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English translation of
Holy Saddharma Pundarika

English translation by H.Kern
taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/lotus/

Chapter 22 - Ancient Devotion of Bhaishagyaraga

Thereupon the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa spoke to the Lord as follows: Wherefore, O Lord, does the Bodhisattva Bhaishagyar‚ga pursue his course in this Saha-world, while he is fully aware of the many hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of difficulties he has to meet? Let the Lord, the Tath‚gata, deign to tell us any part of the course of duty of the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Bhaishagyar‚ga, that by hearing it the gods, N‚gas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human, as well as the Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas from other worlds here present, and these great disciples here may be content, delighted, overjoyed.

And the Lord, out of regard to that request of the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, told him the following: Of yore, young man of good family, at a past epoch, at a time (as many) ∆ons ago as there are grains of sand in the river Ganges, there appeared in the world a Tath‚gata, by the name of KandravimalasŻryaprabh‚sasrÓ, endowed with science and conduct, a Sugata, Now that Tath‚gata, KandravimalasŻryaprabh‚sasrÓ had a great assembly of eighty kotis of Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas and an assembly of disciples equal to the sands of seventytwo Ganges rivers. His spiritual rule was exempt from the female sex, and his Buddha-field had no hell, no brute creation, no ghosts, no demons; it was level, neat, smooth as the palm of the hand. Its floor consisted of heavenly lapis lazuli, and it was adorned with trees of jewel and sandal-wood; inlaid with a multitude of jewels, and hung with long bands of silk, and scented by censors made of jewels. Under each jewel tree, at a distance not farther than a bowshot, was made a small jewel-house, and on the top of those small jewel-houses stood a hundred kotis of angels performing a concert of musical instruments and castanets, in order to honour the Lord KandravimalasŻryaprabh‚sasrÓ, the Tath‚gata, while that Lord was extensively expounding this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law to the great disciples and Bodhisattvas, directing himself to the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana. Now, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the lifetime of that Lord KandravimalasŻryaprabh‚sasrÓ, the Tath‚gata, lasted forty-two thousand ∆ons, and likewise that of the Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas and great disciples. It was under the spiritual rule of that Lord that the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana applied himself to his difficult course. He wandered twelve thousand years strenuously engaged in contemplation. After the expiration of those twelve thousand years he acquired the Sam‚dhi termed SarvarŻpasandarsana (i. e. the sight or display of all forms). No sooner had he acquired that Sam‚dhi than satisfied, glad, joyful, rejoicing, and delighted he made the following reflection: It is owing to this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law that I have acquired the Sam‚dhi of SarvarŻpasandarsana. Then he made another reflection: Let me do homage to the Lord Kandravimalasuryaprabh‚sasrÓ and this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law. No sooner had he entered upon such a meditation than a great rain of Mand‚rava and great Mand‚rava flowers fell from the upper sky. A cloud of K‚l‚nus‚rin sandal was formed, and a rain of Uragas‚ra sandal poured down. And the nature of those essences was so noble that one karsha of it was worth the whole Saha-world.

After a while, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana rose from that meditation with memory and full consciousness, and reflected thus: This display of magic power is not likely to honour the Lord and Tath‚gata so much as the sacrifice of my own body will do. Then the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana instantly began to eat Agallochum, Olibanum, and the resin of Boswellia Thurifera, and to drink oil of Kampaka. So, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana passed twelve years in always and constantly eating those fragrant substances and drinking oil of Kampaka. After the expiration of those twelve years the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana wrapped his body in divine garments, bathed it in oil, made his (last) vow, and thereafter burnt his own body with the object to pay worship to the Tath‚gata and this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law. Then, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, eighty worlds equal to the sands of the river Ganges were brightened by the glare of the flames from the blazing body of the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana, and the eight Lords Buddhas equal to the sands of the Ganges in those worlds all shouted their applause, (and exclaimed): Well done, well done, young man of good family, that is the real heroism which the Boddhisattvas Mahasattvas should develop; that is the real worship of the Tath‚gata, the real worship of the law. No worshipping with flowers, incense, fragrant wreaths, ointment, powder, cloth, umbrellas, flags, banners; no worshipping with material gifts or with Uragas‚ra sandal equals it. This, young man of good family, is the sublimest gift, higher than the abandoning of royalty, the abandoning of beloved children and wife. Sacrificing one's own body, young man of good family, is the most distinguished, the chiefest, the best, the very best, the most sublime worship of the law. After pronouncing this speech, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, those Lords Buddhas were silent.

The body of Sarvasattvapriyadarsana continued blazing for twelve thousand years without ceasing to burn. After the expiration of those twelve thousand years the fire was extinguished. Then, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana, having paid such worship to the Tath‚gata, disappeared from that place, and (re)appeared under the (spiritual) reign of that very Lord KandravimalasŻryaprabh‚sasrÓ, the Tath‚gata, in the house of king Vimaladatta, by apparitional birth, and sitting crosslegged. Immediately after his appearance the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana addressed his father and mother in the following stanza :

1.
This, O exalted king, is the walk in which I have acquired meditation; I have achieved a heroical feat, fulfilled a great vote by sacrificing my own dear body.

After uttering this stanza, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana said to his father and mother: Even now, father and mother, the Lord KandravimalasŻryaprabh‚sasrÓ, the Tath‚gata, is still living, existing, staying in the world, the Lord by worshipping whom I have obtained the spell of knowing all sounds and this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law, consisting of eighty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of stanzas, of a hundred Niyutas [a thousand billions], of Vivaras [a hundred thousand billions], of a hundred Vivaras, which I have heard from that Lord. Therefore, father and mother, I should like to go to that Lord and worship him again. Instantaneously, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana rose seven t‚las [the height of a palm-tree,or a span.] high into the sky and sat cross-legged on the top of a tower of seven precious substances. So he went up to the presence of that Lord, and having approached him humbly saluted him, circumambulated him seven times from left to right, stretched the joined hands towards the Lord, and after thus paying his homage addressed him with the following stanza:

2.
O thou whose face is so spotless and bright; thou, king and sage! How thy lustre sparkles in all quarters! After having anciently paid thee homage, O Sugata, I now come again to behold thee, O Lord.

Having pronounced this stanza, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana said to the Lord KandravimalasŻryaprabh‚sasri, the Tath‚gata, Thou art then still alive, Lord? Whereon the Lord KandravimalasŻryaprabhasasrÓ, the Tath‚gata, replied: The time of my final extinction, young man of good family, has arrived; the time of my death has arrived. Therefore, young man of good family, prepare my couch; I am going to enter complete extinction. Then, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the Lord KandravimalasŻryaprabh‚sasri said to the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana: I entrust to thee, young man of good family, my commandment (or mastership, rule); I entrust to thee these Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas, these great disciples, this Buddha-enlightenment, this world, these jewel cars, these jewel trees, and these angels, my servitors. I entrust to thee also, young man of good family, my relics after my complete extinction. Thou shouldst pay a great worship to my relics, young man of good family, and also distribute them and build many thousands of StŻpas. And, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, after the Lord KandravimalasŻryaprabh‚sasrÓ, the Tath‚gata, had given these instructions to the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana he in the last watch of the night entered absolute final extinction.

Thereupon, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana, perceiving that the Lord KandravimalasŻryaprabh‚sasrÓ, the Tath‚gata, had expired, made a pyre of Uragas‚ra sandal-wood and burnt the body of the Tath‚gata. When he saw that the body was burnt to ashes and the fire extinct, be took the bones and wept, cried and lamented. After having wept, cried and lamented, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana caused to be made eighty-four thousand urns of seven precious substances, deposed in them the bones of the Tath‚gata, founded eighty-four thousand StŻpas, reaching in height to the Brahma-world, adorned with a row of umbrellas, and equipped with silk bands and bells. After founding those StŻpas he made the following reflection : I have paid honour to the Tath‚gata-relics of the Lord KandravimalasŻryaprabhasasrÓ, but I will pay to those relics a yet loftier and most distinguished honour. Then, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana addressed that entire assembly of Bodhisattvas, those great disciples, those gods, N‚gas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human: Ye all, young men of good family, unanimously vow to pay worship to the relics of the Lord. Immediately after, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana, in presence of those eighty-four thousand StŻpas, burnt his own arm which was marked by the one hundred auspicious signs, and so paid worship to those StŻpas containing the relics of the Tath‚gata, during seventy-two thousand years. And while paying worship, he educated countless hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of disciples from that assembly, in consequence whereof all those Bodhisattvas acquired the Sam‚dhi termed SarvarŻpasandarsana.

Continued...

Then, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the entire assembly of Bodhisattvas and all great disciples, seeing the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana deprived of a limb, said, with tears in their eyes, weeping, crying, lamenting: The Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana, our master and instructor, is now deprived of a limb, deprived of one arm. But the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana addressed those Bodhisattvas, great disciples, and angels in the following terms: Do not, young men of good family, weep, cry, lament at the sight of my being deprived of one arm. All the Lords Buddhas who be, exist, live in the endless, limitless worlds in every direction of space, have I taken to witness. Before their face have I pronounced a vow of truth, and by that truth, by that word of truth shall I, after the sacrifice of my own arm in honour of the Tath‚gata, have a body of gold colour. By this truth, by this word of truth let this arm of mine become such as it was before, and let the great earth shake in six different ways, and let the angels in the sky pour down a rain of flowers. No sooner, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, had the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana made that vow of truth, than the whole triple macrocosm was shaken in six different ways , and from the sky aloft fell a great rain of flowers. The arm of the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana became again as it was before, and that by the power of knowledge and by the power of pious merit belonging to that Bodhisattva Mahasattva. Perhaps, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, thou wilt have some doubt, uncertainty or misgiving, (and think) that the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana at that time, and that epoch, was another. But do not think so; for the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Bhaishagyar‚ga here was at that time, and that epoch, the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana. So many hundred thousand myriads of kolis of difficult things, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, and sacrifices' of his body does this Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana accomplish. Now, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the young man or young lady of good family striving in the Bodhisattva vehicle towards the goal and longing for supreme, perfect enlightenment, who at the Tath‚gata-shrines shall burn a great toe, a finger, a toe, or a whole limb, such a young man or young lady of good family, I assure thee, shall produce far more pious merit, far more than results from giving up a kingdom, sons, daughters, and wives, the whole triple world with its woods, oceans, mountains, springs, streams, tanks, wells, and gardens. And, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the young man or young lady of good family, striving in the Bodhisattva-vehicle for the goal, who after filling with the seven precious substances this whole triple world should give it in alms to all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, disciples, Pratyekabuddhas, that young man or young lady of good family, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, does not produce so much pious merit as a young man or young lady of good family who shall keep, were it but a single verse from this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law. I positively declare that the accumulation of merit of the latter is greater than if a person, after filling the whole triple world with the seven precious substances, bestows it in alms on all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, disciples, or Pratyekabuddhas.

Just as the great ocean, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, surpasses all springs, streams, and tanks, so, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law surpasses all SŻtras spoken by the Tath‚gata. just as the Sumeru, the king of mountains, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, all elevations at the cardinal points, horizon circles and great horizons, So, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law surpasses as a king all the SŻtr‚ntas spoken by the Tathag‚ta. As the moon, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, as a luminary, takes the first rank amongst the whole of the asterisms, so, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law ranks first amongst all SŻtrantas spoken by the Tath‚gata, though it surpasses hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of moons. As the orb of the sun, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, dispels gloomy darkness, so, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law dispels all the gloomy darkness of unholy works. As Indra, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, is the chief of the gods of paradise, so, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law is the chief of SŻtr‚ntas spoken by the Tath‚gata. As Brahma Sah‚mpati, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, is the king of all Brahmakayika gods and exercises the function of a father in the Brahma world, so, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law exercises the function of a father to all beings, whether under training or past it, to all disciples, Pratyekabuddhas, and those who in the Bodhisattva-vehicle are striving for the goal. As the Srota‚panna, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, as well as the Sakridag‚min, An‚gamin, Arhat, and Pratyekabuddha, excels the ignorant people and the profanum vulgus, so, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, the Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law must be held to excel and surpass all SŻtr‚ntas spoken by the Tath‚gata; and such as shall keep this king of SŻtras, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, must be held to surpass others (who do not). As a Bodhisattva is accounted superior to all disciples and Pratyekabuddhas, so, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law is accounted superior to all SŻtrantas spoken by the Tath‚gata. Even as the Tath‚gata is the crowned king of the law of all disciples, Pratyekabuddhas, and Bodhisattvas, so, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, this Dharmapary‚ya is a Tath‚gata in respect to those who in the vehicle of Bodhisattvas are striving to reach the goal. This Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, saves all beings from all fear, delivers them from all pains. It is like a tank for the thirsty, like a fire for those who suffer from cold, like a garment for the naked, like the caravan leader for the merchants, like a mother for her children, like a boat for those who ferry over, like a leech for the sick, like a lamp for those who are wrapt in darkness, like a jewel for those who want wealth, like the ocean for the rivers, like a torch for the dispelling of darkness. So, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law delivers from all evils, extirpates all diseases, releases from the narrow bonds of the mundane whirl. And he who shall hear this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law, who shall write it and cause it to be written, will produce an accumulation of pious merit the term of which is not to be arrived at even by Buddha-knowledge; so great is the accumulation of pious merit that will be produced by a young man of good family or a young lady who after teaching or learning it, writing it or having it collected into a volume, shall honour, respect, venerate, worship it with flowers, incense, fragrant garlands, ointment, powder, umbrellas, flags, banners, triumphal streamers, with music, with joining of hands, with lamps burning with ghee, scented oil, Kampaka oil, jasmine oil, trumpet-flower oil, V‚rshika oil or double jasmine oil.

Great will be the pious merit, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, to be produced by a young man of good family or a young lady striving to reach the goal in the Bodhisattva-vehicle, who shall keep this chapter of the Ancient Devotion of Bhaishagyar‚ga, who shall read and learn it. And, Nakshatrar‚ga, should a female, after hearing this Dharmapary‚ya, grasp and keep it, then this existence will be her last existence as a woman. Any female, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, who in the last five hundred years of the millennium shall hear and penetrate this chapter of the Ancient Devotion of Bhaishagyar‚ga, will after disappearing from earth be (re)born in the world Sukh‚vatÓ, where the Lord Amit‚yus, the Tath‚gata, dwells, exists, lives surrounded by a host of Bodhisattvas. There will he (who formerly was a female) appear seated on a throne consisting of the interior of a lotus; no affection, no hatred, no infatuation, no pride, no envy, no wrath, no malignity will vex him. With his birth he will also receive the five transcendent faculties, as well as the acquiescence in the eternal law, and, once in possession thereof, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, he as a Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva will see Tath‚gatas equal to the sands of seventy-two rivers Ganges. So perfect will be his organ of sight that by means thereof he shall see those Lords Buddhas, which Lords Buddhas will applaud him (and say): Well done, well done, young man of good family, that after hearing this Dharmapary‚ya of the Lotus of the True Law which has been promulgated by the spiritual proclamation of the Lord Sakyamuni, the Tath‚gata, thou hast studied, meditated, examined, minded it, and expounded it to other beings, other persons. This accumulation of thy pious merit, young man of good family, cannot be burnt by fire, nor swept away by water. Even a thousand Buddhas would not be able to determine this accumulation of thy pious merit, young man of good family. Thou hast subdued the opposition of the Evil One, young man of good family. Thou, young man of good family, hast victoriously emerged from the battle of mundane existence, hast crushed the enemies annoying thee. Thou, young man of good family, hast been superintended by thousands of Buddhas; thine equal, young man of good family, is not to be found in the world, including the gods, with the only exception of the Tath‚gata; there is no other, be he disciple, Pratyekabuddba, or Bodhisattva, able to surpass thee in pious merit, knowledge, wisdom or meditation. Such a power of knowledge, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, will be acquired by that Bodhisattva.

Any one, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, who on hearing this chapter of the ancient devotion of Bhaishagyar‚ga approves it, will emit from his mouth a breath sweet as of the lotus, and from his limbs a fragrance as of sandal-wood. Such temporal advantages as I have just now indicated will belong to him who approves this Dharmapary‚ya. On that account then, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, I transmit to thee this chapter of the Ancient Devotion of the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Sarvasattvapriyadarsana, that at the end of time, the last period, in the latter half of the millennium it may have course here in Gambudvipa and not be lost; that neither M‚ra the Fiend, nor the celestial beings called M‚rak‚yikas, N‚gas, goblins, imps may find the opportunity of hurting it. Therefore, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, I bequeath this Dharmapary‚ya; it is to be like a medicament for sick and suffering creatures in GambudvÓpa. No sickness shall overpower him who has heard this Dharmapary‚ya, no decrepitude, no untimely death. Whenever a person striving to reach the goal in the vehicle of Bodhisattvas happens to see such a monk as keeps this SŻtr‚nta, then he should strew him with sandalpowder and blue lotuses, and reflect thus: This young man of good family is going to reach the terrace of enlightenment; he will spread the bundle of grass on the terrace of enlightenment; he will put to flight the party of M‚ra, blow the conch trumpet of the law, beat the drum of the law, cross the ocean of existence. Thus, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa, should a young man of good family, striving to reach the goal in the vehicle of Bodhisattva, reflect when seeing a monk who keeps this SŻtra, and he will acquire such advantages as have been indicated by the Tath‚gata.

While this chapter of the Ancient Devotion of Bhaishagyar‚ga was being expounded, eighty-four thousand Bodhisattvas attained the spell connected with skill in all sounds. And the Lord PrabhŻtaratna, the Tath‚gata, intimated his approval (by saying): Well done, well done, Nakshatrarar‚gasankusumit‚bhigŮa; thou hast done well in thus questioning the Tath‚gata, who is endowed with such inconceivable qualities and properties.

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-- Chapter 22 --





 
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