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Holy Saddharma Pundarika
English translation by H.Kern
taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/lotus/
On hearing from the Lord that display of skilfulness and the instruction by means of mysterious speech; on hearing the announcement of the future destiny of the great Disciples, as well as the foregoing tale concerning ancient devotion and the leadership of the Lord, the venerable PŻrna, son of Maitr‚yanÓ, was filled with wonder and amazement, thrilled with pure-heartedness, a feeling of delight and joy. He rose from his seat, full of delight and joy, full of great respect for the law, and while prostrating himself before the Lord's feet, made within himself the following reflection: Wonderful, O Lord; wonderful, O Sugata; it is an extremely difficult thing that the Tath‚gatas, perform, the conforming to this world, composed of so many elements, and preaching the law to all creatures with many proofs of their skilfulness, and skilfully releasing them when attached to this or that. What could we do, O Lord, in such a case? None but the Tath‚gata knows our inclination and our ancient course. Then, after saluting with his head the Lord's feet, Parna went and stood apart, gazing up to the Lord with unmoved eyes and so showing his veneration.
And the Lord, regarding the mental disposition of the venerable PŻrna, son of Maitr‚yani, addressed the entire assembly of monks in this strain: Ye monks, see this disciple, PŻrna, son of Maitr‚yani, whom I have designated as the foremost of preachers in this assembly, praised for his many virtues, and who has applied himself in various ways to comprehend the true law. He is the man to excite, arouse, and stimulate the four classes of the audience; unwearied in the preaching of the law; as capable to preach the law as to oblige his fellow-followers of the course of duty. The Tath‚gata excepted, monks, there is none able to equal PŻrna, son of Maitr‚yanÓ, either essentially or in accessories. Now, monks, do you suppose that he keeps my true law only? No, monks, you must not think so. For I remember, monks, that in the past, in the times of the ninety-nine Buddhas, the same PŻrna kept the true law under the mastership of those Buddhas. Even as he is now with me, so he has, in all periods, been the foremost of the preachers of the law; has in all periods been a consummate knower of Voidness; has in all periods acquired the (four) distinctive qualifications of an Arhat; has in all periods reached mastership in the transcendent wisdom of the Bodhisattvas. He has been a strongly convinced preacher of the law, exempt from doubt, and quite pure. Under the mastership of those Buddhas he has during his whole existence observed a spiritual life, and everywhere they termed him 'the Disciple.' By this means he has promoted the interest of innumerable, incalculable hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of beings, and brought innumerable and incalculable beings to full ripeness for supreme and perfect enlightenment. In all periods he has assisted the creatures in the function of a Buddha, and in all periods he has purified his own Buddha-field, always striving to bring creatures to ripeness. He was also, monks, the foremost among the preachers of the law under the seven Tath‚gatas, the first of whom is Vipasyin and the seventh myself.
And as to the Buddhas, monks, who have in future to appear in this Bhadra-kalpa, to the number of a thousand less four, under the mastership of them also shall this same PŻrna, son of MaitrayanÓ, be the foremost among the preachers of the law and the keeper of the true law. Thus he shall keep the true law of innumerable and incalculable Lords and Buddhas in future, promote the interest of innumerable and incalculable beings, and bring innumerable and incalculable beings to full ripeness for supreme and perfect enlightenment. Constantly and assiduously he shall be instant in purifying his own Buddha-field and bringing creatures to ripeness. After completing such a Bodhisattva-course, at the end of innumerable, incalculable ∆ons, he shall reach supreme and perfect enlightenment; he shall in the world be the Tath‚gata called Dharmaprabh‚sa, an Arhat, endowed with science and conduct, a Sugata, He shall appear in this very Buddha-field.
Further, monks, at that time the Buddha-field spoken of will look as if formed by thousands of spheres similar to the sands of the river Ganges. It will be even, like the palm of the hand, consist of seven precious substances, be without hills, and filled with high edifices of seven precious substances. There will be cars of the gods stationed in the sky; the gods will behold men, and men will behold the gods. Moreover, monks, at that time that Buddha-field shall be exempt from places of punishment and from womankind, as all beings shall be born by apparitional birth. They shall lead a spiritual life, have ideal bodies, be self-lighting, magical, moving in the firmament, strenuous, of good memory, wise, possessed of gold-coloured bodies, and adorned with the thirty-two characteristics of a great man. And at that time, monks, the beings in that Buddha-field will have two things to feed upon, viz. the delight in the law and the delight in meditation. There will be an immense, incalculable number of hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of Bodhisattvas; all endowed with great transcendent wisdom, accomplished in the (four) distinctive qualifications of an Arhat, able in instructing creatures. He (that Buddha) will have a number of disciples, beyond all calculation, mighty in magic, powerful, masters in the meditation of the eight emancipations. So immense are the good qualities that Buddha-field will be possessed of. And that ∆on shall be called Ratn‚vabh‚sa (i.e. radiant with gems), and that world Suvisuddha (i.e. very pure). His lifetime shall last immense, incalculable ∆ons; and after the complete extinction of that Lord Dharmaprabh‚sa, the Tath‚gata, his true law shall last long, and his world shall be full of StŻpas made of precious substances. Such inconceivable good qualities, monks, shall the Buddha-field of that Lord be possessed of.
So spoke the Lord, and thereafter he, the Sugata, the Master, added the following stanzas:
Then this thought arose in the mind of those twelve hundred self-controlled (Arhats): We are struck with wonder and amazement. (How) if the Tath‚gata would predict to us severally our future destiny as the Lord has done to those other great disciples? And the Lord apprehending in his own mind what was going on in the minds of these great disciples addressed the venerable Mah‚-Kasyapa: Those twelve hundred self-controlled hearers whom I am now beholding from face to face, to all those twelve hundred self-controlled hearers, Kasyapa, I will presently foretell their destiny. Amongst them, K‚syapa, the monk Kaundinya, a great disciple, shall, after sixty-two hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas, become a Tath‚gata, an Arhat, under the name of Samantaprabh‚sa, endowed with science and conduct, a Sugata, but of those (twelve hundred), K‚syapa, five hundred shall become Tath‚gatas of the same name. Thereafter shall all those five hundred great disciples reach supreme and perfect enlightenment, all bearing the name of Samantaprabh‚sa; viz. Gay‚-K‚syapa, NadÓ-K‚syapa, Uruvilv‚.-K‚syapa, K‚la, K‚Iod‚yin, Aniruddha, Kapphina, Vakkula, Kunda, Sv‚gata, and the rest of the five hundred self-controlled (Arhats).
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
On hearing from the Lord the announcement of their own future destiny, the five hundred Arhats, contented, satisfied, in high spirits and ecstasy, filled with cheerfulness, joy, and delight, went up to the place where the Lord was sitting, reverentially saluted with their heads his feet, and spoke thus: We confess our fault, O Lord, in having continually and constantly persuaded ourselves that we had arrived at final Nirv‚na, as (persons who are) dull, inept, ignorant of the rules, For, O Lord, whereas we should have thoroughly penetrated the knowledge of the Tath‚gatas, we were content with such a trifling degree of knowledge.
It is, O Lord, as if some man having come to a friend's house got drunk or fell asleep, and that friend bound a priceless gem within his garment, with the thought: Let this gem be his. After a while, O Lord, that man rises from his seat and travels further; he goes to some other country, where he is befallen by incessant difficulties, and has great trouble to find food and clothing. By dint of great exertion he is hardly able to obtain a bit of food, with which (however) he is contented and satisfied. The old friend of that man, O Lord, who bound within the man's garment that priceless gem, happens to see him again and says: How is it, good friend, that thou hast such difficulty in seeking food and clothing, while I, in order that thou shouldst live in ease, good friend, have bound within thy garment a priceless gem, quite sufficient to fulfil all thy wishes? I have given thee that gem, my good friend, the very gem I have bound within thy garment. Still thou art deliberating: What has been bound? by whom? for what reason and purpose? It is something foolish, my good friend, to be contented, when thou hast with (so much) difficulty to procure food and clothing. Go, my good friend, betake thyself, with this gem, to some great city, exchange the gem for money, and with that money do all that can be done with money.
In the same manner, O Lord, has the Tath‚gata formerly, when he still followed the course of duty of a Bodhisattva, raised in us also ideas of omniscience, but we, O Lord, did not perceive, nor know it. We fancied, O Lord, that on the stage of Arhat we had reached Nirv‚na. We live in difficulty, O Lord, because we content ourselves with such a trifling degree of knowledge. But as our strong aspiration after the knowledge of the all-knowing has never ceased, the Tath‚gata teaches us the right: 'Have no such idea of Nirv‚na, monks; there are in your intelligence roots of goodness which of yore I have fully developed. In this you have to see an able device of mine that from the expressions used by me, in preaching the law, you fancy Nirv‚na to take place at this moment.' And after having taught us the right in such a way, the Lord now predicts our future destiny to supreme and perfect knowledge.
And on that occasion the five hundred self-controlled (Arhats), Agnata-Kaundinya and the rest, uttered the following stanzas: