若持八萬    四千法藏    十二部經    為人演說
令諸聽者    得六神通    雖能如是    亦未為難
於我滅後    聽受此經    問其義趣    是則為難
From last issue:
After I enter Nirvana, if someone were to recite and uphold the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra or explain it to a single person, that would be really difficult.
If one upheld eighty-four thousand Dharma treasuries
And the twelve divisions of the canon, Expounding upon them to others,
Causing all the listeners
To gain the six spiritual penetrations; Even if one could do this,
It would not be difficult.
But if, after my extinction,
One can listen to and accept this Sutra And inquire into its meaning,
That is difficult.
If one upheld eighty-four thousand / Dharma treasuries. If you were to uphold all the eighty-four thousand Dharma-doors taught by the Buddha and the twelve divisions of the canon. The Twelve Divisions of the Canon were explained before, and I believe that many people still remember what they are. Therefore, I will just list them without explaining in detail. If you wish to understand them in greater detail, please ask these American Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas to explain in more detail. The Twelve Divisions of the Canon are given in a verse:
Prose, verses, and the transmitting of predictions,
Interjections, Dharma spoken without request,
Causes and conditions, analogies, and stories of past lives,
Stories of the lives of disciples, expanded (Vaipulya) texts,
Previously inexistent teachings, and commentarial literature
Make up Twelve Divisions;
Chapter 33 explains them in the Shastra of Great Wisdom.
Expounding upon them to others, explaining them to people, Causing all the listeners / To gain the six spiritual penetrations—the heavenly eye, the heavenly ear, the knowledge of other's thoughts, the knowledge of past lives, the extinction of outflows, and the power of spiritual travel. Even if one could do this /It would not be difficult. This would not be considered a difficult feat; it would be very easy to do.
But if after my extinction / One can listen to and accept this Sutra / And inquire into its meaning / That is difficult. After I enter Nirvana, if you can get to hear the principles and doctrines of The Dharma Flower Sutra ... You should all think it over. How can you not come to the Sutra lecture? It's very rare, this opportunity you now have to listen to The Dharma Flower Sutra. Don't let it slip by.
Didn't I tell you before we even reached this portion of text how hard it is to hear this Sutra? I wanted you to think about it for yourselves. Now that we have reached this passage, it tells us how difficult it is for us to get to listen to The Dharma Flower Sutra. To say nothing of common people like us, even Shakyamuni Buddha's division bodies and Many Jewels Buddha come to listen to it. If you are able to hear The Dharma Flower Sutra once, in the future your wisdom will be inconceivable. Why are you so dumb now? Why do you have such a big temper now? Why do you have so many obstructions now? Why are you tormented by so much false thinking? Because you never heard The Dharma Flower Sutra! Or even if you did hear it, perhaps you only heard one or two lectures and missed the rest. So now you have so many obstacles. Now that you are listening to The Dharma Flower Sutra, you should remember not to miss a single lecture! "There's a lecture on The Dharma Flower Sutra every evening, so I'll come to listen every evening. If I understand it, I'll come and listen; and if I don't understand it, I will still come and listen. If I do understand it, it won't hurt to deepen my understanding. If I don't understand it, I am certainly going to find a way to understand it." Don't miss this chance. It's worth more than finding a million ounces of gold each day!
Shakyamuni Buddha said that if one could completely understand the Twelve Divisions of the Canon and could explain them so that all those who listened would attain the six spiritual penetrations, that still would not be difficult. However, if after the Buddha has entered Nirvana, one can listen to and accept The Dharma Flower Sutra, and inquire into its meaning and principles, this is indeed a difficult thing to do.
→To be continued