From last issue: I am now lecturing the Sutra and the Buddha is putting forth light to shine upon you so that you can quickly get rid of your arrogance and stupidity...
Then the five hundred Arhats in the assembly who had received predictions spoke to the Buddha, saying, "World Honored One, we too, vow to speak this Sutra extensively in other lands."
Again, those still studying and those beyond study, eight thousand in number, who had received predictions, rose from their seats, placed their palms together, and facing the Buddha made this vow, "World Honored One, we too, will speak this Sutra extensively in other lands. Why? The people in the Saha World are for the most part evil, arrogant, of scanty merit and virtue, hateful, turbid, flattering, and deceitful, their hearts untrue."
Then the five hundred Arhats in the assembly who had received predictions from Shakyamuni Buddha spoke to the Buddha, saying, "World Honored One, we, too, vow to speak this Sutra extensively in other lands." It won't be here in India, or in China. We are going to other lands. Perhaps Asian people will go to a Western country. Perhaps Westerners will go to Asia. Perhaps Africans will go to Caucasian countries, and so on. They will lecture on the
Dharma Flower Sutra every day whether or not people come to listen. Even if it is lectured in another language and regardless of whether anyone understands it, it will still be lectured. Even if they have to use a translator, that's how it will be. Do you understand?
Again, those still studying and those beyond study, eight thousand in number, who had received predictions, rose from their seats. "Those still studying" are those at the level of first, second, and third stage Arhat-ship. "Those beyond study" are those who have reached fourth stage Arhatship. Altogether, there were eight thousand who had received predictions from Shakyamuni Buddha. They didn't give each other a signal or anything; they all just stood up together with more precision than a drill team. They
placed their palms together, and facing the Buddha made this vow, "World Honored One, we, too, will speak this Sutra extensively in other lands. We will lecture on the
Dharma Flower Sutra every day. We won't ever stop lecturing it. It will continue like flowing water.
Why? Why are we making this vow? The people in the Saha World, the world that is able to be endured,
are for the most part evil and not good. They are full of offenses,
arrogant, of scanty merit and virtue. Their main talents will be acting
hateful, nasty-tempered, turbid, impure, and
flattering. When they see people with money they will butter them up like crazy, saying, "Oh, you are such an important person..."
Deceitful means they are crooked and not forthright. I have met many people like this.
Their hearts will be untrue. So, we are going to make vows to lecture the
Dharma Flower Sutra and propagate it to teach and transform these evil living beings."
The Buddha's foster mother, the Bhikshuni Mahaprajapati, together with six thousand Bhikshunis, both those still studying and those beyond study, rose from their seats, singlemindedly joined their palms, and gazed at the Honored Ones' countenance without removing their eyes for an instant.
Above, the twenty-thousand Bodhisattvas, the five hundred Arhats, the eight thousand Bhikshus, both studying and those beyond study, all made vows to propagate the Dharma Flower Sutra. Just then,
the Buddha's foster mother, his stepmother,
the Bhikshuni Mahaprajapati rose from her seat. Her name is Sanskrit and means "Great Love for the Path." She liked to cultivate more than anything else. She was the first woman to leave home and was the leader of the Bhikshunis. She,
together with six thousand Bhikshunis, both those still studying and those beyond study, turned their minds to one,
rose from their seats, singlemindedly joined their palms, and gazed at the Honored One's countenance without removing their eyes for an instant.
To be continued