With the conclusion of the passage on the Bodhisattva Medicine King, Shakyamuni emits streams of light - the light of knowledge - from the top of his head and from the circle of white hair between his eyebrows. This light penetrates distances far to the east to a land named Adorned with Pure Radiance, where there is a buddha called King Wisdom of the Pure Flower Constellation Tathagata. A disciple, the Bodhisattva Wonder Sound, addresses this buddha, announcing that he wishes to go to the saha-world to worship Shakyamuni Buddha and talk with the great bodhisattvas there.
The Tathagata King Wisdom assents but warns that the saha-world is a foul place; that the body of the Buddha is short and small; that all the bodhisattvas are of small stature; that, compared with King Wisdom and Wonder Sound, the Buddha and bodhisattvas are so little that it would be tempting to take them lightly; and that this would be a mistake. By way of illustration he points out that his own enormous height and Wonder Sound's, together with Wonder Sound's body of resplendent gold, are going to make the earthly Buddha and bodhisattvas look small and insignificant indeed.
Whereupon, after various preliminaries, Wonder Sound arrives at Vulture Peak, prostrates himself before Shakyamuni and greets him. He then asks if the World-honored One will allow him to see the Tathagata Abundant Treasures. Immediately after Shakyamuni has relayed this request, Abundant Treasures appears and praises Wonder Sound for coming to pay homage to Shakyamuni.
At this the Bodhisattva Flower Virtue questions Shakyamuni about this odd occurrence. Shakyamuni responds that in a past time Wonder Sound had paid homage to a buddha named King of Cloud Thundering and that from the merit of making music for twelve thousand years and making an offering of eighty-four thousand vessels of treasure, he had acquired the unusual powers Flower Virtue is wondering at. Moreover, Wonder Sound's present body is by no means his only one, for he has appeared in many forms in countless places everywhere to preach the teaching to multitudes of people.
All are profoundly impressed, and Wonder Sound, having accomplished his mission, then returns with his retinue to his own land.
Such is the rough outline of what is described in this chapter. The land Adorned with Pure Radiance stands for an ideal world. The ideal, of course, is a creation of the mind, a place of shining light with a buddha and bodhisattvas of gigantic proportions and surpassing beauty. The actual world, the saha-world, is hardly comparable, being a foul place, and even the Buddha and his bodhisattvas seem but pitiful things.
But mindful of the advice of the King Wisdom of the Pure Flower Constellation Tathagata, Wonder Sound paid heartfelt homage to the Buddha of the saha-world. The meaning of this act is that Shakyamuni's effort to build an ideal world on earth was far worthier than the mere ideal itself. So long as the ideal is only something plotted out in the mind, it is only a dream. Its worth comes only in realization, in endeavor to bring the ideal to reality. This is the first major lesson of this chapter.
Wonder Sound's playing music and his offering of eighty-four thousand vessels of treasure also have meaning. Making music is a symbol of causing word of the truth to sound in people's hearts, while the offering of so vast a quantity of treasure means the transmission of the Buddha's countless teachings to the people of the world. Transmission of the truth taught by the Buddha is certainly the greatest offering we can make to the Buddha. Shakyamuni was demonstrating this here, and it is the second major lesson of this chapter.
If we understand this, then perhaps the meaning of Wonder Sound's being in many bodies and preaching the Law everywhere will also be clear. Right in our own midst there are countless Wonder Sound bodhisattvas; in fact, we ourselves, if we but preach the Law with true words, are none other than manifestations of the Bodhisattva Wonder Sound. With this awareness, how great an impetus and inspiration are we given to spread word of the True Law! This, then, is the third great lesson of this chapter.
Copyright by Rissho Kosei-kai. All rights reserved.