Homage to all buddhas and bodhisattvas!
Thus did I hear at one time. The Bhagavan was dwelling on the Khalatika Mountain, in the abode of the Sage’s hermits, together with an incalculably large assembly of monks and of great sravakas. Great bodhisattva mahasattvas in numbers as limitless as the sands of the River Ganges, forming an incalculably immense assembly of bodhisattvas, were also staying there. The moment the Bhagavan completed his prophecy on the splendid vows of the tathagatas, the Indranila jewel appeared in the west. Many hundreds of thousands of precious wish-fulfilling jewels spread out and surrounded it.
The light of that precious jewel rendered invisible the totality of manifest form in the whole trichiliocosm. Thus, with the exception of the tathagatas, all gods and humans, sravakas, and bodhisattvas, as well as the manifest forms of the great elements of earth, water, fire, and air—however many manifestations there were of the great elements—all without exception were obliterated, and only the precious jewel remained visible. Everything appeared to be limitless, boundless, and ineffable like space. The Bhagavan, too, became most radiant, clear, and brilliant.
Indeed, the sentient beings assembled there could not even see themselves, or each other. For them, all visible manifestations of the great elements also ceased and became imperceptible to the eye. They could not perceive their bodies, their features, or shape, nor did they have a sense of touch. Whatever they observed, howsoever they observed it, they saw as empty. They did not even see the orbs of the sun or the moon. The stars and the earth element, water element, fire element, and air element also became invisible to their eyes. Sounds did not resonate in their ears. Odors were not perceived by their noses. They did not take their minds and their mental events as “me,” or take them as “mine,” and the perceptions of the six cognitive bases did not arise. The great elements were also imperceptible. Instead, in whichever direction they looked, in all those directions they saw everything as the physical marks, colors, shapes, and bodies of the tathagatas. Only the precious Indranila encircled by wish-fulfilling jewels appeared fr om afar; apart fr om that, nothing at all was visible.
At that place, the bodhisattvas dwelling on the tenth ground, who had achieved the meditative concentration of brave progression, and who were bound by one more life and in their last existence, looked and saw, yet were not at all frightened, afraid, or terrified, because they realized that all phenomena are by nature endowed with final reality, suchness, and emptiness. Therefore, they were not at all frightened, afraid, or terrified.
The remaining great bodhisattva mahasattvas, the sravakas, devas, nagas, yaksas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, mahoragas, kimbhandas, pretas, pisacas, putanas, kataputanas— all of the assembled humans and non-humans—were very frightened and in despair. They were bewildered about what was here and what was there, and in their confusion they were not able to perceive one another. In that state, they asked questions such as “What is this?”, “How did this come about?”, and “What is the nature of this?”, but could find nothing.
At that time, the great bodhisattva mahasattva known as “Great Nail of Brahma” bowed down toward the Bhagavan with folded hands and said:
“Ordinary beings do not recognize the nature of all phenomena.
They live in the form aggregate,
and so their six sense faculties become deluded.
There is not a single aggregate to be seen, yet ordinary beings conceptualize the form aggregate. Consequently, some of these people develop doubts about the Buddha’s teaching.
It is for them that the Bhagavan
taught the characteristics of the suchness of phenomena.
Thus, here and there
they come to know the characteristics of space, which bears everything.
This indeed is brave equipoise,
a state that cannot be expressed.
“A most precious wish-fulfilling jewel rests on the crown of his head.
Those who perceive a precious Indranila jewel fr om afar
are very fortunate beings:
they will perfect the brave progression.
“All who have come to see the Teacher are wise indeed.
Today in this place, a profound discourse will undoubtedly be proclaimed.
“O Bhagavan, please give relief
to the sentient beings who have come here.
Bringing them to full maturation
is the heroes’ sphere of activity.”
The Bhagavan replied:
“It is just as you have said.
The place where the all-basis is heard,
and where, with wisdom, sentient beings are established,
that place is the sphere of activity of meditative concentration.
“It is the sphere of activity of the Bodhisattva Akasagarbha,
who has demonstrated the meditative concentration free of appearances and free of proliferations.
“Whoever is attached to the two views will later be in a realm of delusion.
Attachment to eternalism and nihilism is utter delusion about here and there.
“Those who wish to free themselves completely fr om both of these views should meditate on that which is inexpressible, thereby swiftly attaining the grounds.
“Listen well, O companions, for bodhisattva mahasattvas who are beginners one must explain the six perfections with a reference point, with the notion that suchness is expressible. That is to say, they must understand the nature of the great elements to be arising and perishing. Only then should they familiarize themselves with the idea that all phenomena are in essence inexpressible, non-arising, non-ceasing, not perceptible, and not in the slightest way existing.
“Thus will they definitively abandon eternalism and nihilism, and they will not be at all frightened or terrified. Once they have ceased to relate to phenomena with attachment, they will swiftly perfect the six perfections and henceforth not remain in either nihilism or eternalism.”
No sooner had the Bhagavan spoken than all those assembled in the retinue saw the manifestations in the same way they had previously seen, heard, understood, and known them. Thereupon, extending his right arm, the Bhagavan proclaimed: “The bodhisattva mahasattva Akasagarbha’s meditative concentration is like an ocean. This bodhisattva’s training is like Mount Meru, his primordial wisdom like space, his vigor like wind, and his tolerance like a vajra. He is like a supreme victory banner among all bodhisattvas. For voyagers to nirvana, he is like a captain. He is like a treasure of all the roots of virtue. For all who suffer, he is like a wishing vase; for those engulfed in darkness, like the sun; for those who have lost their way, like the moon; for the frightened, like Mount Meru; for those severely tormented by the sickness of afflictions, like a medicinal elixir; for those who have severed the roots of virtue and fallen, like a walking stick. For those who make a living by weaving garlands, he is like a flower; for those who observe vows, like a mirror; for those who have conscientiousness and modesty, like clothing; for travelers to nirvana, like a footbridge; for voyagers to the other shore, like a boat; for travelers to the higher realms, like a staircase. For those suffering from insults and slander, he is like a parasol; for those facing opposition, like a lion; for the rains, like water; for those fighting against Mara, like armor; for those who have mistaken the precepts, like the opening of their eyes; for all harvests of the roots of virtue, like the earth. For the sick he is like a doctor; for the hungry, like grain; for the thirsty, like a water crystal; for the exhausted, like a bed; for those in meditative concentration, like a fire lens; for those who have entered the path to enlightenment, like a chariot; for those playing in parks, like a pool; for those striving toward enlightenment, like a rosary. Thus does he appear.
“This son of noble family is like the fruition of the perfections, like a wish-fulfilling jewel for those on the tenth ground, like a wish-fulfilling tree for those who have achieved the meditative concentration of brave progression. For all who are engaged in negative views, he is like a weapon because he severs; for those afflicted beings entangled in latent tendencies, he is like a vajra because he overcomes. The demons cannot conquer him. For those of skillful means, he is the measure of time; for primordial wisdom, he is discernment. For the entire Buddhadharma, he is the abode; for pratyekas, like a garland; for all sravakas, like the robes; for gods, like an eye; for humans, like a path; for those born in the animal realm, a shelter; for pretas, a support; for hell beings, a protector. For those sentient beings who receive donations, he transforms into a container; for bodhisattvas, into a chariot. For all the tathagata, arhat, perfectly complete buddhas of the three times, this son of noble family is like a minister. He is the gatekeeper of the city of Dharma. This son of noble family possesses the perfect buddhas’ primordial wisdom complete with all adornments, including the eighteen excellent qualities unique to a buddha. This son of noble family is someone whom all sentient beings, with the exception of the tathagatas, should worship with every supreme offering. Therefore, all of you who have gathered here should now welcome him.
“Using every mode of worship and respect, honor him as much as you can with jeweled umbrellas, victory banners, flags, flowers, incense, garlands, ointments, divine garments, ornaments, and vessels of many kinds. Honor, venerate, and revere him. Sweep his path, adorn him with ornaments, and praise him in different ways. All of you will also acquire excellent qualities like his, and before long become vessels like him.”
All in the assembly without exception then rose from their seats and turned towards wh ere the bodhisattva mahasattva Akasagarbha appeared. With overjoyed hearts, happily smiling faces, and eyes full of admiration, they stood with palms joined and gazed at him. In that assembly were bodhisattva mahasattvas and sravakas, the lord of devas, the lord of nagas, the lord of yaksas, the lord of gandharvas, the lord of asuras, the lord of garudas, the lord of kinnaras, the lord of mahoragas, and hermits in possession of the five kinds of supernatural knowledge. All of them were thinking the same thought, “What kind of sublime display shall we prepare to honor him with?”
At that very moment, the bodhisattva mahasattva Akasagarbha manifested this buddhafield, the saha world, as being made entirely of seven precious materials. It was free of mountains, high lands, rocky landscapes, caves, ravines, abysses, grasses, walls, soil, thorns, unpleasant odors, and so on, and was smooth like the palm of a hand. He manifested melodies sung by the glorious gandharvas; and all the trees, made of seven precious materials, bore delicious fragrances, leaves, flowers, and fruits. He also caused all of the trees, grass, dry wood, and leaves, everything on the ground, to appear as if made of the seven precious materials.
Moreover, he completely healed the diseases of the entire saha world. He pacified all the sufferings of hell beings, and of those abiding in the animal realms and in the world of Yama, the lord of death. These beings received food, drink, clothing, Dharma robes, and ornaments. At that moment, the wishes of all beings in the realm of the saha world were completely fulfilled. They were possessed of good bodies, alluring beauty, sublime excellent complexions, and perfect limbs. The bright radiance of an illuminating orb of light, free of dust and dimness, made them even more beautiful. They were free of mental afflictions, their minds were very calm, inclined to every kind of virtue, and their faith in the Three Jewels deepened.
Next, he manifested precious jewels in the hands of all the beings gathered in this assembly, each jewel radiating its own light rays. The entire realm of the saha world was completely pervaded by that great light. Different kinds of melodious sounds also emanated from those jewels as a rain of a multitude of jewels showered down. Rains of various fine garments, of ornaments, of flowers, incense, garlands, parasols, vessels, and of fruit also showered down. He produced manifestations of divine garments, Dharma robes, golden threads, and pearl necklaces; of lotus flowers, utpala flowers, jasmine, and white lotuses; of Uragasala trees, snake-heart sandalwood, tamala tree leaves, and of white sandalwood powder scattered along the path.
On both sides of the road, right and left, he produced manifestations of residences resembling the celestial palace of Indra and divine mansions made of the seven precious materials. In those palaces, he manifested the lord of desire Kamesvara’s most sublime consort and her retinue; they were playing pleasant music endowed with the five qualities, and were engaging in joyful play and entertainment.
He also produced a manifestation that exquisitely decorated the sky above the Bhagavan’s head. Made of jewel filigrees and garlands of pearl jewelry, vast by some hundred yojanas, it resembled the great Brahma’s parasol of divine precious jewels. From these ornaments the sound of melodious songs of the five qualities, even more beautiful than divine music, also emerged. The grass, woods, leaves, flowers, fruit, and everything on the ground, too, emitted scintillating music of five qualities, even more beautiful than divine music, from which words of praise emerged. No one who heard these sounds would ever turn away from attaining complete and perfect enlightenment.
When the assembly saw the grand display of the bodhisattva mahasattva Akasagarbha, the entire gathering had the most wonderful and marvelous experiences. They wondered, “How shall we arrange the seat of this holy being in the presence of the Bhagavan?”
At that very moment a lotus flower appeared in front of the Bhagavan. Made of precious substances, it had a stem of silver, leaves of gold, a core of emerald, and flower anthers made of the light of Brahma’s precious stone. Its width was about one krosa. Myriad kinds of lotus anther seats emerged in front and around it. On the lotus, the bodhisattva mahasattva Akasagarbha appeared, sitting cross-legged. On his crown there was a precious jewel. Similarly, many myriads of bodhisattva mahasattvas, servants of the bodhisattva mahasattva Akasagarbha, appeared. Sitting on their respective lotus anther seats, they were absorbed in the meditative concentration of brave progression. Each was adorned with an Indranila jewel.
The bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya said to the bodhisattva mahasattva Bhaisajyaraja:
“All bodhisattvas of great renown
respectfully pay homage
first, when they arrive,
and only then do they take their seats.
When this great being arrived and made his grand displays, he appeared sitting on his seat without having prostrated to the Buddha.”
“We see that this great being
dwells excellently in the Buddhadharma.
Since he does not dwell in discursive thought, we do not see him as a sentient being.”
Bodhisattva Maitreya asked:
“Since he abides in final reality,
We do not see him as a sentient being.
If that is so, to what purpose has he made this great display?
I am afflicted by doubts: please explain further!”
At this, Bhaisajyaraja replied:
“Immature beings do not understand ultimate reality; their experience is a complete mental construction.
This is a hero’s method
that brings these sentient beings to maturity.
By means of ultimate reality suffering beings will be completely freed.
To this end, by means of relative truth, the skillful ones
manifest displays such as this one here.”
The Bhagavan now said to the bodhisattva mahasattva Bhaisajyaraja, “What you say is well-spoken, well-spoken indeed. It is exactly as you say, holy being! However many immature, ordinary beings there may be, not one of them understands the field of experience, practice, or liberation of a stream-enterer. Imagine that all sentient beings had become stream-enterers. Even then, not one of them would understand the field of experience, practice, or liberation of a single once-returner. Similarly, once-returners would not understand nonreturners, non-returners would not understand arhats, and arhats would not understand pratyekabuddhas. Even if all sentient beings had become pratyekabuddhas, who dwell alone like the rhinoceros, none of them would understand the field of experience of a single bodhisattva who has attained acceptance that phenomena are non-arising, nor his liberation, his analysis of ultimate reality, or his practice of bringing sentient beings to complete spiritual maturity. Imagine that all sentient beings had attained acceptance that phenomena are non-arising. Even so, not one of them would understand the field of experience of a single bodhisattva who has realized discriminating awareness and attained the meditative concentration of brave progression; nor would they fathom his aspirations, or the transformative power of his investigating ultimate reality.
“An uncountable number of eons ago, this son of noble family, the bodhisattva mahasattva Akasagarbha, attained acceptance that phenomena are non-arising, attained discriminating awareness, and attained the meditative concentration of brave progression. Hence, he knows the mentalities and latent tendencies of the beings now present in my great assembly. Indeed, some of the beings came here for the great display. In order to observe meditative concentration and a great display, one must abide on the level of freedom from attachment. The son of noble family did not appear in this way to those beings, but instead came from the western direction to this place and displayed meditative concentration and the supernatural knowledge of the bases of perception of sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and of the extraordinary beings of the boundless infinity of space.
“Ordinary sentient beings, however, became very disheartened, so he then showed a great display, created on the level of relative truth, in order to bring all sentient beings to complete maturity. He also showed a great display of meditative concentration. If the son of noble family had manifested a display of unborn ultimate reality, then the world’s inhabitants, including the gods, would have become confused and defiled. Since even bodhisattvas dwelling on the grounds up to the eighth ground may become defiled, they themselves do not have the capacity to display such a field of experience and the distinguishing qualities of his practice. Thus he abides in the qualities of the profound Dharma.
“This son of noble family abides in the understanding of skillful means. He possesses all the ocean-like qualities of a buddha, has no doubt, and is a wise person who does not need to depend on others’ wisdom. He is like the supreme victory banner of all bodhisattvas, suitable for a king.
“This son of noble family, the bodhisattva Akasagarbha, shows all beings the way to rebirth in the higher realms and to liberation. He frees them completely of the disease of mental afflictions, and cures the body’s poisons, the diseases derived from the four great elements. Even those sentient beings who, suffering in the desolate place of samsara, have become polluted by their negative views and do not know the means to reach the higher realms and liberation may utter the name of the bodhisattva Akasagarbha, pay homage, and offer perfume and incense of aloe wood. And this son of noble family examines their mentalities and latent tendencies, how they are influenced by afflicted views, and how they generated roots of merit in the past, and he understands how their minds have to be trained. He teaches them how to generate roots of virtue toward the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Samgha, or else the meritorious character of the essence of giving, of ethical discipline, or meditation, whichever might be appropriate. Whether in dreams or during waking hours, in all these ways the skillful one teaches the path directly and with straightforward methods. These methods quickly liberate beings from negative views and actions, from unwholesome intentions, from wrong objects of refuge, and from a mind engaged in negativity.
“It is certain that their actions of body, speech, and mind will become upright, their aspirations will become honest, and they will follow an honest spiritual friend. They will quickly be freed from stains, from mental afflictions, and from negative views. All the unwholesome paths that lead to the lower realms will swiftly be purified by the power of aspirations and the activities of excellent conduct. He also teaches the methods that allow beings to swiftly gain control over their own minds and abide in profound tolerance.
“If those sentient beings who suffer from various physical diseases, whose minds are distracted, who have impaired eyesight, who are inarticulate, or who are physically disabled in any way, wholeheartedly recite the name of the bodhisattva mahasattva Akasagarbha in order to pacify their diseases and reach a state free of ills, and if they burn aloe wood and Chinese incense and prostrate to the holy being Akasa-garbha, then that son of noble family will appear in their dreams in front of them in the guise of a brahmin, Sakra, Sri, Sarasvati, a king, minister, hero, doctor, father, mother, boy, or girl. In the dreams he will sit before sick people and manifest whatever appropriate medicine and instruments can pacify their illness. And with one treatment he will heal all illness.
“Similarly, the son of noble family teaches the appropriate methods to those who desire good advice or possessions, wish to recite prayers and to study, long for solitude, desire to abide firmly in meditative concentration, gain wisdom, be famous, or learn crafts; those who desire power, a good body, wealth, saintliness, a high caste, a son, or a servant; those who desire good qualities, or giving, ethical discipline, and the other perfections up to wisdom; those who desire soft-spoken words, to be in harmony with other beings, liberation from negativity, or to bring others to the practice of all of the perfections from giving to wisdom; those who desire a long life, or to have property and never lack it; and those who wish to cause the stingy to be generous, the immoral to be ethical, or the lazy to be diligent. Those who are never lacking in great compassion, and who observe themselves and practice equanimity toward all beings, thinking ‘By whatever means necessary, I will place these beings’ minds in unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment, I will familiarize them with skillful means, I will anchor them in all the mental states from the four sublime abodes up to great compassion,’ they should all pay homage to the bodhisattva Akasagarbha.
“In a remote place, or in the open plains, or in an unsheltered place, they should burn incense of aloe wood and Chinese incense at specific times. With palms joined, they should make prostrations with the five limbs in all the cardinal and secondary directions and recite the words of this mantra:
tadyatha | sumrisa | sumrisa | karunika | caracara | vicara | samcara | karunika | murmur | vegadhari | maca me | bhujapada | mahakarunika | cmatamanr puraya | karunika | sarva samesthapaya | ajnadhari | sphu gun sphu gun | ruti viveka gun dristi viveka gung | puraya karunika | purayantu mama | asa sarva antha ca | asokagati svaha |
“They should recite this mantra many times and then go to sleep. The son of noble family will appear to them in the form of a human being, a wild animal, a bird, in his own form, or as a body that corresponds to their fortune of merit. Or he will employ such methods as using words in a similar way. That method alone has the power to bring billions of billions of beings to complete maturity. Whether they do not follow any path, or practice the sravaka path, or the pratyekabuddha’s path, in a single brief instant of wisdom and with just a minimum of skillful means he has the power to place them irrevocably on the unsurpassable Mahayana path, there by establishing them in meditative concentration, in the dharams, in the various states of tolerance, and up to the tenth ground. This shows that the bodhisattva mahasattva Akasagarbha is endowed with inconceivable methods, primordial wisdom, and great compassion.
“Son of noble family, some people can comprehend the extent of space, but no-one can comprehend the extent of this noble son’s methods and primordial wisdom, of his great love and great compassion, the extent to which he has developed the strength of meditative concentration and brings beings to complete maturation. This shows that the bodhisattva mahasattva Akasagarbha possesses inconceivable qualities.
“Son of noble family, beings who are without deceit, without pretense, are diligent, endowed with honest views, who do not belittle others and do not praise themselves, who have abandoned jealousy and greed, who are free from hypocrisy, and have altruistic minds—such beings are all deeply loved by this son of noble family. He teaches them skillful means, primordial wisdom, vigor, and how to maintain determination. These means, wisdom, vigor, and determination liberate beings from their sufferings and cause them to generate a mind that strives for unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment. Moreover, since they dedicate all the roots of virtue to enlightenment, they will never turn away from attaining the state of unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment. Their energy, vigor, and great determination will become the great enthusiasm and determination needed to bring the six perfections to complete perfection. They will swiftly awaken entirely and perfectly to unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment. This shows that the bodhisattva mahasattva Akasagarbha possesses determination and good qualities that are inconceivable, and that he brings all sentient beings to complete maturation.” The bodhisattva Maitreya asked the Bhagavan, “Bhagavan, for what purpose does this son of noble family carry on his head, the holiest part of the body, a precious jewel shining with brilliant bright light, whereas other bodhisattvas do not possess anything like it?”
The Bhagavan replied, “The bodhisattva mahasattva Akasa-garbha possesses great compassion, he benefits beings, and liberates them from great suffering. Thus, for all beings who have committed a root transgression, who are bound for the lower realms, who have exhausted all roots of virtue—for all these frightened beings, this son of noble family is medicine. For those drowning in the pitch black darkness of ignorance and those tormented by their negative views, he is like the sun. He brings them to disclose their root transgressions; he lifts the doubts from their hearts. For those whose hearts have become like a broken vessel, who have fallen, who have committed a fundamental transgression, who have destroyed all their virtuous qualities, who are bound for the lower realms, who are protectorless, devoid of support, abandoned by all the wise ones—for all of them, this son of noble family is like a crutch. He shows the way, reveals and cleanses all negative actions and all stains. He turns beings away from the paths leading to the lower realms. He is like a chariot. He establishes beings in the higher realms and in the state of liberation. For all beings who have minds entangled in intense desire or intense hatred, who are malevolent, who conceal their faults, whose minds are disturbed by miserliness, who grope in darkness because of extreme dullness, who proclaim the non-existence of causality, who hold the view that one should be fearless concerning the next life, who lack contentment in their accumulation of wealth, and whose minds are constantly involved in all the ten unwholesome actions, this son of noble family performs every role, from closing the door to the lower realms up to serving as a chariot. He establishes those sentient beings in the higher realms and in the state of liberation.
“For these reasons, with the exception of the tathagata, arhat, completely perfect buddhas, the whole world including the gods should worship this son of noble family.”
Bodhisattva Maitreya asked, “Bhagavan, sentient beings stained by a root transgression forfeit their roots of virtue and are bound for the lower realms. They are in a state of transgression and will be deprived of any happiness of the god and human realms. Yet this son of noble family brings about these beings’ fulfillment with the bliss of the higher realms and liberation. What are these particular transgressions?”
The Bhagavan answered, “Son of noble family, there are five root transgressions for a ksatriya on whom royal authority has been bestowed. By committing any of these root transgressions, a ksatriya upon whom royal authority has been bestowed will forfeit all previously generated roots of virtue, and will be in a state of transgression. Such a ksatriya will be deprived of all the happiness of the god and human realms, and will go to the lower realms.
“What are these five transgressions? Son of noble family, for a ksatriya on whom royal authority has been bestowed, stealing from a place of worship, stealing that which has been offered to the local samgha or the samgha of the four directions, or inciting someone to steal it: these constitute the first root transgression.
Forcing someone to give up the Dharma, whether it is the instructions on the sravakas’ definite deliverance, the instructions on the pratyekabuddhas’ definite deliverance, or the instructions on the Mahayana definite deliverance, as well as creating obstacles to the teachings, or concealing them: all of these constitute the second root transgression.
“Taking by force the saffron robes of those who have shaved their heads and beards for my sake and donned the saffron robes—whether they uphold the precepts or not, whether they observe the discipline or not—thus making them householders; inflicting corporal punishment on them, imprisoning or killing them: all of these constitute the third root transgression.
“Furthermore, a ksatriya commits the fourth root transgression with any one of these five heinous deeds: purposely killing one’s own mother, father, or a sravaka, arhat, or the Bhagavan; dividing the samgha; or purposely and out of negative intention causing a tathagata, arhat, perfectly complete buddha to bleed.
“Furthermore, if a ksatriya advocates the philosophy of the non-existence of causality, denies the existence of future lives, embraces the ten paths of unwholesome action and engages in them, and also influences many other people to follow the ten paths of unwholesome action, manipulates them, encourages them and brings them to do so: these actions constitute the fifth root transgression.
“Son of noble family, if a ksatriya on whom royal authority has been bestowed commits any of these five root transgressions, this ksatriya will forfeit all previously generated roots of virtue. He will be in a state of transgression. Such a ksatriya will be deprived of any happiness of the god and human realms, and will be bound for the lower realms.
“When that happens, the bodhisattva Akasagarbha will manifest his birth and appear in an uncivilized land or another place, manifesting for some in the form, attire, and conduct of a monastic, for others in the form, attire, and conduct of a brahmin. However and wherever he manifests, he will explain the Dharma to such ksatriyas. He will explain and teach the hitherto unheard of, the unprecedented, the instructions of the omniscient one, the deep and profound sutras, the dharams, tolerance, and the grounds. And for this reason the ksatriyas on whom royal authority has been bestowed will be caused to develop shame about their previous negative and unwholesome actions. They will reprimand themselves and disclose, give up, and abandon negative actions. They will develop great enthusiasm for giving, discipline, taking precepts, and determination, and they will reach the higher realms.
“Maitreya, the transgressions of a minister are also five in number. What are these five? Stealing from a place of worship or from the samgha of the four directions is considered the first root transgression of a minister. Destroying a village, a district, or a town constitutes the second root transgression. Furthermore, for a minister, forcing somebody to give up the Dharma, whether this entails the instructions on the sravakas’ definitive deliverance, the instructions on the pratyekabuddhas’ definite deliverance, or the instructions on the definite deliverance of the omniscient one, as well as creating obstacles for the teachings or concealing them: these constitute the third root transgression. Furthermore, for a minister, harming those who have taken ordination with the Bhagavan—whether they uphold the precepts or not, whether they observe the discipline or not, taking by force their saffron robes and making them householders; resorting to corporal punishment, imprisoning them or taking their lives: these all constitute the fourth root transgression. Finally, for a minister to commit one or more of the five heinous deeds constitutes the fifth root transgression.
“Son of noble family, if a minister commits any of the five root transgressions he will forfeit all previously generated roots of virtue, and will be in a state of transgression. Such a minister will be deprived of any happiness of the god and human realms, and will descend to the hell realms. Then, for the sake of such a person, the bodhisattva Akasagarbha will be born, live, and teach in the land of the uncivilized or another place. For some beings he will manifest in the form, attire, and conduct of a monk, for others in various other forms and attires, including that of a girl, and he will teach the Dharma.
“Irrespective of wh ere and in which guise he has manifested, he will explain the Dharma to those ministers. He will explain and teach the hitherto unheard of, the unprecedented, the instructions of the omniscient one, the deep and profound sutras, the dharams, tolerance, and the grounds. Then those ministers will be made to develop shame about their previous unwholesome negative actions. They will reprimand themselves and disclose, give up, and relinquish negative actions. And they will eagerly practice giving, discipline, and having determination for the vows; and they will reach the higher realms.
“Son of noble family, there are five root transgressions for sravakas. Which are the five? They are killing, taking what was not given, impure conduct, lying, and physically harming or drawing blood from the body of a tathagata. These are the five. According to how it has always been explained, when my srava-kas commit any of these root transgressions, the bodhisattva Akasagarbha will manifest birth in different places for the benefit of those beings. To some he teaches in the form of a monastic with the appropriate attire and conduct, and so forth, including all forms previously mentioned, and those beings will reach the higher realms.
“There are eight root transgressions for sons of noble family who are beginners and who have correctly embarked on the Mahayana path. These root transgressions cause confusion, and beginners who have correctly entered the Mahayana will forfeit the entirety of their previously generated roots of virtue, and they will be in a state of transgression. They will be deprived of the happiness of gods, of humans, and of the Mahayana, go to the lower realms, be separated from a spiritual friend, and remain in samsara for a very long time. What are the eight?
“There are beings who were born in this worldly realm of afflictions and five impurities because they conducted themselves in evil ways in the past. They rely upon a spiritual friend and listen to the most profound Mahayana owing to the tiny root of virtue they possess. Though they do so with little understanding, those sons of noble family give birth to the aspiration to unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment. Some beginner bodhisattvas among them listen to the collection of sutras that present the most profound emptiness, transmit, and read them. In the presence of other sentient beings who understand as little as those just mentioned, they recall these sutras in great detail in word and meaning, just as they heard and understood them, and they teach them to others. When those ordinary, immature beings who have not gone through arduous training hear such profound sutras, they become extremely frightened and terrified. Because they are terrified, they turn back from attaining unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment and aspire to the vehicle of the sravakas. This is the first root transgression for a beginner bodhisattva.
“Son of noble family, due to this root transgression, they will forfeit the entirety of their previously generated roots of virtue. They will be in a state of transgression and be deprived of the happiness of the higher realms and of liberation. They will betray their bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment, and go to the lower realms.
“It is like this. Just as, for instance, one travels the great ocean in stages, similarly bodhisattvas must initially know other sentient beings, their inclinations and latent tendencies. In accordance with the other beginner bodhisattvas’ predispositions, they must teach the Dharma step by step.
“The bodhisattva Akasagarbha manifests his birth and appears in different places for their benefit. Therefore, if beginner bodhisattvas who have incurred such a root transgression and are terrified by the lower realms hear the name of the bodhisattva Akasagarbha and wish to see him in order to disclose those transgressions, they should burn aloe wood and Chinese or other incense, join their palms, and utter the name of the bodhisattva Akasagarbha at the break of dawn.
“Having seen such sentient beings, this son of noble family will manifest in a form corresponding to their respective fortunes. Thus, in the presence of some, he will manifest in an ordinary form and teach the Dharma. In the presence of others, he will teach in the form of a brahmin, and in the presence of yet others he may manifest in any other form, including the form of a girl, and cause the beginner bodhisattvas to disclose their root transgressions just as they occurred. He also teaches them expertise in skillful means, the profound conduct of the unsurpassable Mahayana. He establishes them in meditative concentration, tolerance, the dharams, and the grounds. As a result, they will be completely liberated from the lower realms and will not turn back from attaining perfectly complete enlightenment. In vajra-like manner, they will rely upon the six perfections with great strength and determination, and will soon manifestly and completely awaken to unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment.
“If he does not directly appear in front of them, the beginner bodhisattvas should rise before dawn and pray to Aruna, uttering these words: ‘Aruna, o Aruna, endowed with great compassion! O Aruna, as soon as you have risen in this world, enfold me in your compassion. Convey these words of mine to Akasagarbha, the one of great compassion: Please show yourself in my dreams so that I may disclose my root transgressions. Lead me to obtain the great eyes of wisdom endowed with the skillful means of the noble Mahayana.’
“Then they should go back to bed to sleep. Here too, the bodhisattva Akasagarbha will appear at the break of dawn in the dreams of those beginner bodhisattvas who have committed a transgression, and with great skillful means of primordial wisdom he will lead them to disclose their root transgressions. He also teaches primordial wisdom endowed with skillful means. This enables the beginner bodhisattvas to obtain the meditative concentration called not forgetting the mind of enlightenment at that very moment. They will firmly abide by the Mahayana and swiftly come to complete the six perfections.
“Furthermore, beginner bodhisattvas may say to some people: ‘You are not able to engage in the practice of the six perfections. You are not able to manifestly and completely awaken to unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment. Therefore, quickly turn your minds to either the sravaka vehicle or the pratyekabuddha vehicle and you will swiftly be definitively released from samsara.’ Speaking these words is the second root transgression for a beginner bodhisattva.
“Furthermore, beginner bodhisattvas may say to some, ‘Oh! What is the use of practicing the vinaya of individual liberation, [F.276.a] ethical discipline, and good conduct? You should swiftly bring forth the mind that strives for unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment and study the Mahayana. Then even the tiniest unwholesome deeds you have committed with your body, speech, and mind due to the afflictions will be purified, and they will not come to maturation.’ Saying these words is the third root transgression for beginner bodhisattvas.
“Furthermore, son of noble family, beginner bodhisattvas may say to some, ‘Son of noble family, eschew the discourses of the sravaka vehicle! Do not listen to them, do not read them, and do not teach them to others. Son of noble family, eschew the discourses of the sravaka vehicle! They are the reason why you cannot obtain the great result, why you are not able to eradicate the afflictions. Therefore, have faith in the discourses of the Mahayana. Listen to the Mahayana, study the Mahayana, and teach it to others. Thus you will not go to the lower realms, you will not enter any path leading to the lower realms, and swiftly you will manifestly and completely awaken to unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment.’ If these words are spoken and the listener acts accordingly and adopts a similar view, then both actions incur a root transgression. This is the fourth root transgression of beginner bodhisattvas.
“Furthermore, beginner bodhisattvas may be two-faced, thinking one thing but professing another. They may also propagate and versify the Mahayana teachings, and for the purpose of gain and honor they may chant those verses, recite, memorize, read, and explain them, and even teach others things that they have merely heard, saying, ‘I am a follower of the Mahayana; others, however, are not.’ Because they seek gain and honor, they act jealously and become upset when others are appreciated and respected. Uttering their names, they disparage, abuse, and speak badly of them, praising themselves instead. Out of jealousy, they say, ‘I possess supreme qualities.’ This action constitutes a transgression and deprives them of the happiness of the Mahayana. It is therefore considered a very serious transgression that leads to rebirth in the lower realms.
“The analogy here is of a group of people who wish to go to a jewel island and set out to cross the great ocean by boat, but the boat breaks apart in the great ocean. In the same way, even though these beginner bodhisattvas wish to cross the great ocean of the Mahayana, they destroy their boat of faith and part from the vital force of wisdom when they lie out of jealousy. Therefore, beginner bodhisattvas incur a very weighty transgression when they lie out of jealousy. This is the fifth root transgression for beginner bodhisattvas.
“Furthermore, son of noble family, in the future there will be beginner bodhisattvas, householders or ordained, who will read, recite, and chant sutras that contain profound emptiness. These Mahayana sutras are the object of understanding of bodhisattvas who need only little effort, and who are greatly intelligent beings, adorned with dharams, tolerance, meditative concentration, and the grounds.
“Having recited them, they extensively teach these sutras to others. They say, ‘I have understood these teachings with my own intelligence; I teach them to you in this way because I am compassionate. Therefore, you must meditate on this profound Dharma in order to directly perceive it and you too will come to behold primordial wisdom, just as I do now.’ Instead of stating, ‘I have not actualized this most profound Dharma, but teach it by merely reading it out,’ they promote themselves for the purpose of gain and honor. Therefore, in the eyes of the tathagata, arhat, perfectly complete buddhas of the three times, bodhisattva mahasattvas, and noble beings, they have become stained by faults. A heavy transgression has occurred. Having deceived gods and humans using the Mahayana, there will be no sravaka vehicle of the buddha for those bodhisattvas, much less the Mahayana, or the particular realizations which are the entry into the Mahayana, or unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment.
“The analogy here is that of someone who travels out into the great secluded wilderness, wh ere he suffers hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. He then approaches a tree, intending to eat of the great fruit it bears. However, ignoring the tree with its fine aroma and delicious fruit, he climbs instead a poisonous tree bearing fruit devoid of taste, and eats its poisonous fruit. In doing so, he causes his own death. Such a beginner bodhisattva committing the sixth transgression is said to be like the person in this analogy.
“Therefore, if beginner bodhisattvas who have gained this hard-to-achieve human birth live with a spiritual friend and wish to enter the Mahayana, yet praise themselves and disparage others for the purpose of gain, honor, and fame, they incur a serious transgression. Because of this root transgression, all the wise ones will strongly criticize them and they will go to the lower realms. No ksatriya, brahmin, vaisya, or sudra will rely upon such a person. Anyone who does rely upon such a person is definitely unwise. This, again, is the sixth root transgression for beginner bodhisattvas.
“Furthermore, son of noble family, in the future ksatriyas will have dishonorable advisors and ministers, dishonorable soldiers and physicians—rich and powerful fools who are proud of their expertise. Seeming to engage in many meritorious deeds of giving, they will become proud and haughty due to their giving. Out of arrogance and pride, they will cause division within the ksatriyas, as well as separation between the monastics and the ksatriyas. Backed by the ksatriyas, they may even punish the monastics, robbing them by imposing fines. Thus, being wronged, those monastics will steal from whichever individual, local samgha, samgha of the four directions, and whichever place of worship they can, and give
what they have robbed to pay their fine. And those dishonorable people in turn will offer this to the ksatriyas. Both of these actions become root transgressions. This is the seventh root transgression.
“Furthermore, those dishonorable ksatriyas together with the monastics commit the following fault. They declare pure Dharma to be non-Dharma, and refer to that which is non-Dharma as Dharma, thus abandoning the true Dharma. They do not observe the precepts of the sutras and the vinaya, nor do they observe the black teachings, nor the great teachings. Having abandoned their training in loving kindness, great compassion, and the perfection of wisdom, as well as their training in skillful means and the trainings taught in other sutras, they organize duties for the monastic community that are dissociated from such meritorious activities in order to harm the bhiksus. Because such duties have been organized, the bhiksus are harmed. They abandon the practices of calm abiding and special insight. Harmful intentions multiply in those meditators, as a result of which they cannot pacify their unpacified emotions. As these do not subside, these bhiksus then degenerate in terms of intention, ethical discipline, conduct, and view. Therefore, they become negligent, and ever more negligent, and their ethical discipline degenerates. Even though they are not monastics, they pretend to be, and even though they do not lead a chaste life they pretend to. They resemble donkeys, and they explain the Dharma most clearly. Once they have been greatly honored and venerated by the ksatriyas and their retinues and have received their offerings, they criticize, in front of the householders, the other bhiksus who diligently practice relinquishment. And the ksatriyas together with their retinues become angry at the bhiksus who diligently practice relinquishment, and disparage them.
“If the support and material riches that were destined for the bhiksus who diligently practice relinquishment are offered to the bhiksus exerting themselves in recitation, at this point, then both actions become root transgressions. Why? Because the bhiksu meditators are holy, while those who only recite and advise others are not. The bhiksu meditators have become vessels for meditative concentration, dharams, tolerance, and the grounds. They have become holy beings worthy of receiving offerings; they have become sacred vessels. They illuminate the world and show the way, liberating beings from the realm of karma and afflictions and placing them on the path leading beyond sorrow.
“Son of noble family, since they have no misgivings concerning such actions and fear no consequences, this is the eighth root transgression for beginner bodhisattvas. When beginner bodhisattvas commit these root transgressions, they forfeit all previously generated roots of virtue. They have incurred a transgression, will be deprived of the happiness of the higher realms and of liberation, and have deceived themselves.
“Son of noble family, for the benefit of beginner bodhisattvas, the bodhisattva Akasagarbha is born and appears in the places wh ere such bodhisattvas dwell. To some he teaches in the form of a monastic with the appropriate attire and conduct, displaying to others a variety of forms, from that of a brahmin with the proper attire and conduct to the semblance and conduct of an animal. For an extensive explanation of this, one should read the Sutra on the Meditative Concentration of Brave Progression (Suramgama-samadhisutra).
“Akasagarbha teaches the Dharma in various places according to the specificities of various beings. He conveys the sutras, meditative concentration, tolerance, and bodhisattva grounds taught by the omniscient one in a way that was previously unheard of and unprecedented. Consequently, beginner bodhisattvas ignorant of skillful means who have incurred transgressions are ashamed. Because of those transgressions, they are very frightened and terrified. They disclose the transgressions, give them up, and reject them.
“If, upon hearing the name of the bodhisattva Akasagarbha, those beings wish to see him, and if, fearful of falling to the lower realms, they wish to disclose their root transgressions, pay homage to the bodhisattva Akasagarbha, and call out his name, then, son of noble family, in accordance with their merit, he will stand before those sentient beings as an ordinary person, or in front of those beginner bodhisattvas in various forms, from that of a brahmin to that of a girl, and make them disclose those transgressions just as they have occurred.
“He displays his profound skill in means and shows them how to engage in the unsurpassable Mahayana. On the various bodhisattva grounds, he establishes them in meditative concentration, dharams, and tolerance by having them gradually practice the entire eightfold path. He frees them completely from their immense fear of the lower realms and establishes them on the stage of not turning away from unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment. As quick as a flash of lightning, they thereby become very strong and determined in the practice of the six perfections. In this way they swiftly come to manifestly and completely awaken to unsurpassable, perfectly complete enlightenment.
“If he does not show himself to them directly, the beginner bodhisattvas who pray to him and who have erred in their ways should rise during the watch of dawn, stand facing the eastern direction, and pray to Aruna, the divine son, uttering these words: ‘Aruna, o Aruna, endowed with great compassion! Great fortunate one! As soon as you have risen in this world, enfold me in your compassion. Summon the bodhisattva Akasagarbha, who is endowed with great compassion, with these my words: Show yourself in my dreams that I may disclose my transgressions. Lead me to obtain the skillful means and wisdom of the noble Mahayana.’
“Having spoken these words, they should go back to bed to sleep. Then, at the first light of dawn in this world, the bodhisattva Akasagarbha will come and appear in the dreams of those beginner bodhisattvas, in the guise of an ordinary person, and will make them disclose their root transgressions. With great primordial wisdom and skillful means, that expert in skillful means and primordial wisdom will bring these beginner bodhisattvas to attain the meditative concentration called not forgetting bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment at that very moment. They will come to firmly abide by the Mahayana