THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Chapter 23 - The Former Deeds of Medicine King Bodhisattva
At that time the Bodhisattva Constellation-King-Flower spoke to the Buddha saying, “World Honored One, how is it that the Bodhisattva Medicine King roams throughout the Saha world? World Honored One, Medicine King Bodhisattva has undertaken so many hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of nayutas of bitter practices, so difficult to practice.”
“It would be excellent, World Honored One, if you would please explain a bit. All the gods, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans, non-humans, and so forth, and the Bodhisattvas who have come from other lands, as well as the assembly of Hearers, on hearing it, will rejoice.”
The Buddha then told the Bodhisattva Constellation-King-Flower “Once, as many eons ago as there are grains of sand in limitless Ganges rivers, there was a Buddha by the name of Virtue Pure and Bright Like the Sun and Moon, Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, One of Right and Universal Knowledge, One Perfect in Clarity and Conduct, Well-Gone One Who Understands the World, Unsurpassed Lord, Regulating Hero, Teacher of Humans and Gods, Buddha, World Honored One. That Buddha had eighty kotis of great Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, and a great assembly of Hearers equal in number to the sand grains in seventy-two Ganges Rivers. His life span as a Buddha was forty-two thousand eons. The life spans of the Bodhisattvas were the same. In his country there were no women, hell-beings, hungry ghosts, animals, or asuras, and so forth, and also no difficulties. The ground was as level as the palm of one’s hand, made of Vaidurya, adorned with jeweled trees, covered with jeweled nets, and hung with beautiful banners. It was surrounded everywhere with precious vases and censers. There were terraces made of the seven gems, one terrace for each tree, the trees being separated from the terraces by a distance of an arrow’s flight. Beneath each tree sat Bodhisattvas and Hearers. Upon each of the terraces were hundreds of kotis of gods playing heavenly music and singing praises to the Buddha as an offering.”
At that time, that Buddha, for the sake of the Bodhisattva All Beings Delight in Seeing, as well as for the host of Bodhisattvas and the host of Hearers, spoke The Dharma Flower Sutra.
The Bodhisattva All Beings Delight in Seeing enjoyed practicing ascetic practices. Within the Dharma of the Buddha Virtue Pure and Bright Like the Sun and Moon, he applied himself with vigor, single-mindedly seeking Buddhahood for a full twelve thousand years. He then obtained the samadhi of the manifestation of all physical forms.
Having obtained this samadhi, his heart rejoiced greatly and he immediately thought, “I have obtained the samadhi of the manifestation of all physical forms. This is through the power of having heard The Dharma Flower Sutra. I should now make an offering to the Buddha Virtue Pure and Bright Like the Sun and Moon, and to The Dharma Flower Sutra.”
He then entered that samadhi and as an offering to the Buddha, he rained down mandarava flowers and mahamandarava flowers from space. Finely ground, hard, black chandana also filled the sky and descended like clouds. And there rained the incense of ‘this shore’ chandana, six karshas of which are worth the entire Saha world, as an offering to the Buddha.
Having made this offering, he arose from samadhi. He thought to himself, “Although by means of spiritual powers I have made this offering to the Buddha, it is not as good as offering my body.” He then swallowed incense of many kinds, chandana, kunduruka, turushka, prikka, aloeswood, and resin incense. He also drank the oil of champaka and other flowers, for a full twelve hundred years. He smeared himself with fragrant oil, and in the presence of the Buddha Virtue Pure and Bright Like the Sun and Moon, he wrapped himself in heavenly jeweled robes and poured fragrant oil over himself. Then by means of spiritual penetration power and vows, he burned his own body. The light shone everywhere throughout worlds in number to the grains of sand in eighty kotis of Ganges Rivers.
Within them all, the Buddhas simultaneously praised him, saying, “Good indeed! Good indeed! Good man, this is true vigor. This is called a true Dharma offering to the Thus Come One. Offerings of flowers, incense, beads, burning incense, ground incense, paste incense, heavenly cloth, banners, canopies, ‘this shore’ chandana incense, and all such offerings of various kinds, cannot come up to it. If one gave away one’s countries, cities, wives and children, that also could not match it. Good man, this is called foremost giving. Among all gifts, it is the most honored and most supreme, because it is an offering of the Dharma to the Thus Come Ones.” Having uttered these words, they became silent.
His body burned for twelve hundred years, after which time it was consumed.
When the Bodhisattva All Beings Delight in Seeing had made this Dharma offering and his life had come to an end, he was born again. In the country of the Buddha Virtue Pure and Bright Like the Sun and Moon, in the household of the King Pure Virtue, he was born suddenly by transformation, seated in full lotus.
He immediately spoke this verse to his father:
“Your majesty, you should now know:
I, cultivating in that place,
All at once attained
The samadhi of the manifestation of all forms.
Diligently practicing great vigor,
I renounced the body I cherished,
As an offering to the World Honored One,
In order to seek supreme wisdom.”
Having spoken this verse, he said to his father, “The Buddha Virtue Pure and Bright Like the Sun and Moon is still present from of old. Formerly, after making an offering to that Buddha, I gained the dharani of understanding the speech of all living beings. I further heard The Dharma Flower Sutra with its eight hundred thousand myriads of kotis of nayutas of kankaras, vivaras, akshobhyas and so forth of verses. Great King, I should now return and make offerings to this Buddha.”
Just then he sat on a platform made of the seven treasures, rose up into space to the height of seven tala trees, went into the Buddha’s presence, bowed with his head at the Buddha’s feet, placed his ten fingers together, and spoke this verse in praise of the Buddha:
“How amazing and rare the countenance,
With its light shining in ten directions!
I formerly made offerings
To you to whom I now behold once again.”