Lotus Sutra Series — 妙法莲华经 translated by Venerable Master Hsuang Hua — Chapter 1: 12,000 Bikshus gather to hear the Buddha

Editors Note — Venerable Master Hsuang Hua dedicated is virtuous life to translating sutra. He considered it our most important duty:

“The work of translating the Sutras is sacred work, and it will last for endless generations. We are common people doing the work of sages. Not only is this our duty, it is also very meaningful, for we can benefit others and establish merit. In the past, the kings and emperors used their imperial authority and the strength of the government to carry out the translation of the Sutras. Now we are merely using our strength as ordinary citizens. If we can produce some results, I believe the national leaders will also become involved in this work in the future. Right now, we must first lay a foundation. We must first gather strength among the people.”

 

Buddha Weekly Lotus Sutra ink and gold 17th century Edo period 1603 Japan dreamstime xxl 201722218 Buddhism

The Lotus Sutra in Japanese, here from 17th century Edo period.

 

Publishing Sutra is an important way to preserve and spread the Dharma! It is also an important practice. Recitation of Sutra is an excellent Dharma practice for everyone. In Mahayana Sutra, the Lotus Sutra holds a special place for it’s beautiful, lyrical, complete and brilliant teachings.

At the request of the City of 10000 Buddhas, we are publishing the great Master Venerable Hsuang Hua’s English translation of the Lotus Sutra — a magnificent and meritorious deed. Venerable Hsuang Hua dedicated his life to the translation and preservation of sutra.

Even so, the Venerable Master never thought of himself as having initiated some greatly meritorious endeavor. Instead, he humbly said,

“I’m just a worker who sweeps the ground and levels the road for everyone. In the future, there will be others who can lay the gravel and pour on the asphalt. Right now, we can do the work that nobody wants to do, the work that no one dares to do. Bit by bit, we will open up this road of the Buddhadharma.”

Buddha Weekly Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua of City of Ten Thousand Buddhas Buddhism

Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.


妙法莲华经

Lotus Sutra

序品 第一

妙法莲华经

序品第一

Introduction – Chapter 1

如是我闻。一时、佛住王舍城、耆阇崛山中,与大比丘众万二千人 俱。
Thus I have heard, at one time the Buddha dwelt on Mount Grdhrakuta, near the City of the House of the Kings, together with a gathering of Great Bhikshus, twelve thousand in all.

皆是阿罗汉,诸漏已尽,无复烦恼,逮得己利,尽诸有结,心得自 在。
All were Arhats who had exhausted all outflows and had no further afflictions. Having attained self-benefit, they had exhausted the bonds of all existence and their hearts had attained self-mastery.

其名曰:阿若憍陈如、摩诃迦叶、优楼频螺迦叶、伽耶迦叶、那提 迦叶、舍利弗、大目犍连、摩诃迦旃延、阿冕楼驮、劫宾那、憍梵 波提、离婆多、毕陵伽婆蹉、薄拘罗、摩诃拘絺罗、难陀、孙陀罗 难陀、富楼那弥多罗尼子、须菩提、阿难、罗侯罗,如是众所知识 、大阿罗汉等。

Their names were: Ajnatakaundinya, Mahakashyapa, Uruvilvakashyapa, Gayakashyapa, Nadikashyapa, Shariputra, Great Maudgalyayana, Mahakatyayana, Aniruddha, Kapphina, Gavampati, Revata, Pilindavatsa, Vakkula, Mahakaushthila, Nanda, Sundarananda, Purnamaitreyaniputra, Subhuti, Ananda, and Rahula–and other Great Arhats such as these, whom the assembly knew and recognized.

复有学、无学二千人。摩诃波阇波提比丘尼,与眷属六千人俱。罗 侯罗母耶输陀罗比丘尼,亦与眷属俱。
Moreover, there were those with further study and those beyond study, two thousand in all. There was the Bhikshuni Mahaprajapati with her retinue of six thousand, and Rahula’s mother, Bhikshuni Yashodhara, also with her retinue.

菩萨摩诃萨八万人,皆于阿耨多罗三藐三菩提不退转,皆得陀罗尼 。乐说辩才,转不退转法轮。
There were eighty thousand Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas all irreversibly established in anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

All had obtained dharani and the eloquence of delight in speech and turned the irreversible wheel of the Dharma.

供养无量百千诸佛,于诸佛所、植众德本,常为诸佛之所称叹。 以慈修身,善入佛慧。
They had made offerings to limitless hundreds of thousands of Buddhas and in the presence of those Buddhas had planted the roots of myriad virtues. They were constantly receiving those Buddhas’ praise. They cultivated themselves in compassion and were well able to enter the wisdom of the Buddhas.

通达大智,到于彼岸。

They had penetrated the great wisdom and arrived at the other shore.

名称普闻无量世界,能度无数百千众生。

Their reputations extended throughout limitless world realms, and they were able to cross over countless hundreds of thousands of living beings.

其名曰:文殊师利菩萨、观世音菩萨、得大势菩萨、常精进菩萨、 不休息菩萨、宝掌菩萨、药王菩萨、勇施菩萨、宝月菩萨、月光菩 萨、满月菩萨、大力菩萨、无量力菩萨、越三界菩萨、跋陀婆罗菩 萨、弥勒菩萨、宝积菩萨、导师菩萨,如是等菩萨摩诃萨八万人俱 。

Their names were: the Bodhisattva Manjushri, the Bodhisattva Who Contemplates the World‘s Sounds, the Bodhisattva Who Has Attained Great Might, the Bodhisattva Constant Vigor, the Bodhisattva Unresting, the Bodhisattva Jeweled Palm, the Bodhisattva Medicine King, the Bodhisattva Courageous Giving, the Bodhisattva Jeweled Moon, the Bodhisattva Moonlight, the Bodhisattva Full Moon, the Bodhisattva Great Strength, the Bodhisattva Unlimited Strength, the Bodhisattva Who Has Transcended the Three Realms, the Bodhisattva Bhadrapala, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Jewel Accumulation, the Bodhisattva Guiding Master–and other Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas such as these, eighty thousand in all.

尔时释提桓因,与其眷属二万天子俱。复有名月天子、普香天子、 宝光天子、四大天王,与其眷属万天子俱。
At that time, Shakra Devanam Indrah was present with his retinue of twenty thousand gods. Among them were the God Moon, the God Universal Fragrance, the God Jeweled Light, and the Four Great Heavenly Kings with their retinues, ten thousand gods in all.

自在天子、大自在天子,与其眷属三万天子俱。

There was the God Comfort, and the God Great Comfort, with their retinues, thirty thousand gods in all.

娑婆世界主、梵天王、尸弃大梵、光明大梵等,与其眷属万二千天 子俱。
There was the God King Brahma, ruler of the Saha world, as well as the Great Brahma Shikhin and the Great Brahma Brilliance, and others, with their retinues, twelve thousand gods in all.

有八龙王、难陀龙王、跋难陀龙王、娑伽罗龙王、和修吉龙王、德 叉迦龙王、阿那婆达多龙王、摩那斯龙王、优钵罗龙王等,各与若 干百千眷属俱。
There were eight Dragon Kings: The Dragon King Nanda, the Dragon King Upananda, the Dragon King Sagara, the Dragon King Vasuki, the Dragon King Takshaka, the Dragon King Anavatapta, the Dragon King Manasvin, and the Dragon King Utpalaka, and others, each with his retinue of several hundreds of thousand followers.

有四紧那罗王、法紧那罗王、妙法紧那罗王、大法紧那罗王、持法 紧那罗王,各与若干百千眷属俱。
There were four kinnara kings: the Kinnara King Dharma, the Kinnara King Fine Dharma, the Kinnara King Great Dharma, and the Kinnara King Upholder of Dharma, each with his retinue of several hundreds of thousands of followers.

有四乾闼婆王、乐乾闼婆王、乐音乾闼婆王、美乾闼婆王、美音乾 闼婆王,各与若干百千眷属俱。
There were four gandharva kings: the Gandharva King Music, the Gandharva King Musical Sound, the Gandharva King Beautiful, and the Gandharva King Beautiful Sound, each with his following of several hundreds of thousands of followers.

有四阿修罗王、婆稚阿修罗王、佉罗骞驮阿修罗王、毗摩质多罗阿 修罗王、罗侯阿修罗王,各与若干百千眷属俱。
There were four asura kings: the Asura King Balin, the Asura King Kharaskandha, the Asura King Vemachitrin, and the Asura King Rahu, each with his retinue of several hundreds of thousands of followers.

有四迦楼罗王、大威德迦楼罗王、大身迦楼罗王、大满迦楼罗王、 如意迦楼罗王,各与若干百千眷属俱。
There were four garuda kings: the Garuda King Great Majesty, the Garuda King Great Body, the Garuda King Great Fullness, and the Garuda King As You Will, each with his own retinue of several hundreds of thousands of followers.

韦提希子阿阇世王,与若干百千眷属俱。各礼佛足,退坐一面。

There was Vaidehi’s son, the King Ajatashatru, with his retinue of several hundreds of thousands of followers. Each made obeisance to the Buddha’s feet, withdrew to one side and sat down.

尔时世尊,四众围绕,供养、恭敬、尊重、赞叹。

At that time, the World Honored One, having been circumambulated by the fourfold assembly, presented with offerings, honored, venerated, and praised.

为诸菩萨说大乘经,名无量义,教菩萨法,佛所护念。

For the sake of the Bodhisattvas, spoke a Great Vehicle Sutra named The Limitless Principles, a Dharma for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddha is protective and mindful.

佛说此经已,结跏趺坐,入于无量义处三昧,身心不动。

After the Buddha had spoken this Sutra, he sat in full lotus and entered the samadhi of the station of limitless principles, body and mind unmoving.

是时天雨曼陀罗华,摩诃曼陀罗华,曼殊沙华,摩诃曼殊沙华,而 散佛上、及诸大众。
At that time there fell from the heavens a rain of mandarava flowers, mahamandarava flowers, manjushaka flowers, and mahamanjushaka flowers, which were scattered upon the Buddha and the entire great assembly.

普佛世界,六种震动。

All the Buddhas universes quaked in six ways.

尔时会中,比丘、比丘尼、优婆塞、优婆夷、天龙、夜叉、乾闼婆 、阿修罗、迦楼罗、紧那罗、摩侯罗伽、人非人,及诸小王、转轮 圣王。是诸大众,得未曾有,欢喜合掌,一心观佛。
At that time the entire great assembly of Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, gods, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, mahoragas, beings human and non-human, as well as the minor kings, the wheel-turning sage kings, all attained what they had never had before. They rejoiced and joined their palms and, with one heart, gazed upon the Buddha.

尔时佛放眉间白毫相光,照东方万八千世界,靡不周遍,下至阿鼻 地狱,上至阿迦尼吒天。于此世界,尽见彼土六趣众生,又见彼土 现在诸佛。及闻诸佛所说经法。
Then the Buddha emitted from between his brows a white hair-mark light which illumined eighteen thousand worlds to the east, omitting none of them, reaching below to the Avichi hells and above to the Akanishtha Heaven. From this world were seen all the living beings in the six destinies in those lands.

Further were seen all the present Buddhas in those lands and all the Sutras and Dharma spoken by the Buddhas was heard.

并见彼诸比丘、比丘尼、优婆塞、优婆夷、诸修行得道者。

Also seen were the Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas in those lands who cultivated and attained the Way.

复见诸菩萨摩诃萨、种种因缘、种种信解、种种相貌、行菩萨道。

Moreover were seen the Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas, the various causes and conditions, the various beliefs and understandings, and the various appearances of their practice of the Bodhisattva Way.

复见诸佛般涅盘者。复见诸佛般涅盘后,以佛舍利、起七宝塔。

Further were seen the parinirvana of the Buddhas and, after the parinirvana of the Buddhas, the building of stupas with the seven jewels to hold their sharira.

尔时弥勒菩萨作是念:‘今者、世尊现神变相,以何因缘而有此瑞 。今佛世尊入于三昧,是不可思议、现稀有事,当以问谁,谁能答 者。’
Then the Bodhisattva Maitreya had this thought: “Now, the World Honored One manifests signs of spiritual transformations. What is the reason for these portents? The Buddha, the World Honored One, has now entered Samadhi, yet these are inconceivable and rare events. Who should I ask concerning them? Who could answer?”

复作此念:‘是文殊师利、法王之子,已曾亲近供养过去无量诸佛 ,必应见此稀有之相,我今当问。’
He further thought: “The Dharma Prince, Manjushri, has in the past drawn near and made offerings to limitless Buddhas. Surely he has seen such rare signs. I shall now ask him.”

尔时比丘、比丘尼、优婆塞、优婆夷、及诸天龙、鬼神等,咸作此 念:‘是佛光明神通之相,今当问谁?’
Thereupon the Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas, as well as the gods, dragons, ghosts, spirits, and others, all had this thought: “Who should now be asked concerning the Buddha’s bright light and signs of spiritual penetrations?”

尔时弥勒菩萨,欲自决疑,又观四众比丘、比丘尼、优婆塞、优婆 夷、及诸天龙、鬼神、等,众会之心,而问文殊师利言:
At that time, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, wishing to resolve his own doubts, and further regarding the thoughts of the four-fold assembly of Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas, as well as the thoughts of the assembled gods, dragons, ghosts, and spirits and others, questioned Manjushri as follows:

‘以何因缘、而有此瑞、神通之相,放大光明,照于东方万八千土 ,悉见彼佛国界庄严?’
“What are the reasons for these portents, these signs of spiritual penetrations, for the emanation of great light which illumines eighteen thousand lands to the east so that the adornments in all those Buddha worlds are fully seen?”

于是弥勒菩萨欲重宣此义,以偈问曰:

Thereupon, Maitreya Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses asking:

文殊师利, 导师何故、 眉间白毫, 大光普照。 雨曼陀罗、 曼殊沙华, 栴檀香风, 悦可众心。 “Manjushri, what is the reason
For the guiding master’s emanation

From the white hair between his brows Of a great light which shines everywhere, and for the rain of Mandaravas
and of Manjushaka flowers,
the breeze of fragrant Chandana which delights the hearts of those assembled?

以是因缘, 地皆严净, 而此世界、 六种震动。

Through these causes and conditions, the earth is all adorned and pure, and within this world the earth trembles in six different ways.

时四部众、 咸皆欢喜, 身意快然, 得未曾有。

Then the four-fold multitude
rejoices altogether;
in body and in mind enraptured,
they obtain what they had never had.

眉间光明, 照于东方, 万八千土, 皆如金色,

The bright light from between the brows shines into the eastern quarter,
causing eighteen thousand lands
all to become of golden hue.

从阿鼻狱、 上至有顶。 诸世界中, 六道众生, 生死所趋、 善恶业缘、 受报好丑, 于此悉见。 And from the Avichi hell,
upwards to the peak of being,

within each of the worlds are seen the beings within the six paths,
their destinies in birth and death, their karmic conditions, good or evil, their retributions, favorable or ill– all of this is seen, herein.

又睹诸佛、 圣主师子、 演说经典, 微妙第一。

Further seen are all the Buddhas, the lions, the sagely masters, expounding on the Sutra scriptures, of foremost subtlety and wonder.

其声清净, 出柔软音, 教诸菩萨、 无数亿万,

Clear and pure is the sound
of their soft, compliant voices, teaching all the Bodhisattvas, numbering in the countless millions.

梵音深妙, 令人乐闻。 各于世界, 讲说正法、

The Brahma sound, profound and wondrous,
fills those who hear with joy
as, within his world, each one proclaims the proper Dharma.

种种因缘。 以无量喻, 照明佛法, 开悟众生。

Through various causes and conditions, and limitless analogies,
they clarify the Buddhadharma
to enlighten living beings.

若人遭苦, 厌老病死, 为说涅盘, 尽诸苦际。

To those who’ve encountered suffering, weary of sickness, aging, death,
they speak about Nirvana,
which brings all suffering to an end.

若人有福, 曾供养佛, 志求胜法, 为说缘觉。

To those possessed of blessings who’ve made offerings to past Buddhas and resolved to seek the superior Dharma they speak of enlightening to conditions.

若有佛子、 修种种行, 求无上慧, 为说净道。

To those who are the Buddha’s sons, who cultivate various practices, seeking wisdom unsurpassed,
they speak of the way of purity.

文殊师利, 我住于此, 见闻若斯, 及千亿事,

Manjushri, while dwelling here,
I see and hear such things as these, reaching to a thousand million things;

如是众多, 今当略说。

such a multitude of them which I shall now explain in brief.

我见彼土, 恒沙菩萨,

I see in other lands
Bodhisattvas like Gange’s sands, 种种因缘、 而求佛道。
through various causes and conditions seeking the Buddha Way.

或有行施, 金银珊瑚、 真珠摩尼、 砗磲玛瑙、

Perhaps they practice giving, with gifts of silver, gold, and coral of true pearls, and of mani, mother-of-pearl, carneilian,

金刚诸珍, 奴婢车乘、 宝饰辇舆, 欢喜布施。

of vajra and of other gems,
of servants and of carriages,
jeweled hand drawn carts and palanquins. These they offer up with joy,

回向佛道, 愿得是乘, 三界第一, 诸佛所叹。

in dedication to the Buddha Way, vowing to obtain the vehicle foremost in the triple realm,
the one which all the Buddhas praise.

或有菩萨, 驷马宝车、 栏楯华盖、 轩饰布施。

There are Bodhisattvas who
give a jeweled coach -and-four, with rails and flowered canopies, richly ornamented carriages.

复见菩萨, 身肉手足、 及妻子施, 求无上道。

Again are Bodhisattvas seen
who give their flesh, hand, and feet, who even give their wives and children, seeking for the utmost Way.

又见菩萨, 头目身体、 欣乐施与, 求佛智慧。

Again are Bodhisattvas seen
whose heads, eyes, and bodies whole are offered up most joyfully,
seeking the Buddha’s wisdom.

文殊师利, 我见诸王, 往诣佛所、 问无上道, 便舍乐土、 宫殿臣妾,剃除须发、 而被法服。 Manjushri,
I see royal monarchs who

visiting those Buddhas’ courts
ask about the utmost Way,
and then forsake their pleasant lands, palaces, ministers, concubines,
and, cutting off their beards and hair, clothe themselves in Dharma robes.

或见菩萨, 而作比丘, 独处闲静, 乐诵经典。

Seen are Bodhisattvas who becoming Bhikshus, dwell alone within the wilds, in quietude, reciting Sutra texts with joy.

– 13 –

又见菩萨, 勇猛精进, 入于深山, 思惟佛道。

Again are Bodhisattvas seen, striving with heroic vigor, entering the mountains deep, to ponder on the Buddha Way.

又见离欲, 常处空闲, 深修禅定, 得五神通。

Seen, too, are those who’ve left desire, who dwell in constant solitude,
deeply cultivating Dhyana Samadhi
and attaining five spiritual penetrations.

又见菩萨, 安禅合掌, 以千万偈、 赞诸法王。

Again are Bodhisattvas seen
in the peace of Dhyana, with palms joined, who, with a thousand ten thousand lines, sing praises of the Dharma kings.

复见菩萨, 智深志固, 能问诸佛, 闻悉受持。

Again are Bodhisattvas seen,
of profound wisdom and solid will, able to question the Buddhas and accept and hold all they have heard.

又见佛子, 定慧具足, 以无量喻、 为众讲法,

Further seen are Buddha’s disciples, with wisdom and samadhi perfect, who, with limitless analogies, preach Dharma to the multitudes.

欣乐说法、 化诸菩萨, 破魔兵众、 而击法鼓。

Joyfully they preach the Dharma, transforming all the Bodhisattvas, defeating thus the troops of Mara, and beating on the Dharma drum.

又见菩萨, 寂然宴默, 天龙恭敬, 不以为喜。

Seen too are Bodhisattvas
in silence and tranquility;
though worshipped by the gods and dragons, they do not find it cause for joy.

又见菩萨, 处林放光, 济地狱苦, 令入佛道。

Also seen are Bodhisattvas
dwelling in forests, emitting light, relieving those suffering in the hells, and leading them to the Buddha Way.

又见佛子, 未尝睡眠, 经行林中, 勤求佛道。

Also seen are Buddha’s disciples
who have not slept, but walk at ease, within the forest groves; they seek with diligence the Buddha Way.

又见具戒, 威仪无缺, 净如宝珠, 以求佛道。

Seen too are those with perfect precepts intact, with awe-inspiring manner,
their purity like precious pearls,
with which they seek the Buddha Way.

又见佛子, 住忍辱力, 增上慢人, 恶骂捶打, 皆悉能忍, 以求佛道。
Also seen are the Buddha’s disciples
abiding in the strength of patience;

though by those of overweening pride maliciously rebuked and beaten,
they are able to endure it all,
seeking for the Buddha Way.

又见菩萨, 离诸戏笑、 及痴眷属, 亲近智者,

Again are Bodhisattvas seen,
apart from all frivolity,
and from stupid followers,
drawing near to those with wisdom.

一心除乱, 摄念山林、 亿千万岁, 以求佛道。

Singlemindedly casting out confusion,
collecting their thoughts in the mountain forests, for tens of thousands of millions of years
in quest of the Way of the Buddha.

或见菩萨, 肴膳饮食、 百种汤药、 施佛及僧。

Bodhisattvas there are seen,
who, with fine food and drink and with
a hundred kinds of broths and herbs
make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha.

名衣上服、 价值千万, 或无价衣, 施佛及僧。

Who, with fine robes and superior garments, of value in the millions,
or with in valuable robes make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha.

千万亿种、 栴檀宝舍、 众妙卧具、 施佛及僧。

Who, with a million different kinds
of dwellings of precious sandalwood
and with much fine bedding
make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha.

清净园林、 华果茂盛、 流泉浴池、 施佛及僧。

Who, with gardens and groves, clear and pure, with flowers and fruits in abundance
with flowing springs and bathing ponds,
make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha.

如是等施, 种果微妙, 欢喜无厌, 求无上道。

Offerings such as these,
of many kinds, extremely fine, do they give with joy untiring, seeking for the utmost Way.

或有菩萨, 说寂灭法, 种种教诏, 无数众生。

There are Bodhisattvas who speak of still extinction’s Dharma with various instructions teaching living beings without number.

或见菩萨, 观诸法性、 无有二相, 犹如虚空。

Seen are Bodhisattvas who contemplate all Dharmas’ nature as lacking the mark of duality, like empty space.

又见佛子, 心无所著, 以此妙慧、 求无上道。

Also seen are Buddha’s disciples whose minds have no attachments and who use this wondrous wisdom, seeking for the utmost Way.

文殊师利, 又有菩萨, 佛灭度后, 供养舍利。

Manjushri,
Again are Bodhisattvas who,
after the Buddhas cross into extinction, make offerings to the Sharira.

又见佛子, 造诸塔庙、 无数恒沙, 严饰国界,

Again are seen Buddha’s disciples, building stupas, building temples, countless as the Ganges sands,
to adorn those realms and lands.

宝塔高妙、 五千由旬, 纵广正等、 二千由旬。

The Jeweled stupas, tall and fine, are five thousand Yojanas in height, two thousand Yojanas in breadth.

一一塔庙, 各千幢幡, 珠交露幔, 宝铃和鸣。

Each stupa and temple is adorned
with a thousand curtains and banners
circling around and wrought with gems,
and jeweled bells which harmoniously chime.

诸天龙神、 人及非人, 香华伎乐, 常以供养。

All the gods, dragons, and spirits,
humans and non-humans,
with incense, flowers, and instrumental music, constantly make offerings.

文殊师利, 诸佛子等, 为供舍利, 严饰塔庙,

Manjushri,
All the Buddhas’ disciples,
adorn the stupas and the shrines making offerings to the Shariras;

国界自然, 殊特妙好, 如天树王, 其华开敷,

spontaneously, the realms and lands are superbly fine and exquisite,
like the king of heavenly trees
when its flowers bloom.

佛放一光。 我及众会, 见此国界, 种种殊妙,

The Buddha sends forth this single ray, and I and those assembled here
view within those realms and lands, the various special wonders.

诸佛神力、 智慧稀有, 放一净光, 照无量国。

The spiritual might of the Buddhas and their wisdom is most rare, emitting a single, pure light,
they can illumine limitless lands.

我等见此, 得未曾有。 佛子文殊, 愿决众疑,

Seeing this, we have all
obtained what we have never had. Disciple of the Buddha, Manju, pray resolve the assembly’s doubts.

四众欣仰、 瞻仁及我, 世尊何故, 放斯光明。

The Four-fold multitude with joy
looks up to you, humane one, and to me. Why has the World Honored One emitted such a brilliant light?

佛子时答, 决疑令喜, 何所饶益、 演斯光明。

Disciple of the Buddha, answer now; resolve our doubts, so we may rejoice. What benefit is to be gained
by putting forth this brilliant light?

佛坐道场、 所得妙法, 为欲说此, 为当授记,

That wondrous Dharma the Buddha gained as he sat in the field of the Way —
Does he wish, now, to preach it?
or is he going to give predictions?

示诸佛土 众宝严净、 及见诸佛。 此非小缘,

The manifesting of the Buddha-lands, adorned with many jewels, and pure, as well as the vision of the Buddhas does not betoken small conditions.

文殊当知。 四众龙神, 瞻察仁者、 为说何等。

Manju, it should be known,
the four assemblies, dragons and spirits, look to you, humane one, hopefully; what is it that is to be said?

尔时文殊师利语弥勒菩萨摩诃萨、及诸大士,善男子等:‘如我惟 忖,今佛世尊欲说大法,雨大法雨,吹大法螺,击大法鼓,演大法 义。
At that time, Manjushri addressed the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Maitreya and all the great lords, saying, “Good men, in my estimation, the Buddha, the World Honored One, now wishes to speak the great Dharma, to let fall the great Dharma rain, to blow the great Dharma conch, to beat the great Dharma drum, and to proclaim the great Dharma doctrine.”

诸善男子,我于过去诸佛,曾见此瑞,放斯光已,即说大法。是故 当知今佛现光,亦复如是,欲令众生,咸得闻知一切世间难信之法 ,故现斯瑞。:‘
“Good men, I have, in the past, in the presence of other Buddhas, seen such portents. Having emitted this light, they immediately spoke the great Dharma. Therefore, it should be known that the manifestation of light by the present Buddha is also thus. Because he wishes to lead all living beings to hear and understand this Dharma which in the whole world is hard to believe, he therefore manifests these portents.”

‘诸善男子,如过去无量无边不可思议阿僧只劫,尔时有佛,号日 月灯明如来、应供、正遍知、明行足、善逝世间解、无上士、调御 丈夫、天人师、佛、世尊,演说正法,初善、中善、后善,其义深 远,其语巧妙,纯一无杂,具足清白梵行之相。

“Good men, it is just as in the past, limitless, boundless, inconceivable Asankhyeya aeons ago, there was at that time a Buddha named Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, One of Proper and Universal knowledge, One of Perfect Clarity and Conduct, Well-Gone One, an Unsurpassed Knight who Understands the World, a Hero Who Subdues and Tames, a Teacher of Gods and People, the Buddha, the World Honored One who expounded the proper Dharma, good at its beginning, good in its middle, and good at its end, its meaning profound and far-reaching, its words clever and subtle, pure and unadulterated, complete with the marks of pure, white Brahman conduct.”

为求声闻者、说应四谛法,度生老病死,究竟涅盘。

“To those who sought to be Hearers, he responded with the Dharma of the Four Truths, by which one crosses over birth, aging, sickness, and death to the ultimate Nirvana;

为求辟支佛者、说应十二因缘法。

to those who sought to be Pratyeka Buddhas, he responded with the Dharma of the Twelve Conditioned Causes;

为诸菩萨、说应六波罗蜜,令得阿耨多罗三藐三菩提,成一切种智 。’
for the sake of the Bodhisattvas, he responded with the Six Paramitas, causing them to attain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi and realize the wisdom of all modes.”

‘次复有佛、亦名日月灯明,次复有佛、亦名日月灯明,如是二万 佛、皆同一字,号日月灯明,又同一姓,姓颇罗堕。
“Then, there was another Buddha, also named Brightness of Sun- Moon-Lamp, and then another Buddha, also named Brightness of Sun- Moon-Lamp, and so forth for twenty-thousand Buddhas all of the same name, Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp, and also of the same surname, Bharadvaja.”

弥勒当知,初佛后佛,皆同一字,名日月灯明,十号具足。所可说 法,初中后善。
“Maitreya, it should be known that all of those Buddhas, from the first to the last, had the same name, Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp, and were complete with the ten titles, and that the Dharma they spoke was good at its beginning, middle, and end.”

其最后佛,未出家时、有八王子,一名有意,二名善意,三名无量 意,四名宝意,五名增意,六名除疑意,七名向意,八名法意。 “Before the last Buddha left the home-life, he had eight royal sons. The first was named Intention, the second, Good Intention, the third, Limitless Intention, the fourth Jeweled Intention, the fifth, Increasing Intention; the sixth, Intention Rid of Doubt, the seventh, Resounding Intention, and the eighth, Dharma Intention.

是八王子,威德自在,各领四天下。

The eight princes were of awesome virtue and self-mastery and each ruled over four continents.”

是诸王子,闻父出家,得阿耨多罗三藐三菩提。悉舍王位,亦随出 家,发大乘意,常修梵行,皆为法师,已于千万佛所、植诸善本。 ’
“When the princes heard that their father had left the home-life and attained Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, they all renounced their royal positions and left home as well. They brought forth the resolve for the Great Vehicle and constantly cultivated Brahman conduct. All became Dharma Masters, having already, in the presence of ten million Buddhas, planted the roots of goodness.”

‘是时日月灯明佛说大乘经,名无量义、教菩萨法、佛所护念。 “At that time, the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness spoke a Great Vehicle Sutra named The Limitless Principles, a Dharma for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddhas are protective and mindful.

说是经已,即于大众中、结跏趺坐,入于无量义处三昧,身心不动 。
When he had finished speaking that Sutra, he then, in the midst of the assembly, sat in full lotus and entered the Samadhi of the Station of Limitless Principles; his body and mind were unmoving.

是时、天雨曼陀罗华,摩诃曼陀罗华,曼殊沙华,摩诃曼殊沙华, 而散佛上、及诸大众。
“Then from the heavens there fell a rain of Mandarava flowers, Mahamandarava flowers, Manjushaka flowers, and Mahamanjushaka flowers, which were scattered upon the Buddha and the entire great assembly.

普佛世界,六种震动。

All the Buddhas’ universes quaked in six ways. – 24 –

尔时会中,比丘、比丘尼、优婆塞、优婆夷、天龙、夜叉、乾闼婆 、阿修罗、迦楼罗、紧那罗、摩侯罗伽、人非人、及诸小王、转轮 圣王、等。
At that time the entire great assembly of Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, gods, dragons, Yakshas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Garudas, Kinnaras, Mahoragas, beings human and non-human as well as the minor kings and the wheel-turning sage kings and so forth, all attained what they had never had before.

是诸大众,得未曾有,欢喜合掌,一心观佛。’
They rejoiced and joined their palms and, with one heart, gazed upon the Buddha.

‘尔时如来放眉间白毫相光,照东方万八千佛土,靡不周遍,如今 所见、是诸佛土。
“Then the Thus Come One emitted from between his brows a white hair-mark light which illumined eighteen thousand Buddha-worlds to the east, omitting none of them. Just like all the Buddha lands now seen.”

弥勒当知,尔时会中,有二十亿菩萨、乐欲听法。

“Maitreya, it should be known that there were at that time in the assembly twenty million Bodhisattvas who took delight in listening to the Dharma.

是诸菩萨,见此光明、普照佛土,得未曾有,欲知此光所为因缘。

Upon seeing this bright light illumine all the Buddha lands, all the Bodhisattvas obtained what they had never had and wished to know the causes and conditions for this light.”

时有菩萨,名曰妙光,有八百弟子。

“There was at that time a Bodhisattva by the name of Wondrous Light who had eight hundred disciples.

是时日月灯明佛从三昧起,因妙光菩萨、说大乘经,名妙法莲

华、教菩萨法、佛所护念。

The Buddha Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp then arose from Samadhi and, for the sake of the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light, spoke a Great Vehicle Sutra called the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower, a Dharma for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddha is protective and mindful.”

六十小劫、不起于座。

“For sixty small aeons he did not rise from his seat.

时会听者、亦坐一处,六十小劫、身心不动,听佛所说,谓如食顷 。
Those assembled listening also sat in one place for sixty small aeons with bodies and minds unmoving, listening to what the Buddha said as if it were but the space of a meal.

是时众中,无有一人、若身若心而生懈倦。’
At that time, in the assembly, there was not a single person who grew weary, either physically or mentally.”

‘日月灯明佛于六十小劫说是经已,即于梵、魔、沙门、婆罗门、 及天、人、阿修罗、众中,而宣此言,如来于今日中夜,当入无余 涅盘。
“At the end of sixty small aeons, having finished speaking the Sutra, the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness immediately announced to the assembly of Brahma, Mara, Shramanas, Brahmans, gods, humans, and Asuras, ‘Today, at midnight, the Thus Come One will enter Nirvana without residue.’”

时有菩萨,名曰德藏,日月灯明佛即授其记。

“There was at that time a Bodhisattva by the name of Virtue Treasury to whom the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness transmitted a prediction,

告诸比丘:“是德藏菩萨,次当作佛,号曰净身,多陀阿伽度、阿 罗诃、三藐三佛陀。”
telling all the Bhikshus, ‘The Bodhisattva Virtue Treasury will next become a Buddha with the name of Pure-Body-Tathagato’rhan, Samyaksambuddhah.’

佛授记已,便于中夜、入无余涅盘。

After that Buddha had transmitted the prediction, at midnight he entered Nirvana without residue.”

佛灭度后,妙光菩萨持妙法莲华经,满八十小劫、为人演说。

“Following the Buddha’s crossing over into extinction, the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light upheld the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra for a full eighty small aeons, expounding it to others.

日月灯明佛八子、皆师妙光。

The eight sons of the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp Brightness all served Wondrous Light as their master.

妙光教化,令其坚固阿耨多罗三藐三菩提。

Wondrous Light taught and transformed them, causing them to become firmly established in Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”

是诸王子、供养无量百千万亿佛已,皆成佛道,其最后成佛者,名 曰燃灯。
“The princes, having made offerings to limitless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of Buddhas, all realized the Buddha Way. The very last to become a Buddha was one named Burner of the Lamp.”

八百弟子中,有一人、号曰求名,贪著利养,虽复读诵众经,而不 通利,多所忘失,故号求名。
“Among the eight hundred disciples was one named Seeker of Fame, who was greedily attached to profit and offerings. Although he read and recited many scriptures, he did not comprehend them and forgot most of what he learned. For that reasons he was called Seeker of Fame.

是人亦以种诸善根因缘故,得值无量百千万亿诸佛,供养、恭敬, 尊重、赞叹。’
Because he had also planted good roots, he was able to encounter limitless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of Buddhas, making offerings to them and honoring them, venerating and praising them.”

‘弥勒当知,尔时妙光菩萨、岂异人乎,我身是也,求名菩萨,汝 身是也。
“Maitreya, it should be known, could the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light have been anyone else? I, myself, was him. And the Bodhisattva Seeker of Fame was you, yourself!”

今见此瑞、与本无异,是故惟忖,今日如来当说大乘经,名妙法莲 华、教菩萨法、佛所护念。’
“The portents now seen do not differ from those, and so, in my estimation, today the Thus Come One is about to speak a Great Vehicle Sutra called The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower, a Dharma for instructing Bodhisattvas of which the Buddha is protective and mindful.”

尔时文殊师利于大众中,欲重宣此义,而说偈言:

At that time Manjushri, in the midst of the assembly, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses, saying:

我念过去世, 无量无数劫, 有佛人中尊, 号日月灯明。

I recall that in ages past,
Limitless, countless aeons ago,
There appeared a Buddha, one honored among people, By the name of Brightness of Sun-Moon-Lamp,

世尊演说法, 度无量众生、 无数亿菩萨, 令入佛智慧。

That World Honored One proclaimed the Dharma, Taking limitless living beings across,
Causing countless millions of Bodhisattvas
To enter the wisdom of the Buddhas.

佛未出家时、 所生八王子, 见大圣出家, 亦随修梵行。

Before that Buddha had left home,
The eight royal sons born to him,
Seeing the Great Sage leave him home,
Also followed him to practice Brahman conduct.

时佛说大乘, 经名无量义, 于诸大众中, 而为广分别。

The Buddha then spoke a Great Vehicle Sutra by the name of Limitless Principles; Amidst the assembly, and for their sake, He set it forth in extensive detail.

佛说此经已, 即于法座上、 跏趺坐三昧, 名无量义处。

When the Buddha had finished speaking the Sutra, Seated in the Dharma-seat,
He sat in full lotus and entered the Samadhi
Called the Station of Limitless Principles.

天雨曼陀华, 天鼓自然鸣, 诸天龙鬼神, 供养人中尊。

From the heavens fell a rain of Mandarava flowers, And heavenly drums of themselves did sound, While all the gods, dragons, ghosts and spirits, Made offerings to the Honored One;

一切诸佛土, 即时大震动。 佛放眉间光, 现诸稀有事,

And, within all the Buddha lands,
There occurred a mighty trembling.
The light emitted from between the Buddha’s brows Manifested all these rare events.

此光照东方 万八千佛土, 示一切众生, 生死业报处。

The light illumined to the east Eighteen thousand Buddha lands, Revealing the places of living beings’ Karmic retributions of birth and death.

有见诸佛土, 以众宝庄严, 琉璃玻璃色, 斯由佛光照。

Seen, too, were Buddha lands adorned With a multitude of gems,
The color of lapiz lazuli and crystal, Illumined by the Buddha’s light.

及见诸天人、 龙神夜叉众、 乾闼紧那罗, 各供养其佛。

Seen as well were gods and people, Dragons, spirits, and Yaksha hordes, Gandharvas and Kinnaras,
Each making offerings to the Buddha.

又见诸如来, 自然成佛道, 身色如金山, 端严甚微妙, 如净琉璃中, 内现真金像。
Thus come ones, too, all were seen
As they naturally accomplished the Buddha Way,

Their bodies’ hue like mountains of gold, Upright, serene, subtle, and fine,
As, within pure lapis lazuli
Would appear an image of real gold.

世尊在大众, 敷演深法义。

The World Honored Ones in those assemblies Proclaimed the profound principle of the Law.

一一诸佛土, 声闻众无数, 因佛光所照, 悉见彼大众。

In all the Buddhas’ lands,
Were Shravaka hosts, uncountable;
Through the illumination of the Buddha’s light Those assemblies all were fully seen.

或有诸比丘, 在于山林中, 精进持净戒, 犹如护明珠。
There were also Bhikshus who,
Dwelt within the mountain groves, Vigorously upholding the pure precepts As if guarding brilliant pearls.

又见诸菩萨, 行施忍辱等, 其数如恒沙, 斯由佛光照。

Also seen were Bodhisattvas
Practicing giving, patience, and so forth, Their number like the Ganges’ sands, Illumined by the Buddha’s light.

又见诸菩萨, 深入诸禅定, 身心寂不动, 以求无上道。

Seen too were Bodhisattvas who
Had deeply entered Dhyana Samadhi, With bodies and minds still and unmoving They sought the Way unsurpassed.

又见诸菩萨, 知法寂灭相, 各于其国土, 说法求佛道。

Bodhisattvas, too, were seen who knew The Mark of Dharmas’ still extinction; Each one within his Buddhaland
Spoke Dharma, seeking the Buddha’s path.

尔时四部众, 见日月灯佛、 现大神通力, 其心皆欢喜, 各各自相问, 是事何因缘。
Then the four-fold multitudes
Seeing the Buddha Sun-Moon-Lamp

Manifest great and powerful spiritual penetrations, In their hearts all rejoiced,
And inquired, each of the other,
“What is the reason for these events?”

天人所奉尊、 适从三昧起, 赞妙光菩萨, 汝为世间眼, 一切所归信, 能奉持法藏,
The Honored One, revered by gods and humans,
Just then from Samadhi did arise,

And praised the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light: “You act as eyes for the world,
All return to you in faith; you are
Able reverently to hold the Dharma-store.

如我所说法, 唯汝能证知。 世尊既赞叹, 令妙光欢喜, 说是法华经,
Dharma such as I do speak–
You alone can certify to its understanding.”

The World Honored One having praised him, And caused Wondrous Light to rejoice,
Then spoke the Sutra of the Dharma Flower.

满六十小劫、 不起于此座。

For a full sixty minor aeons He did not rise from his seat.

所说上妙法, 是妙光法师、
悉皆能受持。
The supreme and wondrous Dharma that he spoke, The Dharma Master Wondrous Light
Was fully able to receive and hold.

佛说是法华, 令众欢喜已, 寻即于是日, 告于天人众,

The Buddha, having spoken The Dharma Flower, And caused the assembly to rejoice,
Later, on that very day,
Announced to the host of gods and humans;

诸法实相义, 已为汝等说, 我今于中夜, 当入于涅盘。

“The meaning of the real mark of all Dharmas Has already been spoken for all of you,
And now at midnight, I
shall enter into Nirvana.

汝一心精进, 当离于放逸, 诸佛甚难值, 亿劫时一遇。

You should single-heartedly advance with vigor, And avoid laxness, for
Buddhas are difficult indeed to meet, Encountered but once in a million aeons.”

世尊诸子等、 闻佛入涅盘, 各各怀悲恼, 佛灭一何速。

All of the disciples of the World Honored One Hearing of the Buddha’s entry into Nirvana,
Each harbored grief and anguish,
“Why must the Buddha take extinction so soon?”

圣主法之王, 安慰无量众, 我若灭度时, 汝等勿忧怖,

The sagely Lord, the Dharma King, Then comforted the limitless multitude: “After my passage into extinction,
None of you should worry or fear,

是德藏菩萨, 于无漏实相、 心已得通达, 其次当作佛,

For the Bodhisattva Virtue Treasury,
With respect to the non-outflow mark of reality, In heart has penetrated it totally;
He will next become a Buddha,

号曰为净身, 亦度无量众。

By the name of Pure Body, and
Will also save uncounted multitudes.

佛此夜灭度, 如薪尽火灭, 分布诸舍利, 而起无量塔。

That night the Buddha passed into extinction,
As a flame dies once its fuel has been consumed. The Sharira were divided up,
And limitless stupas built.

比丘比丘尼, 其数如恒沙, 倍复加精进, 以求无上道。

The Bhikshus and Bhikshunis,
Their number like the Gange’s sands, Redoubled their vigor in advancing
In their quest for the unsurpassed path.

是妙光法师, 奉持佛法藏, 八十小劫中、 广宣法华经。

The Dharma Master Wondrous Light Reverently kept the store of the Buddha’s Law; For eighty minor aeons, he
Widely spread the Sutra of the Dharma Flower.

是诸八王子, 妙光所开化, 坚固无上道, 当见无数佛。

All of the eight royal sons
Taught and led by Wondrous Light, Became solid in the unsurpassed path, And met with Buddhas beyond all count.

供养诸佛已, 随顺行大道, 相继得成佛, 转次而授记。

Having presented them offerings,
They accordingly practiced the Great Way, And in succession, became Buddhas, Transmitting prophecies in turn.

最后天中天, 号曰燃灯佛, 诸仙之导师, 度脱无量众。

The last of these, a god among gods,
Was a Buddha by the name of Burner of the Lamp, A guiding master of all the immortals,
Who brought release to countless multitudes.

是妙光法师, 时有一弟子, 心常怀懈怠, 贪著于名利,

The Dharma Master Wondrous Light Had a disciple at that time
Whose heart harbored laxness, and who Was greedily attached to fame and gain.

求名利无厌, 多游族姓家, 弃舍所习诵, 废忘不通利。

Seeking fame and gain untiringly,
He often visited the great clans;
He cast aside his recitations
Neglected, forgot, and failed to comprehend them.

以是因缘故, 号之为求名。 亦行众善业, 得见无数佛,

These, then, were the reasons why
He was given the name “Seeker of Fame.” Yet he also practiced many good deeds, Enabling him to meet uncounted Buddhas, And make offerings to all of them.

供养于诸佛, 随顺行大道, 具六波罗蜜, 今见释师子。 其后当作佛, 号名曰弥勒,
Accordingly he walked the great path,
And perfected the Six Paramitas.

Now he meets the Shakyan Lion; Later, He will become a Buddha By the name of Maitreya,

广度诸众生, 其数无有量。

Who will broadly take all beings over– Their number far beyond all count.

彼佛灭度后, 懈怠者汝是, 妙光法师者, 今则我身是。

After that Buddha had passed into extinction, The indolent one was you,
And the Dharma Master Wondrous Light, Was I, myself, now present here.

我见灯明佛, 本光瑞如此, 以是知今佛、 欲说法华经。

I saw the Buddha Brightness of Lamp;
His light and portents were like these. Thus I know the present Buddha,
Wishes to speak The Dharma Flower Sutra.

今相如本瑞, 是诸佛方便, 今佛放光明, 助发实相义。

The present marks are like the portents past, Expedient devices of the Buddhas.
The Buddha now puts forth bright light,
To help reveal the real mark’s meaning.

诸人今当知, 合掌一心待, 佛当雨法雨, 充足求道者。

All of you now should understand, and With one heart, join your palms, and wait; The Buddha will let fall the Dharma rain, To satisfy all those who seek the Way.

诸求三乘人, 若有疑悔者, 佛当为除断, 令尽无有余。

Those who seek three vehicles, Should they have doubts or regrets, The Buddha will remove them now, So that they vanish and none remain.

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Venerable Master Hsuang Hua

Author | Buddha Weekly

Hsuan Hua founded several institutions in the US. The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association[1] (DRBA) is a Buddhist organization with chapters in North America, Australia and Asia. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) in Ukiah, California, is one of the first Chan Buddhist monasteries in America. Hsuan Hua founded Dharma Realm Buddhist University at CTTB. The Buddhist Text Translation Society works on the phonetics and translation of Buddhist scriptures from Chinese into English, Vietnamese, Spanish, and many other languages.

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (traditional Chinese: 萬佛聖城; ; pinyin: Wànfó Shèngchéng; Vietnamese: Chùa Vạn Phật Thánh Thành) is an international Buddhist community and monastery founded by Hsuan Hua, an important figure in Western Buddhism. It is one of the first Chan Buddhist temples in the United States, and one of the largest Buddhist communities in the Western Hemisphere.

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