--By Bhiksuni Heng Hsien
The text presented in the last lesson established the assembly in which the Shorter Amitabha Sutra was spoken; mahata bhiksu-sanghena sardham, "together with a great gathering of Bhiksus." Now the text continues: ardhatrayodasabhir bhiksusatair, "twelve-hundred-fifty Bhiksus," further characterizing the Bhiksusangha by giving the number of Bhiksus that made it up. In this lesson we will see something of the workings of Sanskrit numbers, and be introduced to two varieties of endings for the now familiar "with" case, those used in the plural.
Very literally the phrase breaks down this way: minus-half-three-tens-with Bhiksu-hundreds-with. "With" is called
for by the preposition sardham which occurred in the previous phrase and which
means "together with."
These 1250 Bhiksus followed
the Buddha wherever he went, so great was their gratitude to the Buddha for
teaching living beings. Whenever the Buddha spoke for teaching living beings.
Whenever the Buddha spoke Dharma they were present to protect the Dharma
Assembly, even though they already understood the teaching.
Opening the Light for Wei T¡¦ou Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva Wei T¡¦ou who has made deep vows
To guard the Bodhimandala and dispense strange vapors,
To keep the temple clear and pure the people in good health.
Now stands in Hung Fu Temple giving rare and loyal services.
Old Wei works too hard, standing there all day long, so I¡¦ll give him a high hat. Why does he work so hard standing there holding his jeweled pestle like a cop? It¡¦s because of a vow he made to protect the Bodhimandala from all demons and weird creatures. When they appear, glaring he swings his club at them and they run away. Thus the people in the temple are healthy, happy, and receive good fortune.