Sunday, June 15, 2008

Shurangama Sutra (Chapter 7)

[Chinese: 大佛頂如來密因修證了義諸菩薩萬行首楞嚴經 (Da foding rulai miyin xiuzheng liaoyi zhupusa wanxing shoulengyan jing)],

(The full title:)
Sutra of the Foremost Shurangama at the Crown of the Great Buddha; and of All the Bodhisattvas' Myriad Practices for Cultivating and Certifying to the Complete Meaning of the Tathagata's Secret Cause.

(Taisho Tripitaka 0945)
Translated during the Tang Dynasty by Shramana Paramiti from central India.
(Translated into English by the Buddhist Text Translation Society)
(Revised according to the original Chinese sutra)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Chapter 7

"Ananda, you asked about collecting one's thoughts; I have now begun to explain the wonderful method of cultivation for entrance into Samadhi in order to seek the Bodhisattva Way. First one must be as pure as glistening frost in keeping these four rules of deportment. One must refrain from all superfluous behavior and then the three evils of the mind and the four of the mouth will have no cause to come forth. Ananda, if one does not neglect these four matters, and, further, does not pursue forms, fragrances, tastes, objects of touch, and the like, then how can any demonic deeds arise?

"If people cannot put an end to their habits from the past, you should teach them to singlemindedly recite my Light Atop the Buddha's Crown Unsurpassed Holy Mantra: Maha-Sitata-Patra. It is the None-Can-See-The-Top Hallmark atop the crown of the Tathagatas' heads. It is the mantra-heart proclaimed by the Buddhas of the Unconditioned Mind who come forth from the crowns in a blaze of light and sit upon jeweled lotus flowers.

"What is more, your past lives with Matangi's daughter have created accumulated eons of causes and conditions. Your habits of fondness and emotional love go back not just one life, nor even just one eon. Yet, as soon as I proclaimed it, she was freed forever from the love in her heart and accomplished Arhatship. Even that prostitute, who had no intention of cultivating, was imperceptibly aided by that spiritual power and was swiftly certified to the position beyond study; then what about you Hearers in the assembly, who seek the most supreme Vehicle and are resolved to realize Buddhahood? For you it should be as easy as tossing dust into a favorable wind. What, then, is the problem?

"Those in the final age who wish to sit in a Way-place must first hold the pure precepts of a Bhikshu. To do so, they must find as their teacher a foremost Shramana who is pure in the precepts. If they do not encounter a member of the Sangha who is truly pure, then it is absolutely certain that their deportment in precepts and rules cannot be accomplished. Having kept the precepts well, they should put on fresh, clean clothes, light incense in a place where they are alone, and recite this holy mantra spoken by the Heart-Buddha 108 times. After that, they should secure the boundaries and establish the Way-place.

"Then they should beseech the unsurpassed Tathagatas abiding in their lands throughout the ten directions to emit a light of great compassion that anoints the crowns of the cultivators' heads.

"Ananda, when any such pure Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, or white-robed donors in the Dharma ending Age who can get rid of greed and lust even at the mental level, hold the Buddhas' pure precepts, and in a Way-place make the vows of a Bodhisattva and can bathe upon entering and exiting each time, continuing that practice of the Way day and night for three weeks without sleep, I will appear before these people in a physical form and rub the crowns of their heads to comfort them and enable them to become enlightened."

Ananda said to the Buddha, "Bhagavan, enveloped in the Tathagata's unsurpassed, compassionate instruction, my mind has already gained an awakening, and I know how to cultivate and be certified to the Way beyond study. But how do those who cultivate in the final age and want to establish a Way-place, secure the boundaries in accord with the rules of purity of the Buddhas, Bhagavans?"

The Buddha said to Ananda, "If there are people in the Dharma-ending age who wish to establish a Way-place, they should first find a powerful white cow in the snowy mountains, one which eats the lush and fertile sweet-smelling grasses of the mountains. Since such a cow also drinks only the pure water of the snowy mountains, its dung will be very fine. They can take that cow dung, mix it with chandana, and plaster the ground with it. If not from the snowy mountains, the cow dung will smell bad and cannot be used to smear on the ground. In that case, select a level place, dig down five feet or so, and use that yellow earth. Mix it with chandana incense, 'sinking-in-water' incense, jasmine incense, continuously permeating incense, tulip incense, white paste incense, green wood incense, fragrant mound incense, sweet pine incense, and 'chicken-tongue' incense. Grind these ten ingredients to a fine powder, make a paste, and smear it on the ground of the platform. The area should be sixteen feet wide and octagonal in shape."

"In the center of the platform, place a lotus flower made of gold, silver, copper, or wood. In the middle of the flower set a bowl filled with dew collected in the eighth lunar month. Float an abundance of flower petals on the water. Arrange eight circular mirrors at measured intervals around the flower and the bowl. Outside the mirrors place sixteeen lotus flowers and sixteencensers, so that the incense-burners are adorned and arranged between the flowers. Burn only sinking-in-water incense, lighting it with an ember, not an open flame."

"Place the milk of a white cow in sixteen vessels, along with cakes made with the same kind of milk, granulated sugar, oil cakes, milk porridge, turushka, honeyed ginger, clarified butter, and filtered honey. These sixteen are set around the outside of the sixteen flowers as an offering to the Buddhas and great Bodhisattvas."

"At every mealtime and at midnight, prepare a half-pint of honey and three tenths of a pint of clarified butter. Set up a small incense burner in front of the platform. Decoct the fragrant liquid from the turushka incense and use it to cleanse the coals. Light them so that blaze bursts forth, and toss the clarified butter and honey into the flaming censer. Let it burn until the smoke disappears, and present it to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas."

"Drape flags and flower garlands on the four outer walls, and within the room where the platform is located, arrange images of the Tathagatas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions on the four walls."

"In the most prominent place, display images of Vairocana Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, Maitreya Bodhisattva, Akshobhya Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, and all the magnificent transformations of Avalokitesvara(Contemplator of the World's Sounds) Bodhisattva. To the left and right, place the Vajra-Treasury Bodhisattvas. Beside them display the Lords Shakra and Brahma, Ucchushma, and the Blue Dirgha, as well as Kundalin and Bhrukuti and all four Heavenly Kings, with Vinayaka to the left and right of the door."

"Then suspend eight mirrors in the space around the platform so that they are exactly opposite the mirrors on the platform. This will allow the reflections in them to interpenetrate infinitely."

"During the first seven days, bow sincerely to the names of the Tathagatas of the ten directions, the great Bodhisattvas, and the names of the Arhats. Throughout the six periods of the day and night, continually recite the mantra while circumambulating the platform. Practice the Way with a sincere mind, reciting the mantra one hundred and eight times in each session."

"During the second week, make the vows of a Bodhisattva with unwavering ceaseless intent. In my Vinaya, I have already taught about vows."

"During the third week, hold the Buddha's Patra mantra for twelve hours at a time with a single intent; and on the seventh day, the Tathagatas of the ten directions will appear simultaneously. Their light will inter-reflect in the mirrors, illumining the entire area; and they will rub the crowns of the practitioners' heads."

"Cultivating Samadhi like this in a Way-place, even in the Dharma-ending age one can study and practice until one's body and mind are as pure and clear as Vaidurya. Ananda, if any one of the Bhikshu's precept-transmitting masters or any one of ten Bhikshus in the same assembly is not pure, the Way-place as described will not be successful."

"After three weeks, sit upright and still for a hundred days. Those with sharp roots will not arise from their seats and will become Shrotaapannas. Although their bodies and minds have not yet attained the ultimate fruition of sagehood, they know for certain, beyond question, that they will eventually realize Buddhahood. You have asked how the Way-place is established. That is the way it is done."

Ananda bowed at the Buddha's feet and said, "After I left the home life, I relied on the Buddha's affectionate regard. Because I sought erudition, I still have not been certified to the unconditioned. When I encountered that Brahma Heaven Mantra, I was captured by the deviant spell; though my mind was aware, I had no strength to free myself. I had to rely on Manjushri Bodhisattva to liberate me. Although I was blessed by the Tathagata's holy mantra of the Buddha's crown and imperceptibly received its strength, I still have not heard it myself. I only hope that the Greatly Compassionate One will proclaim it again to kindly rescue all the cultivators in this assembly and those of the future in the paths of rebirth, so that they may become liberated in body and mind by relying on the Buddha's secret sounds."

(Shurangama Mantra:)

At that moment, everyone in the congregation bowed as one and stood waiting to hear the Tathagata's secret phrases. At that time, hundreds of sacrosanct light welled forth from the flesh-mound(usnisa) at the crown of the Bhagavan's head. A thousand-petaled precious lotus then welled forth from amidst those rays. Upon the precious flowers sat a nirmana(miraculously created) Tathagata. From the crown of his head ten beams of light radiated forth, each ray is composed of hundreds of treasure-rays. In each of those glowing rays, there were 10 ganges-river-sands Vajra-Secret-Trace-deities each holding aloft a mountain and wielding a pestle, occuping the whole universe.

(* ganges-river-sands: a measure of quantity, means "as many as sands in ganges-river")

The great assembly, gazing upward, felt fearful admiration and sought the Buddha's kind protection. Single-mindedly they listened to the holy Mantra that proclaimed by the Tathagata in the gloriously radiant light of the None-Can-See-The-Top Hallmark of the Buddha:

(* None-Can-See-The-Top Hallmark -- "usnisa-siraskata" in Sanskrit, the crown of Buddha. because it's too high and sacrosanct, no one can see its top.)

(Part I)

namo satata sugataya arhate samyak-sambuddhasya (1)
satata buddha koti usnisam (2)
namo sarva buddha bodhisattve-bhyah (3)
namo saptanam samyak-sambuddha koti-nam (4)
sa sravaka samgha-nam (5)
namo loke arhata-nam (6)
namo srota-apanna-nam (7)
namo sakrdagami-nam (8)
namo loke samyak-gata-nam (9)
samyak-prati-panna-nam (10)
namo deva-rsi-nam (11)
namo siddhya-vidya-dhara-rsi-nam (12)
sapa-anu graha-saha-samartha-nam (13)
namo brahma-ne (14)
namo indra-ya (15)
namo Bhagavate rudra-ya uma-pati saheyaya (16)
namo Bhagavate narayana-ya panca maha-mudra (17)
namas-krtaya (18)
namo Bhagavate maha-kala-ya (19)
tripura-nagara (20)
vidra-pana-karaya (21)
adhi-mukti (22)
smasana-nivasini (23)
matr-gana (24)
namas-krtaya (25)
namo Bhagavate tathagata kulaya (26)
namo padma kulaya (27)
namo vajra kulaya (28)
namo mani kulaya (29)
namo gaja kulaya (30)
namo Bhagavate drdha-sura-sena pra-harana-rajaya (31)
tathagata-ya (32)
namo Bhagavate amitabha-ya (33)
tathagata-ya arhate samyak-sambuddha-ya (34)
namo Bhagavate aksobhya-ya (35)
tathagata-ya arhate samyak-sambuddha-ya (36)
namo Bhagavate bhaisajya-guru vaidurya prabha raja-ya (37)
tathagata-ya arhate samyak-sambuddha-ya (38)
namo Bhagavate sam-puspita salendra raja-ya (39)
tathagata-ya arhate samyak-sambuddha-ya (40)
namo Bhagavate sakyamuni-ye (41)
tathagata-ya arhate samyak-sambuddha-ya (42)
namo Bhagavate ratna ketu raja-ya (43)
tathagata-ya arhate samyak-sambuddha-ya (44)
tebhyo namas-krtva idam Bhagavanas tathagata usnisam (45)
sitata-patram (46)
namo apa-rajitam prati-yangiram (47)
sarva bhuta graha nigrahaka kara-hani (48)
para vidya chedanim (49)
akala mri-tyu pari traya-na kari (50)
sarva bandhana moksani (51)
sarva dusza duh-svapna nivarani (52)
catura-sitinam graha saha-sranam vidhvam-sana kari (53)
asza vimsatinam naksa-tranam pra-sadana kari (54)
aszanam maha-graha-nam vi-dhvam-sana kari (55)
sarva satru nivaranam (56)
ghoram duh-sva-pnam ca nasani (57)
visa, sastra, agni, udaka, ranam (58)
apara-jita ghora maha-bala canda, maha-dipta maha-teja (59)
maha-sveta-jvala maha-bala pandara-vasini arya-tara (60)
bhri-kuzi ce va vijaya vajra-maletih (61)
vi-sruta padmakah vajra-jihvah ca mala ce va aparajita vajra-dandah (62)
visala ca santa, sveteva pujita sauma-rupah, maha-sveta arya-tara (63)
maha-bala apara vajra-samkala ce va vajra-kaumari kulam-dhari (64)
vajra-hasta ca vidya (65)
kan-cana mallikah kusum-bhaka ratna (66)
vairocana kuliya-ya artha usnisa (67)
vi-jrmbha mani ca vajra-kanaka prabha-locana (68)
vajra-tundi ca sveta ca kamala-ksah siasi-prabha (69)
ity-iti mudra ganah sarve raksam kurvantu iman mama asya (70)

(Part II)

Om rsi-gana pra-sastas tathagata usnisa (71)
hum trum jambhana (72)
hum trum stambhana (73)
hum trum para-vidya sam-bhaksana kara (74)
hum trum sarva dusza-nam stambhana kara (75)
hum trum sarva yaksa raksasa grahanam vi-dhvam-sana kara (76)
hum trum catura-siti-nam graha saha-sra-nam vi-dhvam-sana kara (77)
hum trum asza-vimsati-nam naksatra-nam pra-sadana kara (78)
hum trum asza-nam maha-graha-nam vi-dhvam-sana kara (79)
hum trum raksa raksa mam (80)
bhagavans tathagata usnisa (81)
praty-angire maha-sahasra bhuje sahasra-sirse koti-siata sahasra netre (82)
abhede jvalita-zazaka maha-vajrodara tri-bhuvana mandala (83)
Om svastir bhavatu mama iman mama-sya (84)

(Part III)

raja-bhayah cora-bhayah agni-bhayah udaka-bhayah visa-bhayah siastra-bhayah (85)
para-cakra-bhayah dur-bhiksa-bhayah asiani-bhayah akala-mrityu-bhayah (86)
dharani bhumi kampaka pata-bhayah ulaka-pata-bhayah raja-danda-bhayah (87)
naga-bhayah vidyud-bhayah suparna-bhayah (88)
yaksa-grahah raksasi-grahah preta-grahah pisaca-grahah bhuta-grahah (89)
kumbhanda-grahah putana-grahah kaza-putana-grahah (90)
skanda-grahah apa-smara-grahah unmada-grahah chaya-grahah revati-grahah (91)
jata-a-harinam garbha-a-harinam rudhira-a-harinam mamsa-a-harinam (92)
medha-a-harinam majja-a-harinam jata-a-harinim jivita-a-harinam pita-a-harinam (93)
vanta-a-harinam asucya-a-harinim citta-a-harinim (94)
te-sam sarve-sam sarva-graha-nam vidyam chedayami kilayami (95)
pari-vrajaka kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (96)
dakini-kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (97)
maha-pasupati rudra-kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (98)
narayana-kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (99)
tattva-garuda kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (100)
maha-kala-matri gana-kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (101)
kapalika kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (102)
jaya-kara madhu-kara sarva artha sadhaka kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (103)
catur-bhagini kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (104)
bhri-ngi-rizi nandike-svara gana-pati sahaya kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (105)
nagna-sramana kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (106)
arhanta kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (107)
vita-raga kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (108)
vajra-pani guhya guhya-kadhi-pati kritam vidyam chedayami kilayami (109)
raksa mam Bhagavan iman mama-sya (110)

(Part IV)

Bhagavans tathagata usnisa sitata-patra namo-stute (111)
asita na-la-rka prabha sphuza vi-kas sitata-patre (112)
jvala jvala, dara dara, bhidara bhidara, chida chida (113)
hum hum phat phat phat phat phat svaha hehe phat (114)
amogha-ya phat apratihata phat (115)
vara-prada phat ssura-vidrapaka phat (116)
sarva deve-bhyah phat, sarva nage-bhyah phat (117)
sarva yakse-bhyah phat, sarva gandharve-bhyah phat (118)
sarva asure-bhyah phat, sarva garude-bhyah phat (119)
sarva kimnare-bhyah phat, sarva mahorage-bhyah phat (120)
sarva raksase-bhyah phat, sarva bhute-bhyah phat (121)
sarva pisace-bhyah phat, sarva kumbhande-bhyah phat (122)
sarva manusye-bhyah phat, sarva amanusye-bhyah phat (123)
sarva putane-bhyah phat, sarva kaza-putane-bhyah phat (124)
sarva dur-langhite-bhyah phat, sarva dus-preksite-bhyah phat (125)
sarva jvare-bhyah phat, sarva apasmare-bhyah phat (126)
sarva sramane-bhyah phat, sarva tiri-thike-bhyah phat (127)
sarva utmadake-bhyah phat, sarva vidya raja-carye-bhyah phat (128)
jaya kara madhu kara sarva artha sadhake-bhyah phat (129)
vidya acarye-bhyah phat, catur-bhagini-bhyah phat (130)
vajra kaumari kulam dhari vidya raje-bhyah phat, maha praty-angire-bhyah phat (131)
vajra samkara-ya praty-angira rajaya phat (132)
maha-kala-ya maha-matri-gana namas-kritaya phat (133)
visnavi-ye phat, brahmani-ye phat (134)
agni-ye phat, maha-kali-ye phat (135)
kala-dandi-ye phat, indra-ye phat, matre-ye phat (136)
raudri-ye phat, camundi-ye phat (137)
kala-ratri-ye phat, kapali-ye phat (138)
adhi-muktaka smasana vasiniye phat (139)
ye-ke-citta, sattva-asya mama iman mama-asya (140)

(Part V)

dusza-citta, papa-citta, raudra-citta, vi-dvesa-citta, amitri-citta (141)
ut-pada-yanti kila-yanti mantra-yanti japanti juhanti (142)
oja-aharah garbha-aharah rudhira-aharah vasa-aharah (143)
majja-aharah jata-aharah jivita-aharah balya-aharah (144)
malya-aharah gandha-aharah puspa-aharah phala-aharah sasya-aharah (145)
papa-citta, dusza-citta, raudra-citta (146)
yaksa-grahah, raksasa-grahah, preta-grahah, pisaca-grahah (147)
bhuta-grahah, Kumbhanda-grahah, skanda-grahah, unmada-grahah (148)
chaya-grahah, apa-smara-grahah, daka-dakini-grahah, revati-grahah (149)
jamika-grahah, sakuni-grahah, raudra-matri-nandika-grahah, alamba-grahah (150)
hanu kantha-pani-grahah (151)
jvarah eka-hikah dvaiti-yakah traiti-yakah catur-thakah (152)
nitya-jvarah visama-jvarah vati-kah paitti-kah slai-smi-kah (153)
sam-nipati-kah sarva-jvarah siro-hrathi (154)
ardha-ava-badha-kah badha-aroca-kah (155)
aksi-rogam mukha-rogam hrid-rogam gala-graham karna-sulam danta-sulam (156)
hridaya-sulam marman-sulam parsva-sulam priszha-sulam udara-sulam kazi-sulam (157)
vasti-sulam uru-sulam nakha-sulam hasta-sulam (158)
pada-sulam sarva-anga-pratyanga-sulam (159)
bhuta vetada dakini jvarah dadrukah kanduh kizi bhah-lutah vaisarpah-loha lingah (160)
siastra-sana-gara visa-yoga agne udaka mara vaira kantara akala-mrityo (161)
tri-yambuka trai-laza vriscika sarpa nakula simha vyaghra riksa taraksa mara (162)
jivis te-sam sarve-sam (163)
sitata-patra maha vajro-snisam, maha-praty-angiram (164)
yavad-dva-dasa yojana abhy-anta-rena sima bandham karomi (165)
vidya-bandham karomi, tejo-bandham karomi para-vidya-bandham karomi (166)
tadyatha ( 167, Following is the Mantra-Heart: )
Om anale visade vira vajra-dhare bandha bandhani vajra-pani phat hum trum phat Svaha (168)

"Ananda, it is from this cluster of light atop the crown of the Buddha's head, the secret chant, Sitata-Patra, with its exquisite, wonderful compilation of phrases, that all the Buddhasof the ten directions come forth. Because the Tathagatas of the ten directions use this mantra-heart, they realize Unsurpassed, Proper, and All-pervading Knowledge and Enlightenment "Because the Tathagatas of the ten directions take up this mantra-heart, they subdue all demons and control all adherents of externalist ways."

"Because the Tathagatas of the ten directions avail themselves of this mantra-heart, they sit upon jeweled lotus-flowers and respond throughout countries as numerous as atoms of universe."

"Because the Tathagatas of the ten directions embody this mantra-heart, they turn the great Dharma wheel in worlds as numerous as atoms of universe."

"Because the Tathagatas of the ten directions hold this mantra-heart, they are able to go throughout the ten directions to rub the crowns of beings' heads and bestow predictions upon them. Anyone in the ten directions who has not yet realized the levels of sagely fruition, can receive predictions from these Buddhas."

"Because the Tathagatas of the ten directions are based in this mantra-heart, they can go throughout the ten directions to rescue beings from sufferings experienced in the hells, as hungry ghosts, as animals, or by being blind, deaf, or mute, as well as from the suffering of being together with those one hates, the suffering of being apart from those one loves, the suffering of not obtaining what one seeks, and the suffering of the raging blaze of the five skandhas. They can simultaneously liberate beings from both major and minor accidents. In response to their recitation, dangers involving bandits, armies, the law, or imprisonment; dangers involving wind, fire, and water; and dangers of starvation, thirst, or impoverishment are all eradicated."

"Because the Tathagatas of the ten directions are in accord with this mantra-heart, they can serve good and wise advisors throughout the ten directions. Abiding in the four aspects of majestic deportment , they make absolutely appropriate offerings. In the assemblies of as many Tathagatas as there are sand grains in the Ganges, they are considered to be great Dharma Princes."

"Because the Tathagatas of the ten directions practice this mantra-heart, they can gather in and teach their relatives in the ten directions and keep those of the Small Vehicle from being frightened when they hear this secret treasury."

"Because the Tathagatas of the ten directions recite this mantra-heart, they realize Unsurpassed Enlightenment while sitting beneath the Bodhi trees, and enter Parinirvana."

"Because the Tathagatas of the ten directions transmit this mantra-heart, after their Nirvana, those to whom they have bequeathed the Buddhadharma can dwell in and support it to an ultimate degree. Being strict and pure in the precepts and rules, they can attain total purity."

"If I were to explain this cluster of light atop the crown of the Buddha's head Patra Mantra from morning till night unceasingly, without ever repeating any syllable or phrase, I could go on for as many eons as there are sand grains in the Ganges and still never finish. I also will tell you that this mantra is called The Crown of the Tathagata. Unless you hold this mantra, all of you with something left to study who have not yet put an end to the cycle of rebirth and yet have brought forth sincere resolve to become Arhats, will find it impossible to sit in a Way-place and be far removed in body and mind from all demonic deeds."

"Ananda, let any being of any country in any world copy out this mantra in writing on materials native to his region, such as birch bark, pattra, plain paper, or white cotton cloth, and store it in a pouch containing incense. If that person wears the pouch on his body, or if he keeps a copy of the mantra in his home, then you should know that even if he understands so little that he cannot recite the mantra from memory, he will not be harmed by any poison during his entire life."

"Ananda, I will now tell you more about how this mantra can rescue and protect the world, help people obtain great fearlessness, and bring to accomplishment living beings' transcendental wisdom. You should know that, after my extinction, if there are beings in the Dharma-ending Age who can recite the mantra themselves or teach others to recite it, such people who recite and uphold it will not be burned by fire, will not be drowned by water, and will not be harmed by mild or potent poisons."

"Other such things will not happen to them either, including not being possessed by any dragon, gods, ghost, spirits, weird entities, demonic ghosts, or evil mantras. These people's minds will attain proper reception, so that any spell; any paralyzing sorcery; any poison made of herbs, gold, silver; any plant, tree, insect, or snake; and any of the myriad kinds of poisonous vapors will turn into sweet dew when encountered or ingested. No evil stars, nor any ghost or spirit that harbors malice in its heart and poisons others can work its evil on these people. Vinayaka as well as all the evil ghost kings and their retinues will be led by deep kindness to always guard and protect them."

"Ananda, you should know that eighty-four thousand nayutas of Ganges' sands of kotis of Vajra-Treasury King Bodhisattvas and their descendants, each with Vajra multitudes in their retinues, are ever in attendance, day and night, upon this mantra."

"If beings whose minds are scattered and who have no Samadhi remember and recite the mantra, the Vajra Kings will always surround such good people. That is even more true for those who are decisively resolved upon Bodhi. All the Vajra Treasury-King Bodhisattvas will regard them attentively and secretly hasten the opening of their spiritual awareness. When that response occurs, those people will be able to remember the events of as many eons as there are sand grains in eighty-four thousand Ganges Rivers, knowing them all beyond any doubt or delusion. From that eon onward, through every life until the time they take last body, they will not be born where there are yakshas, rakshasas, putanas, kataputanas, kumbhandas, pishachas and so forth; where there is any kinds of hungry ghost, or any being possessing or lacking form, possessing or lacking thought, or in any other such evil place."

"If these good men read, recite, copy, or write out the mantra, if they carry it or treasure it, or if they make offerings to it, then through eon after eon they will not be poor or lowly, nor will they be born in unpleasant places. If these beings have never done any deeds that generate blessings, the Tathagatas of the ten directions will bestow their own merit and virtue upon these people. Because of that, throughout asamkhyeyas of ineffable, unspeakable numbers of eons, as many as sand grains in the Ganges, they will always be born in places where there are Buddhas. Their limitless merit and virtue will be three-fold, like the amala fruit-cluster, for they stay in the same place, become permeated with cultivation, and never part from the Buddhas."

"Therefore, The mantra can enable those who have broken the precepts to regain the purity of the precept source. It can enable those who have not received the precepts to receive them. It can cause those who are not vigorous to become vigorous. This mantra can enable those who lack wisdom to gain wisdom. It can cause those who are not pure to quickly become pure. It can cause those who are not vegetarians to become vegetarians naturally."

"Ananda, if good men who uphold this mantra violate the pure precepts before having received them, their multitude of offenses incurred by such violations, whether major or minor, can simultaneously be eradicated after they uphold the mantra. Even if they drank intoxicants or ate the five kinds of pungent plants and various other impure things in the past, the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Vajra deities, gods, immortals, ghosts, and spirits will not hold it against them. If they are unclean and wear tattered, old clothes to carry out the practice alone in a place by themselves, they can be equally pure. Even if they do not set up a platform, do not enter a Way-place, and do not practice the Way, but recite and uphold this mantra, their merit and virtue can still be identical with that derived from entering the platform and practicing the Way. If they have committed the five rebellious acts, grave offenses warranting unintermittent retribution, or if they are Bhikshus or Bhikshunis who have violated the four parajikas or the eight parajikas, after they recite this mantra, even such heavy karma can dispense after they recite this mantra, like a sand dune that is scattered in a gale, so that not a particle of it remains."

"Ananda, if beings who have never repented and reformed any of the obstructive offenses, either heavy or light, that they have committed throughout infinite countless eons past, up to and including those of this very life, can nevertheless read, recite, copy, or write out this mantra or wear it on their bodies or place it in their homes or in their garden houses, then all that accumulated karma will melt away like snow in hot water. Before long they will obtain awakening to Patience with the Non-existence of Both Beings and Dharmas."

"Moreover, Ananda, if women who do not have children and want to conceive can sincerely memorize and recite this mantra, or carry this Sitata-Patra mantra on their bodies, they can give birth to sons or daughters endowed with blessings, virtue, and wisdom."

"Those who seek long life will obtain long life. Those who seek to quickly perfect their reward will quickly be able to do so. The same is true for those who seek something regarding their bodies, lives, appearance, or strength. At the end of their lives, they will gain the rebirth they hope for in whichever of the lands of the ten directions they wish. They certainly will not be born in poorly endowed places, or as inferior people; even less will they be reborn in some odd form."

"Ananda, if there is famine of plague in a country, province, or village, or if perhaps there are armies, brigands, invasions, war, or any other kind of local threat of danger, then by writing out this holy mantra and placing it on the four city gates, or on a chaitya or on a dhvaja, by instructing all the people of the country to venerate the mantra, make obeisance to it, revere it, and singlemindedly make offerings to it; by instructing all the citizens to wear it on their bodies or to place it in their homes, and then all such disasters and calamities will completely disappear."

"Ananda, in each and every country where the people accord with this mantra, the heavenly dragons are delighted, the winds and rains are seasonal, the five kinds of crops are abundant, and the people are peaceful and happy. It can also suppress all evil stars which may appear in any of the directions and transform themselves in uncanny ways. Calamities and obstructions will not arise. People will not die accidentally or unexpectedly, nor will they be bound by fetters, cangues, or locks. Day and night they will be at peace, and no evil dreams will disturb their sleep."

"Ananda, this Saha world has eighty-four thousand changeable and potentially devastating evil stars. Twenty-eight great evil stars are the leader, and another eight great evil stars are the rulers. They take various shape, and when they appear in the world they bring disaster and unexpected calamities down upon beings. But wherever this the mantra is kept they will all be eradicated. A boundary will be secured for twelve yojanas around, and not evil calamity or misfortune will ever encroach upon it."

"Therefore, the Tathagata proclaims this mantra to be one which will protect all cultivators of the future who have just begun to study, so that they can enter Samadhi, be peaceful in body and mind, and attain great tranquility. Even less will any demon, ghost, or spirit, or any enemy, calamity, or misfortune due from former lives that reach back to beginningless time, or any old karma or past debts come to vex and harm them."

"As to you and everyone in the assembly who is still studying, and as to cultivators of the future who rely on my platform and hold the precepts in accord with the Dharma; who received the precepts from pure members of the Sangha; and who hold this mantra-heart without giving rise to doubts: should such good men as these not comprehend their minds in that very body, then the Tathagatas of the ten directions have lied!"

When he finished this explanation, measureless hundreds of thousands of Vajra Power-Knights in the assembly came before the Buddha, placed their palms together, bowed, and said to the Buddha, "With sincere minds we will protect those who cultivate Bodhi in this way, according to what the Buddha has said."

Then the Brahma King, the God Shakra, and the four great heavenly kings all came before the Buddha, made obeisance together, and said to the Buddha, "If indeed there are good men who cultivate and study in this way, we will do all we can to earnestly protect them and cause everything to be as they would wish throughout their entire lives."

Moreover measureless great yaksha generals, rakshasa kings, putana kings, kumbhanda kings, pishacha kings, Vinayaka, the great ghost kings, and all the ghost commanders came before the Buddha, put their palms together, and made obeisance. "We also have vowed to protect these people and cause their resolve for Bodhi to be quickly perfected."

Further, measureless numbers of gods of the sun and moon, lords of the rain, lords of the clouds, lords of the thunder, lords of lightning who patrol throughout the year, and all the retinues of stars which were also in the assembly bowed at the Buddha's feet and said to the Buddha, "We also protect all cultivators, so that their Way-places are peaceful and they can attain fearlessness."

Moreover, measureless numbers of mountain spirits, sea spirits, and all those of the earth-the myriad creatures and entities of water, land, and the air-as well as the king of wind-spirits and the gods of the Formless Heavens, came before the Tathagata, bowed their heads, and said to the Buddha, " We also will protect these cultivators until they attain Bodhi and will never let any demons have their way with them."

Then Vajra Treasury King Bodhisattvas in the great assembly, numbering as many as eighty-four thousand nayutas of kotis' worth of sand grains in the Ganges, arose from their seats, bowed at the Buddha's feet, and said to the Buddha, "Bhagavan, the nature of our deeds in cultivation is such that, although we have long since accomplished Bodhi, we do not grasp at nirvana, but always accompany those who hold this mantra, rescuing and protecting those in the final age who cultivate Samadhi properly. Bhagavan, such people as this, who cultivate their minds and seek proper concentration, whether in the Way-place or walking about, and even such people who with scattered minds roam and amuse themselves in the villages, will be accomplished and protected by us and our retinue of followers. Although the demon kings and the gods of great comfort will seek to get at them, they will never be able to do so. The smaller ghosts will have to stay ten yojanas' distance from these good people, except for those beings who have decided they want to cultivate dhyana.

"Bhagavan, if such evil demons or their retinues want to harm or disturb these good people, we will smash their heads to smithereens with our Vajra-pestles. We will always help these people to accomplish that.

Then Ananda arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha's feet, and said to the Buddha, "Now that we who are dull and slow, who are fond of erudition but have not sought to stop the outflows of our minds, have received the Buddha's compassionate instructions and have attained the proper means to become infused with cultivation, we experience joy in body and mind and obtain tremendous benefit. Bhagavan, for one who cultivates in this way and is certified as having attained the Buddha's Samadhi, but who has not yet reached nirvana, what is meant by the Level of Dry Wisdom? What are the Forty-four Minds? What is the sequence in which one cultivates to reach one's goal? What place must one reach to be said to have entered the grounds? And what is meant by a Bodhisattva of Equal Enlightenment?"

Having said this, he made a full prostration, and then the great assembly singlemindedly awaited the sound of the Buddha's compassionate voice as they gazed up unblinkingly with respectful admiration.

At that time the Bhagavan praised Ananda, saying, "Good indeed, good indeed, that for the sake of the entire great assembly and those beings in the final age who cultivate Samadhi and seek the Mahayana, you ask to have the unsurpassed proper path of cultivation that takes one from the level of an ordinary person to final parinirvana explained and revealed. Listen attentively, and I will speak about it for you."

Ananda and everyone in the assembly placed their palms together, cleansed their minds, and silently waited to receive the teaching.

The Buddha said, "Ananda, you should know that the wonderful nature is perfect and bright, apart from all names and attributes. Basically there is no world, nor are there any beings. Because of falseness, phenomena come into being. Because phenomena come into being, they also cease to be. Even the terms 'coming into being' and 'ceasing to be' are false. When the false ceases to be, that is known as truth. This is called the Tathagata's Unsurpassed Bodhi and Great Nirvana: These names refer to two kinds of turning around. Ananda, you now wish to cultivate true Samadhi and arrive directly at the Tathagata's Parinirvana. First, you should recognize the two upside-down causes of living beings and the world. The non-arising of upside-downness is the Tathagata's true Samadhi.

"Ananda, what is meant by the upside-downness of beings? Ananda, our nature endows the mind with understanding because the nature itself is the perfection of understanding. By adding understanding, another nature comes into being, and from that false nature, views arise. From absolute nothingness comes ultimate existence. All that exists comes about in that way.

The cause is not an actual cause. Subjective reliance on objective appearances is basically groundless. Thus, the very basis for the existence of the world and beings is fundamentally unreliable

"Confusion about one's basic, perfect understanding results in the arising of falseness. Falseness itself is devoid of substance; it is not something which can be relied upon. One may wish to return to the truth, but that wish for the truth is already a falseness. The real nature of True Suchness is not a truth that one can seek to return to. By doing so one misses the mark. What basically does not arise, what basically does not dwell, what basically is not the mind, and what basically are not dharmas come into being in turn. As they arise more and more strongly, they form the propensity to create karma. Similar karma sets up a mutual stimulus. Because of the karma thus generated, there is mutual production and mutual extinction. That is the reason for the upside-downness of beings.

"Ananda, what is the upside-downness of the world? All that exists and pertains to existence falsely arises in sections and shares. The world is based on that, but this cause is not an actual cause. Everything that is dependent has nothing on which it is dependent, and so it shifts and slides ceaselessly. Because of this, the world of the three periods of time and four directions come into being. Their union and interaction bring about changes which result in the twelve categories of beings.

"That is why, in this world, movement brings about sounds, sounds bring about forms, forms bring about smells, smells bring about contact, contact brings about tastes, and tastes brings about awareness of dharmas. The random false thinking resulting from those six creates karma, and this continuous revolving becomes the cause of twelve different categeories. And so, in the world, sounds, smells, tastes, contact, and the like, are each transformed throughout the twelve categories to make one complete cycle.

"Based on that continuously revolving process involving upside-down phenomena, those born from eggs, those born from wombs, those born from moisture, and those born by transformation; beings with form, those without form, those with thought, and those without thoughtt; beings not totally endowedwith form, those not totally lacking form, those not totally endowed with thought, and those not totally lacking thought come into being in this world.

"Ananda, through a continuous process of falseness, the upside-down state of movement occurs in this world. It unites with energy to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts that either fly up or dive down. From that eggs come into being and transmigrate throughout the lands as fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles, so that their kinds abound.

"Through a continuous process of defilement, the upside-down state of desire occurs in this world. It unites with stimulation to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts that are either erect or horizontal. From that embroyos in wombs come into being and transmigrate throughout the lands as human beings, animals, dragons, and immortals until their kinds abound.

"Through a continuous process of attachment, the upside-down state of inclination occurs in this world. It unites with warmth to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts that are vacillating and inverted. From that organisms in moisture come into being and transmigrate throughout the lands as insects and crawling invertebrates, until their kinds abound.

"Through a continuous process of change, the upside-down state of borrowing occurs in this world. Based on upside-downness, it unites with contact to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of new and old. From that, organisms that undergo transformations come into being and transmigrate throughout the lands as forms of metamorphic flying and crawling creatures, until their kinds abound.

"Through a continuous process of restraint, the upside-down state of obstruction occurs in this world. It unites with attachment to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of refinement and brilliance. From that animate entities that possess form come into being and transmigrate throughout the lands as auspicious and inauspicious creatures, until their kinds abound.

"Through a continuous process of annihilation and dispersion, the upside-down state of delusion occurs in this world. It unites with darkness to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of obscurity and hiding. From that, animate entities that are formless come into being and transmigrate throughout the lands as empty, dispersed, annihilated, and submerged beings until their kinds abound.

"Through a continuous process of illusory imaginings, the upside-down state of shadows occurs in this world. It unites with memory to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts that are hidden and bound up. From that, animate entities endowed with thought, come into being and transmigrate throughout the lands as spirits, ghosts, and devious beings, until their kinds abound.

"Through a continuous process of dullness and slowness, the upside-down state of stupidity occurs in this world. It unites with obstinacy to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts that are dry and attenuated. From that, animate entities lacking thought, come into being and transmigrate throughout the lands as their vitality and spirit change into earth, wood, metal, or stone, until their kinds abound.

"Through a continuous process of parasitic interaction, the upside-down state of simulation occurs in this world. It unites with defilement to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of according and relying. From that, animate entities not actually endowed with form, take on embryonic forms and transmigrate throughout the lands until their kinds abound, as jellyfish that use shrimp for eyes and the like.

"Through a continuous process of mutual enticement, an upside-down state of the nature occurs in this world. It unites with mantras to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of reckoning and summoning. From that animate entities not actually lacking form become formless beings and transmigrate throughout the lands as the hidden beings of mantras and incantations, until their kinds abound.

"Through a continuous process of false unity, the upside-down state of transgression occurs in this world. It unites with unlike formations to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of reciprocal interchange. From that animate entities not actually endowed with thought, become beings endowed with thought and transmigrate throughout the lands in such forms as a wasp that turns a different creature into its own species and the like, until their kinds abound.

"Through a continuous process of enmity and harm the upside-down state of killing occurs in this world. It unites with monstrosities to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of devouring one's father and mother. From that, animate entities not actually lacking thought become beings that lack thought and transmigrate throughout the lands, until their kinds abound in such forms as the owl which hatches its young from clods of dirt, and the broken-mirror bird, which incubates a poisonous fruit to create its young whereupon the young of each eat the parents and the like, until their kinds abound. These are the twelve categories of beings."

End of Chapter 7
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