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The Merit and Virtue of a Dharma Master
At that time the Buddha told the Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, Ever Vigorous, “If a good man or a good woman receives and upholds The Dharma Flower Sutra, whether reading, reciting, explaining it to others or writing it out, that person will obtain eight hundred meritorious virtues of the eyes, twelve hundred meritorious virtues of the ears, eight hundred meritorious virtues of the nose, twelve hundred meritorious virtues of the tongue, eight hundred meritorious virtues of the body, and twelve hundred meritorious virtues of the mind. By means of these meritorious virtues he adorns his six faculties, causing them all to become pure.”
“This good man or woman, thus purifying the ordinary physical eyes which he or she was endowed with at birth, will see throughout the thousand cubed world system, inside and out, all the mountains, forests, rivers and seas, below to the Avici hells and above to the peak of existence. Such a person will also see all the living beings therein, as well as their karmic causes and conditions, rewards or retributions, and places of birth. All of this he will see and know.”
At that time the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning spoke verses, saying,
“If, within the Great Assembly,
One speaks this Dharma Flower Sutra,
With a heart free of fear,
Listen to me tell of his merit and virtue:
This person shall gain eight hundred
Supreme meritorious virtues of the eyes,
And because of this adornment,
His eyes shall be very clear and pure.
With the eyes given him from birth,
He shall see throughout the thousand cubed world system,
Inside and out, Mount Meru,
Sumeru, and the Iron Ring Range,
As well as the other mountains and forests,
The waters of the great seas, rivers, and streams,
Below to the Avici hell,
Above to the peak of existence,
And all the living beings within--
All of this he shall completely see.
Although he has not yet gained the Heavenly Eye,
His flesh eyes will have powers like these.”
“Furthermore, Ever-Vigorous, if a good man or a good woman receives and upholds this Sutra, whether reading it, reciting it, explaining it to others, or writing it out, that person will obtain twelve hundred meritorious virtues of the ears.
With his pure ears he will hear throughout the thousand cubed world system, inside and out, below to the Avici hell and above to the peak of existence, all the various sounds of speech, sounds of elephants, sounds of horses, sounds of cows, sounds of carriages, sounds of sobbing, sounds of sighing, sounds of conches, sounds of drums, sounds of gongs, sounds of bells, sounds of laughter, sounds of speech, sounds of men, sounds of women, sounds of young boys, sounds of young girls, sounds of Dharma, sounds of non Dharma, sounds of suffering, sounds of happiness, sounds of common people, sounds of sages, sounds of happiness, sounds of unhappiness, sounds of gods, sounds of dragons, sounds of yakshas, sounds of gandharvas, sounds of asuras, sounds of garudas, sounds of kinnaras, sounds of mahoragas, sounds of fire, sounds of water, sounds of wind, sounds of the hells, sounds of animals, sounds of hungry ghosts, sounds of Bhikshus, sounds of Bhikshunis, sounds of Sound Hearers, sounds of Pratyekabuddhas, sounds of Bodhisattvas, and sounds of Buddhas.
In general, although he has not yet obtained the Heavenly Ear, he can, by using the pure ordinary ear given him from birth, hear and know whatever sounds there may be inside and outside the thousand cubed world system. In this way he distinguishes between all the various sounds and still his ear organ is not harmed.”
At that time the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses saying,
“The ears on his physical body
Are pure and without filth.
With his ordinary ears he hears
Sounds of the thousand cubed world system,
Sounds of elephants, horses, carriages and cows,
Gongs, bells, conches and drums,
Sounds of lutes and harps,
Sounds of pipes and flutes, and
Sounds of clear, fine chants.
He hears these, but is not attached to them.
Hearing sounds of countless kinds of people,
He can understand them all.
He also hears the sounds of the gods--
Their subtle, elegant voices raised in song.
He also hears the sounds of men and women,
The sounds of young boys and girls,
As well as the Kalavinka sound
Coming from the mountains, streams, and deep ravines.
He hears all the sounds
Of the Jiva -jivaka and other birds,
The bedlam of misery and pain in the hells--
The sounds of all the tortures there.
He hears the sounds of hungry ghosts, driven by hunger and by thirst,
As they seek for food and drink, and
The mighty roar put forth
By all of the asuras
As they dwell beside the sea
Bickering among themselves.
In this way, one who speaks the Dharma,
Can dwell securely there and hear
The faraway multitude of sounds,
And yet there is no damage to his ear.
Throughout all the ten directions,
Birds and beasts cry out to one another.
The one who speaks the Dharma,
Can hear them one and all.
As for the sounds and speech of the Brahma gods
The Light Sound gods and those of Perfect Purity,
Up to the Heaven at the Peak of Existence,
The Dharma Master here in the world
Can hear them one and all.
All the Bhikshus and Bhikshunis,
Reading or reciting Sutras,
Or explaining them for others--
The Dharma Master dwelling here
Can hear them one and all.
Further, all the Bodhisattvas,
Reading or reciting this Sutra-dharma,
Or speaking it to others,
Or compiling commentaries on its meaning,
All such sounds as these,
He hears in detail.
All the Buddhas, great sagely honored ones,
Teaching and transforming beings
In the midst of the great assemblies,
Expounding upon the subtle, wondrous Dharma,
Can be heard by one who holds The Dharma Flower.
All the sounds, inside and out,
In the thousand cubed world system,
Below to the Avici hell,
And above to the Heaven of the Peak of Existence--
Can each and every one be heard
And still his ear is not harmed.
Since his ears are keen and sharp,
He can discern them one and all.
The one who upholds The Dharma Flower,
Although he has not yet gained the Heavenly Ear,
Merely using the ears he was born with,
Already has meritorious virtues such as these.”“Further, Ever-Vigourous, if a good man or a good woman receives and upholds this Sutra, whether reading it, reciting it, explaining it to others, or writing it out, he will accomplish eight hundred meritorious virtues of the nose. With his pure nose he will smell throughout the thousand cubed world system, above and below, inside and outside, all the various fragrances: the scents of the sumana, jatika, mallika, champaka, and patala flowers; scents of red, blue, and white lotus flowers; scents of flowering and fruit-bearing trees; scents of chandana, aloe-wood, tamalapatra, and tagara; and scents of a thousand myriad kinds mixed together, whether powdered, in lumps, or in paste. One who upholds this Sutra, dwelling in this place, can distinguish all of these.”
“Again, he can further distinguish the scents of living beings: the scents of elephants, horses, cows, sheep, and so forth; scents of men, women, boys, and girls; as well as scents of grasses, trees, thickets, and forests. All these scents, whether near or far, he can smell and distinguish without mistake.”
“Although one who upholds the Sutra dwells here, he can smell the scents of all the gods in the heavens, the scents of the parijataka and kovidara trees, as well as the scents of the mandarava, mahamandarava, manjushaka, and mahamanjushaka flowers; the scents of chandana and aloe-wood powder and various kinds of powdered incense; and assorted floral scents. Of all these heavenly scents, or fragrances arising from the blending of them, there are none he will not smell and know.”
“Further he will smell the scents of the god’s bodies, the scent of Shakra Devanam Indra in his supreme palace as he enjoys the pleasures of the five desires, or his scent when, from the Wonderful Dharma Hall, he speaks the Dharma for the gods of the Trayastrimsha Heaven, or his scent when he plays in his gardens, as well as the scents of the bodies of other gods or goddesses. All these he can smell from afar.”
“In the same way, up to and including the Brahma realms and the Peak of Existence, he can smell the scents of all the gods and at the same time smell the incense burned by the gods, the scent of Hearers, the scent of the Pratyekabuddhas, the scent of the Bodhisattvas, and the scent of the Buddhas. All of these he can smell from afar and know where they are. Although he smells these fragrances, his sense of smell is not harmed and makes no mistakes. Should he wish to distinguish and explain them for others, his memory will not fail him.”