Larger Sutra


Illustrations from the Larger Sutra Mandala

Bodhisattvas' visit to the Pure Land from other lands

[26] The Buddha said to Ananda, "The majestic virtue of Amitayus is boundless. All the innumerable, uncountable and inconceivable Buddhas, Tathagatas, in the worlds of the ten quarters praise him. Innumerable and uncountable bodhisattvas in the Buddha-lands of the eastern quarter, as numerous as the sands of the River Ganges, all without exception, visit Amitayus in order to worship and make offerings to him and to the assembly of bodhisattvas and shravakas. Having heard the teaching, they expound it to lead people into the Path of the Buddha. As in the eastern quarter, so it is in the southern, western and northern, as well as in the four intermediate quarters, above and below."

Bodhisattvas' visit from other Buddha-lands

Verses on bodhisattvas' visit

[27] Then the World-Honored One spoke the following verses:
1. In the eastern quarter there are Buddha-lands,
As numerous as the sands of the River Ganges;
Bodhisattvas dwelling in those lands
Go to pay homage to Amitayus, the Enlightened One.

2. So it is in the southern, western, and northern quarters,
The intermediate quarters, above and below;
Bodhisattvas dwelling in those lands
Go to pay homage to Amitayus, the Enlightened One.

3. All those bodhisattvas, taking with them
Exquisite heavenly flowers,
Precious incense and priceless robes,
Make offerings to Amitayus, the Enlightened One.

4. Playing heavenly music in concert,
Producing harmonious and delicate sounds,
They praise the Most Honored One with hymns
And make offerings to Amitayus, the Enlightened One:

5. 'You have perfected supernatural powers and wisdom,
With which you freely enter the gates of the profound Dharma;
You also possess stocks of merit and virtue
And unparalleled supreme knowledge.

6. Illumining the world with the sun of wisdom,
You disperse the clouds of birth-and-death.'
Having reverently walked round him three times,
They pay homage to the Unsurpassed One.

7. Having seen the glorious Pure Land,
Wonderfully resplendent, [273a]
They are led to awaken supernal aspiration
And wish their lands to be like his.

8. Then Amitayus, the Enlightened One,
Changes his countenance and smiles;
From his mouth come forth innumerable rays of light,
Which illuminate the worlds in the ten quarters.

9. These rays of light return, encircle his body
Three times, and enter the crown of his head.
All devas and humans are delighted to see this
And are filled with great joy.

10. Avalokiteshvara, the Exalted Being, having respectfully arranged
His clothes and bowed his head,
Asked the Buddha, 'Why are you smiling?
Reverently I enquire. Please tell me why.'

11. The Buddha's majestic voice was like thunder,
Producing wonderful sounds in eight qualities of voice;
'Because I am about to give predictions to the bodhisattvas.
I now explain to you. Listen carefully!

12. I am fully aware of the vows of the bodhisattvas
Who come from the ten quarters;
They seek to glorify their pure lands.
After receiving my predictions, they will become Buddhas.

13. While realizing that all dharmas are like a dream,
An illusion or an echo,
They will fulfill their excellent vows
And surely establish pure lands such as this.

14. Knowing that dharmas are like a flash of lightning or a shadow,
They will pursue the Bodhisattva Path to its end
And amass a stock of merit. After receiving
My predictions, they will become Buddhas.

15. While thoroughly knowing that the nature of all dharmas
Is empty and without substance,
They will single-mindedly seek to produce their pure lands
And will surely establish lands such as this.'

16. The Buddhas tell the bodhisattvas to go and pay homage
To the Buddha of the Land of Peace and Provision.
'Listen to his teaching, joyfully receive and practice it,
And then quickly reach the Realm of Purity.

17. When you go to his glorious Pure Land,
You will instantly acquire supernatural powers.
Having, without fail, received predictions from Amitayus,
You will attain perfect Enlightenment.

18. By the power of that Buddha's Original Vows,
All who hear his Name and desire birth,
Will, without exception, be born in his land
And effortlessly enter the Stage of Non-retrogression.

19. Bodhisattvas, if you make vows
That your lands will be like this,
While aspiring to save all beings everywhere,
Your name will be renowned throughout the ten quarters.

20. In order to serve millions of Tathagatas,
You can assume various forms and fly to those lands;
After worshipping them with joyful hearts,
You will return to the Land of Peace and Provision.'

21. Without a stock of goodness from past lives,
One cannot hear this sutra;
But those who have strictly observed the precepts
Can hear the right Dharma. [273b]

22. One who has met a World-Honored One in the past
Can accept this teaching.
Such a person respectfully worships, hears
And upholds it, and rejoices so greatly as to dance.

23. Arrogant, corrupt and indolent people
Cannot readily accept this teaching.
But those who have met Buddhas in their past lives
Rejoice to hear it.

24. Neither shravakas nor bodhisattvas are able to know
The Sage's Mind exhaustively;
They are like those who are born blind
And yet wish to guide others.

25. The ocean of the Tathagata's wisdom
Is deep, vast and boundless.
Even sages of the Hinayana cannot fathom it;
Only the Buddha clearly knows it.

26. Let us suppose that all human beings,
Without exception, have attained Enlightenment
And, with pure wisdom, realized original emptiness.
Even if they pondered on the Buddha's wisdom for myriads of kalpas,

27. And expounded it with the utmost effort all through their lives,
They would not come to exhaustive knowledge of it.
The Buddha's wisdom is thus limitless
And pure to its depths.

28, To obtain human life is difficult in the extreme;
To meet a Buddha in this world is also difficult;
It is difficult, too, for a man to attain faith and wisdom.
Once you have heard the Dharma, strive to reach its heart.

29. If you have heard the Dharma and do not forget it,
But adore and revere it with great joy,
You are my good friend. For this reason,
You should awaken aspiration for Enlightenment.

30. Even if the whole world is on fire,
Be sure to pass through it to hear the Dharma;
Then you will surely attain the Buddha's Enlightenment.
And everywhere deliver beings from the river of birth-and-death.

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