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Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Six: On the Virtue of the Name

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Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra
Translated by KOSHO YAMAMOTO
FROM Dharmakshema's Chinese version
The World's genuinely first-ever web edition of this complete scripture
(This "Yamamoto/page edition" is Copyright of Dr. Tony Page, 2004 )
The Complete Kosho Yamamoto English Translation of the "Nirvana Sutra", edited and revised by Dr. Tony Page, typographically improved by Jay and Gabriele Mazo

Chapter Six: On the Virtue of the Name

“Then the Tathagata spoke again to Kasyapa: "O good man! You should now uphold all the words, chapters, clauses and all the virtues thereof of this sutra. Any good man or woman who hears the name of this sutra will never get born into the four realms (of hell, hungry ghost, animal, and asura). Why not? I shall now expound to you all the virtues of this sutra and all that is practised by innumerable boundless Buddhas."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! What is this sutra to be called? How should Bodhisattva-mahasattvas uphold this sutra?" The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "The name of this sutra is to be “Mahaparinirvana”. The foremost word betokens "good", the middle also "good", and the final "good" too. The signification (of this sutra) is extremely deep, and what is written (in it) is good. The pureness of its arrangement is perfect, its action is pure, and its adamantine treasure-house is all-satisfying. Listen well, listen well! I shall now speak. O good man! The word "maha" betokens "eternal". This is like all the great rivers draining into the great ocean. The same with this sutra. It crushes out all the bonds of illusion and all the qualities of Mara, and then body and life drain into "Mahaparinirvana". Hence we say "Mahaparinirvana." O good man! This is like a doctor who has a secret treatment embracing all medical treatments for disease. O good man! It is the same with the Tathagata. All the various wonderful doctrines taught and all the secret depths of meaning find their way into this Mahaparinirvana. That is why we say Mahaparinirvana. O good man! It is like a farmer who sows seed in spring. He entertains a rare wish. When he has finished the harvesting, all his longing is at an end. O good man! The same is the case with all beings. If we study other sutras, we always long for beautiful tastes. When one once hears this Mahaparinirvana, (however), one long ceases to covet the beautiful tastes mentioned in other sutras. This great Nirvana well enables all beings to cross the sea of all existences. O good man! Of all footprints, that of the elephant is the best. The same with this sutra. Of all the samadhis of the sutras, that of this sutra is the best. O good man! Of all the tillings of the field, that done in autumn is best. The same with this sutra. It is the best of all sutras. It is like sarpirmanda, which is the best of all medicines. It thoroughly cures the feverish worries and madding minds of beings. This Great Nirvana is the foremost of all. O good man! It is like sweet butter which contains the eight tastes. The same also applies to this sutra. It contains the eight tastes. What are the eight? These are:

1) it is eternal,
2) it always is,
3) it is peaceful,
4) it is pure and cool,
5) it does not grow old,
6) it does not die,
7) it is taintless,
8) it is pleasing and happy.

These are the eight tastes. It possesses these eight tastes. This is why we say "Mahaparinirvana". Now, all Bodhisattva-mahasattvas peacefully abide in this and manifest Nirvana in all places. That is why we say "Mahaparinirvna". O Kasyapa! All good men and women who desire to enter Nirvana by this Mahaparinirvana must study well the fact that the Tathagata is eternal and that the Dharma and Sangha are eternal."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "All is wonderful, O World-Honoured One! We cannot conceive of the Tathagata's depths of virtue. The same is the case with the virtues of Dharma and Sangha. This Mahaparinirvana is also inconceivable. One who studies this sutra will gain the right eye of Dharma and become a good doctor. Anybody who has not studied this sutra, we should know, is (like) a blind person, not possessing the eye of Wisdom and overshadowed by ignorance."


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