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Ksitigarbha

synonym: Earth Store Buddha "Name of a Bodhisattva who saves suffering beings in the hell" Ksitigarbha or 'Earth-Womb' is more popular in the Far East than he ever was in India From a bare mention in the roll of the Eight Bodhisattvas! he has risen! in "sia! and espe#iall$ East "sia! to a popularit$ se#ond onl$ to that of "valo%itesvara &he reasons for this development are obs#ure "s his name suggests! Ksitigarbha is #onne#ted with the depths 'i%e all Bodhisattvas! he aspires to deliver sentient beings wandering astra$ in the five(or si)* paths of mundane e)isten#e+ but he spe#iali,es in delivering them from hell &his e)presses an e)tremel$ profound and esoteri# aspe#t of the Bodhisattva's #ompassionate a#tivit$- he ta%es upon himself the fearful tas% not merel$ of plumbing the depths of e)isten#e! and bringing relief and #onsolation to those in torment! but of personall$ transforming and uplifting the vast in#hoate mass of fear! hatred and despair swarming and pollulating in the pit#h dar%ness of the "b$ss .e is that loving '#ompassion' of the highest to the lowest whi#h! abandoning its own bright seat! does not shrin% from wor%ing under #onditions the most diffi#ult and appalling--amidst s#enes of horror! madness and desolation--at the seemingl$ hopeless tas% of re#laiming what is 'irre#overabl$' lost Ksitigarbha is the prin#iple of spiritual sublimation in its most radi#al aspe#t! powerful enough to transform not merel$ hell into heaven but the foulest dregs of the Samsara! even! into the pure radian#e of Nirvana .e is the supreme embodiment of spiritual optimism! the most profound development of /aha$ana universalism! whi#h wills that not so mu#h as a grain of dust should be left outside the s#heme of salvation Famous quote "Not until the hells are emptied will I become a Buddha; Not until all beings are saved will I certify to Bodhi." (From "&he See%er's 0lossar$ of Buddhism"*

&he Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's Fundamental 1ows2hapter 3- /ira#les in the 4ala#e of the &ra$astrimsas .eaven 2hapter 5- &he "ssembl$ of Innumerable &ransformational Ksitigarbhas 2hapter 6- 2ontemplation on the Karmi# 2onne#tion between Sentient Beings 2hapter 7- &he Karmi# 8etribution of Sentient Beings in 9ambudvipa 2hapter :- &he Names ;f &he 1arious .ells 2hapter <- &athagata's 4raises 2hapter =- Benefitting the 'iving and the >ead 2hapter ?- &he 4raises of @amaraAa and ;thers 2hapter B- &he 8e#itation of the Buddhas' Names 2hapter 3C- "ppraisal of the /eritorious 1irtue 0ained from "lmsgiving 2hapter 33- 4rote#tion of the >harma b$ the >eities in 2harge of the 'and 2hapter 35- &he Benefits of Seeing and .earing 2hapter 36- &he 2ommendation of .uman Beings and >evas

Chapter 1: Miracles In The Palace Of The Trayastrimsas Hea en


&hus have I heard ;n#e the Buddha was abiding in &ra$astrimsas .eaven in order to e)pound the >harma to his mother "t that time! all the Buddhas and great Bodhisattva-/ahasattvas! an ine)pressible number! hailing from #ountless worlds in the ten dire#tions! #ame and assembled there &he$ praised the fa#t that Buddha Sa%$amuni! in evil times with their five %inds of defilement! was still able to manifest his in#on#eivable power of great wisdom and mira#les in order to regulate and tame stubborn beings so that

the$ #ould #ome to %now suffering and ta%e delight in the >harma Ea#h of them sent his attendant to greet the World .onored ;ne "t that time! the &athagata smiled and emitted hundreds! thousands! and m$riads of millions of great bright #louds-namel$! the great bright #louds of perfe#tion! the great bright #louds of mer#$ and #ompassion! the great bright #louds of wisdom! the great bright #louds of 4raAna! the great bright #louds of Samadhi! the great bright #louds of Srivatsa! the great bright #louds of blissful virtues! the great bright #louds of meritorious virtues! the great bright #louds of refuge and the great bright #louds of praise .aving emitted su#h indes#ribabl$ bright #louds! he also produ#ed all %inds of subtle and wonderful voi#es-namel$! the voi#es of the >ana-4aramita! the Sila-4aramita! the Ksanti-4aramita! the 1ir$a4aramita! the >h$ana-4aramita! the 4raAna-4aramita! the voi#es of /er#$ and 2ompassion! of 8eAoi#ing and "bandonment! of >eliveran#e! of Non-;utflow! of Wisdom! of 0reat Wisdom! of 'ion's 8oar! of 0reat 'ion's 8oar! of 2loud &hunder and of 0reat 2loud &hunder "fter he had produ#ed su#h indes#ribable! indes#ribable voi#es! #ountless millions of devas! nagas! demons and deities from the Saha World and other realms also #ame and assembled in &ra$astrimsas 4ala#e &he devas from the Four 2elestial Kings' .eavens arrived From &ra$astrimsas! Su$ama! &usita! Nirmanarati! 4aranirmitavasavarti! Brahma%a$i%a! Brahmapurohita! /ahabrahma (0reat 4ure .eaven*! 4arittabhas ('ittle-'ight .eaven*! "pramanabha (Infinite-'ight .eaven*! "bhasvara ('ight-Sound .eaven*! 4arittasubhas ('ittle-4urit$ .eaven*! "pramanasubhas (Infinite-4urit$ .eaven*! Subha%irtsna (Dniversal4ure .eaven*! 4un$aprasavas (Bliss-Birth .eaven*! "nabhra%a (2loudless .eaven*! Brhatphala (BroadFruition .eaven*! "sanAnisattva (No-&hought .eaven*! "urha (No-&rouble .eaven*! "tapa (No-.eat .eaven*! Sudarsana (0ood-to- See .eaven*! Sudrsa (Well-"ppearing .eaven*! "%anistha (Form-"#me .eaven*! and the NaivasamAnanasamAna$atana (Neither-&hin%ing-Nor-Not-&hin%ing .eaven*-all the multitudes of devas! from the heavens! together with the multitudes of nagas! demons and deities assembled in the &ra$astrimsas 4ala#e &here also #ame from different lands in other Euarters and from the Saha World su#h deities as those of the seas! of the rivers! of the forests! of the mountains! of the earth! of the streams and la%es! of the #rops! of the da$! of the night! of the airspa#e! of the s%$! of food and of vegetation "ll assembled there &here also #ame from different lands in other Euarters and from the Saha World su#h great demon %ings as the Evil-E$e >emon King! the Su#%le-Blood >emon King! the 2onsume-Spirit >emon King! the >evour;va >emon King! the 0ive->isease >emon King! the Welfare >emon King and the 0reat-'ove-8espe#t >emon King! and the$ all assembled there "t that time! Buddha Sa%$amuni said to the >harma 4rin#e Bodhisattva-/ahasattva /anAusri! "'oo% at all these Buddhas! Bodhisattvas! devas! nagas! pretas and deities! from this world and from other worlds! from this land and from other lands! now arriving here to gather in &r$astrimsas >o $ou have an$ idea how man$ there areF" /anAusri addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! I #ould not tell how man$ there are even if I tried for one thousand %alpas to use m$ mira#ulous power to determine the number " &he Buddha said to /anAusri! "I! too! #annot #omplete the #ounting even with the vision of m$ Buddha e$es "ltogether the$ #onstitute those beings alread$ delivered! those not $et delivered! those still to be delivered and also those representing wor% alread$ a##omplished and $et to be a##omplished b$ Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva throughout infinite! long %alpas " /anAusri addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! sin#e! in the past! I have long #ultivated good roots and have a#hieved Dnobstru#ted Wisdom! I ought to be able to believe and a##ept $our words on hearing what $ou have Aust said .owever! the beings of the lesser vehi#les! devas! nagas and the rest of the eight #ategories! as well as sentient beings of future generations! will #ertainl$ #herish doubts even if the$ hear &athagata's sin#ere words Even if the$ a##epted $our words temporaril$! there would inevitabl$

and unavoidabl$ be some s#andali,ing and slandering of $our views I onl$ hope that $ou! ; World .onored ;ne! will spea% e)tensivel$ about those deeds Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Ksitigarbha performed during his #ausal states and what vows he too% so that he was able to a##omplish su#h in#on#eivable things " &he Buddha said to /anAusri! "'et us ta%e the &ri-sahasra-maha-sahasra-lo%a-dhatu of the three great #hilio#osms (universes*+ from this let us ta%e one pie#e of ea#h and all of the different %inds of vegetationin#luding grass! trees! bushes! ri#e! hemp! bamboo and reeds-and one part of ever$ %ind of mountain! ro#% and dust-mote &hen let us #onsider ea#h pie#e and part to be a separate 0anges 8iver &hen! again! ta%e one grain of the sand in all those in#on#eivabl$ great number of 0anges 8ivers as one #hilio#osm! and afterwards ta%e ea#h mote of dust within ea#h #hilio#osm as one %alpa Finall$! #onsider all the dust grains a##umulated in ea#h of these %alpas to be! themselves! #onverted to %alpas Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has endured one thousand times longer than this vast length of time sin#e he reali,ed the ten grades of a##omplishment! not to mention the length of time Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha spent in the sainthood of .earer and 4rat$e%a-Buddhahood ; /anAusri! this Bodhisattva's maAesti#! solemn vows are! indeed! in#on#eivableG "If! in the future! a good man or good woman should hear the name of this Bodhisattva and should praise or worship him or invo%e his name or donate offerings to him as well as paint! s#ulpt or mold his image! he or she will be reborn in the thirt$-three heavens for one hundred turns and will never again fall onto the evil paths of e)isten#e "; /anAusri! this Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha in the past! prior to an ine)pressible! ine)pressible number of %alpas! assumed the form of and too% birth as the son of a ri#h man "t that time! there was a Buddha bearing the title of 'I;N'S-EH2I&E/EN&-/@8I">->EE>-"''-"22;/4'IS.E> &"&."0"&" When the elder's son saw the Buddha's e)#ellent form adorned with thousands of blessings! he inEuired of the Buddha what deeds he had performed and what vows he had ta%en to a#hieve his present e)#ellent form! so that he himself might be able to a#Euire su#h a form "&hen the 'I;N'S-EH2I&E/EN&-/@8I">->EE>-"''-"22;/4'IS.E> &"&."0"&" told the elder's son! "If $ou want to reali,e this entit$! $ou must deliver all suffering sentient beings for vast ages " "; /anAusri! then the elder's son #onseEuentl$ too% his vow! sa$ing! II now vow that I will provide! throughout in#al#ulable numbers of %alpas in the future! for the sa%e of all sinful! suffering beings on the si) paths of e)isten#e! e)tensive e)pedien#ies to #ause them all to be delivered and liberated before I m$self reali,e Buddhahood ' ".e too% su#h a great vow in front of that Buddha! and even now! after hundreds! thousands! m$riads! millions! and even in#on#eivable numbers of %alpas! he is still a Bodhisattva "/oreover! there was in the past! an in#on#eivable number of %alpas ago! a Buddha bearing the title of EN'I0.&EN/EN&-F';WE8-SE8ENI&@-SE'F-S;1E8EI0N&@-KIN0 &"&."0"&" &he life-span of that Buddha was four hundred thousand million asam%h$e%a %alpas ">uring the semblan#e dharma period there was a brahman girl! who! having profound and deep blessing due to deeds in her past lives! was admired and respe#ted b$ the people! and guarded b$ devas in her wal%ing! standing! sitting and l$ing down .owever! her mother pra#ti#ed wi#%ed wa$s and often slighted the &hree 9ewels "t that time! this hol$ girl tried man$ e)pedien#ies to persuade her mother to adopt #orre#t views! but her mother was not thoroughl$ #onvin#ed Soon thereafter! the mother passed awa$! and her pudgala (soul* fell into the Dninterrupted .ell ("vi#i* &he Brahman girl %new that her mother! not believing in the laws of #ausation! would inevitabl$ be reborn into an evil e)isten#e a##ording to her %arma+ so she sold her house and bought vast amounts of in#ense and flowers and other offerings to be generousl$ donated to the stupas and temples of the Buddha of that era She saw in a temple the image of the EN'I0.&EN/EN&-F';WE8-SE8ENI&@-SE'F-S;1E8EI0N&@-KIN0 &"&."0"&" #arved and painted in august forms and with perfe#t dignit$ &hen the Brahman girl paid obeisan#e to the sa#red

image! showing e)tra reveren#e She held deep in her heart the following thought- I&he Buddha is the 0reat Enlightened ;ne! possessing all %inds of wisdom If he were in this world! he would be able to tell me of m$ mother's whereabouts after her death ' &hen the Brahman girl wept for Euite a long time while she ga,ed admiringl$ at the &athagata "Suddenl$ she heard some voi#e from midair! sa$ing! I; weeping girl! do not be too sorrowful! for I shall now reveal to $ou $our mother's whereabouts ' "&he brahman girl! with palms Aoined! pointed dire#tl$ to the midair! sa$ing! I/a$ I %now who the Sa#red and 1irtuous ;ne is who relieves m$ worr$F Sin#e I lost m$ mother! I thin% about her da$ and night+ but there has been no one I #ould as% to tell me of her whereabouts ' "&he voi#e from midair responded to the girl again! sa$ing! II am the one whom $ou are worshipping! the EN'I0.&EN/EN&-F';WE8-SE8ENI&@-SE'F-S;1E8EI0N&@-KIN0 &"&."0"&" Seeing that $ou remember and #herish $our mother mu#h more than ordinar$ beings! I manifest to reveal her whereabouts to $ou ' "&he brahman girl! hearing this! prostrated herself abruptl$ on the ground! badl$ hurting her whole bod$ .er attendants raised her up and held her stead$ for Euite a long time while she regained her balan#e and #omposure She then addressed the midair! sa$ing! I/a$ the Buddha! in his mer#$ and #ompassion! tell me forthrightl$ m$ mother's whereabouts! for it is possible that I ma$ die ver$ shortl$ due to m$ present ph$si#al and mental stateG' "&he EN'I0.&EN/EN&-F';WE8-SE8ENI&@-SE'F-S;1E8EI0N&@-KIN0 &"&."0"&" addressed the hol$ girl! sa$ing! I"fter having #ompleted $our offering! go dire#tl$ home! sit reverentl$ and #ontemplate m$ name and title+ then $ou will %now $our mother's whereabouts ' "&hen the brahman girl #on#luded her worship of the Buddha and returned to her house She thought about her mother ver$ deepl$ and sat reverentl$ and #ontemplated the EN'I0.&EN/EN&-F';WE8SE8ENI&@-SE'F-S;1E8EI0N&@-KIN0 &"&."0"&" ""fter one da$ and one night she found herself arriving at some un%nown seashore &he water in the sea was boiling &here were man$ wi#%ed beasts! all with iron bodies! fl$ing over or wal%ing upon the sea and running and #hasing in an east-west dire#tion She saw that men and women! hundreds of thousands of m$riads in number! emerged from and submerged again into the sea! at whi#h time the$ were snat#hed up and devoured b$ the wi#%ed beasts She also saw $a%sas with different forms-some with man$ hands and numerous e$es! others with man$ feet and multiple heads! and still others with teeth as sharp as swords protruding from their mouths-#hasing and herding these suffering people into the #laws of those wi#%ed beasts! who snapped at and sei,ed them b$ either their heads or their feet &hose beasts had all sorts of horrible forms whi#h one dared not ga,e upon too long &he Brahman girl! at this time! b$ virtue of her mindfulness of the Buddha! was! naturall$! not frightened "&here appeared a demon %ing named No 4oison (1andana*! who prostrated himself before her and wel#omed her .e addressed the hol$ girl! sa$ing! IWell! ; Bodhisattva! what #auses $ou to #ome hereF' "Whereupon the Brahman girl as%ed the demon %ing! IWhat pla#e is this hereF' "1andana replied! I&his is the sea to the west of the 0reat Iron En#losed /ountain ' "&he hol$ girl as%ed! II have heard that hell is in the midst of the 2a%ravada Is it in fa#t soF' "1andana replied! IIt is true that there are hells there ' "&he hol$ girl as%ed! I.ow or in what manner did I arrive at this pla#e of hellsF'

"1andana replied! IEither b$ maAesti# or %armi# power Nobod$ #an #ome here without one of these two ' "&he hol$ girl as%ed again! IWhat #auses the water to rise and boilF "nd wh$ are there so man$ suffering people and wi#%ed beasts hereF' "1andana replied! I&hose suffering people are newl$ de#eased beings from 9ambudvipa! who #ommitted evil Sin#e for fort$-nine da$s none of their heirs have performed an$ meritorious or virtuous a#t to save and deliver them from their suffering and sin#e the$ did not #reate an$ virtuous #auses in their lifetime! the$ must be #ommitted to the various hells a##ording to their %arma Naturall$! the$ must first pass through this sea &en m$riad $oAanas to the east of this sea there is another sea! where the severit$ of the suffering is double what it is here &o the east of that sea there is still another sea! where the suffering is $et again double &his suffering is the result of the evil #auses of the three %inds of %arma+ and these pla#es are %nown #olle#tivel$ as the Karmi# Sea ' "&he hol$ girl also as%ed >emon King 1andana! IWhere are the hellsF' "1andana replied! I&he grand hells are within the three %armi# seas &he$ number in the hundreds of thousands Ea#h one is different from the others &here are eighteen grand ones! and there are five hundred se#ondar$ ones! ea#h and all being #enters of immeasurable suffering &here are hundreds of thousands of hells in the ne)t #ategor$! also! all being pla#es of immeasurable suffering ' "&he hol$ girl again addressed the great demon %ing! sa$ing! I/$ mother died not ver$ long ago I wonder where her spirit went ' "&he demon %ing as%ed the hol$ girl! IWhat did $our mother do in her lifetimeF' "&he hol$ girl replied! I/$ mother #herished some perverted views! and she ridi#uled the &hree 9ewels Sometimes she believed for a little while and then would turn irreverent again &hough she died re#entl$! I still do not %now her whereabouts ' "1andana as%ed! IWhat was $our mother's nameF' "&he hol$ girl replied! IBoth m$ mother and father were Brahmans /$ father's name was Silo Sardrsa+ m$ mother's name was @ueh &i 'i ' "1andana Aoined his palms and addressed the Bodhisattva! sa$ing! II wish that $ou would return to $our own pla#e without worr$! remembran#e or sorrowful musing It has been three da$s sin#e the sinful woman @ueh &i 'i as#ended to heaven It is said that! b$ virtue of her filial offspring's donations to the stupa and temple of the EN'I0.&EN/EN&-F';WE8-SE8ENI&@-SE'F-S;1E8EI0N&@-KIN0 &"&."0"&" on her mother's behalf! not onl$ was the mother of the Bodhisattva able to leave hell! but also all the sinful people in "vi#i .ell were able! on that da$! to re#eive the blessing to be reborn with her ' "&he demon %ing! having said this! withdrew with palms Aoined &he Brahman girl awo%e as from a dream She reali,ed the situation and then made a great vow in front of the stupa and image of the EN'I0.&EN/EN&-F';WE8-SE8ENI&@-SE'F-S;1E8EI0N&@-KIN0 &"&."0"&"- I/a$ I! through all future %alpas! provide e)tensive e)pedien#ies for the deliveran#e and liberation of all sinful! suffering beings " &he Buddha then told /anAusri! "&hat demon %ing! who was named 1andana at that time! is now Bodhisattva &s'ai Shou! and the Brahman girl is now Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha "

Chapter !: The "ssembly of Innumerable Transformational Ksitigarbhas

"t that time! all the separate transformational Ksitigarbha Bodhisattvas #ame from all the hells in hundreds! thousands! m$riads and millions of unthin%able! indis#ussible! immeasurable! ine)pressible! #ountless numbers of worlds to assemble in &ra$astrimsas 4ala#e B$ virtue of the &athagata's mira#ulous power! ea#h #ame from his realm together with those who had been liberated from %armi# pathsthousands! m$riads! millions and na$utas of sentient beings-and all of them held in#ense and flowers to be offered to the Buddha Be#ause the$ had been instru#ted and #onverted b$ Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! those who #ame there together would never retrogress from "nuttara-Sam$a%-Sambodhi &hose beings had! for vast! long %alpas! wandered through numerous births and deaths! suffering on the si) paths of e)isten#e without one moment's rest .owever! b$ virtue of the e)tensive mer#$ and #ompassion as well as the profound vows of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! ea#h one of them had reali,ed the bodhi fruit .aving arrived at &ra$astrimsas 4ala#e! the$ were overwhelmed with reAoi#ing in their hearts and ga,ed admiringl$ at the &athagata without one blin% of their e$es "t that time! the World .onored ;ne rea#hed out his golden-hued arms to tou#h the heads of all the separate transformational Ksitigarbha Bodhisattvas from hundreds! thousands! m$riads! millions! unthin%able! indis#ussible! immeasurable! ine)pressible! #ountless numbers of worlds and uttered these words"I have taught and #onverted man$ stubborn beings in this evil time with its five %inds of defilement! ma%ing them tame at heart and #ausing them to forsa%e the perverted and return to the right wa$ .owever! there are still one or two out of ten who #ontinue to be bound b$ their evil habits I have also divided m$self into hundreds! thousands and millions of transformational bodies and emplo$ed e)tensive s%illful means for the deliveran#e and liberation of sentient beings Sometimes there were those with sharp wits who would hear and immediatel$ believe and a##ept &here were others with virtuous fruition who #ould a#hieve liberation onl$ through hard persuasion+ or there were dumb and dull ones who would #ome to awareness onl$ after long #onversion &here were still others with heav$ %arma who would not show respe#t For su#h beings! ea#h different from the others! I have divided m$self into man$ bodies in order to deliver and liberate them all I manifest m$self in the forms of a man or a woman! a deva or naga! a god or ghost! a grove! a river! a plain! a stream! a pond! a spring or a well for the benefit of all sentient beings so that the$ all ma$ be delivered and liberated Sometimes I manifest m$self in the forms of a devaraAa! a brahmaraAa or a #a%ravarti! of a devotee! a %ing! a minister or an offi#ial! of a bhi%su! a bhi%suni! an upasa%a or an upasi%a! or even in the forms of a srava%a! an arhant! a prat$e%abuddha or a Bodhisattva in order to a##omplish the #onversion and deliveran#e of sentient beings Not onl$ in the form of a Buddha have I manifested m$self "Now be aware that I have been wor%ing hard %alpa after %alpa in order to deliver and liberate su#h hard$! stubborn! sinful and suffering beings .owever! there are those not $et tamed who will re#eive their due retribution a##ording to their %arma If the$ follow evil paths and suffer great distress! $ou should remember that I! here in &ra$astrimsas 4ala#e! have! with #onfiden#e! pla#ed in $our #are! until the advent of /aitre$a! all those suffering beings in the Saha World! desiring that $ou deliver and liberate them all so that the$ ma$ #ontinuall$ free themselves from suffering forever and thus be predestined to meet the Buddhas " "t that time! all the separate transformational Ksitigarbha Bodhisattvas from all the different worlds reassembled into one entit$ and! shedding tears of #ompassion! addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "Now for vast long %alpas I have been #alled and re#eived and led b$ Buddha! who granted me in#on#eivable magi# power and endowed me with great wisdom /$ divided transformational entities fill hundreds! thousands! m$riads and millions of worlds-as man$ as the sand-grains in the 0anges 8iver In ea#h one of those worlds! I have hundreds! thousands! m$riads and millions of transformational bodies Ea#h of these bodies has delivered hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of people! #ausing them to ta%e refuge in the 4re#ious &hree and! on#e and for all! ridding them of birth and death and helping them attain the Ao$ of Nirvana .owever! for an$ virtuous deed a##omplished b$ a sentient being in the name of Buddhadharmaeven if it be as small as the tip of a strand of hair! a drop of water! one grain of sand! one mote of dust or even one iota-I shall ma%e use of it for his deliveran#e and liberation so that he ma$ attain the ma)imum benefit therefrom I onl$ hope that $ou! ; World .onored ;ne! do not worr$ about those beings of future generations who have wi#%ed %arma "

.e repeated this again and again to the Buddha! sa$ing! "I onl$ hope that $ou! ; World .onored ;ne! do not worr$ about those beings of future generations who have wi#%ed %arma " "t that time! the Buddha praised Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! sa$ing! "E)#ellent! e)#ellentG I shall help $ou to reAoi#e @ou will be able to fulfill the great vows $ou too% vast long %alpas ago! so that universal deliveran#e will be #onsummated for all and so that Bodhi will be dire#tl$ attained b$ all "

Chapter #: Contemplation on the Karmic Connection bet$een %entient &eings


"t that time! 'ad$ /a$a! the Buddha's mother! with palms Aoined! as%ed Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha respe#tfull$! "; .ol$ ;ne! what will be the retribution for different %armas #reated b$ the sentient beings of 9ambudvipaF" Ksitigarbha replied! "8egarding the thousands of m$riads of worlds and lands-in some there are hells and in others there are none In some there are women and in others there are none In some there is Buddhadharma and in others there is none 'i%ewise! this applies to the presen#e or absen#e of srava%as and 4rat$e%abuddhas in the various worlds &hus! there is not Aust one #ategor$ alone that des#ribes retribution for sin in the various hells " 'ad$ /a$a addressed the Bodhisattva again! sa$ing! "I still wish to hear about the %inds of retribution indu#ed b$ following evil paths in 9ambudvipa " Ksitigarbha replied! "; .ol$ /other! please listen+ I shall spea% briefl$ on this subAe#t " &he Buddha's mother said! "4lease do! ; .ol$ ;neG" &he Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha then addressed the .ol$ /other! sa$ing! "In southern 9ambudvipa! the retribution for various sins is as follows- If someone should fail to fulfill his filial dut$ toward his parents or! at worst! %ill or harm them! he will fall into "vi#i .ell! where he will remain for thousands of m$riads of millions of %alpas without a date for release If someone should shed the blood of a Buddha! ridi#ule the &hree 9ewels or fail to respe#t the sutras! he! also! will fall into "vi#i .ell! where he will remain for thousands of m$riads of millions of %alpas without a date for release If someone should en#roa#h upon or steal the propert$ of some Buddhist establishment! slander bhi%sus or bhi%sunis! indulge his #arnal lust in a sangharama! or %ill or harm others! then he or she will fall into "vi#i .ell and remain there for thousands of m$riads of millions of %alpas without a date for release If someone should pretend to be a sramana and $et a#tuall$ is not one at heart! but! on the #ontrar$! abuses the establishment! #heats the lait$! violates the pre#epts and #ommits all %inds of evil! su#h a person will fall into "vi#i .ell! where he or she will remain for thousands of m$riads of millions of %alpas without a date for release If someone should steal from the establishment an$ propert$ at all-grain! ri#e! other food or #lothing-or ta%e an$ %ind of arti#le whatsoever without permission! he or she will fall into "vi#i .ell and remain there for thousands of m$riads of millions of %alpas without a date for release " Ksitigarbha #on#luded! sa$ing! "; .ol$ /other! an$one #ommitting su#h sins will #ertainl$ fall into "vi#i .ell! where he will suffer in#essantl$! without remission for even one instant " 'ad$ /a$a addressed Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha again! as%ing him! "What is that hell %nown as "vi#iF" Ksitigarbha replied! "; .ol$ /other! the hells of various worlds are situated inside the great 2a%ravada (ring of iron-en#losed mountains* &here are eighteen maAor hells "lso! there are five hundred se#ondar$ ones with different designations! and there are! in addition! hundreds of thousands of lesser ones! ea#h one having a different designation as well ;ne of these is the uniEue hell whi#h is %nown as "vi#i "s for "vi#i .ell! its dreadful walls #ir#ums#ribe more than eight$ thousand miles! are ten thousand miles high and are made entirel$ of iron Fier$ flames shoot out of these walls! #overing them entirel$ from top to

bottom and! again! from bottom to top Iron serpents and iron hounds spit out fier$ flames and #hase about! running along the hellish walls in an east-west dire#tion "&here are torture-ra#%s in this hell When Aust one person alone ta%es his punishment! he #an see himself l$ing prone with his bod$ stret#hed out over the entire ra#% When thousands of m$riads of people all ta%e their punishment together! the$! in li%e manner! #an also see themselves! ea#h one! l$ing prone there with their bodies stret#hed out! #overing the entire ra#% Su#h is the wa$ of retribution for sins indu#ed b$ various %armas /oreover! these sinful people suffer all sorts of other tortures and affli#tions .undreds of thousands of $a%sas and other wi#%ed demons have teeth-li%e swords and e$es li%e lightning flashes! and with hands that loo% li%e #opper #laws the$ drag these miserable sinners to their punishment ;ther $a%sas hold great iron spears! hurling them at these miserable people! some hitting their mouths and noses and others hitting their bellies and ba#%s &he$ toss these miserable people into midair and #at#h them again! throwing them onto the ra#%s "lso! there are iron haw%s to pe#% out these miserable people's e$es Furthermore! there are iron serpents to strangle these miserable people 'ong nails are driven into their various limbs and Aoints &heir tongues are pulled out &heir intestines are ripped out and torn to pie#es /olten #opper is poured into their mouths White-hot iron is wound into their bodies &he$ die m$riads of times and then are revived again m$riads of times for further torture Su#h is the retribution of %arma "1er$ aptl$! this hell-torture must last millions of %alpas without a date for a#Euittal or release When this hell-realm of the world is annihilated! these miserable sinners will transmigrate to live and suffer in another realm When that other realm is annihilated also! the$ will! in turn! transmigrate to $et another realm .owever! when all these transmigrator$ realms are finall$ annihilated! the$ must #ontinue to transmigrate $et again until the$ return to this realm! whi#h will ta%e form on#e again Su#h is the retribution for sin should one fall into "vi#i .ell "Furthermore! this hell is %nown as "vi#i be#ause it is #onditioned b$ five fa#tors What are the fiveF "Firstl$! the punishment is meted out da$ and night! %alpa after %alpa! without a moment's interruption or relief &hus "vi#i "Se#ondl$! one person #an fill it #ompletel$! and man$ people also #an fill it #ompletel$ &hus "vi#i "&hirdl$! there is punishment using su#h devi#es as for%s! #lubs! haw%s! serpents! Aa#%als! hounds! mills! grinders! saws! #hisels! files! #hoppers! boiling pots! iron nets and #ords! and iron mules and horses ;ther hideous tortures and punishments for#e these miserable beings to #over their heads with their own s%in after being fla$ed alive! after whi#h hot molten iron is poured onto their bodies+ and when the$ are hungr$ the$ are for#ed to swallow #hun%s of iron and drin% molten iron when thirst$ &his unimaginabl$ horrible torture goes on and #ontinues throughout $ears and %alpas numbering in na$utas In this manner the$ suffer #ontinuousl$ with no #essation whatsoever &hus "vi#i "Fourthl$! irrespe#tive of whether these sinners are male or female! barbarian or #ivili,ed! whether $oung or old! noble or mean! whether nagas or gods! devas or ghosts-all will re#eive the retribution of sinful %arma &hus "vi#i "Fifthl$! if a person falls into this hell! he will die m$riads of times and be revived m$riads of times ea#h da$ and ea#h night from the time of his initial entran#e unto hundreds of thousands of future %alpas! and he will never have an$ relief or rest whatsoever from his suffering and torture even for one instant It is onl$ with the e)haustion of his sinful %arma that he will finall$ be able to gain rebirth ;wing to su#h #ontinuit$ of suffering and torture! this hell is! therefore! %nown as "vi#i " &hen Ksitigarbha addressed the .ol$ /other! sa$ing! ""vi#i .ell! roughl$ spea%ing! is Aust as I have des#ribed it to $ou &o #ompletel$ and e)haustivel$ des#ribe the torture devi#es! the punishment and the hideous suffering there #ould not be done even if one were to tal% as long as one %alpa "

.aving heard this! Jueen 'ad$ /a$a was saddened She made obeisan#e with palms Aoined and withdrew

Chapter ': The Karmic (etribution of %entient &eings in )ambu* ipa


"t that time! Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! b$ virtue of Buddha's maAesti#! mira#ulous power I was able to divide m$self into man$! man$ forms throughout hundreds! thousands! m$riads and millions of worlds to save and deliver all sentient beings who were suffering their %armi# retribution without the &athagata's great! mer#iful power+ alone! I would not be able to perform su#h transformations Now I have been #ommanded b$ the Buddha to deliver and liberate all the beings on the si) paths of e)isten#e until that time when "Aita will a#hieve Buddhahood @es! indeed! ; World .onored ;ne! please do not worr$ " &hen the Buddha told Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! ""ll those sentient beings who have not been liberated are un#ertain and pre#arious in their nature and #ons#iousness &heir evil habits will produ#e evil %arma! and their virtuous habits will $ield fruition Whether the$ are virtuous or wi#%ed! all depends on the #ir#umstan#es surrounding them &he$ revolve on the five paths of e)isten#e without one moment's #essation! most li%el$ #ontinuing thus for #ountless %alpas! in #onfusion! delusion! hindran#e and diffi#ult$ li%e fish #aught in nets in the vast streams! that! though es#aping from su#h traps and freeing themselves temporaril$! will soon be#ome entangled in those nets again For su#h people! I would normall$ be worried .owever! sin#e $ou are going to honor $our past wishes and solemn vows! ta%en %alpa after %alpa! for e)tensive deliveran#e of all those sinful people! how should I have an$ #ause for further worr$F" "fter these words were spo%en! a Bodhisattva-/ahasattva in the assembl$ named SamadhisvararaAa addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! what vows did Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha ta%e %alpas ago that deserve $our profuse #ommendation and praiseF I onl$ wish that $ou! ; World .onored ;ne! would des#ribe them briefl$ " &hen the World .onored ;ne said to Bodhisattva-/ahasattva SamadhisvararaAa! "'isten attentivel$G 'isten attentivel$ and thin% #arefull$ about all that I sa$! for I am going to des#ribe ea#h vow individuall$ for $ou "&hin% of that vastl$ an#ient time ere immeasurable! asan%h$e$a! na$uta! ine)pressible numbers of %alpas "t that time! there was a Buddha %nown as S"81"9N"SI>>."8&" &"&."0"&"! who had the epithets of "rahat! Sam$a%sambuddha! 1id$a#arana- Sampanna! Sugata! 'o%avid! "nuttara! 4urusa>am$asarathi! Sastadevamanus$anam! Buddha and Bhagavan &his Buddha had a lifespan of si)t$ thousand %alpas "Before he left his home life! he was the %ing of a small #ountr$ .e befriended the %ing of the neighboring #ountr$! and the$ both pra#ti#ed the ten virtues for the benefit of sentient beings Sin#e most of the people in the neighboring #ountr$ had #ommitted man$ wi#%ed deeds! the two %ings #ontrived a plan to provide e)tensive e)pedien#ies! whereb$ one of the %ings made up his mind to a#hieve Buddhahood earl$ in order to deliver all those wi#%ed people without e)#eption! while the other %ing too% the vow- II will never be#ome a Buddha if I have not first delivered all those sinful and suffering beings! ma%ing them #omfortable and Ao$ful and enabling them to a#hieve Bodhi ' " &he Buddha! #ontinuing to tell this stor$ to Bodhisattva-/ahasattva SamadhisvararaAa! said! "&he %ing who made up his mind to be#ome a Buddha earlier be#ame &"&."0"&" 81"9N"SI>>."8&"+ but the other %ing! who vowed alwa$s to deliver all sinful suffering beings and did not want to be#ome a Buddha! is now Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha ""gain in the past! ere immeasurable asan%h$e$a %alpas! a Buddha was born .is name was 4D8E';&DS-E@E &"&."0"&" &his Buddha had a lifespan of fort$ %alpas >uring the period of his formal >harma! there was an "rhat who delivered sentient beings b$ means of his bliss and who instru#ted and

#onverted them graduall$ &his "rhat met a woman b$ the name of 4rabha#a%suh (Bright-E$es*! who provided food to honor him "&he "rhat as%ed her! IWhat is $our wishF' "4rabha#a%suh replied! ISin#e the da$ m$ mother passed awa$! I have #onstantl$ tried! through blessings gained b$ m$ donations! to gain her deliveran#e I wonder what path of e)isten#e m$ mother is now ta%ing ' "&he "rhat too% pit$ on her and entered Samadhi to dis#over her mother's whereabouts .e be#ame aware that 4rabha#a%suh's mother had followed the evil path and was suffering most severel$ .e then as%ed the girl! IWhat did $our mother do in her lifetime so that she now finds herself on the evil path in a #ondition of e)tremel$ harsh sufferingF' "4rabha#a%suh replied! I/other was a##ustomed to enAo$ eating onl$ fish! turtles and the li%e+ and she pri,ed mostl$ their roe and eggs! either roasted or boiled! indulging herself in #onsuming them &he #ounting of the number of those lives would add up to thousands of m$riads and might even be double or Euadruple that number In $our mer#$ and pit$! ; World .onored ;ne! how would $ou save herF' "&he "rhat! having pit$ for her! as a matter of e)pedien#$ advised 4rabha#a%suh! sa$ing! I@ou ma$ wholeheartedl$ re#ite the name of 1ISD>>.I4"N>"8IK"2"KSD. &"&."0"&" and also mold and paint his image for the benefit of the living and the dead ' ".aving heard this! 4rabha#a%suh at on#e gave up those things she treasured and had Buddha's image painted She also made man$ offerings to him With sin#ere respe#t! she worshipped him! weeping sorrowfull$ Suddenl$! after midnight! 4rabha#a%suh dreamed she saw the Buddha! with his shining golden bod$! as tall as /ount Sumeru! emitting brilliant light! who told her! I@our mother will soon be reborn into $our household She will tal% as soon as she begins to feel hungr$ and #old ' "Soon after! the maid in her household gave birth to a bab$ who began to tal% when it was not even three da$s old &he bab$ prostrated itself and wept bitterl$! telling 4rabha#a%suh! I;ne re#eives his own retribution for all the %arma he has #reated! ta%ing the effe#ts during his times of birth and death I was formerl$ $our mother! and I have remained for a long time in the dar%ness of .ades Sin#e I left $ou! I have repeatedl$ fallen into maAor hells .owever! b$ virtue of $our bliss! I am now able to be reborn! but onl$ to a low! mean #lass+ and I shall have onl$ a short life! wherein I shall again fall onto an evil path at the age of thirteen What plan do $ou have to help me es#ape from su#h %armaF' ".aving heard these words! 4rabha#a%suh %new that this bab$ was! doubtlessl$! her former mother She be#ame #ho%ed with sobs! wept bitterl$ and said to the maid's bab$! ISin#e $ou were! indeed! formerl$ m$ mother! $ou ought to be aware of $our own sins What did $ou do that #aused $ou to fall onto the evil path of e)isten#eF' "&he maid's bab$ replied! "I was pa$ing retribution for two %armi# sins that I #ommitted- %illing and defamation Without $our #ultivation! that has now res#ued and delivered me from that suffering! I would not be able to be liberated due to m$ former evil %arma ' "4rabha#a%suh as%ed! IWhat is it li%e in those hellsF' "&he maid's bab$ replied! IIt is unbearable to relate su#h punishment and suffering .undreds of thousands of $ears would hardl$ be enough time to e)haust an$ detailed des#ription of su#h torture and suffering ' "Dpon hearing this! 4rabha#a%suh shed tears! #r$ing profusel$ &hen she pleaded s%$ward! pra$ing aloud! sa$ing! I/a$ m$ mother alwa$s be free from the hell-states and #ommit no serious offenses during or after

10

the thirteenth $ear of her present lifetime! and ma$ she never again e)perien#e an$ evil path of e)isten#e whatsoever /a$ all the Buddhas from all the Euarters in the ten dire#tions have mer#$ and pit$ on me and listen to this e)tensive vow that I am about to ta%e for m$ mother's sa%e If m$ mother #ould alwa$s be free from following the three evil paths of e)isten#e! never be reborn in this low! mean #lass! and never again ta%e the form of a woman in the vast %alpas to #ome! I then ta%e this vow in front of the image of 1ISD>>.I4"N>"8IK"2"KSD. &"&."0"&"- From this da$ forth and throughout hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of %alpas to #ome! I will su##or and deliver all sinful! suffering beings in all worlds! in all hells and on the three evil paths of e)isten#e! #ausing them to leave the evil paths of helldwellers! of animals and of hungr$ ghosts+ and it is onl$ after all beings subAe#t to retribution for sins have a#hieved Buddhahood that I m$self will attain #omplete enlightenment ' ".aving ta%en this vow! she heard 1ISD>>.I4DN>"8IK"2"KSD. &"&."0"&" sa$ to her! I; 4rabha#a%suh! $ou show great mer#$ and pit$ b$ ta%ing su#h a great vow for the sa%e of $our mother I now see that $our mother! on rea#hing thirteen $ears of age! will forsa%e this retributive bod$! will be reborn as a Brahma#ari and live one hundred $ears "fter that retributor$ life! she will then be reborn into the aso%a (no-sorrow* state! enAo$ing a life-span of in#al#ulable %alpas Finall$! she will a#hieve Buddhahood and deliver human beings and devas! as man$ as the grains of sand in the 0anges 8iver ' " &he Buddha! #ontinuing! said to SamadhisvararaAa! "&he arhat who delivered 4rabha#a%suh at that time is now Bodhisattva "%sa$amati (Ine)haustible-/ind* &he person who was 4rabha#a%suh's mother then is Bodhisattva /o%sa now! and the girl who was 4rabha#a%suh then is Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha now ">uring the vast long %alpas of the past! Ksitigarbha had su#h profound mer#$ and pit$ that he too% as man$ vows as the grains of sand in the 0anges 8iver in order to render e)tensive deliveran#e to all sentient beings "In the future! if men or women fail to pra#ti#e virtuous deeds and onl$ #ommit evil! or if the$ fail to believe in #ause and effe#t and indulge in perverted lust! l$ing! double-tongue! harsh words or defamation of the /aha$ana views-su#h sinful people will #ertainl$ fall onto evil paths of e)isten#e If! however! the$ should meet good! learned friends who persuade them! in the time it ta%es to snap one's fingers! to ta%e refuge in Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha-su#h beings will be able to be delivered and liberated from retribution on the three evil paths of e)isten#e Furthermore! if the$ should wholeheartedl$ pa$ obeisan#e! worship and praise! offer in#ense! flowers! #lothing! Aewels of all sorts! food and beverages and other su#h donations! then the$ will alwa$s enAo$ wonderful happiness in heaven during hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of %alpas in the future Finall$! when their heavenl$ bliss be#omes e)hausted! the$ will des#end on#e again to the human worlds! alwa$s be#oming emperors or %ings! who will be able to remember the entire histor$! from beginning to end! of their previous lives "; SamadhisvararaAa! su#h is the in#on#eivable! great! maAesti# power that Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha possesses to render e)tensive benefits to all sentient beings @ou Bodhisattvas ought! therefore! to #ommit this sutra to memor$ and e)tensivel$ #ir#ulate! spread and relate it " SamadhisvararaAa addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "World .onored ;ne! please do not worr$ We thousands of m$riads of millions of Bodhisattva-/ahasattvas will #ertainl$ be able! b$ virtue of Buddha's maAesti# influen#e! to e)pound this sutra e)tensivel$ in 9ambudvipa for the benefit of all sentient beings " .aving thus addressed the Buddha! SamadhisvararaAa! with palms Aoined! respe#tfull$ made obeisan#e and withdrew &hen the >evaraAas from the four dire#tions rose from their seats and! with palms Aoined! respe#tfull$ addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! sin#e Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha too% su#h grand vows vast long %alpas ago! how is it that he has not $et #ompleted his wor% of deliveran#e and that he is now! even again! ta%ing e)tensive! immense vowsF It is our sole hope that $ou! ; World .onored ;ne! will e)plain this to us "

11

&he Buddha responded to the four >evaraAas! "E)#ellent! e)#ellentG Now I am going to tell $ou and the present and future devas and human beings about the e)pedient things whi#h Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha is doing on the paths of birth and death in 9ambudvipa of the Saha World to render mer#iful and #ompassionate deliveran#e and liberation to all sinful and suffering beings " &he four >evaraAas said! " @es! indeed! ; World .onored ;ne! we will be delighted to listen " &he Buddha said to the four >evaraAas! "From vast! long %alpas ago until the present time! Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has been delivering and liberating sentient beings! but he has not $et #ompletel$ fulfilled his vows Sin#e he has mer#$ and pit$ on all sinful suffering beings in this world and sees that their entanglement will not be #ut off for #ountless %alpas in the future! he again has ta%en further #olossal vows to en#ourage all the Bodhisattvas to resort to hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of e)pedien#ies in 9ambudvipa of the Saha World in order to tea#h and #onvert them "; >evaraAas! to those who %ill! Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha would spea% about the retribution of earl$! untimel$ death for su#h misdeeds &o those who steal! he would tal% about the retribution of distress! destitution and indigen#e &o those who indulge in perverted lust! he would tal% about the retribution of being born as pea#o#%s! pigeons and mandarin du#%s in future lives &o those using harsh words! he would spea% about the retribution of Euarrels and fights in the famil$ &o those who defame! he would spea% about the retribution of dumbness or ul#er-sores in the mouth &o those who are angr$ and hateful! he would tal% about the retribution of ugliness in the form of a hun#hba#% or a #ripple &o those who are niggardl$! he would tal% about the retribution of unanswered pra$ers &o those who eat or drin% to e)#ess! he would tal% about the retribution of thirst! starvation or throat diseases &o those who indulge in hunting! he would tal% about the retribution of death from fright or mental derangement &o those disobedient to their parents! he would tal% about the retribution of #alamities and destru#tion from the s%$ or the earth &o those who #ommit arson b$ setting forests abla,e! he would tal% about the retribution of death or #ra,$ delusions &o those who abuse their step#hildren! he would tal% about the retribution of being li%ewise abused in future lives &o those who trap and #at#h live fledglings with nets! he would tal% about the retribution of separation from their blood relatives &o those who defame the &hree 9ewels! he would tal% about retribution in blindness! deafness and dumbness &o those who slight the >harma and religion! he would tal% about the retribution of permanent banishment to the evil paths of e)isten#e &o those who abuse the properties of the Sangha establishment! he would tal% about the retribution of transmigration in hell for millions of %alpas &o those who blemish religious pra#ti#es and wrong the Sangha! he would tal% about the retribution of permanent e)isten#e as animals &o those who harm lives b$ boiling! fire! #utting or #hopping! he would tal% about appropriate retributor$ repa$ment in transmigration &o those who violate the pre#epts and brea% abstinen#es! he would tal% about the retribution of thirst and starvation as fowls and beasts &o those who destro$ things or spend mone$ unreasonabl$! he would tal% about the retribution of the defi#ien#$ or the #omplete e)tin#tion of the ne#essities the$ see% &o those who are haught$ and self-#on#eited! he would tal% about the retribution of being lowl$ and mean &o those who use double tongues to instigate trouble! he would tal% about the retribution of dumbness or having one hundred tongues &o those with perverted views! he would tal% about the retribution of rebirth in the hinterland "Su#h are the results $ielded b$ evil deeds-the ph$si#al! verbal and mental %armas of the sentient beings in 9ambudvipa! as well as the hundreds of thousands of wa$s of en#ountering their proper retribution I have tal%ed about them onl$ roughl$ and briefl$ &he sentient beings in 9ambudvipa! su#h as those des#ribed! will indu#e various and different %armi# response and results &hose sentient beings will first re#eive su#h different sorts of retribution as des#ribed and afterward fall into hell! most probabl$ remaining there for Euite a number of %alpas without a date for a#Euittal or release .owever! Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha will resort to hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of e)pedien#ies to tea#h! #onvert! deliver and liberate them &herefore! $ou prote#tors of people and of #ountries! help him and do not let those various #auses and results of sin lead sentient beings astra$ " &he four >evaraAas! having heard this! shed tears! sighed sorrowfull$ and withdrew with palms Aoined

Chapter +: The ,ames Of The -arious Hells 12

"t that time! Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Samantabhadra addressed Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! sa$ing! "Will $ou! sir! %indl$ spea% for the benefit of devas! nagas and the four-fold assembl$ of Buddhists! as well as for all sentient beings of the present and of future times! about the pla#es where retribution is to be meted out to the poor sinful beings in the Saha World and 9ambudvipa! noting! as well! designations of the various hells and the different sorts of retribution for evil a#ts! so that those sentient beings in the de#a$ing period of Buddhadharma in the future will %now about su#h retribution " Ksitigarbha replied! "Sir! full$ respe#ting Buddha's maAesti# spirit and the /ahasattva's power! I shall now give $ou a brief a##ount of the designations of various hells as well as the different sorts of retribution for different %inds of sins and evil a#tions Sir! in the east of 9ambudvipa there is a mountain %nown as 2a%ravada (Iron-En#losed* &his mountain is dar% and deep and re#eives no light from the sun or the moon .ere there is a maAor hell named "vi#i and another hell named /ahavi#i &here is another hell named Four-2ornered &here is another hell named Fl$ing-Sword &here is another hell named Fire"rrows &here is another hell named 4it#hing-/ountains &here is another hell named 4ier#ing-Spears &here is another hell named Iron-2art &here is another hell named Iron-8a#% &here is another hell named Iron-2attle &here is another hell named &housand-Knives &here is another hell named Iron-/ule &here is another hell named /olten-2opper &here is another hell named Embra#e-4illar &here is another hell named Flowing-Fire &here is another hell named 2ultivating-&ongue &here is another hell named File-.eads &here is another hell named S#or#h-Feet &here is another hell named 4e#%-E$es &here is another hell named Iron-Shots &here is another hell named Fight-Juarrel &here is another hell named Iron-")e &here another hell named /u#h-.ate " Ksitigarbha #ontinued! sa$ing! "Sir! inside the 2a%ravada /ountain there e)ist su#h hells! infinite in number In addition to the hells I have alread$ mentioned! there are @ell-Shout .ell! Strip-&ough .ell! E)#retion .ell! 2opper-'o#% .ell! Fire-Elephant .ell! Fire-.ound .ell! Fire-.orse .ell! Fire-;) .ell! Fire.ill .ell! Fire-8o#% .ell! Fire-Bed .ell! Fire-Beam .ell! Fire-.aw% .ell! Saw-&eeth .ell! 4eel-S%in .ell! >rin%-Blood .ell! S#or#h-.and .ell! Burn-Foot .ell! Inverted-&horn .ell! Fire-"bode .ell! Iron-"bode .ell and Fire-Wolf .ell Within ea#h one of these hells there are! in turn! some lesser hells-one or two in some! three or four in others or even hundreds or thousands in some #ases-ea#h one having its own designation " Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! e)plaining further! said to Bodhisattva Samantabhadra! " Sir! these are the pla#es and manners in whi#h sentient beings in South 9ambudvipa who #reate bad %arma b$ leading evil lives re#eive their retribution Karma is tremendousl$ powerful It is #apable of #overing /ount Sumeru! is #apable of plumbing the vast o#ean depths and is even #apable of obstru#ting the hol$ do#trines &herefore! sentient beings should not negle#t lesser evils as being not sinful+ for retribution will be meted out to them after their deaths for ever$ bad intention or violation! even though it be as small or insignifi#ant as an iota Even beings as #losel$ related as fathers and sons will part their respe#tive wa$s! and one will not ta%e the punishment of the other even if the$ #han#e to #ross paths "Now! b$ virtue of Buddha's maAesti# powers! I shall give a brief a##ount of the various %inds of retribution for different sins in the hells that I have mentioned I hope onl$ that $ou will #arefull$ listen to m$ words " Samantabhadra replied! "I have alwa$s %nown! from long ago! the various %inds of retribution meted out on the three evil paths of e)isten#e Sir! will $ou please spea% about them so that all the evil-doers hereafter! in the de#a$ing period of Buddhadharma! ma$ hear $ou and! thereupon! ta%e refuge in the Buddha " Ksitigarbha said! "Sir! some of the different sorts of retribution meted out in the various hells are as followsIn some hells! the tongues of punished beings are plu#%ed out to be plowed under b$ o)en or #ows+ in others! the hearts of punished beings are ripped out to be devoured b$ $a%sas+ in others! the bodies of punished beings are boiled in huge pots full of si,,ling water+ in others! punished beings are for#ed to embra#e red-hot! s#or#hing #opper pillars+ in others! punished beings are #hased and #aught b$ bursts of fire+ in others! it is alwa$s i#e #old+ in others! there is limitless filth$ e)#retion+ in others! darts and pellets are whi,,ing and shooting about+ in others! man$ fier$ spears are #ontinuall$ stabbing out+ in others! onl$ the breasts and ba#%s of punished beings are pounded+ in others! onl$ their hands and feet are burned+ in

13

others! there are iron serpents winding and twisting about punished beings+ in others! there are iron hounds #hasing them+ and in still others! there are iron mules riding them "Sir! for su#h %inds of retribution there are hundreds of thousands of sorts of instruments for torture and punishment in ea#h one of the hells+ these instruments are made onl$ of #opper! iron! ro#% or fire &hese four %inds of #onditions-as well as the instruments of torture and punishment the$ are formed into-are #aused b$ the various %armi# sinful deeds "Now! than%s to Buddha's maAesti# spirit and $our inEuir$! I have Aust #ompleted a brief a##ount of the different sorts of retribution in the various %inds of hell .owever! to give an e)haustive des#ription of ever$ %ind of retribution for ever$ sort of sin in ea#h and ever$ t$pe of hell-with the hundreds of thousands of miserable tortures in ea#h one of the innumerable hells-would not be possible even though I were to #ontinue for innumerable %alpas "

Chapter .: Tathagata/s Praises


"t that time! the World .onored ;ne emitted from his entire bod$ great! brilliant lights! whi#h shone throughout all the hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of Buddha-'ands-indeed! numbering as man$ as the number of grains of sand in the 0anges 8iver With a tremendous! thunderous voi#e he admonished all the Bodhisattva-/ahasattvas! devas! nagas! demons! gods! human and nonhuman beings in various Buddha-'ands! sa$ing! ""ll of $ou! listenG For toda$ I shall praise the deeds of Bodhisattva/ahasattva Ksitigarbha! who! b$ manifesting his great! in#on#eivable! mer#iful and #ompassionate powers! saves and prote#ts all the sinful and suffering beings in all the worlds in the ten dire#tions "fter m$ Nirvana! $ou Bodhisattva-/ahasattvas! devas! nagas! demons and deities should resort to e)tensive e)pedien#ies in order to guard this sutra and to #ause all sentient beings themselves to reali,e Nirvana " "fter this was said! a Bodhisattva in the #ongregation named Samantavipula! with palms Aoined! reverentl$ addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "We now see that $ou! World .onored ;ne! highl$ praise Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha for possessing su#h in#on#eivable! great! maAesti#! sa#red virtues It is onl$ hoped that $ou! World .onored ;ne! will des#ribe-for the benefit of those sentient beings living during the final period of Buddhadharma in the future-su#h things as the #auses and the results of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's deeds that benefit human beings and devas! so that the eight #ategories of beings! in#luding devas and nagas! as well as other sentient beings in future periods! will a##ept and adore Buddha's words " &hen the World .onored ;ne responded to Bodhisattva Samantavipula and all the %inds of sentient beings there assembled! sa$ing! "'isten attentivel$! listen attentivel$G I am going to tal% to $ou briefl$ about the blissful and virtuous things whi#h Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has done to benefit human beings and devas " Samantavipula said! "@es! indeed! ; World .onored ;ne! we shall be delighted to hear " &he Buddha told Samantavipula! "If a good man or a good woman in the future should! on hearing the name of Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Ksitigarbha! Aoin his palms! give praise and pa$ obeisan#e or give admiration to him-su#h a person will be e)onerated from all his sins #ommitted and %armi# blemishes #ontra#ted during thirt$ %alpas "; Samantavipula! if a good man or a good woman should ma%e an image of this Bodhisattva! either b$ painting or drawing it or b$ molding it with earth! stone! glue! la#Euer! gold! silver! #opper or iron! and should then ma%e even onl$ one observan#e or ma%e onl$ one a#t of worship to it-su#h a person will be reborn in the thirt$-three heavenl$ realms one hundred times in su##ession! never again falling onto an$ evil path Even when bliss be#omes e)hausted! he still will be the %ing of a #ountr$! with no loss of his immense advantages

14

"If a woman who hates womanhood should appl$ her mind to worshipping Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's painted pi#ture or his image made of earth! stone! glue! la#Euer! #opper or iron! and if she should often pa$ homage to it also with su#h things as flowers! in#ense! food! drin%! #lothing! a##essories! #urtains! banners! mone$ or Aewels-su#h a good woman will not ever be reborn into a world having an$ woman whatsoever for a duration of hundreds of thousands of m$riads of %alpas after she ends her present retributive life in a woman's form! not to mention her having to undergo an$ further period of womanhood Dnless she should wish! b$ virtue of her #ompassionate vow! to assume womanhood in order to deliver and liberate sentient beings! she will not have to assume womanhood for a duration of hundreds of thousands of m$riads of %alpas b$ virtue of her worship of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and be#ause of the meritorious virtues gained from su#h worship "Furthermore! ; Samantavipula! if a woman should hate her ugliness and proneness to illness but wholeheartedl$ pa$s obeisan#e to Ksitigarbha in front of his image-su#h a person! soon after her death! will! in the duration of the time it ta%es to eat one meal! be reborn during thousands of m$riads of %alpas with perfe#tl$ admirable loo%s and forms If this ugl$ woman should not loathe womanhood! she will! in hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of future lives! alwa$s be born a prin#ess! ro$al lad$ or daughter of a high offi#ial in a great famil$ #lan of a great elder+ and she will enAo$ a gra#eful birth and a perfe#t! admirable form in ea#h lifetime It is b$ virtue of her wholehearted worship of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha that su#h bliss will be obtained "/oreover! ; Samantavipula! if some good man or good woman should be able to pla$ various %inds of musi# and sing praises and offer in#ense and flowers in front of this Bodhisattva's image! or persuade even one person or man$ people to do li%ewise-su#h a person will have the prote#tion and guardianship! da$ and night! of thousands of demons and deities! in the present as well as in the future! so that no evil will even rea#h his or her ears! mu#h less that he! personall$! should ever en#ounter an$ misfortune or evil "Furthermore! ; Samantavipula! if! in the future! an$ evil people! together with evil deities or evil demons! should observe that a good man or a good woman ta%es refuge in worship and praises and pa$s obeisan#e to the image of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! and if the$ should a#t wrongl$ to ridi#ule and slander him or her! asserting su#h a#tion to have no merit or virtue or benefit! and if these same evil people either laugh with their teeth e)posed or obAe#t behind his or her ba#% or persuade others to obAe#t together! or if there is an$ obAe#tion whatsoever b$ one person or b$ man$ people! or if su#h a person or people have even Aust one single thought of ridi#ule or slander-su#h s#orners shall! as their retribution for this ridi#ule and slander! fall into "vi#i .ell and remain there until the Nirvana of one thousand Buddhas in the Bhadra%alpa! #onstantl$ re#eiving e)tremel$ severe punishment In addition! even that %alpa will have to elapse before su#h s#orners will be able to enter even the path of hungr$ ghosts "nother thousand %alpas will have to elapse before the$ #an enter the path of animals Finall$! still another thousand %alpas will have to elapse before the$ will be able to enter the path of human beings .owever! even as human beings! the$ are bound to be poor! indigent! low and mean! defi#ient in some bodil$ organs and severel$ %notted mentall$ b$ evil %arma so that the$ will surel$ alwa$s #ontinue to fall onto one evil path of e)isten#e or another "So $ou see! ; Samatavipula! it is bad enough to ridi#ule and slander others' donations and sin#ere worship+ but it is mu#h worse! indeed! to breed other wi#%ed views that see% to bring about the destru#tion of the Buddhadharma "Furthermore! ; Samantavipula! in future worlds some men or women will be totall$ disabled and bedridden for a long time! neither their pra$ers for re#over$ nor their pra$ers for death being answered "t nighttime the$ will dream of evil demons or dream that the members of their immediate families or other relatives ma$ visit some dangerous pla#e Sometimes the$ will have nightmares about being in the #ompan$ of demons or deities "s the da$s! months and $ears elapse! the$ will be#ome e)tremel$ wea% and seriousl$ ill! $elling tragi#all$ and patheti#all$! out of miser$ in their sleep &hose people represent #ases of %arma under Audgment! the seriousness of whi#h is as $et unde#ided! and su#h people either find it diffi#ult to give up their lives or find that it is impossible for them to re#over Su#h situations are dis#ernible even to the e$es of both la$men and la$women

15

"&o help su#h people it is ne#essar$ to re#ite this Sutra aloud onl$ on#e in front of the images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas &hen ta%e something whi#h the patient #herishes-su#h as #lothing! Aewels! plantations! gardens or houses-and re#ite aloud to the patient as follows- II! so and so! on behalf of this patient! am donating these arti#les in front of the Sutra and the i#ons in order to honor the Sutra and i#ons or to #onstru#t Buddhas' and Bodhisattvas' i#ons or to build stupas and temples or to burn oil lamps or to benefit religious establishments ' "In su#h a manner! this pronoun#ement should be repeated three times to the patient so that he ma$ hear and understand it If his #ons#iousness has diffused or if his breathing has stopped! Aust ma%e the pronoun#ement and re#ite the Sutra aloud for one da$ or two! three or four da$s or even for seven da$s From that time forward! that patient will be e)onerated! on#e and for all after his death! from all his previous miseries and serious iniEuities as well from an$ of the five hundred unpardonable sins he ma$ have #ommitted Furthermore! he will be aware of his previous lives wherever he ma$ have his rebirth "ll this is wonderful! but how mu#h more will be the reward gained b$ those good men and good women who would themselves #op$ this Sutra or have others #op$ it for them or who would themselves mold or paint this Buddha's i#on or pi#ture or who would even have others #arve or paint it for them &he$ will #ertainl$ gain tremendous benefit "2onseEuentl$! ; Samantavipula! if $ou see an$one re#iting this Sutra or even for an instant praising or honoring it! $ou must resort to hundreds of thousands of e)pedients to en#ourage this %ind of person to be diligent without retrogression so that he ma$ obtain thousands of m$riads of millions of in#on#eivable meritorious virtues in the future as well as at present "Furthermore! ; Samantavipula! if! in an$ future world! an$ sentient beings should! in their dreams! see some demons or deities or even beings in other forms sobbing and sighing or weeping and frightened! the$ should understand that these beings were their parents! sisters! brothers! spouses or other relatives in one! ten or one hundred or one thousand lives in the past and that the$ are presentl$ on evil paths of e)isten#e! are not $et a#Euitted and have no hope whatsoever for an$ blissful power to deliver them &he$ #an onl$! in dreams! e)hort their former blood relatives to resort to e)pedien#ies to help them in their desire to es#ape from evil paths "; Samantavipula! with $our mira#ulous power! $ou should #ommand people having su#h dreams to re#ite this Sutra themselves three or seven times in front of Buddhas' or Bodhisattvas' images or as% others to re#ite it for them &hen! those relatives on evil paths! who appeared in their dreams! will gain deliveran#e and liberation at the #on#lusion of the repeated re#itation of this Sutra "lso! these former relatives will never again appear in the dreams of the living "Furthermore! ; Samantavipula! if! in an$ future world! some lowl$! mean fol%-either maids or slaves or some persons deprived of freedom but aware of their previous %arma and wishing to repent-should wholeheartedl$ ma%e obeisan#e to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's image and if the$ should re#ite! during a seven-da$ period at the end of their present lifetimes! the Bodhisattva's name about ten thousand times! su#h people will alwa$s be reborn to positions of honor for thousands of m$riads of rebirths+ and far less will the$ ever again endure the suffering of the three evil paths of e)isten#e "Furthermore! ; Samantavipula! if! in an$ future world! to su#h people as %satri$as! brahmans! elders or householders or to those in other #lans or tribes in 9ambudvipa there should arrive a newborn bab$-either a bo$ or a girl-and if the parents earl$ on intone this in#on#eivable Sutra and invo%e the Bodhisattva's name no less than ten thousand times! then this newborn bab$-either a bo$ or a girl-will be e)onerated from previous disastrous %armas! if an$! and will enAo$ deliveran#e! happiness! a trouble-free e)isten#e and a life of great length+ and those reborn with blissful %armas shall! in turn! enAo$ greatl$ in#reased happiness and longevit$ "Furthermore! ; Samantavipula! as for the sentient beings in an$ future world-the first! eighth! fourteenth! fifteenth! eighteenth! twent$-third! twent$-fourth! twent$-eighth! twent$-ninth and thirtieth da$s of the month are the da$s when their offenses are to be Audged and the degree of severit$ of their retribution is to be

16

de#ided If sentient beings in southern 9ambudvipa #reate %arma and #ommit sins whenever the$ move! rest or #ogitate! then how mu#h worse are the sins #ommitted and the %arma #reated b$ those who indulge in %illing! destro$ing! stealing! robber$! lust! l$ing and hundreds of thousands of other su#h sinful a#tsG .owever! should sentient beings be able to re#ite this Sutra Aust one time in front of the images of Buddhas! Bodhisattvas! sages and hol$ ones on ea#h of these ten da$s of abstention! then no #alamit$ will #ome within one hundred $oAanas to the east! west! south and north of their households+ and the old and the $oung of their households will never follow evil paths either in the present or in the future for hundreds of thousands of ages "lso! should the$ be able to read this Sutra Aust on#e in those ten da$s of abstention! then their households will! even at the present time! be free from all une)pe#ted illness and be full$ abundant in #lothing and food "&herefore! ; Samantavipula! $ou should be aware that su#h in#on#eivable hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of benefi#ial things are a##omplished b$ virtue of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's great! maAesti#! mira#ulous power &he sentient beings in 9ambudvipa have strong primar$ and se#ondar$ #auses in relationship to this /ahasattva &hose sentient beings! on hearing this Bodhisattva's name or on seeing his image or even on hearing three words! five words! one senten#e or one gatha of this Sutra! will enAo$ e)traordinaril$ wonderful happiness at present and will gain dignit$ and rebirth in honorable and noble families for hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of rebirths in the future " "t that time! Bodhisattva Samantavipula! having heard the Buddha! as well as the &athagata's praises of and #ommendations for Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! %nelt before the Buddha with palms Aoined and addressed him! sa$ing! " ; World .onored ;ne! I %new from long ago that this /ahasattva possessed su#h in#on#eivable mira#ulous power and great strength for vows .owever! for the benefit of all sentient beings in the future! so that the$ ma$ be aware also-and onl$ for su#h a purpose-I as% this final Euestion @es! indeed! ; World .onored ;ne! in order that the$ ma$ honor and a##ept it! how shall this Sutra be designated and how shall we #ir#ulate itF" &he Buddha told Samantavipula! "&here are three names for this Sutra ;ne is &he Sutra of Ksitigarbha's Fundamental 1ows "nother is &he Sutra of Ksitigarbha's ;wn >eeds Still another is &he Sutra of Ksitigarbha's Fundamental 1ows and 4ower Sin#e this Bodhisattva reall$ did ta%e great and profoundl$ serious vows vast! long %alpas ago for the benefit of all sentient beings! $ou! therefore! should #ir#ulate it in a##ordan#e with his wishes " .aving heard this! Samantavipula reverentl$ made obeisan#e with palms Aoined and withdrew

Chapter 0: &enefitting the 1i ing an* the 2ea*


"t that time! the Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Ksitigarbha addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! I see that the sentient beings in 9ambudvipa are doing nothing but #ommitting sins when a thought arises or when an idea is generated When! b$ #han#e! the$ happen to gain some good benefits! the$ often retrogress from their initial minds In evil #onditions! evil thoughts grow one after another "Su#h people! individuall$! are Aust li%e a person plodding along a mudd$ road #arr$ing a heav$ load of ro#%s! whi#h be#omes heavier and more burdensome! #ausing him! with ea#h step! to sin% ever deeper into the mud If he were to en#ounter some friend! this friend! no doubt! would share or help with his load or ta%e it over entirel$ Sin#e this friend is ver$ powerful! he would also hold up and help the overburdened one! advising him to %eep his step stead$ and firm or to rea#h a safe! level road! avoiding and not retra#ing the bad road "; World .onored ;ne! sentient beings who pra#ti#e evil ma$ begin b$ performing onl$ one small evil a#t! whi#h! if not #ontrolled and stopped! eventuall$ grows to an immeasurable proportion of evil When these sentient beings having su#h bad habits are at the ends of their lives! their parents or other relatives should! advisedl$! generate bliss for them as a provision to urge them forward on the path ahead &his #an be done either b$ hanging banners and #anopies and burning oil-lamps or b$ reading and re#iting venerated sutras or b$ displa$ing images of Buddhas and of other hol$ ones or even b$ invo%ing the names of

17

Buddhas! Bodhisattvas and 4rat$e%abuddhas When one name or one title rea#hes the ears of the d$ing one and is a##epted into his #ons#iousness-even though su#h a sentient being! on a##ount of the results indu#ed b$ the evil %arma he produ#ed! will #ertainl$ fall onto some evil path of e)isten#e-then! be#ause of the hol$ #auses for the d$ing whi#h his relatives have #ultivated! he will be entirel$ e)onerated from his sins Furthermore! it is re#ommended that man$ good deeds be performed b$ the living during the sevenda$ period Aust after his death! the for#e of whi#h will permanentl$ distan#e the departed one from all evil paths and enable him to be reborn as a human being or a deva in order to enAo$ e)traordinaril$ wonderful happiness and bring! as well! #ountless benefits to his living relatives "&herefore! now! in the presen#e of Buddha! the World .onored ;ne! and the eight #ategories of beings! in#luding devas and nagas as well as human and non-human beings! I advise the sentient beings in 9ambudvipa to be #areful during the da$s immediatel$ after someone's death! not %illing or destro$ing or #reating evil %arma b$ worshipping or offering sa#rifi#e to demons and deities or b$ having re#ourse to monsters and goblins "nd wh$F 9ust be#ause su#h %illing and slaughtering #ommitted or su#h worship performed or su#h sa#rifi#e offered would not have even an iota of for#e to benefit the dead! but would entwine even more sinful %arma into previous %arma! ma%ing it even deeper and more serious In the future or at present! one might be entitled! b$ sa#red right! to rebirth among devas or human beings+ but if his relatives #reate an$ evil %arma at his deathbed or during the wee%s after his death! he will be obliged to defend himself b$ #ountera#ting su#h evil #auses and! thus! dela$ his rebirth to a good state .ow mu#h worse it must be! then! for those who! d$ing! have had few good roots and who! b$ themselves! will fall onto evil paths in a##ordan#e with their respe#tive %armaG .ow #an their relatives be so mer#iless as to in#rease the evil %arma of the d$ing onesF &his is Aust li%e the situation in whi#h someone has plodded over a long distan#e and has been without food for three da$s while bearing a heav$ burden of over one hundred #atties when he #han#es to meet a neighbor who! thoughtlessl$! piles something else on his ba#% for him to #arr$ &his would! mer#ilessl$! ma%e his alread$ heav$ burden even heavierG "; World .onored ;ne! I see that if the sentient beings in 9ambudvipa are able to perform some good deeds as Buddhadharma-even though su#h deeds be onl$ as small as the point of a hair! a mote! a grain of sand or a droplet-the$ will be able to gain benefit for themselves " "s this utteran#e was being #on#luded! an elder in the assembl$ b$ the name of /ahapratbhana! who had long reali,ed the in#reate #ondition of no-birth and was #onverting and delivering sentient beings in all Euarters in the form of an elder! with palms Aoined! reverentl$ as%ed Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! "; /ahasattva! after the death of some sentient being in southern 9ambudvipa! if his relatives-either Auniors or seniors-should #ultivate meritorious virtue for him or provide vegetarian meals to #reate good %armi# #auses! would su#h a dead person gain great benefit as well as deliveran#e and liberationF" Ksitigarbha replied! "Sir! b$ means of the Buddha's maAesti# power! I am going to tal% briefl$ on this matter for the benefit of all sentient beings of the present and future generations ";! @our E)#ellen#$! if an$ sentient being in the future or at present should be able! at the end of his life! to hear the name of a Buddha or of a Bodhisattva or of a 4rat$e%abuddha! he will gain deliveran#e and liberation! whether he is sinful or inno#ent Should some men or women not #ultivate good %armi# #auses and #ommit man$ sins while living! but should their relatives-whether Aunior or senior-perform! on their behalf! all the blissful! benefi#ial sa#raments! then one out of ever$ seven parts of the meritorious virtue thus gained will go to the dead person! while si) parts will go to the living themselves For this reason! good men and good women of the future and the present should #ultivate themselves while the$ are still health$ so that the$ ma$ gain ever$ part of su#h meritorious virtue "&he powerful demon "vid$a (Impermanen#e* #ould arrive une)pe#tedl$ &hen one's unsettled spirit! wandering in the dar%! would not %now whether it was undergoing suffering or enAo$ing happiness! but would Aust! senselessl$ and dumbl$! within a seven-da$ period! be brought before some authorit$ who will weigh and #onsider his %armi# result and ma%e a Audgment! after whi#h he will go to rebirth a##ording to his %arma In the meantime! however! his unpredi#table situation! over whi#h he has no #ontrol whatsoever! would #ause him thousands of worries and m$riads of miseries .ow mu#h worse! then! would be the situation for those who are #ondemned to evil pathsG

18

"&his dead person who has not $et gone to rebirth would! no doubt! hope from instant to instant during this seven-da$ period after his death that his blood relatives would do something to e)ert some blissful power to deliver him "fter this period! he will be meted out his retribution in a##ordan#e with his %arma For a sinner! it is apt to be hundreds of thousands of $ears before his da$ of a#Euittal .owever! for the five unpardonable sins-whereb$ one deserves to be #ast into the maAor hells-there will be thousands of m$riads of %alpas of suffering and everlasting miser$ before there will be an$ a#Euittal "/oreover! ; Elder! if! after the death of su#h a sentient being with sinful %arma! his blood relatives should prepare and suppl$ vegetarian meals on his behalf in order to provide for him and help him along his %armi# path! the$ must do it in su#h a wa$ that no ri#e washing or trimmed vegetable blade whatsoever is wasted or thrown awa$ during the preparation or before the #on#lusion of su#h a meal+ the$ must! as well! ma%e sure that no one parta%es of an$ food before it has been offered up to the Buddha and the Sangha "n$ negligen#e or brea#h of these pre#autions would render the wor% for the dead person ineffe#tive If #are and diligen#e are emplo$ed to maintain purit$ in the offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha! then the dead one will obtain one out of seven of the merits thus gained "2onseEuentl$! ; Elder! if a sentient being in 9ambudvipa is able to provide! on behalf of his parents or his relatives after their deaths! vegetarian meals as offerings! in a whole-hearted and sin#ere manner! this would be benefi#ial to both the living and the dead " "s these words were being uttered! thousands of m$riads of millions of na$utas of the demons and deities of 9ambudvipa! then and there! in &ra$astrimsas .eaven! all made up their minds to a#hieve unlimited Bodhi &hen Elder /ahapratbhana made obeisan#e and withdrew

Chapter 3: The Praises of 4amara5a an* Others


"t that time! >eva @amaraAa and #ountless demon %ings from within the 2a%ravada /ountain all Aourne$ed to &ra$astrimsas! arriving at the Buddha's pla#e "mong them were 4retaraAas Evil-4oison! /u#h-Evil! BigJuarrel! White-&iger! Blood-&iger! 8ed-&iger! Spread-2alamit$! Fl$-Bod$! 'ightning-Flash! Wolf-Fang! &housand-E$e! >evour-"nimal! 2arr$-8o#%! /aster-E)haust! /aster->isaster! /aster-Food! 'ord-ofWealth! /aster-of-Beasts! /aster-of-Fowls! /aster-of-"nimals! /aster-of-0oblins! /aster-of-Birth! /aster-of-'ives! /aster-of->iseases! /aster-of-8is%s! &hree-E$es! Four-E$es! Five-E$es! 2hislis! 0reat2hislis! 2hili%sa! 0reat-2hili%sa! "nato and 0reat-"nato &hese great demon %ings-ea#h a##ompanied b$ hundreds of thousands of lesser demon %ings who dwelt in 9ambudvipa and ea#h of whom had his own responsibilities and his own #harge-all these demon %ings and >eva @amaraAa! b$ virtue of Buddha's maAesti# spirit and Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Ksitigarbha's power! arrived at &ra$astrimsas and stood to one side "t that time! >eva @amaraAa! %neeling with palms Aoined! addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! now it is onl$ b$ virtue of Buddha's maAesti# spirit and Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Ksitigarbha's powers that we and the demon %ings are able to attend this great assembl$ in &ra$astrimsas &his also #reates a #ause to help us gain good benefits .owever! I have some minor #on#ern that I venture to as% $ou about! ; World .onored ;ne It is onl$ hoped that! in $our mer#$ and #ompassion! $ou will answer me " &he Buddha said to >eva @amaraAa! "Whatever $ou as% about! I shall answer $ou " &hen >eva @amaraAa made obeisan#e to the World .onored ;ne! turned to loo% at Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! I see that Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha resorts to hundreds of thousands of e)pedien#ies on the si) paths of e)isten#e to deliver all sentient beings who are suffering and bearing punishment and never shies awa$ from this a#tivit$ due to tiredness or fatigue &his great Bodhisattva has done su#h in#on#eivabl$ mira#ulous things .owever! sentient beings! even though liberated from their deserved punishment! will again fall onto evil paths before long ; World .onored ;ne! sin#e this Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha possesses su#h in#on#eivabl$ mira#ulous power!

19

how! then! is it possible that sentient beings fail to hold to good paths and obtain permanent liberationF I onl$ hope that $ou will e)plain this to me! ; World .onored ;neG" &he Buddha e)plained to >eva @amaraAa as follows- "&he sentient beings in southern 9ambudvipa are stubborn and adamant b$ nature &he$ are diffi#ult to tame and #ontrol &his great Bodhisattva has! during hundreds of thousands of %alpas! saved and delivered su#h beings in ever$ wa$ and from all angles and has led them to earl$ liberation Su#h people! even if the$ might fall onto maAor evil paths of e)isten#e as retribution for their sins! will give than%s for this Bodhisattva's power to resort to e)pedien#ies! to e)onerate them from their fundamental %armi# #onne#tions and to ma%e them aware of all their a#tions and #ir#umstan#es during their previous lives Naturall$! however! sin#e the sentient beings in 9ambudvipa! heavil$ entangled with their evil habits! would Aust as soon fall into and re-enter their old wa$s as get out! this Bodhisattva has to ta%e the trouble to wor%! for long %alpa after %alpa! to effe#t their deliveran#e and liberation "It is Aust li%e someone who! having gone astra$ from his home! inadvertentl$ finds himself trapped on some dangerous path swarming with $a%sas! tigers! wolves! lions! li,ards! serpents! vipers and s#orpions Su#h a stra$ing person would meet with mali#e in ever$ instant on that dangerous path .owever! someone who %nows and understands the great m$sti#al power and is well-versed in how to #ombat! #ontrol and wipe out this mali#e! evil poisons and $a%sas and who! also! #han#es to en#ounter this stra$ing person about to embar% on the dangerous path would address him! sa$ing! IDgh! manG What #auses $ou to ta%e this path What magi# do $ou have for #ontrolling all this mali#e and evilF' "&his stra$ing person! on hearing these words! would suddenl$ reali,e that su#h a path was! indeed! dangerous and would retreat dire#tl$! leaving that path Su#h a good! learned friend would lend him a hand to lead him awa$ from that dangerous path! avoiding all evil and mali#e! and show him how to rea#h the safe path to help him a#hieve happiness &he good! learned friend might sa$ to him! I/$ dear stra$ing friend! hereafter please don't ta%e this path ever againG "n$one who ta%es this path #an hardl$ es#ape and would surel$! at last! lose his life ' &his stra$ing person would #ertainl$ be mu#h obliged to him ".is friend might also sa$ to him as the$ parted! IIf $ou see someone $ou %now or some other traveler! whether male or female! please tell him or her that this path is thronging with evil and mali#e that #an #ause loss of life! and let no su#h traveler! in effe#t! #ommit sui#ide b$ ta%ing su#h a path ' "&hus! Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha is eEuipped with great mer#$ and #ompassion to deliver and liberate all sinful! miserable beings! helping them to be reborn as human beings or devas in order to enAo$ wonderful happiness+ he enables those sinful ones to be#ome aware of the suffering that is their lot on the %armi# paths so that the$ ma$ ultimatel$ be e)onerated and es#ape from and never fall onto the %armi# paths again &his situation is Aust li%e the #ase wherein one has gone astra$ and ta%es the dangerous path but who has a good friend who guides him and leads him out to safet$ .e would never again %nowingl$ ta%e and would advise others never to ta%e su#h a path if! upon meeting them! he sees that the$ are about to do so .e would tell them that! due to his own stra$ing! he himself too% the wrong path but that he would not %nowingl$ ta%e it again after being delivered and that if he should ever tread that same path again! due to some error! not reali,ing that it was the same dangerous one he had ta%en before! he might! indeed! lose his life .e would #ompare su#h an eventualit$ to the #ase wherein one is imprisoned! having #hosen evil over good! but is! b$ virtue of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's power of resorting to e)pedien#ies! liberated to be reborn among human beings or devas+ but if he should! sooner or later! #hoose to re-enter his prison#age due to new! heav$ %armi# entanglement! he would then remain in hell forever with no date for his a#Euittal " "t that time! >emon King 1i#ious-1enom reverentl$ Aoined his palms and addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! we! the demon %ings of 9ambudvipa! in#al#ulable in number! but ea#h one different from the other! are either benefi#ial to the people or harmful to them .owever! it is %armi# retribution that ma%es our retinue #ontinuousl$ travel about the world #reating mu#h evil and little virtue So! to in#rease our virtue! whenever we pass a #it$! a town! a mar%etpla#e! a plantation! a garden! a household or a famil$ and see a man or a woman who would perform even a slight good a#t-su#h as hanging up a banner or a #anop$! burning a little in#ense! arranging a few flowers in honor of the Buddhas'

20

or Bodhisattvas' images or reading and re#iting the revered sutras while burning in#ense and renoun#ing desire for even one senten#e or gatha-we demon %ings should ma%e obeisan#e to su#h a person! Aust as we do to the past! present and future Buddhas "nd we should order the lesser demons! ea#h having great power and responsibilit$ in his own domain and land! to guard su#h a person lest an$ evil or une)pe#ted event or disease or! indeed! an$ undesirable thing whatsoever might even tarr$ in the vi#init$ of his household! far less #ross his threshold " &he Buddha #ommended the demon %ings! sa$ing! "E)#ellent! e)#ellentG @ou and @amaraAa #an support and prote#t all good men and good women+ and I shall order the brahman %ings and the sovereign sa%ras to guard and prote#t $ou " 9ust then a demon %ing in the assembl$ b$ the name of /aster-of-'ives addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! " ; World .onored ;ne! I am in #harge of human lives in 9ambudvipa in relation to %armi# asso#iations I ta%e #harge of and ma%e de#isions relative to human beings' %arma both at the time of their births and at the time of their deaths In a##ordan#e with m$ fundamental vows! I ver$ mu#h want to benefit them .owever! those sentient beings fail to understand m$ intentions! whi#h #auses neither the living nor the dead to have an$ pea#e ""nd wh$ notF If those people in 9ambudvipa #ould onl$ perform some virtuous deeds immediatel$ before or during the birth of a #hild- whether a bo$ or a girl-to enhan#e its advantage to the household! it would! naturall$! immeasurabl$ delight the divinit$ in #harge of the land so as to #ause him to support and prote#t both the mother and the bab$! giving them great happiness and bringing benefits to their relatives "lso! after the birth of the bab$! #are must be e)er#ised not to %ill an$ animal in order to feed the mother with meat$ deli#a#ies and not to assemble man$ relatives to drin% liEuor or to eat meat while singing and pla$ing on string or wind instruments+ for su#h indulgen#es deprive the mother and #hild of pea#e and Ao$ "nd wh$F 9ust be#ause at the diffi#ult time of birth there are innumerable evil demons! monsters and goblins who want to #onsume the smell$ blood! and it is I who have! earlier! #ommanded the deities and divinities in #harge of the household and the land to prote#t the mother and #hild! ma%ing them safe and happ$ and gaining benefits for them .owever! some people! seeing that the mother and #hild are safe and happ$! then #olle#tivel$ provide some offerings in than%s to the divinities in #harge of the lo#al land b$ ignorantl$ and adversel$ resorting to the %illing of animals for #onsumption and b$ assembling relatives for nois$ indulgen#es+ and! thus! the$ bring down #urses upon themselves! whi#h are detrimental to both the mother and the bab$ "Furthermore! I want a d$ing person in 9ambudvipa! whether he is virtuous or evil! not to fall onto the evil paths /oreover! if he has alread$ #ultivated good roots for himself! it would enhan#e m$ power "lso! at the time of the deaths of even a person in 9ambudvipa who has performed virtuous deeds! there are also hundreds of thousands of spirits and gods of the evil paths of e)isten#e! who! feigning either to be parents or other %inds of relatives! tr$ to lead the d$ing one towards them to re#eive him on the evil paths &hen how mu#h more pre#arious even must be the #ondition of a d$ing one who is a persistent evil-doerG "; World .onored ;ne! su#h a man or woman in 9ambudvipa! approa#hing the end of his life! might be in a #oma or an un#ons#ious stupor and! thus! not be able to differentiate the virtuous from the evil+ or he might even have lost entirel$ his fa#ulties of hearing and seeing So his or her relatives ought to provide maAor offerings and read and re#ite the revered sutras and invo%e the names of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas Su#h virtuous a#ts #ould divert the dead one awa$ from evil paths! and all the maras! demons and gods would then withdraw and be dispersed "; World .onored ;ne! if sentient beings #ould! at the end of their lives! hear the name of even one Buddha or of one Bodhisattva! or hear even one senten#e of one gatha of the /aha$ana Sutras! I see that su#h people! with the e)#eption of those who have #ommitted the five unpardonable sins! will all be e)onerated from their minor evil %arma! whi#h otherwise would deserve rebirth on evil paths of e)isten#e " &he Buddha told >emon King /aster-of-'ives! "Be#ause of $our great mer#$! $ou are able to ta%e su#h a vow of great mer#$ to prote#t sentient beings at their births and at their deaths In the future! at the time of

21

the births and the deaths of men and women! do not sh$ awa$ from $our vow! but alwa$s liberate them so the$ will forever be happ$ " &he >emon King addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "4lease have no worr$ I shall! until the end of m$ present form! support and prote#t all sentient beings in 9ambudvipa moment b$ moment! so that at the time of their births and their deaths the$ will be happ$ I onl$ hope that these sentient beings trust and a##ept m$ words at the time of their births and deaths! so that none of them will not be liberated and so that all of them ma$ gain enormous benefit thereb$ " "t that time! the Buddha informed Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! " &his great >emon King /aster-of-'ives has been a great demon %ing for hundreds of thousands of lifetimes .e has supported and prote#ted sentient beings at the moment of their births and their deaths It is be#ause of this /ahasattva's vows of mer#$ and #ompassion that he ta%es the form of a great demon In realit$! however! he is not demoni# .e will be#ome a Buddha! after one hundred and sevent$ %alpas have lapsed! with the title of Nirabhasa &athagata ("nimitta* .is %alpa will be named .appiness .is world will be named Suddhavasa (4ure "bode* &his Buddha's life span will last for in#al#ulable %alpas ; Ksitigarbha! so in#on#eivable are all the things about this great >emon KingG "lso! the number of human beings and devas delivered b$ him is ine)pressible "

Chapter 6: The (ecitation of the &u**has/ ,ames


"t that time! Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Ksitigarbha addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! " ; World .onored ;ne! now I wish to spea% on behalf of the sentient beings of future times and about the benefi#ial things that will help them gain great advantage in birth and death I onl$ hope that $ou! ; World .onored ;ne! will allow me to spea% on this subAe#t " &he Buddha answered Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! sa$ing! "@ou wish! at this ver$ moment! to be mer#iful and #ompassionate in order to deliver all the sinful! miserable beings on the si) paths of e)isten#e and to spea% about the in#on#eivable thing @esG Now is e)a#tl$ the right time to do so @ou should spea% at on#e Soon I shall enter Nirvana! and if $ou fulfill this wish of $ours earl$! I shall then have no more worr$ about an$ of the sentient beings of the present or of future times " Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! in#al#ulable asan%h$e$a %alpas ago there was a Buddha b$ the name of "nanta%a$a "n$ man or woman who hears the name of this Buddha and instantl$ performs obeisan#e to him will be e)onerated from serious sins of life and death #overing fort$ %alpas But how mu#h better even will it be for one who would mold or paint his image to worship and praise himG 2ountless and boundless will be the bliss gained b$ this person ""gain in the past! as man$ %alpas ago as there are grains of sand in the 0anges 8iver! a Buddha #ame into the world bearing the title of 8atnasuabhava &athagata "n$ man or woman who hears the name of this Buddha and ma%es up his mind! as Eui#%l$ as it ta%es to snap one's fingers! to ta%e refuge in him will never suffer retrogression from the stage of Dnsurpassed Enlightenment ""gain in the past! a Buddha #ame to this world b$ the name of 4admaAina &athagata "n$ man or woman who hears this Buddha's name on#e will be reborn repeatedl$ one thousand times in the si) heavens of desire But how mu#h better even would it be for one who wholeheartedl$ re#ites the name and %eeps the name in mindG ""gain in the past! some ine)pressible! ine)pressible asan%h$e$a %alpas ago! a Buddha was born in the world b$ the name of Simhananda &athagata "n$ man or woman! hearing this Buddha's name and wholeheartedl$ ta%ing refuge in him! will be able to en#ounter in#al#ulable numbers of Buddhas! who will tou#h his head and bestow upon him the superlative predestination ""gain in the past! there appeared in the world a Buddha bearing the title of Kra%u##handsa Buddha "n$ man or woman who! upon hearing this Buddha's name! also wholeheartedl$ worships him or praises him

22

will be#ome a great Brahman %ing in the &housand Buddhas' "ssembl$ and gain the superlative predestination ""gain in the past! there appeared in the world a Buddha bearing the title of 1ipas$in Buddha "n$ man or woman! hearing this Buddha's name! will never fall onto evil paths of e)isten#e but will alwa$s be reborn as a human being or a deva and enAo$ e)traordinaril$ wonderful happiness ""gain in the past! immeasurable! in#al#ulable %alpas ago! as man$ as the grains of sand in the 0anges 8iver! there appeared in the world a Buddha bearing the title of 8atnasambhava &athagata "n$ man or woman! hearing this Buddha's name and showing respe#t to him! will soon attain the stage of an "rhat ""gain in the past! immeasurable asan%h$e$a %alpas ago! there appeared in the world a Buddha bearing the title of Kasa$adhvaAa &athagata "n$ man or woman! hearing this Buddha's name! will be e)onerated from all the sins he or she ever #ommitted during his or her rebirths and deaths in one hundred great %alpas ""gain in the past! there appeared in the world a Buddha bearing the title of /ahabhiAna-Sumeru &athagata "n$ man or woman! hearing this Buddha's name! will en#ounter Buddhas! as numerous as the grains of sand in the 0anges 8iver! prea#hing e)tensivel$ to him or her! and will definitel$ attain Bodhi ""gain in the past! there appeared man$ other indes#ribable Buddhas su#h as Sudha#andra Buddha! Sumeru Buddha! 9nanaAina Buddha! 1imalanamanraAa Buddha! 9nanasaddhi Buddha! "nuttara Buddha! Sughosa Buddha! Full-/oon Buddha and /oon-Fa#ed Buddha "; World .onored ;ne! all the sentient beings of the present and future generations-whether devas or human beings! whether males or females-will gain immeasurable meritorious virtue even if the$ invo%e the name of onl$ one Buddha But how mu#h better even will it be to invo%e man$ namesG &hese beings will automati#all$ gain great benefit while living and while dead! and the$ will not ever fall onto the evil paths of e)isten#e "When someone is approa#hing the end of his life! if an$ of his relatives or even onl$ one person should! on his behalf! invo%e aloud the name of Aust one Buddha! su#h a d$ing person will be e)onerated from all %armi# retribution for his sins other than the unpardonable offenses "&he five unpardonable offenses are those sins of the utmost! seriousness! and usuall$ a person #ommitting su#h offenses #annot be a#Euitted of them even after millions of %alpas .owever! if at the time of his death! others invo%e! on his behalf! Buddhas' names! then even some of these e)tremel$ serious offenses will graduall$ be redu#ed and eradi#ated But how mu#h better even would it be for the d$ing one to invo%e the Buddhas' names himself in order to gain immeasurable bliss and to eradi#ate innumerable sinsG"

Chapter 17: "ppraisal of the Meritorious -irtue 8aine* from "lmsgi ing
"t that time! Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Ksitigarbha! due to the maAesti# influen#e of the Buddha! rose from his seat! %nelt with palms Aoined and addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "I have observed! during an appraisal of the merits gained from almsgiving b$ sentient beings on the %armi# paths! that some are slight while others are substantial+ so some sentient beings gain great bliss for one lifetime! others gain great bliss for ten lifetimes! while still others gain great bliss for one hundred or one thousand lifetimes .ow do su#h things happenF I onl$ wish that $ou! ; World .onored ;ne! would tell me " "t that time! the Buddha said to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! "Now I shall spea% here in &ra$astrimsas 4ala#e to the entire #ongregation! appraising the meritorious virtue gained from almsgiving in 9ambudvipa So please listen attentivel$ "

23

Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "I have some doubt on this matter and will be delighted to listen to $ou " &he Buddha told Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! "In South 9ambudvipa! there are %ings! prin#es! high #ourtiers! great elders! great %satri$as! great brahmans! et# If! for the benefit of the lowest and the poorest or even for the benefit of su#h disabled ones as hun#hba#%s! the maimed! the deaf! the idioti# or the blind! su#h %ings! prin#es! et# ! want to give alms in order to show great mer#$ and to %eep the idea of #ompassion in mind! then the$ should do so with humilit$ and with a warm smile+ and! with %ind words of #onsolation! the$ should e)tend universal #harit$ b$ doling out alms with their own hands or through some of their agents &he blissful advantage gained b$ those %ings! prin#es! et# ! will be full$ as great as all the meritorious virtue gained b$ donations offered to as man$ Buddhas as there are grains of sand in one hundred 0anges 8ivers "nd wh$ soF It is be#ause these %ings and others have su#h great mer#$ on even the poorest! the meanest and the most disabled that their blissful advantage gains great rewards su#h that the$ will alwa$s be endowed! during hundreds of thousands of future lives! with a full measure of the seven %inds of pre#ious treasures! not to mention an abundant suppl$ of #lothing and food for their #onsumption "Furthermore! ; Ksitigarbha! if an$ %ings or brahmans should pass b$ Buddhas' stupas or temples or images! or even Bodhisattvas'! Srava%as' or 4rat$e%as' images! and if the$ themselves should prepare and give offerings and donations! then these same %ings and others will be able to be#ome sovereign sa%ras for three %alpas! enAo$ing e)traordinar$ and wonderful happiness Should the$! in addition! be able to dedi#ate t the blissful advantage of this donation for the benefit of the entire >harmadhatu! these great %ings will then be#ome great brahman devaraAas for ten %alpas "Furthermore! ; Ksitigarbha! if! in future times! an$ %ings or even brahmans pass b$ old! bro%en-down and damaged stupas or temples of Buddhas or if the$ see a sutra that is torn and worn! and if the$ then! on seeing hol$ things in su#h a #ondition! are able to ma%e up their minds to repair and mend themKwhether the %ings underta%e and manage the wor% all b$ themselves or whether the$ persuade a few others or even hundreds of thousands of people to ma%e donations for this good #auseKthese %ings will alwa$s be reborn as 2a%ravartins in hundreds of thousands of future lives Even su#h other people who Aoin in this wor% of restoration b$ ma%ing donations will alwa$s be#ome minor %ings in their future lives .owever! should the$ be able to de#ide to dedi#ate their blissful advantages for the benefit of the entire >harmadhatu! then su#h %ings and others will all a#hieve Buddhahood+ and their retributor$ rewards will be #ountless and boundless "Furthermore! ; Ksitigarbha! in future times! whenever %ings! brahmans or other people ma$ see the aged! the infirm and women about to give birth and should the$ instantaneousl$ have great mer#$ on and show great #harit$ to them b$ donating medi#ine! food! drin% and bedding to ma%e them #omfortable! then the blissful advantage the$ gain will be in#on#eivable+ and the$ will alwa$s be#ome devas of Suddhavasa for one hundred %alpas and lords of the si) heavens of desire for two hundred %alpas! and finall$ the$ will be#ome Buddhas &he$ will never fall onto evil paths of e)isten#e! nor will the$ ever hear the sounds of suffering in their ears for hundreds of thousands of future lives "Furthermore! ; Ksitigarbha! in future times! should an$ %ings and brahmans be able to perform su#h deeds of #harit$! the$ will gain immeasurable bliss /oreover! should the$ be able to dedi#ate the advantage thus gained-no matter how great the measure-for the benefit of the entire >harmadhatu! then the$ will finall$ be#ome Buddhas! not to mention their gaining the other rewards of be#oming brahmans! Sa%ras or 2a%ravartins &herefore! ; Ksitigarbha! do advise all sentient beings to follow su#h e)amples "Furthermore! ; Ksitigarbha! in future times! should an$ good men and good women plant even a small good root of Buddhadharma! even if it is as tin$ as a grain of sand or a hairtip! or even tinier! then the bliss gained b$ them will be indes#ribable and be$ond #ompare "Furthermore! ; Ksitigarbha! in future times! if an$ good men and good women! on seeing Buddhas' images! Bodhisattvas' images! 4rat$e%abuddhas' images or 2a%ravartins' images! should ma%e donations

24

and offerings! then the$ will gain immeasurable bliss and alwa$s dwell among human beings and devas! enAo$ing e)traordinaril$ wonderful happiness /oreover! if the$ should be able to dedi#ate rewards thus gained for the benefit of the entire >harmadhatu! then their bliss will def$ #omparison "Furthermore! ; Ksitigarbha! in future times! if an$ good men and good women! on en#ountering /aha$ana sutras or on hearing one gatha or even one senten#e thereof! should seriousl$ and sin#erel$ generate their deepest minds and! at the same time! give praise! show respe#t and ma%e donations and offerings! then the tremendous rewards gained b$ su#h people will be #ountless and boundless /oreover! should the$ be able to dedi#ate the reward thus gained for the benefit of the entire >harmadhatu! then their bliss will def$ #omparison "Furthermore! ; Ksitigarbha! in future times! an$ good men and good women! on seeing an$ Buddha's temple or stupa or an$ /aha$ana sutras-even if the$ are whole and new-should ma%e donations and offerings and ma%e obeisan#e and give praise to them reverentl$ and with palms Aoined .owever! if su#h temples! stupas or sutras are old! dilapidated or torn and if even $et the$ should de#ide to re#onstru#t! mend and repair them-either b$ a#ting alone or b$ persuading man$ to a#t Aointl$-then the$ will alwa$s be#ome the %ings of minor lands+ but the maAor donor will alwa$s be the 2a%ravartin! who will! in turn! tea#h and #onvert minor %ings with good >harma "Furthermore! ; Ksitigarbha! in future times! if the good roots planted b$ an$ good men and good women! either b$ means of donations or offerings or as a result of the repair of stupas and temples or the mending of sutras or s#ripturesKeven though su#h deed were as tin$ as one droplet of water! one grain of sand! one hairtip or even one mote of dust-su#h good deed! if dedi#ated for the benefit of the entire >harmadhatu! will gain so mu#h meritorious virtue that su#h people will be able to enAo$ superior! wonderful happiness for hundreds of thousands of future lives .owever! if the same deed should be dire#ted onl$ to the benefit of the members of their own families or to themselves! their reward will enable them to enAo$ happiness for onl$ three future lives So! the relinEuishment of one's own e)#lusive interests will be rewarded m$riads of times &hus! $ou see! ; Ksitigarbha! that donations and almsgiving #reate su#h #auses and #onditions "

Chapter 11: Protection of the 2harma by the 2eities in Charge of the 1an*
"t that time! 4rthivi (Se#ure-Firm >eva* addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! I have now from long ago loo%ed upon and worshipped in#al#ulable numbers of Bodhisattva-/ahasattvas! all of whom had great! in#on#eivable! mira#ulous power and wisdom to render universal deliveran#e to sentient beings .owever! among all those Bodhisattvas! this Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Ksitigarbha is the deepest and most serious with his vows and wishes ; World .onored ;ne! this Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has a tremendous relationship of primar$ and se#ondar$ #auses (hetuprat$a$as* with 9ambudvipa For e)ample! /anAusri! Samantabhadra! "valo%itesvara and /aitre$a are also transformed into hundreds of thousands of forms in order to perform deliveran#e on the si) paths of e)isten#e+ but their vows will all ultimatel$ have terminations and #ome to an end .owever! this Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha tea#hes and #onverts all sentient beings on the si) paths of e)isten#e and has ta%en deep and sin#ere vows to #ontinue to do this for %alpas as numerous as the grains of sand in hundreds of thousands of millions of 0anges 8ivers ; World .onored ;ne! I see that present and future beings! in the pla#es where the$ #hoose to live on #lean lands in the south! will #onstru#t shrines for him with earth! ro#%s! bamboo or timber! wherein the$ ma$ mold! paint or even fashion with gold! silver! #opper or iron the image of Ksitigarbha+ and the$ will burn in#ense! ma%e offerings and obeisan#e! and #ontinuousl$ praise him "n$ abodes thus honoring him will gain all the ten benefits "What are these ten benefitsF First! the land will be ri#h and fertile Se#ond! the household will alwa$s be safe &hird! the departed will as#end to heaven Fourth! the living will enAo$ ever greater longevit$ Fifth! all their pra$ers will be answered Si)th! there will be no #alamities of either flood or fire Seventh! waste will be averted Eighth! bad dreams will #ease Ninth! all entries and e)its will be prote#ted b$ deities &enth! mu#h sa#red and hol$ asso#iation will ta%e pla#e ; World .onored ;ne! su#h are the benefits to be gained b$ sentient beings at present and in the future should the$ be able to ma%e offerings! su#h as I have Aust des#ribed! in the vi#init$ of their homes "

25

.e #ontinued to address the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! in future times! if some good men and good women should possess this Sutra and Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's image and if su#h people should! furthermore! turn and read the Sutra and worship this Bodhisattva! I shall alwa$s appl$ m$ mira#ulous power! da$ and night! to guard and prote#t su#h people so that flood! fire! ha,ard! thiever$ and maAor and minor a##idents! as well as all other evil! will vanish entirel$ from their lives and disappear! never to return " &he Buddha told 4rthivi! "@ou possess giganti# power! whi#h few deities #an emulate "nd wh$ soF Ever$thing in the 9ambudvipa 8ealm is under $our prote#tion Even grass! trees! sand! ro#%s! ri#e paddies! hemp! bamboo! reeds! grain! ri#e and Aewels-all of whi#h #ome from the land-appear due to $our power "lso! $ou often praise the benefi#ial things whi#h Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha does @our meritorious virtues and mira#ulous powers and deeds are hundreds of thousands of times greater than those of ordinar$ deities In future times! should some good men and good women worship this Bodhisattva! read this Sutra! or should the$ be able to #ultivate and pra#ti#e even in a##ordan#e with onl$ one thing in &he Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's Fundamental 1ows! $ou will appl$ $our own mira#ulous power to support and prote#t them lest an$ news of #alamit$ and other unpleasant things even rea#h their ears! far less happen to them Not onl$ will $ou prote#t su#h people! but also the retinues of Sa%ras and brahmans! as well as the retinues of the devas! will prote#t su#h people .ow do the$ gain the support and prote#tion of the .ol$ ;nesF It happens Aust be#ause the$ worship Ksitigarbha's image and read this Sutra of his fundamental vows So! naturall$! the$ will ultimatel$ leave the sea of suffering and reali,e the happiness of Nirvana For them to be able to do this! the$ need and deserve all $our great support and prote#tion "

Chapter 1!: The &enefits of %eeing an* Hearing


"t that time! the World .onored ;ne emitted from his forehead hundreds of thousands of millions of great #url-mar% lights- namel$! the white #url-mar% light! the great white #url-mar% light! the auspi#ious #url-mar% light! the great auspi#ious #url-mar% light! the Aade #url-mar% light! the great Aade #url-mar% light! the purple #url-mar% light! the great purple #url-mar% light! the indigo #url-mar% light! the great indigo #url-mar% light! the blue #url-mar% light! the great blue #url-mar% light! the red #url-mar% light! the great red #url-mar% light! the green #url-mar% light! the great green #url-mar% light! the golden #url-mar% light! the great golden #urlmar% light! the feli#itous #loud #url-mar% light! the great feli#itous #loud #url-mar% light! the thousand wheel #url-mar% light! the great thousand wheel #url-mar% light! the pre#ious wheel #url-mar% light! the great pre#ious wheel #url-mar% light! the sun dis# #url-mar% light! the great sun dis# #url-mar% light! the moon dis# #url-mar% light! the great moon dis# #url-mar% light! the pala#e #url-mar% light! the great pala#e #urlmar% light! the sea #loud #url-mar% light and the great sea #loud #url-mar% light .aving emitted su#h #urlphenomena lights from his forehead! he intoned in his subtle! wonderful voi#e and said to the assembled #ongregation of eight #ategories of beings! whi#h in#luded devas and nagas and human beings and nonhuman beings! "'isten! for toda$ in &r$astrimsas 4ala#e I am going to #ommend and praise his benefi#ial deeds! his in#on#eivable deeds! whi#h surpass all other sa#red #auses! and his deeds of nonretrogression from "nuttara-Sam$a%-Sambodhi! whi#h Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha performed for the sa%e of human beings and devas " "s these words were being said! a Bodhisattva-/ahasattva in the #ongregation named "valo%itesvara rose dire#tl$ from his seat! genufle#ted with palms Aoined and addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! this Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! with great mer#$ and #ompassion! has alwa$s had pit$ on sinful! miserable! suffering beings In thousands of m$riads of millions of worlds! he ta%es thousands of m$riads of millions of transformational forms I have heard $ou! ; World .onored ;ne! and innumerable other Buddhas! all in unison! singing the praises of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's meritorious virtues and in#on#eivable maAesti#! mira#ulous powers! revealing that even if all the past! present and future Buddhas should spea% of and tr$ to enumerate his meritorious virtues! the$ still would never e)haust them Earlier! ; World .onored ;ne! $ou uttered a universal announ#ement to the #ongregation! sa$ing that $ou wished to praise Ksitigarbha's benefi#ial deeds I onl$ hope that $ou! ; World .onored ;ne! for the benefit of all sentient beings of the present and the future! will praise Ksitigarbha's in#on#eivable deeds so that the eight #ategories of beings! in#luding devas and nagas! #an worship him and gain the bliss thereof "

26

&he Buddha told Bodhisattva "valo%itesvara! "@ou $ourself have a tremendousl$ strong relationship of primar$ and se#ondar$ #auses (hetuprat$a$as* with the beings of the Saha World No being-whether a deva or a naga! whether a male or a female! whether a deit$ or a demon! or even a miserable! sinful being on the si) paths of e)isten#eKindeed! an$one who! on hearing $our name or seeing $our form! #herishes! admires and praises $ou! will definitel$ not retrogress from the une)#elled 4ath of Enlightenment and will alwa$s be reborn as a deva or a human being to enAo$ wonderful happiness "nd when su#h #ause-andeffe#t is about to run its #ourse! su#h beings will meet Buddhas to re#eive the predestination of themselves be#oming Buddhas "t this time! $ou are showing great mer#$ and #ompassion! and $ou have pit$ on all the eight #ategories of beings! in#luding devas and nagas! b$ $our wanting to hear m$ pro#lamation of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's in#on#eivable benefi#ial deeds So listen attentivel$! for now I am going to spea% " "valo%itesvara said! "@es! indeed! ; World .onored ;ne! I shall be delighted to hear " &he Buddha told Bodhisattva "valo%itesvara! "In the various worlds at present and in the future! whenever a heavenl$ being is at the end of his enAo$ment of #elestial bliss! there will manifest five %inds of de#adent s$mptoms Sometimes he ma$ fall onto an evil path of e)isten#e If su#h a heavenl$ being! whether a male or a female! at the time when su#h s$mptoms manifest! should see Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's image or hear Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's name and pa$ him one visit and ma%e even one a#t of obeisan#e to him! then su#h a heavenl$ being will #onseEuentl$ enAo$ even more #elestial bliss! more great delight and will never again fall onto the three evil paths of e)isten#e as retribution So! how mu#h better even will those beings fare who see and hear Ksitigarbha and ma%e donations and offerings with all sorts of in#ense! flowers #lothing! food! Aewels and ne#%la#esG 2ountless and boundless will be the meritorious virtues and blissful benefits gained b$ them Furthermore! ; "valo%itesvara! if a sentient being on the si) paths of e)isten#e in present and future times should be able! at the end of his life! to hear the name of Bodhisattva KsitigarbhaKif even Aust one invo#ation of the name rea#hes his ear-su#h a being will never again e)perien#e the suffering of the three evil paths of e)isten#e .ow mu#h better off even will be one who! at the end of his life! has parents or other relatives who use the value of his house! Aewels! #lothing and an$ other wealth in order to mold or paint Ksitigarbha's imageG "nd how mu#h better off even will that si#% one be if! before he dies! he sees with his own e$es and hears with his own ears and thus %nows that his relatives have used the value of his house! Aewels! et# ! in order to mold or paint Ksitigarbha's image for his benefit aloneG If su#h a person! due to his %armi# retribution! should ever #ontra#t a serious illness! he will re#over and be well again be#ause of that meritorious virtue! and his longevit$ will be enhan#ed If! due to his %armi# retribution! this person is! at the end of his life! still burdened with all his sinful and %armi# hindran#es! whi#h deserve rebirth on evil paths! then! on a##ount of this meritorious virtue! he shall be reborn as a human being or a deva after the termination of his present lifetime and enAo$ e)traordinar$ happiness with all his sinful hindran#es entirel$ eradi#atedG "Furthermore! ; Bodhisattva "valo%itesvara! in future times! a bo$ or a girl! either at infan#$ or under the age of three! five or ten! ma$ lose his or her parents or ma$ even lose brothers or sisters and! having grown older! ma$ remember his or her parents or other relatives and wonder onto what path of e)isten#e the$ ma$ have fallen! into what world the$ ma$ have been born or to what heaven the$ ma$ have as#ended If! at su#h a time! this person is able to mold or paint Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's image or even hear his name or pa$ him Aust one visit or ma%e onl$ one a#t of obeisan#e to his image or ma%e donations for one to seven da$s without on#e shir%ing his or her original intention! then the relatives of this person! who on a##ount of their %arma ma$ have fallen onto evil paths of e)isten#e for a period lasting a number of %alpas! will-than%s to the meritorious a#ts a##omplished and virtues pra#ti#ed b$ their son or daughter or brother or sister while molding or painting Ksitigarbha's image for worshipKwill instantl$ be delivered and liberated so that the$ ma$ be reborn among human beings or devas to enAo$ e)traordinar$! wonderful happiness If the relatives of this person! due to their own bliss! have alread$ been reborn as human beings or devas to enAo$ e)traordinar$! wonderful happiness! then the$ will! with this meritorious virtue! enhan#e their sa#red #auses and enAo$ immeasurable happiness If! furthermore! this person should be able to worship Ksitigarbha's image wholeheartedl$ for three seven-da$ periods and re#ite his name as man$ as ten thousand times! then the Bodhisattva will manifest his boundless entit$ to him or her! telling

27

him the whereabouts of his or her relatives Sometimes the Bodhisattva will manifest great mira#ulous power and personall$ lead this person! in a dream! to various other worlds to see his or her relatives If su#h a person should! furthermore! be able to invo%e this Bodhisattva's name one thousand times ever$ da$ and repeat this #ontinuousl$ for a period of one thousand da$s! then the Bodhisattva will summon the deities and demons in #harge of the land and #ommand them to guard and prote#t this person throughout his or her life and provide him or her with plentiful and #ostl$ #lothing! good food! and freedom from illness "n$ une)pe#ted ha,ard will never #ross his or her threshold but! on the #ontrar$! will be far distan#ed from this person &he Bodhisattva will tou#h this person's head and prophes$ his predestination "Furthermore! ; Bodhisattva "valo%itesvara! in future times! if good men and good women should wish to generate the mind of great! widespread #ompassion and mer#$ to deliver all sentient beings! wish to #ultivate the une)#elled Bodhi! $earning to es#ape from and leave forever the three realms! and if these people! on seeing Ksitigarbha's image and hearing his name! should wholeheartedl$ ta%e refuge in him or offer in#ense! flowers #lothing! Aewels! food and worship to him! then su#h good men and good women will soon see their wishes #ome true! never e)perien#ing an$ obstru#tions whatsoever "Furthermore! ; Bodhisattva "valo%itesvara! in future times! if an$ good man or good woman pra$s that in the present or the future hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of wishes for hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of things be fulfilled! he should Aust ta%e refuge in! worship! ma%e offerings to and praise Bodhisattba Ksitigarbha's image &hen all that he ma$ have wished or pra$ed for shall be granted Should he have a further wish! imploring! I; Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! with $our great mer#$ and #ompassion! please support and prote#t me alwa$sG'! then he will e)perien#e the Bodhisattva tou##hing his head in a dream and prophes$ing his predestination "Furthermore! ; Bodhisattva "valo%itesvara! in future times! good men and good women ma$ deepl$ treasure the /aha$ana sutras! generating the in#on#eivable mind that wishes to read and re#ite them .owever! in spite of their brilliant tea#hers' instru#tion! showing them how to learn the sutras b$ heart! the$ ma$ forget them as soon as the$ re#ite them and ma$! thus! be unable to read and re#ite them aptl$ for months or even $ears Su#h good persons have inborn %armi# hindran#es that are not $et eradi#ated! and! therefore! the$ are not $et able to a#Euire the te#hniEue of reading and re#iting the /aha$ana sutras Su#h persons should! on hearing Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's name and on seeing Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's image! reverentl$ pro#laim his name with sin#ere hearts+ furthermore! the$ should offer in#ense! flowers! #lothing! food and all %inds of artifa#ts to the Bodhisattva ;ne #up of pure water should be pla#ed in front of the Bodhisattva's image for one da$ and one night &hen! with their palms Aoined! the suppli#ants should pra$ and drin% the water while turning their heads to the south+ and the$ must maintain a wholeheartedl$ serious attitude as the water enters their mouths .aving parta%en of the water! the$ must ta%e #are to avoid the five pungent plants! liEuor! meat! lust! l$ing and %illing for one to three seven-da$ periods &hereafter! these good men and good women will then see Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha manifest his boundless form in their dreams! sprin%ling hol$ water on their heads When awa%ened from their dreams! su#h persons will be endowed with su#h %een wit that an$ sutra! having on#e rea#hed their ears! will be firml$ #ommitted to memor$ b$ them with not one gatha or even one senten#e ever again being missed or forgotten b$ them "Furthermore! ; Bodhisattva "valo%itesvara! in future times! some people ma$ be wanting in #lothing and food! have their pra$ers go unanswered! be #onstantl$ ill! en#ounter mu#h bad lu#%! have mu#h disEuiet in their households! have their relatives separated or dispersed! have all %inds of une)pe#ted things happen to harm their persons or have man$ spe#ters arise in their dreams If su#h people! on hearing Ksitigarbha's name and seeing Ksitigarbha's image! should invo%e his name wholeheartedl$ and reverentl$ ten thousand times! then those unpleasant things will graduall$ disappear+ and the$ will! thereafter! enAo$ pea#e and happiness! have plent$ of #lothing and will even e)perien#e pea#e and happiness in their slumber and dreams "Furthermore! ; Bodhisattva "valo%itesvara! in future times! some good man or good woman! either to earn a living in publi# or private business or in the event of a birth! a death or an emergen#$! ma$ have to #limb a mountain! enter a forest! ferr$ a#ross a river! a la%e or a tremendous bod$ of water or ta%e some other sort of dangerous route Su#h a person ought! first! to invo%e Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's name ten

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thousand times &hen! wherever he passes! the demons and deities in #harge of the land will guard and prote#t him .e will alwa$s enAo$ pea#e and happiness! whether wal%ing! standing! sitting or re#lining Furthermore! even if he should #han#e to meet tigers! wolves or lions! or if he should #han#e to be e)posed to an$ %ind of poison or be #onfronted with an$ other %ind of danger whatsoever! no harm at all will #ome to him " &he Buddha! then! in #on#lusion! said to Bodhisattva "valo%itesvara! "&his Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has a tremendous #ause-and-effe#t relationship with the beings of 9ambudvipa &he re#ord of all the benefi#ial deeds performed b$ Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha-and whi#h have been both seen and heard b$ sentient beings-#ould not be e)hausted even though one were to tal% about them for hundreds of thousands of %alpas &herefore! ; "valo%itesvara! b$ means of $our mira#ulous power publish and #ir#ulate this Sutra so that all sentient beings in the Saha World will #ontinuousl$ enAo$ pea#e and happiness for hundreds of thousands of m$riads of millions of %alpas " &hen the World .onored ;ne offered the following gathas! re#iting thusl$"I see Ksitigarbha's maAesti#! mira#ulous power! .ardl$ e)hausted though spo%en of for %alpas numerous as sand grains in the 0anges 8iver Seeing him! hearing him! worshipping him! even for an instant! Will benefit human beings and devas in innumerable wa$s If someone-either male or female! either naga or deit$-at the end of his retribution has fallen onto evil paths! &hen he should wholeheartedl$ ta%e refuge in this /ahasattva! So his lifespan will be in#reased and his sinful hindran#es eradi#ated Someone ma$ lose his parents! who #ared for and loved him! "nd not %now in what paths of e)isten#e their spirits fare! ;r ma$ have brothers or sisters! elder or $ounger! or other relatives! Whom he has not seen sin#e his birth and #hildhood But if he molds or paints this /ahasattva's image "nd dwells on it in worship! never ta%ing his e$es awa$! "nd invo%es his divine name #ontinuousl$ for three wee%s! &hen this Bodhisattva will manifest his boundless entit$! 8evealing the realm where the suppli#ant's relatives are reborn "nd even if fallen onto evil paths of e)isten#e! the$ will soon es#ape from and leave su#h paths

29

If it is possible for the suppli#ant not to retrogress from his original determination! &hen he will be tou#hed on his head and re#eive the sa#red predestination If an$one wishes to #ultivate the une)#elled Bodhi! ;r even wishes to es#ape from and leave the suffering of the &hree 8ealms! "nd if this person has alread$ made up his mind to be #ompassionate! .e should first #on#entrate on and worship this /ahasattva's image &hen all his wishes will soon #ome true! "nd never again will an$ %armi# hindran#e #urb or stop them Someone ma$ ma%e up his mind to read the sutras! Wishing to deliver all deluded ones to rea#h the ;ther Shore .owever in spite of this wish! so in#on#eivabl$ #ompassionate! .e soon forgets what he reads! and mu#h is wasted and lost It is be#ause this person has %arma to blo#% and delude him &hat he #annot #ommit /aha$ana sutras to memor$ .e ought! then! to offer Ksitigarbha in#ense and flowers! 2lothing! drin%! food and all sorts of interesting artifa#ts! "nd should pla#e pure water in front of this /ahasattva's image! "nd! after one da$ and one night! pra$ reverentl$ and drin% the water .e must ma%e up his mind to be serious and sin#ere! #arefull$ guarding against the five pungent plants! 2arefull$ avoiding liEuor! meat! lust and false words! 2arefull$ refraining from %illing-all for three wee%s' time 2on#urrentl$! he must also! without #essation! thin% on and invo%e this /ahasattva! #hanting his name Soon he will see in his dreams the Boundless ;neG &hen! on wa%ing! he will dis#over his hearing is purified So that all the tea#hings of the sutras! on#e rea#hing his ears! Will never be forgotten! not even for thousands of m$riads of lifetimes

30

It is be#ause this /ahasattva is so in#on#eivabl$ #ompassionate &hat he #auses his suppli#ants to gain this %ind of wisdom &hose sentient beings who are poor! indigent! si#% and infirm! Whose households turn de#adent! whose relatives are s#attered! Who! in slumber and in dreams! are disturbed! Whose pra$ers are never answeredKbut! rather! the ver$ opposite of what is wished for alwa$s happensKought wholeheaartedl$ to #on#entrate on and worship Ksitigarbha's image &hen all evil things will disappear entirel$ &he$ will enAo$ onl$ pea#e in their dreams &he$ will have plent$ of #lothing and food as well as the prote#tion of deities and demons "n$one who wishes to #limb a mountain! enter a forest or #ross the seas! Where there are poisonous and fero#ious birds and beasts! evil people! Evil deities! mali#ious demons! unfavorable winds! "ll sorts of #alamities and all sorts of other ve)ations! Should Aust #on#entrate on! worship and ma%e offerings to the image of Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Ksitigarbha! So that on su#h mountain! in su#h forest or on su#h vast seas! "ll these evils will vanish entirel$ and disappear ; "valo%itesvara! listen #arefull$ to what I am sa$ingKsitigarbha! wor%ing #easelessl$! is in#on#eivable Even a des#ription of his powers and deeds lasting hundreds of thousands of m$riads of %alpas will not be e)hausted >uring a universal de#laration of these powers of the /ahasattva! If people should hear Ksitigarbha's name ;r even see his image! ma%e obeisan#e to him ;r ma%e offerings of in#ense! flowers! #lothing! food and drin%! &he$ will! for hundreds of thousands of %alpas! enAo$ Wonderful .appiness "nd should the$ dedi#ate this bliss for the benefit of the entire >harmadhatu!

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&he$ will finall$ trans#end samsara and a#hieve Buddhahood &herefore! ; "valo%itesvara! be aware of all this! "nd ma%e it universall$ %nown to lands as numerous as the sands in the 0anges 8iver "

Chapter 1#: The Commen*ation of Human &eings an* 2e as


"t that time! the World .onored ;ne raised his golden-hued arms! and! tou#hing Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Ksitigarbha's head! uttered the following words- "; Ksitigarbha! ; Ksitigarbha! $our mira#ulous power is in#on#eivable! @our #ompassion is in#on#eivable So is $our wisdom So is $our eloEuen#e 'et all the Buddhas from all Euarters in the ten dire#tions spea% about and praise $our in#on#eivable Eualities! but the$ #annot e)haust the number of them even after thousands of m$riads of %alpas "; Ksitigarbha! ; Ksitigarbha! remember that toda$ in &ra$astrimsas 4ala#e! amidst the #ongregation of all the hundreds of m$riads of millions of ine)pressible! ine)pressible numbers of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas! together with the eight #ategories of beings! in#luding devas and nagas! I! on#e again! #ommend to $ou those sentient beings-su#h as human beings and devas-who have not $et es#aped from or trans#ended the &hree 8ealms and are still #aught in the burning mansion >o not let those sentient beings ever fall onto evil paths of e)isten#e even for onl$ one da$ or one night! mu#h less let them #ommit the five unpardonable sins and fall into "vi#i .ell! Austl$ remaining there for thousands of m$riads of millions of %alpas without a date of a#Euittal "; Ksitigarbha! all the sentient beings in southern 9ambudvipa 8ealm are unpredi#table in their wills and dispositions /ost of them are a##ustomed to evildoing Even if the$ de#ide to do good! the$ ma$ retreat from their good intentions in an instant Surrounded b$ evil environmental #onditions! their evil wills in#rease and intensif$ moment b$ moment For this reason! I transform m$self into hundreds of thousands of millions of other forms to #onvert! deliver! release and liberate them in a##ordan#e with their respe#tive roots and dispositions "; Ksitigarbha! at this time I most sin#erel$ #ommend to $ou the multitudes of devas and human beings In future times! should an$ deva or human being plant even a tin$ root in the #onte)t of the BuddhadharmaKno matter if it be onl$ the si,e of one water droplet! one sand grain! one hairtip or one mote of dustK$ou ought to appl$ $our power to support and prote#t su#h a being so that he will graduall$ #ome to wor% on the Dne)#elled 2ultivation >o not ever let him suffer an$ loss or retrogression "Furthermore! ; Ksitigarbha! in future times! should an$ deva or human being fall onto an evil path of e)isten#e in a##ordan#e with his %armi# retribution! but also should he! as he is about to fall onto that evil path or is about to approa#h the entran#e to an$ hell! be able to re#ite the Buddha's name or a Bodhisattva's name or be able to re#ite a senten#e or a gatha from an$ /aha$ana sutra! $ou ought to appl$ $our mira#ulous powers and resort to some e)pedien#$ to res#ue him+ and! manifesting $our boundless entit$ at the pla#e where this person is! #rush the hell for his benefit! thus enabling him to as#end to heaven to enAo$ e)traordinaril$ wonderful happiness " &hen the World .onored ;ne uttered the following gatha"&he multitudes of devas and human beings of the present and future I now sin#erel$ entrust to $ou to deliver with $our great! mira#ulous power and s%illful means so the$ will never again fall onto the evil paths of e)isten#e "

32

"t that time! Bodhisattva-/ahasattva Ksitigarbha %nelt with palms Aoined and addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "; World .onored ;ne! please do not worr$ In future times! should some good man or good woman have even one thought of reveren#e for the Buddhadharma! I shall resort to hundreds of thousands of e)pedien#ies to deliver and liberate that person from samsara &his is not to mention those good men and good women who alwa$s hear of virtuous deeds! pra#ti#e moment b$ moment without #easing and who! naturall$! will never retrogress from the Dne)#elled 4ath of Enlightenment " When these words were #on#luded! a Bodhisattva in the #ongregation named "%asagarbha addressed the Buddha! sa$ing! "Sin#e m$ arrival at &ra$astrimsas .eaven! I have heard &athagata praising Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's maAesti# power as being in#on#eivable In future times! how man$ %inds of benefits will an$ good man or good woman! or even an$ deva or naga! gain should he hear this Sutra or Ksitigarbha's name or loo% reverentl$ at and worship his imageF It is onl$ hoped that $ou! ; World .onored ;ne! will give a brief a##ount of these things for the benefit of all the multitudes of sentient beings of the present and the future " &he Buddha told "%asagarbha! "'isten attentivel$! listen attentivel$G For now I shall tell $ou about those benefits one b$ one In future times! an$ good man or good woman who should see Ksitigarbha's image and hear this Sutra and! furthermore! read and re#ite it! and who should also donate in#ense! flowers! drin%! food! #lothing and pre#ious treasures as offerings! in addition to giving praise and ma%ing obeisan#e to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha! will gain twent$-eight %inds of benefits! namel$4rote#tion and mindfulness of devas and nagas+ >ail$ in#rease of virtuous fruition+ "##umulation of elevated and sa#red #auses+ Nonretrogression from the path of Bodhi+ "ffluen#e and abundant #lothing and food+ Non-o##urren#e of diseases+ Non-o##urren#e of the #alamities of flood or fire+ No harassment b$ robber$ or thiever$+ "dmiration and respe#t of all persons one en#ounters+ "id and support of deities and demons+ &ransformation of the female bod$ into the male bod$ at rebirth+ Being a ro$al minister's daughter if reborn as a female+ 4ossession of a dignified and gra#eful form+ FreEuent rebirth in the heaven-realms+ Sometimes be#oming an emperor or a %ing+ 4ossession of the mira#ulous power of %nowing one's previous lives+

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"ll pra$ers will be answered+ >elight and happiness for the members of one's famil$+ Elimination of all une)pe#ted and unpleasant happenings+ 4ermanent eradi#ation of the %armi# wa$s of life+ "lwa$s passing through safel$ wherever one travels+ "lwa$s feeling safet$ and delight in one's dreams+ Elimination of suffering for one's departed ones+ 8ebirth on the strength of previous bliss+ 4raises b$ the .ol$ ;nes+ 4ossession of #lever wit and health$ organs+ Fullness of mer#$! pit$ and #ompassion+ Dltimate attainment of Buddhahood "Furthermore! Bodhisattva "%asagarbha! in the present or in the future! if an$ devas! nagas! deities or demons should hear Ksitigarbha's name! worship Ksitigarbha's image or Aust hear about Ksitigarbha's fundamental vows and deeds and if the$ should! at the same time! praise him and ma%e obeisan#e to him! then the$ will gain seven %inds of benefits! namel$8apid progress in the hol$! sa#red stages of a#hievement+ Elimination and disappearan#e of all evil %arma+ 4rote#tion and attendan#e of the Buddhas+ Nonretrogression from the path of Bodhi+ 0reat in#rease of one's own powers+ 2omplete awareness and %nowledge of one's previous lives+ Final a#hievement of Buddhahood " "t that time! all the ine)pressible! ine)pressible number of Buddhas! &athagathas and great Bodhisattvas! as well as the eight #ategories of beings! in#luding devas and nagas! who had #ome from all the Euarters in the ten dire#tions! on hearing Buddha Sa%$amuni praise Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's great! mira#ulous power as being in#on#eivable! marvelled! e)#laiming that there had never been an$thing li%e it "t that time! in &ra$astrimsas .eaven immeasurable Euantities of in#ense! flowers! #elestial apparel! pearls and Aade showered down as offerings to Buddha Sa%$amuni and Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha "fter this! the entire #ongregation again made obeisan#e to them and withdrew with palms Aoined

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KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK K
&ranslated from Sans%rit into 2hinese b$ Tripita9a Master %i9sanan*a &ranslated into English b$ :pasa9a Tao;tsi %hih Edited b$ 2r< Fran9 8< French

Transfer;of;Merit -o$ =Parinamana> For "ll 2onors


/a$ all the merit and gra#e gained from adorning Buddha's 4ure 'and! from loving our parents! from serving our #ountr$ and from respe#ting all sentient beings be transformed and transferred for the benefit and salvation of all suffering sentient beings on the three evil paths Furthermore! ma$ we who read and hear this Buddhadharma and! thereafter! generate our Bodhi /inds be reborn! at end of our lives! in the 4ure 'and %utra Translation Committee of the :<%< an* Cana*a New @or% - San Fran#is#o - &oronto 5CC3

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