THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Chapter 17 - Discrimination of Merit and Virtue

At that time, when the assembly heard the Buddha describe the number of eons in the length of his life span, limitless, boundless asamkhyeyas of living beings gained great benefit.

The World Honored One then spoke to the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Maitreya, saying, “Ajita! When I spoke of the great length of the Thus Come One’s life span, living beings to the number of sand grains in six hundred and eighty myriads of kotis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers gained Patience with the Non-production of Dharmas.”

“Again, a thousand times that number of Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas gained the Dharani-door of hearing and upholding.”

“Again, Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas to the number of dust motes in a single world system gained the unobstructed eloquence of delight in speech.”

“Again, Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas to the number of dust motes in a single world system gained the Dharani of a hundred thousand myriad kotis of limitless revolutions.”

“Again, Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas to the number of dust motes in a great world system became capable of turning the irreversible Dharma-wheel.”

“Again, Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas to the number of dust motes in a middle-sized world system were enabled to turn the pure Dharma-wheel.”

“Again, Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas to the number of dust motes in a small world system were destined to gain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi after eight lifetimes.”

“Again, Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas to the number of dust motes in four sets of four continents were destined to gain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi after four lifetimes.”

“Again, Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas to the number of dust motes in three sets of four continents were destined to gain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi after three lifetimes.”

“Again, Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas to the number of dust motes in two sets of four continents were destined to gain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi after two lifetimes.”

“Again, Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas to the number of dust motes in one set of four continents were destined to gain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi after a single lifetime.”

“Again, living beings to the number of dust motes in eight world systems all brought forth the resolve for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”

As the Buddha proclaimed these great advantages in the Dharma that the Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas had attained, there rained from space mandarava flowers and mahamandarava flowers, which floated down and settled upon the Buddhas seated on lion thrones beneath limitless hundreds of thousands of myriads of millions of jeweled trees, as well as upon Shakyamuni Buddha and Many Jewels Thus Come One, who had entered Nirvana long ago, both of whom were seated on the lion throne within the stupa of seven treasures. The flowers also settled upon the great Bodhisattvas and the fourfold assembly.

There also rained down finely ground chandana powder and aloe-wood incense. Heavenly drums in space sounded of themselves, and their wonderful sounds reached far and wide. There also rained down thousands of kinds of heavenly garments strung with beads, as well as laces of real pearls, laces of Mani pearls, and laces of As-You-Will pearls that covered the nine directions. Another offering to all in the great assembly was priceless incense burning in a multitude of precious censers, so that its scent naturally pervaded the great assembly and its surroundings.

Above each Buddha were Bodhisattvas holding aloft banners and canopies in a procession that extended clear up to the Brahma Heavens. All the Bodhisattvas, with wonderful sounds, sang limitless chants in praise of all Buddhas.

At that time Maitreya Bodhisattva rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, placed his palms together, and spoke to the Buddha, saying:

“The Buddha speaks the rare Dharma,
Such as we have never heard before.
The World Honored One has great power,
And his life span is without limit.
Countless disciples of the Buddha,
Hearing the World Honored One discriminate
And tell of those who gain the Dharma’s benefit,
Have been filled with joy.

Some dwell on the irreversible ground.
Some gain the Dharanis.
Others gain unobstructed delight in speech,
Or myriads of millions of Dharanis of revolution.

As many Bodhisattvas
As dust motes in a great thousand world system
All gain the ability to turn
The irreversible Dharma-wheel.

Again, Bodhisattvas in number
To the dust motes in a middle thousand world system
All gain the ability to turn
The pure Dharma-wheel.

Again, Bodhisattvas in number
To the dust motes in a small thousand world system
Are destined to gain the Buddha Way
After eight more lifetimes.

Again, Bodhisattvas in number
To the dust motes in four, three, or two
Sets of four continents shall gain
Buddhahood after a respective number of lives.

Further, Bodhisattvas in number
To the dust motes in one set of four continents
Shall accomplish All-Wisdom
After one more lifetime.

Living beings such as these,
Hearing of the vast length of the Buddha’s life,
Gain limitless, non-outflow,
Pure reward as retribution.

Again living beings in number
As the dust motes in eight worlds,
Hearing the Buddha speak of his life span,
All bring forth the supreme mind.

The World Honored One speaks limitless,
Inconceivable Dharmas,
Bringing many benefits,
As boundless as space itself.

Heavenly mandarava flowers
And mahamandarava flowers rain down.
From countless Buddhalands
Come Shakras and Brahmas like the Ganges sands;
Chandana and aloe-wood incense
Filter through the air,
Falling in profusion
Like flocks of birds flying down from the sky,
Scattered as an offering to the Buddhas.

In empty space, heavenly drums
Make magnificent sounds by themselves,
While thousands of tens of thousands of heavenly garments
Come whirling and swirling down.

Wonderful censers studded with jewels
Burn with priceless incense,
Which naturally pervades the surroundings
As an offering to the World Honored Ones.

The great assembly of Bodhisattvas
Hold banners and canopies made of seven treasures,
High and splendid, of a million varieties,
In a procession that reaches the Brahma heavens.

And before each Buddha
Hang jeweled flags and banners of victory,
As myriads upon myriads of verses are used
To praise and laud the Thus Come Ones:
All such things as these
As never have been seen before.
Hearing of the Buddha’s limitless life span,
All are filled with joy.
The Buddha’s name pervades the ten directions.
He vastly benefits living beings,
All of whom perfect good roots
And are helped to bring forth the supreme mind.”

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