Living beings are just the Buddha’s heart. Therefore,
the Buddhas wouldn’t ever forsake living beings.
A reminder from last issue:
The Thus Come One Many Jewels made a vow to protect the Dharma Flower Sutra, which teaches how to become a Buddha. Whenever a Buddha speaks the Dharma Flower Sutra, he manifests his jeweled stupa.
Also, my division bodies,
Equal in number to the Ganges’ sands,
Have come, wishing to hear the Dharma,
And to see the extinct
Thus Come One, Many Jewels,
Casting aside their wondrous lands
And assemblies of disciples.
Gods, people, dragons and spirits
Make various offerings,
To cause the Dharma long to abide.
Therefore, they have come here.
In order to seat those Buddhas
I have used my spiritual powers
To move countless multitudes
And purify the lands.
Each one of the Buddhas
Takes his place beneath a jeweled tree,
Like a lotus adorning
A clear, clean pond.
Beneath the jeweled trees,
There are lion thrones
Upon which the Buddhas sit.
Shakyamuni Buddha continues, "Also, my division bodies, Limitless Buddhasequal in number to the Ganges sands have come." There is no way to express with a number how many Buddhas there are, so we use the analogy of the sands in the Ganges River to describe it. They come wishing to hear the Dharma, the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra,and to see the extinct Thus Come One, Many Jewels, who entered Nirvana long ago. Casting aside their wondrous lands, each division body casting aside his subtle, inconceivable country and assemblies of disciples. Take a look! Buddhas basically can't bear to give up their disciples. They might renounce the wondrous lands, but not their disciples. The Buddhas are especially close to their disciples. This is because living beings are just the Buddha’s heart. Therefore, the Buddhas wouldn’t ever forsake living beings. The Buddhas all cherish their disciples, like parents cherish their children. Some of you Bhikshus are thinking of visiting your parents, and your parents have even offered to pay your plane fare, round trip! This is because they love you too much, and can’t let you go! That’s how the Buddhas feel about their disciples. However, I must say that I am rather lacking in compassion towards my disciples and not very good to them.
Gods, people, dragons, and spirits make various offerings to cause the Dharma long to abide. They make offerings to the Thus Come One Many Jewels so the Buddhadharma can dwell in the world for a long, long time. Therefore, they have come here. The Stupa of the Thus Come One Many Jewels has manifested in empty space, and all the division body Buddhas of Shakyamuni Buddha have come here. In order to seat those Buddhas, I have used my spiritual powers, to move countless multitudes, and purify the lands. Because I wanted each of the Buddhas to have a place to sit, I have used my inconceivable spiritual powers to move all the countless beings of the hell, animal, and hungry ghost realms, as well as the gods and asuras, somewhere else, to another land. In this way, the world is purified. There is no smell of contamination in it.
I will give you an example. Let’s say someone has a lot of cats and dogs who aren’t very sanitary in their habits. They make messes everywhere and generally stink up the place. Let’s say that an important guest is coming, so the cats are hustled off to their houses and the dogs are taken to the kennel. Then he cleans the room and sprays it with deodorizer, so it’s all nice and clean. The same principle applies here in the Sutra. All the unclean beings have been moved away for the occasion.
Each one of the Buddhas takes his place beneath a jeweled tree, like a lotus adorning a clear, clean pond. The Buddha performed three transformations of lands, thus purifying this world. All the division body Buddhas came to sit under their Bodhi trees, like lotuses sitting in a crystal clear pond. Lotuses are used to adorn the land. Beneath the jeweled trees, there are lion thrones upon which the Buddhas sit. There are many lion thrones, one under each Bodhi tree. The Bodhi trees are five hundred yojanas tall and the lion thrones are five yojanas tall. Each division-body Buddha seats himself on a lion throne.
To be continued