There are many reasons why the earth might quake.
Earthquakes may cause great disasters, whereas tremors may not
cause any harm.
1. When there are great disturbances of
water, earthquakes may also occur.
2. When spirits want to
test out their own powers, they cause the earth to
3. When the Buddha-to-be enters the womb (in the
life he is to realize Buddhahood), the earth will quake.
When the Buddha leaves the womb, the earth will quake as
5. When the Buddha attains the Way in his
cultivation, the earth will also quake.
6. When the Buddha
turns the Dharma Wheel, the earth will quake as well.
When the Buddha ceases to expound the Dharma to teach and
transform living beings, the earth also quakes.
8. When the
Buddha enters Nirvana, the earth quakes as well.
9. When a
great Bhikshu with the power of spiritual fulfillment attains
sovereignty of mind and contemplates the earth disappearing,
he can cause the earth to quake with his spiritual
10. When a Buddha bestows a prediction upon a
Bodhisattva, saying, “You will realize Buddhahood in this
world,” the earth spirit, in delight, causes the earth to
These are ten circumstances in which the earth may quake.
There are other reasons, such as:
1. The earth may quake in
order to frighten all the demon kings.
2. The earth may
quake in order make everyone concentrate when the Dharma is
3. The earth may quake to cause lazy beings to grow
more alert and aware. “Ah, I shouldn’t be so lax. Heaven and
earth are impermanent. The earth is quaking now!”
earth may quake to cause living beings to understand the
characteristics of the Dharma and the importance of the
5. The earth may quake so as to cause living beings
to see the place where the Dharma is spoken.
6. The earth
may quake so as to cause mature living beings to attain
7. The earth may quake so as to cause living
beings to follow the Proper Dharma and inquire about the
Further, there are four more reasons that earthquakes
occur. These are not related to the Flower Adornment Sutra,
but it wouldn’t hurt for everyone to know them.
1. To cause
unkind living beings to change their evil ways and become
2. To cause living beings who believe in heavenly
deities to realize that the heavens are not an ultimate
3. To cause egotistical living beings to feel shame
4. To cause people who recite spells to harm
others to become compassionate.
This summer, many people came from quite a distance to
study here. These are all people with abundant good roots.
Perhaps they came from the heavens, other planets, or other
worlds. To be able to encounter the Buddhadharma in a country
where Buddhism hardly exists, one must have a great deal of
good roots. They spent the “golden days” of summer engaged in
a most worthwhile activity—investigating the Buddhadharma.
Therefore, none of you should fear hardship or too much
homework. Bring forth your patience to study the Buddhadharma.
Then your trip to Gold Mountain Monastery will not be in vain.
Having come here, you should not return empty-handed.
[Those quakings were] namely, moving, pervasive moving,
universally pervasive moving, rising, pervasive rising,
universally pervasive rising, surging, pervasive surging,
universally pervasive surging, shaking, pervasive shaking,
universally pervasive shaking, roaring, pervasive roaring,
universally pervasive roaring, banging, pervasive banging,
universally pervasive banging.
There are six basic types of earthquakes, and these six
occur in three classes, making eighteen forms of quaking in
all. [Those quakings were] namely, moving, pervasive moving,
universally pervasive moving. Moving is a visible form of
quaking. Movement in one location is merely “moving.” Movement
in the four directions—east, west, north, and south—is called
“pervasive moving.” Such movement occurs successively in the
different directions, not simultaneously. Movement in eight
directions, whether simultaneously or successively, is called
“universally pervasive moving.”
Rising refers to the earth being raised upwards in one
place. Rising in four directions is called pervasive rising,
and in eight directions, universally pervasive rising. Surging
is the same kind of movement as rising, except that it takes
place at a faster speed. Surging refers to the earth moving
upwards quickly in one place. Surging in four directions is
called pervasive surging, and in eight directions, universally
Shaking describes the sound of parts of the earth shaking
against each other. There is banging in one direction,
pervasive shaking in four directions, and universally
pervasive shaking in eight directions—the four cardinal and
four intermediate directions. Roaring, which is also a sound,
takes place in one location. Pervasive roaring refers to
roaring in the four directions, and universally pervasive
roaring occurs in eight directions. Banging refers to parts of
the earth knocking against each other in one place. Banging in
the four directions is called pervasive banging, and in the
eight directions, universally pervasive banging.
A different interpretation defines “shaking” as shaking in
four directions, “pervasive shaking” as shaking in eight
directions, and “universally pervasive shaking” as shaking in
ten directions. However, I do not think this interpretation is
apt, because we would not be aware of shaking in the upper
direction. Therefore, at most only nine directions should be
I find that defining “shaking” as shaking in one place,
“pervasive shaking” as shaking in four directions, and
“universally pervasive shaking” as shaking in eight directions
to be more reasonable.
There is also the distinction between successive and
simultaneous shaking in the various directions. Simultaneous
shaking means shaking occurs at the same time in one, four, or
eight directions. Successive shaking means shaking occurs
first in one direction, then another, then another, and so
These eighteen forms of quaking represent the eighteen
realms—the six faculties, the six sense objects, and the six
consciousnesses—which can also be said to undergo quaking.
Each and every one of the world
leaders manifested inconceivable clouds of offerings and
rained them upon the oceanic multitudes in the Thus Come One’s
bodhimanda. There were clouds of all kinds of adorning
fragrance and flowers, clouds of all wonderful ornaments of
mani, clouds of exquisite nets of dazzling light from jewels,
clouds of perfect radiance from a boundless array of mani
jewels, clouds of jewels of a myriad colors and a treasury of
pearls, clouds of assorted precious candana incenses, clouds
of canopies made of various jewels, clouds of magnificent mani
gems resonating with pure and wondrous sound, clouds of
wheel-like necklaces of sunlight mani beads, clouds of
resplendent radiance from assorted jewels, and clouds of
myriad ornaments, each distinct. There were measureless,
inconceivable numbers of clouds of offerings such as
Each and every one of the world leaders—the Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas in the Way-place where the Dharma assembly was
going on, as well as gold, silver, bronze, and iron
wheel-turning sage kings—manifested inconceivable clouds of
offerings and rained them upon the oceanic multitudes in the
Thus Come One’s bodhimanda. There is no way to imagine these
clouds of offerings to the Buddha. These clouds fell like rain
upon the site where the Buddha attained the Way, where the
ocean-like assembly of sages were gathered. What kinds of
clouds were there?
There were clouds of all kinds of adorning fragrance and
flowers, clouds of all wonderful ornaments of mani, clouds of
exquisite nets of dazzling light from jewels. The flame-like
radiance of jewels formed beautiful, flower-like nets. There
were also clouds of perfect radiance from a boundless array of
mani jewels, clouds of jewels of a myriad colors and a
treasury of pearls, clouds of assorted precious candana
incenses, clouds of canopies made of various jewels, clouds of
magnificent mani gems resonating with pure and wondrous sound,
clouds of wheel-like necklaces of sunlight mani beads. The
glow of these clouds resembled sunlight. There were also
clouds of resplendent radiance from assorted jewels, and
clouds of myriad ornaments, each distinct. There were
measureless, inconceivable numbers of clouds of offerings such
as these. The number of these clouds could not be conceived or
expressed in words.
To be continued