Protection Of The Dharma By The Deities In Charge Of The Land
At that time, Prthivi (Secure-Firm Deva) addressed the Buddha, saying, "O World Honored One, I have now from long ago looked upon and worshipped incalculable numbers of Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, all of whom had great, inconceivable, miraculous power and wisdom to render universal deliverance to sentient beings. However, among all those Bodhisattvas, this Bodhisattva-Mahasattva Ksitigarbha is the deepest and most serious with his vows and wishes. O World Honored One, this Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has a tremendous relationship of primary and secondary causes (hetupratyayas) with Jambudvipa. For example, Manjusri, Samantabhadra, Avalokitesvara and Maitreya are also transformed into hundreds of thousands of forms in order to perform deliverance on the six paths of existence; but their vows will all ultimately have terminations and come to an end. However, this Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha teaches and converts all sentient beings on the six paths of existence and has taken deep and sincere vows to continue to do this for kalpas as numerous as the grains of sand in hundreds of thousands of millions of Ganges Rivers. O World Honored One, I see that present and future beings, in the places where they choose to jive on clean lands in the south, will construct shrines for him with earth, rocks, bamboo or timber, wherein they may mold, paint or even fashion with gold, silver, copper or iron the image of Ksitigarbha; and they will burn incense, make offerings and obeisance, and continuously praise him. Any abodes thus honoring him will gain all the ten benefits.
"What are these ten benefits? First, the land will be rich and fertile. Second, the household will always be safe. Third, the departed will ascend to heaven. Fourth, the living will enjoy ever greater longevity. Fifth, all their prayers will be answered. Sixth, there will be no calamities of either flood or fire. Seventh, waste will be averted. Eighth, bad dreams will cease. Ninth, all entries and exits will be protected by deities. Tenth, much sacred and holy association will take place. O World Honored One, such are the benefits to be gained by sentient beings at present and in the future should they be able to make offerings, such as I have just described, in the vicinity of their homes."
He continued to address the Buddha, saying, "O World Honored One, in future times, if some good men and good women should possess this Sutra and Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s image and if such people should, furthermore, turn and read the Sutra and worship this Bodhisattva, I shall always apply my miraculous power, day and night, to guard and protect such people so that flood, fire, hazard, thievery and major and minor accidents, as well as all other evil, will vanish entirely from their lives and disappear, never to return."
The Buddha told Prthivi, "You possess gigantic power, which few deities can emulate. And why so? Everything in the Jambudvipa Realm is under your protection. Even grass, trees, sand, rocks, rice paddies, hemp, bamboo, reeds, grain, rice and jewels—all of which come from the land—appear due to your power. Also, you often praise the beneficial things which Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha does. Your meritorious virtues and miraculous powers and deeds are hundreds of thousands of times greater than those of ordinary deities. In future times, should some good men and good women worship this Bodhisattva, read this Sutra, or should they be able to cultivate and practice even in accordance with only one thing in The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, you will apply your own miraculous power to support and protect them lest any news of calamity and other unpleasant things even reach their ears, far less happen to them. Not only will you protect such people, but also the retinues of Sakras and brahmans, as well as the retinues of the devas, will protect such people. How do they gain the support and protection of the Holy Ones? It happens just because they worship Ksitigarbha’s image and read this Sutra of his fundamental vows. So, naturally, they will ultimately leave the sea of suffering and realize the happiness of Nirvana. For them to be able to do this, they need and deserve all your great support and protection."