我為佛道 於無量土 從始至今 廣說諸經
而於其中 此經第一 若有能持 則持佛身
諸善男子 於我滅後 誰能受持 讀誦此經
今於佛前 自說誓言 此經難持 若暫持者
From last issue:
If after the Buddha has entered Nirvana, one can listen to The Dharma Flower
Sutra and inquire into its meaning and principles, this is indeed a difficult thing
If one were to speak the Dharma/And cause a thousand myriads
of millions/Of limitless, countless/Beings, like the Ganges' sands
/To obtain Arhatship. If someone were to speak the Buddhad-
harma, causing thousands of myriads of millions of living beings
to certify to the fourth stage of Arhatship and obtain patience with
the non-production of dharmas and perfect the six spiritual pene-
trations/Although it would be beneficial/It would not be difficult.
Although there would be benefits in doing such a thing, it wouldn't
be a very difficult thing to do. But after my extinction/If one can
reverently uphold/Such a Sutra as this/That indeed is difficult.
After I have entered Nirvana, if someone could respectfully uphold
The Dharma Flower Sutra, that would be very, very difficult.
I, for the sake of the Buddha Way,
Throughout limitless lands,
From the beginning until now,
Have broadly expounded all the Sutras;
And among them all
This Sutra is foremost.
If one can uphold it,
He then upholds the Buddha's body.
After my extinction,
Whoever can receive and uphold,
Read, and recite this Sutra,
Now, in the presence of the Buddhas,
should make a vow.
This Sutra is hard to uphold;
If one upholds it for but an instant,
I will rejoice,
And so will all the Buddhas.
Shakyamuni Buddha says: I, for the sake of the Buddha Way,
in order to teach and transform living beings so we can all realize
the Buddha Way together, Throughout limitless lands/From the
beginning until now/Have broadly expounded all the Sutras/In
endless and boundless Buddhalands, I have spoken many Sutras. I
lectured on the Avatamsaka Sutra, I lectured on the Agama Sutras,
the Vaipulya Sutras, and the Prajna Sutras. Now I am lecturing The
Dharma Flower Sutra. And among them all, among all the Sutras
I have spoken, this Sutra is foremost; The Dharma Flower Sutra is number one. It is the rarest, the hardest to encounter, and the hard-
est to understand.
If one can uphold it,/He then upholds the Buddha's body. If
someone can accept and uphold The Dharma Flower Sutra, he accepts and upholds the Buddha's true body. The Buddha's real body
is within The Dharma Flower Sutra. This is to enter the Tatha-
gata's room, put on the Tathagata's robes, and sit on the Tathagata's throne. This means that one receives and upholds the genuine body of the Buddha.
Good men, all of you good men and good women, after my ex
Tinction, After I enter Nirvana, whoever can receive and uphold.
Who among you can receive, uphold, read, and reciteThe Dharma
Flower Sutra? What does it mean to receive and uphold? This
means to recite the Sutra every day. It means to be able to recite it
by heart. You are able to receive and uphold it regardless of
whether or not you have the book with you. You receive and uphold
it not for just one day, but every day; not just every day, but every
month and every year. You should receive and uphold The Dharma
Flower Sutra not for just one life, but in every life. No matter what
we do, we must persevere. You must finish what you start. From the
beginning to the end, the whole thing is just like one day. You can't
just say, "I'll receive and uphold the Sutra today, because I feel like
doing so; but tomorrow I'll forget about it." That doesn't count as
receiving and upholding it. You must make a vow to uphold The
Dharma Flower Sutra every day, every month, and every year.
Make a vow to uphold it in life after life.
Read and recite this Sutra. Who can make this vow?
Now in the presence of the Buddhas, in front of Many Jewels Tathagata
and Shakyamuni Buddha, you should make a vow. You yourself
should make a vow to receive and uphold this Sutra forever. Who
can make this kind of vow? Now is the time to do it! Make this vow
in front of us.
This Sutra is hard to uphold; this Sutra is extremely difficult to
uphold. If one doesn't have genuine good roots, one will be unable
to read and recite it. If one upholds it for but an instant. In this
life, if one can briefly maintain The Wonderful Dharma Lotus
Flower Sutra, then I will rejoice. I will be extremely delighted.
"But for an instant" refers to this one, fleeting life. How about pre-
vious lives or future lives? You don't know about them, so don't be
concerned about them. If one can temporarily uphold The Dharma
Flower .Sutra in this present life, Shakyamuni Buddha says, "I will
be delighted with this person, and so will all the Buddhas. Not only
will I be pleased with this person, all the Buddhas of the ten directions who are my division bodies will also be pleased with him."
→To be continued