|English translation of |
Holy Saddharma Pundarika
English translation by H.Kern
taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/lotus/
MaŮgusrÓ, the prince royal, said to the Lord: It is difficult, Lord, most difficult, what these Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas will attempt out of reverence for the Lord. How are these Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas to promulgate this Dharmapary‚ya at the end of time, at the last period? Whereupon the Lord answered MaŮgusrÓ, the prince royal: A Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva, MaŮgusrÓ, he who is to promulgate this Dharmapary‚ya at the end of time, at the last period, must be firm in four things. In which things? The Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva, MaŮgusrÓ, must be firm in his conduct and proper sphere if he wishes to teach this Dharmapary‚ya. And how, MaŮgusrÓ, is a Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva firm in his conduct and proper sphere? When the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva, MaŮgusrÓ, is patient, meek, has reached the stage of meekness; when he is not rash, nor envious; when, moreover, MaŮgusrÓ, he clings to no law whatever and sees the real character of the laws (or things); when he is refraining from investigating and discussing these laws, MaŮgusrÓ; that is called the conduct of a Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva. And what is the proper sphere of a Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva, MaŮgusrÓ? When the Bodhisattva Mahasattva, MaŮgusrÓ, does not serve, not court, not wait upon kings; does not serve, not court, not wait upon princes; when he does not approach them; when he does not serve, not court, not wait upon persons of another sect, Karakas, Parivr‚gakas, ¬gÓvakas, Nirgranthas [Three kinds of mendicant friars not belonging to the Buddhist, nor to the Gaina persuasion], nor persons passionately fond of fine literature; when he does not serve, not court, not wait upon adepts at worldly spells, and votaries of a worldly philosophy, nor keep any intercourse with them; when he does not go to see K‚nd‚las, jugglers, vendors of pork, poulterers, deer-hunters, butchers, actors and dancers, wrestlers, nor resort to places whither others flock for amusement and sport; when he keeps no intercourse with them unless from time to time to preach the law to them when they come to him, and that freely; when he does not serve, not court, not wait upon monks, nuns, lay devotees, male and female, who are adherents of the vehicle of disciples, nor keep intercourse with them; when he does not come in contact with them at the place of promenade or in the monastery, unless from time to time to preach the law to them when they come to him, and even that freely. This, MaŮgusrÓ, is the proper sphere of a Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva.
Again, MaŮgusrÓ, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva does not take hold of some favourable opportunity or another to preach the law to females every now and anon, nor is he desirous of repeatedly seeing females; nor does he think it proper to visit families and then too often address a girl, virgin, or young wife, nor does he greet them too fondly in return. He does not preach the law to a hermaphrodite, keeps no intercourse with such a person, nor greets too friendly in return. He does not enter a house alone in order to receive alms, unless having the Tath‚gata in his thoughts. And when he happens to preach the law to females, he does not do so by passionate attachment to the law, far less by passionate attachment to a woman. When he is preaching, he does not display his row of teeth, let alone a quick emotion on his physiognomy. He addresses no novice, male or female, no nun, no monk, no young boy, no young girl, nor enters upon a conversation with them; he shows no great readiness in answering their address, nor cares to give too frequent answers. This, MaŮgusrÓ, is called the first proper sphere of a Bodhisattva Mahasattva.
Further, MaŮgusrÓ, a Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva looks upon all laws (and things) as void; he -sees them duly established, remaining unaltered, as they are in reality, not liable to be disturbed, not to be moved backward, unchangeable, existing in the highest sense of the word (or in an absolute sense), having the nature of space, escaping explanation and expression by means of common speech, not born, composed and simple, aggregated and isolated, not expressible in words, independently established, manifesting themselves owing to a perversion of perception. In this way then, MaŮgusrÓ, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva constantly views all laws, and if he abides in this course, he remains in his own sphere. This, MaŮgusrÓ, is the second proper sphere of a Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva.
And in order to expound this matter in greater detail, the Lord uttered the following stanzas :
Further, MaŮgusrÓ, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva who, after the complete extinction of the Tath‚gata at the end of time, the last period, the last five hundred years, when the true law is in a state of decay, is going to propound this Dharmapary‚ya, must be in a peaceful state (of mind) and then preach the law, whether he knows it by heart or has it in a book. In his sermon he will not be too prone to carping at others, not blame other preaching friars, not speak scandal nor propagate scandal. He does not mention by name other monks, adherents of the vehicle of disciples, to propagate scandal. He cherishes even no hostile feelings against them, because he is in a peaceful state. All who come, one after the other, to hear the sermon he receives with benevolence, and preaches the law to them without invidiousness. He refrains from entering upon a dispute; but if he is asked a question, he does not answer in the way of (those who follow) the vehicle of disciples; on the contrary, he answers as if he had attained Buddha-knowledge.
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas :
Again, MaŮgusrÓ, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva who lives after the extinction of the Tath‚gata at the end of time when the true law is in decay, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva who keeps this SŻtra is not envious, not false, not deceitful; he does not speak disparagingly of other adherents of the vehicle of Bodhisattvas, nor defame, nor humble them. He does not bring forward the shortcomings of other monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees, neither of the adherents of the vehicle of disciples nor of those of the vehicle of Pratyekabuddhas. He does not say: You young men of good family, you are far off from supreme, perfect enlightenment; you give proof of not having arrived at it; you are too fickle in your doings and not capable of acquiring true knowledge. He does not in this way bring forward the shortcomings of any adherent of the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas. Nor does he show any delight in disputes about the law, or engage in disputes about the law, and he never abandons the strength of charity towards all beings. In respect to all Tath‚gatas he feels as if they were his fathers, and in respect to all Bodhisattvas as if they were his masters. And as to the Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas in all directions of space, he is assiduous in paying homage to them by good will and respect. When he preaches the law, he preaches no less and no more than the law, without partial predilection for (any part of) the law, and he does not show greater favour to one than to another, even from love of the law.
Such, MaŮgusrÓ, is the third quality with which a Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva is endowed who is to expound this Dharmapary‚ya after the extinction of the Tath‚gata at the end of time when the true law is in decay; who will live at ease' and not be annoyed in the exposition of this Dharmapary‚ya. And in the synod he will have allies, and he will find auditors at his sermons who will listen to this Dharmapary‚ya, believe, accept, keep, read, penetrate, write it and cause it to be written, and who, after it has been written and a volume made of it, will honour, respect, esteem, and worship it.
This said the Lord, and thereafter he, the Sugata, the Master, added the following:
Further, MaŮgusrÓ, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva, living at the time of destruction of the true law after the extinction of the Tath‚gata, who is desirous of keeping this Dharmapary‚ya, should live as far as possible away from laymen and friars, and lead a life of charity. He must feel affection for all beings who are striving for enlightenment and therefore make this reflection: To be sure, they are greatly perverted in mind, those beings who do not hear, nor perceive, nor understand the skilfulness and the mystery of the Tath‚gata, who do not inquire for it, nor believe in it, nor even are willing to believe in it. Of course, these beings do not penetrate, nor understand this Dharmapary‚ya. Nevertheless will I, who have attained this supreme, perfect knowledge, powerfully bend to it the mind of every one, whatever may be the position he occupies, and bring about that he accepts, understands, and arrives at full ripeness.
By possessing also this fourth quality, MaŮgusrÓ, a Bodhisattva Mahasattva, who is to expound the law after the extinction of the Tath‚gata, will be unmolested, honoured, respected, esteemed, venerated by monks, nuns, and lay devotees, male and female, by kings, princes, ministers, king's officers, by citizens and country people, by Brahmans and laymen; the gods of the sky will, full of faith, follow his track to hear the law, and the angels will follow his track to protect him; whether he is in a village or in a monastery, they will approach him day and night to put questions about the law, and they will be satisfied, charmed with his explanation. For this Dharmapary‚ya, MaŮgusrÓ, has been blessed by all Buddhas. With the past, future, and present Tath‚gata, MaŮgusrÓ, this Dharmapary‚ya is for ever blessed. Precious in all worlds, MaŮgusrÓ, is the sound, rumour, or mentioning of this Dharmapary‚ya.
It is a case, MaŮgusrÓ, similar to that of a king, a ruler of armies, who by force has conquered his own kingdom, whereupon other kings, his adversaries, wage war against him. That ruler of armies has soldiers of various description to fight with various enemies. As the king sees those soldiers fighting, he is delighted with their gallantry, enraptured, and in his delight and rapture he makes to his soldiers several donations, such as villages and village grounds, towns and grounds of a town; garments and head-gear; hand-ornaments, necklaces, gold threads, earrings, strings of pearls, bullion, gold, gems, pearls, lapis lazuli, conch-shells, stones (?), corals; he, moreover, gives elephants, horses, cars, foot soldiers, male and female slaves, vehicles, and litters. But to none he makes a present of his crown jewel, because that jewel only fits on the head of a king. Were the king to give away that crown jewel, then that whole royal army, consisting of four divisions, would be astonished and amazed. In the same manner, MaŮgusrÓ, the Tath‚gata, the Arhat, exercises the reign of righteousness (and of the law) in the triple world which he has conquered by the power of his arm and the power of his virtue. His triple world is assailed by M‚ra, the Evil One. Then the ¬ryas, the soldiers of the Tath‚gata, fight with M‚ra. Then, MaŮgusrÓ, the king of the law, the lord of the law, expounds to the Aryas, his soldiers, whom he sees fighting, hundred thousands of SŻtras in order to encourage the four classes. He gives them the city of Nirv‚na, the great city of the law; he allures them with that city of Nirv‚na, but he does not preach to them such a Dharmapary‚ya as this. just as in that case, MaŮgusrÓ, that king, ruler of armies, astonished at the great valour of his soldiers in battle gives them all his property, at last even his crown jewel, and just as that crown jewel has been kept by the king on his head to the last, so, MaŮgusrÓ, the Tath‚gata, the Arhat, who as the great king of the law in the triple world exercises his sway with justice, when he sees disciples and Bodhisattvas fighting against the M‚ra of fancies or the M‚ra of sinful inclinations, and when he sees that by fighting they have destroyed affection, hatred, and infatuation, overcome the triple world and conquered all M‚ras, is satisfied, and in his satisfaction he expounds to those noble (‚rya) soldiers this Dharmapary‚ya which meets opposition in all the world, the unbelief of all the world, a Dharmapary‚ya never before preached, never before explained. And the Tath‚gata bestows on all disciples the noble crown jewel, that most exalted crown jewel which brings omniscience to all. For this, MaŮgusrÓ, is the supreme preaching of the Tath‚gatas; this is the last Dharmapary‚ya of the Tath‚gatas; this is the most profound discourse on the law, a Dharmapary‚ya meeting opposition in all the world. In the same manner, MaŮgusrÓ, as that king of righteousness and ruler of armies took off the crown jewel which he had kept so long a time and gave it (at last) to the soldiers, so, MaŮgusrÓ, the Tath‚gata now reveals this long-kept mystery of the law exceeding all others, (the mystery) which must be known by the Tath‚gatas.
And in order to elucidate this matter more in detail, the Lord on that occasion uttered the following stanzas: