(Translated by Simpei Shao)
Having eulogized the exalted merits and virtues of the Tathagata, Bodhisattva Samantabhadra addressed those gathered Bodhisattvas and Kumara Sudhana as follows:
"Worthy men, even if all Buddhas of the ten quarters consecutively enumerate through Kalpas as numerous as the number of motes contained in the ineffable numbers of Buddha-Ksetras, the account of the magnitude of Tathagata's merits and virtues will still be non-exhausted.
To achieve the attainment of this exalted state of merit and virtues, there are ten grand Beneficence Aspirations to practice and pursue. (Thereupon Kumara Sudhana asked:) Whatever the ten may they be? (Bodhisattva Samantabhadra replied:)
Firstly: Make obeisance to all Buddhas
Kumara Sudhana then said: "Oh great sage, how may obeisance through all others to dedication be observed and followed." To this Bodhisattva Samantabhadra replied:
"Worthy man, to make obeisance to Buddha through power of Samantabhadra's Beneficence Aspirations, profound perception, insight and presence of mind, is to make obeisance to them ever by deeds of chaste action, speech and volition as if all the Buddhas, throughout Void-dhatu and Dharma-dhatu as numerous as all the dust-motes contained in Ksetras of ten quarters through three- Yugas, are facing me in person. A Nirmanakaya will be transmuted by me to make obeisance to every Buddha in every Buddha domain which is incalculable in number or as numerous as the dust-motes in a Buddha Ksetra. Until the infinite space exhausted, so will my obeisance end; but since space is boundless, so is my obeisance to Buddha ceaseless. And, until the sphere or the Klesa of sentient beings comes to an end will then my obeisance end. These too being endless, even so is my obeisance to Buddha ceaseless ever with incessant and unremitting thoughts, culminated by indefatigable deeds of action, colloquy and volition.
Next, worthy man, about eulogizing Tathagata, it is thus: As there are numerous Buddhas, each with seas of gathering Bodhisattvas, in every dust-mote, multiplying it by number of motes in a world and then galaxies of worlds of ten quarters through three- Yugas, I will manifest by as many Nirmanakayas before each Buddha and eulogize the merit of Buddha with my profound comprehension, insight, presence of mind, oratorical eloquence surpassing that of Sarasvati, and with each tongue, issuing forth seas of boundless dialogues, heard throughout the universe, till the end of boundless future. My eulogy ceases only if the Void-dhatu, or the sphere, Karma, Klesa of sentient beings, should come to an end. These too being endless, even so is my eulogy of Buddha's merit ceaseless with incessant and unremitting thoughts, culminated by deeds of indefatigable action, colloquy and volition.
Further, worthy man, about proffering abundant oblations, it is thus: As there are numerous Buddhas each with seas of gathering Bodhisattvas, in every dust-mote, multiplying it by number of motes in a world and then galaxies of worlds of ten quarters through three-Yugas, before each and every Buddha, I will, through my power of Samantabhadra's Beneficence Aspirations, profound perception, insight and presence of mind, proffer superb oblations as abundant as clouds, of flowers, head dresses, celestial music, tapestries, heavenly garments, perfumes, diverse kinds of incense, quantitatively for each item being commeasurable to size of Mt. Sumeru. So are all kinds of votive lamps, burning butter, oil, scent oil as quantitative as water of sea, collective wicks of each kind as the size of Mt. Sumeru. Worthy man, even with all those offerings, the best or cream of them all will be offering of incessant toil for Dharma beneficence to and sustenance of sentient beings, vicarious sacrifice for sentient beings, industrious pursuance over cultivation of beneficence root, abandon not Bodhi-karma and secede not from Bodhi-citta. For, the boundless merits of the former will not come to ever 1/100th, 1/1,000th, nay, nor 1/100,000th part of Koti, Nayuta, Kalau or Upannishad, in comparison with the latter. And wherefore? Because Dharma being held in highest esteem by all Tathagatas, and all Buddhas are begotten through Dharma. When Bodhisattvas proffer Dharma offerings, they would have consummated, or in true sense of the word, succeeded in their oblation offering. And by such pursuance, the offerings are truly supreme and most exquisite. My effort of such offerings ceases only should the Void-dhatu, or the Sphere, Karma, Klesa of sentient beings come to an end. These too being endless, even so is my effort of pursuance ceaseless, ever with incessant and unremitting thoughts, culminated by indefatigable deeds of action, colloquy and volition.
Further, worthy man, for being penitent over misdeeds and evil doings is thus: A Bodhisattva would give retrospection like this:
"For all the accumulated evil deeds I committed throughout the immeasurable past Kalpas through avarice, hatred and illusion, manifested by action, speech and mind; if such deeds were corporeal, even the whole cosmic space could not accommodate all of them; I would prostrate in front of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of boundless Ksetras, express my sincere penitence ever by deeds of chaste action, speech and mind, avouch never to commit them again, but abide by the merits of sanctified precepts. My penitence will cease only if the Void-dhatu, or the Sphere, Karma, Klesa of sentient beings should come to an end. These too being endless, so will my penitence be ceaseless, with incessant and unremitting thoughts, culminated by deeds of indefatigable action, colloquy and volition."
Further, worthy man, to acquiesce willingly in all meritorious deeds is thus: I would acquiesce willingly and emulate all the meritorious good roots of Buddhas as numerous as the number of dust-motes of all Buddha-ksetras of ten quarters through three- Yugas and for the duration as long as the unutterable and innumerable past Kalpas, starting from their originated aspiration, devotion in all sagacity acquisition, and ardent engagement in merit accumulation by means of ascetic pursuance even at the cost or sacrifice of their own body, head, eye or limb in unutterable and incalculable quantity or in number even as much as all the dust-motes of a Buddha-ksetra so as to consummate numerous Paramitas, gain access to diverse Bodhisattva's sagacity, and accomplish the highest, incomparable enlightenment up to the occasion on their entering Parinirvana and distributing Sariras thereafter. I would also acquiesce willingly in merits even as infinitesmal as a single dust-mote, gained by any species of existence of creature, whether as Deva-loka, Asura, human being, beast, ghost, demon in purgatorial hell, or of creatures born through media of womb, egg, moist, and by metamorphosis. I would also acquiesce willingly in the merits of all the Sravakas, Pratyeka-Buddhas, savants as well as neophytes of the ten quarters through three-Yugas. Moreover, I would acquiesce willingly in all the Bodhisattvas' grand merit of incessant toil for Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi till the end of Void-dhatu, or the end of Sphere, Karma and Klesa of sentient beings. These being endless, so will my willing acquiesce be ceaseless, with incessant and unremitting thoughts, culminated by deeds of indefatigable action, colloquy and volition.
Further, worthy man, to entreat Buddha to perpetuate Dharmacakra is thus: As there are ineffable numbers of vast Buddha-Ksetras in every grain of dust-mote, multiplying it by number of motes in a world and then galaxies of worlds of the ten quarters through three-Yugas throughout Void-dhatu and Dharrna-dhatu, and in each Ksetra, momentarily there are ineffable numbers of Buddhas, as numerous as all the motes of a Buddha-Ksetra, each with seas of gathered Bodhisattvas, attaining incomparable enlightenment, I would, with deeds of chaste action, colloquy, volition and diverse expediencies, earnestly entreat Buddhas to turn the Dharmcakra in motion. Thus the Void-dhatu may end, the Spheres, Karma, Klesa of sentient beings may come to an end, my effort of entreating Buddhas to perpetuate turning of Dharmacakra would be ceaseless, with incessant and unremitting thoughts, culminated by deeds of indefatigable action, colloquy, and volition.
Further, worthy man, beseeching Buddha to take constant mundane domicile is thus: Upon the time when Buddhas, ineffably infinite in number, of all the Buddha-Ksetras of the ten quarters through three-Yugas throughout Dharma-dhatu and Void-dhatu, as well as Bodhisattvas, Sravakas, Pratyeka-Buddhas, adepts, neophytes or even those well learnt devotees who, having attained enlightenment, are ready for Parinirvana, I would beseech them not to enter Nirvana but to continue their mundane domicile for Kalpas as numerous as the dust-motes of all Buddha-Ksetras to benefit all sentient beings. Thus even though the Void-dhatu, the Spheres, Karma, Klesa of sentient beings may come to an end, my beseeching will never cease, but keep on endlessly with thoughts, incessant and unremitting, culminated by deeds of indefatigable action, colloquy and volition.
Further, worthy man, be zealous follower of BUDDHA's teachings is thus: At the time as early as Tathagata Vairocana of this Saha-world first began to aspire and pursue for Bodhi with his unyielding tenacity, he had sacrificed his life by unutterably countless number of times, and given even his striped skin for usage as parchment, bones as writing instrument, blood as ink in offerings, to write or copy scriptures as quantitative as Mt. Sumeru. For the reverence of Dharma, life itself would be disregarded and sacrificed, so would be throne, dominions, cities, palaces, gardens and all other possessions given up in pursuance of various modes of ascetic and incessant toils till his ultimate attainment of Incomparable Enlightenment under the Bodhi-tree, with manifestations of his diverse supernatural power, transmutation power, and diverse forms of Buddha-rupas, duly accomplished. He would then preside over congregations or Bodhi-mandalas, with gathered Bodhisattvas, or gathered Sravakas, or gathered Pratyeka-Buddhas, or gathered assemblies of Tchakra-varti-Radjas, petty state kings and their respective retinues, or gathered assemblies of Kshatryas, Brahmins, elders, laymen, or even gathered assemblies of eight divisions of celestial or invisible super-mundane forms of beings led by Devas and Nagas, and creatures not of mankind. While presiding over such assemblies he would convoke with unique voice as astounding thunder claps to relish them in conformation with their inclinations, to conduce and maturate all sentient beings for attainment of Nirvana. All these, I would earnestly follow and learn not only from the present World Honored One Vairocana, but also from all Tathagatas manifested in all the dust-motes of all Ksetras of ten quarters through three-Yugas throughout Dharma-dhatu and Void-dhatu. Should even the Void-dhatu, the Spheres, Karma and Klesa of sentient beings come to an end, I would still be zealously following and learning all such teachings without cessation, ever with incessant and unremitting thoughts, culminated by deeds of indefatigable action, colloquy, and volition.
Further, worthy man, by being always responsive in sympathy and in concord with sentient beings is thus: There are various kinds of sentient beings of the cosmic worlds of ten quarters through three-Yugas throughout Dharma-dhatu and Void-dhatu irrespective of their birth through placenta, egg born, out of moisture or by metamorphosis; live under various environments as on earth, in water, in heat, in air or on tree, in bush or flying in space; of diverse species, forms, sizes, lineaments, lifespan, castes, appellations, nature, intelligence, desires, mentality, manners, wearing apparels, consuming victuals; living in diverse towns, among nomadic groups, in cities or palaces; so on as to whether they are celestial beings of the eight divisions led by Devas and Nagas, human beings or creatures other than mankind; creatures without legs, with two legs, four legs or multiple legs; with form, without form, with sense, without sense or neither with nor without sense. To all these, I will always be acquiescent, cherish, and venerate as my parents, teachers, Arakhams, or even as Tathagatas. I will be a good physician to the sick, a guide to show the right path for those who lose their way, light to shine for those in darkness, discoverer of buried wealth for those in poverty. Wherefore a Bodhisattva is equally beneficent to all sentient beings? For, if a Bodhisattva who would acquiesce to all sentient beings will be the same as being acquiescent in veneration of all Buddhas; to honour and serve sentient beings is to have honoured and served Tathagata; 3Ild to gratify all sentient beings is to have gratified all Tathagatas. And wherefore? Because the essence originating the Tathagata is the all-embracing compassionate heart, which is developed for all sentient beings and rough and which Bodhi-citta is sprouted and through Bodhi-citta, the Incomparable Enlightenment is attained. This would compare with a mighty king size tree, grown in barren sand of the wilderness; if its rootlets get water, it flourishes with plentiful foliages, blossoms, and fruits. Even so the Bodhi-tree king grown in the wilderness of life and death is. All sentient beings are the rootlets of this Bodhi-tree and all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas are the blossoms and fruits thereof. When sentient beings are being nourished by water of all-embracing compassion, this Bodhi-tree will bloom and bear the sagacity fruits of Buddhas and Bodhi-sattvas. And wherefore? It is because if Bodhisattvas would apply this nectar of compassion onto sentient beings, they would have consummated Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. Being so, sentient beings are essential to Bodhi, for without them, no Bodhisattva will be able to attain Incomparable Enlightenment. Ponder well, worthy man, on the truth of this parable. Look upon all sentient beings with impartial mind, so as all-embracing compassion can thus be consummated; and to accord and bestow this compassion upon all sentient beings alike may then be considered as having succeeded in oblation offering to Tathagata. This effort of Bodhisattva's acquiescence with compassion for all sentient beings will never cease even should Void-dhatu, or Spheres, Karma, and Klesa of sentient beings come to an end. Even so will my effort of responsive concord never cease, but it will be pursued ever with incessant & unremitting thoughts, culminated by deeds of indefatigable action, colloquy and volition.
And further, worthy man, as to dedicate all acquired merits is thus: All the merits accumulated by obeisance in the first instance up to responsive concord are all to be reverted for bestowment upon all sentient beings throughout Dharma-dhatu and Void-dhatu, wishing them always be secure and happy, be free from sickness and affliction, be able to frustrate attempts of evil deeds, be rapidly successful on good endeavors; blockading all approaches leading to malevolence for them, showing men and Devas alike the right course leading to Nirvana, and bearing vicariously the accumulated great sufferings for those on retribution for their evil deeds so that eventually they may gain liberation therefrom and consummate Incomparable Enlightenment in the end. Even should the Void-dhatu, the Spheres, Karma, or Klesa of sentient beings come to an end, my reversion dedication will know no end, but will be kept on with incessant and unremitting thoughts, culminated by deeds of indefatigable action, colloquy and volition.
Now, worthy man, these are what lead to the consummation of Bodhisattva Mahasattvas' Ten Grand Aspirations. If Bodhisattvas would acquiesce and adhere to these Aspirations, they would have acquiesced with Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi and they would have consummated the Beneficence Aspirations of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra. It is so worthy man, who you should comprehend. Any worthy man or woman who would fill the incalculable number of worlds as numerous as the total number of dust-motes contained in unutterable and innumerable Buddha-Ksetras of the ten quarters with the seven exquisite treasures as offerings, or provide superb entertainment and comfort, fit for celestial as well as human beings, to all the sentient beings of that many Ksetras, or to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of all the Ksetras unremittingly through Ksetra-motes in number of Kalpas without cessation, this said person would have accumulated merit in abundance. However, the merit acquired through the above effort, if compared with one who merely listens once the recitation of this King of Aspirations, then the former will not come to even 1/100th part, nay, nor 1/1,000th part, nor one Upanisandth part of the latter. Or, if another one who, with profound faith in this Aspirations, will follow in practicing, reciting or just writing over one of the Gathas, his sins, even Panchanantaryani committed in the past, would be expiated forthwith, all the worldly sufferings, ailments of physical or mental nature eradicated, even the cause of retribution for all his accumulated sinful commitments amount to as much as all the dust-motes of a Buddha-Ksetra absolved. All malevolent forces of the gnomes or demons, such as those of Yakchas, Rakchasas, Kumbhandas, Pisacas, Bhutas, etc., whether of carnivorous or blood sucking species, erst-while ready to harm him, would either vanish or instead of doing harm, even aspire to stand guard and give him protection. Therefore, whosoever recites this Aspirations, he would be liken to the moon, out of hazy clouds and shining in space, and would encounter no hindrance nor impediment while living in the world.
He will be praised by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas alike, honored and venerated by both celestial or fellow beings. Such a worthy man will always be well incarnated as man to consummate Bodhisattva Samantabhadra's merits and will have the same features, as that of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra's requited body with thirty-two exquisite attributes, and will be a superhuman among men. Whether regenerated as Deva or man, he will always be among noble class, with faculty to destroy malevolent influences, to segregate himself from defilements. As a lion king to conquer all species of animals, he deserves veneration of all sentient beings. Furthermore, on the last Ksana prior to his death, with his sense organs deteriorated and in decay, forsaken by his relatives and kinsfolk, deprived of power and influence, his courtiers and followers dispersed, his palaces, courts, elephants, horse carriages, jewels, treasure repositories left behind; this King of Aspirations, however, will never desert him but will lead and guide him all the while, straight on to Sukhavati, in a Ksana. Once there, he will see Buddha Amitabha, surrounded by Bodhisattvas Manjusri, Samantabhadra, Avalokitesvara, Maitreya and others, all with resplendently superb Rupa, perfect virtues and merits. He will see himself being regenerated through lotus blossom to accept Buddha's Vyakarana. That accomplished, he will then be able to apply his sagacity, to acquiesce iIi the desire of, and to dispense benefits to, all sentient beings throughout the ineffable number of worlds of the ten quarters through countless myriads of Kalpas. Not much later he will manifest himself by squatting at Bodhi-mandala, quelling the forces of Mara, consummating the Incomparable Enlightenment, setting the Dharma-cakra in motion, enabling all sentient beings of innumerable worlds of Ksetra-motes in number to aspire after Bodhi-citta, training and inducing them to mature in conforming to their individual nature and propensity. He will even endeavor copiously to benefit all sentient beings throughout seas of Kalpas in the infinite future. So, worthy man, whosoever of the multitude, having heard of this Great King of Aspirations, will accept, recite, expound, and have faith thereof, none but Buddha, the World Honoured One, can estimate his merits thus derived. Therefore, let no doubt to cloud your mind on hearing of this King of Aspirations but accept with devotion, read, recite, practice, publish, and disseminate them for the benefit of others. Such persons will thus be liable to consummate all their actions and aspirations appertaining to acquire and accumulate boundless bliss thereby, and to deliver all sentient beings from the great sea of pain and sorrow for the ultimate regeneration in Sukhavati, Land of Pure Bliss of Buddha Amitabha."
Thereupon, Bodhisattva Mahasattva Samantabhadra, with a mind to re-emphasize this theme, cast his gaze around all ten quarters and paraphrased the following Stanzas:
When Bodhisattva Mahasattva Samantabhadra had duly concluded his discourse on this Great King of Aspirations and recitation of the serene Gathas thereof before the Tathagata, Kumara Sudhana was enraptured with ecstasy and all Bodhisattvas filled with joy. Thereupon, the Tathagata commended "Sadhu, Sadhu".
At the assembly where this exalted Dharma leading to Inconceivable State of Emancipation was expounded, there were present the World Honored One; a great number of sages and Bodhisattva Mahasattvas led by Bodhisattva Manjusri; and other great Bodhisattvas with their six thousand adept Bhikkhus led by Bodhisattva Maitreya. All other great Bodhisattvas of the Bhadra-Kalpa were led by the Bodhisattva Vimala-Samantabhadra. Also in attendance were Buddhas-to-be, or Ekajati-Pratyeka-Buddhas who were at the stage of Murddhabhichikta as well as many other Bodhisattva Mahasattvas, as numerous as the Ksetra-motes over worlds of the ten quarters, led by the great sagacious Sariputra and the Mahamaudgalyayana, etc. There were also great Sravakas, celestial rulers, world rulers of all kinds, Devas, Nagas,
Yakchas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Ganrudas, Kinaras, Mahoragas, fellowmen, and creatures other than mankind that formed the multitude of the congregation.
On hearing this discourse given by the Buddha, all those present were inspired with joy; and taking sincerely to heart, they strove for faithful compliance thereof.
- The End -