Kishitigarbha Bodhisattva Vow Sutra – Buddhism

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THE

BODHISATTVA
KISHITIGARBHA

VOW
SUTRA

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INTRODUCTION                           
                
To the Contents
Page

Poetry,
metaphor and myth can often express the most profound ethical,
psychological and spiritual insights and aspirations of a people or
culture in a way that communicates to the imagination more
immediately than a literal narrative may. The impact of these
literary forms lies not only in the written word, but resonates also
on some other more subtle wavelength. Perhaps they communicate more
to the heart or the intuition than to the intellect. Whatever the
reason, great works like the Vedas and the Upanishads, the
Mahabharata and Bhagavad-Gita, the Greek myths and epic poems, the
Tao Teh Ching, the Zen poems – earth-treasures such as these have all
helped to shape the thinking of whole civilizations for hundreds or
thousands of years, and thus have influenced the histories and the
destinies of the peoples who inspired and absorbed them.

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The
Buddhist sutras belong to this class of inspired world literature,
giving expression as they do to many noble truths, and with some,
like the Heart Sutra, the Diamond Sutra and the Avatamsaka Sutra,
revealing and making known in a few words ultimate Truth: ‘Form is
Emptiness, Emptiness is Form’, ‘All that we see is a product of the
Mind’, ‘Thou art the Buddha’. The Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha Vow Sutra
is presented here, and whether viewed literally, mythically, or
perhaps somewhere between the two, it can take its own unique place
amongst the sutras – its ever-present underlying theme expressing the
great universal truths of love, compassion and responsibility for all
beings.

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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.

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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.

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The
Earth-Treasure Bodhisattva has a deep relationship with beings of the
earth – 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 earn extraordinary merits, and ultimately,
Buddhahood.

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Namo
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha Mahasattva

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CHAPTER 1

DIVINE POWER IN

TRAYASTRIMSA HEAVEN

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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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?”

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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. “

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“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.

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“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.

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“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. ”

 

 
Back To The Contents

 

CHAPTER
2

KISHITIGARBHA
INCARNATED

IN
THE ASSEMBLY

   

At
that time, millions of divinely incarnated forms of Kishitigarbha
from inconceivable, uncountable and unutterable worlds and hells came
together to Trayastrimsa Heaven Palace. Buddha used his divine power
to lead all Bodhisattvas from all worlds, and all those beings
released from the hells to come here. Everybody brought flowers to
Buddha. These multitudes were those beings whom Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha had instructed, and who would never regress from
Buddha’s wisdom. For many aeons, they had floated throughout life and
death, suffering in the six levels, with no time to rest. Because of
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha’s benevolence and compassion, and his great
vow, all had attained a certain level of spiritual development. They
came happily to Trayastrimsa and reverently gazed at Buddha.

 

At
that time, World-Honored One stretched out his golden arms and
touched all the incarnated heads of Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha,
Mahasattva. He said, “I cultivate those hard and violent living
beings in the world and in the human condition, subduing their
hearts. I hope they can renounce evil and do good deeds. However, one
or two-tenths of them still have evil habits. I incarnate myself into
billions of forms, and use many convenient ways to save them from
suffering. Some of them are very receptive; they believe and practice
the Dharma as soon as they hear it. Some of them who have done a few
good deeds can become better after I patiently teach and guide them.
Some of them are dark and dull – it takes a long time to cultivate
them before they will take refuge in the Dharma. Some of them who
have heavy karma do not even respect the Triple Gems at all.

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“Since
such beings have many distinct characters, I always incarnate myself
to deliver them from pain and suffering. In order to help them, I
incarnate myself in the mountain, forest, stream, plain, river, pond,
fountain or well. I show myself not only in the image of Buddha but
also in the image of man, woman, heavenly being, dragon, ghost or
god. In order to benefit them, I also show myself as an emperor king,
Brahma King, Wheel-Turning King, layman, country’s king, prime
minister, government official, monk, nun, Sound-Hearer, Arhan,
Pratyekabuddha or Bodhisattva.

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“You,
Kishitigarbha, have observed that I have diligently worked for a long
time to release hard and obstinate suffering criminal beings. As for
those who have not improved, if they fall into evil or suffer from
past karma retribution, you should remember what I gently taught and
repeated to you in Trayastrimsa Heaven Palace – that is, to release
all those beings in the Saha World, until the coming of Maitreya,
from suffering forever; and to encounter Buddhas and receive the
Dharma. “

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At
that time, all the incarnated forms of Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha from
many worlds gathered into a single form and said to Buddha tearfully,
“I have been instructed by Buddha for long aeons. I have gained
inconceivable divine power and wisdom. The boundless worlds are
filled with my incarnations. In order to make them take refuge in and
respect the Three Treasures, to escape from life and death forever,
and achieve Nirvana’s bliss, I have incarnated billions of bodies in
every world. Every one I have incarnated has taught hundreds,
thousands or billions of people. Even if their good deeds within the
Buddhadharma are as little as a hair, a drop, a grain of sand, or a
speck of dust, I will gradually save them and make them gain great
benefits. Please World-Honored One, do not be concerned for those
beings in the future.” Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha said to Buddha three
times, “Please World-Honored One, do not be concerned for future
beings with bad karma.”

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Buddha
then praised Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha and said, “Very good, very
good. I am pleased that you have made such a vow. You will achieve
your vow and after all have been cultivated and instructed you will
attain Bodhi.

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Back To The Contents

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CHAPTER
3

OBSERVING
THE KARMA

OF ALL
BEINGS

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Buddha
Sakyamuni’s mother, Lady Maya, reverently placed both her hands
together and asked Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, “Saintly One, those
beings of the worlds have different karma. What kind of retribution
do they deserve?” Kishitigarbha answered, “Some of the infinite lands
have hells, the others do not. Some lands have women, the others do
not. Some lands have the Buddhadharma, the others do not. Some lands
have Sound-Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas, the others do not. The hells
do not all have the same retributions.” Lady Maya asked Bodhisattva,
“I would like to know what retributions the beings in the worlds will
receive.” Kishitigarbha replied, “Saintly mother, please listen and I
will give you a general explanation.” Buddha’s mother said, “Saintly
One, please tell me.”

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Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha told the saintly mother, “The
criminal retributions are as follows: Anyone who is not filial or
does not respect his parents, or anyone who kills or hurts his
parents will fall into Endless Hell for an indefinite period of time.
Anyone who hurts or injures Buddha, slanders the Three Treasures or
disrespects the sutra, will fall into Endless Hell for an indefinite
period of time. Anyone who damages or steals from the temple, makes a
monk or nun disobey the rules, practices sexual acts in a temple or
kills people, will fall into Endless Hell for an indefinite period of
time. Anyone who pretends to be a monk or a nun but fails to keep the
rules of Buddha in his or her heart, wastes objects in a temple,
cheats a follower of Buddha or goes against the Buddha’s disciplines,
will fall into Endless Hell for an indefinite period of time. Anyone
who steals money, food, clothing or takes anything from the temple
without permission, will fall into Endless Hell for an indefinite
period of time.” Kishitigarbha continued, “Those beings who commit
such crimes will fall into Endless Hell. It is also impossible to ask
for a momentary pause from
these sufferings.”

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Lady
Maya asked Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha again, “Why are those hells
called ‘Endless’?” Kishitigarbha replied, “Saintly mother, there are
eighteen big hells, then five hundred major hells which have
different names and thousands of secondary hells with different
names, too. All hells are within the Iron-Fence Mountain. Endless
Hell is eighty thousand miles in circumference, ten thousand miles
high, and the buildings and walls around it are made of iron. The
hell is surrounded by a wall of flames making it impossible to
escape. Within this hell, many secondary hells are connected together
and they also have different names. There is just one hell here which
is properly named ‘Endless’. This hell is made of solid iron, is
eighteen thousand miles in circumference and its wall is one thousand
miles high. Below and above is all burning fire. There are iron
snakes and dogs chasing and breathing out fire along the wall. Inside
this hell is a bed that extends for ten thousand miles or more. One
suffering here can see himself lying on that bed. And when thousands
of people are suffering there, they each would see themselves lying
on that bed, too. These are retributions for the bad karma caused by
the offenders.

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“Furthermore, many criminal people suffer from all kinds of
pain. The sufferings are as follows: There are several hundred or
thousand skeletons and evil ghosts with sword-like teeth and
lightning-like eyes dragging criminal people by copper claws. One
kind of skeleton has hands like big iron spears that shoot through
bodies, mouths, noses, bellies or backs. They throw criminal people
back and forth through the air. Some skeletons put criminal people on
the bed and let iron eagles peck at their eyes or iron snakes twist
their necks. Nails are driven into their joints, and their tongues
pulled out and ploughed through; their intestines are drawn and cut
out. They are forced to drink molten copper and hot iron is used to
brand them. These karmic retributions are for thousands of lives and
are all caused by the beings themselves. Having been through so much
pain, they are still unable to leave the hells. Even though the hell
has come to an end or has decayed, they will be conveyed to another
hell. When the former hell
has also decayed, they will be sent back yet again. These are the
karmic retributions proceeding in Endless Hell.

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“This
is a hell that is basically established for these five kinds of
karmic retributions, so it is called Endless Hell. The reasons why it
is called Endless Hell are: First, suffering continues day and night,
and there is no end. Therefore, it is called Endless Hell. Second, no
matter how many people are there, either one or a great many, the
hell is always full. Therefore, it is called Endless Hell. Third, the
pains they suffer are without end. They use a variety of implements
such as forks, sticks, eagles, snakes, wolves and dogs, mills, saws
and files that pierce, pound, grind, saw and chop. Large pots, iron
nets and ropes, iron horses and donkeys, and molten iron are used to
boil and flay one alive, bind, and pour molten iron over one’s body.
When they are hungry and thirsty, they are forced to swallow iron
pellets and drink iron fluid. These sufferings will continue for
countless years. Therefore, it is called Endless Hell. Fourth,
regardless of race, sex, age, wealth, or whether dragons or gods,
heavenly beings or ghosts, if any of them have karmic retributions
caused by criminal behavior, they will all suffer together. Fifth,
anyone in hell will pass through many lives every day and night. It
is impossible to rest even for a moment. They will never be reborn as
human beings until all karma has come to an end. Because of this
never-ending life and death, it is called Endless Hell.”

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Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha told saintly mother, “I have described Endless Hell in
general. If you want me to explain everything in detail about Endless
Hell, I could not finish in one aeon.” After listening to
Kishitigarbha’s words, Lady Maya sorrowfully placed both her hands
together, bowed in worship, then withdrew.

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CHAPTER
4

BEINGS’
KARMIC RETRIBUTION

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At
that time, Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, said to Buddha,
“World-Honored One, relying upon your divine power, I am able to
transform myself into many forms to save all beings in billions of
worlds from their karmic retribution. If it were not for your
benevolent power, I would not be able to transform myself. Now I am
again bidden by Buddha to relieve those beings in the six levels.
Yes, World-Honored One, please do not be concerned.

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At
that time, Buddha Sakyamuni told Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, “Those
beings who have not been liberated are very unstable. Bad habits
cause karma, good habits cause good fruit, and whether habits are
good or bad, beings are all influenced by environment. They
transmigrate within the five levels like a wheel turning without
stopping. They have been through many hardships for aeons. Like a
fish swimming into a net and thinking that it is in a flowing stream,
when the fish breaks out from the net, it becomes trapped again. Such
beings are what I am always anxious about. But now, you are going to
accomplish your vow to help the criminal people. So I have no need
for concern.”

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When
Buddha spoke these words in the meeting, a Bodhisattva, Mahasattva,
named Self-Existent King asked, “World-Honored One, what vow makes
the Buddha praise Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha so much? Please
World-Honored One tell us.” Buddha answered Bodhisattva Self-Existent
King, “Listen, listen, and think of what I am about to say. Many
aeons ago, there was a Buddha named 
‘All-Knowledge- Accomplished One’. This Buddha is
worshipped by heavenly beings and people. He has wisdom and is
perfect in clarity and conduct. He can be released from life and
death. He is omniscient and acts as an advocate and mediator. He is
the highest sage and the greatest instructor of heaven and people.
That is why this Buddha is respected by heavens and people. The
lifespan of this Buddha is sixty thousand aeons. He was
a king
of a small country before he became a monk.
While he was a king, he had a good friend who was also a king of a
neighboring country. They both cultivated themselves by doing ten
good deeds to help others. The citizens of their countries used to
commit many evil acts, so the two kings decided to set up possible
ways to help people to give up evil and return to virtue. One king
made a vow that he may soon become a Buddha to help all beings. The
other king made a different vow, saying that he would never become a
Buddha unless all beings suffering from their criminal acts were
saved and gained peace and happiness, and attained Bodhi.

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Buddha
Sakyamuni told Bodhisattva Self-Existent King, “The king who wished
to become a Buddha first is Buddha All-Knowledge Accomplished. The
other king who wished to help people but refused to become a Buddha
first is the Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha.

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“Moreover,
long and infinite aeons ago, Buddha Pure-Lotus-Eyes came into the
world. This Buddha’s lifespan is forty aeons. The immortal Buddha,
Pure-Lotus-Eyes existed during the Dharma-Image Age – at the time
when images were used for worship. There was an arhan who instructed
many people little by little with his fortunate merits. This arhan
met a woman, Bright Eyes, who prepared sacrificial offerings for him.
The arhan asked her what she wanted. Bright Eyes answered, “I have
prayed and given offerings in memory of my mother since the day she
died. I wish to know where my mother is now.” The arhan felt
compassion for Bright Eyes. He meditated and saw that her mother had
fallen into an evil level and had suffered great pain.

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The
arhan asked Bright Eyes, “What did your mother do when she was alive?
She is now suffering in hell.” Bright Eyes answered, “My mother loved
eating fish, especially baby fish. She fried or boiled thousands of
baby fish, willfully, as she pleased. Please noble one be merciful
and help my mother. ” The arhan felt compassion for her and advised
Bright Eyes, “Reverently recite the name of Buddha Pure-Lotus-Eyes
and draw an image of him to benefit all those beings either living or
dead.”

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So
Bright Eyes sold all her favorite things as soon as she heard the
arhan’s instructions. Then she asked a painter to draw the Buddha’s
portrait. She gave offerings in sacrifice, and with a reverent heart
sorrowfully wept as she worshipped the Buddha. Unexpectedly one
night, as if in a dream, she saw a Buddha who was as tall as Mount
Sumeru, emitting bright and shining light. This Buddha told Bright
Eyes, “Your mother will be soon reborn in your house. She will be
able to speak soon after she feels hunger and cold.

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After
some time, a maidservant of Bright Eyes family bore a baby. This baby
could speak three days after her birth. Bowing her head and crying,
she told Bright Eyes, “One has to suffer the consequences and
retributions of one’s own doing throughout life and death. I was your
mother. I stayed in hell for a long time. Since we parted, I have
fallen into hell several times. Because of you, I am born here as a
servant. But I will die early; I will only live until I am thirteen
years old. After I die, I will fall into an evil level again. Do you
have any way to relieve me from these sufferings?” After listening to
the words of the servant’s baby, Bright Eyes realized this baby was
her mother. She asked her sorrowfully, and with tears, “When you were
my mother, do you know what you did to make you fall into an evil
level?” The baby answered, “I am suffering this retribution due to
the karma of killing and slandering. If it were not for you saving me
from suffering, I would not be released from such karma.” Bright Eyes
asked about the situation in hell and the baby answered, “It was so
horrible that I dare not remind myself of it again. And the
sufferings there cannot be stated even in thousands of years.”

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Bright
Eyes wept and wailed after listening to the baby’s statement. She
swore into empty space, “May my mother leave hell forever and not
fall into evil again after her thirteen years on earth. Please all
Buddhas from the Ten Directions have mercy upon me; listen to my
solemn pledge for my mother. If my mother can leave the three evil
levels forever, and does not take any humble position or ever be born
as a woman, I vow, in front of Buddha Pure-Lotus-Eyes that from now
on I will save and work towards cultivating all beings in all worlds,
hells and evil levels out of suffering. I do not want to become a
Buddha until all of them become Buddhas. “

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Bright Eyes then
clearly heard Buddha Pure-Lotus-Eyes who told her, “Bright Eyes, you
have great benevolence and compassion to make such a great vow for
your mother. After your mother finishes thirteen years’ retribution,
she will be born into the Brahmin class for one hundred years. In her
next life, she will again be born into the Land of No Concern for
uncountable aeons. Then, she will become a Buddha to help to cross
over as many human and heavenly beings as there are sands in the
Ganges. 

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Buddha
told Bodhisattva Self-Existent King, “The arhan who helped Bright
Eyes at that time is now the Bodhisattva Inexhaustible-Intention. The
mother of Bright Eyes is the Bodhisattva Liberation. And Bright Eyes
herself is now the Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha. Throughout many aeons,
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha has crossed over all beings by his
benevolence and compassion. He has made as many vows to rescue living
beings as there are grains of sand in the Ganges.

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“In
the future, if any man or woman does not do good deeds, does bad
deeds, does not believe in cause and effect, is licentious, uses
false and reckless speech, who quarrels a lot, or slanders the
Mahayana, such people who create this karma must certainly fall into
the three evil levels after they die. However, if one meets a wise
person who even in the time it takes to snap the fingers, and who
guides him to take refuge in Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, he will be
pardoned for the retributions in the three evil levels. If he can
respect with all his heart, gaze at, worship and praise, offer
fragrant flowers, clothing, food or various kinds of jewellery and
valuables to Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha he will enjoy the most
wonderful happiness and welfare in heavens for boundless time in the
future. Even if his welfare in the heavens has come to an end, he can
be born as an emperor for hundreds or thousands of aeons. And he can
also remember what happened in his previous life. Bodhisattva
Self-Existent King, Kishitigarbha has such a great divine power that
will benefit all beings. You, Bodhisattva, keep the sutra in mind and
proclaim it extensively.”

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Bodhisattva
Self-Existent King answered Buddha, “World-Honored One, please do not
be concerned. Billions of Bodhisattvas and Mahasattvas here will
certainly proclaim this sutra around the worlds, and with Buddha’s
divine power, help all beings.” Bodhisattva Self-Existent King placed
both his hands together reverently, bowed and knelt in worship, and
withdrew after finishing his statements.

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At
that time, the Four Heavenly Kings from the east, west, south and
north rose from their own seats, placed both their hands together
respectfully and asked Buddha, “World-Honored One, a long time ago
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha made a great vow. Why are there still many
who have not yet crossed over? Now, he again makes another vow.
Please, World-Honored One, explain it to us.” Buddha told the four
kings, “Excellent, excellent. Now, for your benefit and for the
advantage of all beings from heavens and worlds now and in the
future, I am going to explain how Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha
benevolently helps all beings suffering from their crimes in both
life and death in the Saha World, and all the possible ways he uses.”
The Four Heavenly Kings said, “Yes, World-Honored One, we would like
to know.”

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Buddha
told the Four Heavenly Kings, “Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha has helped
and released all those beings from long time past to now, but he
still has not completed his great vow. He has great benevolence and
compassion for the suffering beings of this world. Because he
observes that the causes of the beings’ karma and their retribution are like
grass that creep and spread fast, he again takes another strong
vow. Therefore, Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha shows billions of
convenient ways to help and cultivate all beings in the Saha World.

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“Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha persuades those who kill any creature not to kill,
otherwise they will die young. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades
those who steal things or rob people not to steal or rob, otherwise
they will be poor and receive a hard lot. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha
persuades those licentious people to give up lustful behavior,
otherwise they will be born as birds in future lives. Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha persuades those people who have abusive tongues not to
speak bad language, otherwise their own relatives will fight with one
another. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades those who are fond of
slandering others not to libel anyone, otherwise in their future
lives they will become mutes or their mouths will ulcerate.

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“Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha persuades people with hateful hearts not to hate or be
angry with anybody, otherwise in their future lives they will be ugly
and crippled. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades mean people to be
generous, otherwise their wishes will be never fulfilled. Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha persuades those people who drink and eat without
limitation to control themselves, otherwise they will suffer pain
from hunger and thirst and throat diseases. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha
persuades those who go hunting willfully to stop hunting, otherwise
they will die in terror. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades those
who are mean to their own parents to show filial piety or devotion to
them, otherwise they will die in natural disasters.

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“Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha persuades those who set fires on mountains, forest or
woods never to do that again, otherwise they will die in insanity and
confusion. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades step-parents not to
torture their step-children, otherwise in their future lives they
will be lashed. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades people not to
catch fish and birds, otherwise they will lose their own children.
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades people not to slander the Three
Treasures, otherwise they will become deaf, blind or mute in their
future lives. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades people not to
disrespect the Dharma, otherwise they will fall into evil levels
forever.

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“Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha persuades people not to destroy anything in the temple,
otherwise they will transmigrate among the hells for an endless time.
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades people not to insult or falsely
accuse monks or nuns, otherwise they will be animals forever in their
future lives. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades people not to hurt
living beings with boiling water, fire or sharp knives, otherwise
they will suffer the same pain as they did to others. Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha persuades monks or nuns not to break the Sangha’s
rules, otherwise in their future lives they will be animals and they
will suffer hungry retributions. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades
people not to ruin objects without any reason or use anything which
does not belong to them without permission, otherwise they will never
obtain what they want.

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“Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha persuades people not to be proud, otherwise they will
be born in low positions and be enslaved by others. Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha persuades people not to stir up or incite trouble
between people, otherwise they will have no tongue or hundreds of
tongues as their retribution. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha persuades
people not to argue irrationally or disobey the right way, otherwise
they will be born in a barbarous frontier.

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“The
retributions that I have described in general are what those beings of the worlds cause by their
own behavior, language and consciousness. Because of their
different karmas, Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha uses many kinds of
convenient ways to help and cultivate them. After those beings have
finished such retributions, they still will fall into hell and there
will be no way out for aeons. Therefore, you should protect these
living beings and their lands. Do not allow those beings who are
confused by their own karma to create more karma. ”

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After
listening to Buddha’s exhortations, the Four Heavenly Kings sighed,
and with tears in their eyes, placed their hands together, and
withdrew.

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CHAPTER
5

NAMES
OF THE HELLS

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At
that time, Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, Mahasattva, said to Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha, “Merciful One, would you please explain for the gods,
dragons and the Four Heavenly Kings and all beings living in the
future and in the present: where all those beings of the Saha World
are suffering from their criminal pain, the names of the hells, and
the conditions? These answers will let those beings in the future
time of the Dharma-Ending Age know of the retributions undergone by
the beings of the Saha World.

         

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Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha answered, “Merciful One, now, receiving Buddha’s divine
power and the Mahasattva’s power, I will explain in general the names
of the hells and the situations of the retributions. Merciful One,
east of this world there is a dark Iron-Fence Mountain. This mountain
is black and deep and has neither sunlight nor moonlight. Within the
mountain there is a large hell called Infinite Hell. In this Infinite
Hell is another hell named Great Arbi. In this Great Arbi Hell, there
are many small hells as follows:

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“Four-Cornered
Hell, Flying Knife Hell, Flaming Arrow Hell, Crushing Mountains Hell,
Piercing Spear Hell, Iron Cart Hell, Iron Bed Hell, Iron Ox Hell,
Iron Clothing Hell, Thousand Blades Hell, Iron Donkey Hell, Molten
Copper Hell, Holding-Pillar Hell, Flying Fire Hell, Ploughing Tongue
Hell, Chopping Head Hell, Burning Leg Hell, Pecking Eye Hell, Iron
Pellet Hell, Fighting Hell, Iron Axe Hell, Much Anger Hell.”

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Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha said, “Merciful One, such is the unlimited number of
hells within the Iron-Fence. In addition, there is the Screaming
Hell, Pulling Tongue Hell, Excrement and Urine Hell, Copper Lock
Hell, Fire Elephant Hell, Fire Dog Hell, Fire Horse Hell, Fire Ox
Hell, Fire Mountain Hell, Fire Stone Hell, Fire Bed Hell, Fire Beam
Hell, Fire Eagle Hell, Sawing Teeth Hell, Stripping Skin Hell,
Drinking Blood Hell, Burning Hand Hell, Burning Leg Hell, Hanging
Thorns Hell, Fire House Hell, Iron House Hell and Fire Wolf Hell.
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha said, “Merciful One, in the Iron-Fence
Mountain, there are infinite hells as such. In these hells, there are
many small hells with many more different names. One, two, three,
four hundred or thousand small hells, and they also have different
names. “

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Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha told Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, “Merciful One, these
hells are created by the people themselves who commit these
malefactions in all the worlds. The power of karma is so great as to
be compared with Mount Sumeru and as deep as the immense ocean. The
power of karma can also block the way of Buddhadharma. Therefore, do
not ignore a minor evil and think that it is guiltless. There is
retribution after one dies, even as small as a hair or fibre, and
this must be taken. Even the closest relatives, like father and son,
have a different road. Even meeting, they cannot substitute their
retribution for each other. Now, relying on Buddha’s divine power, I
will give a general explanation of the situation in hell. Please
Merciful One listen to me. “

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Bodhisattva
Samantabhadra answered, “For a long time, I have known of the
retributions of the three evil levels. I hope the Merciful One speaks
so that all beings who do evil acts in the future time of the
Dharma-Ending Age rely on and take refuge in the Buddha.”

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Kishitigarbha
said, “Merciful One, the following are the retributions of hells:
There is a hell which pulls out a criminal person’s tongue and
ploughs it with an ox. There is a hell where a mean devil takes out
the criminal person’s heart and eats it. There is a hell where they
cook criminal peoples’ bodies in a big cauldron. There is a hell
which burns copper pillars and makes criminal persons hold them.
There is a hell which uses fire to burn criminal people. There is a
hell which is always frozen and icy. There is a hell of endless
excrement and urine. There is a hell of flying maces
. There is a hell that is full of
fire spears. There is a
hell in which one’s chest or back are beaten. There is a hell
where only hands or legs are burned. There is a hell where iron
snakes twist and coil around one. There is a hell where iron dogs
chase. There is a hell where all ride on iron donkeys.

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“Merciful
One, such retributions in every hell use hundreds or thousands of
instruments of Karma’s Way. Those instruments are made of copper,
iron, stone or fire. The four materials are caused by the heavy karma
of beings. It is nearly impossible to explain all the situations in
all hells, because there are hundreds or thousands of sufferings in
each and every hell. Now, relying on the divine power of Buddha, I
have replied to the request from the Merciful One, and I have only
explained in general. Even to the end of aeons, there is no end to
explaining all the hells in detail.”

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CHAPTER 6

ADMIRATION FROM
THE BUDDHA

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At
that time, the World-Honored One emitted bright lights from his body,
illuminating the millions of worlds in which Buddhas lived. Buddha
Sakyamuni pronounced in a loud voice, informing all the Bodhisattvas,
Mahasattvas, in every world, the heavenly beings, dragons, ghosts and
gods, humans and non-humans, “Today, listen to me as I glorify
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva. He shows inconceivable,
benevolent, and compassionate divine power to help and protect the
suffering. After I reach Nirvana, all of you Bodhisattvas, heavenly
beings, dragons, ghosts and gods should employ every possible way to
protect this sutra in order to allow all beings to obtain Nirvana’s
happiness. “

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After
Buddha finished, there was a Bodhisattva named Universally Expansive
who placed his hands together and said to Buddha with respect,
“Today, World-Honored One glorifies Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha who has
such unbelievable divine powers and virtues. World-Honored One, for
the sake of all future beings of the Dharma-Ending Age, please tell
us how Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha will benefit people. May gods,
dragons, the eight divisions, and all those beings in the future
accept Buddha’s instructions.”

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At
that time, the World-Honored One said to Bodhisattva Universally
Expansive, “Listen, listen. I will explain in general about
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha – how he benefits the human and heavenly
beings with

his blessings and merit.” Bodhisattva Universally Expansive
answered, “Yes, World-Honored One, we would all be pleased to know.”

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Buddha
told Bodhisattva Universally Expansive, “In the future world, any
good man or good woman when hearing the name of Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, places both hands together, glorifies,
bows and admires Kishitigarbha, this person can be relieved of sins
from the past thirty aeons. Universally Expansive, if any good man or
good woman paints Kishitigarbha’s portrait, or using clay, stones,
glue, varnish, gold, silver, copper or iron to engrave or erect a
statue of Bodhisattva for worship, this person can be born a hundred
times in Thirty-Three Heaven and will never fall into the evil
levels. Even if his welfare in heaven comes to an end and he is born
in the world, he still can be a king. That is, he will still have
great merits.

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“If
there is a woman who dislikes being a woman, she can reverently
worship the portrait of Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha day after day; or
she can offer fragrant flowers, food, clothing, paintings, flags,
money or treasures as offerings, and after she ends this life, for
hundreds or thousands of aeons she will be born in a world where
there exist no women. She will not be born a woman unless she
mercifully wishes to be a woman to help and cultivate others. She
will inherit the merit power from these offerings to Kishitigarbha
and will not be a woman for hundreds
or thousands of aeons.

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“Again,
Universally Expansive, if there is a woman who hates herself, is ugly
and constantly ill, she can gaze at and bow in front of
Kishitigarbha’s image with sincere devotion, and in a moment she will
have a countenance of good fortune. Even though this person does not
hate being female, she can be reborn as a king’s, minister’s or
virtuous person’s daughter, or a minister’s wife and she will have
perfect features. Because she concentrates her heart with sincere
devotion, on gazing and bowing to Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, she can
gain such merits.

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“Moreover,
Universally Expansive, if there is a good man or good woman who can
play music or sing to extol before the Bodhisattva’s image, who can
offer fragrant flowers or who can persuade one or many people to
worship Bodhisattva, such people will be protected by many spirits
day and night, and will hear no evil things, not to mention
personally experiencing evil things or accidents.

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“Moreover,
Universally Expansive, in the future world, if evil people, evil gods
or evil ghosts ridicule or slander that good man or good woman who
reverently makes offerings and praises, gazes at and bows to
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha’s image, by saying that this is completely
without advantage or merit, or laughs at, or talks behind their
backs, or persuades others to slander together, even if they only
slander in one thought – the retributions from these peoples’
slanders will be to suffer great pains in Great Arbi Hell for an
infinite time. After finishing the sufferings in hell, they will
become a hungry ghost. Through a thousand aeons, they will become an
animal. Then through a thousand aeons, they will become a human
being. However, even when they have become a human, they will still
have a hard life, for example, crippled, weak or poor. Because they
are often upset and distressed by the evil karma that twists their
hearts, they will again soon fall into evil. Therefore, Universally
Expansive, to slander others’ offerings, not to mention having an
evil mind to destroy the Dharma, will cause such retributions.

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“Moreover, Universally Expansive, in the future, anyone who
has a long illness and can neither live nor die, who always dreams of
evil ghosts or dead families, or dreams of walking on dangerous roads
with spirits and in which these situations continue for months to
years, and has a chronic disease, groans in his dreams, and always
feels grieved and unhappy, must have done something wrong or evil
causing these retributions. This is all due to their past karma road,
which is a judgement that has not been decided, and which is not
allowing them to die, or to recover either. Most of the ordinary men
or women cannot distinguish why these phenomena happen. If anyone
suffers from this kind of thing, this sutra should be read once
aloud. In addition, one may take any favorite article of the sick
person, such as clothing, treasures, manors or houses, to give to
charity or sell for offering and making Buddhas’ or Bodhisattvas’
images. In front of the sick person’s face, he should speak loudly
that he would like to give these up on behalf of the sick person. One
could also build a temple, light an oil-lamp, or donate money to a
shrine.

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Speak this three times in front
of the sick person and make sure that he hears what you say
clearly. If he has already been in a coma or has breathed his last,
you can still speak these words and read this sutra aloud for seven
days. Because of this, after the person dies, his past heavy crimes
can be released forever, including the five crimes which will lead
him to Endless Hell. In his next life, he will always know the things
that happened in his former life.

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“If
any good man or good woman writes this sutra by hand or teaches
others to write it, or paints or moulds the Bodhisattva’s image or
teaches others to paint or mould, he will certainly gain a great deal
of merit. Hence, Universally Expansive, if you see anyone read or
recite this sutra, praise this sutra even with a single thought or
respect this sutra as soon as he hears it, you must use every way to
urge them to study hard and not to regress. They can obtain
inconceivable merits both now and in the future.

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“Moreover,
Universally Expansive, if those beings in the future dream of many
gods, ghosts or even forms, and are always grieving, crying,
distressed, sighing, terrified or anxious, they must have relatives
from their past lives who have fallen into evil, and these relatives
are unable to save themselves and have no way to ask people who have
fortune and power for help. You should tell these people to do many
convenient things to help their relatives get far away from the evil
level.

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“Moreover,
Universally Expansive, using your divine power, you should make those
people read this sutra in front of the images of Buddhas or
Bodhisattvas. Or ask anyone to recite this sutra three to seven times
for themselves. Thus, these relatives who remain in evil can be
released after reciting this sutra. And they will never again dream
of those spirits.

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“Moreover,
Universally Expansive, in the future world, if the people of lower
positions, such as servants, slaves or people who are not free
realize the former karma and wish to repent, they may gaze at and bow
to Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha’s image, and with sincere devotion
recite Kishitigarbha’s name ten thousand times during seven days.
Such people after they finish this life will be reborn in noble
families for thousands of lives and they will not suffer the pain of
evil.

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Moreover, Universally Expansive, in future generations around the
worlds, no matter what type of people they are, if they recite the
inconceivable sutra for seven days for their new born babies, male or
female, and again recite Kishitigarbha’s name ten thousand times,
these babies will be released from their past retributions, can be
easily raised and will enjoy longevity. If the baby is born by his
own fortune, his happiness and life will increase.

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“Moreover,
Universally Expansive, if those beings in the future can recite this
sutra once in front of any Buddha’s or Bodhisattva’s image during
certain ten days including the first, eighth, fourteenth, fifteenth,
eighteenth, twenty-third, twenty-fourth, twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth
and thirtieth days of the lunar calendar, they will be safe, without
any disasters. The neighboring families, both young and old, will be
far away from evil. On these certain days the offences of living
beings will be gathered together and judged, since all behavior or
thoughts of those in the worlds are karma and an offence – not to
speak of such offences as killing, stealing, debauching or slandering
willfully. If people can recite this sutra once a month on the
special ten days, their families can be free of every kind of disease
and their clothes and food will be opulent.

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“Universally
Expansive, you should know that Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha has such
unspeakable, great divine power to benefit all who worship. All
beings of the worlds have a deep relationship with this Mahasattva.
As long as they hear the Bodhisattva’s name, see the Bodhisattva’s
image or listen to a single paragraph, sentence or even a few words
from this sutra, they can enjoy wonderful pleasure, peace and
happiness today, and be reborn with fine features in noble families
in the future million lives.”

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At
this moment, after listening to the Buddha glorify the Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha, Bodhisattva Universally Expansive knelt down, placed
his hands together and said, “World-Honored One, I have known of the
great, inconceivable divine power of Bodhisattva’s vow for a long
time. In order to make those beings in the future understand the
benefits, I therefore ask Buddha and we shall keep this in our
hearts. World-Honored One, what do we call this sutra? And how do we
proclaim this sutra?”

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The
Buddha said to Universally Expansive, “There are three names for this
sutra. One is the Kishitigarbha Vow Sutra,
another name is the Kishitigarbha Past Conduct
Sutra,
the other name is the Kishitigarbha
Powerful Vow Sutra.
Because so many aeons ago this
Bodhisattva took such great vows to benefit all beings, you should
proclaim this sutra in accord with these vows. “

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After
Universally Expansive heard this, he placed his hands together, and
withdrew.

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CHAPTER 7

BENEFITS FOR DECEASED AND

EXISTING BEINGS

 

At that time,
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, said to Buddha, “World-Honored
One, I have observed sins of thought or action from everyone in all
the worlds. Even though they do a few good deeds their kind hearts
soon regress. If they fall into a bad circumstance, their evil
thoughts will continue. It is as if these people are walking in mud
carrying a heavy stone on their shoulders. The longer they walk, the
harder they step. Their feet sink in mud and they cannot get
themselves out. If they meet a knowledgeable person who can carry
some or all the stones for them, this knowledgeable person has great
power to help and persuade them not to go any further. After they
arrive at a smooth plain, the knowledgeable one soon teaches them how
to examine themselves and not to go through the mud again.

 

“World-Honored
One, the minor offences accumulate into major ones. Since most of
these people have such bad habits, in order to help them to be reborn
into a better life, their parents or relatives should make offerings
or oblations for them after they pass away. They can hang pennants,
light oil lamps or make statues of Buddha or Bodhisattva. They can
also recite the sutras or the names of the Buddha and Bodhisattva.
They should make sure that they keep every single word deep in their
minds. Though these beings have fallen into evil karma, their
criminal offences can be eliminated by oblations and offerings in
their name by their family or relatives. If their family or relatives
can do many good deeds for the dead during the first seven days, the
dead can avoid evil forever and be reborn in heaven or as a human and
enjoy wonderful happiness. In addition, the people who promote
benefits for the dead can also obtain endless merits.

“Thus,
now, in front of the Buddha, World-Honored One, gods, dragons and all
others, both human and non-human, I urge all beings in all worlds not
to offer sacrifices to the spirits of deceased persons by killing
creatures or calling on ghosts or spirits. Why? Because offering
sacrifices by killing has not the slightest merit for the deceased
persons at all. On the contrary, it will increase their burden,
because their relatives make more offences for the deceased. The
deceased person’s spirit has to defend itself against the spirits of
the sacrificed creatures. This might risk the rebirth of that person
in heaven or the human world. Not to mention the deceased who, while
he was alive had few merits, and thus according to his karma, has to
suffer pains in the evil level. How could his relatives increase his
karma?

 

“For
example, it’s like a person who has eaten nothing for three days and
is carrying baggage which weighs more than one hundred kilograms.
Unexpectedly, his neighbor asks him to bring some extra things for
him. Now his burden is heavier than before. World-Honored One, I have
observed that as long as beings in all the worlds do good deeds for
Buddhadharma, no matter as small as a hair, a drop of water, a grain
of sand or a speck of dust, they will obtain all merits themselves.”

 

While
these words were being spoken, there was an elder named Great
Eloquence who has advocated the Dharma since long ago, cultivates all
beings from the Ten Directions, and is always incarnated as an elder.
He placed both hands together with reverence, then asked Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha, “Mahasattva, after those beings in all the worlds have
died and their relatives do good deeds for them, offer vegetarian
foods or plant all kinds of good things, can the deceased obtain
merits and be released from pain and suffering?”

 

Kishitigarbha
answered, “Now, by Buddha’s power, I will explain this in general.
Elder, if those beings today or in the future hear a name of Buddha
or a Bodhisattva on the day they die, no matter whether they are
guilty or not, they can be released from suffering. If anyone does
many evil deeds while alive and his or her relatives do good deeds
for them after their death, the deceased will receive a seventh part
of the relative’s merit. The remaining merits belong to his or her
relatives. If good people today and in the future can promote
goodness by themselves, they can obtain every merit.

 

“After
death the Great Ghost of Impermanence will take the spirit of the
deceased away without warning. At that time, nobody knows whether the
spirit’s future is good or bad. During the first forty-nine days
after death, the deceased does not hear anything. At that time, he
will be judged in a court arguing his karmic retribution. He will not
be reborn until the trial. Before the trial in hell, the deceased has
already felt distress, not to speak of suffering in the evil level.
The deceased longs for help from his children or relatives during
these forty-nine days. After forty-nine days, he will follow his own
karmic retributions and suffer. These kinds of criminal persons
usually cannot be released for hundreds or thousands of years. If the
being has ever committed one of Five Endless Offences, he or she will
fall into Endless Hell and suffer all kinds of pain for an indefinite
time.

 

“Moreover,
elder, if beings with such karma die, the relatives can make
offerings. Their relatives should prepare or eat vegetarian food and
not throw rice-water or vegetable leaves on the ground. They should
not even eat before offering it to Buddha and the monks. If they
waste the food, eat before offering it or are too lazy to learn about
Dharma, the deceased will obtain no merits at all. If their relatives
are diligent and are reverently devoted to Buddha and the Sangha, the
deceased will receive a seventh part of the merit. Therefore, elder,
if those beings in all the worlds can honestly and reverently offer
vegetarian food to the Three Treasures after their parents or
relatives die, both the living and the dead can obtain all the
merits.”

 

While
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha spoke these words, millions of ghosts and
gods in Trayastrimsa Heaven Palace from all the worlds made endless
requests for helping the suffering. And the elder Great Eloquence
bowed and withdrew.

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CHAPTER
8

ADMIRATION FROM
GHOST KINGS

 

At
that time, from the Iron-Fence Mountain, many ghost kings and sons of
the heavens came to the Trayastrimsa Heaven where Buddha taught the
Dharma. Those who came included Evil Poison Ghost King, Evil Doing
Ghost King, Dispute Ghost King, White Tiger Ghost King, Blood Tiger
Ghost King, Red Tiger Contagious Ghost King, Disaster Ghost King,
Flying Body Ghost King, Lightning Flash Ghost King, Wolf Teeth Ghost
King, Thousand Eyes Ghost King, Eating Beast Ghost King,
Rock-Carrying Ghost King, Exhaustion Ghost King, Calamity Ghost King,
Food Ghost King, Wealth Ghost King, Domestic Animal Ghost King, Fowl
Ghost King, Beast Ghost King, Mountain Spirit Ghost King, Birth Ghost
King, Life Ghost King, Disease Ghost King, Danger Ghost King, Three
Eyes Ghost King, Four Eyes Ghost King, Five Eyes Ghost King, the Fire
Spirit King, the Great Fire Ghost King, the Dharma Protector King,
the Great Dharma Protector King and so on. There were also thousands
of major and minor ghost kings who live in all the worlds and rule
over specific areas.

 

These
ghost kings and sons of heavens, by the divine power of Buddha and
Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, all came to the Buddha’s
assembly in Trayastrimsa. They reverently stood beside the
Bodhisattva.

 

At
that time, Yama, Son of Heaven, knelt down, placed his hands together
and asked, “World-Honored One, inheriting the divine power of Buddha
and Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, and having good merits,
we, sons of heavens and all ghost kings, join this great assembly in
the Trayastrimsa. Now, we have a small doubt we would like to
express. May Buddha be merciful and explain it to us.” Buddha told
Yama, Son of Heaven, “Whatever you ask, I shall explain it to you.”

 

At
that time, Yama, Son of Heaven looked at Buddha with respect, turned
his head towards Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha and said, “World-Honored
One, as we have observed, Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha has used hundreds
and thousands of convenient ways to help and cultivate the suffering
offenders of the six levels. He never feels tired. This great
Bodhisattva has such inconceivable divine power. But these beings
fall into evil soon after they are relieved from their criminal
retributions. World-Honored One, since this Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha
has such unimaginable divine power, why do not all beings follow the
Dharma and be relieved from pain forever? Will World-Honored One
please explain this to us.”

 

The
Buddha told Yama, Son of Heaven, “Those beings of the worlds are
hard-minded. It is difficult to subdue them. This Great Bodhisattva
has saved these beings for a long, long time. Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha uses every possible way to point out their own basic
karma relationships and make them realize the things which they did
in their former lives. However, all beings have a pattern of bad
habits, and they quickly fall into the same pattern again. This
Bodhisattva has taken many aeons to help and save them.

 

“For
example, if someone accidentally walks onto a dangerous road and gets
lost among the many devils, tigers, wolves, lions, snakes and
scorpions on this road, this person will be attacked immediately. If
this person happens to meet and heed the advice of a wise and
knowledgeable person, then he could avoid those evil beasts. The
person does not know how dangerous this situation is until he hears
the wise and knowledgeable person’s advice. Soon after, the person
wants to get out of that situation. This wise person leads him away
and protects him from those evils, and when he arrives to a safe
place, he is peaceful and happy. Then, this wise person tells him,
‘Do not walk this road from now on. Those who walk this road will
live a difficult and dangerous life.’ The person who was once lost
appreciates him very much. Before leaving, the wise person says, ‘If
you see your friends, relatives or any person walk by, whether they
are male or female, you should let them know that this way is full of
evil. Anyone entering this road will have their lives threatened. Do
not allow any beings to walk this way.’ In this way, Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha helps and cultivates the criminal beings by his
benevolent and compassionate heart. Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha helps
them be reborn as human beings or heavenly beings and thus obtain
peace and happiness. Because they know the sufferings of retribution,
when they are released they will be reluctant to go through the pain
of evil again. That person will never walk that dangerous way again
since he was saved by the wise person. Besides this, he also
persuades others not to walk along this dangerous road. And since he
has been there before, he will certainly not walk that way again. If
he is still confused and makes the same mistake, and does not realize
that he himself has been on this dangerous road before, he will lose
his life. This is the same as falling into evil. Although Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha has used all kinds of useful ways to release them and
allow them to be reborn into heaven or as a human being, those beings
will still fall into evil again. If he has heavy karma, he will stay
in hell with no definite time to be released from suffering. ”

 

At
that time, Evil Poison Ghost King reverently placed his hands
together and said, “World-Honored One, we, the many ghost kings in
the worlds have different jobs, some of us are advantageous and help
people, some of us hurt people. Our karmic retribution causes us and
our retinues to travel throughout all the worlds and do more evil
than good. While we are passing through a house, a town, a castle, a
village or a farm, if we see any man or woman do a tiny benefaction,
hang a pennant or streamers of silk before a Buddha’s image, prepare
a little incense or flowers to offer the Buddha or Bodhisattva, or
recite even just one sentence or word of the sutras, all of us will
salute this person as we do to Buddhas past, present and in the
future. We will also order all powerful ghosts and gods of the lands
to protect this person and never let any evil thing, disease or bad
luck draw near to this person’s house, not to mention to themselves.”
The Buddha praised the ghost king, “Very good, very good. All of you
and Yama also can support and protect these good men and women. I
will ask Brahma King and Shakra to protect you as well.”

 

After
this, another ghost king named Life Master said to the Buddha,
“World-Honored One, in accordance with their retributions, I am in
charge of humans’ lives. Their lives and deaths are governed by me.
Fundamentally, I am willing to help them. But, because they do not
realize my true heart, they have little happiness and peace when
either bearing children or dying. Why? If people could offer some
benefactions to increase the merits of their own family when they are
going to have either a son or a daughter, the God of Land would be
happy to protect the mothers and children to obtain happiness and
peace. Even their relatives could obtain merits, too. On the other
hand, they should not kill any creature for offering as food to a
woman who has just given birth. Neither gather relatives together to
eat meat, drink wine, sing songs and dance in celebration of the new
born baby. This behavior will make the mother and baby lose peace and
happiness. Why? Because uncounted evil ghosts and monsters would like
to eat the offensive- smelling blood at childbirth. I have already
ordered the God of Land to protect the mother and child and make them
peaceful and happy and without any disaster. These people should
offer more benefactions to thank this god for the happiness and peace
they obtain. However, not only do they show little gratitude but they
also kill creatures and gather relatives for celebration. Therefore,
their retribution is caused by themselves. They deserve the damage.
The mother and child will also suffer.

 

“Furthermore,
throughout the worlds, I will help the people who are about to die,
regardless of whether they are good or evil, not to fall further into
evil. My power to help them is increased when they have done good
deeds. When benevolent persons are going to die, hundreds or
thousands of evil spirits will turn into the same form as their
parents or relatives, and encourage them to be a part of their evil
horde. It will be even more difficult for a person who has done many
evil deeds to get away from evil. World-Honored One, when men or
women in all the worlds are going to die, they are incapable of clear
thinking, they cannot tell good from bad, their eyes are unable to
see and their ears are unable to hear. If their relatives make
offerings to Buddha for them, recite the sutra and recite Buddhas’ or
Bodhisattvas’ names, these good deeds will help the dead people turn
away from evil and all the devils and ghosts will retreat.
World-Honored One, if anyone who is about to die hears a Buddha’s or
Bodhisattva’s name or one sentence from a Mahayana sutra, these
people can be relieved from the Five Endless Offences. As for the
minor bad karma which would basically lead them into evil, this can
be relieved immediately.”

 

Buddha
told Life Master Ghost King, “You have great benevolence to make such
a great vow to protect all beings, both alive and dead. In future
generations if anyone, male or female, faces life and death, do not
forget the vow you have made, and be sure to release all the beings
from hardships and allow them to observe happiness and peace.”

 

The
ghost king replied to Buddha, “Please do not be concerned. I shall do
my best to protect all beings in all the worlds so that they will
have happiness both at the time of birth and at the time of death. I
hope they will believe my word so they will be released, receive
happiness, and earn numerous merits.”

 

At
that time, Buddha told Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, “This Life Master
Ghost King has already been a great ghost king for thousands of
generations. Supporting and protecting all those beings between life
and death is the benevolent merciful power of his vow. He is now
incarnated as a ghost king, but in reality he is not a ghost. One
hundred and seventy aeons from now, in an aeon named Tranquility, he
will be a Buddha named No Appearance Thus Come One. His kalpa will be
named Happiness. The world he lives in will be called Pure Dwelling
and his age will be uncountable. Kishitigarbha, everything about this
great ghost king is unimaginable. The people he has saved, is saving
and will save in all the worlds and in the heavens are innumerable.”

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CHAPTER
9

BENEFITS FROM
RECITING BUDDHAS’ NAMES

 

At
that time, Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, said to the Buddha,
“World-Honored One, I am going to speak on the benefits for those
beings in the future worlds. Between life and death, they can all
receive great benefits. Please World-Honored One, hear my words.”
Buddha told Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, “At this time you wish to
raise your benevolent and merciful heart, to save and cultivate the
suffering beings and speak on inconceivable things. Speak quickly
because I am about to enter Nirvana. Complete your vow soon, so I
need not be concerned for all those beings now and in the future. ”

 

Bodhisattva
said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, a long time ago, there was a
Buddha named Limitless Body. Any man or woman who has heard his name
and shows a respectful heart may be pardoned of the heavy crimes of
previous and forthcoming aeons. He or she will obtain endless welfare
by making offerings or painting images. In addition, a long time ago,
there was a Buddha in the world named Jewel Nature. If any man or
woman hearing his name, and in the snap of the fingers makes a wish
to take refuge in Buddha Jewel Nature, he or she will never regress
from the Buddha’s way. There was also a Buddha named Lotus-Victory.
Any man or woman who hears, with the deepest ear, this Buddha’s name,
or concentrates on reciting this Buddha’s name can be born in the Six
Desire Heaven a thousand times.

 

“Besides,
endless time ago, there was a Buddha named Lion Roar. Any man or
woman hearing his name who can follow this Buddha for one moment,
that person will meet uncountable Buddhas, be ordained and be
prophesied as a future Buddha. There was another Buddha named
Victorious Contemplation in the past. Any man or woman who hears his
name and worships or praises him with the utmost mind will be a
Brahma King in the assemblies where one thousand Buddhas are gathered
and will be ordained and prophesied as a future Buddha. There was a
Buddha named Vipasin in the past. Any man or woman who hears this
name will never fall into the evil level and will be born in heaven
with the most wonderful pleasure.

 

“Besides,
endless time ago, there was a Buddha named Jewel Victory in the
world. Any man or woman hearing this Buddha’s name will never fall
into the evil level and will enjoy wonderful happiness. There was a
Buddha named Jewel Appearance. Any man or woman hearing this name who
raises a deferential heart will soon earn the Arhanship fruit. There
was a Buddha named Kasaya Banner in the past world a long time ago.
Any man or woman hearing this name can be pardoned of the crimes of
life and death for one hundred aeons. There was another Buddha named
Great Penetration Mountain King in the past. Any man or woman who
hears this name will meet endless Buddhas to speak Dharma for him or
her. And he or she will surely achieve Bodhi.

 

“There
were also innumerable Buddhas in the past, including Buddha Pure
Moon, Buddha Mountain King, Buddha Wise Victory, Buddha Pure Name
King, Buddha Accomplished Wisdom, Buddha Unsurpassed, Buddha
Wonderful Sound, Buddha Full Moon, Buddha Moon Face and so on.

 

“World-Honored
One, the beings, regardless if they are men or women now and in the
future, as long as they can recite a Buddha’s name, they will have
endless merit. They can obtain still more merit by reciting more
Buddhas’ names. These people can earn great merit between life and
death, and they will not fall into the evil level on earth.

 

“Any
relative, even if there is only one relative, who can recite Buddha’s
name aloud for the person who is going to die, can allow the person
to be pardoned of all karmic retribution except the Five Endless
Offences. Though the Five Endless Offences can make them fall into
hell for millions of aeons and not be released, if their relatives
recite Buddha’s name for them when they are about to die, or if they
recite the names themselves, their offences can generally also be
eliminated. The merit they earn will be uncountable, and their
offences will be eliminated.”

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CHAPTER
10

COMPARING
THE MERITS OF MAKING OFFERINGS

 

At
that time, relying on Buddha’s divine power, Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, rose from his seat, knelt down, placed his
hands together in front of the Buddha and said, “World-Honored One,
as I have observed, the charitable deeds which all beings do are all
different. Some benefactions can benefit people for one generation.
Another for ten generations, some for a hundred or a thousand
generations. Why is this? Please World-Honored One, explain it for
us. ” Buddha told Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, “Now, here in the
Trayastrimsa Heaven Palace, I am going to explain the comparative
merits which are earned from the virtuous act of giving done by those
living beings in the worlds. You should listen to thy explanation
carefully.

 

Kishitigarbha
replied to Buddha, “I have had doubts about this matter, therefore, I
will be glad to listen.”

 

Buddha
told Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, “In the worlds, there are kings,
prime ministers, officials, elders, Kshatriyas, Brahmins and so on.
Suppose they do favors with benevolent hearts for the poor, blind,
deaf, mute or crippled, asking others to help, or comfort the
suffering with tender words – the merits they gain will be the same
as making offerings to Buddha. Why? Because if they can stimulate
great benevolent and compassionate hearts for the poor and crippled,
they can obtain merits. They can own the seven treasures completely,
not to mention food and clothing.

 

“Moreover,
Kishitigarbha, in the future world, if any king or Brahmin offers
sacrifices or makes contributions to Buddha’s temple or to the images
of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Sound-Hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, the king or
Brahmin will certainly be Shakra god for three aeons and enjoy the
most wonderful happiness. If they can dedicate to all beings in the
Dharma-World the merits which they earned by their contributions,
these kings can always be Great Brahma Heaven Kings for ten aeons.

 

“Furthermore,
Kishitigarbha, in the future worlds, if the kings can rebuild or
repair any ruined or broken temples or images, or they encourage
others to do this, these kings will be Wheel-Turning Kings for
hundreds or thousands of generations. The people who help these kings
will be the kings of small countries. If they can make vows in front
of the temples to dedicate the merits which they obtain from
rebuilding or repairing the temples or images, their Buddhadharma
will become complete. Their good karma is boundless and limitless.

 

“Additionally,
Kishitigarbha, in the future world, if these kings or Brahmins show
mercy and give medicine, food or bedding to old people, sick people
or pregnant women and make them peaceful and happy, such welfare and
benefits are the best imaginable. They will be a king of Pure
Dwelling Heaven for one hundred aeons, they will be a king of Six
Desire Heaven for two hundred aeons and they will surely become
Buddhas. They will never fall into the evil level and will hear no
distressful voice for hundreds or thousands of generations.

 

“Furthermore,
Kishitigarbha, in the future world, the kings or Brahmins who can
bestow such a gift will obtain endless merits. If they can dedicate
these merits to all those beings around the Dharma-World, they will
finally all become Buddhas – not to mention becoming Shakra, Brahma
or Wheel-Turning Kings. Therefore, Kishitigarbha, you should persuade
all those beings to do this.

 

“Moreover,
Kishitigarbha, in the future world, if any good man or woman can
plant the smallest good root, even as little as a hair, sand or dust,
their welfare and benefits will be beyond description. Furthermore,
Kishitigarbha, in the future world, if any man or woman makes
contributions or offers sacrifices when encountering the images of
the Buddha, Bodhisattva, Pratyekabuddha or Wheel-Turning King, he or
she will obtain endless welfare and always enjoy the most wonderful
happiness in the worlds or heavens. If this man or woman can return
this merit to those beings around the Dharma-World, this person’s
merit will be incomparable.

 

“Furthermore,
Kishitigarbha, in the future world, any man or woman who reads a
Mahayana sutra, even one single word or sentence, shows a respectful
heart, praises it reverently and dedicates the sutra to others, will
earn good karma. If the person can dedicate the merits to the
Dharma-World, this person’s welfare will be beyond description.
Furthermore, Kishitigarbha, in the future world, if any good man or
good woman worships, praises, places their hands together in respect,
and bestows a gift when he or she sees a new Buddha-temple or
Mahayana sutra; or who repairs, or cleans up any old, ruined or
broken temple or sutra himself, or persuades others to do so, they
will be kings for thirty generations. If one leads others in these
affairs, he or she may always be a Wheel-Turning King. And this
Wheel-Turning King will enjoy using many good ways to cultivate and
teach the other kings of small countries.

 

“Furthermore,
Kishitigarbha, in the future world, any good man or good woman who
plants a minor root in the Dharma-World, such as making contributions
or offerings, repairing a temple or binding a book of sutras, even if
these things are as tiny as a hair, a speck of dust, a grain of sand,
or a drop of water – if this person can dedicate the merit he or she
has earned to those beings in the Dharma-World, this person can enjoy
the most wonderful happiness for hundreds or thousands of
generations. If one dedicates the merit to one’s own relatives or
oneself, this person can enjoy happiness for only three generations.
Once one abandons one’s own merit, he may earn millions of merits.
Thus, Kishitigarbha, such are the conditions for bestowing gifts.”

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CHAPTER 11

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DHARMA-PROTECTION FROM

THE EARTH GOD

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At
that time, the Earth God Firm and Solid said to Buddha,
“World-Honored One, I have respected and worshipped limitless
Bodhisattvas and Mahasattvas since a long time past. They all possess
inconceivable divine power and wisdom to cultivate and help all
beings. However, the vow of Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, is
deeper and weightier than those of the other Bodhisattvas.
World-Honored One, this Bodhisattva, Kishitigarbha, has a close
relationship with beings in the worlds. Even though Manjushri,
Samantabhadra, Avalokiteshvara and Maitreya all have incarnated
themselves into hundreds or thousands of forms to cultivate and help
those beings in the six levels, their vows will be completed one day.
However, the Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha cultivates and teaches all
those beings in six levels – the time Kishitigarbha made the great
vow to now being hundreds, thousands and billions of aeons.

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“World-Honored
One, as I have observed, if those beings now and in the future find a
clean place located in the south of their own house and use earth,
stone, bamboo or wood to make a shrine, or make an image of
Kishitigarbha out of gold, silver, copper or iron, or paint an image
of Kishitigarbha and place it in the shrine, often burn incense in
worship and respect, and salute or praise Kishitigarbha, then they
can obtain the following ten benefits:

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1. Their land will be
very rich and fertile.

2.
Their homes and families will be peaceful forever.

3. Their ancestors will
be raised to heaven.

4. They will enjoy longevity.

5. They will fulfill their wishes.

6. They will escape floods or fires.

7.
They will escape anything that frightens or exhausts them.



8. They will have no further nightmares.

9. Their every
step will be protected by gods.

10.
They will have many opportunities to encounter the Dharma.

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World-Honored
One, if those beings now and in the future can make such offerings in
their own homes, they can obtain these ten benefits.”

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The
Earth God Firm and Solid continued, “World-Honored One, in the
future, any good man or good woman who can have this sutra and an
image of Kishitigarbha in their homes, and who can recite this sutra
and make an offering to the Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, will be
protected and guarded day and night by divine power. Even the risk of
flood or fire, robbery, stealing and any evil thing will be
eliminated.”

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The
Buddha instructed the Earth God Firm and Solid, “The divine power you
possess is much greater than that of the other gods. Do you know why?
The land in all the worlds is guarded by you. Even every blade of
grass, tree, sand, stone, straw, hemp, bamboo, reed, rice or treasure
from the ground, grows or is produced by your power. Your constant
praise of Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha makes your merits, virtues and
divine power a thousand times greater than that of ordinary
earth-gods’.

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“In
the future worlds, if there is any good man or good woman who can
make offerings to Bodhisattva and recite this sutra to others, as
long as he or she practices the rules according to the Kishitigarbha
Sutra, you should protect this man or woman by your divine power. Do
not allow any disaster or unpleasant thing go through his or her
ears, and do not allow them to suffer. Not only will you protect this
person yourself, but the retinues of Shakra, Brahma, and the gods of
the heavens will also protect them. The reason why this person is
protected by many gods is that he or she respects and worships
Kishitigarbha’s image and recites this Vow Sutra. These people will
be removed from the ocean of suffering and will be proof of the bliss
of Nirvana.”

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CHAPTER 12

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BENEFITS FROM SEEING AND

HEARING KISHITIGARBHA

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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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.

 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.              

Avalokiteshvara,
thus you should know                     

And proclaim
through the worlds –

More numerous than
the Ganges’ sands.”

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CHAPTER 13

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ENTRUSTING THE HUMAN

AND HEAVENLY BEINGS

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At
that time, the World-Honored One raised his golden arms and touched
the head of Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva. Then he said,
“Kishitigarbha, Kishitigarbha, your divine power is inconceivable.
Your benevolent and compassionate heart is inconceivable. Your wisdom
is inconceivable. Your eloquence is inconceivable. Thousands or
millions of aeons is not enough time for the Buddhas from the Ten
Directions to explain and praise your inconceivable qualities.
Kishitigarbha, Kishitigarbha, remember what I speak of today in
Trayastrimsa Heaven – where thousands, millions and billions of
Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, heavenly beings, dragons and the others gather
together. I request you to help those beings in heavens and worlds
who are suffering. Do not allow them to fall into the evil level even
for a single day and night, or fall into the five endless hells and
Arbi Hell and suffer hardships for thousands, millions or billions of
aeons.

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“Kishitigarbha,
those beings of the worlds have unstable minds. They are used to
doing evil. Even though they raise a good heart, they soon reject it.
If they are in an evil environment, their minds will increase in evil
little by little. Therefore, I incarnate hundreds, thousands or
billions of forms, according to their personalities, to help and
cultivate them.

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“Kishitigarbha,
today, I sincerely entrust multitudes in the heavens and the worlds
to you. In the future, if any heavenly being or any good man or good
woman in any of the worlds plants a tiny good root in Buddhadharma,
even as tiny as a hair, a speck of dust, a grain of sand or a drop of
water, you should use your divine power to protect this person. Guide
him on the path of Dharma, step by step and never allow him to
regress or lose it.

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“Moreover,
Kishitigarbha, in the future, those heavenly or human beings about to
fall into the evil level, if at the front door of hell they can
recite a Buddha’s or a Bodhisattva’s name, or a sentence from a
Mahayana sutra, you should use your divine power and employ every
possible way to help and save them. You can manifest your limitless
form around their homes and shatter the hells for them. Let all of
them ascend to heaven and enjoy wonderful happiness.”

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At
that time, the World-Honored One spoke a verse:

“Those
heavenly beings and humans now and in the future,

I sincerely
entrust them all to you.

Using
great divine power to cross them over,

Do not
allow them to fall into the evil levels.”

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At
that time, Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva knelt down, placed
his hands together and said to Buddha, “World-Honored One, please do
not be concerned. In the future, if any good man or good woman shows
a little reverence for Buddhadharma, I shall use hundreds or
thousands of convenient ways to help and cultivate this person and
relieve him or her from suffering. Those people who have studied the
Dharma and have heard of good deeds will progress naturally and will
never regress from the Way.”

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Present
at the meeting while Buddha spoke was a Bodhisattva named Empty Space
Store, who asked Buddha, “World-Honored One, since I came to
Trayastrimsa, I have heard you eulogize the inconceivable divine
power of Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha. In the future, how many benefits
may a good man or good woman, and those heavenly beings and dragons
who hear this sutra, Kishitigarbha’s name, or worship his image
receive? May World-Honored One please speak for all those beings now
and in the future.”

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The
Buddha told Bodhisattva Empty Space Store, “Listen, listen, I shall
explain this to you. In the future, any good man or good woman who
sees the image of Kishitigarbha or hears this sutra, who recites it
and offers fragrant flowers, food, clothing or precious jewellery,
and who reverently praises, gazes at and worships him will earn these
twenty-eight benefits:

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1. They will be
protected by heavenly beings and dragons.

2. They will increase in good mind day after day.

3. They will accumulate superior wisdom.

4. They will never regress from Bodhi.

5. They will be opulent in food and clothing.

6. They will never suffer from any disease.

7. They will be
far away from flood, fire and disaster.

8. They will not be stolen from or robbed.

9. They will be respected by everyone.

10. Gods and ghosts will help and support them.

11. A woman may be
reborn as a male in the next life.

12. A woman may be
born as a king’s or minister’s daughter.

13. They will be born with good-looking features.

14. They will be reincarnated in heaven.

15. They may be reincarnated as a king.

16. They will be aware of their former lives.

17. They will obtain anything they ask.

18. Their families and
relatives will be joyful.

19. All disasters or accidents will be eliminated.

20. They will be rid of all bad karma.

21. They will go anywhere without problems.

22. They will have pleasant and peaceful dreams.

23. Their deceased
relatives will be far away from suffering.

24. They will
receive the blessings from their past lives.

25. They will be
praised by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

26. They will become intelligent and have good roots.

27. They will possess a merciful heart.

28. They will ultimately realize Buddhahood.

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“Moreover,
Bodhisattva Empty Space Store, the heavenly beings, dragons, ghosts
or gods now and in the future who hear Kishitigarbha’s name, worship
Kishitigarbha’s image or know of Kishitigarbha’s accomplishments, and
praise, gaze at and worship him can obtain seven benefits:

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1.
They will soon ascend to the sage’s land.

2. Their evil
karma will be eliminated.

3. All Buddhas
will protect them.

4. They will never
regress from Bodhi.

5. Their natural
powers will increase.

6. They will know
their past lives.

7. They will
ultimately realize Buddhahood.”

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Thus,
at that time, from the Ten Directions, came all the uncountable
Buddhas and Great Bodhisattvas, gods, dragons and the others to hear
Buddha Sakyamuni eulogize the great divine power of Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha. Such inconceivable divine power had never before been
known.

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And
thus, at that time, boundless fragrant flowers, heavenly garments,
treasures and jewels rained down in the Trayastrimsa Heaven as
offerings to Buddha Sakyamuni and Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha. All
those at the assembly again regarded Buddha with respect, then bowed
reverently, placed their hands together, and withdrew.

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May all beings
throughout the universe be happy.

May all beings be
peaceful.

May all beings be
liberated.

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GLOSSARY OF
TERMS

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ARHAN, ARAHAN or
ARHAT
– The ideal of
Hinayana (Theravada) Buddhism; one who has freed himself from all ego
cravings and thus attained Enlightenment.

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AVALOKITESHVARA – The Bodhisattva
of Compassion. Chinese name Kwan Yin. In China usually represented in
the feminine aspect as the ‘Goddess of Mercy’.

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BODHI
Perfect Wisdom or knowledge of the ultimate nature of Reality.
Enlightenment.

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BODHISATTVA – Bodhi: see above. Sattva: someone motivated by universal
compassion. Bodhisattva is thus the aspiration to practice infinite
compassion with infinite wisdom. In Mahayana Buddhism, one who having
attained enlightenment (bodhi) is on his way to Buddhahood but
postpones his goal to keep a vow to help all living beings attain
salvation.

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BRAHMA  God as Creator – Hindu.

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BRAHMIN The name given to Hindu priestly caste or class.

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BUDDHA – An Awakened
One. Refers usually to Siddhartha Gautama Sakyamuni, the Indian
prince who became an All-Enlightened Being, the historic founder of
Buddhism some 2,500 years ago.

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COMPASSION – In Buddhism not
only a feeling of pity or mercy, but implies also a positive sense of
universal connectedness with and responsibility for others.

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DHARMA – Sanskrit word
(Dhamma in Pali) used in both Hinduism and Buddhism, meaning
variously, according to context, the Way, the Law, Righteousness,
Reality. In Buddhism specifically the Dharma refers to the Buddhist
Way or Buddha’s Teachings. (See Triple Gems).

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DHARMA-ENDING AGE – According to some ancient sutras, there
are three periods in every Buddhadharma Age, spanning the
introduction, growth, decline and demise of the Dharma from a region
or a planet. The first is the Proper-Dharma Age, where the Dharma
flourishes and many people obtain great benefits. It is followed by
the Dharma-Image Age, where much effort is applied to externals such
as the construction of temples, rituals, worshipping images, etc.,
where people seek blessings rather than wisdom. These two ages each
last for approximately 500-1000 years. The Dharma-Ending Age lasts
for 10,000 years, and is marked by war and strife. We are living in
the Dharma-Ending Age, the final age which will see the decline and
disappearance of the Dharma from earth.

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DRAGONS – In Asia, a heavenly mystical creature and Dharma-Protector.
Also, a symbol of success, prosperity, expansion, power and general
good fortune.

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ENLIGHTENMENT – In Buddhist
useage, refers to the experiencing of one’s own essential or true
nature, and therefore awakening to the nature of all existence – as
in the Buddha’s Awakening.

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EVIL LEVELS – The three lower
levels of animals, hungry ghosts and hell beings.

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GHOSTS – The realm inhabited by the disembodied beings usually
referred to as ‘hungry ghosts’. Hungry because they are restless,
tortured and their yearnings for rebirth in a favorable existence are
never realized. The hordes of lesser ghosts are ruled over by ghost
kings who have great occult powers and who are generally malevolent
and ill-disposed towards humans. Some ghost kings however are helpful
to humans.

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HINAYANA BUDDHISM – The ‘Lesser Vehicle’, as compared to the ‘Greater Vehicle’
of Mahayana. Hinayana is a more literal interpretation of the
Buddha’s doctrine than the more permissive Mahayana. Also known as
Theravada Buddhism – the southern school of Buddhism found in Sri
Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia. (See Mahayana.)

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KALPA
An aeon, a vast period of time that encompasses the creation and
dissolution of a universe.

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KARMA
Literally ‘action’ in Sanskrit. The law of cause and effect. Actions
and the results of those actions – each moment that we live today has
been brought into being by past actions, and just as inevitably each
moment of the future will be determined by the so-called present.
“All that we are is made up of our thoughts”. Karma is also, however,
opportunity. Man, through his unique gift of free will and his
heightened powers of perception, has the chance to alter his
behavior, and thus his life situation.

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KSHATRIYA – Hindu aristocratic warrior caste.

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MAHASATTVA – A term used for
great Bodhisattvas.

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MAHAYANA – Buddhist term
meaning ‘Great Vehicle’, applied in general to the northern Buddhism
of Tibet, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan. (See Hinayana).

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MAITREYA – The Buddha of the
Future.

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MANJUSHRI – The Bodhisattva of
Wisdom.

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MERIT – Buddhist term
used in connection with the performance of good deeds.

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NAMO – Sanskrit word
meaning praise, or homage to, take refuge in, etc.

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NIRVANA – Sanskrit word
meaning ‘to extinguish’. What is extinguished are craving, ignorance,
the endless round of birth and death, and finally, the ego – the
false separate sense of self that prevents us from experiencing our
true nature, and the nature of all existence. The attainment of
Enlightenment.

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PRAJNA – Supreme or Transcendental Wisdom.

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PRATYEKABUDDHAS – Solitary enlightened ones.

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REALM OF DESIRE – The lowest of
the
three-part
division of the world. It is comprised of beings from the hells and
lower gods and is characterized by the presence of coarse desire. It
includes the realm of humans.

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REALM OF FORM – The second of the three realms. It is characterized by the
presence of form but lack of desire. Inhabited by numerous kinds of
divine beings.

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REALM OF
FORMLESSNESS
– The third of
the three realms. Characterized by lack of any form at all. Inhabited
by higher gods and sages.

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RETRIBUTION – In the Buddhist sense means to reap what one has sown.

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SAHA WORLD – The name of the world system in which we live.

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SAKYAMUNI – Sakya: the clan Siddhartha Gautama belonged to. Muni: sage.
The Sage of the Sakya clan. One of the Buddha’s various titles.

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SAMANTABHADRA – Bodhisattva of Great Meritorious Deeds.

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SANGHA – The Buddhist
monastic order. Also, more generally, any community practicing the
Buddhist way. (See Triple Gems).

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SHAKRA – Chief god of
Trayastrimsa Heaven, also known as Indra.

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THE SIX REALMS or SIX PATHS – The Six Realms of existence are (1) the
god realm, (2) the realm of the demi-gods, (3) the human realm, (4)
animals, (5) the hungry ghosts, (6) the hell beings. To be reborn in
any of the lower three planes is considered to be an unfortunate
rebirth, and is the result of karmic actions.

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SOUND-HEARERS – The Buddha’s
disciples, so-called because they hear the sound of the Buddha’s
voice and understand the Way.

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SUMERU – The axial
mountain in the centre of every world system.

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SUTRA – Sanskrit word
for Buddhist scriptures, meaning a discourse by the Buddha, or a
disciple, accepted as authoritative teaching.

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‘THUS I HAVE HEARD’ – The traditional opening phrase of
Buddhist sutras to show their credibility and authenticity.

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TRAYASTRIMSA
HEAVEN
– The second of
the six heavens in the realm of desire. It is the heaven in which
this sutra was taught.

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TRIPLE GEMS or
THREE TREASURES

– The Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha. The Buddha taught his followers
to repeat a simple three-part formula to take refuge in the Triple
Gems: “I take my refuge in the Buddha. I take my refuge in the
Dharma. I take my refuge in the Sangha.” They are the three pillars
of Buddhism. Here however the Buddha should not be understood to mean
a particular person, but to take refuge in the ‘Gem’ of Buddha: the
principle of Enlightenment itself – the Buddha-nature inherent in
every individual. Similarly the Dharma is not meant to be a
particular teaching, but to take refuge in the Truth, or the Law of
the Universe – to move in harmony with the Natural Law. And the
Sangha can be understood in its wider sense as the quality of all
saintly and enlightened persons – their example; and even wider – as
the brotherhood of Man.

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TRIPLE WORLD – World of desire, world of form, and formless world.

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WHEEL-TURNING KING – A world-ruling
monarch who uses his power to help turn the Wheel of Dharma in the
world.

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Back
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THIS WORK IS AN ORIGINAL TRANSLATION

PRIVATELY PUBLISHED as a book

BY YIH-MEI GUO

TAIWAN 1997

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Translation and
introduction copyright © 1997 by Yih-Mei Guo. All rights
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by
any means, electronic or mechanical. Including photocopying,
recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system,
without permission in writing from the publisher.

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If you find any
mistakes in this book, please write to the following address for
revision.

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3F,
No. 32, Lane 167. San-Ming Road.

Taipei,
Taiwan, R.O.C. 105

Tel.
886-2-753-5182

Fax.
886-2-753-5182

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This
translator wishes to give special thanks to

Jennie
Ruth Gould and Gary Byrnes for their invaluable assistance
.

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©
This website was created by Gary and Elya Byrnes, September 1999.

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Bodhisattva
Kishitigarbha

 

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