Larger Sutra


Illustrations from the Larger Sutra Mandala

Glorious features of the Buddha

[3] At that time all the senses of the World-Honored One radiated joy, [266c] his entire body appeared serene and glorious, and his august countenance looked most majestic. Having perceived the Buddha's holy intention, the Venerable Ananda rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, prostrated himself, and joining his palms in reverence, said to the Buddha, "World-Honored One, today all your senses are radiant with joy, your body is serene and glorious, and your august countenance is as majestic as a clear mirror whose brightness radiates outward and inward. The magnificence of your dignified appearance is unsurpassed and beyond measure. I have never seen you look so superb and majestic as today. With respect, Great Sage, this thought has occurred to me: 'Today, the World-Honored One dwells in the rare and marvelous Dharma; today, the World-Hero dwells in the Buddha's abode; today, the World-Eye concentrates on the performance of the leader's duty; today, the World-Valiant One dwells in the supreme Bodhi; today, the One Most Honored in Heaven realizes the Tathagata's virtue. The Buddhas of the past, present and future contemplate each other. How can this present Buddha not contemplate all other Buddhas?' For what reason does his countenance look so majestic and brilliant?"
Then the World-Honored One said to Ananda, "Tell me, Ananda, whether some god urged you to put this question to the Buddha or whether you asked about his glorious countenance from your own wise observation."
Ananda replied to the Buddha, "No god came to prompt me. I asked you about this matter of my own accord."
The Buddha said, "Well said, Ananda. I am very pleased with your question. You have shown profound wisdom and subtle insight in asking me this wise question out of compassion for sentient beings. As the Tathagata, I regard beings of the three worlds with boundless great compassion. The reason for my appearance in the world is to reveal teachings of the Way and save multitudes of beings by endowing them with true benefits. Even in countless millions of kalpas it is difficult to come upon and meet a Tathagata. It is as difficult as seeing an udumbara flower, which blooms very rarely. Your question is of great benefit and will enlighten all heavenly and human beings. Ananda, you should realize that the Tathagata's perfectly enlightened wisdom is unfathomable, capable of leading innumerable beings to emancipation, and that his penetrating insight cannot be obstructed. With just one meal, he is able to live for a hundred thousand kotis of kalpas, or an incalculable and immeasurable length of time, or beyond. Even after that lapse of time, his senses will still be radiant with joy and show no signs of deterioration; his appearance will not change, and his august countenance will look just the same. The reason for this is that the Tathagata's meditation and wisdom are perfect and boundless and that he has attained unrestricted power over all dharmas. Ananda, listen carefully. I shall now expound the Dharma."
Ananda replied, "Yes, I will. With joy in my heart, I wish to hear the Dharma."

53 past Buddhas

[4] The Buddha said to Ananda, "In the distant past -- innumerable, incalculable and inconceivable kalpas ago -- a Tathagata named Dipankara appeared in the world. Having taught and freed innumerable beings and led them all along the path of Enlightenment, he passed into Nirvana. Next appeared a Tathagata named Far-reaching Light. After him came Moonlight, and then Sandalwool-Incense, King of Beautiful Mountains, Crown of Mount Sumeru, Brilliant like Mount Sumeru, Color of the Moon, Right Recollection, Free of Defilement, Non-attachment, Dragon-deva, Nocturnal Light, Peaceful and Brilliant Peak, Immovable Ground, [267a] Exquisite Beryl Flower, Golden Beryl Luster, Gold-treasury, Flaming Light, Fiery Origin, Earth-shaking, Image of the Moon, Sound of the Sun, Flower of Freedom, Glorious Light, Miraculous Power of the Ocean of Enlightenment, Water Light, Great Fragrance, Free of Dust and Defilement, Abandoning Enmity, Flame of Jewels, Beautiful Peak, Heroic Stance, Merit-possessing Wisdom, Outshining the Sun and the Moon, Beryl Light of the Sun and the Moon, Supreme Beryl Light, Highest Peak, Flower of Enlightenment, Brightness of the Moon, Sunlight, King of the Colors of Flowers, Moonlight on the Water, Dispelling the Darkness of Ignorance, Practice of Removing Hindrances, Pure Faith, Storage of Good, Majestic Glory, Wisdom of the Dharma, Call of the Phoenix, Roar of the Lion, Voice of the Dragon and Dwelling-in-the-world. All these Buddhas have already passed into Nirvana.

Lokeshvararaja Buddha and Dharmakara

[5] "Then appeared a Buddha named Lokeshvararaja, the Tathagata, Arhat, Perfectly Enlightened One, Possessed of Wisdom and Practice, Perfected One, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed One, Tamer of Men, Master of Gods and Men, Buddha and World-Honored One.
"At that time there was a king, who, having heard the Buddha's exposition of the Dharma, rejoiced in his heart and awakened aspiration for the highest, perfect Enlightenment. He renounced his kingdom and the throne, and became a monk named Dharmakara. Having superior intelligence, courage and wisdom, he distinguished himself in the world. He went to see the Tathagata Lokeshvararaja, knelt down at his feet, walked round him three times keeping him always on his right, prostrated himself on the ground, and putting his palms together in worship, praised the Buddha with these verses:

The king renounced the world and became a monk, called Dharmakara.

Sanbutsuge - Verses Praising the Buddha

1. The shining face of the Buddha is glorious;
Boundless is his magnificence.
Radiant splendor such as his
Is beyond all comparison.
The sun, the moon and the mani-jewel,
Though shining with dazzling brightness,
Are completely dimmed and obscured
As if they were a pile of ink-sticks

.2. The countenance of the Tathagata
Is beyond compare in the whole world.
The great voice of the Enlightened One
Resounds throughout the ten regions.
His morality, learning, endeavor,
Absorption in meditation, wisdom
And magnificent virtues have no equal;
They are wonderful and unsurpassed.

3. He meditates deeply and directly
On the oceanic Dharma of all the Buddhas.
He knows its depth and breadth
And penetrates to its farthest end.
Ignorance, greed and anger
Are forever absent in the World-Honored One.
He is the lion, the most valiant of all men;
His glorious virtue is unlimited.

4. His meritorious achievements are vast;
His wisdom is deep and sublime.
His light, with awe-inspiring glory, [267b]
Shakes the universe of a thousand million worlds.
I resolve to become a Buddha,
Equal in attainment to you, O holy king of the Dharma,
To save living beings from birth-and-death,
And to lead them all to emancipation.

5. My discipline in giving, mind-control,
Moral virtues, forbearance and effort,
And also in meditation and wisdom,
Shall be supreme and unsurpassed.
I vow that, when I have become a Buddha,
I shall carry out this promise everywhere;
And to all fear-ridden beings
Shall I give great peace.

6. Even though there are Buddhas,
A thousand million kotis in number,
And multitudes of great sages
Countless as the sands of the Ganges,
I shall make offerings
To all those Buddhas.
I shall seek the supreme Way
Resolutely and tirelessly.

7. Even though the Buddha-lands are as innumerable
As the sands of the Ganges,
And other regions and worlds
Are also without number,
My light shall shine everywhere,
Pervading all those lands.
Such being the result of my efforts,
My glorious power shall be immeasurable.

8. When I have become a Buddha,
My land shall be most exquisite,
And its people wonderful and unexcelled;
The seat of Enlightenment shall be supreme.
My land, being like Nirvana itself,
Shall be beyond comparison.
I take pity on living beings
And resolve to save them all.

9. Those who come from the ten quarters
Shall find joy and serenity of heart;
When they reach my land,
They shall dwell in peace and happiness.
I beg you, the Buddha, to become my witness
And to vouch for the truth of my aspiration.
Having now made my vows to you,
I will strive to fulfill them.

10. The World-Honored Ones in the ten quarters
Have unimpeded wisdom;
I call upon those Honored Ones
To bear witness to my intention.
Even though I must remain
In a state of extreme pain,
I will diligently practice,
Enduring all hardships with tireless vigor."

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