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The Flower Adornment Sutra Chapter 40 (The Chapter on Entering the Inconceivable State Of Liberation of the Conduct and Vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva) Translated on Imperial Command by the T'ang Dynasty Tripitaka Master Prajna of Kubha Part Two

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The Merit of Universal Worthy's Vows


"O virtuous one, these are the Bodhisattva Universal Worthy Mahasattva's Ten Great Vows in their entirety. If all Bodhisattvas can follow and abide by these Great Vows, then they will be able to bring all living beings to fruition [of the Bodhi] and guide them to the path of Supreme, Perfect Enlightenment. They can then fulfill Universal Worthy's ocean of conduct and vows. Therefore, O virtuous one, you should understand the meaning of all this.

"If a good man or good woman were to take the supremely wonderful seven jewels and pour them out until they fill as many worlds as there are very fine dust-motes in immeasurable, boundless, ineffably ineffable Buddha-lands throughout the ten directions; and if this person were also to bestow the greatest peace and happiness known to gods and men to every living being in these worlds; and if this person also were to offer the same gifts to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of of all those worlds, doing so constantly and without cessation for as many kalpas as there are very fine dust-motes in those Buddha-lands, then that person would acquire much merit and virtue. But the merits and virtues gained from offering these gifts does not equal one part in one hundred, one part in one thousand, or even one part in an Upanishad, when compared with the merit and virtue of a person who hears these Kings of Vows pass by his ear just one time.

"Moreover, if a person receives and maintains these Great Vows with a mind of deep faith, reads and recites them, or writes out just a single four-line verse, he or she can quickly eradicate the karma of the five intermittent offenses. All the world's illnesses that afflict the body and mind, as well as the various kinds of bitter suffering, will be wiped clean, up to and including bad karmas equal to the number fine dust-motes in all Buddha-lands.

"All the demon-armies, the yakshas, rakshasas, kumbhandas, pishachas, bhutas, and so on, and all evil ghosts and spirits that drink blood and devour the flesh will move far away from this person. Or they will resolve, before long, to draw near and protect him. Therefore, if he recites these vows aloud, he will move freely through the world without obstruction, like the moon appearing through the clouds. All the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will praise him, people and gods will all bow in respect to him, and all living beings will make offerings to him. This noble one will easily be reborn as a human and will perfect all of Universal Worthy's merit and virtue. Before long, he will be just like Universal Worthy himself, obtaining a subtle and wonderful physical body complete with the thirty-two marks of a great person. If he is born among humans or gods, he will always live in a superior family. He will totally destroy the evil destinies and will depart from all bad companions. Fully capable of of vanquishing all externalists, he will completely free himself from all afflictions, just as the lordly lion subdues all beasts. This person will be worthy of receiving the offerings of all living beings.

"Further, when a person is on the verge of death, at the last instant of life, when all faculties scatter and he departs from his relatives, when all power and status are lost and nothing survives, when his prime minister, great officials, his inner court and outer cities, his elephants, horses, carts, and treasuries of precious jewels can no longer accompany him, these Great Vows alone will stay with him. At all times they will guide him forward, and in a single instant he will be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Arriving there, he will see Amitabha Buddha, Manjushri Bodhisattva, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva who Contemplates at Ease, Maitreya Bodhisattva, and others. The appearance of these Bodhisattvas will be magnificent and their merits and virtues complete. Together they will surround him.

"This person will see himself born from a lotus flower and will receive a prediction of Buddhahood. Thereafter, he will pass through an immeasurable, incalculable number of aeons and, with his power of wisdom, he will accord with the minds of living beings in order to benefit them everywhere throughout the ineffably ineffable worlds in the ten directions.

"Before long he will sit in a Bodhimandala, subdue the demonic armies, accomplish Supreme, Perfect Enlightenment, and turn the wonderful Dharma wheel. He will cause living beings in worlds as numerous as the fine motes of dust in Buddha-lands to develop the Bodhi Mind. He will teach and transform them, in accordance with with their inclinations and basic natures, and will bring them to fruition [in their enlightenment]. Until the oceans of future aeons are emptied, he will greatly benefit all living beings.

"O virtuous one, harbor no doubts about the merits and virtues obtained by living beings who hear and believe in these Great Kings of Vows. Reverently accept them; after accepting them, you should be able to read them; after becoming able to read them, you should be able to recite them aloud; and after becoming able to recite them aloud, you should be able to maintain them, to the extent that you can write them out and extensively explain them to others. Then, in a single thought, my practices and vows will be fulfilled."

"The blessings that one will thus obtain are immeasurable and boundless. One will be able to rescue living beings from the great sea of afflictions and suffering, releasing them from their bondage to be reborn in Amitabha Buddha's Land of Ultimate Bliss."



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