Earth Store Recitation
When Prince Siddharta (Buddha) was a week old, his mother, the Lady Maya passed away and was reborn in the Trayastrimsha Heaven. After Prince Siddharta had cultivated for several years and become enlightened (a Buddha), he taught the Dharma for over four decades. Towards the end, the Buddha, wishing to repay his mother's kindness, ascended to the Trayastrimsha Heaven and spoke the "Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva." That is called ultimate filiality. Hence, this Sutra is also known as a Sutra of great filial piety.
Earth Store Bodhisattva is also known as Earth Treasury King Bodhisattva in English, Ksitigarbha in Sanskrit, and Ti Tsang Wang Pusa in Chinese.
The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua explains:
“This Sutra bases its title on a person and a dharma, with "Earth Store Bodhisattva" being the person and his "past vows" the dharma. The Chinese word for "past" is "ben" as in foundation or origin—both suggest "the past" and indicate that these were the vows Earth Store Bodhisattva made previously. Previously—countless eons ago—in life after life he constantly made these vows to perfect his filiality, to serve his parents with filial devotion, and to save and take them across at the expense of his own life—such was Earth Store Bodhisattva's vow-power…”
“In life after life, Earth Store Bodhisattva remained filial to his parents, and therefore the Earth Store Sutra is a Buddhist scripture on filial piety.
“Filiality is the root and foundation of humanity. If one fails to be filial to one's parents, one is remiss in the responsibilities of being human. Why? Our parents gave birth to us and raised us. Now that we have grown up, if we neglect to repay their kindness, we have not lived up to our obligations as human beings.”
In the past, Earth Store Bodhisattva had made great vows saying:
"As long as the hells are not empty, I will not become a Buddha. When living beings have all been saved, I will attain to Bodhi."
The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua explained the meaning of "Earth Store" (Ksitigarbha) by describing ten aspects of the earth:
"It is wide and extensive, it supports all living beings, it is impartial, it receives the great rain, it produces grass and trees, it holds all planted seeds, it holds many treasures, it produces medicines, it is not moved by the blowing wind, and it does not tremble at the lion's roar.
Homage to Earth Store Bodhisattva Mahasattva of Great Vows and Boundless Compassion.
To read this entire Buddhist text, please click on: The Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva.
To read the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua’s explanation of this Buddhist text, please click on: Lectures on the Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva.