Editors Note: This is chapter 6 in our ongoing series on the Lotus Sutra, the famous “Prophecy” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. This is the chapter in which Buddha’ predicts future Buddhahood for the four students featured in the parable of the son and the father. To many, this chapter also contains the optimistic message that — ultimately, since we all have Buddha Nature — all of us, every sentient being, will ultimately attain with diligent Dharma practice.
Synopsis of the predictions
- Mahākāśyapawill be a Buddha called Raśmiprabhāsa (Light Ray) in a land called Avabhāsaprāpta (Attainment of Light) in the Mahāvyūha (Great Array) aeon.
- Subhūti will be a Buddha called Yaśasketu (Sign of Honour) in a land called Ratnasaṃbhāva (Source of Jewels) in the Ratnāvabhāsa (Light of Jewels) aeon.
- Mahākātyāyana will be a Buddha called Jāmbūnadābhāsa (Lustre of Gold), his world is not named.
- Mahāmaudgalyāyana will be a Buddha called Tamālapatracandanagandha (Scent of Sandalwood and Garcinia Leaves) in a land called Mano’bhirāma (Pleasing the Mind) in the Ratiprapūrṇa (Full of Delight) aeon. 
This is an ongoing series, publishing the beautiful English translations of the Lotus Sutra as guided by Venerable Master Hsuang Hua.
Previous Chapter translations
- Chapter 1 of the Lotus Sutra is here>>
- Chapter 2 of the Lotus Sutra is here>>
- Chapter 3 “The Burning House” parable of the Lotus Sutra is here>>
- Chapter 4 “Parable of the Vagabond Son” of the Lotus Sutra is here>>
- Chapter 5 “Parable of the Medicinal Plants” of the Lotus Sutra is here>>
Lovely recitation of the 6th chapter of the Lotus Sutra:
Conferring Predictions – Chapter 6
尔时世尊说是偈已，告诸大众，唱如是言:‘我此弟子摩诃迦叶， 于未来世、当得奉觐三百万亿诸佛世尊，供养、恭敬，尊重、赞叹 ，广宣诸佛无量大法。
At that time, following his expounding of the verses, the World Honored One spoke to the great assembly in this manner, “My disciple, Mahakashyapa, in a future age will serve and behold three hundred thousand million Buddhas, World Honored Ones, making offerings, paying reverence, venerating and praising them; he will broadly proclaim the limitless Great Dharma of all the Buddhas.
In his final body he will become a Buddha by the name of Light Brightness Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, of Proper and Universal Knowledge, One Whose Understanding and Conduct are Complete, a Well-Gone One Who Understands the World, an Unsurpassed Lord, a Taming and Regulating Hero, a Teacher of Gods and Humans, a Buddha, a World Honored One.
His country will be called Light Virtue and his eon will be called Great Adornment.
His life span as a Buddha will last for twelve minor eons.
The Proper Dharma will dwell there for twenty minor eons. The Dharma Image Age will also dwell there for twenty minor eons.
国界严饰，无诸秽恶、瓦砾荆棘、便利不净。其土平正，无有高下 、坑坎堆阜。琉璃为地，宝树行列，黄金为绳、以界道侧，散诸宝 华，周遍清净。其国菩萨、无量千亿，诸声闻众、亦复无数，无有 魔事，虽有魔及魔民，皆护佛法。’
His realm will be adorned and free of any filth or evil, tiles or stones, thorns or brambles, excrement or other impurities. The land will be flat, without high or low places, gullys or hills. The land will be made of lapis lazuli, and set about with rows of jeweled trees. The roads will be bordered with golden ropes. Precious flowers will be scattered about, purifying it entirely. The Bodhisattvas in that land will number in the limitless thousand of millions, the assembly of Hearers will be likewise uncountable. No deeds of Mara will be done there, and although Mara and his subjects will exist there, they will all protect the Buddhadharma.”
At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate this principle, spoke verses saying,
告诸比丘， 我以佛眼， 见是迦叶。 于未来世、
“I declare to the Bhikshus that By using my Buddha Eye
I see that Kashyapa
In a future age
过无数劫， 当得作佛。 而于来世、 供养奉觐， 三百万亿、 诸佛世尊，
Countless eons from now
Shall become a Buddha
And that in the future he
Shall make offerings to, revere and behold Three hundred ten s thousands of millions Of Buddhas, World Honored Ones.
为佛智慧， 净修梵行。 供养最上、 二足尊已， 修习一切、 无上之慧， 于最后身、 得成为佛。 And, for the sake of the Buddha’s wisdom
He shall purely cultivate Brahman conduct.
He shall make offerings to the highest Honored One, doubly complete and then Cultivate and practice all
In his final body
He shall become a Buddha.
多诸宝树、 行列道侧、 金绳界道， 见者欢喜。 His land will be pure,
With lapis lazuli for soil,
And with many jeweled trees
Lining the roadways,
And with the roads set off by golden cords, Delighting all who see it.
常出好香， 散众名华， 种种奇妙、 以为庄严。
Fine fragrance will always issue forth, Rare flowers will be strewn about; With all manner of rare articles
It shall be adorned.
其地平正， 无有丘坑。 诸菩萨众、 不可称计，
The land will be flat and even Without hills or gullys.
The assembly of Bodhisattvas Will be unreckonable.
其心调柔， 逮大神通， 奉持诸佛、 大乘经典。
Their minds will be gentle
Having gained great spiritual powers; They will reverently uphold the Buddha’s Great Vehicle Sutras.
诸声闻众、 无漏后身， 法王之子， 亦不可计， 乃以天眼、 不能数知。
The assembly of Hearers,
Without outflows, in their last bodies,
Sons of the Dharma King,
Will also be beyond all count.
So that, even with the Heavenly Eye, Their number shall not be known.
其佛当寿、 十二小劫， 正法住世、 二十小劫，
His life span as a Buddha will be
Twelve minor eons, and
His Proper Dharma will dwell in the world Twenty minor eons.
像法亦住， 二十小劫。 光明世尊， 其事如是。
The Dharma Image Age will dwell
Also for twenty minor eons.
The World Honored One, Light Brightness Shall have a history such as this.”
At that time, Mahamaudgalyayana, Subhuti and Mahakatyayana were very agitated. They singlemindedly joined their palms, gazed upward at the World Honored One, not lowering their gaze for a moment, and with a single voice spoke these verses:
大雄猛世尊， 诸释之法王， 哀愍我等故， 而赐佛音声。
“Great brave hero, the World Honored One, The Shakyan Dharma King,
Out of pity for us all
Bestow the Buddha Word!
若知我深心， 见为授记者， 如以甘露洒， 除热得清凉。
If, knowing our profoundest thoughts,
You see that we gain predictions,
It will be like a sprinkling of sweet dew, Dispelling heat and giving cool refreshment.
如从饥国来， 忽遇大王膳， 心犹怀疑惧， 未敢即便食，
It will be like a person from a famine-stricken land, Who suddenly encounters a royal feast:
His mind holds doubt and fear,
And he does not dare go ahead and eat.
But, if he gained the king’s permission, Then he would certainly dare to eat.
我等亦如是， 每惟小乘过， 不知当云何、 得佛无上慧。
We, in the same way, ever think
Of the errors of the Small Vehicle
And do not know how we are
To gain the Buddha’s unsurpassed wisdom.
心尚怀忧惧， 如未敢便食， 若蒙佛授记， 尔乃快安乐。 Although we hear the Buddha’s voice
Saying that we shall become Buddhas,
Our minds hold worry and fear,
Like one who dares not yet to eat.
If we were favored by the Buddha’s prediction,
Then we should be happy and at peace.
大雄猛世尊， 常欲安世间， 愿赐我等记， 如饥需教食。
Great, brave hero, World Honored One,
You who always wish peace for the World Please bestow predictions upon us
Like giving the famished permission to eat!”
尔时世尊知诸大弟子心之所念，告诸比丘:‘是须菩提，于当来世 、奉觐三百万亿那由他佛，供养恭敬，尊重赞叹，常修梵行，具菩 萨道。
At that time, the World Honored One, knowing the thoughts in the minds of his great disciples, told the Bhikshus, “Subhuti will in a future age serve and behold three hundreds of myriads of millions of nayutas of Buddhas, making offerings, paying reverence, venerating, and praising them, ever cultivating the Brahman conduct, and perfecting the Bodhisattva Way.
In his final body, he will become a Buddha called Name Appearance Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, of Proper and Universal Knowledge, one Whose Understanding and Conduct are Complete, a Well-Gone One Who Understands the World, an Unsurpassed Lord, a Taming and Regulating Hero, Teacher of Gods and Humans, Buddha, World Honored One.
劫名有宝。国名宝生。其土平正，玻璃为地，宝树庄严，无诸丘坑 、沙砾、荆棘、便利之秽，宝华覆地，周遍清净。 其土人民，皆处宝台、珍妙楼阁。声闻弟子、无量无边，算数譬喻 所不能知。诸菩萨众、无数千万亿那由他。
His eon will be called Possessing-Jewels. His country will be called Giving Birth to Jewels, his land will be level, with crystal for soil, and jeweled trees for adornments. It will be without hills or gullys, stones, thorns, filth or excrement. Jeweled flowers will cover the ground, purifying it entirely. The people of his land will all dwell on jeweled terraces or in precious, fine towers. The assembly of Hearers will be limitless and boundless, so that they cannot be known by resort to number or analogy. The assembly of Bodhisattvas will number in the countless thousands of myriads of millions of nayutas.
His life span as a Buddha will last for twelve minor eons.
The Proper Dharma will dwell there for twenty minor eons. The Dharma Image Age will also dwell there for twenty minor eons. This Buddha will constantly dwell in empty space, speaking Dharma for the multitudes and crossing over limitless Bodhisattvas and Hearers.”
At that time the World Honored One, wishing to restate this principle spoke verses saying,
诸比丘众， 今告汝等， 皆当一心， 听我所说。
I shall now tell you, Listen singlemindedly
To what I’m going to say.
我大弟子、 须菩提者， 当得作佛， 号曰名相。
My great disciple, Subhuti,
Will become a Buddha Called Name Appearance.
当供无数、 万亿诸佛， 随佛所行， 渐具大道。
After making offerings to countless Myriads of millions of Buddhas Following the Buddhas’ practices,
He will gradually perfect the Great Way.
最后身得， 三十二相， 端正姝妙， 犹如宝山。
In his final body he shall Obtain thirty two marks, Upright and beautiful Like a jeweled mountain.
其佛国土， 严净第一， 众生见者， 无不爱乐，
His Buddhaland will be
Foremost in purity and adornment. Living beings who see it
All will take delight in it.
佛于其中、 度无量众。 其佛法中， 多诸菩萨， 皆悉利根， 转不退轮。
And as a Buddha therein
He will save limitless multitudes.
Within his Buddha Dharma
Will be many Bodhisattvas,
All of sharp faculties,
Turning the non-retreating wheel.
彼国常以、 菩萨庄严， 诸声闻众、 不可称数， This land will ever be Adorned with Bodhisattvas; The assembly of Hearers Will be beyond all reckoning.
All having gained the Three Clarities, And perfected the Six Spiritual powers Abiding in the Eight Liberations
And possessing great awesome virtue.
When this Buddha speaks the Dharma He will manifest limitless
Spiritual powers and transformations, Inconceivable.
诸天人民， 数如恒沙， 皆共合掌， 听受佛语。
The people, both gods and humans, Their numbers like the Ganges sands,
All will join their palms
To hear and accept that Buddha’s words.
正法住世、 二十小劫， 像法亦住 二十小劫。 That Buddha’s lifespan will be
Twelve minor eons,
The Proper Dharma will dwell in the world
For twenty minor eons;
The Dharma Image Age will dwell
For twenty minor eons, also.”
At that time, the World Honored One further addressed the assembly of Bhikshus saying, “I will now tell you: In a future age, Mahakatyayana will make offerings of various articles to, and will reverently serve eight thousand million Buddhas, honoring and venerating them.
诸佛灭后，各起塔庙，高千由旬，纵广正等五百由旬，皆以金、银 、琉璃、砗磲、玛瑙、真珠、玫瑰、七宝合成，众华、璎珞、涂香 、末香、烧香、缯盖、幢幡，供养塔庙。过是已后，当复供养二万 亿佛，亦复如是。’
After the extinction of those Buddhas, he will erect a stupa for each, one thousand yojanas in height, five hundred yojanas in breath, and made of the seven jewels: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother of pearl, carnelian, pearls, and agate. He will make offerings of many flowers, beaded necklaces, paste incense, powdered incense, burning incense, silk canopies and banners to the stupa. After that, he will further make offerings to twenty thousand million Buddhas in the same manner. ‘供
Having made offerings to those Buddhas, he will perfect the Bodhisattva Way.
He will then become a Buddha called Jambunada Gold Light Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, of Proper and Universal Knowledge, One Whose Understanding and Conduct are Complete, a Well-Gone One Who Understands the World, Unsurpassed Lord, a Taming and Regulating Hero, Teacher of Gods and Humans, Buddha, World Honored One.
The land will be flat and even with crystal for soil and jeweled trees as adornments. The roads will be bordered with golden ropes, and the ground covered with fine flowers, purifying it entirely, so that those who see it are delighted.
The four evil paths will not exist there, that is, the hells, hungry ghosts, animals, and asuras.
There will many gods, humans, assembled Hearers and Bodhisattvas who will number in the limitless myriads of millions, and all adorning that land.
His life span as a Buddha will be twelve minor eons.
His Proper Dharma will dwell in the world twenty minor eons. The Dharma Image Age will dwell also for twenty minor eons.”
At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate this principle spoke verses saying,
诸比丘众、 皆一心听， 如我所说， 真实无异。
“O Bhikshus, all of you,
Listen with a single mind,
For that which I say
Is true, real, and without error.
是迦栴延， 当以种种， 妙好供具、 供养诸佛。 Katyayana, shall
With a variety
Of fine and subtle articles
Make offerings to the Buddhas.
诸佛灭后， 起七宝塔， 亦以华香、 供养舍利。
After the extinction of those Buddhas He will build stupas of the seven jewels And also, with flowers and incense Make offerings to their sharira.
其最后身， 得佛智慧， 成等正觉。 国土清净，
In his final body
He will attain the Buddha wisdom And realize proper enlightenment. His country will be pure
度脱无量， 万亿众生， 皆为十方，之所供养，
And he will cross over limitless Myriads of millions of beings; From the ten directions
He will receive offerings.
佛之光明， 无能胜者。 其佛号曰， 阎浮金光。
His Buddha light
Will be unsurpassed
As a Buddha his name will be Jambunada Gold Light.
菩萨声闻， 断一切有， 无量无数， 庄严其国。
Bodhisattvas, and Hearers Having severed all existence Unlimited and innumerable Will adorn his land.”
At that time, the World Honored One, further spoke to the assembly. “I now tell you that Mahamaudgalyayana will in the future, with various articles, make offerings to eight thousand Buddhas, honoring and venerating them.
诸佛灭后，各起塔庙，高千由旬，纵广正等五百由旬，皆以金、银 、琉璃、砗磲、玛瑙、真珠、玫瑰、七宝合成，众华、璎珞、涂香 、末香、烧香、缯盖、幢幡，以用供养。过是已后，当复供养二百 万亿诸佛，亦复如是。
After the extinction of those Buddhas, he will erect for each of them a stupa one thousand yojanas in height and five hundred yojanas in breadth, and made of the seven jewels, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother of pearl, carnelian, pearls, and agate. He will make offerings to it of many flowers, beaded necklaces, paste incense, powdered incense, burning incense, silk canopies and banners. After that, he will further make offerings to two hundred myriads of millions of Buddhas in the same manner.
He will then become a Buddha called Tamalapattracandana Fragrance Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, of Proper and Universal Knowledge, One Whose Understanding and Conduct are Complete, a Well-Gone One Who Understands the World, an Unsurpassed Lord, a Taming and Regulating Hero, Teacher of gods and humans, Buddha, World Honored One.
His eon will be called full of joy. His country will be called Delighted Intent. His land will be flat and even with crystal for soil, and jeweled trees for adornments. Real pearl flowers will be scattered about, purifying it entirely, so that those who see it rejoice.
There will be many gods, humans, Bodhisattvas and Hearer, limitless and uncountable in number.
His life span as a Buddha will last for twenty-four minor eons.
The Proper Dharma will dwell there for forty minor eons. The Dharma Image Age will dwell also for forty minor eons.”
At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate this principle spoke verses, saying:
我此弟子、 大目犍连， 舍是身已， 得见八千， 二百万亿， 诸佛世尊， 为佛道故， 供养恭敬。 “My disciple
Having cast aside this body
Will view eight thousand
Two hundred myriads of millions
Of Buddhas, World Honored Ones. And, for the sake of the Buddha Way Will honor and make offerings to them.
于诸佛所、 常修梵行， 于无量劫、 奉持佛法。
In the presence of those Buddhas,
He will always practice Brahman conduct, Throughout limitless eons,
Reverently upholding the Buddhadharma.
诸佛灭后， 起七宝塔， 长表金刹， 华香伎乐， 而以供养， 诸佛塔庙。
After the extinction of those Buddhas,
He will build stupas of the seven jewels,
Displaying golden spires
And with flowers, incense, and instrumental music He will make offerings
To the Buddhas’ stupas.
渐渐具足， 菩萨道已， 于意乐国、 而得作佛，
Gradually, having perfected
The Bodhisattva Path,
In a land called Delighted Intent, He will become a Buddha
号多摩罗、 栴檀之香。 其佛寿命、 二十四劫， Called Tamala
His life span as a Buddha will be
Twenty four minor eons.
声闻无量， 如恒河沙， 三明六通， 有大威德。 Always, for gods and humans
He will expound and proclaim the Buddha Way. There will be limitless Hearers
In number like the Ganges sands,
With the Three Clarities and Six Penetrations
And great, awesome virtue.
菩萨无数， 志固精进， 于佛智慧、 皆不退转。
There will be uncountable Bodhisattvas Vigorous and of solid resolve
And who, with regard to the Buddhas’ wisdom Are irreversible.
佛灭度后， 正法当住 四十小劫， 像法亦尔。
After that Buddha’s extinction
The Proper Dharma will dwell
For forty minor eons,
And the Dharma Image Age will be the same.
我诸弟子， 威德具足， 其数五百， 皆当授记。
All my disciples
Having perfected their awesome virtue, All five hundred of them
Shall be given predictions
于未来世、 咸得成佛。 我及汝等、 宿世因缘， 吾今当说， 汝等善听。
And in a future age
Will become Buddhas.
Of my own and your former Causes and conditions
I now will tell:
All of you, listen well!”
Previous Chapter translations:
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