The Commendation Of Human Beings And Devas
At that time, the World Honored One raised his golden-hued arms, and, touching Bodhisattva-Mahasattva Ksitigarbha’s head, uttered the following words: "O Ksitigarbha, O Ksitigarbha, your miraculous power is inconceivable, Your compassion is inconceivable. So is your wisdom. So is your eloquence. Let all the Buddhas from all quarters in the ten directions speak about and praise your inconceivable qualities, but they cannot exhaust the number of them even after thousands of myriads of kalpas.
"O Ksitigarbha, O Ksitigarbha, remember that today in Trayastrimsas Palace, amidst the congregation of all the hundreds of myriads of millions of inexpressible, inexpressible numbers of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, together with the eight categories of beings, including devas and nagas, I, once again, commend to you those sentient beings—such as human beings and devas—who have not yet escaped from or transcended the Three Realms and are still caught in the burning mansion. Do not let those sentient beings ever fall onto evil paths of existence even for only one day or one night, much less let them commit the five unpardonable sins and fall into Avici Hell, justly remaining there for thousands of myriads of millions of kalpas without a date of acquittal.
"O Ksitigarbha, all the sentient beings in southern Jambudvipa Realm are unpredictable in their wills and dispositions. Most of them are accustomed to evildoing. Even if they decide to do good, they may retreat from their good intentions in an instant. Surrounded by evil environmental conditions, their evil wills increase and intensify moment by moment. For this reason, I transform myself into hundreds of thousands of millions of other forms to convert, deliver, release and liberate them in accordance with their respective roots and dispositions.
"O Ksitigarbha, at this time I most sincerely commend to you the multitudes of devas and human beings. In future times, should any deva or human being plant even a tiny root in the context of the Buddhadharma—no matter if it be only the size of one water droplet, one sand grain, one hairtip or one mote of dust—you ought to apply your power to support and protect such a being so that he will gradually come to work on the Unexcelled Cultivation. Do not ever let him suffer any loss or retrogression.
"Furthermore, O ksitigarbha, in future times, should any deva or human being fall onto an evil path of existence in accordance with his karmic retribution, but also should he, as he is about to fall onto that evil path or is about to approach the entrance to any hell, be able to recite the Buddha’s name or a Bodhisattva’s name or be able to recite a sentence or a gatha from any Mahayana sutra, you ought to apply your miraculous powers and resort to some expediency to rescue him; and, manifesting your boundless entity at the place where this person is, crush the hell for his benefit, thus enabling him to ascend to heaven to enjoy extraordinarily wonderful happiness."
Then the World Honored One uttered the following gatha:
"The multitudes of devas and human beings of the present and future I now sincerely entrust to you to deliver with your great, miraculous power and skillful means so they will never again fall onto the evil paths of existence."
At that time, Bodhisattva-Mahasattva Ksitigarbha knelt with palms joined and addressed the Buddha, saying, "O World Honored One, please do not worry. In future times, should some good man or good woman have even one thought of reverence for the Buddhadharma, I shall resort to hundreds of thousands of expediencies to deliver and liberate that person from samsara. This is not to mention those good men and good women who always hear of virtuous deeds, practice moment by moment without ceasing and who, naturally, will never retrogress from the Unexcelled Path of Enlightenment."
When these words were concluded, a Bodhisattva in the congregation named Akasagarbha addressed the Buddha, saying, "Since my arrival at Trayastrimsas Heaven, I have heard Tathagata praising Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s majestic power as being inconceivable. In future times, how many kinds of benefits will any good man or good woman, or even any deva or naga, gain should he hear this Sutra or Ksitigarbha’s name or look reverently at and worship his image? It is only hoped that you, O World Honored One, will give a brief account of these things for the benefit of all the multitudes of sentient beings of the present and the future."
The Buddha told Akasagarbha, "Listen attentively, listen attentively! For now I shall tell you about those benefits one by one. In future times, any good man or good woman who should see Ksitigarbha’s image and hear this Sutra and, furthermore, read and recite it, and who should also donate incense, flowers, drink, food, clothing and precious treasures as offerings, in addition to giving praise and making obeisance to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, will gain twenty-eight kinds of benefits, namely:
Protection and mindfulness of devas and nagas;
Daily in crease of virtuous fruition;
Accumulation of elevated and sacred causes;
Nonretrogression from the path of Bodhi;
Affluence and abundant clothing and food;
Non-occurrence of diseases;
Non-occurrence of the calamities of flood or fire;
No harassment by robbery or thievery;
Admiration and respect of all persons one encounters;
Aid and support of deities and demons;
Transformation of the female body into the male body at rebirth;
Being a royal minister’s daughter if reborn as a female;
Possession of a dignified and graceful form;
Frequent rebirth in the heaven-realms;
Sometimes becoming an emperor or a king;
Possession of the miraculous power of knowing one’s previous lives;
All prayers will be answered;
Delight and happiness for the members of one’s family;
Elimination of all unexpected and unpleasant happenings;
Permanent eradication of the karmic ways of life;
Always passing through safely wherever one travels;
Always feeling safety and delight in one’s dreams;
Elimination of suffering for one’s departed ones;
Rebirth on the strength of previous bliss;
Praises by the Holy Ones;
Possession of clever wit and healthy organs;
Fullness of mercy pity and compassion;
Ultimate attainment of Buddha hood.
"Furthermore, Bodhisattva Akasagarbha, in the present or in the future, if any devas, nagas, deities or demons should hear Ksitigarbha’s name, worship Ksitigarbha’s image or just hear about ksitigarbha’s fundamental vows and deeds and if they should, at the same time, praise him and make obeisance to him, then they will gain seven kinds of benefits, namely:
Rapid progress in the holy sacred stages of achievement;
Elimination and disappearance of all evil karma;
Protection and attendance of the Buddhas;
Nonretrogression from the path of Bodhi;
Great increase of one’s own powers;
Complete awareness and knowledge of one’s previous lives;
Final achievement of Buddha hood."
At that time, all the inexpressible, inexpressible number of Buddhas, Tathagathas and great Bodhisattvas, as well as the eight categories of beings, including devas and nagas, who had come from all the quarters in the ten directions, on hearing Buddha Sakyamuni praise Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s great, miraculous power as being inconceivable, marvelled, exclaiming that there had never been anything like it. At that time, in Trayastrimsas Heaven immeasurable quantities of incense, flowers, celestial apparel, pearls and jade showered down as offerings to Buddha Sakyamuni and Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. After this, the entire congregation again made obeisance to them and withdrew with palms joined.