The White Lotus of the Good Dharma
Degé Kangyur, vol. 51 (mdo sde, ja), folios 1.b–180.b.
Translated by Peter Alan Roberts
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
The White Lotus of the Good Dharma, popularly known as the Lotus Sūtra, is taught by Buddha Śākyamuni on Vulture Peak to an audience that includes bodhisattvas from countless realms, as well as bodhisattvas who emerge from under the ground, from the space below this world. Buddha Prabhūtaratna, who has long since passed into nirvāṇa, appears within a floating stūpa to hear the sūtra, and Śākyamuni enters the stūpa and sits beside him. The Lotus Sūtra is celebrated, particularly in East Asia, for its presentation of crucial elements of the Mahāyāna tradition, such as the doctrine that there is only one yāna, or “vehicle”; the distinction between expedient and definite teachings; and the notion that the Buddha’s life, enlightenment, and parinirvāṇa were simply manifestations of his transcendent buddhahood, while he continues to teach eternally. A recurring theme in the sūtra is its own significance in teaching these points during past and future eons, with many passages in which the Buddha and bodhisattvas such as Samantabhadra describe the great benefits that come from devotion to it, the history of its past devotees, and how it is the Buddha’s ultimate teaching, supreme over all other sūtras.
The White Lotus of the Good Dharma Sūtra was translated from Tibetan with reference to the Sanskrit by Peter Alan Roberts. Ling Lung Chen was the consultant for the Chinese versions. Emily Bower was the project manager and editor. Ben Gleason was the proofreader.
The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
The generous sponsorship of May & George Gu, which helped make the work on this translation possible, is most gratefully acknowledged.
498Then the bodhisattva mahāsattva Bhaiṣajyarāja rose from his seat, removed his upper robe from one shoulder, knelt on his right knee, [F.147.a] and with his hands together in homage bowed toward the Bhagavān and said to the Bhagavān, “Bhagavān, how much merit will a noble man or noble woman generate by carrying this Dharma teaching The White Lotus of the Good Dharma on their body or making a text of it?”
The Bhagavān answered the bodhisattva mahāsattva Bhaiṣajyarāja, “Bhaiṣajyarāja, if a noble man or noble woman were to honor, venerate, worship, and make offerings to hundreds of thousands of quintillions of tathāgatas, as numerous as the grains of sand in eighty Ganges River, what do you think, would that noble man or noble woman generate much merit as a result of that?”
“Bhaiṣajyarāja,” the Bhagavān continued, “I declare to you, I proclaim to you,499 Bhaiṣajyarāja, that the noble man or noble woman who possesses just one verse, or one line from this Dharma teaching The White Lotus of the Good Dharma and reads it, studies it, and assiduously practices it, that noble man or noble woman, Bhaiṣajyarāja, will have even greater merit as a result of that.”
Then the bodhisattva mahāsattva Bhaiṣajyarāja said to the Bhagavān, “Bhagavān, we give these dhāraṇī-mantra words to a noble man or noble woman who carries on their body or makes a text of this Dharma teaching and upholds it, so that they may be protected, guarded, and hidden:
“Tadyathā:500 anye manye mane501 mamane502 citte503 carite504 śame505 śamayitā viśānte506 mukte507 muktatame508 same avisame509 samasame510 jaye kṣaye akṣaye akṣīṇe511 śānte512 śamite513 dhāraṇi514 ālokabhāṣe pratyavekṣaṇi515 viviru516 abhyantaraniviṣṭe517 abhyantarapāriśuddhi518 utkule519 mutkule520 arḍe521 parḍe522 sukāṅkṣi523 asamasame buddhavilokite524 dharmaparīkṣite525 saṃghanirghoṣaṇi526 nirghoṣaṇi527 bhayābhayaśodhani528 mantre529 mantrākṣayate530 rutakauśalye531 akṣaye532 akṣayavanatāye533 vakkule valoḍa534 amanyanatāya.535 [F.147.b]
“Bhagavān, these dhāraṇī-mantra words have been taught by buddha bhagavāns as numerous as the grains of sand in sixty536 Ganges Rivers. If anyone opposes that kind of dharmabhāṇaka, someone who upholds this sūtra, they will offend all those buddha bhagavāns.”
At this, the Bhagavān congratulated the bodhisattva mahāsattva Bhaiṣajyarāja, saying, “Bhaiṣajyarāja, through your reciting these dhāraṇī-mantra words you have benefited many beings. It is excellent, Bhaiṣajyarāja, excellent that you protect, guard, and conceal through your compassion for beings.”
Then the bodhisattva mahāsattva Pradānaśūra said to the Bhagavān, “Bhagavān, I537 too shall provide the words of a dhāraṇī-mantra for this kind of dharmabhāṇaka. If someone is seeking an opportunity to harm this kind of dharmabhāṇaka, such as a yakṣa, a rākṣasa, a pūtana, a kṛtya, a kumbhāṇḍa, or a preta, through this they will not find an opportunity to do so.”
“Bhagavān, these dhāraṇī-mantra words [F.148.a] have been taught and rejoiced in by tathāgatas, arhats, perfectly enlightened buddhas as numerous as the grains of sand in the Ganges River. If anyone opposes that kind of dharmabhāṇaka, they will offend all those tathāgatas.”
Next, the mahārāja Vaiśravaṇa said to the Bhagavān, “Bhagavān, I also shall recite the words of a dhāraṇī-mantra in order to compassionately benefit, bring happiness to, guard, protect, and conceal this kind of dharmabhāṇaka:
“Bhagavān, these dhāraṇī-mantra words will protect those dharmabhāṇakas for a hundred yojanas. It will protect those dharmabhāṇakas, the noble men or noble women who uphold such a sūtra, and will bring them good fortune.”
Now the mahārāja Virūḍhaka, leading a following of a hundred thousand quintillion kumbhāṇḍas,556 joined that assembly. He then rose from his seat, removed his upper robe from one shoulder, knelt on his right knee, and with his hands together in homage bowed toward the Bhagavān and said to the Bhagavān, “Bhagavān, I too will recite the words of a dhāraṇī-mantra for the guarding, protection, and concealment of that kind of dharmabhāṇaka who upholds a sūtra such as this:
Then the rākṣasī named Lambā, the rākṣasī named Vilambā, the rākṣasī named Kūṭadantī, [F.148.b] the rākṣasī named Puṣpadantī, the rākṣasī named Makuṭadantī, the rākṣasī named Keśinī, the rākṣasī named Acalā, the rākṣasī named Mālādhārī, the rākṣasī named Kuntī, the rākṣasī named Sarvasattvojohārī, and the rākṣasī named Hārītī, with her children and servants—all those rākṣasīs came to where the Bhagavān was, and having arrived they all said in one voice to the Bhagavān, “Bhagavān, we too will guard, protect, and conceal that kind of dharmabhāṇaka who upholds a sūtra such as this, so that if someone is seeking an opportunity to harm those dharmabhāṇakas they will not find an opportunity to do so.”
“If this is placed upon the head, there is no one who will be able to injure the dharmabhāṇakas. A yakṣa, rākṣasa, preta, piśāca, pūtana, kṛtya, vetāla, kumbhāṇḍa, stabdha, ostāraka,572 or apasmāraka; a kṛtya that is a yakṣa, a kṛtya that is nonhuman, or a kṛtya that is a human; those that cause illness for a day, for two days, for three days, for four days, or permanently; and those who appear in dreams in the form of a woman, the form of a man, or the form of a boy, or the form of a girl so as to cause harm, will not be able to do so.”
The Bhagavān said to the rākṣasīs, “Excellent, O rākṣasīs, excellent! Protect, guard, and conceal those dharmabhāṇakas! You, Kuntī, and your followers should protect even those who only possess the name of this Dharma teaching, let alone those who have learned the entirety of this Dharma teaching, have made texts of it, have honored them, and offered to those texts flowers, incense, perfume, garlands, ointments, powders, clothing, parasols, banners, divine flags, lamps of sesame oil, lamps of ghee, lamps of perfumed oil, lamps of magnolia oil, lamps of gardenia oil, lamps of blue lotus oil, and lamps of royal jasmine oil, honoring them with hundreds of thousands of many kinds of offering such as those. You, Kuntī, and your followers should protect them!”
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