Thereupon, the Saha World was transformed into one of purity, with lapis lazuli for soil and with jeweled trees adorning it. Its eight paths were bordered with golden cords. In it there were no towns, villages, cities, oceans, rivers, streams, mountains, brooks, forests or thickets. Precious incense was burned and mandarava flowers completely covered the ground. Above it were spread jeweled nets and banners hung with jeweled bells. It was reserved for the assembly only. The gods and humans had been moved to another land.
Then all of the Buddhas, each bringing with him one great Bodhisattva as an attendant, reached the Saha world and went to the foot of a jeweled tree. Each jeweled tree was five hundred yojanas in height and adorned with branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. Beneath each jeweled tree was a lion throne five yojanas in height adorned with great jewels.
Then each of the Buddhas sat in the lotus posture on his own throne. In this way, by turns, the lands of the Three Thousand Great Thousand World System was filled, and still there was no end to the division bodies of Shakyamuni Buddha from even one direction.
Thereupon, the Saha World was transformed into one of purity. Right after all the division bodies of Shakyamuni Buddha of the ten directions said that they wanted to go to the Saha World to make offerings to the Stupa of the Thus Come One Many Jewels, Shakyamuni Buddha used the power of his spiritual penetrations to transform the Saha World. Why did he do this? Fundamentally, the Saha World does not have five turbidities. The evil world of five turbidities is only manifested for the sake of teaching living beings. Basically, having become a Buddha, the Buddha dwelt in the Adorned Land of Real Reward. In the Recitation Session, we come across the Adorned Land of Real Reward, the Pure Land of Eternal Still Light, the Land of Sagely Dwelling in Expedient Means, and the Western Land of Peace and Bliss. The Adorned Land of Real Reward is where the Buddhas and great Bodhisattvas live. Originally, our Saha World has lapis lazuli for soil. There are no mountains, rivers, and so forth, it is all level and flat; but to teach living beings, Shakyamuni manifested the marks of defilement and purity. Thus, there is the pure land, and the defiled land of the five turbidities. Now, Many Jewels Thus Come One has manifested and all the division bodies of Shakyamuni Buddha are going to gather together in one place. This is like inviting an important guest to a party. The first thing we do is clean house and adorn it nicely in preparation, so the guest will be happy. Since Shakyamuni Buddha has asked his division bodies to gather together, he has first turned the Saha World of five turbidities into a pure world with lapis lazuli for soil, which is the Adorned Land of Real Reward. This is the first of three such transformations that he makes.
The Saha world was then replete with lapis lazuli for soil and adorned with jeweled trees. The jeweled trees are the kings of trees, like the Bodhi tree. This world was adorned with Bodhi trees.
Its eight paths were bordered with golden cords. The eight paths represent the Eightfold Sagely Path.
In it there were no towns, villages, cities. These represent gatherings of men and women. In this pure world there were only men, no women. There were no
oceans, rivers, streams, mountains, brooks, forests or thickets.
Precious incense was burned. What is precious incense? It is an analogy for the merit and virtue that people perform.
And mandarava flowers completely covered the ground. Mandarava flowers are the flowers that "go along with one's wish." As soon as you see these flowers, you are extremely happy. The flowers covered the ground everywhere.
Above it were spread jeweled nets and banners hung with many
jeweled bells. It was reserved for the assembly only. The gods and humans had been moved to another land. Only those in the Dharma Assembly remained. All the enemies in the heavens and in the human realm were relocated in another world! See, living beings can be moved to another world and not even realize it!
Then all of the Buddhas, each bringing with him one Great Bodhisattva as an attendant, reached the Saha World and went to the foot of a jeweled tree. Each Buddha sat under a Bodhi tree.
Each jeweled Bodhi tree was five hundred yojanas in height and adorned with branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. The trees were extremely beautiful.
Beneath each jeweled Bodhi tree was a lion throne where the Buddha speaks the Dharma,
five yojanas in height adorned with great jewels of the highest quality.
Then each of the Buddhas sat in the lotus posture on his own five-yojana-high
throne under the Bodhi tree. In this way, by turns, the lands of the Three Thousand Great Thousand World System was filled. One by one, the Buddhas were seated, until they filled up the entire Three Thousand Great Thousand World System. How many Buddhas would you say there were?
And still there was no end to the division bodies of Shakyamuni Buddha from even one direction. There were Buddhas who had no place to sit, even though the entire Three Thousand Great Thousand Worlds had been filled. And that's only the division body Buddhas of Shakyamuni Buddha from one direction—the east—that we are talking about!
To be continued