The Sūtra of Ananda’s Query

Concerning the Ultimate Results of Practicing

the Buddha’s Teachings as Good or Ill Luck[*]

 

Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by

Master Parthamansiris

Prince & King of Persia (2nd century)

 

Translated from Chinese into English by

Suncrates

Sandra A. Wawrytko

 

The Kumārajīva Project

Thomé H. Fang Institute

2003

I.

Thus, Ananda respectfully asked the Buddha:

“Of all those who have practiced the Buddha’s teachings some have acquired wealth and honor, power and position, everything seems to be going well with them -- as they wish. Some, on the contrary, have acquired just the opposite, everything seems to be going ill with them. Why and how is it that they differ so widely in the results of their practice of the Buddha’s teachings. Our Lord, the Deva of Devas, please, tell us, all of us, why and how?”

The Buddha answered Ananda:

“Of those who have practiced my teachings some have the good luck to meet with good mentors, and have kept the accepted precepts unswervingly, without deviation or violation: They practice them with vigor; they keep the statues of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas bright and vivid; they never miss their worships in the morning and evening; they light the lamps devotedly; they donate alms with pure motivation; they never do what the Dharma and precepts have forbidden them to do; their heart are always filled with joy; they are always protected by all the Devas and the Spiritual Beings of Goodness; of course, everything seems to be going well with them in every direction, and all things around them grow and prosper a hundredfold. They are, in addition, protected by all the Devas, Nagas, Ghosts, and Spiritual Beings, and all human beings as well. Eventually, these people definitely will attain to the stage of Dharma and Tathāta [Notice: not Tathāgata]. Verily I say unto you, such good men and women are truly my followers and disciples.

“On the other hand, there are people who claim to have practiced my teachings, yet they never have the good luck to meet with good mentors or read the instructions in the Sūtras. They have attended the initiation of receiving precepts; they are precept holders only in name; they are filled with folly, lacking in faith; they violate the precepts and rules, now believing, and now disbelieving; they always hesitate in their hearts, without showing reverence towards the Sūtras and the statues; they neither burn the incense, nor light the lamps, during worship. hey are always filled with doubts; indulging in angry speech and harsh words, name-calling and condemnation; with venomous tongue they launch their jealousy and rancor upon the worthy and good; they never observe the fasting ritual on the six holy days each year; they kill sentient beings with their own hands; they show no respect for the Buddhist Sūtras; they leave them at will in worn-out baskets or among dirty clothing or unclean places on their wives’ beds, or have them hung up on the wall; they treat them as in no way different from books of the ordinary sort in the world, without the reverential heart to receive them as esteemed guests into the seat of honor. In illness, for lack of true faith in the Buddha, they call upon sorcerers for aide; they appeal to divination and sorcery for dissolving any previous grievances and feuds they had with others; they appeal to the perverse worship of demons for help. No wonder all the Devas are turned off and, naturally, they are denied the protection by the Good; consequently, demons make their way into their houses, and devils station themselves right at their doors, thus causing them misfortunes and putting them at odds with any and every thing they might be doing. Or, they may have come here in this world from the evil track of wrong-doings in their previous lives, appearing now as sinners in this present life of theirs. Verily I say unto you, such kind of men and women are truly not my followers and disciples! Moreover, upon death they shall be sent to Hell for purgation; they will be duly punished there by flogging and caning until they are rehabilitated. It is due to their previous sinfulness that well-deservedly they must suffer from misfortunes in this life, and will continue to suffer more until the moment of death. Then, they will be taken back again to the evil track for endless rounds of torture, with sufferings unspeakably horrible. All this is due to the accumulated evils of bad deeds in their past lives.

“The foolish people are twice blind: blind in mind and blind in eye. They never reflect upon their previous conduct and the consequences involved; they never reflect upon the response and retribution of Spiritual Beings; they never trace all these happenings back to their original, fundamental causes in karma. Yet, they all claim that their ill luck, their misfortunes, are caused by their practicing the Buddha’s teachings, without blaming themselves for lack of sufficient meritorious virtues accumulated in their previous lives! They keep hating Heaven and Earth, blaming the Saints and Devas.

“The world is replete with such kind of fools, who have lost their way and are as ignorant as ever. Alas, common people can be so incredibly ignorant and stupid! Those who are incredibly ignorant and stupid are neither stable in mind, nor solid and firm in character, nor always rational in conduct and behavior. They are unworthy of the grace of Buddha the Compassionate One; they are ungrateful, being unable to repay Him. Thus, they are caught in a threefold bondage, caught in the karma-web of their own making. Their stored-consciousness, wherein the evil seeds always exceed the good ones, turns out to be the sinful guilt-consciousness, culminating in negative retributions, of course. How can one fail to take this matter seriously!

“There are ten kinds of evil -- [three kinds for the body: killing sentient beings, stealing, and adultery; four kinds for the mouth: lying, double talk, boldfaced bragging and being flatteringly obsequious in speech; and three kinds for intention: greed, anger, and ignorance]. These are our worst enemies. On the other hand, there are ten kinds of goodness -- [the opposite of the above listed]. These are our gracious friends. Attainment to the stage of Dharma or Tathāta by a tranquil and peaceful spirit is generated by Goodness. Goodness is the great shield, fearless of swords and weapons; Goodness is the big ship, capable of carrying us across the waters (of greed). Those who abide in Goodness faithfully can enjoy harmony and peace at home in their family life; naturally they enjoy the reward of bliss. It is a journey from goodness to goodness, not a matter of a divine free gift. Those who do not believe in it now will only continue to become worse and worse, and worse, afterwards.”

The Buddha continued:

“Ananda, Good and Evil follow human beings as inseparably as does the shadow follow the body! So it is the case with sin and bliss. Never doubt it, and fall into the evil track yourself. Distinguish sin from bliss, have sincere faith in Dharma, and free yourself from bewilderment. You will then be able to be completely at ease wherever you are. Every word spoken by the Buddha is absolutely sincere, never deceiving us.”

Again the Buddha spoke:

“The Buddha has no deceit in speech, and the era of the Buddha is extremely hard to come by. The Dharmas of the Sûtras are rarely to be heard. It is due to all the bliss accumulated in all your previous lives, Ananda, that you have been selected to serve as Attendant to the Buddha, now -- in this life of yours. You shall therefore always keep in mind how, in appreciation of the grace and compassion of the Buddha, you shall dedicate yourself to the cause of declaring the teachings of Dharma to the common people by our exemplary deeds and conduct so as to till for them the fertile field of bliss, wherein those with faith can plant their seeds of Goodness, so that all their descendants may be worry-free and trouble-free.”

Having thus received the Buddha’s teachings as inspiration, Ananda swore that, in appreciation, he would put all of them into practice, spread them universally and share them with all.

II.

Later, Ananda respectfully asked the Buddha:

“There are people who do not kill sentient beings with their own hands. Does this make them innocent?”

The Buddha emphatically remarked:

“Ananda, to abet others in killing is more sinful than to kill with one’s own hand! Why? Some are made to kill as servants, maids, foolish or petty fellows; they know not what is sinful and what is blissful; some are commanded to kill as executioners carrying out the orders of their county mayors as superiors, not out of their own will. In such cases, though they are not guiltless of killing, yet they did it with different motivations, accordingly the consequences must vary in terms of gravity. Those who abet others in killing, called instigators, commit the sin of killing on purpose, i.e., deliberately. They have harbored in their heart both folly and viciousness; their very act of abetting and hiring others to kill shows that they have utterly no compassion in their hearts. They have betrayed the Three Noble Treasures -- the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Samgha. They have proven unworthy of their own conscience; because doing injury to sentient beings causes them uneasiness at their hearts. They have committed a capital sin of the gravest kind.

 

“They are caught in the vicious circle of hatred against hatred, feud against feud, and must suffer from generation to generation to come -- endlessly. They cannot be at ease in this present life of theirs, confronted frequently with various kinds of misfortunes. Upon death they will be sent to Hell, where they will be cast out of the human shape and degraded into the lower realm as beasts to be slaughtered by men. Throughout the entire course of their time in hell they will undergo the Eight Tribulations as ordeals, including the three paths of punishment [by fire, by eating each other’s raw flesh, and by swords and clubs]. They will serve men with the flesh of their bodies as meat for hundreds of millions of Kalpas to come -- endlessly. Physically, they are subjected to suffering from all sorts of hardship. Like herd animals, they are fed only the grass on the meadows and allowed to drink only from the streams in the field.

“Now, the present world is replete with multitudes of beasts of this sort, because they were violent, perverse, unrighteous, instigating others to do violence to sentient beings and, moreover, faithless, during their previous lives when they had the good fortune to be reborn as humans. With grievances and feuds accumulated from generation to generation, and from life to life, followed by mutual retributions against one another, essentially their have remained the same; yet, alas, what an infinite variety of forms and shapes they must have assumed accordingly in the course of Śamsāra! All this is due to the profound sinfulness accumulated in their previous lives!”

III.

Thus, Ananda respectfully asked the Buddha:

“There have been people in the world, and some students and disciples, too, who direct their ill-will towards men of Dharma and Virtue as good teachers, so to speak. How serious are their sins?”

The Buddha answered Ananda:

“As a human being worthy of the name, one should love and rejoice at the good of others, and should never be jealous of them. He who directs his ill-will towards men of Dharma and Virtue as good teachers is doing the same towards the Buddha Himself. He should draw the mightiest bow in the world and shoot the arrow at himself rather than direct his ill-will towards men of Dharma and Virtue as good teachers.”

The Buddha asked:

“Ananda, does shooting oneself hurt?”

Ananda said:

“It hurts, indeed! it hurts, very much! our Lord, the World-Honored One!”

Thus, the Buddha commented:

“He who directs his ill-will towards men of Dharma and Virtue as good teachers will suffer far more than those who shoot arrows at themselves!

“On the other hand, we should realize that, as students and disciples, one should not treat teachers without respect, nor direct one’s ill-will towards men of Dharma and Virtue. Rather, one should look up to them as the Buddha Himself, and by no means should one slight them, or be jealous of them. Instead, at seeing the good in others one should rejoice on their behalf. Men of Virtue by observing the precepts would be able to move multitudes of the Devas; they are respected alike by the Devas and Nagas (Dragons), and by the Ghosts and Spiritual Beings as well. It is better to commit oneself to the flames, or have one’s flesh sliced into pieces by the sharpest swords and knifes, than be jealous of the goodness of others. Jealousy of the goodness of others is no small sin. One cannot be too cautious in this regard!”

Thus, Ananda respectfully asked the Buddha:

“Can a teacher be permitted to reprimand and chide disciples at will, without regard for the principle of righteousness, and make a big fuss over a small error? Can such a teacher be immune from sinfulness?”

The Buddha strongly warned:

“By no means! By no means! The good relationship between teacher and disciple is based on the principle of righteousness. Out of righteousness originates spontaneously a genuine affection towards one another. They should be gracious towards one another; each should treat the other party as oneself. The teacher must rectify disciples in accordance with reason, and guide them properly by the right path of Dharma. What one does not practice oneself, never ask others to do. We should develop and exalt the Rules of Propriety so that there will be no need to Appeal for Grievance.

“The same with the disciple. Apply the principle of righteous-ness reciprocally: The teacher should be like a teacher; the disciple should be like a disciple. Never should they slander one another, harboring venomous seeds of grievance and feuding turning petty cases into major issues until finally they bring about self-destruction upon them-selves by inviting the flames. As students and disciples, one should be filial and compliant towards their good teachers. Never should one direct one’s ill-will towards teachers. Directing one’s ill-will towards teachers is no different than directing one’s ill-will towards the Buddha Himself, towards the bhikhsus and monks, and towards one’s parents. Such a sin is a capital offence; neither covered by Heaven, nor supported by Earth.

 

“Now, let us take a closer look at the people of this era of decadence! The world is replete with all kinds of crooks and the wicked: They have neither loyality nor filiality, neither benevolence nor righteousness; they never follow the way of humanity. The bhikhsus of the mundane world, as one of the four divisions of monasties [the bhiksu, bhiksurikā, sśrāmanera, and sśrāma-nerikā], are only mindful of the evils of others, without making any effort to correct and stop their own evil. For instance:

“Being so jealous of the worthy and the good that there is nothing they would not do to destroy them.

“Having no idea of practicing good deeds, jealous of the worthy by being violent and rude towards them,

“Being unable to accomplish something good, yet never missing any opportunity to vitiate the good efforts of others. “Nipping any good motivations in the bud so that they never prevail.

“Being greedy and lustful, caring only for worldly vanity, and the vanity of vanities, and indulging in profit and luxury for enjoyment

accumulating possessions to speed up the loss of one’s true self as authentic nature, and worshipping money above Dharma.

“Being degraded upon death into evil tracks, down to the capital Hell, becoming there one of the hungry ghosts and various sorts of beasts.

“Never should one have any such tendencies! What does one ask for in this world? -- Be mindful of the Buddha and repay his grace!

“We shall observe the precepts of the Sūtras, and lead the masses aright by the path of Dharma!

“The Dharma must be learned; the Sūtras must be [studied] and chanted; the good deeds must be performed.

“Performing good deeds and offering virtues as if offering alms.

“Redeeming souls and transcending the realm of Śamsāra [life and death].

“When seeing the worthy, never slight them. When seeing the good, never slander them. Never get another implicated in a major crime by means of some small error. There is no crime greater than the violation of law and lack of reason. Sin and bliss are to be determined by checking the evidence. We cannot be too cautious in this regard.”

Thus, Ananda respectfully asked the Buddha:

“The disciples of the era of decadence are produced by interdependent origination as a result of karmic interactions. Oh, our Lord, the World-Honored One, how should they conduct their daily life, manage their household, and make money to support their family members?”

Thu Buddha answered Ananda:

“Ananda, there are people who have accepted the precepts of the Buddha and performed them faithfully: they are compliant and filial, awe-inspired, cautious and prudent; reverentially they take refuge in the Three Noble Treasures -- the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Samgha. They have supported their parents, they have fulfilled their duties of loyalty, they are cautious and good both inwardly and outwardly. Nevertheless, they may well attend to human worldly affairs but not with any human worldly-mindedness!”

Thus, Ananda respectfully asked the Buddha for clarification:

“Our Lord, the Deva of Devas, what do you mean by human worldly-affairs as distinct from the human worldly-mindedness?”

The Buddha answered Ananda:

“Though, as disciples of the Buddha, of course they may pursue business and live as businessmen, yet in making deals with people they must be fair-minded so as to conduct their transactions with the square of fair measure. By no means should they wrong any person. And never should they handle any transactions by violating the principles of the divine and those of nature. Attending funeral and obituary services, moving and transportation rituals, and wedding ceremonies, etc., are all matters of human worldly affairs [for one to attend to].

“But by [freedom from] human worldly-mindedness I mean that as disciples of the Buddha, they should keep themselves away from such activities as an appeal to divination for consultation, sorcery and reading magic signs, exorcising specters, perverse worship, etc., to dissolve any previous grievances and feuds with others; nor should they attempt to pick out any particular days and times as auspicious.

“Blessed are those who have received the precepts from the Buddha! No matter what they are about to do, they should appeal for approval to the Three Noble Treasures -- the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Samgha. No matter how subtle one’s motivation might be, nothing could escape the Buddha’s sharp discernment and perfect understanding. For men with the virtues of precepts, there is no greater protection than the one provided by Dharma. With all the Devas at their disposal, they are respected alike by all the Dragons, Ghosts, and Spiritual Beings throughout the universe. One becomes noble only with the advance of one’s observation of the noble precepts. For such a person the course of events is always auspicious, ubiquitously. How could there be any ominous taboos to bother him? The world of Dharma is all-embracing and all-supportive as Heaven and Earth. Only the unenlightened, the foolish, fail to understand; they are victimized by the hindrances and bondage of their own making. The karmas of good and evil originate within the human heart. Good and evil follow the person as closely as does shadow follow the body, and as readily as the echo responds to the sound! The virtues of those who have practiced the precepts taught, under the protection of the Devas, will be answered spontaneously. All their wishes will come true and be fulfilled. All their appeals will receive a response from all of the ten quarters of Space, as participating in the augmentation of virtue with Heaven. Their magnificent merits are admired by all the saints and sages, in immeasurable ways. The wise comprehend Destiny immediately, never would they be subject to any perverse worship. In so far as one acts in perfect accordance with the Buddha’s teachings, one will always find the path of emancipation available.”

 

Hearing this, Ananda straighteded out his robe [Kasaya] and bowed deeply, touching his head to the ground. He answered:

“Indeed, one will! But, our Lord, the World-Honored One, how blessed we are to be born contemporaneous with the Buddha! who, with the great grace of universal compassion, and with profound sympathy and pity for all sentient beings, has appeared in this world to till the field of bliss for them, so that all of them may be relieved of sufferings. Every word spoken by the Buddha is absolutely sincere! Alas, it has few believers! This world is full of evils! All people are cursing one another. How painfully deplorable! Even if there were to be some believers, it is at most but a few of them, or so, in number. Why and how has the whole world found itself in such a miserable state of evil? After the Buddha has entered into Nirvāna, what is the use of the Sūtras and Dharmas remaining extant while there is none to believe them? Gradually, all will fade away, gone and lost! How woeful! Whom are we going to rely upon? We only wish, Oh, our Lord, the World-Honored One, that, for the sake of the great mass of the common people, you would not enter into Nirvāna!”

Thus, Ananda offered his earnest petition for the Buddha to stay, in the form of a long verse as Eulogy:

“In all Three World of Desire, of Forms,

as well as of No-Forms

Buddha the Compassionate One is esteemed

as their Guardian and Protector Supreme!

Great indeed is his grace of universal compassion!

our Lord. For the sake of all sentient beings,

please, don’t leave for Nirvāna, we you entreat!

For, verily, so few can ever meet

Dharma in a life time. They are twice blinded:

blind in eye, and blinded in mind!

unable to Truth recognize;

Woe to him who has eyes,

yet in Truth sees not!

with sins so deep, poor lot!

How many, with bliss accumulated

in their past lives, can Dharma meet ever once?

at most, a few of them or so, as is estimated!

The Sūtras fade away and Dharma wanes,

without being noticed!

With all of these to be missed,

what and who is there for them to rely upon, below or above?

Not that the Buddha’s grace is not great enough,

but that, for all their sins the masses themselves are to blame!

The Drum of Dharma can, in fact, not in name

only, alarm all the Chiliocosm

---- Trisahasra-mahā-sahasra-loka-dhātu;

How can it be so seldom

heard, or not at all? ‘Tis a pity, as ‘tis true!

This turbid world of ours is full of crooks of all sorts,

they’ve fallen into topsy-turvyness, of their own accord!

They worm their way into Dharma by flattery as lip-service,

and by slandering the saints and sages!

They aim to undermine and destroy

the righteous and true

by perverse worship for them to enjoy;

by spell, and by charm, too!

They believe not that the Buddha has already appeared

in this world right now, and right here!

They deny that the Buddha

is the Great Dharma,

They assume human shape, and human form withal,

but, to tell the truth, they are not human, not at all!

Rather, of all sorts of evils they are the source.

At the end of their life, of course,

they have no choice, but Hell to be bound for!

Their bodies are to be dismembered

by knife and sword!

as gourmet food for the devouring devils, thirsty for slaughter.

In the huge tripod shaped melting pot

the oils are boiling, damned hot.

Those who in life have committed adultery

are to be tied up there, so tightly,

right there to the hot bronze columns all around,

with glaring fires, to be burnt alive as thus bound.

Those who in life have slandered men of principle and character

are sent there to get their tongues plucked out with iron pliers.

Those who in life have indulged in alcohol or liquid,

and with bad behavior have rules of propriety

broken, are completely at a loss for a path-finder:

knowing not whither the human way to pursue any further!

Upon death, of course, they are all sent to Hell, and

right into their opened mouths does the ward pour

the fluids of melted bronze all made of various brands

in foreign lands! With harsh ordeals for hour after hour,

Nay, unlike the common sort,

the feast of torture is beyond words!

In case they are reborn as humans again,

they will find themselves well, in vain,

They are among the lowly and the poor,

And miserable, for sure!

Non-killing results in longevity,

immune from illness, always strong and healthy.

Non-stealing results in great wealth, for instance:

with money growing upon money,

and property upon property.

Non-adultery results in fragrance

of bodies, so refreshing, and so pure!

made to pervade and to endure!

From the body emits a unique fragrance

highlighting an imposing appearance

that scintillates

with the charisma of the high-bred

like the noble kings of great states!

Non-cheating results in absolute sincerity,

to be looked up to, by all, as the lofty

measure for the conduct of life.

Non-drunkenness results in sobriety,

revered by men of virtue and wisdom. The Five

Great Blessings

[to wit: longevity, great wealth, purity, social respectability, and virtue]

are transcending the Worldly Realm and merged with the Heavenly Realm, too:

The joint fruitfulness

are multiplied a hundred million times, as we witness.

The Truth of Five Precepts is crystal clear.

This era of decadence of ours, oh, my dear,

abounds in crooks and the wicked of any sort:

what a faithless, suspicious, foolish, and dull bore!

utterly unable to distinguish Dharma from Untruth.

Prompted by piles of sins upon sins, they have truth

abandoned, and are all hell-bound, moving towards

Darkness, ever the darker.

Those who have blocked other’s conscience-way

have destroyed self-awareness as the righteous way.

Upon death they are taken to the Big Iron City,

where their souls will be imprisoned, what a pity!;

On their heads they will soon be crowned as kings,

with Iron-Wheels, white-burning. Glaring

like diadems? You bet!

They only wish for quick death! But it cannot be Granted.

Their bodily shape at once becomes a hotchpotch of smears

as being stabbed hard, incessantly, with spears

soaked in poison, weird-shaped, yet forceful to dart!

Their bodies, thus permanently damaged, fall apart,

fatally maimed and disabled.

Why must the world be in such a state, unable

to figure it out? Nay, people have abandoned the righteous Way

of Dharma; instead, they have taken to the devil’s Way,

Foolish and superstitious:

by consulting divination to get their previous

grievances and feuds all dissolved;

by indulging in pompous shows of sacrificial offerings involved,

Thus, they have done great violence:

to Compassion and Benevolence

Upon death they are dropped into Hell,

all the way down to the 18th layer at the bottom. Well,

For sightseeing all around

they are led through and shown

the horrendous scenes of the Hell of Black-Ink Rope,

so named because they are used to mark, by square inches

for scope,

the flesh of human body for slicing, inch by inch].

The Eight Hindrances and Difficulties are placed

on top of the differentiated realms, as if at a pinch.

Extremely hard for them to be recast as humans again. In case

they are, they find themselves among the barbarians,

rude, without the principle of righteousness.  Hence, 

Some are so silly and idiotic as in no way to be illuminated.

Some are crippled with one leg, some with both amputated.

Some are deaf, some hopelessly dumb.

Some are so senseless as to have eyes but see not; in sum,

All being damn fools ignorant of the world.  Worst above all,

they are caught in the vicious circle of evil.  Moreover,

after numerous turns of rebirths, they will all 

assume the form of any of the six species of beasts

[namely, cow, sheep, horse, dog, chicken, & swine, for feasts];

In herds they are turned over to the butcher to be slaughtered,

Yet examined in the throat before de-skinning is ministered.

Thus, they have come to this world, right here,

to have their previous debts somewhat cleared

with their own flesh serving for meat,

hopefully, to repay their debt.

Those who against Dharma dare to beat,

Again will be thrown back

unto the evil track!

Out of it t’s extremely hard to get!

To regain human shape is surely rare;

To be able to attend lectures on the Sūtras, even far rarer!

Blessed and protected are all of us by Bhagavan,

our Lord, the World-Honored One!

His grace permeates Three Worlds throughout.

Upon all He spreads the lessons of Dharma Truth as ever new,

As He sprinkles the most succulent, cool, and sweet dew,

so that by practice people may follow them all about!

Be compassionate

to illuminate!

Those who have already obtained wisdom

should open up a New Path of Dharma for them

all, and show them new ways-out for new vistas,

by dint of pity for the masses as asses!

Yet, the intelligent and sharp can be relieved of pain, right away!

Blessed are those who have both the goal and the way

to the goal at their disposal!

Upon seeing the Dharma as Truth, all

at once they realize the Realm of Aśamsāra

and take refuge in the Great Buddha

as the geatest field of bliss,

wherein to till the land of No-Death.

There has been no greater Grace than the Buddha Himself,

who urges us to turn the Wheel of Dharma each by our true self,

not the other way round,

So that all men and women around

the world can enjoy the most succulant

sweet Dharma-Dew. And thus can

all get across Śamsara to the other shore by Wisdom

as Ferry Boat! The Dharma Compass navigates the Chiliocosm

to the blissful Realm of Non-Duality of I-Thou.

For abiding in Supreme Tathāgata is our Supreme vow!

 

IV.

 

Thus, Ananda concluded his Eulogy of the Buddha. All the participants at the Assemblage were at once inspired to believe and understand, They all started to direct their Dharma-Hearts at the Realm of Ultimate Rightness as Ultimate Reality, and to march on bravely, shielded by fearlessness, intent upon the fruits of the refreshing sweet Dharma-dew. The fragrance permeated the entire Chiliocosm, the Trisahasra-mahā-sahasra-loka-dhātu. Thus, we were redeemed [by self-realization and self-fulfilment], so that we shouldl point out to others and show them the solid ground of Dharma as Bridge. The King of the State, and all his ministers and subjects, all the Devas and Dragons, all the Ghosts and Spiritual Beings, rejoiced at the rare opportunity to hear in person this Sūtra Spoken by the Buddha Himself. As to what Ananda had just related, they were filled with a mixed feeling, composed partly of pity and partly of alarm. They bowed deeply to the Buddha, touching heads to His feet. With clasped hands, they bowed courteously to Ananda in thanks, before they eventually departed, feeling so well instructed, at the bottom of their hearts.

Finis

 

 



[*]Editor’s Note: Sincere thanks are due to Mr. Cheah Teck-huat of Singapore for providing both the Chinese version by Master Parthamansiris and Master Ching Kung's Commentary on it. A first generation pioneer translator of Buddhism in 2nd century China, Parthamansiris was highly acclaimed for his monumental works, “naturally eloquent; gracefully literal” -- though a foreigner to the Han tongue (now the official Chinese language in general). The following translation is offered by this Institute for academic reference only, no claim whatever is made for authenticity; comments for improvement welcome and appreciated.