THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Chapter 11 - Vision of the Jeweled Stupa

Just then the Saha world was transformed into one of purity, with lapis lazuli for soil and adorned with jeweled trees. Its eight roads were bordered with golden cords. In it there were no towns, villages, cities, oceans, rivers, streams, mountains, brooks, forests or thickets. Precious incense was burned and mandarava flowers completely covered the ground. Above it jeweled nets were spread and banners hung with jeweled bells. Only those in the assembly remained, as the gods and humans had been moved to another land.

Then all of the Buddhas, each bringing with him one great Bodhisattva as an attendant, reached the Saha World and went to the foot of a jeweled tree. Each jeweled tree was five hundred yojanas in height and adorned with branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. Beneath each jeweled tree was a lion throne five hundred yojanas in height adorned with great jewels. Then each of the Buddhas sat in the lotus posture on his own throne.

In this way, by turns, the lands of the three thousand great thousand worlds were filled, and still there was no end to the division bodies of Shakyamuni Buddha from even one direction.

Then, Shakyamuni Buddha, wishing to accommodate his division body Buddhas, transformed in each of the eight directions, two hundred myriads of millions of nayutas of lands, purifying them all. They were without hells, hungry ghosts, animals or asuras. The gods and humans were all moved to other lands. The lands he transformed all had lapis lazuli for soil and were adorned with jeweled trees five hundred yojanas tall, decorated with branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. Beneath each tree was a jeweled lion throne, five yojanas tall decorated with various gems. There were no oceans, rivers or streams and no mucilinda or mahamucilinda mountains, no iron ring or great iron ring mountains, and no Mount Sumerus or any other kings of mountains. All became one Buddha land. The jeweled earth was level and flat, covered entirely with gem-studded canopies and hung with banners. Precious incense was burned and heavenly, precious flowers covered the ground.

Shakyamuni Buddha, in order that the Buddhas who were coming might have a place to sit, then further transformed in each of the eight directions, two hundred myriads of nayutas of lands, purifying them all. They were without hells, hungry ghosts, animals or asuras. The gods and humans were all moved to other lands. The lands he transformed all had lapis lazuli for soil and were adorned with jeweled trees five hundred yojanas tall, decorated with branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits. Beneath each tree was a jeweled lion throne five yojanas tall decorated with various gems. There were no oceans, rivers, or streams, and no mucilinda or mahamucilinda mountains, no iron ring or great iron ring mountains, and no Mount Sumerus or any other kings of mountains. All became one Buddha land. The jeweled earth was level and flat, covered entirely with gem-studded canopies, and hung with banners. Precious incense was burned and heavenly, precious flowers covered the ground.

Then, the division bodies of Shakyamuni Buddha from the eastern direction, Buddhas in number to the grains of sand in a hundred thousand myriads of millions of nayutas of lands, each speaking the Dharma, assembled there. In like manner, in turn, the Buddhas from all the ten directions arrived and assembled there, taking their seats in the eight directions.

At that time, each direction was filled with Buddhas, Thus Come Ones, from the four hundred myriads of millions of nayutas of lands in each of the four directions.

At that time, all those Buddhas each seated on a lion throne beneath a jeweled tree, sent an attendant to inquire after Shakyamuni Buddha giving them each a sack full of flowers and saying to them, “Good men! Go to Mount Grdhrakuta, to the place of Shakyamuni Buddha and ask, in our name, ‘Are you free from illness and distress? Are you strong and at ease? Are the hosts of Bodhisattvas and Hearers at peace?’ Then scatter these precious flowers before the Buddha as an offering, saying, ‘The Buddha so-and-so wishes that the jeweled Stupa be opened.’” All the Buddhas sent attendants in this manner.

Then, Shakyamuni Buddha seeing that the division body Buddhas had all assembled there, each seated on a lion throne, and hearing that all the Buddhas together wished that the jeweled Stupa be opened, immediately arose from his seat into empty space. All those in the four assemblies rose, placed their palms together, and single-mindedly beheld the Buddha.

Then, Shakyamuni Buddha, using his right forefinger, opened the door of the Stupa of seven jewels, which made a great sound like that of a bolt being removed from a large city gate.

Thereupon, the entire assembly perceived the Thus Come One Many Jewels seated upon the lion throne inside the jeweled Stupa, his body whole and undecayed as if he were in dhyana samadhi. They also heard him say, “Good indeed! Good indeed! Shakyamuni Buddha! Quickly speak The Dharma Flower Sutra! I came here to hear this Sutra!”

The four assemblies, upon seeing a Buddha who had crossed over into extinction limitless thousands of myriads of millions of eons ago, speak in this way, praised it as something unprecedented, they scattered heaps of precious heavenly flowers upon the Buddha Many Jewels and Shakyamuni Buddha.

The Buddha Many Jewels, in the jeweled Stupa, offered half of his seat to Shakyamuni Buddha, saying, “Shakyamuni Buddha, would you take this seat?” Shakyamuni Buddha then entered the Stupa and sat down in full lotus on half of that seat.

The great assembly, seeing the two Thus Come Ones seated in the jeweled Stupa in full lotus on the lion throne, all had this thought, “The Buddhas are sitting up so high and far off. We only wish that the Thus Come One would use the power of his spiritual penetrations and enable us all to dwell in empty space.”

Shakyamuni Buddha then used his spiritual powers and took the entire assembly up into empty space.

With a great voice he addressed the four assemblies, saying: “Who, in this Saha land, can broadly speak this Sutra of the Dharma Flower? Now is the proper time, for the Thus Come One will shortly enter Nirvana. The Buddha wishes to bequeath The Dharma Flower Sutra.”

The World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses saying:

“The sagely lord, World Honored One,
Although long extinct
Within this jeweled Stupa
Has come here for the Dharma.
Who would not be diligent
For the sake of the Dharma?

.
This Buddha became extinct
Countless eons ago and yet,
In place after place, he listens to the Dharma,
Because it is difficult to encounter.
In the past this Buddha made a vow,
“After my extinction,
I will go everywhere
In order to hear the Dharma.”

Also, my division bodies,
Limitless Buddhas,
Equal in number to the Ganges’ sands
Have come, wishing to hear the Dharma
And to see the extinct
Thus Come One Many Jewels.

Casting aside their wondrous lands
And assemblies of disciples
Gods, people, dragons and spirits,
And various offerings,
They have come here
To cause the Dharma long to abide.

In order to seat those Buddhas,
I have used my spiritual powers,
To move countless multitudes
And purify the lands.

Each one of the Buddhas
Takes his place beneath a jeweled tree
Like a lotus adorning
A clear, clean pond.

Beneath the jeweled trees,
There are lion thrones
Upon which the Buddhas sit,
Adorned with brilliant light,
Like great torches gleaming
In the darkness of the night.

Their bodies emit a delicate fragrance
Pervading the ten direction lands
All beings perfumed by it
Are overwhelmed with joy.

Like a great wind
Blowing the small trees.
By means of this expedient device,
The Dharma is caused long to abide.

To the great assembly, I say:
“After my extinction
Who can protect and uphold,
Read, speak and recite this Sutra?
Now, in the presence of the Buddhas
He should make a vow.”

The Buddha Many Jewels
Although long extinct
By means of his great vow
Utters the lion’s roar.

The Thus Come One Many Jewels,
As well as myself,
And the transformation Buddhas here assembled
Will know of this resolution.

All you disciples of the Buddha,
Whoever can protect this Dharma,
Should make a great vow
To cause the Dharma long to abide.

Whoever can protect
The Dharma of this Sutra,
Has thereby made offerings
To me and Many Jewels.

The Buddha Many Jewels
Dwelling in the jeweled Stupa,
Always travels throughout the ten directions,
For the sake of this Sutra.
Moreover, they will have made offerings,
To the transformation Buddhas here,
Who adorn with splendor,
All the worlds.

If one speaks this Sutra,
They will then see me,
The Thus Come One Many Jewels,
And the transformation Buddhas.

All of you good men
Think it over carefully!
This is a difficult matter
Requiring a great vow.

Other Sutras number
Like the Ganges river’s sands
But although one spoke them,
It would not be thought difficult.

If one took Mount Sumeru
And tossed it to another land
Across countless Buddhalands,
That also would not be difficult.

Or if with a toe
One kicked the great thousand worlds
To another, far-off land,
That also would not be difficult.

Were one to stand on a peak on the heavens
And for the multitudes proclaim,
Limitless other Sutras,
That, too, would not be difficult.

But if after the Buddha’s extinction
Within the evil age,
One can speak this Sutra,
That is difficult.

If someone took
Empty space in his hand
And wandered around with it
That would not be difficult.

But if, after my extinction
One can write out and uphold it
And encourage others to write it out,
That is difficult.

If one were to take the earth
And place it on one’s toenail,
And carry it up to the Brahma Heavens,
That, too, would not be difficult.

After the Buddha’s extinction,
In the evil age
To read this Sutra but for an instant,
That is difficult.

If, during the fire at the kalpa’s end
One carried a load of dry grass on one’s back
And entering the fire was not burned
That would not be difficult.

But after my extinction
If one can uphold the Sutra
And speak it to a single person,
That is difficult.

If one upheld eighty-four thousand
Dharma treasuries
And the Twelve Divisions of the Canon
Expounding upon them to others
Causing all the listeners
To gain the Six Spiritual Penetrations,
Even if one could do this
It would not be difficult.

But if, after my extinction,
One can listen to and accept this Sutra
And inquire into its meaning
That is difficult.

If one were to speak the Dharma
And cause a thousand myriads of millions
Of limitless, countless
Beings, like the Ganges’ sands,
To obtain Arhatship
And perfect the Six Spiritual Penetrations,
Although it would be beneficial,
It would not be difficult.

But after my extinction,
If one can reverently uphold
Such a Sutra as this,
That indeed is difficult!

I, for the sake of the Buddha Way,
Throughout limitless lands,
From the beginning until now,
Have broadly expounded all the Sutras
And among them all
This Sutra is foremost.
If one can uphold it
He then upholds the Buddha’s body.

Good men,
After my extinction,
Who can receive and uphold,
Read, and recite this Sutra,
Now, in the presence of the Buddhas should make a vow.

This Sutra is hard to uphold,
If one upholds it for but an instant,
I will rejoice,
And so will all the Buddhas.

One such as this
Shall be praised by all the Buddhas:
“This is courage!
This is vigor,
This is called morality
And the practice of the dhutas.”

He will then quickly obtain
The supreme Buddha Way.
If, in the future, one
Can read and uphold this Sutra,
He is then a true disciple of the Buddha,
Dwelling in the pure, good stage.

And one who after the Buddha’s extinction,
Can understand its meaning,
Will act as eyes
For all gods and humans in the world.

In the age of terror,
One who can speak it for an instant,
Will be worthy of the offerings
Of all the gods and humans.

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