Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Dharani Sutra of the Buddha on Longevity, the Extinction of Offences and the Protection of Young Children

Thus I, Ananda, have heard. At one time, the Buddha was at Mount Grdhrakuta, at the City of Royal Palace, together with a thousand two hundred and fifty disciples, who accompanied Him wherever He went.

There were also twelve thousand Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, the eight fold division of Gods and dragons, ghosts and spirits, humans and non-humans, who came together from different directions to listen to The Buddha Dharma.

At the same time, before expounding the Dharma, The Buddha, with His Spiritual Power, emitted different colourful lights, such as green lights, yellow lights, red lights, white lights and other lights, which shone forth from His face. In every ray of the colourful lights, there appeared uncountable Transformation Buddhas.

Every Transformation Buddha was able to carry out inconceivable tasks of the Buddha, and transform uncountable and limitless Transformation Bodhisattvas. Everyone of the Transformation Bodhisattvas again praised, and sang about the merits and virtues of The Buddha.

The lights which were emitted by the Buddha were subtly wonderful and immeasurable. They shone forth pervasively up to the Heavenly Dwelling of Neither Thought Nor Non-Thought and down to the Avici Hell.

Those living beings who had encountered the illumination of the Buddha`s Lights would naturally be mindful of the Buddha. Hence they were able to obtain skills-in-means in Zen concentration and attain the fruition position of The First Ground.

At that time, in the assembly there were forty-nine Bodhisattvas who had just brought forth the Bodhi Resolve. They also wished to enquire The Buddha concerning ways and means to obtain longevity, but they did not know how to do so.

At the same time, Manjushri Bodhisattva knew about their wish, so he stood up from His seat, revealed His right shoulder and put His palms together respectfully before the Buddha. On behalf of the forty-nine Bodhisattvas, He asked the Buddha:

`World-Honoured One, I know there are people in this Dharma Assembly who harbour doubts, but do not know how to ask about them. So I wish to ask on their behalf, and may The World Honoured One grant your permission.` The Buddha said, `Good indeed! Good indeed! Manjushri Bodhisattva. Please do not hesitate, but ask on their behalf in order to clear their doubts!`

Manjushri Bodhisattva said, `World Honoured One, all the living beings who are within the sea of birth and death create all kinds of evil karma. From the kalpas of no beginning until now, they revolve constantly on the wheels of the six paths, without any respite. At times, even if they may obtain a human body, (due to) retribution , their lifespan is very short.
In what ways can all these living beings obtain longevity and put an end to all evil karma? May The World Honoured One teach them the Dharma on ways to attain longevity and the means to extinguish all their offences?`

The Buddha answered, `Manjushri! Your kindness and compassion is great and immeasurable. Out of the pity for all sinful beings, you enquire on their behalf the Dharma for longevity and the ways to put an end to all offences. But if I were to talk about them in detail, I am afraid that most sentient beings would be unable to believe, accept, practise and uphold this Dharma.`

Again Manjushri Bodhisattva pleaded with The Buddha for His compassion, `World Honoured One! You are endowed with Great Wisdom. You are the Leader and Teacher of gods and people, the compassionate father of all living beings. You are the Great Dharma King who is able to pronounce all wonderful Dharma with one sound. May the World Honoured One have pity on all living beings and bless them widely with this Dharma!`

Then The Buddha smiled and said to the great assembly, `Please listen wholeheartedly and carefully. Now I will expound widely to you The Dharma?`

`In the past, there was world known as The Pure Land with No-Filth. In that Pure Land, a Buddha by the name The Thus Come One of Pervasive Lights and Proper Views came into the world.`

He was also known as The One Who Is Worthy of Offering, or The Equal and Proper Enlightened One, or The One Who Is Perfect in Wisdom and Practice, or The One Who Is Skillful In Leaving the World Through Liberation, or The One Who Understands the World, or The Unsurpassed Teacher, or The Taming Hero, or The Teacher of Gods and People, or The Buddha, or The World Honoured One. The Buddha was surrounded respectfully by uncountable and limitless Great Assemblies of Bodhisattvas.

When The Buddha was in the world, there was Laywoman by the name Confusion. She was practising the Buddha Dharma in her home life. She begged The Buddha to allow her to leave the home life. Sorrowfully she cried to The Buddha, `World Honoured One, I have created deep and evil karma. I am regretful of my evil conduct, and seek to repent my offences. I hope to reform, in order to lead a life of goodness. I only hope The World Honoured One will bestow kindness upon me and listen to the details!`

`My circumstance is such that my family`s condition does not allow me to bear any children. That is why I used medicine to murder the foetus, which was fully eight months old. The foetus that I aborted was fully grown with four healthy limbs and was complete with a human form.`

`Later I met with a wise man who told me, `People who have purposely aborted the foetus will be infected with serious illnesses in the present lifespan and receive the retribution of a short lifespan with very little blessing. After they have passed away, they will fall into the Avici Hell to experience terribly acute sufferings.`

`After listen to that, I was very frightened and I deeply regret what I have done. I only hope that the World Honoured One, with your strength of great kindness and compassion, will save me from falling into the deep pit. Please tell me the ways of liberation. Do allow me to leave the home life, so as to not undergo such acute sufferings.`

The Thus Come One of Pervasive Lights and Proper Views said to Confusion, `There are five kinds of Evil Karma which are difficult to extinguish, even if one were to repent of them. What are the five kinds of offences? The first one is killing the father, the second one is killing the mother, the third one is abortion, the fourth one is to injure The Buddha, the fifth one is to create disharmony among the Sangha assemblies. These five types of evil and sinful karma are difficult to extinguish.`

After listening to that, the woman Confusion wept sorrowfully with tears like falling rain. Sadly, she made obeisance to The Buddha. Then she fell down before The Buddha and again she begged, `The World Honoured One is of great kindness and compassion, who is able save all beings. I beg the World Honoured One to have pity on me and tell me the way to liberation.`

The Thus Come One of Pervasive Lights and Proper Views told her, `You are supposed to fall down into The Avici Hell because of your evil karma, and experience the acute suffering without any respite. In the cold Hell, the offenders will encounter the severely cold wind and be tortured by the sudden chill. In the feverish Hell of heat, the offenders will experience sudden heat waves, which are brought about by the hot wind.\`

\`In the Uninterrupted Hell, there is no alternating sufferings of sudden coldness or sudden heat as experienced here. But there is a great burning fire, which plunges from the top to the bottom of the hell, then again shoots up from the bottom to the top. The four walls are made of iron, and covered with iron nettings. The four gates, on the East, West, South and North, are also filled with great burning fire of karma.\`

\`The length of time the offender is in the Uninterrupted Hell is eight million Yojanas. Even though he is alone, his body still fully covers the entire hell. If there are more people, each of their bodies also pervasively fills up the entire hell.\`

\`The body of the offenders is covered with great iron snakes. The suffering thus experienced by him is more severe than the great burning fire. Some of the iron snakes may enter his mouth and then come out from his eyes and ears.\`

\`Or there are iron snakes which fully encircle his body. Great fire often bursts out from the limbs and joints of the offender. There are also the iron crows that peck and eat his flesh.\`

\`There are also copper dogs which bite and chew his body. The hellish guards with bulls` heads hold the weapons and roar like thunder. With a harsh voice full of anger, they scolded`

\` `You have purposely murdered the foetus, so you have to undergo this great torture from one kalpa to another kalpa without any respite!` If I were to lie to you about such torturing retribution, then I am not known as The Buddha.\`

\`When the woman Confusion heard the teaching of The Buddha, she was so sorrowful that she fainted and fell on the floor. After some time, she gradually recovered, and again she asked, \`World Honoured One! Is it the case that I alone will experience such torment? Or is this suffering to be experienced by all those women who have purposely aborted their foetus?\`

\`The Thus Come One Pervasive Light told the woman Confusion, `Your foetus is fully grown like a human being. And its dwelling in the womb resembles that of a hell. It also resembles that of a great rock, which oppresses one`s body. If the mother has partaken hot food, the foetus will feel as though it is dwelling in the Heated Hell. If the mother has taken cold food, the foetus will feel as though it is dwelling in the icy cold and chilling Hell. It is tormented by acute suffering the whole day\`

\`You are emotionally unstable because of the fire of delusion which gives rise to evil thoughts. That is why you have purposely taken the poison to abort the foetus.\`

\`You have created such evil karma, so it is natural for you to fall into The Avici Hell. The offenders in the Uninterrupted Hells are your partners.\`

After hearing that, the women Confusion cried sorrowfully. Again she said to The Buddha, \`Once I heard a wise man say, `If we are able to encounter The Buddha, or pure Sangha members, whatever evil offences that we have created will be extinguished, if we seek to repent and reform sincerely`.\`

\` Even when such a man has already passed away and entered the hells, if the relatives who are still alive are able to cultivate goodness and small blessing on his behalf, the dead one will be able to get a rebirth in the heavens!` Are there really such happenings? I beg The World Honoured One to explain this to me!\`

The Thus Come One Pervasive Lights and Proper Views told the Woman Confusion, \`It is true. If there is a living being who has committed all kinds of offences, but was able to encounter The Buddha and the members of the pure Sangha assembly, to repent sincerely and never to commit any more offences, then his sinful karma will be extinguished.\`

\`Even if he has passed away, but his family and relatives are able to pay respect and make obeisance to The Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. If, within the seven days, they are able to read and chant ,on behalf of him, the Sutra of Great Vehicle, and to make offerings to the Triple Jewels with fragrant incense and flowers, the messenger from the Dark Realm will carry the Spiritual Banner of Five Colours, and go to the hall of The King Yama. There troops of ghosts will stand around the front and back of the Banner. They will sing and praise the dead man. With a gentle and subtly wonderful voice, they report to King Yama, `The dead man has accumulated lots of merits!\`

\`When King Yama sees the arrival of the Banner of five colours, he is greatly happy and says aloud, `May my body which is full of offences be like him, in order to accumulate all merits.` \`

\`Immediately, the hells are transformed into pure streams. The hills of knives and the trees of swords are transformed into lotuses. All the offenders feel refresh and blissful.\`

\`If there is another dead man who does not have faith in the Buddha Dharma, who does not read and chant the Sutra of Great Vehicle, whose mind has a lack of filial piety, respectfulness, kindness and compassion, who (instead) believes in deviant paths and evil views. And if, within the seven days, there is no next of kin who is alive to perform goodness and blessings on his behalf., then the messenger from the dark realm will hold the Black Banner, together with innumerable evil ghosts, who make the following report to King Yama, `The dead one has accumulated lots of evil deeds.` \`

When King Yama sees the Black Banner, he gets angry immediately. All the halls and houses vibrate under his thunder-like harsh voice. The offender is immediately sent down to the eighteen layers of hells.\`

\`The offender is forced to climb the trees of swords and hills of knives. Or he is forced to lie on the iron bed, to embrace the bronze pillar, or his tongue is being pulled out and ploughed by a bull. Or his body is being beaten by stony rod, his bones and flesh are grind to powder by a stone grinder.\`

\`In a single day, there are millions of occurrences of birth and death. And then the offender will repeatedly fall into the Avici Hell, to experience acute suffering from one kalpa to another without respite.\`

Before The Thus Come One Pervasive Lights And Proper Views had finished His teaching, suddenly there arose from the empty space a great thunderous roar of harsh and evil voices, which called out to the woman Confusion, \`You have purposely murdered the foetus. You should receive the retribution of a short life. I am the messenger of the ghostly troop, here to catch you to settle the case.\`

The woman Confusion was frightened and lost. She caught hold of the feet of The Thus Come One and wept. She begged, \`May The World Honoured One widely propound the Great Dharma Store of The Buddhas for me, and the way to extinguish all sinful offences. Only then will I die in peace!\`

At that time, The Thus Come One Pervasive Lights and Proper Views, with the awesome spiritual strength of The Buddha, told the ghost messenger, \`Ghastly ghost of impermanence, I am now going to teach the woman Confusion on the Sutra of Longevity and the extinction of offences. Please wait for a while. Naturally there will be a change in circumstances.\`

\`You also should pay attention and listen carefully. I will also tell you the Secret Dharma Door which was taught by The Buddhas in the past, The Sutra of the extinction of offences and the prolongation of lifespan, in order to help you all to stay away from the evil paths.\`

The Buddha said, \`Confusion, you should know that the ghastly ghost of Impermanence does not give any special favours to people. Even if you use innumerable amounts of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, beryl, red pearls, carnelian and other jewelry to bribe him in exchange of your life, it will still be in vain.\`

\`Even people who are in honourable positions, such as The King, the princes, great officers, respectable elder and others, with their awesome spiritual strength, will still be unable to escape the ghastly ghost of impermanence who comes to claim their lives.\`

\`Confusion, you should know that only the word `Buddha` is able to sever the suffering of death. Confusion, there are two types of people who are very rare to be found. They are like the Udumbara Flowers which rarely bloom.\`

\`The first type refers to those people who never practise any evil dharma, nor commit any karmic offences. The second type refers to those who are able to repent and reform when they realise their offences.\`

\`People like these are rare and most precious. As you are able to repent sincerely before me, I will of course teach you The Sutra of Longevity and The Extinction of Offences, in order to free you from the suffering of being chased and caught by the evil ghost of impermanence.\`

\`Confusion, let me tell you. In the future World of Five Turbidities, if there are people who kill the father, harm the mother, who purposely abort the foetus, who destroy The Buddha`s Pagoda and Temple`

\`Who shed The Buddha`s Blood, who create disharmony among The Sangha and others, they have created the five unwholesome deep offences and will surely fall into the Uninterrupted Hell to suffer the acute torments.\`

\`If these beings who have committed the five unwholesome offences are able to accept, uphold this Sutra of Longevity and The Extinction of Offences, to write it down, read and memorize it, or copy it down by themselves, or ask others to copy the Sutra, they will be able to put an end to their offences, and be born in the Brahman Heaven to enjoy the heavenly blessing.\`

\`Isn`t that a better chance for you to extinguish your evil karma, as you are able to meet me personally at this time? Luckily, you have already cultivated lots of good roots in innumerable long kalpas past. In addition, you are eloquent in asking questions, besides repenting and reforming sincerely.\`

\`So, not long from now, you will be able to turn the Unsurpassed Dharma Wheel, and cross over limitless great seas of birth and death. You will be able to fight against the Heavenly Demon Papiyan and destroy the Banner of Victory which was erected by him. You should listen wholeheartedly. I will teach you once the Twelve Conditioned Links of Causation, which was taught by The Buddhas in the past.\`

\`All the living beings are originally pure. But, the arising of a single false thought out of delusion in the past leads to the creation of activities. Because of activities, there create karmic forces, and hence leads to the arising of consciousness to enter the womb. The consciousness that enters the womb will lead to the formation of a foetus presently. When there is a foetus, it is then complete with the six roots such as eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind.\`

\`After leaving the womb, the six roots will experience the six senses of touch. The six senses of touch will give rise to six kinds of feelings. When there is feeling, love will arise. When there is love, the feeling of attachment will arise. Once there is attachment, a man will try to fight to possess. When there is fighting for possession, it will give rise to future karmic causes.\`

\`When there are the future karmic causes, a man will experience birth in the future. When there is birth, it will naturally lead to the process of old age and death, and also all the worries, sorrows, sufferings and torments. This is known as the Door Which Is Accordance with the Production of Twelve Conditioned Links of Causation.\`

\`If there is no false thought because of delusion, then from where will activities and karmic deeds arise? If there is no activity and Karmic deeds, from where will there be the entering of womb by consciousness? When there is no consciousness to enter the womb,what then will give rise to a foetus, the form of a body?\`

\`When there is no feeling, there is no love. Without love, attachment to possession will not arise. When there is no attachment to possession, there are no more karmic causes for future birth`

\`When there is no karmic cause for the future birth, there is no more birth in the future. Without birth, there is also no old age and death. And the worries, sorrows, sufferings and Extinction of the Twelve Conditioned Links of Causation.\`

\`Confusion, you should know that all the living beings are unable to contemplate the Dharma of Twelve Conditioned Links of Causation, and so they revolve and suffer in the seas of birth and death. If there is a man who is able to contemplate the Dharma of Twelve Conditioned Links of Causation, then he is able to see the Reality of Form Dharma. If a man is able to see the Reality of Form Dharma, he indeed sees The Buddha.\`

\`When a man sees The Buddha, he is able to see The Buddha Nature. Why did I say so? Because all The Buddhas also base on the Twelve Conditioned Links of Causation as The Dharma Nature. Now that you are able to listen to the Twelve Conditioned Links of Causation from me, you will obtain the Pure Buddha Nature. You are suitable to be the Dharma Vessel in the Door of The Buddha.\`

\`Now I will again tell you the only True Path. You should give thought to protect single mindfulness. The single mindfulness is known as The Bodhi Mind. The Bodhi Mind is also known as The Mind of the Great Vehicle.\`

\`Because the root nature of the living beings is different, so all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas teach and differentiate the Three Vehicles. You should constantly be mindful, and look after the Bodhi Mind. Never should you forget it.\`

\`Even if your body is burnt by the five skandas of forms, feelings, thoughts, activities and consciousness, is being swallowed and eaten by the four snakes of earth, water, fire and wind, is being attacked by the three poisoning of greed, hatred and delusion, is being invaded by the six thieves of forms, sounds, fragrance, tastes, senses of touch and dharma, and is being harmed and tormented by the devils and demons, you should remain unmoving and never should you change your Bodhi Mind.\`

\`With the Bodhi Mind, your body will be as hard and firm as the Vajra. Your mind will resemble the empty space, where no one can really harm and destroy it.\`

\`If the Bodhi Mind is firm and solid, it is replete with the four virtues of Nirvana, namely, Permanence, Bliss, True Self and purity. It will help us to attain The Unsurpassed Perfect Enlightenment.\`

\`When you are replete with four virtues of Nirvana, you will be liberated from the conditions of birth, old age, sickness and death, and all the realms of hells. Then the ghastly ghost of Impermanence will naturally have no way to chase and catch hold of you to settle the case.\`

After The Buddha had finished His Teaching, the messenger of the ghosts who dwell in the empty space gave rise to the following thought, \`Then the World Honoured One has said that even the hells could also be transformed into Pure Lotus Pond. Why then do I not renounce the state of the ghost realm?\`

Then he told the woman, Confusion, \`After you have certified to the sagely path, please do not forget to ferry me over!\`

After that, The Thus Come One of Pervasive Lights and Proper Views again taught the woman, Confusion, \`I have already taught you the Dharma of Twelve Conditioned Links of Causation. Now I will teach you also The Six Paramitas, which are also practised by the Bodhisattvas.\`

\`What are the Six Paramitas? The first Paramita is to give expansively. Giving helps us to cross over the feelings of greed and stinginess. The second Paramita is to uphold the precepts firmly. By doing so, we will cross over wrong actions and intentions; of being heedless in committing offences.\`

\`The third Paramita is to be patient always. Such practice will cross over the feelings of hatred and anger. The fourth Paramita is to be diligent constantly. A man who is diligent will cross over laxity and heedlessness. The fifth Paramita is to cultivate concentration diligently. Concentration helps to cross over confusion.\`

\`The sixth Paramita is to clearly penetrate wisdom. A wise man will cross over his delusion and ignorance. When a man is able to uphold the six paramitas fully and completely, only then will he arrive at the other shore. He should never even neglect any one of the Paramitas. There is also a verse on the accomplishment of Buddhahood by The Buddhas in the past.\`

\`All activities are impermanent.

They are the dharma of birth and death.

When there is no more birth and death, a man will enjoy the bliss of quietude and extinction.

You should uphold and practise this dharma joyfully.\`

At that time, the woman Confusion was full of happiness after listening to the Buddha Dharma. Her heart opened up, and became clear and pure. She understood deeply, and had an awakening to the Dharma. With the endowment of the spiritual strength of The Buddha, she rose up to the empty space, and reached a height of seven times the height of a Tor-Lo tree, and sat in meditation peacefully in the empty space.

At that time, there was a wealthy Brahman, of Great Surname, whose wealth was incomparable by others, who, one day, was infected with a serious disease. After being examined by the doctor, it was found that his disease could only be cured by partaking of a mixture of human eyes and herbs.

So, the Wealthy Elder ordered a servant to sing out aloud as follows in all roads and lanes`

\`Who can tolerate the pain of digging out his eyes to sell? I will buy them at a good price. I will exchange them with gold, silver, pearls and jewels. You can take as much as you wish. I will not be stingy. It is a promise!\`

The woman, Confusion heard those words while sitting in the empty space. She was filled with joy, and immediately gave rise to the following thought, \`Now I have listened to the teaching of The Buddha on The Sutra of Longevity. All my evil and sinful karmas have been extinguished. My mind has clearly awakened to The Buddha Nature. And I am able to stay far away from the ghastly ghost of Impermanence, and the acute torments in the hells.\`

\`I should repay the kindness of The Buddha, even if it means to grind down my body and bones into powder.\` After thinking like that, she sang out, \` I am forty-nine years old now. After listening to The Sutra of Longevity and The Extinction of offences from The Buddha, I will give up my body and life and vow to write forty-nine copies of the Sutra on Longevity, even if it means to grind my body down into powder. I only hope that all the living beings will be able to accept, uphold, read and memorize this Sutra. I must sell my eyes in order to pay those who help me to write the Sutra. The value of my eyes is not fixed. So you can pay me as you wish.\`

At that time, the Heavenly King Shakra transformed himself into forty-nine men who came to the home of the woman, Confusion. They said, \`We wish to write the Sutra for you. Only after you have seen the Sutra will you sell your eyes. What do you think?\`

The woman Confusion was genuinely happy, and grateful for their help. Immediately, she cut her body and took out a piece of bone. Then she sharpened it to become the shape of a pen, then offered her blood as ink for them to use to write the Sutra.

After seven days, they managed to finish writing The Sutra. The men who were the transformation bodies of The Shakra Heavenly King told Confusion, \`We hope that you will keep your promise. As we have already finished writing The Sutra, you should dig out your eyes for us after you have read them. Then we will sell them to the Brahman.\`

Then the woman Confusion ordered a man by the surname Chandera to dig out both her eyes. She also asked the forty-nine men to give Chandera a share of the money for selling her eyes.

When Chandera was about to dig out her eyes, the forty-nine men cried out together to prevent him from doing so. They praised her thusly,

\`Rare indeed! Rare indeed! It is inconceivable! This woman, Confusion, who cares not for her body or life, was able to sharpen her bone as pen, to squeeze out her blood as ink, and endure great pain and injuries, just for the sake of writing down this Sutra. How could we have the heart to dig out her eyes?\`

So, with kindness and compassion, they told the woman, Confusion, \`Now, we do not need to sell your eyes to the Brahman. But we hope that after you have accomplished The Way, please come first to rescue and ferry us over!\`

\`In life after life, wherever you are born, we hope to come together to you, to become good knowing advisers, and widely proclaim this Sutra, in order to rescue and carry over all sinful living beings.\`

At that time, the Dragon King Nanda, by using his spiritual penetration power, performed magical transformations, stole the Sutra of the woman Confusion, and kept it at the Dragon Palace. He accepted, upheld and made offerings to The Sutra. The woman, Confusion, who had suddenly lost the Sutra in such a short space of time, was greatly disturbed. She cried tearfully and ran to see The Buddha. She said, \`World Honoured One, I, who care not for body nor lifespan , cut the flesh and dug out the bone to write the Sutra of Longevity, only hoping to widely circulate it among all living beings. But now I have lost the Sutra. I feel extremely sad, just as though my body was pierced by the poisonous arrow. Such pain is difficult to bear.\`

The Thus Come One Pervasive Lights told Confusion, \`Your Sutra was taken by the eight-fold Dragon King, who accepts, upholds and makes offering to it in the Dragon Palace. In fact, you should be happy about it. Don`t be so worried and sorrowful.\`

\`Confusion, your present deed is very good. After your lifespan is over, you will be born into the Heavenly Realm of No-form. With the merits and virtues thus accumulated, you will enjoy the heavenly blessings and bliss. Never will you be born in the form of a woman.\`

At that time, the woman Confusion told The Buddha, \`World Honoured One! My wish is not to enjoy heavenly blessings. But I only hope to meet The World Honoured One in every life, to protect the Bodhi Mind and never to retreat from the Bodhi Path. Wherever I go, I will proclaim this Dharma constantly to all sinful living beings.\`

The Thus Come One Pervasive Lights said, \`Are you telling me a false speech?\` The woman, Confusion answered, \`If I were to falsely lie to you, may I be again chased and tormented by the gh

No comments:

Post a Comment