All who heard the teaching that had been preached before, including the not even human representatives of the spirit world, were moved by the blessing of the Lotus Sutra and now vowed in the strongest terms to protect the teachings of the Lotus Sutra and its followers, and to this end many pronounced spells. This chapter tells how certain of these spells, which are called dharanis, were offered to safeguard the sutra and its followers. These "all-preserving true words" were secret words with power in themselves to frustrate evil and further good, and since their power resided in their form, they were not translated when the sutra was translated into Chinese but remained in transliterated Sanskrit, in which form they are found in the English translation.
The dharanis in this chapter are made up almost entirely of the names of deities or epithets for them, and as words addressed to the deities, they sought through the power of the words to win response from the beings of the spirit world. This is all somewhat removed from the basic meaning of Buddhist teachings, but the mysterious workings of dharanis are something I have experienced so often that I cannot but feel there is some deep spiritual significance in them.
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