Bodhisattvas can emulate all Buddhas,
By abiding in their wisdom and practice.
They soon enter the Thus Come One’s position
And guide all beings in the Dharma Realm.
Bodhisattvas can emulate all Buddhas, / By abiding
in their wisdom and practice. Having obtained the Buddhas’ wisdom and
cultivation, they cause all beings to soon enter the Thus Come One’s
position and realize Buddhahood. And they guide and teach all beings in
the Dharma Realm, leading them to Buddhahood.
in a single thought,
Can make appear in every mote of dust
Lands to the number
Of dustmotes in Buddhalands.
Bodhisattvas, in a single thought, / Can make
appear in every mote of dust / Lands to the number / Of dustmotes in
Buddhalands. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can, in the space of a
thought, make all Buddhalands appear in every dustmote, and all the
Buddhalands in each dustmote appear in every Buddhaland.
a single land, they can manifest
All lands and countries,
As well as feats of spiritual powers.
Such are the Bodhisattvas’ powers.
In a single Buddhaland, they can manifest / All
Buddhas’ lands and countries, / As well as all Buddhas’ feats of
spiritual powers and wonderful functionings—these inconceivable states.
Such are the Bodhisattvas’ powers. Who can do this? All Bodhisattvas,
receiving the aid of the Buddhas, can accomplish this.
in the assembly’s midst, another Bodhisattva Mahasattva named Vigorous
Power and Unimpeded Wisdom received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual
power, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke a verse.
The Buddha broadcasts a single wondrous sound,
Heard throughout the lands of the ten directions.
Carrying the myriad sounds,
The rain of Dharma falls everywhere.
Then, after the previous verse was finished, in
the sea-vast assembly’s midst at the bodhimanda, another Bodhisattva
Mahasattva, a leader of Bodhisattvas, named Vigorous Power and
Unimpeded Wisdom received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power,
contemplated the ten directions, and spoke a verse. Vigor refers to
diligently cultivating precepts, samadhi, and wisdom; and eliminating
greed, anger, and delusion. One advances in cultivation and grows more
vigorous day by day. With such vigorous power, one does not retreat,
but develops unimpeded wisdom. With unimpeded wisdom, one can
understand all dharmas, cultivate all dharmas, and realize the
substance of all dharmas.
Relying on Shakyamuni Buddha’s awesome virtue,
spiritual powers, transformations, and wisdom, this Bodhisattva
contemplated the ten directions. His contemplation was not sloppy and
casual. He contemplated very attentively and in detail, not only in one
direction, but in all ten directions of the Dharma Realm. He didn’t
contemplate just the Dharma Realm itself, but the beings within it. He
wanted to ascertain the causes and conditions, so he could decide what
Dharma to speak. Then he spoke the following verse.
The Buddha broadcasts a single wondrous sound.
This refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, but it also refers to the Buddhas of
the three periods of times and in the ten directions. Each Buddha is:
Perfect in the three kinds of enlightenment, and
Replete with the ten thousand virtues.
Those who have heard the sutras explained know the
meaning of the word “Buddha.” Others, who have not heard the sutras
explained before, say they believe in the Buddha, but they do not know
what the word means. The Buddha possesses three kinds of enlightenment:
1. Enlightenment of self
2. Enlightenment of others
3. Perfection of enlightenment and practices
Ordinary, deluded beings are unenlightened.
Followers of the Two Vehicles (of the Theravada) enlighten themselves.
They understand how to cultivate the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths
(suffering, accumulation, cessation, and the Way) and the Twelve Links
of Conditioned Causation, and so they become enlightened themselves.
However, their goal is not to enlighten others. Having gained
understanding themselves, their attitude is:
Mahasattvas, don’t look after others;
Amitabha Buddha takes care of himself.
They don’t bring forth the resolve of a
Bodhisattva. Bodhisattvas of the Great Vehicle enlighten themselves,
and they also enlighten others. Having enlightened themselves, they
don’t wish to enjoy the benefits alone. They want to help all beings to
become enlightened and share the same benefits. In wishing to enlighten
others, they differ from those of the Two Vehicles, who are concerned
about their own practice. Bodhisattvas want to help everyone realize
When the Buddha first began teaching, he did not
dare to say that all beings could become Buddhas. He was afraid that if
he spoke such Dharma, he would scare everyone away. Beings are not
aware of their own potential for Buddhahood. If you tell them, they
will run off in disbelief. When the Buddha spoke the Flower Adornment
Sutra, ordinary people did not hear it. He then spoke the agama sutras,
what now constitute the Theravada teachings, followed by the vaipulya
sutras, and then the prajna sutras. During this time, he never
mentioned that everyone had the potential for Buddhahood. It was only
at the very end, when he spoke the Lotus Sutra, setting aside expedient
dharmas to speak the true Dharma, that he told all beings that they
could become Buddhas. He said, “Not only can I become a Buddha, all
people become Buddhas. Not only can all people become Buddhas, but all
beings can, too.” When he said this, five thousand Bhikshus left the
assembly. They thought, “Buddha, you never said before that everyone
could become a Buddha. This is what you’re saying now, but which is
right?” Take a look. When Shakyamuni Buddha was speaking the Dharma,
five thousand Bhikshus disbelieved him. The inconceivably wonderful
Great Vehicle Dharma was simply too difficult for those people to
believe. Even in the Buddha’s time, there were five thousand Bhikshus
who got up and left. Nowadays, it is inevitable that there are some
people who don’t believe in the Great Vehicle Dharma. For example, in
Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and other Buddhist countries, the practice
of Buddhism is not bad, but they restrict themselves and refuse to
study Great Vehicle (Mahayana) Buddhism. We could say that the
Theravada is too conservative, and the Great Vehicle is too liberal. It
would be good if the adherents of the Theravada and the Great Vehicle
could learn from each other and renounce their attachments.
The Buddha proclaimed with a single wondrous
sound, and beings understood it according to their kinds. Every being,
whatever the kind, understood the Dharma the Buddha spoke.
The Buddha’s sound is heard throughout the lands
of the ten directions. The Buddha’s sound is transmitted into the ears
of all the beings in the ten directions of the Dharma Realm. And every
being, upon hearing the perfect sound of Buddhadharma, understands it
in his or her own way. Carrying the myriad sounds, / The rain of Dharma
falls everywhere in the Dharma Realm. Every being is nourished by the
Buddha’s Dharma rain and filled with the joy of Dharma.
oceans of words and phrases,
Sounds that communicate to every species,
In every land of Buddhas,
He turns the pristine Dharma wheel.
With oceans words and phrases, / Sounds that
communicate to every species. People communicate in human language,
birds communicate in bird language, and beasts communicate in their own
languages. Human languages include Chinese, English, French, German,
Russian, Japanese, and so on. There are so many languages in the world
that no one could learn them all in one lifetime. Just when you have
learned them all, it’s time to visit King Yama again. No one can
completely master the ocean of the world’s languages. Yet the Buddha,
with a single sound, can communicate with all the different kinds of
beings so that they all understand him. In every land of Buddhas, / He
turns the pristine Dharma wheel. In every Buddhaland, the Buddha is
speaking wonderful Dharma to teach beings.
beings in every land,
Behold the Buddha’s spiritual transformations
And hear the Buddha speaking Dharma.
Having heard it, they aspire towards bodhi.
All beings in every land in the ten directions can
behold the Buddha’s spiritual powers and transformations / And hear the
Buddha speaking wondrous Dharma. Having heard it, they resolve their
minds on enlightenment and aspire towards the path to bodhi.
To be continued