Sutra text from last issue: At the time the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses.
Ringing the bell, I announced in the four directions. Ringing is the translation for a Chinese character (which has two possible pronunciations) that, in the noun form, means the baton used to stike a bell or drum. By the way, where's the baton that goes with this bell? The baton should always remain with the bell. Without the baton, the bell cannot be rung. Earlier there was mention of the bell and drum being struck simultaneously. Now the bell is used to announce to those in the four directions: Whoever has the Great Dharma, referring to anyone who understands the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma, if that person will explain it to me, I will be his servant. Although I am a king, I am willing to be a servant. Why? Because I am seeking the Dharma. For that reason, I will do whatever you ask. Even though I am a king, if you want me to serve you, I will do that, because I am seeking the unsurpassed Dharma.
Then the seer Asita
Came and spoke to me,
The king, saying,
'I have the subtle, wonderful Dharma,
Rare in all the world.
If you can cultivate it,
I will speak it for your sake!’
Then the seer Asita / Came and spoke to me, / The king, saying, / 'I have the subtle, wonderful Dharma.' "Asita" means "incomparable," which describes the length of his lifespan. His Dharma was also incomparable. No one could speak the Dharma better than he could. The seer Asita, probably with the penetration of the heavenly eye, or ear, of other's thoughts, or past lives or whatever, knew that the king was ready to become a servant in order to hear the Dharma, so he decided to test him out to see if he really meant it.
The highest, supreme, subtle and wonderful Dharma: there is no dharma higher or more profound. It is the subtle within the subtle, the wonderful within the wonderful. "Rare in all the world. / If you can cultivate it, if you can cultivate according to it, and not disobey me, I will speak it for your sake. I will tell you about it.
Hearing the seer' words, my heart filled with great joy.
I then followed the seer, supplying all his needs,
gathering firewood, fruit, and melons,
respectfully presenting them at the proper time,
because I cherished the wonderful Dharma,
I was neither lax nor tired in body or mind.
I diligently sought the Great Dharma
for the sake of all living beings.
Hearing the seer's words. When the king heard Asita say that he would give the Dharma to whoever would not oppose him. My heart filled with great joy. An overwhelming sense of happiness arose within him. I then followed the seer, immediately going with him and supplying all his needs. He offered the seer whatever he needed, gathering firewood, fruit, and melons. He found firewood in the mountains, fruit on the trees, and different kinds of melons like cucumbers, squash, watermelon, respectfully presenting them at the proper time. Whenever he needed something, it was given: good food, and then a little fruit. He would carry it atop his head to serve the seer. That's how reverent the king was in presenting his gifts.
Because I cherished the wonderful Dharma. That was why he did it; he was seeking the Unsurpassed Wonderful Dharma-affinities with the Unsurpassed Way of the Buddhas. For that reason he was physically and mentally reverent. I was neither lax nor tired in body or mind. Nor was he ever lazy. I diligently sought the Great Dharma. Thus, he vigorously sought the unsurpassed magnificent Dharma.
To be continued