to worship him, and yet the end could not be reached.
#43. ‘See, O Ajita, what easy gains are gained by those beings who will hear the name of the Tathagata Amitabha, holy and fully enlightened. Nor will those beings be of little faith, who will obtain at least one joyful thought of that Tathagata and of this treatise of the Dharma. Therefore now, O Ajita, I invite you, and command you to proclaim this treatise of the Dharma, before the world together with the gods. Having plunged into the vast universe full of fire, no one ought to turn back, if he has but once conceived the thought of going across. And why? Because kotis of Bodhisattvas indeed, O Ajita, return from the highest perfect knowledge, on account of not hearing such treatises of the Dharma as this. Therefore, from a wish for this treatise of the Dharma, a great effort should be made to hear, learn, and remember it, and to study it for the sake of fully grasping it and widely making it known. A good copy of it should be kept, after it has been copied in a book, if only during one night and day, or even during the time necessary for milking a cow.
‘The name of Master should be given to a teacher who desires to conduct quickly innumerable beings to the state of never returning from the highest perfect knowledge, namely, in order that they may see the Buddha country of that blessed Amitabha, the Tathagata, and to acquire the excellent perfection of the array of good qualities peculiar to his own Buddha country.
‘And, O Ajita, such beings will have easily gained their gains who, having amassed a stock of merit, having performed service under former Jinas, and having been guided by Buddhas, shall hear in future, until the destruction of the good Dharma, such-like excellent treatises of the Dharma, treatises which are praised, eulogized, and approved of by all Buddhas, and convey quickly the great knowledge of omniscience. And those also who, when they have heard it, shall obtain excellent delight and pleasure, and will learn, retain, recite and grasp, and wisely preach it to others, and be delighted by its study, or, having copied it at least, will worship it, will certainly produce much good work, so that it is difficult to count it.
‘Thus indeed, O Ajita, I have done what a Tathagata ought to do. It is now for you to devote yourself to it without any doubt. Do not doubt the perfect and unfailing knowledge of Buddha. Do not enter into the dungeon made of gems built up in every way. For indeed, the birth of a Buddha, O Ajita, is difficult to be met with, so is the instruction in the Dharma, and also a timely birth. O Ajita, the way to gain the perfection of all stocks of merit has been proclaimed by me. Do now exert yourselves and move forward. O Ajita, I grant indeed a great favor to this treatise of the Dharma. Be valiant so that the laws of Buddhas may not perish or disappear. Do not break the command of the Tathagata.’
#44. Then at that time, the Bhagavat spoke these verses :
1. ‘Such hearings of me will not be for people who have not done good; but those who are heroes and perfect, they will hear this speech.
2. ‘And those by whom the Lord of the world, the enlightened and the light-giver, has been seen, and the law been heard reverentially, will obtain the highest joy.
3. ‘Low people of slothful minds cannot find any delight in the laws of Buddha; those who have worshipped in the Buddha countries learn the service of the Lords of the three worlds.
4. ‘As a blind man in darkness does not know the way, and much less can show it, so also he who is only a Sravaka in the knowledge of Buddha; how then should beings who are ignorant!
5. ‘The Buddha only knows the virtues of a Buddha; but not gods, Nagas, Asuras, Yakshas, and Sravakas; even for Anekabuddhas there is no such way, as when the knowledge of a Buddha is being manifested.
6. ‘If all beings had attained bliss, knowing the highest meaning in pure wisdom, they would not in kotis of kalpas or even in a longer time tell all the virtues of one Buddha.
7. ‘Thereupon they would attain Nirvana, preaching for many kotis of kalpas, and yet the measure of the knowledge of a Buddha would not be reached, for such is the wonderfulness of the knowledge of the Jinas.
8. ‘Therefore a learned man of an intelligent race who believes my words, after having perceived all paths of the knowledge of the Jinas, should utter speech, saying, “Buddha is wise.”
9. ‘Now and then a man is found, now and then a Buddha appears, knowledge of the object of faith is acquired after a long time; therefore one should strive to acquire the knowledge of the object of faith.’
#45. And while this treatise of the Dharma was being delivered, twelve kotis of nayutas of beings obtained the pure and spotless eye of the Dharma with regard to Dharmas. Twenty-four hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of beings obtained the Anagamin reward. Eight hundred Bhikshus had their thoughts delivered from faults so as to cling no more to anything. Twenty-five kotis of Bodhisattvas obtained resignation to things to come. And by forty hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of the human and divine race, thoughts such as had never risen before were turned toward the highest perfect knowledge, and their stocks of merit were made to grow toward their being born in the world Sukhavati, from a desire to see the Tathagata, the blessed Amitabha. And all of them having been born there, will in proper order be born in other worlds, as Tathagatas, called Manjusvara (sweet-voiced). And eighty kotis of nayutas having acquired resignation under the Tathagata Dipankara, never turning back again from the highest perfect knowledge, rendered perfect by the Tathagata Amitayus, practising the duties of former Bodhisattvas, will carry out, after they are born in the world Sukhavati, the duties enjoined in the former prayers.
#46. At that time this universe, the three millions of worlds, trembled in six ways. And various miracles were seen. On earth everything was perfect, and human and divine instruments were played, and the shout of joy was heard as far as the world of the Akanishthas.
#47. Thus spoke the Bhagavat enraptured, and the noble-minded Bodhisattva Ajita, and the blessed Ananda, the whole Assembly, and the world, with gods, men, spirits, mighty birds, and fairies, applauded the speech of the Bhagavat. The praise of the beauty of the excellences of Sukhavati, the country of the blessed Amitabha, the Tathagata, the entry of the Bodhisattva on the stage of never returning, the story of Amitabha, the Mahayanasutra of the Description of Sukhavati is finished.