Then Shakyamuni Buddha emitted a ray of light from the protuberance [on his cranium],1 the sign of a great man, and emitted a ray of light from the white hair-circle sign between his eyebrows, everywhere illuminating eastward a hundred and eight myriad kotis of nayutas of buddha-worlds, equal to the sands of the Ganges. Beyond those numbers [of worlds] is a world named Adorned with Pure Radiance.2 In that domain there is a buddha styled King Wisdom of the Pure Flower Constellation3 Tathagata, Worshipful, All Wise, Perfectly Enlightened in Conduct, Well Departed, Understander of the World, Peerless Leader, Controller, Teacher of Gods and Men, Buddha, World-honored One. Revered and surrounded by a great host of incalculable and countless bodhisattvas, he preached the Law to them. The ray of light from the white hair-circle of Shakyamuni Buddha shone throughout their domain.
At that time in the domain Adorned With All Pure Radiance there was a bodhisattva whose name was Wonder Sound,4 who for long had cultivated many roots of virtue, paid homage to and courted innumerable hundred thousand myriad kotis of buddhas, and perfectly acquired profound wisdom. He had attained the contemplation of the wonderful banner sign, the contemplation of the Law-Flower, the contemplation of pure virtue, the contemplation of the Constellation King's sport, the contemplation of causelessness,5 the contemplation of the knowledge seal, the contemplation of interpreting the utterances of all beings, the contemplation of collection of all merits, the contemplation of purity, the contemplation of supernatural sport, the contemplation of wisdom torch, the contemplation of the king of adornment, the contemplation of pure luster, the contemplation of the pure treasury, the contemplation of the unique, and the contemplation of sun revolution: such hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of great contemplations as these had he acquired, equal to the sands of the Ganges. No sooner had the ray from Shakyamuni Buddha shone upon him than he said to the Buddha King Wisdom of the Pure Flower Constellation: "World-honored One! I should go to visit the saha-world to salute, approach, and pay homage to Shakyamuni Buddha, as well as to see the Bodhisattva Manjushri, son of the Law-king, the Bodhisattva Medicine King, the Bodhisattva Courageous Giver, the Bodhisattva Star Constellation King Flower, the Bodhisattva Mind for Higher Deeds,6 the Bodhisattva King of Adornment, and the Bodhisattva Medicine Lord."
Then the Buddha King Wisdom of the Pure Flower Constellation addressed the Bodhisattva Wonder Sound: "Do not look lightly on that domain or conceive a low opinion of it. Good son! That saha-world with its high and low [places] is uneven and full of earth, stones, hills, and filth; the body of the Buddha is short and small, and all the bodhisattvas are small of stature, whereas your body is forty-two thousand yojanas [high] and my body six million, eight hundred thousand yojanas. Your body is of the finest order, [blessed with] hundreds of thousands of myriads of felicities, and of a wonderful brightness. Therefore on going there do not look lightly on that domain, nor conceive a low opinion of the Buddha, nor of the bodhisattvas, nor of [their] country."
The Bodhisattva Wonder Sound replied to that buddha: "World-honored one! That I now go to visit the saha-world is all due to the Tathagata's power, the Tathagata's magic play, and the Tathagata's adornment of merit and wisdom."
Thereupon the Bodhisattva Wonder Sound, without rising from his seat and without stirring his body, entered into contemplation. By the power of his contemplation, on Mount Gridhrakuta, not far distant from the Law seat, there appeared in transformation eighty-four thousand precious lotus flowers with stalks of jambunada gold, leaves of white silver, stamens of diamond, and cups of kimshuka gems.
Thereupon Manjushri, son of the Law-king, seeing those lotus flowers, said to the Buddha: "World-honored One! For what reason does this auspicious sign first appear? There are some thousands and myriads of lotus flowers with stalks of jambunada gold, leaves of white silver, stamens of diamond, and with cups of kimshuka gems." Then Shakyamuni Buddha informed Manjushri: "It is the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva Wonder Sound who desires to come from the domain of the Buddha King Wisdom of the Pure Flower Constellation, with his company of eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas, to this saha-world in order to pay homage to, draw nigh to, and salute me, and who also desires to pay homage to and hear the Law-Flower Sutra." Manjushri said to the Buddha: "World-honored One! What roots of goodness has that bodhisattva planted, what merits has he cultivated, that he should be able to have such great transcendent power? What contemplation does he practice? Be pleased to tell us the name of this contemplation; we also desire diligently to practice it, [for] by practicing this contemplation, we may be able to see that bodhisattva--his color, form, and size, his dignity and behavior. Be pleased, World-honored One, by [thy] transcendent power, to let us see the coming of that bodhisattva."
Thereupon Shakyamuni Buddha told Manjushri: "The Tathagata Abundant Treasures, so long extinct, shall display to you the sign." Instantly the Buddha Abundant Treasures addressed that bodhisattva: "Come, good son! Manjushri, son of the Law-king, wishes to see you."
Thereupon the Bodhisattva Wonder Sound disappeared from that domain and started out along with his eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas. The countries through which they passed were shaken in the six [different] ways, lotus flowers of the precious seven rained everywhere, and hundreds of thousands of heavenly instruments resounded of themselves. That bodhisattva's eyes were like broad big leaves of the blue lotus. His august countenance surpassed the combined [glory] of hundreds of thousands of myriads of moons. His body was of pure gold color, adorned with infinite hundreds of thousands of meritorious [signs]; he was of glowing majesty, radiant and shining, marked with the perfect signs, and of a body strong as Narayana's.7 Entering a seven-jeweled tower, he mounted the sky seven tala trees above the earth and, worshiped and surrounded by a host of bodhisattvas, came to Mount Gridhrakuta in this saha-world. Arrived, he alighted from his seven-jeweled tower and, taking a necklace worth hundreds of thousands, went to Shakyamuni Buddha, at whose feet he made obeisance and to whom he presented the necklace, saying to the Buddha: "World-honored One! The Buddha King Wisdom of the Pure Flower Constellation inquires after the World-honored One: 'Hast thou few ailments and few worries? Art thou getting on at ease and in comfort? Are thy four [component] parts8 in harmony? Are thy worldly affairs tolerable? Are thy creatures easy to save? Are they not overcovetous, angry, foolish, envious, arrogant; not unfilial to parents or irreverent to shramanas; not having perverted views or being of bad mind, unrestrained in their five passions? World-honored One! Are thy creatures able to overcome the Mara-enemies? Does the Tathagata Abundant Treasures, so long extinct, [still] abide in the Stupa of the Precious Seven and come to listen to the Law?' [King Wisdom] also inquires of the Tathagata Abundant Treasures: 'Art thou at ease and of few worries? Wilt thou be content to remain long?' World-honored One! We now would see the body of the Buddha Abundant Treasures. Be pleased, World-honored One, to show and let us see him."
Then said Shakyamuni Buddha to the Buddha Abundant Treasures: "This Bodhisattva Wonder Sound desires to see you." Instantly the Buddha Abundant Treasures addressed Wonder Sound: "Excellent, excellent, that you have been able to come here to pay homage to Shakyamuni Buddha, to hear the Law-Flower Sutra, and to see Manjushri and the others."
Thereupon the Bodhisattva Flower Virtue said to the Buddha: "World-honored One! This Bodhisattva Wonder Sound--what roots of goodness has he planted, what merits has he cultivated, that he possesses such transcendent powers?" The Buddha answered the Flower Virtue Bodhisattva: "In the past there was a buddha named King of Cloud Thundering9 Tathagata, Arhat, Samyaksambodhi, whose domain was named Display of All Worlds and whose kalpa named Joyful Sight. The Bodhisattva Wonder Sound, for twelve thousand years, with a hundred thousand kinds of music, paid homage to the Buddha King of Cloud Thundering and offered up eighty-four thousand vessels of the precious seven. Being rewarded for this reason, he has now been born in the domain of the Buddha King Wisdom of the Pure Flower Constellation and possesses such transcendent powers. Flower Virtue! What is your opinion? The Bodhisattva Wonder Sound who at that time paid homage to the Buddha King of Cloud Thundering with music and offerings of precious vessels--was it some other person? It was indeed the present Bodhisattva-Mahasattva Wonder Sound. Flower Virtue! This Bodhisattva Wonder Sound had before paid homage to and been close to innumerable buddhas, for long had cultivated roots of virtues, and had met hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of nayutas of buddhas, [numerous] as the sands of the Ganges. Flower Virtue! You merely see here [one] body of the Bodhisattva Wonder Sound. But this bodhisattva appears in many kinds of bodies everywhere preaching this sutra to the living. Sometimes he appears as Brahma, or appears as Shakra, or appears as Ishvara, or appears as Maheshvara, or appears as a divine general, or appears as the divine king Vaishrayana, or appears as a holy wheel-rolling king, or appears as one of the ordinary kings, or appears as an elder, or appears as a citizen, or appears as a minister, or appears as a Brahman, or appears as a bhikshu, bhikshuni, upasaka, or upasika, or appears as the wife of an elder or a citizen, or appears as the wife of a minister, or appears as the wife of a Brahman, or appears as a youth or maiden, or appears as a god, dragon, yaksha, gandharva, asura, garuda, kimnara, mahoraga, man, or nonhuman being, and so on, and preaches this sutra. He is able to rescue whatever beings are in the hells, or hungry ghosts, or animals, and all in distress. Even in the inner courts of a king, transforming himself into a woman he preaches this sutra. Flower Virtue! This Bodhisattva Wonder Sound is one who is able to save and protect all the living in the saha-world. This Bodhisattva Wonder Sound, thus transforming himself and appearing in these various ways, in this saha-land preaches this sutra to all the living. In his [powers of] supernatural transformation and wisdom there is never any diminution. This bodhisattva in so many [ways of] wisdom has enlightened the saha-world, so that every one of the living has obtained knowledge [of him]. In [other] worlds in every direction, [numerous] as the sands of the Ganges, he also does the same. To those whom he must save in the form of a shravaka, he appears in the form of a shravaka and preaches the Law. To those whom he must save in the form of a pratyekabuddha, he appears in the form of a pratyekabuddha and preaches the Law. To those whom he must save in the form of a bodhisattva, he appears in the form of a bodhisattva and preaches the Law. To those whom he must save in the form of a buddha, he then appears in the form of a buddha and preaches the Law. In such various ways as these, according to the way in which he should save [men] he appears to them. Even to those whom he must save by extinction, he reveals himself as extinct. Flower Virtue! Such is the great supernatural power and wisdom attained by the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva Wonder Sound."
Thereupon the Bodhisattva Flower Virtue said to the Buddha: "World-honored One! This Bodhisattva Wonder Sound has [indeed] deeply planted [his] roots of goodness. World-honored One! In what contemplation does this bodhisattva abide, that he is able thus to transform and manifest himself according to circumstances, to save the living?" The Buddha answered Flower Virtue Bodhisattva: "Good son! That contemplation is named revelation of all forms. The Bodhisattva Wonder Sound, abiding in this contemplation, is able thus to benefit countless beings."
While this chapter of the Bodhisattva Wonder Sound was preached the eighty-four thousand who had come with the Bodhisattva Wonder Sound all attained the contemplation of revelation of all forms, and countless bodhisattvas in this saha-world also attained this contemplation and dharani.
Then the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva Wonder Sound, having paid homage to Shakyamuni Buddha and to the stupa of the Buddha Abundant Treasures, returned to his own land. The countries through which he passed were agitated in the six [different] ways, raining precious lotus flowers and performing hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of kinds of music. Having arrived at his own domain, he, with the eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas around him, went to the Buddha King Wisdom of the Pure Flower Constellation and said to him: "World-honored One! I have been to the saha-world, done good to its living beings, seen Shakyamuni Buddha, also seen the stupa of the Buddha Abundant Treasures, and worshiped and paid homage to them; I have also seen the Bodhisattva Manjushri, son of the Law-king, as well as the Bodhisattva Medicine King, the Bodhisattva Attainer of Earnestness and Zeal,10 the Bodhisattva Courageous Giver, and others, and caused those eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas to attain the contemplation of revelation of all forms."
While this chapter on the going and coming of the Bodhisattva Wonder Sound was preached, the forty-two thousand heavenly sons attained the assurance of no [re]birth, and the Bodhisattva Flower Virtue attained the contemplation termed Law-Flower.
THE SEVENTH FASCICLE
A protuberance on a buddha's cranium forming a natural hair tuft; this is the first of the thirty-two signs of a buddha.
Kern has "embellish by the rays of the sun."
Literally, "the king of the constellation [called] pure flower and buddha of wisdom."
The Sanskrit gadgada
means "stammering, stuttering" but is also used with the opposite meaning, "sounding beautiful or wonderful."
Not caused but causing; universal benevolence.
The extant Sanskrit text has "Vishishtacaritra," which is rendered by Kumarajiva as "Eminent Conduct" in chapters 15, 21, and 22. According to his version Vishishtacaritra disappears with the close of the assembly in chapter 22. This Bodhisattva Mind for Higher Deeds may therefore be another Vishishtacaritra. Dharmaraksha's version has "Honorable Thought Conduct."
"Firm and solid" or "the original man"; a title of Brahma as creator.
The four elements of which every body is composed: earth, water, fire, and wind.
"Cloud Thunder-sound King" or "King of Thundering in the Clouds." Kern has "the king of the drum-sound of the clouds."
In the extant Sanskrit text this is an adjectival phrase modifying "the Bodhisattva Medicine King," so that it reads: "the Bodhisattva Medicine King, the attainer of earnestness and zeal."