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Masters of the Dharma
At that time, the Buddha further told the Bodhisattva, Mahasattva Medicine King, “Of all the limitless thousands of myriads of millions of Sutras I have spoken, am speaking, or will speak, The Dharma Flower is the hardest to believe and the hardest to understand.”
“Medicine King, this Sutra is the treasury of the Buddhas’ secrets and essentials. It must not be distributed or falsely presented to people. That which the Buddhas, the World Honored Ones, have guarded from the distant past until now, has never been explicitly taught. This sutra incurs much hatred and jealousy even now, when the Thus Come One is present. How much the more so will this be the case after his extinction!”
“Medicine King, you should know that after my extinction, those who can write out, uphold, read, recite, make offerings to and explain it for others, shall be covered with the Thus Come One’s robes and shall also be protected and held in mind by the Buddhas present in other directions. These people have great powers of faith, powers of resolution and vows and the power of good roots. Know that these people shall dwell together with the Thus Come One and shall have their heads rubbed by the hand of the Thus Come One.”
“Medicine King, in any place where this Sutra is spoken, read, recited, written out, or stored, one should build a Stupa of the seven jewels, making it high, broad, and adorned. It is not necessary to place sharira in it. Why is this? Within it already is the complete body of the Thus Come One. To this Stupa one should make offerings of all kinds of flowers, incense, beads, silk canopies, banners, vocal and instrumental music, honoring and praising it. If people should see this Stupa, bow before it, and make offerings to it, you should know that they are close to anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”
“Medicine King, many people, both at home and left home, practice the Bodhisattva Path. If they are unable to see, hear, recite, write out, uphold, or make offerings to The Dharma Flower Sutra, know that these people have not yet skillfully practiced the Bodhisattva Path. If they are able to hear this Sutra, then they will be able to skillfully practice the Bodhisattva Path.”
“If living beings that seek the Buddha Path get to see or hear The Dharma Flower Sutra and, having done so, receive and uphold it with faith and understanding, know that these people have drawn near to anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”
“Medicine King, it is like a person who is thirsty and in need of water. Although he digs for it on a high plain, all he sees is dry earth, and he knows the water is still far off. He continues efforts without cease and eventually sees moist earth and then mud. He is then certain that water must be close at hand.”
“The Bodhisattvas are also like this. Know that those who have not yet heard, not yet understood, or not yet put into practice The Dharma Flower Sutra, are still far from anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Those who have heard and understood, thought upon, and put it into practice certainly should be known as coming near to anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”
“What is the reason? The anuttarasamyaksambodhi of all the Bodhisattvas belongs to this Sutra. This sutra opens the expedient Dharma doors. It demonstrates the true, real mark. The storehouse of the Dharma Flower Sutra is deep, solid, recondite, and far-reaching. No one could reach it except that now, the Buddha, in teaching and transforming the Bodhisattvas and bringing them to accomplishment, demonstrates it for their sakes.”
“Medicine King, if a Bodhisattva upon hearing The Dharma Flower Sutra is frightened or afraid, you should know that he is a Bodhisattva of newly resolved mind. If a Hearer, upon hearing this sutra is frightened or afraid, you should know that he is one of overweening arrogance.”
“Medicine King, if there is a good man or a good woman, after the extinction of the Thus Come One, who wishes to speak The Dharma Flower Sutra for the sake of the four assemblies, how should they speak it? This good man or good woman should enter the Thus Come One’s room, put on the Thus Come One’s robe, sit on the Thus Come One’s throne, and only then expound upon this Sutra for the sake of the four assemblies.”
“The Thus Come One’s room is the mind of great compassion towards all living beings. The Thus Come One’s robes are the mind of gentleness and patience. The Thus Come One’s throne is the emptiness of all Dharmas.”
“Established securely in these one may then, with an unflagging mind expound upon The Dharma Flower Sutra for the sake of the Bodhisattvas and the four assemblies.”
“Medicine King, from another country, I will send transformed people to gather an assembly of Dharma listeners. I will also send transformed Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas to listen to the Dharma being spoken. All these transformed people, hearing the Dharma, will believe it and accept it, and comply with it without objection. If one speaks the Dharma in an uninhabited place, I will send gods, ghosts, spirits, gandharvas, asuras, and so forth, to listen to him speak the Dharma. Although I am in another country, I will at all times cause the speaker of Dharma to be able to see me. Should he forget a single punctuation mark of the Sutra, I will remind him of it, causing his knowledge to be perfected.”
At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses saying,
“One who wishes to get rid of laxness,
Should listen to this Sutra.
This Sutra is hard to hear,
And those who believe it and accept it are also rare.
It is like a person thirsty and in need of water
Who digs for it on a high plain,
And sees only dry, parched earth,
And knows that water is still far off.
Gradually he sees moist earth and then mud,
And knows for sure that water is near.
Medicine King, you should know
In this way, those people
Who do not hear The Dharma Flower Sutra
Are very far from the Buddha’s wisdom.
Those who hear this profound Sutra,
Will thoroughly understand the Hearer Dharmas.
This is the king of Sutras
And as to those who hear it and ponder upon it,
You should know that such people,
Have drawn close to the Buddhas’ wisdom.
One who speaks this Sutra
Should enter the Thus Come One’s room
Put on the Thus Come One’s robes,
And sit on the Thus Come One’s throne,
And fearlessly, in the assembly,
Expound it to them in detail.
Great compassion is the Thus Come One’s room,
Gentleness and patience are the Thus Come One’s robes,
The emptiness of all Dharmas is the Thus Come One’s throne.
Dwelling in this, one should speak the Dharma.
If, when one speaks this Sutra
Someone would slander him with evil mouth,
Or hit him with knives, sticks, tiles or stones
Recollecting the Buddha, he should endure this.
In a thousand myriads of millions of lands
I manifest a pure, solid body,
Throughout limitless millions of eons,
Speaking Dharma for the sake of living beings.
If after my extinction,
There is one who can speak this Sutra,
I will send by transformation the four assemblies,
Bhikshus and Bhikshunis,
As well as men and women of purity,
To make offerings to that Dharma Master.
I will gather living beings there
To listen to the Dharma.
Should someone wish to harm him,
With knives, sticks, tiles, or stones,
I will send transformed people,
To surround and protect him.
Should the speaker of Dharma
Be alone in an uninhabited place
Where it is lonely without a human sound,
And there be reading and reciting this Sutra,
I will then manifest
A pure and radiant body.
Should he forget a single passage or sentence,
I will remind him so he recites it smoothly.
Should persons of such virtue
Preach for the four assemblies,
Or recite the Sutra in a deserted place,
They shall all see me.
Should one be dwelling in an empty place
I will send gods and dragon kings,
Yakshas, ghosts, spirits and so forth
To be listeners in the Dharma assembly.
This person will delight in speaking the Dharma,
And explain it in detail without obstruction.
Because the Buddhas are protective and mindful of him,
He can cause the assembly to rejoice greatly.
One who draws near this Dharma Master
Will quickly gain the Bodhisattva Path.
One who follows this master in study
Will see Buddhas as countless as the Ganges’ sands.