THE BODHISATTVA KISHITIGARBHAVOW SUTRA
The Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha Vow Sutra was first translated from the Sanskrit into Chinese in the 7th century A.D. T’ang Dynasty. The English here has been faithfully translated directly from the original archaic Chinese. In China this sutra has for hundreds of years been one of the most well-known and popular Buddhist sutras, but compared to such Bodhisattvas as Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri, the name Kishitigarbha appears to be relatively unknown in the West. According to one Chinese authority on Kishitigarbha, the reason for this obscurity lies in an ancient prophecy foretelling that this sutra would not be known outside of China and Tibet for 2500 years after the time of Buddha – until the Dharma-Ending Age – our present age – which would be ready to receive and understand it. The sutra would then be revealed and spread to distant lands. Regardless of any mystique surrounding this explanation, the fact is that together with Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Samantabhadra, Kishitigarbha is one of the most revered and celebrated Bodhisattvas. Respectively they personify the four basic Mahayana qualities of Great Compassion, Great Wisdom, Great Meritorious Deeds, and in Kishitigarbha: the Great Vow – the vow to save all sentient beings, including the hungry ghosts and the hell beings.
The literal translation of the Bodhisattva’s Sanskrit name is “Earth-Store”. The name in one sense indicates that any undesirable or troublesome thoughts ‘stored’ or hidden deep in one’s mind or heart may be uncovered and released with the help of Kishitigarbha’s divine power – thereby freeing the person from their negative influence. A less literal translation, which more accurately communicates its complex significance to Western readers, could be to render it as “Earth-Treasure”. In this freer sense his name expresses the many marvellous aspects of the earth and his mysterious connection with it: the earth is vast, it supports all living beings, it is impartial, it receives the life-giving rain, it produces trees and crops, it holds all planted seeds which will ultimately ripen and come to fruition, it holds many treasures, it produces medicines for suffering humanity, it is not moved by storms. And the earth too, is in its own way a sentient being.
The Earth-Treasure Bodhisattva has a deep relationship with beings of the earth ñ humans, and especially with those ‘below’ it – the hungry ghosts and hell beings. Because these are the most difficult to raise into a more fortunate condition due to their previous unwholesome actions, and because of his past vow to save them all, Kishitigarbha has been known as the Teacher of the Dark Regions. “If I do not go to hell to help them, who else will go?” is the famous declaration popularly attributed to Kishitigarbha. No matter what the crime or the karma, he is willing to have a connection with any being, and to help free them from suffering.
The story of Ksitigarbha was mentioned in the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapanidhana sutra, one of the most popular Mahayana Sutras. According to Ksitigarbha Sutra, Ksitigarbha used to be the maiden of a Brahmin. She was very troubled because of her mother’s death. Since she had false statement on the three jewels , she got worried that her mother would experience great tortures in hell. So she sold everything of her property so that she could offer offering to Buddha of her time. The Buddha at that time was known as Buddha of the Flower of Meditation and Enlightenment. She asked for Buddha help to spare her mother from all the pain in the hell. Later after seeing Ksitigarbha praying fervently, Buddha told her to go home and recite his name if she wanted to see where her mother was. After doing the exact thing that Buddha instructed her, her consciousness went to Hell realm and she was informed by the guardian that her mother went to heaven after her fervent praying and offerings. After knowing that her mother went to heaven, she was relieved but she was also sad seeing the suffering in the hell, she took a vow to help beings to relieve them from the suffering of the hell.
The Sutra is fundamentally a teaching concerning karmic retribution, graphically describing the consequences one creates for oneself by committing undesirable actions. This is especially for the benefit of future beings in the Dharma-Ending Age in order to help these beings avoid making the mistakes that will cause them to be reborn in a low condition. With the motivation to help suffering beings always in mind, the sutra is a discourse given by the Buddha in praise of the Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha and his heroic Vow, and of the benefits one can receive from worshipping Kishitigarbha and by reading the sutra.
Presented in the form of a seemingly mythic dialogue between the Buddha and Kishitigarbha, the teaching takes place in a certain heaven called Trayastrimsa Heaven, in front of a vast multitude of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gods and ghosts. Immediately prior to his departure from this world, Buddha manifested in Trayastrimsa Heaven so that he might repay the kindness of his mother who dwelt there by speaking the Dharma on her behalf. So from another aspect the sutra deals with filial responsibility – not only that between oneself and one’s parents, but also in an ultimate sense of a universal code of duty or responsibility for all living beings, all of whom a Bodhisattva regards with the same kindness, consideration and respect that one should accord to one’s own parents. This, together with the practice of acts for the good of all, is the Bodhisattva’s vision.
The sutra closes as the Buddha is on the point of entering Nirvana. Throughout the sutra Buddha is concerned for the future beings of the Dharma-Ending Age, and trusts that through Kishitigarbha’s divine power, the Bodhisattva will be able to help these beings attain liberation even during this difficult Age – which is the reason his sutra is to be revealed at this time. The Buddha ends his discourse by praising Kishitigarbha before the assembly, entrusting all future beings in the heavens and the worlds to him – proclaiming that any future person who reads the Sutra or who worships Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha will
Namo Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha Mahasattva
DIVINE POWER IN
Thus I have heard:
At one time, Buddha Sakyamuni appeared in Trayastrimsa Heaven to preach the Dharma for his mother, Lady Maya. At that time, uncountable Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Mahasattvas from the Ten Directions went there for this instruction. All the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas admired Buddha Sakyamuni for his ability to help all hard and violent living beings learn how to achieve happiness and rid themselves of distress. Every Buddha and Bodhisattva sent their envoys to request the World-Honored One’s instructions.
When Buddha smiled, millions of bright clouds appeared. The Bright Cloud of Great Perfect Fullness, The Bright Cloud of Great Compassion, The Bright Cloud of Great Wisdom, The Bright Cloud of Great Prajna, The Bright Cloud of Great Samadhi, The Bright Cloud of Great Auspiciousness, The Bright Cloud of Great Blessing, The Bright Cloud of Great Merit, The Bright Cloud of Great Refuge, The Bright Cloud of Great Praise and countless others. Following the bright clouds, he also emitted many kinds of wonderful subtle sounds. The Sound of Contribution, The Sound of Discipline, The Sound of Patience, The Sound of Dauntless Energy, The Sound of Meditation, The Sound of Enlightened Wisdom, The Sound of Benevolence and Compassion, The Sound of Joyous Giving, The Sound of Release, The Sound of No-Outflows, The Sound of Wisdom, The Sound of Great Wisdom, The Sound of the Lion’s Roar, The Sound of the Great Lion’s Roar, The Sound of Thunderclouds, The Sound of Great Thunderclouds and other endless sounds.
Uncountable billions of heavenly beings, dragons, ghosts and gods from the Saha World and many realms gathered together in the Palace of Trayastrimsa Heaven. They came from the Heaven of Four Kings, the Heaven of Trayastrimsa, the Heaven of Suyama, the Heaven of Tusita, the Heaven of Transformation Happiness, the Heaven of Transformation Comfort, the Heaven of Brahma’s Multitudes, the Heaven of Brahma’s Ministers, the Heaven of Great Brahma, the Heaven of Little Light, the Heaven of Endless Light, the Heaven of Light and Sound, the Heaven of Little Purity, the Heaven of Endless Purity, the Heaven of Universal Purity, the Heaven of Blessing Birth, the Heaven of Blessing Love, the Heaven of Many Fruit, the Heaven Without Thought, the Heaven Without Upset, the Heaven Without Heat, the Heaven of Good Views, the Heaven of Good Manifestation, the Heaven of Ultimate Form, the Heaven of Mahesvara, the Heaven of Neither Thought Nor Non-Thought. Numerous gods including the God of Oceans, the God of Rivers, the God of Streams, the God of Trees, the God of Mountains, the God of Earth, the God of Swamps, the God of Grains, the God of Days, the God of Nights, the God of Space, the God of Skies, the God of Food, the God of Grass and so on assembled for this teaching. Many ghost kings from other lands and the Saha World also joined this instruction. The Ferocious Eyes Ghost King, Drinking Blood Ghost King, Absorbing Vitality Ghost King, Embryo Eating Ghost King, Spreading Diseases Ghost King, Collecting Poisons Ghost King, Kind Heart Ghost King, Welfare People Ghost King, Protecting and Respecting People Ghost King, and numerous ghost kings all assembled together.
At that time, Buddha Sakyamuni asked Bodhisattva Manjushri, Mahasattva, “Do you know how many Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, heavenly beings, dragons, ghosts and gods from other lands and worlds are here in the Trayastrimsa Heaven for this instruction?” Manjushri answered, “World-Honored One, even using my divine power for thousands of aeons, I still would not be able to calculate how many are here.” Buddha Sakyamuni said to Manjushri, “Even if I use my Buddha eye, I too cannot calculate them. These multitudes include all whom Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha has released, is releasing, and will release from suffering. That is, these multitudes include all living beings who live in the past, present and future!”
Manjushri said to Buddha, “World-Honored One, I have long cultivated good roots and have acquired extensive and profound wisdom. So, as soon as I hear anything the Buddha says, I understand and believe it immediately. However, other living beings may doubt Buddha’s sincere words. They might believe them temporarily but they cannot hold the words in their hearts, and will begin to doubt them and then to criticize them. I hope the World-Honored One can provide more detailed information about Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, and tell us what this Bodhisattva did. What kind of vows did this Bodhisattva make that allowed him to achieve this inconceivable thing?”
Buddha told Manjushri, “As an analogy, it is as if in the thousands of worlds, all the grasses, trees, bushes, straw, hemp, bamboo, reeds, mountains, stones, dust and every object is made into the Ganges River. And each grain of sand in the Ganges River becomes a great world. And each speck of dust in each world is compared to an aeon. And within those aeons the specks of dust that would accumulate would also become aeons. Increase this amount a thousand times and this is how long Kishitigarbha has maintained the position of the Tenth Ground – the highest ground or position that a Bodhisattva can reach. Manjushri, the power from Bodhisattva’s vow is unimaginable. In the future, if there is any good man or good woman who hears this Bodhisattva’s name, who praises, gazes at and worships, who recites the name Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha or makes offerings and who paints, engraves, or moulds an image of Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, he or she will go to that area of Heaven called ‘Thirty-Three Heaven’, more than one hundred times, and will never fall into the evil levels.
“Manjushri, many aeons ago, this Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, was the son of a powerful and rich person. At that time, there was a Buddha named ‘Lion-Lightning-Sprint-Vast-Tasks-Complete’ who had a very dignified appearance. The son asked what kind of vow he had made to achieve such a dignified appearance. Buddha Lion-Sprint told the son that if he wanted to have this appearance, he would have to relieve all living beings from suffering and distress. So therefore, Manjushri, he made a vow: “From now on for countless aeons, I will provide all kinds of possible ways to relieve all beings from suffering. I will not become a Buddha until they have all been released from pain.” So, even after such a long time, he still has not become a Buddha and is still a Bodhisattva.
“Boundless aeons ago, there was a Buddha who lived on the earth. His name was Enlightenment-Flower Self-Sufficient King and he had lived for innumerable aeons. During this time of the Dharma-Image Age, there was a girl who was born in the Brahmin caste, and because she had done so many good deeds everybody admired and respected her. Many gods from heavens protected her every move. However, her mother had improper beliefs and did not respect the Triple Gems. She used many ways to convince her mother of the truth of Buddha’s teachings, but her mother died before completely accepting them. Her soul fell into Endless Hell. This daughter knew that her mother who did not believe in cause and effect, resulting in retribution, might have fallen into the evil level because of her karma. To save her mother, this daughter sold all her family possessions and properties to buy flowers and offerings for Buddha. She went to the temple in which there was a shrine to Buddha Enlightenment-Flower Self-Sufficient King, then contributed all her offerings.
“At the temple, gazing at and worshipping the venerable face of Buddha Enlightenment-Flower, this daughter spoke quietly to herself, “Buddha has complete wisdom. If Buddha were still in this world, I would be able to ask him where my mother is. ” This daughter cried a long time and gazed tenderly at Buddha. Suddenly, there was a voice in the sky, “Saintly woman, do not grieve too much. I am now going to tell you where your mother is.” The daughter placed both her hands together gratefully and answered, “Who are you that has come to comfort and relieve me of my anxiety? Since my mother passed away, I think of her day and night. I do not know where I can go to ask about her.” The voice sounded in the sky again, “I am the Buddha you are worshipping, Buddha Enlightenment-Flower Self-Sufficient King. I know you miss your mother more than those ordinary beings. So I come especially to tell you.” The daughter jumped up happily after listening to the words. She jumped so vigorously that she hurt her knees and fainted. After she had revived, she said, “May Buddha be benevolent and compassionate. I know that I will not live long – please tell me where my mother is. ” Buddha Enlightenment-Flower Self-Sufficient King said, “After your offerings here, go home and meditate on my name. Then you will know where your mother is. “
“The daughter meditated for one day and one night. Unexpectedly, she felt that she had arrived at a shore next to a sea with bubbling, boiling water. Many fierce beasts with iron bodies were flying and running back and forth above the sea. She saw many men and women who were eaten and bitten by evil blood-thirsty animals. She saw many monstrous devils with many hands, eyes, legs or heads. Their teeth grew out of their mouths and were sharp as swords. The devils frightened, chased and seized criminal persons, and twisted their heads and feet together. No one dared to willingly look at these terrifying sights. Because the daughter was meditating on Buddha, she was not afraid of these scenes.
“A ghost king named Poisonless greeted this saintly woman and said, “Excellent, Bodhisattva, why are you here?” The Brahmin daughter asked of the Ghost King, “Where am I?” Poisonless answered, “This is the first ocean of the western side of Big Iron-Fence Mountain. ” The saintly woman asked, “I have heard that there is a hell inside the Iron-Fence Mountain. Is that true?” Poisonless answered, “Yes, there indeed exists a hell.” The saintly woman asked, “Why am I here?” Poisonless answered, “Only those with either a god’s power or those by their karma come here. If it were not because of these two things, you would not be able to come here.” The saintly woman asked again, “Why does the sea keep boiling? Why are there so many criminal persons and fierce beasts?” Poisonless answered, “These are those beings who committed bad actions in their past lives. If someone dies and no one arranges proper rituals or does good deeds to relieve their suffering during the first forty nine days after death, and he or she did not have any redeeming merits from benevolent actions when alive, he or she will fall into this hell in accordance with his or her own actions. On the way to hell, it is necessary to cross this sea of suffering first. Four million miles to the east of this ocean is another one, where the beings there suffer twice as much as in this ocean. East of this second ocean is another with even more suffering. These areas are called the Karma Oceans, and are caused by the three causes of karma: body, speech and mind.” The saintly woman asked the ghost king, “Where is hell?” Poisonless answered, “Among these three oceans, there is Big Hell. This Big Hell is divided into hundreds or thousands of hells. Each divided hell is completely different from the others. The reason why we called this Hell ‘Big’ is that these hells are classified into five hundred or more small hells. Each hell contains endless sufferings. Within these five hundred hells, there are thousands of smaller hells which also contain boundless sufferings.
“The saintly woman asked the ghost king again, “My mother recently died, and I wonder where her soul has gone. The ghost king asked the saintly woman, “Bodhisattva, what did your mother do when she was alive?” She answered, “My mother had improper beliefs and disrespected the Triple Gems. At one time she believed, and then soon after again fell into disrespect. Poisonless asked, “Bodhisattva, what is your mother’s name?” The saintly woman responded, “Both my parents are of the Brahmin caste. My father’s name is Sila Sudarshan, my mother’s is Yueh Tili. – Poisonless placed both hands together and told Bodhisattva, “Please saintly woman, return home and do not be sad. The criminal woman Yueh Tili ascended to heaven three days ago. It is said she was saved by the filial piety of her daughter who made offerings at the temple of Buddha Enlightenment-Flower Self Sufficient King For the purpose of saving her mother. Not (only was your mother released from hell, but also as a result those other criminal persons in Endless Hell have been reborn.”
After the ghost king had finished speaking, he placed both his hands together in respect and withdrew.
“Within a short time, the Brahmin daughter woke up as if from a dream. Realizing the truth, she faced the statue of Buddha Enlightenment-Flower Self Sufficient King and vowed, “May I use the future aeons to establish as many possible ways as I can in order to release from pain all beings who are suffering from their criminal behavior.
Buddha told Manjushri, “The ghost king, Poisonless, is actually a Bodhisattva named Wealthy Leader now. And the Brahmin daughter is the Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha. “
BENEFITS FROM SEEING AND
At that time, the World-Honored One emitted hundreds, thousands, millions and billions of light rays from the top of his head: the White Ray, the Great White Ray, the Auspicious Portent Ray, the Great Auspicious Portent Ray, the Jade Ray, the Great Jade Ray, the Purple Ray, the Great Purple Ray, the Blue Ray, the Great Blue Ray, the Azure Ray, the Great Azure Ray, the Red Ray, the Great Red Ray, the Green Ray, the Great Green Ray, the Gold Ray, the Great Gold Ray, the Good Luck Cloud Ray, the Great Good Luck Cloud Ray, the Thousand-Wheeled Ray, the Great Thousand-Wheeled Ray, the Jewelled Ray, the Great Jewelled Ray, the Solar Disc Ray, the Great Solar Disc Ray, the Lunar Disc Ray, the Great Lunar Disc Ray, the Palace Ray, the Great Palace Ray, the Ocean Cloud Ray and the Great Ocean Cloud Ray.
And the Buddha again emitted wonderfully subtle sounds and informed all beings , gods, dragons and the others, both human or non-human, “Here in Trayastrimsa Heaven Palace, all listen to me as I glorify the merits that Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha has performed for those in heaven and the human world. This is an inconceivable and super saintly thing. It is his certification of the Tenth Ground – the highest ground of Bodhisattva, and shows us that he will never regress from the Buddhadharma.”
At that time, there was a great Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, named Avalokiteshvara. He rose from his seat, then knelt down, placed his hands together and said, “World-Honored One, Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, has a merciful and benevolent heart. He pities the suffering and incarnates himself into billions of different forms to cultivate all beings. All his merits and unimaginable divine power I have heard from the mouths of the World-Honored One and limitless Buddhas. Even all the Buddhas now and in the future cannot extol all of Kishitigarbha’s merits. And now, you again want to tell all beings and praise him for all his merits. World-Honored One, please speak of the inconceivable divine power of Kishitigarbha. Then allow the gods, dragons and the others to obtain benefits and merits.”
The Buddha told the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, “You have a close relationship with the Saha World. If heavenly beings, dragons, men, women, gods, ghosts or all beings suffering from their crimes in the six levels hear your name, see your image, adore you or praise you, they will never regress from the Dharma, and they will always be born in heaven or a human world and enjoy happiness. When their good fruit ripens, they will encounter Buddhas and be prophesied as a future Buddha. Now, having mercy and a kind heart for all heavenly beings, dragons and the others, you come here to listen to my explanation of the inconceivable benefits of the Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha. You should listen to me carefully. I shall explain this to you.” Avalokiteshvara said, “Yes, World-Honored One, I will be glad to hear your words. “
The Buddha told Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, “Now and in the future worlds, when the heavenly beings are going to complete their happy life there, they will show five signs of decay. Some will even fall into an evil level. When such heavenly beings, regardless of whether they are male or female show the five weak signs, if they can see Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha’s image, hear Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha’s name, and gaze in worship, they will obtain more merits, enjoy more happiness and never fall into the three evil levels. If they see this Bodhisattva and offer him flowers, clothing, food, treasures or jewels, the merits and benefits they earn will be endless and uncountable.
“Moreover, Avalokiteshvara, now and in the future, if those beings in the six levels who are about to die can hear the name of the Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha deep in their ears, they will not go through the pain of the three evil levels. If, for example, one sells the house, treasures, possessions and clothing which belong to this person who is about to die, and uses the money to paint or carve an image of Kishitigarbha – or the sick person himself hears or sees that a relative on his behalf has sold his properties to paint or carve a statue of Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha for him. If this person’s karma retribution is to suffer a serious illness, then by inheriting these merits, he will recover from the illness soon and will live longer. What if this person’s karmic retribution is to fall into the evil levels? By inheriting the merits, his crimes and karma will be eliminated. After he dies he will ascend to heaven and enjoy wonderful happiness. All other crimes will also be eliminated.
“Moreover, Avalokiteshvara, in the future, if there is a man or woman whose parents, or brothers or sisters die; or if when a person was young, was separated from his or her parents or relatives and wonders where they are or to which heaven they have gone: if they can carve or paint an image of the Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, or can respect and worship him continuously for seven days, constantly and attentively hearing his name and worshipping, then the accumulated merits will allow this person’s relatives to be relieved from suffering soon, even though this person’s relatives should fall into the evil level for many aeons, and suffer pain because of their karma. The person’s relatives can be reborn in heaven, where they will enjoy wonderful bliss. If the relatives by their own merits have ascended to heaven they will possess Buddha’s wisdom and have endless happiness. If a person can bow and kneel to the image of Kishitigarbha with an attentive heart for twenty-one days, and recite his name ten thousand times, the Bodhisattva will appear and tell the person where his relatives have gone. Or, in his dream, he will see the Bodhisattva show great divine power and personally lead him to every world to meet his relatives.
“If one can recite the name of Bodhisattva one thousand times a day, continuously for a thousand days, the Bodhisattva will send a god or a ghost to protect and guard him for his whole life and make sure that he lives in affluence. No hardship or sickness will come to him or his house. This person will finally be blessed when Bodhisattva comes to touch his head and predict that he will become a Buddha.
“Moreover, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, in the future, when any good man or good woman benevolently makes a vow towards cultivating an helping all beings, wishes to learn about the Dharma an hopes to be released from the three evil levels, if that person sees Kishitigarbha’s image, hears his name, follows him with an honest heart or contributes fragrant flowers, clothing, treasures or food in worship, then al their wishes will soon be brought to completion without any obstruction. Moreover, Avalokiteshvara, in the future, any good man or good woman who make millions of wishes, as long as he or she takes refuge in worships respectfully, offers and praises the image of Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, then all wishes and goals can be realized. If he or she makes a vow for Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha to show his great mercy and protect and guard him or her forever, and dreams that Bodhisattva touches his or her head making a mark, then he or she will finally be a Buddha.
“Moreover, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, in the future, what if a good man or good woman cherishes and reverently reads Mahayana sutras and raises a sincere heart in reading sutras, but even though he or she meets a good teacher, soon forgets the contents of the sutra and cannot read or recite it? This is because this person has karmic obstructions from a former life. This person should tell the Bodhisattva reverently when they hear his name or see his face that they are unable to remember or read the Mahayana sutra. And they should offer flowers, clothing, food or even playthings to the Bodhisattva, prepare a glass of clean water, place it in front of Bodhisattva’s image for one day and night, then place both hands together, ask to drink the water, face the south, and with a sincere and respectful heart, drink the water. After that, be careful not to drink wine, eat meat and the five pungent plants. Do not be licentious, use false speech or kill living creatures. After seven or twenty-one days, this good man or good woman will see Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha show his limitless body in their dream. Kishitigarbha will himself anoint their head with water. This person will then be intelligent when he or she awakes. Any sutra he or she hears will be remembered forever; not a single word or sentence will be forgotten.
“Furthermore, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, in the future, anyone who lacks food or clothing, who cannot obtain the thing he or she wants, who usually falls sick, who always meets evil, whose family is disturbed, who loses his or her relatives, who is often hit by a misfortune or who is terrified in their dreams, they will gradually be removed from those unpleasant things. If they have a reverent and sincere heart when reciting Bodhisattva’s name ten thousand times, or while hearing Kishitigarbha’s name or seeing his image, they will also obtain peace, happiness and wealth – even in their dreams.
“Furthermore, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, in the future, any good man or good woman who needs to enter a mountain or forest, cross an ocean or river, or pass along a dangerous road for personal or official business in a life or death situation or emergency, should first recite Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha’s name ten thousand times. Then, this place will be protected by gods and ghosts, regardless of whether he or she walks, sits or lies. He or she will surely be peaceful and happy. Even though they meet a tiger, wolf, lion or any other fierce beast, these beasts will be unable harm them at all. The Buddha told Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, “Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha has a deep relationship with those beings of the worlds. Even through hundreds or thousands of aeons, I still could not convey all the ways he benefits all beings. Therefore, Avalokiteshvara, you should use your divine power to spread this sutra to make sure that all those beings in all worlds can enjoy the merits of peace and happiness through thousands of aeons.”
At that time, World-Honored One spoke a verse:
“I observe Kishitigarbha’s divine power,
Like the Ganges sand-like aeons,
It cannot be described.
To see, to hear, or to worship are all in a thought;
Endless benefits for humanity and heaven.
Men, women, dragons or gods,
If by their retributions should fall into evil,
Sincerely take refuge in Mahasattva,
Lifespan will increase and karmic obstacles will be eliminated.
If children lose parents’ love when they are young,
And wonder where their spirits are,
And they never met brothers, sisters or relatives,
Since they grew up:
Carve or paint an image of the Mahasattva.
Look, worship and adore it without stopping,
Recite the name from seven to twenty-one days.
Bodhisattva will show the limitless body,
Show where the relatives have gone.
Even falling into evil can be removed.
If one does not go back on his first thought,
Kishitigarbha will touch his head and anoint it.
Anyone who wants to follow Bodhi,
Or be relieved from the suffering of the three levels,
This person should raise a great merciful heart,
To gaze at and worship Mahasattva’s image.
Any wish will come true immediately,
And no karma obstacle can stop him.
Anyone who raises his heart to read the sutra
Hoping to save all beings,
Although this vow is inconceivable,
Still the person reads and forgets it soon
Because karma obstacles confuse him.
Offerings of fragrant flowers,
Clothing, food or any playthings to Kishitigarbha.
Preparing clean water before the Mahasattva,
Then to drink after a day and a night.
Be careful to avoid the five pungent plants,
Not to drink wine, eat meat or be licentious,
Not to kill living beings for twenty-one days.
Recite Mahasattva’s name reverently.
You can see Kishitigarbha in your dream.
Becoming intelligent when awakening.
After instruction, no sutra will be forgotten,
Never ever forget through thousands of generations.
This is caused by Mahasattva’s inconceivable power,
Which makes this person wise.
Those beings who are poor or sick,
A family whose fortune is declining,
The people who have uneasy dreams,
Wishes never come true.
Sincerely worship Kishitigarbha’s image.
All evil things can be eliminated,
Even dreams can be peaceful.
Clothes and food will be opulent,
Gods and ghosts will protect them.
Anyone who enters the forest or crosses the ocean,
Afraid of ferocious animals and evil people,
All such disaster and distress,
Gaze at, worship and makes offerings to the image of Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva.
The evils of the forest and ocean will be eliminated.
Avalokiteshvara, listen to me,
Kishitigarbha is inconceivable,
Through thousands of aeons it cannot be told.
Ý Proclaim and exalt Mahasattva’s divine power.
Anyone hearing Kishitigarbha’s name,
Anyone seeing Kishitigarbha’s image and worshipping,
Offering flowers, clothing or food
Can enjoy wonderful pleasure for thousands of aeons.
Dedicating the merits to those beings in the Dharma-World,
Finally become a Buddha, crossing over life and death. ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ
Avalokiteshvara, thus you should knowÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ
And proclaim through the worlds –
More numerous than the Gangesí sands.”