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Five Hundred Disciples Receive Predictions

Chapter 8


At that time, the twelve hundred Arhats whose minds had attained self-mastery had this thought, “We all rejoice, having attained what we never had before. If the World Honored One would see to conferring upon us a prediction as he has the other great disciples, would this not be a cause for rejoicing?”

The Buddha, knowing the thoughts in their minds, told Mahakashyapa: “I now confer upon these twelve hundred Arhats in succession a prediction of anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”

“In this assembly, my great disciple, the Bhikshu Kaundinya, will make offerings to sixty-two thousands of millions of Buddhas. Having done so, he will then become a Buddha by the name of Universal Brightness Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, One of Proper and Universal Knowledge, One of Perfect Clarity and Conduct, Well-Gone One Who Understands the World, Unsurpassed Lord, A Taming and Regulating Hero, Teacher of People and Gods, a Buddha, the World Honored One.”

“The five hundred Arhats, Uruvilvakashyapa, Gayakashyapa, Nadikashyapa, Kalodayin, Udayin, Aniruddha, Revata, Kapphina, Vakkula, Cunda, Svagata, and others all will attain anuttarasamyaksambodhi, all of them with the same name Universal Brightness.”

At that time the World Honored One, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses, saying:

“The Bhikshu Kaundinya,
Will see limitless Buddhas,
And after asamkhyeya eons,
Will realize Equal Proper Enlightenment.

Ever putting forth great light,
Perfecting all spiritual powers,
His name will be heard in the ten directions,
And he shall be revered by all.

He will always speak the Unsurpassed Path,
And will therefore be called Universal Brightness.
His land will be pure,
With courageous and heroic Bodhisattvas.

All will mount wonderful towers,
And roam through the ten direction lands,
With supreme offerings
They will present to all the Buddhas.

Having made these offerings,
With minds full of rejoicing,
They will instantly return to their own lands,
Such are the spiritual powers they will have.

The life span of that Buddha will be sixty thousand eons,
His Proper Dharma will dwell twice that long.
The Dharma Image Age will be twice the length of that.
When the Dharma is extinguished, the gods and people will mourn.

These five hundred Bhikshus
Shall in turn become Buddhas
All by the name of Universal Brightness.
Each shall bestow predictions on his successors
Saying, “After my extinction
Such and such shall become a Buddha.”

The world in which he will teach
Will be like mine today.
The adornments of his land
And his spiritual powers,
The host of Bodhisattvas and Hearers,
The Proper Dharma and Dharma Image Ages,
The numbers of eons in his life span,
Will be as just stated.

Kashyapa, you should know
About these five hundred who have attained self-mastery.
As for the remaining Hearers,
They shall be likewise.
To those not present in this assembly,
You should expound these matters.”

At that time, the five hundred Arhats, having received predictions from the Buddha, jumped for joy.

They rose from their seats and went before the Buddha, bowing with their heads at his feet. Repenting of their errors, they reproached themselves, saying, “World Honored One, we had always thought that we had already gained ultimate extinction. Now we know that we were like unknowing ones. Why is this? We should have obtained the Thus Come One's wisdom, but were content instead with lesser knowledge.”

“World Honored One, it is like a person who goes to a close friend's house, gets drunk on wine, and lies down. His friend who is about to go away on official business, sews a priceless pearl inside his clothing as a gift, and then leaves.”

“That person, in a drunken stupor, is not aware of anything.”

“On arising, he sets out on his travels and reaches another country, where, for the sake of clothing and food, he expends much effort, endures great hardships, and is content with whatever little he may get.”

Later, his close friend happens to meet him again and says, “Hey man! How can you, for the sake of food and clothing, have come to this?”

Long ago, wishing you to gain peace, happiness, and enjoyment of the five desires, on such and such a day, month, and year, I sewed a priceless pearl into your clothing. From of old until now, it has been present, but you did not know of it. Thus you have toiled and suffered to gain your livelihood. How stupid of you!

You may now take this jewel, exchange it for what you need, and you will always have whatever you wish and be free from want.

The Buddha is also like this. When he was a Bodhisattva, he taught and transformed us, causing us to bring forth the thought of All-Wisdom.

But, we later completely forgot, and were unknowing and unaware.

Having attained the way of Arhatship, we said of ourselves that we had gained extinction. In the difficulty of maintaining our livelihood, we were content with what little we had gained.

Still, our vows for All Wisdom remain; they have not been lost. Now, the World Honored One has caused us to wake up, saying, “Bhikshus! What you have obtained is not ultimate extinction!”

‘For a long time, I have been leading you to plant good roots with the Buddha. As an expedient device, I manifested the marks of Nirvana. You said of yourself however, that you had actually attained extinction.’

“World Honored One, now at last we know that we are actually Bodhisattvas; having obtained a prediction for anuttarasamyaksambodhi. For this reason we rejoice greatly, having gained what we never had before.”

At that time, Ajnatakaundinya and the others, wishing to restate this meaning spoke verses saying,

“Hearing the supreme sound
Of the prediction of peace and tranquility,
We rejoice, gaining what we never had,
And bow before the Buddha of limitless wisdom.

Now, in the presence of the World Honored One,
We repent of our faults and mistakes.
Of the limitless jewels of the Buddha,
We had gained but a small portion of Nirvana,
And, like unknowing, senseless people,
Contented ourselves with that.

It is like a poor person,
Who goes to a close friend's home,
A very wealthy household,
Stocked with delicacies.

Taking a priceless pearl
The friend sews it in the poor man's clothing
And silently departs,
While the poor man sleeps unaware.

When the man arises,
He travels to another land,
Where, seeking food and clothes to stay alive,
He suffers many difficulties, and
Satisfied with what little he may get,
Wishes for nothing better.
He is unaware that within his clothing
There is a priceless pearl.

The friend who gave him the pearl
Later sees the poor man again,
And having bitterly rebuked him,
Shows him the pearl he sewed in his clothing.

Seeing the pearl, the poor man's heart
Gave rise to great rejoicing.
Rich with much wealth
He enjoys the five desirable objects.

We, too, are like this
In the long night, the World Honored One
Has constantly pitied, seen, taught and transformed us.
Causing us to plant the supreme vows.

But, because we lacked wisdom
We were unaware and did not know,
And, gaining a small portion of Nirvana
We were satisfied and sought nothing more.

Now the Buddha has awakened us,
Saying this is not really extinction.
Gaining the Buddha's supreme wisdom,
That is true extinction.

Now, having heard from the Buddha
Of the matters of predictions and adornments,
And these predictions having been bestowed in succession,
We rejoice in body and in mind.

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