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...
At that time Ānanda and Rāhula thought this: “The delight we would feel if we were to receive our predictions is constantly before our minds!”
Then arising from their seats and going into the presence of the Buddha, they bowed until their foreheads touched his feet, and spoke to him in unison, saying: “O Bhagavat! We should also be qualified to receive our predictions! Both of us take refuge only in the Tathāgata. Moreover we are well known by the devas, humans, and asuras throughout the entire world! Ānanda has always attended the Tathāgata, preserving the treasure house of the Dharma; and Rāhula is the son of the Buddha. If the Buddha would bestow upon us the prediction of highest, complete enlightenment then our vows would be fulfilled and our wishes also realized!”
Then two thousand disciples, śrāvakas, some who still had more to learn, and some who did not, all arose from their seats and with their right shoulders bared went into the presence of the Buddha. Attentively, with palms pressed together, they gazed at the Bhagavat, all having the same wish as Ānanda and Rāhula, and stood to one side. Then the Buddha addressed Ānanda, saying: “In the future world you will become a buddha called Sāgara dharabuddhivikrīḍitarājābhijña, 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. You will pay homage to sixty-two koṭis of buddhas, preserve the treasure house of the Dharma and ultimately attain highest, complete enlightenment. Further, you will inspire twenty thousands of myriads of koṭis of bodhisattvas, equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River, causing them to attain highest, complete enlightenment.
“Your land will be called Avanāmitavaijayantā. It will be pure and the earth will be made of lapis lazuli. The kalpa will be called Manojñaśabdā-bhigarjita. The lifespan of this buddha will be for immeasurable, incalculable thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas. Their number would be incalculable even if one were to count for immeasurable, innumerable thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas. The True Dharma will abide in the world twice as long as his lifespan and the Semblance Dharma will abide in the world twice as long as the True Dharma.
“O Ānanda! The virtues of this buddha Sāgaradhara buddhi vikrīḍita- rājābhijña will be praised by immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of Buddha Tathāgatas in the ten directions, equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River.”
Thereupon the Tathāgata, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:
I now tell the assembly
That Ānanda, the preserver of the Dharma,
Will pay homage to the buddhas
And ultimately attain complete enlightenment.
He will be called the Buddha
His land will be pure
And called Avanāmitavaijayantā
He will lead and inspire bodhisattvas
In numbers equal to the sands of the Ganges River.
This buddha will be endowed
With great virtue and dignity, and his fame
Will fill the ten directions.
His lifespan will be immeasurable
Due to his compassion for sentient beings.
The True Dharma will abide
Twice as long as his lifespan
And the Semblance Dharma will abide
Twice as long as the True Dharma.
Countless sentient beings
Within the Dharma of this buddha,
Equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River,
Will plant the seed of the buddha path.”
At that time the eight thousand bodhisattvas in the assembly, in whom the thought of enlightenment (bodhicittta) had recently awakened, all thought this: “Since we have never heard the great bodhisattvas receive predictions like this, why should the śrāvakas now obtain it?”
Then the Bhagavat, knowing what the bodhisattvas were thinking, spoke to them, saying: “O sons of a virtuous family! The thought of highest, complete enlightenment once awoke simultaneously in Ānanda and myself in the presence of the Buddha Dharmag aganābhyudgatarāja. Ānanda always wanted to hear a great deal about the Dharma, and I always made diligent efforts. For this reason I was shortly able to attain highest, complete enlightenment, whereas Ānanda preserves my teaching and in the future will uphold the treasure house of the Dharma of all the buddhas. He will lead, inspire, and perfect the bodhisattvas. Since this was his original vow, he has obtained this prediction!”
Ānanda, while facing the Buddha in the audience, heard his own prediction and about the adornments of his land. His vow fulfilled, he rejoiced greatly at attaining such an unprecedented experience. With his unobstructed penetration he immediately remembered the treasure house of the Dharma of the past immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas as if he had just heard of it today; and he also became aware of his original vow. Thereupon Ānanda spoke these verses:
The Bhagavat is truly extraordinary.
He has enabled me to recollect the Dharma
Of incalculable numbers of buddhas of the past,
Just as if I had first heard of the matter today.
I now have no further doubts.
I am established in the buddha path.
I have become an attendant of the Tathāgata
And, as an attendant, I will preserve
The Dharma of all the buddhas, using skillful means.
Then the Buddha addressed Rāhula, saying: “In the future you will become a buddha called Saptaratnapadmavikrama, 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. You will pay homage to the Buddha Tathāgatas, whose number is equal to that of the grains of dust in the ten worlds; and you will always become the eldest son of all the buddhas just as you are my eldest son now.
“The adornments of the land, the number of disciples led and inspired, the duration of the True and Semblance Dharma of this buddha Saptaratnapadmavikrama will be just like those of the Buddha Sāgaradharabuddhi vikrīḍitarājābhijña, without the slightest difference. You will also become the eldest son of this buddha and after that attain highest, complete enlightenment.”
At that time the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:
When I was a prince,
Rāhula was my eldest son.
And now that I have perfected the buddha path,
He accepts my teaching as the heir of the Dharma.
In the future he will meet
Immeasurable koṭis of buddhas.
Becoming the eldest son of all these buddhas,
He will wholeheartedly seek
The buddha path.
Only I am able to discern
Rāhula’s unseen practice.
But now that he has become my eldest son,
He reveals it to the sentient beings.
His thousands of myriads
Of koṭis of merits are uncountable and incalculable;
He will become established in the Buddha-Dharma
And seek the highest path.
Then the Bhagavat perceived that the minds of those two thousand people, some of whom had more to learn and some of whom did not, were sincere, mild, and receptive. They were all attentively gazing at the Buddha. The Buddha said to Ānanda: “Do you not see these two thousand people, some of whom have more to learn and some of whom do not?”
Ānanda replied: “Yes, I see them.”
The Buddha said: “O Ānanda! All of these people will pay homage to the Buddha Tathāgatas, whose number is equal to that of the grains of dust in fifty worlds. They will respect, honor, and preserve the treasure house of the Dharma and will later all become buddhas simultaneously in the worlds of the ten directions. They will all have the same name, Ratnaketurāja, 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. Their lifespans will last one kalpa. The adornments of their lands, the number of śrāvakas and bodhisattvas, and the duration of the True and Semblance Dharma will be the same for all.”
Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:
Now in my presence
These two thousand śrāvakas
Have all received their predictions.
In the future they will all become buddhas.
The buddhas they will revere
Will be equal to the number of grains of dust,
Just as mentioned above.
Preserving this treasure house of the Dharma,
They will later attain complete enlightenment.
They will all have the same name
And dwell in the lands of the ten directions.
All sitting at the exact same time,
On the terrace of enlightenment,
They will attain the highest wisdom.
All of them will be called Ratnaketurāja.
Their lands, the number of disciples,
Duration of the True and Semblance Dharma
Will all be the same without any difference.
Moreover, through their transcendent powers,
They will save sentient beings
Throughout the ten directions.
Their fame will spread universally
And they will gradually enter nirvana.
Then the two thousand people, some of whom had more to learn and some of whom did not, having heard their predictions from the Buddha, rejoiced ecstatically and spoke in verse:
O Bhagavat, the Light of Wisdom!
We have just heard you give us our predictions
And our minds are full of joy,
Just as if we had been sprinkled
With the Dharma of immortality.