In this June-2003 issue, we start a commentary on one of the most popular Sutras in Chinese Buddhism, which is Ksitigarbhapranidhana Sutra, or Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra. Earth Store Bodhisattva is one of the four great Bodhisattvas in Buddhism.

After the death of Shakyamuni Buddha, there would be no Buddha in our world until the appearance of Bodhisattva Maitreya over a few billion years later, who is to become the next Buddha. During this transition period, Shakyamuni Buddha assigned and delegated Earth Store Bodhisattva to act on his behalf, to salvage the sentient beings in our world, as stated in the last part of this Sutra.

The Sutra describes the past lives of Earth Store Bodhisattva, his great vow made to that effect by him, and the benefits incurred from that vow. The great vow is: 'If the hell is not yet empty, I vow not to become a Buddha'. It is the greatest vow of all!

This Sutra also emphasizes the miraculous power that reciting or hearing even a single phrase or verse expiate all sins.

The Sutra was spoken by Shakyamuni Buddha for his mother in the heaven. It also describes how Earth Store Bodhisattva saved his mother from hell. Therefore, the Sutra is regarded as the Sutra of Lovingness to Parents. It is always recommended to be one of the first Buddhist Sutras to be studied by the beginners.

We anticipate it will take 5 to 6 issues to complete the commentary of the entire Sutra.

As announced in our previous issue, we are now conducting a simple survey to gather our readers' ideas and preferences. It would take only a couple of minutes to complete, so please don't hesitate to provide us your invaluable comments and suggestions. Please follow this link to the survey before returning to the Buddhist Door.

The survey will be run until mid-July. This will give us about two weeks to analyze the data and publish the result in the next issue.

We also want to bring your attention to the Dharma Practice and Study Group of Tung Lin Kok Yuen, Vancouver. It is conducted by venerable Roshi Martin on every Sunday morning for over two years.

It is a rare chance to have an intimate discussion with the master, and to practice meditation with a group of dedicated people. Feel free to come and join in the activities. For more information, please follow the link Dharma Practice in the Tung Lin Kok Yuen web site.