Thus I have heard.
At one time the Buddha dwelt on Mount Grdhrakuta, near the city of the House of the Kings, together with a gathering of great Bhikshus, twelve thousand in all. All were Arhats who had exhausted all outflows and had no further afflictions. Having attained self-benefit, they had exhausted the bonds of all existence and their hearts had attained self-mastery.
Their names were: Ajnatakaundinya, Mahakashyapa, Uruvilvakashyapa, Gayakashyapa, Nadikashyapa, Shariputra, Maharn Maudgalyayana, Mahakatyayana, Aniruddha, Kapphina, Gavampati, Revata, Pilindavatsa, Vakkula, Mahakaushthila, Nanda, Sundarananda, Purnamaitrayaniputra, Subhuti, Ananda, and Rahula -- and other great Arhats such as these, whom the assembly knew and recognised.
Moreover, there were those with further study and those beyond study, two thousand in all, there was the Bhikshuni Mahaprajapati with her retinue of six thousand, and Rahula’s mother, Bhikshuni Yashodhara, also with her retinue.
There were eighty-thousand Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, all irreversibly established in Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. All had obtained Dharani and the eloquence of delight in speech and turned the irreversible wheel of the Dharma. They had made offering to limitless hundreds of thousands of Buddhas and in the presence of those Buddhas had planted the roots of virtue. They were constantly receiving those Buddhas’ praise. They cultivated themselves in compassion and were well able to enter the wisdom of the Buddhas. They had penetrated the great wisdom and arrived at the other shore. Their reputations extended throughout limitless world realms, and they were able to cross over countless hundreds of thousands of living beings.
Their names were: The Bodhisattva Manjushri, The Bodhisattva Who Contemplates The World’s Sounds, The Bodhisattva Who Has Attained Great Might, The Bodhisattva Constant Vigor, The Bodhisattva Unresting, The Bodhisattva Jeweled Palm, The Bodhisattva Medicine King, The Bodhisattva Courageous Giving, The Bodhisattva Full Moon, The Bodhisattva Great Strength, The Bodhisattva Unlimited Strength, The Bodhisattva Who Has Transcended the Three Realms, The Bodhisattva Bhadrapala, The Bodhisattva Maitreya, The Bodhisattva Jewel Accumulation, The Bodhisattva Guiding Master --- and other Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas such as these, eighty thousand in all.
At that time, Shakro Devanan Indrah was present with his retinue of twenty thousand gods. Among them were the God Moon, the God Universal Fragrance, the God Jeweled Light, and the Four Great Heavenly Kings with their retinues, ten thousand gods in all. There was the God Comfort, and the God Great Comfort, with their retinues, thirty thousand gods in all.
There was the God King Brahma, ruler of the Saha World, as well as the great Brahma Shikin and the great Brahma Brilliance, and others, with their retinues, twelve thousand gods in all.
There were eight dragon kings: The Dragon King Nanda, The Dragon King Upananda, The Dragon King Sagara, The Dragon King Vasuki, The Dragon King Takshaka, The Dragon King Anavatapta, The Dragon King Manasvin, and The Dragon King Uptalaka, and others, each with his retinue of several hundreds of thousand followers.
There were four Kinnara kings: The Kinnara King Dharma, The Kinnara King Fine Dharma, The Kinnara King Great Dharma and The Kinnara King Upholder of Dharma, each with his retinue of several hundreds of thousands of followers.
There were found Gandharva kings: The Gandharva King Music, The Gandharva King Musical Sound, The Gandharva King Beautiful, The Gandharva King Beautiful Sound, each with his following of several hundreds of thousands of followers.
There were four Asura kings: The Asura King Kharaskandha, The Asura King Vemachitrin, and the Asura King Rahu, each with his retinue of several hundreds of thousands of followers.
There were four Garuda kings: The Garuda King Great Majesty, The Garuda King Great Body, The Garuda King Great Fullness, and the Garuda King As You Will.
Each with his own retinue of several hundreds of thousands of followers.
There was Vaidehi’s son, The King Ajatashatsu, with his retinue of several hundreds of thousands of followers. Each made obeisance to the Buddha’s feet, withdrew to one side, and sat down.
At that time the World Honored One, having been circumambulated by the Fourfold Assembly, presented with offerings, honored, venerated, and praised for the sake of the Bodhisattvas, spoke a Great Vehicle Sutra named The Limitless Principles, a Dharma for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddha is protective and mindful.
After the Buddha had spoken this Sutra, he sat in full lotus and entered the Samadhi of the Station of Limitless Principles, body and mind unmoving.
At that time there fell from the heavens a rain of Mandarava Flowers, Mahamandarava Flowers, Manjushaka Flowers, and Mahamanjushaka Flowers, which were scattered upon the Buddha and the entire great assembly.
All the Buddha universes quaked in six ways.
At that time the entire great assembly of Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, Gods, Dragons, Yakshas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Garudas, Kinnaras, Mahoragas, beings human and non-human, as well as the Minor Kings, The Wheel-Turning Sage Kings, all attained what they had never had before. They rejoiced and joined their palms and, with one heart, gazed upon the Buddha.
Then the Buddha emitted from between his brows a white hair-mark light which illumined eighteen thousand worlds to the east, omitting none of them reaching below to the Avichi hells and above to the Akanishtha heaven. From this world were seen all the living beings in the six destinies in those lands further were seen all the present Buddhas in those lands and all the Sutras and Dharma spoken by the Buddhas was heard.
Also seen were the Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas in those lands who cultivated and attained the Way.
Moreover were seen the Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas, the various causes and conditions, the various beliefs and understandings, and the various appearances of their practice of the Bodhisattva Way.
Further were seen the parinirvana of the Buddhas and, after the parninirvana of the Buddhas, the building of stupas with the seven jewels to hold their sharira.
Then the Bodhisattva Maitreya and this thought: "Now, the World Honored One manifests signs of spiritual transformations. What is the reason for these portents? The Buddha, the World Honored One, has now entered Samadhi, yet these are inconceivable and rare events. Who should I ask concerning them? Who could answer?"
He further thought: "The Dharma Prince, Manjushri, has in the past drawn near and made offerings to limitless Buddhas. Surely he has been such rare signs. I shall now ask him."
Thereupon the Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas, as well as the gods, dragons, ghosts, spirits, and others, all had this thought: Who should now be asked concerning the Buddha’s bright light and signs of spiritual penetrations?"
At that time, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, wishing to resolve his own doubts, and further regarding the thoughts of the four-fold assembly of Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas, as well as the thoughts of the assembled gods, dragons, ghosts, and spirits and others, questioned Manjushri as follows:
"What are the reasons for these portents, these signs of spiritual penetrations, for the emanation of great light which illumines eighteen thousand lands to the east so that the adornments in all those Buddha worlds are fully seen?"
Thereupon, Maitreya Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke
At that time, Manjushri addressed the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Maitreya and all the great lords, saying, "Good men, in my estimation, the Buddha, the World Honored One, now wishes to speak the great Dharma, to let fall the great Dharma rain, to blow the great Dharma conch, to beat the great Dharma drum, and to proclaim the great Dharma doctrine."
"Good men, I have, in the past, in the presence of other Buddhas, seen such portents. Having emitted this light, they immediately spoke the great Dharma. Therefore, it should be known that the manifestation of light by the present Buddha is also thus. Because he wishes to lead all living beings to hear and understand this Dharma which in the whole world is hard to believe, he therefore manifests these portents."
"Good men, it is jsut as in the past, limitless, boundless, inconceivable Asankhyeya aeons ago, there was at that time a Buddha named Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, one of Proper and Universal knowledge, One of Perfect Clarity and Conduct, Well-Gone One, an Unsurpassed Knight who Understands the World, a Hero Who Subdues and Tames, a Teacher of Gods and People, the Buddha, the World Honored One who expounded the proper Dharma, good at its beginning, good in its middle, and good at its end, its meaning profound and far-reaching, its words clever and subtle, pure and unadulterated, complete with the marks of pure, white Brahman conduct."
"To those who sought to be Sound-Hearers, he responded with the Dharma of the Four Truths, by which one crosses over birth, aging, sickness, and death to the ultimate Nirvana; to those who sought to be Pratyeka Buddhas, he responded with the Dharma of the Twelve Conditioned Causes; for the sake of the Bodhisattvas, he responded with the Six Paramitas, causing them to attain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi and realize the wisdom of all modes."
"Then, there was another Buddha, also named Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp, and then another Buddha, also named Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp, and so forth for twenty-thousand Buddhas all of the same name, Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp, and also of the same surname, Bharadvaja.
"Maitreya, it should be known that all of those Buddhas, from the first to the last, had the same name, Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp, and were complete with the ten titles, and that the Dharma they spoke was good at its beginning, middle, and end."
"Before the last Buddha left the home-life, he had eight royal sons. The first was named Intention, the second, Good Intention, the third, Limitless Intention, the fourth Jeweled Intention, the fifth, Increasing Intention; the sixth, Intention Rid of Doubt, the seventh, Resounding Intention, and the eighth, Dahrma Intention. The eight princes were of awesome virtue and self-mastery and each ruled over four continents."
"When the princes head that their father had left the home-life and attained Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, they all renounced their royal positions and left home as well. They brought forth the resolve for the Great Vehicle and constantly cultivated Brahman conduct. All became Dharma Masters, having already, in the presence of ten million Buddhas, planted the roots of goodness."
"At that time, the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness spoke a Great Vehicle Sutra named The Limitless Principles, a Dharma for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddhas are protective and mindful. When he had finished speaking that Sutra, he then, in the midst of the assembly, sat in full lotus and entered the Samadhi of the Station of Limitless Principles; his body and mind were unmoving. Then from the heavens there fell a rain of Mandarava flowers, Mahamandarava flowers, Manjushaka flowers, and Mahamanjushaks flowers, which were scattered upon the Buddha and the entire great assembly. All the Buddha universes quaked in six ways. At that time the entire great assembly of Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, gods, dragons, Yakshas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Garudas, Kinnaras, Mahoragas, beings human and non-human as well as the minor kings and the wheel-turning sage kings and so forth, all attained what they had never had before. The rejoiced and joined their palms and, with one heart, gazed upon the Buddha. Then the Thus Come One emitted from between his brows a white hair-mark light which illumined eighteen thousand Buddha-worlds to the east, omitting none of them. Just like all the Buddha lands now seen."
"Maitreya, it should be known that there were at that time in the assembly twenty million Bodhisattvas who took delight in listening to the Dharma. Upon seeing this bright light illumine all the Buddha lands, all the Bodhisattvas obtained what they had never had and wished to know the causes and conditions for this light."
"There was at that time a Bodhisattva by the name of Wondrous Light who had eight hundred disciples. The Buddha Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp then arose from Samadhi and, for the sake of the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light, spoke a Great Vehicle Sutra called the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower, a Dharma for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddha is protective and mindful.
"For sixty small aeons he did not rise from his seat. Those assembled listening also sat in one place for sixty small aeons with bodies and minds unmoving, listening to what the Buddha said as if it were but the space of a meal. At that time, in the assembly, there was not a single person who grew weary, either physically or mentally."
"At the end of sixty small aeons, having finished speaking the Stura, the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness immediately announced to the assembly of Brahma, Mara, Shramanas, Brahmans, gods, humans, and Asuras, ‘Today, at midnight, the Thus Come One will enter Nirvana without residue.’ There was at that time a Bodhisattva by the name of Virtue Treasury to whom the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness transmitted a prediction, telling all the Bhikshus, "The Bodhisattva Virtue Treasury will next become a Buddha with the name of Pure-Body-Tathagato rhan, Samyaksambuddhah. After that Buddha had transmitted the prediction, at midnight he entered Nirvana without residue."
"Following the Buddha’s crossing over into extinction, the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light upheld the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra for a full eighty small aeons, expounding it to others. The eight sons of the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness all served Wondrous Light as their master.. Wondrous Light taught and transformed them, causing them to become firmly established in Anuttarasamyaksambodhi."
"The princes, having made offerings to limitless hundrreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of Buddhas, all realized the Buddha Way. The very last to become a Buddha was one named Burner of the Lamp."
"Among the eight hundred disciples was one named Seeker of Fame, who was greedily attached to profit and offerings. Although he read and recited many scriptures, he did not comprehend them and forgot most of what he learned. For that reasons he was called Seeker of Fame. Because he had also planted good roots, he was able to encounter limitless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of Buddhas, making offerings to them and honoring them, venerating and praising them."
"Maitreya, it should be known, could the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light have been anyone else? I, myself, was he. And the Bodhisattva Seeker of Fame was you, yourself!"
"The portents now seen do not differ from those, and so, in my estimation, today the Thus Come One is about to speak a Great Vehicle Sutra called The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower, a Dharma for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddha is protective and mindful."
At that time Manjushri, in the midst of the assembly, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses, saying:
I recall that in ages past,
Before that Buddha had left home,
The Buddha then spoke a Great Vehicle
The light illumined to the east
Thus come ones, too, all were seen
Then the four-fold multitudes
The Honored One, revered by gods and humans,
For a full sixty minor aeons
The Buddha, having spoken The Dharma Flower,
All of the disciples of the World Honored One
That night the Buddha passed into extinction,
The Dharma Master Wondrous Light
After that Buddha had passed into extinction,
I saw the Buddha Brightness of Lamp;
The present marks are like the portents past,
Those who seek three vehicles,