by Johnny Yu | 2005 | 21,827 words
The story of Ksitigarbha occurs in the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapranidhana Sutra which is a popular Mahayana Sutra. This sutra is said to have been spoken by the Buddha towards the end of his life. Ksitigarbha is a bodhisattva primarily revered in East Asian Buddhism and usually depicted as a Buddhist monk. Original title of the text: Kṣitig...
At that time, Prithivi (the Supreme Earth Deity) addressed the Buddha, saying, "World Honor One, in the past, I have respectfully gazed upon and paid homage to countless Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas. They all have inconceivable divine power and wisdom [which] provide universal deliverance to all sentient beings. Of all these Bodhisattvas, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva-Mahasattva has the greatest vow. World Honored One, this is because Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva has great affinity with the [sentient beings of] Jambudvipa. For example, Manjushri, Samantabhadra, Avalokiteshvara, and Maitreya also manifest hundreds of thousands of emanations delivering the sentient beings in the six realms of samsara. Yet, [there is a date which] their vows will be completed. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva [vows to] deliver all sentient beings in the six realms of samsara. [The length of time to fulfill his] vow [is as indeterminable as] kalpas numbering in all the sands in trillions of Ganges Rivers."
"World Honored One, I observe that the present and future living beings may construct shrines to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva out of clay, marble, bamboo, or wood at clean locations on the south side of their residences. Place within these shrines either paintings or statues of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva made of gold, silver, bronze or iron; then, perform acts of devotion by burning incense, making offerings, paying homage and reciting praises to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva before these shrines. For those sentient beings who do so, their residences shall be benefited in these ten ways. What are these ten benefits?"
- The land around the residences will be fertile.
- The residences will be at peace (undisturbed by spirits or illnesses).
- The ancestors of these residences' occupants shall be reborn in heaven.
- The inhabitants of these residences will have their lives extended.
- The occupants of these residences will have their wishes fulfilled.
- Calamities such as flood and fires will not strike these residences.
- Ghosts and demons who steal away people's blessings (derived from their merit in previous lives) will be unable to enter these residences.
- The inhabitants of these residences will not have nightmares.
- Deities will protect the occupants, both inside and away from these residences.
- The inhabitants of these residences will often encounter `Causes for Holiness' [enabling them to gradually reach enlightenment.]
"World Honored One, for the present and future sentient beings, those who perform such offerings at the south side of their residences shall attain these benefits."
Then, Prithivi again addressed the Buddha, "World Honored One, in the future, there may be virtuous men or women who have both the images and Sutras of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva in their residences. If they further perform acts of devotion by chanting this Sutra and making offerings to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, I shall use my divine power to protect them both day and night. They shall not be harmed by [calamities like] flood or fire; burglars or thieves; or minor or severe accidents. All harmful events shall be avoided."
The Buddha said to Prithivi, "Few deities can match your great divine power. All the lands of Jambudvipa is under your protection. All of the grasses, trees, sand, rocks, crops, hemp, bamboo, reeds, crops, rice, and gems that comes from the earth, they all come to being by your divine power. You also often praise the benefits provided by Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva [to sentient beings]. [Therefore,] your divine powers and merit are hundreds of thousands of times greater than that of average earth deities."
"In the future, there may be virtuous men or women who make offerings to [Ksitigarbha] Bodhisattva, chant this Sutra, or [perform] any practice described in this Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Fundamental Vow Sutra. You must use your divine power to protect and assist these people. Do not let any disaster or unfortunate event to come within their earshot, much less experiencing it themselves. You will not be alone in protecting them. The subordinates of Devarajas, Sakra, and Great Brahma shall protect them as well. Why are these people protected by so many holy, virtuous beings? [This benefit is] the result of paying homage to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva statues and chanting the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Fundamental Vow Sutra. These people shall naturally leave samsara in the future and realize the joy of nirvana. For their [devotions to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva], they shall receive great protection."