The Lotus Sutra

92,709 words

The Lotus Sūtra (Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra) is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sūtras, and is known for its extensive instruction on the concept and usage of skillful means (upāya), the seventh paramita or "perfection of a Bodhisattva". The ultimate teaching of the sutra is implied to the reader that "full Buddhahoo...

Chapter I - Introduction

Thus have I heard. Once the Buddha was staying in the city of Rājagṛha, on the mountain called Gṛdhrakūṭa, together with a great assembly of twelve thousand monks, all of whom were arhats whose corruption was at an end, who were free from the confusion of desire, who had achieved their own goals, shattered the bonds of existence, and attained complete mental discipline. Their names were Ājñāta kauṇḍinya, Mahākāśyapa, Uruvilvakāśyapa, Gayā kāśyapa, Nadī kāśyapa, Śārip utra, Mahām audgalyāyana, Mahā kātyā- yana, Aniruddha, Kapphiṇa, Gavāṃ pati, Revata, Pilindav atsa, Bakkula, Mahā kauṣṭhila, Nanda, Sundarananda, Pūrṇ a maitrāy aṇī putra, Subhūti, Ānanda, and Rāhula. All of them were great arhats, known to the assembly. There were in addition two thousand others, both those who had more to learn and those who did not. The nun Mahā prajāpatī was there, together with her six thousand attendants; and also the nun Yaśodharā, Rāhula’s mother, together with her attendants.

There were also eighty thousand bodhisattva mahā sattvas, all of whom were irreversible from highest, complete enlightenment (anuttarā samyaksaṃbodhi). They had obtained the dhāraṇīs, were established in eloquence, and had turned the irreversible wheel of the Dharma. Each had paid homage to countless hundreds of thousands of buddhas, planted roots of merit in their presence, and had always been praised by those buddhas. They had also cultivated compassion within themselves, skillfully caused others to enter the wisdom of a buddha, obtained great wisdom, and reached the other shore. All of them were famous throughout countless worlds and had saved innumerable hundreds of thousands of sentient beings. They were Mañjuśrī, Avalo kiteśvara, Mahāsthāmaprāpta, Nityodyukta, Anikṣipta dhura, Rat na pāni, Bhaiṣajyarāja, Pradānaśūra, Ratnacandra, Can dra prabha, Pūrṇa candra, Mahāvikramin, Anantavikramin, Trai lokya vikrama, Bhadra pāla, Maitreya, Ratnākara, and Susātha vāha. There were altogether eighty thousand such bodhisattva mahāsattvas.

At that time Śakra, king of the devas, was also there, attended by twenty thousand devaputras. Candra, Samantagandha, and Ratnaprabha, and the great devas of the four quarters were there, together with a retinue of ten thousand devaputras. The deva putras Īśvara and Maheśvara were there, attended by thirty thousand devaputras. Brahma, the lord of the sahā world, as well as the great Brahma Śikhin and the great Brahma Jyotiṣprabha were there, together with a retinue of twelve thousand devaputras. The eight nāga kings—namely, Nanda, Upananda, Sāgara, Vāsukin, Takṣaka, Anavatapta, Manasvin, and Utpalaka—were also there, each of them surrounded by several hundreds of thousands of attendants.

There were four kings of the kiṃnaras whose names were Dharma, Su- dharma, Mahādharma, and Dharmadhara, and each had several hundreds of thousands of attendants. The four kings of the gandharvas were there. They were Manojña, Manojñasvara, Madhura, and Madhurasvara, each of them also with several hundreds of thousands of attendants. There, too, were four kings of the asuras, called Baḍin, Kharaskandha, Vemacitra, and Rahu, each with several hundreds of thousands of attendants. Mahāt ejas, Mahākāya, Mahā pūrṇa, and Maharddhiprāpta, the four kings of the garuḍas, were there together with several hundreds of thousands of attendants. Finally, King Ajāta śatru, Vaidehī’s son, was also there with several hundreds of thousands of his attendants. Each of them, after having bowed at the Buddha’s feet, withdrew and sat to one side.

At that time the Bhagavat was respectfully surrounded by the fourfold assembly (i.e., monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen), paid homage, honored, and praised. He then taught the bodhisattvas the Mahayana sutra called Immeasurable Meanings (Mahānirdeśa), the instruction for the bodhisattvas and the treasured lore of the buddhas. After having taught this sutra, the Buddha sat cross-legged, entered the samādhi called the “abode of immeasurable meanings” (ananta-nirdeśa-pratiṣṭhāna) and remained unmoving in both body and mind. Māndārava and great māndārava flowers, mañjūṣaka and great mañjūṣaka flowers then fell like rain from the sky, scattering upon the Buddha and all of his attendants; and the whole buddha world quaked in six ways. At that time, that whole assembly of such humans and nonhumans as monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, the devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, kings, and noble emperors, having experienced something unprecedented, were filled with joy, and with their palms pressed together they gazed attentively at the Buddha.

Then the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows. It illuminated all the eighteen thousand worlds in the east, down as far as the lowest hell, Avīci, and up as high as the Akaniṣṭha Heaven. All the sentient beings in those worlds living in the six transmigratory states became visible from this world. The buddhas in those worlds were also seen, and the Dharma they were teaching could be heard. The monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen and those who had practiced and achieved the path were also to be seen, while the bodhisattva mahāsattvas, of various background causes and conditions, endowed in various degrees with the willingness to understand and having various appearances, were also seen practicing the bodhisattva path. All of the buddhas who had achieved parinirvāṇa were seen, as well as their relic stupas made of the seven precious treasures.

At that moment it occurred to Bodhisattva Maitreya: “The Bhagavat has now manifested the sign of great transcendent power. What could be the reason for this marvel? The Buddha, the Bhagavat, has now entered samādhi. Whom should I ask about this wonderful marvel? Who would be able to answer my question?”

Then he thought further: “This Mañjuśrī, Prince of the Dharma, has closely attended and paid homage to innumerable buddhas of the past. He must certainly have seen such a marvelous sign before. I should ask him now.”

At the same time it occurred to the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, devas, nāgas, yakṣas, and others: “Now whom should we ask about the illumination and marvelous sign of this buddha?”

Then Bodhisattva Maitreya, wanting to clear up his own confusion, and knowing the minds of the fourfold assembly of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen and of the nāgas, yakṣas, and other beings in that gathering, asked Mañjuśrī: “What is the reason for this marvelous sign, this great ray of light that illuminates the eighteen thousand worlds in the east and renders visible the adornments of all the buddha worlds?”

Thereupon Bodhisattva Maitreya, wanting to elaborate the meaning of this further, spoke to Mañjuśrī in verse:

“O Mañjuśrī!
Why has the Leader
Emitted this great ray of light far and wide
From the tuft of white hair
Between his eyebrows,
Raining down māndārava and mañjūṣaka flowers,
And gladdening the people
With the fragrant winds of sandalwood?
For this reason
The earth is completely adorned,
And this world quakes in six ways.
And the fourfold assembly
Is completely enraptured,
Delighted in body and mind at the experience of
Such an unprecedented marvel.
From the depths of the Avīci Hell
Up to the summit of existence,
The ray of light from between his eyebrows
Illuminates the eighteen thousand worlds,
Which shimmer like gold,
And, throughout all these worlds,
The births and deaths of the living beings
Of the six transmigratory states of existence,
And the good and bad deeds,
Through which they have received
Good and bad consequences,
Are all to be seen from here.
The buddhas, the Sage Lord (Narendrasiṃhā),
Who teach the subtle and supreme sutra
Are also seen.
Uttering soft sounds
With their pure voices,
They teach innumerable myriads
Of koṭis of bodhisattvas.
With their voices, deep and enticing
Like the sounds of Brahma
They make the people eager to hear them.
In each world they teach the True Dharma;
They illuminate the Buddha-Dharma
And enlighten sentient beings
By means of various explanations
And innumerable illustrations.
To those who are suffering
And are cast down by old age, illness, and death
They teach nirvana
To extinguish their sufferings.
To those who have merit,
Have paid homage to the buddhas
And seek the excellent Dharma,
They teach the ideal of the pratyekabuddha.
To those heirs of the buddhas
Who have practiced in various ways
And are seeking the utmost wisdom,
They teach the pure path.
O Mañjuśrī!
Abiding here, I see and hear
Thousands of koṭis of things in this way.
There are many such things.
I shall now explain them in brief.
In these worlds I see bodhisattvas,
Equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River,
Seeking the path of the buddhas
According to their various situations.
Some undertake the practice of giving gifts,
Joyfully giving gold, silver, coral, pearls,
Jewels, conch shells, agates, diamonds,
Servants, carts, and ornamented litters—
They give these things joyfully,
Transferring the merit
To the path of the buddhas,
Wishing to obtain this vehicle
Which is the highest in the three worlds,
And praised by all the buddhas.
Other bodhisattvas give gifts
Such as ornamented carts yoked with four horses
And furnished with railings,
Canopies, and decorated eaves.
Moreover, I see bodhisattvas
Who, seeking for the highest path,
Give gifts such as their bodies, flesh, hands,
And feet, as well as their wives and children.
Moreover, I see bodhisattvas
Who are joyfully giving their heads, eyes, and bodies,
While searching for the wisdom of the buddhas.
O Mañjuśrī!
I see kings making pilgrimages to the buddhas,
Asking about the highest path,
Abandoning their prosperous lands,
Palaces, subjects and harems,
Shaving their heads and beards,
And wearing the robes of the Dharma.
I see some bodhisattvas becoming monks,
Dwelling apart in tranquility,
Reciting the sutras with contentment.
I also see bodhisattvas
Persistent and courageous,
Going into remote mountains
And contemplating the buddha path.
I see some abandoning worldly desires,
Dwelling always in lonely places,
Practicing profound meditations
And obtaining the five transcendent powers.
I see bodhisattvas
Meditating with palms pressed together,
Praising the Kings of the Dharma
With thousands of myriads of verses.
I also see bodhisattvas,
Profound in wisdom and firm in resolution,
Asking the buddhas questions,
Listening carefully and retaining everything.
Furthermore, I see heirs of the buddhas,
Endowed with concentration and wisdom,
Teaching the Dharma by innumerable illustrations
For the benefit of living beings,
Leading and inspiring the bodhisattvas
By joyously teaching the Dharma,
Destroying Māra and his minions
And beating the drums of the Dharma.
I also see bodhisattvas
Who are tranquil and silent in ease,
And never exult
Even in the homage paid by devas and nāgas.
I see bodhisattvas
Dwelling in forests, radiating light,
Alleviating the suffering of beings in the hells
And causing them to enter the buddha path.
I also see heirs of the buddhas
Who have never fallen asleep,
And are constantly wandering in forests
In search of the buddha path.
I see some who are pure like jewels,
Endowed with integrity
And faultless in behavior,
In search of the buddha path.
Furthermore, I see heirs of the buddhas
In search of the buddha path,
Who have the power of perseverance
And patiently endure
Those of excessive pride
Who abuse them verbally and physically.
I see bodhisattvas
Who have been searching for the buddha path
For thousands of myriads of koṭis of years,
And who have renounced idlers and foolish companions
And approached the wise.
Having singlemindedly rid themselves of inner confusion
They are meditating in mountain forests.
I also see bodhisattvas seeking
For the highest path,
Who are giving food and drink,
And a hundred kinds of medicine
To the Buddha and the sangha.
They give superb garments and clothing
Worth thousands of myriads,
And priceless robes
To the Buddha and the sangha.
They give thousands of myriads of koṭis
Of treasured monasteries made of sandalwood,
And various kinds of excellent bedding
To the Buddha and the sangha.
They give clean garden groves
Full of flowers and fruits,
Fountains and bathing pools
To the Buddha and the sangha.
Thus they give such various excellent things,
With joy and vigor,
Seeking the supreme path.
There are also bodhisattvas
Who are teaching innumerable sentient beings
The Dharma of tranquility
In various ways.
Furthermore, I see bodhisattvas
Who have perceived the essential character
Of all dharmas (phenomena) to be without duality,
Just like empty space.
I also see heirs of the buddhas
Who are seeking the highest path
Through this subtle wisdom,
Their minds free of attachment.
O Mañjuśrī!
There are bodhisattvas
Who pay homage to the relics (śarīras) of the buddhas
After their parinirvāṇas.
I also see heirs of the buddhas
Who have built stupas
As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
With which to decorate the buddha worlds.
These jeweled stupas are magnificent—
Five thousand yojanas in height and
Two thousand yojanas in both length and width.
On each of these stupas
Are one thousand banners, flags, and canopies,
And jeweled bells ringing harmoniously.
And devas, nāgas, humans, and nonhumans
Constantly give offerings of
Perfume, flowers, and music to them.
O Mañjuśrī!
The heirs of the buddhas
Have decorated the stupas
In order to pay homage to the relics.
These worlds have been spontaneously
Made as extraordinarily beautiful
As the king of the heavenly trees
When his flowers bloom.
Because the Buddha has emitted this ray of light,
I and those with me in the assembly can see
These worlds of marvelous and varied beauty.
The wisdom and transcendent powers
Of all the buddhas are extraordinary;
By emitting a single ray of light
He has illuminated innumerable lands.
Seeing this, we attain
That which we have not met with before.
O Mañjuśrī, Heir of the Buddhas!
We entreat you to rid us of our confusion!
The fourfold assembly is joyfully
Looking up at you and me.
Why did the Bhagavat emit this ray of light?
O Heir of the Buddhas, now answer!
Resolve our confusion and gladden us!
Why is he emitting this ray of light?
Will the Buddha teach us the True Dharma
That he obtained while he sat
On the terrace of enlightenment (bodhimaṇḍa)?
Will he predict enlightenment to us?
It is not for a trifling reason
That all the buddha lands, ornamented
With various jewels,
And all the buddhas have been made visible.
O Mañjuśrī!
You should know that the fourfold assembly,
Nāgas, and devas, Look forward to hearing
What you shall reveal.”

Thereupon Mañjuśrī spoke to Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Mai treya and the other worthy beings: “O sons of a virtuous family! I am very sure that the Buddha, the Bhagavat, will now teach the great Dharma, rain down the great Dharma, blow the conch of the great Dharma, beat the drum of the great Dharma, and reveal the meaning of the great Dharma.

“O sons of a virtuous family! I have seen buddhas in the past who have shown this marvel and have taught the great Dharma immediately after emitting a ray of light. Therefore, you should know that in the very same way the Buddha has now emitted this light and has shown this marvel in order to cause all sentient beings to hear and understand the Dharma which in all the worlds is difficult to understand.

“O sons of a virtuous family! In the past, more than innumerable, unthinkable, incalculable kalpas ago, there was a buddha called Candrasūryapradīpa, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. He taught the True Dharma that was good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end. It was profound in meaning, elegant in speech, and endowed with the character of the pure path of discipline and integrity.

“To those seeking for the śrāvaka vehicle he taught the Dharma with respect to the Four Noble Truths, causing them to overcome birth, old age, illness, and death and to attain nirvana. He taught the Dharma with respect to dependent origination to the pratyekabuddhas; and to the bodhisattvas he taught the Dharma with respect to the six perfections (pāramitās), causing them to attain highest, complete enlightenment and perfect all-knowledge (sarva jñātā).

“Then there was another buddha named Candrasūryapradīpa, and after him another buddha also named Candrasūryapradīpa. And so in this way twenty thousand buddhas all had the same name Candrasūryapradīpa. They also had the same family name Bharadvāja.

“O Maitreya! You should know that these buddhas, beginning from the first up to the last, all had the same name Candra sūrya pradīpa, endowed with the ten epithets. The Dharma that they taught was good in the beginning, the middle, and the end.

“The last buddha fathered eight princes before he renounced household life. The first was called Mati, the second Sumati, the third Anantamati, the fourth Ratimati, the fifth was called Viśeṣa mati, the sixth Vimatisamudghātin, the seventh Ghoṣamati, and the eighth was called Dharmamati. These eight princes were endowed with dignity and power, and each of them ruled over four great continents. Having heard that their father had renounced household life and obtained highest, complete enlightenment, all of them abandoned their kingdoms and also renounced household life. Each caused the spirit of the Mahayana to arise within him, practiced the pure path of discipline and integrity, and became an expounder of the Dharma. They all planted roots of good merit under many thousands of myriads of buddhas.

“At that time, the Buddha Candrasūryapradīpa taught the Mahayana sutra called Immeasurable Meanings, the instruction for the bodhisattvas and treasured lore of the buddhas. Having taught this sutra, he sat down cross-legged, undisturbed in body and mind among the great assembly and entered the samādhi called the ‘abode of immeasurable meanings.’

“Then māndārava and great māndārava flowers, mañjūṣaka and great mañjūṣaka flowers fell like rain from the sky, scattering over the Buddha and all of his attendants. And the whole buddha world quaked in six ways.

At that time all in that assembly of humans and nonhumans—monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, kings, and noble emperors—having experienced such an unprecedented marvel, were filled with joy and pressing their palms together they gazed attentively at the Buddha.

“Then the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows which completely illuminated all the eighteen thousand worlds in the east, in the same way that all of these buddha worlds are visible now.

“O Maitreya! You should know that at that time there were twenty koṭis of bodhisattvas in the assembly who wanted to hear the Dharma. All of these bodhisattvas, having seen all the buddha worlds completely illuminated by this ray of light, were struck with wonder and wanted to know why it was emitted.

“A bodhisattva named Varaprabha was there with his eight hundred disciples. At that time the Buddha Candrasūryapradīpa, having emerged from samādhi, remained sitting for sixty intermediate kalpas and revealed to Bodhisattva Varaprabha the Mahayana sutra called Saddharmapuṇḍarīka, the White Lotus of the Marvelous Law (hereafter Lotus Sutra), which was the instruction for bodhisattvas and the treasured lore of the buddhas. The assembly also sat there undisturbed in body and mind listening to the Buddha’s exposition for sixty intermediate kalpas as if only a single mealtime had passed; during that time not a single person among them experienced fatigue of body or mind.

“Having taught this sutra for sixty intermediate kalpas, the Buddha Candra sūryapradīpa made this proclamation to the assembly of Brahmas, māras, śrāmaṇas, brahmans, devas, humans, and asuras, saying:

On this day during the middle watch of the night, the Tathāgata will enter nirvana without residue.

“Then the Buddha Candrasūryapradīpa gave this prediction to a bodhisattva called Śrīgarbha. Addressing the monks, he said:

This Bodhisattva Śrīgarbha will become the next buddha after me. He will be called Vimalāṅganetra, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened.

“The Buddha, after having made this prediction, entered nirvana without residue during the middle of the night. After the Buddha passed into extinction, Bodhisattva Varaprabha, having preserved the Lotus Sutra, taught it to humans for the full period of eighty intermediate kalpas.

“This Bodhisattva Varaprabha was made the teacher for the Buddha Candrasūryapradīpa’s eight princes. Varaprabha led and inspired them and caused them to be firm in highest, complete enlightenment.

“After paying homage to innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas, all these princes attained the path of the buddhas. The last of these to become enlightened was named Dīpaṃkara.

“Among the eight hundred disciples of Bodhisattva Varaprabha there was a man named Yaśaskāma who was attached to profit. Even though he had repeatedly recited the sutras he never became versed in them and forgot the greater part. That is why he was called Yaśaskāma, ‘Fame Seeker.’ But because he had also planted various roots of good merit, he was able to meet innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas whom he rendered homage to, honored, revered, and praised.

“O Maitreya! You should know that Bodhisattva Varaprabha at that time was none other than myself, and Bodhisattva Yaśaskāma was none other than you. The marvel we see here is exactly the same as the previous one. Therefore I am certain that today the Tathāgata will teach the Mahayana sutra called the Lotus Sutra, the instruction for bodhisattvas and treasured lore of the buddhas.”

Thereupon Mañjuśrī, wanting to explain the meaning of this further, spoke to the great assembly in verse:

I remember that in the past,
Innumerable incalculable kalpas ago,
There was a buddha, the Best of Humans,
Called Candrasūryapradīpa.
This Bhagavat taught the Dharma,
Leading and inspiring innumerable sentient beings
And incalculable numbers of bodhisattvas,
To attain the wisdom of the buddhas.
Before renouncing household life
The Buddha fathered eight princes.
Having seen the Great Sage
Renounce household life,
They also followed him
And practiced the pure path of discipline and integrity.
At that time the Buddha taught
And extensively illuminated the Mahayana sutra
Called Immeasurable Meanings
To the great assembly.
After having taught this sutra,
The Buddha sat down cross-legged
On the seat of Dharma and entered the samādhi
Called the “abode of immeasurable meanings.”
The heavenly māndārava flowers
Fell down like rain;
The heavenly drums resounded spontaneously.
All the devas, nāgas, and yakṣas
Paid homage to the Best of Humans.
All of the buddha worlds suddenly quaked greatly.
And the Buddha emitted a ray of light
From the tuft between his eyebrows
And manifested various marvels.
This ray of light illuminated
The eighteen thousand buddha worlds in the east
And revealed the conditions
Resulting from the karma of each sentient being.
Through this light of the Buddha
All the buddha worlds appeared
As if they were decorated with various jewels
Such as lapis lazuli or crystal.
All the devas, humans, nāgas,
Yakṣas, gandharvas, and kiṃnaras
Were each seen paying homage to the buddhas.
All the Tathāgatas, who had spontaneously attained
The path of the buddhas,
Looked majestic and very beautiful
With bodies like golden mountains.
Each Bhagavat appeared like a golden image
In the midst of lapis lazuli,
Expounding the meaning
Of the profound Dharma to the great assembly.
There were innumerable śrāvakas
In each of the buddha worlds,
And they saw all the great assemblies
Because of the light of the Buddha.
There were also monks
Living in mountain forests,
Who, through persistence, possessed purity of conduct,
Which they protected like a precious jewel.
There were bodhisattvas,
As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
Practicing by giving (dāna), perseverance (kṣānti), and so on (i.e., the six perfections),
Who also became visible through the light of the Buddha.
There were bodhisattvas, who,
Having entered deep samādhi,
Were tranquil and undisturbed in body and mind,
And who were seen seeking for the highest path.
There were also bodhisattvas,
Who, knowing the tranquil character of the Dharma,
Were seen teaching the Dharma
And seeking the path of the buddhas
In each of the buddha worlds.
At that time the fourfold assembly,
Having seen the Buddha Candrasūryapradīpa
Manifest these great transcendent powers,
Became delighted, and asked each other
What the reason for this could be.
The Noble One, revered by devas and humans,
Then emerged from samādhi and
Praised Bodhisattva Varaprabha, saying:

You are the Eye of the World.
You are believed in by all and
Possess the treasure house of the Dharma.
You are the only one who can understand
The Dharma that I have taught!

The Bhagavat praised Varaprabha, delighting him,
And taught this Lotus Sutra
For the full period of sixty intermediate kalpas
Without rising from his seat.
This expounder of the Dharma, Varaprabha,
Firmly and completely
Preserved this most excellent Dharma
That was taught by the Buddha.
After having taught this Lotus Sutra
And having then gladdened the assembly
On that very day,
The Buddha told the assembly of devas and humans:

I have already taught you the meaning
Of the essential character of all dharmas.
Today I will enter nirvana
In the middle of the night.
Exert yourselves attentively
And rid yourselves of negligence!
The buddhas are extremely hard to meet
And can be encountered only once
In koṭis of kalpas!

All the sons of the Bhagavat,
On hearing that the Buddha was to enter nirvana,
Became sad, thinking:

Why will the Buddha enter nirvana so soon?

The Noble Lord, the King of the Dharma,
Consoled the innumerable beings saying:

Do not fear after I enter nirvana!
This Bodhisattva Śrīgarbha has fully realized
The true character of freedom from corruption
And after me he will become
A buddha named Vimalāṅganetra.
And then he will bring
Innumerable sentient beings to the path.

And that night the Buddha entered nirvana,
Like a fire that goes out when the wood is exhausted.
His relics were distributed
And innumerable stupas were built.
There were monks and nuns,
As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
Who increased their efforts
And sought for the highest path.
This expounder of the Dharma, Varaprabha,
Possessed of the treasure house of the Buddha,
Extensively proclaimed the Lotus Sutra
For eighty intermediate kalpas.
All of the eight princes
Led and inspired by Varaprabha,
Became firmly established
In the highest path,
And met innumerable buddhas.
After having paid homage to the buddhas
And following them in their practice of the great path,
They all in turn received their predictions,
Becoming buddhas in succession.
The last Buddha, the Highest of Devas,
Was called Dīpaṃkara,
And, as the leader of all the sages,
Had brought innumerable sentient beings to the path.
This expounder of the Dharma, Varaprabha,
Had one disciple who was lazy
And attached to fame and fortune.
This disciple ceaselessly sought these things
And amused himself from house to house.
He abandoned recitation of the sutras,
And, forgetting them,
Never became versed in them.
For this very reason he was named Yaśaskāma.
But since he had also performed many good deeds,
He was able to meet innumerable buddhas.
He paid homage to all these buddhas
And having practiced the great path after them,
Acquired all the six perfections and
Now meets the Lion of the Śākyas.
He shall subsequently become a buddha called Maitreya
Who will extensively bring
Innumerable sentient beings to the path.
After the parinirvāṇa of that
Buddha Candrasūryapradīpa,
The lazy one was none other than you;
And the expounder of the Dharma, Varaprabha,
Was no one but myself.
When I saw the Buddha Dīpaṃkara
He also revealed this marvel of light.
That is why I know that this buddha
Will now teach the Lotus Sutra.
This sign is just like the previous marvel.
It is the skillful means of all the buddhas.
The Buddha has now emitted this ray of light
In order to reveal
The essential character of dharmas.
Now it should be clear to everyone.
Wait attentively with palms pressed together!
Having rained the Dharma,
The Buddha will satisfy those seeking the path.
If there is anyone seeking the three vehicles
Who still has any doubts,
The Buddha will completely remove them,
Extinguishing them with none left over.