"World Honored One, all these Bodhisattvas are extremely rare. Reverently complying with the Buddha, they have made great vows to protect, maintain, read, and speak this Dharma Flower Sutra in the future evil age."
"World Honored One, all these Bodhisattvas are extremely rare." He said, "All these many Bodhisattvas who are now before the Buddha making great vows are very unusual and rare. Reverently complying with the Buddha, they have made great vows. They are extremely respectful of the Buddha, and so they have accorded with the Buddha's intent and brought forth mighty resolutions. In the evil world of the five turbidities, they want to practice the ascetic practices of bearing what others cannot bear and doing what others cannot do. Their great vows are to protect, maintain, read, and speak this Dharma Flower Sutra in the future evil age. In the future, when it is the Dharma-ending Age, they will guard those who receive and maintain this Sutra, those who read and recite it, and those who explain the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra.
Therefore, now as we explain the Dharma Flower Sutra, there are who-knows-how-many myriads of Bodhisattvas, Hearers, and Those Enlightened by Conditions here protecting and supporting this Bodhimanda. Why? All these Bodhisattvas made the vow that wherever there is a Dharma Flower Assembly, they definitely will protect it. It's similar to Many Jewels Tathagata's vow that wherever there is a Buddha speaking the Dharma Power Sutra, he will appear before that Buddha to give certification.
"World Honored One, how should Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas speak this Sutra in the future evil age?"
The Buddha told Manjushri, "If a Bodhisattva Mahasattva wishes to speak this Sutra in the future evil age, he should dwell securely in four Dharmas. First, by dwelling in the Bodhisattva's range of practice and the Bodhisattva's range of association, he will be able to expound this Sutra for living beings."
Manjushri Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha, saying, "World Honored One, how should Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas speak this Sutra in the future evil age?” How can all those great Bodhisattvas propagate the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra in the future dharma-ending Age, when offenses and evils fill the world?" In our present world, everyone likes to fight and wage war. People fight with people, families fight with families, countries fight with countries, and worlds fight with worlds. This world wants to conquer that world, and that world wishes to vanquish this one. As a result, human beings want to migrate to the moon, and moon-beings wish to invade our Saha World. That's what is meant by the future evil age. "During the Dharma-ending Age, which is so full of evil, how can Bodhisattvas explain the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra?" Manjushri Bodhisattva asks the Buddha.
The Buddha Shakyamuni told Manjushri Bodhisattva, "If there is a Bodhisattva Mahasattva, a great Bodhisattva who has brought forth the resolve and wishes to speak this, the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra in the future evil age, in the future world of corruption, he should dwell securely in four kinds of Dharmas. The first of the four Dharmas is that, by dwelling in the Bodhisattva's range of practice and the Bodhisattva's range of association, he will be able to expound this Sutra for living beings. He should reside where Bodhisattvas cultivate, that is, in the Six Paramitas or the Ten Paramitas. They cultivate the Ten Paramitas of giving, holding precepts, patience, vigor, dhyana-samadhi, wisdom, expedients, vows, powers, and knowledge. They should reside in these Ten Paramitas, which are the Bodhisattvas' range of practice.
The Bodhisattvas' range of association means the places to which Bodhisattvas draw near. If one dwells in the state of the practice of Bodhisattvas and draws near to the state that Bodhisattvas should draw near to, then one will be able to lecture on the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra for living beings.
To be continued