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07/24/08
THE PATIENT ELEPHANT-Paucity of funds will not be allowed to affect flood hit areas : C.M. =Buddhism As An Education The Path to Awareness and Awaken-ness -How Ananda become awakened?-48 VOWS-THE BODHISATTVA KSITIGARBHA GREAT VOWS SUTRA-THE CAUSE & EFFECT -THE SUTRA ABOUT THE DEEP KINDNESS OF PARENTS AND DIFFICULTY OF REPAYING IT
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:21 pm

 

 

 


THE PATIENT ELEPHANT


WHILE the Blessed One was residing in the Jetavana, there was a householder
living in Savatthi known to all his neighbors as patient and kind, but his
relatives were wicked and contrived a plot to rob him. One day they came to the
householder and by worrying him with all kinds of threats took away a goodly
portion of his property. He did not go to court, nor did he complain, but
tolerated with great forbearance the wrongs he suffered. The neighbors wondered
and began to talk about it, and rumors of the affair reached the ears of the
brethren in Jetavana. While the brethren discussed the occurrence in the
assembly hall, the Blessed One entered and asked “What was the topic of
your conversation?” And they told him. Said the Blessed One: “The
time will come when the wicked relatives will find their punishment. O
brethren, this is not the first time that this occurrence took place; it has
happened before,” and he told them a world-old tale: “Once upon a
time, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisattva was born in the Himalaya region as an elephant. He grew up strong and
big, and ranged the hills and mountains, the peaks and caves of the torturous
woods in the valleys.Once as he went he saw a pleasant tree, and took his food,
standing under it. Then some impertinent monkeys came down out of the tree, and
jumping on the elephant’s back, insulted and tormented him greatly; they took hold of his tusks, pulled his tail and
disported themselves, thereby causing him much annoyance.The Bodhisattva, being
full of patience, kindliness and mercy, took no notice at all of their
misconduct which the monkeys repeated again and again. One day the spirit that
lived in the tree, standing upon the tree-trunk, addressed the elephant saying,
‘My lord elephant, why dost thou put up with the impudence of these bad
monkeys?’ And he asked the question in a couplet as follows:



‘Why do you patiently endure each freak



These mischievous and selfish monkeys wreak?’



The Bodhisattva, on hearing this, replied, ‘If, Tree sprit, I cannot endure
these monkeys’ ill treatment without abusing their birth, lineage and persons,
how can I walk in the eightfold noble path? But these monkeys will do the same
to others thinking them to be like me. If they do it to any rogue elephant, he
will punish them indeed, and I shall be delivered both from their annoyance and
the guilt of having done harm to others.’ Saying this he repeated another stanza:



‘If they will treat another one like me,
He will destroy them; and I shall be free.’



A few days after, the Bodhisattva went elsewhere, and another elephant, a
savage beast, came and stood in his place. The wicked monkeys thinking him to
be like the old one, climbed upon his back and did as before. The rogue
elephant seized the monkeys with his trunk, threw them upon the ground, gored
them with his tusk and trampled them to mincemeat under his feet” When the
Master had ended this teaching, he declared the truths, and identified the
births, saying: “At that time the mischievous monkeys were the wicked
relatives of the good man, the rogue elephant was the one who will punish them,
but the virtuous noble elephant was the Tathagata himself in a former incarnation.” 
After this discourse one of the brethren rose and asked leave to propose a
question and when the permission was granted he said: “I have heard the
doctrine that wrong should be met with wrong and the evil doer should be
checked by being made to suffer, for if this were not done evil would increase
and good would disappear. What shall we do?” Said the Blessed One:
“Nay, I will tell you You who have left the world and have adopted this
glorious faith of putting aside selfishness, you shall not do evil for evil nor
return hate for hate. Neither think that you can destroy wrong by retaliating
evil for evil and thus increasing wrong. Leave the wicked to their fate and
their evil deeds will sooner or later in one way or another bring on their own
punishment.” And the Tathagata repeated these stanzas:



“Who harms the man who does no harm,
Or strikes at him who strikes him not,
Shall soon some punishment incur
Which his own wickedness begot,
“One of the gravest ills in life,
Either a loathsome dread disease,
Or sad old age, or loss of mind,
Or wretched pain without surcease,
“Or conflagration, loss of wealth;
Or of his nearest kin he shall
See some one die that’s dear to him,
And then he’ll be reborn in hell.”

Paucity of funds will not be allowed to affect flood hit areas : C.M.

Lucknow: July 24, 2008
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Ms. Mayawati reviewed the flood
situation and relief works being carried out in the flood affected
areas in the state immediately after her arrival in Lucknow. She held a
meeting of the senior officers at the airport itself yesterday. The
Chief Minister directed the officers to ensure that the people of the
affected areas did not face any difficulty and all necessary steps
should be taken so that they got timely relief. To ensure it necessary
funds had been provided to all the affected districts. Paucity of funds
would not be allowed to affect relief and infrastructure facilities in
the flood hit areas. The Chief Minister said that the Chief Secretary,
on her directives, had conducted an aerial review of the flood
situation of the adjoining areas of Gorakhpur, Siddharthnagar and
Ballia districts yesterday. It may be recalled that despite her busy
schedule during her stay in Delhi, she was closely watching the flood
situation prevalent in the State and also gave necessary orders to the
officers while taking stock of the situation. Ms. Mayawati directed the
officers that there should be no laxity and insensitivity in the flood
control and security related measures. She further directed the
officers to provide adequate relief material and other help immediately
to the flood affected people. The flood situation was not serious in
the State. The situation in Siddharthnagar, Gorakhpur and Ballia was
normal. Even then, the State Government had made special arrangements
to deal with the situation. As many as 17 companies of the PAC were
already deployed in 17 sensitive districts. Specially, the districts
adjoining Nepal border were affected because of sudden release of
water, which included districts of Lakhimpur Kheri, Behraich,
Balrampur, Sitapur, Maharajganj, Kushinagar and Gorakhpur. Rs. 3 crore
each for 11 sensitive districts and Rs. 2 crore each for 22 districts
had been provided for the development of infrastructure facilities and
other works. The State Government had already provided Rs. 55 crore for
the flood affected districts of the previous year. The district
machinery of sensitive districts had been put on high alert to deal
with the situation of flood. ******

Buddhism As An Education

The Path to Awareness and Awaken-ness

How Ananda become awakened?

Ananda was the only
one left at the time of the first council of Buddha’s own disciples who
didn’t become an arhat. He was Buddha’s attendant. He heard every word
that Buddha taught, and memorized them all, but he didn’t meditate much
because he was too busy. Some time after Buddha’s death, there was a
meeting of all the arhats, but since Ananda wasn’t an arhat he couldn’t
go. So he kept meditating, trying at the last minute to become awakened, and it got to be midnight, 2, 3 o’clock in the morning of
the first council of Buddhist arhats, but still he couldn’t make it,
even though he was the repository of all of Buddha’s words. All the
other arhats wanted him to go, but he couldn’t since he wasn’t an
arhat. Finally it got to be 3:45 in the morning, 15 minutes before the
4:00 wakeup call. Finally, Ananda just gave up and said, “Oh ********, I’m not an arhat.”
Then because of his awareness he got awakened, because he saw things as they were. It was the
end of the struggle. No more trying to become an arhat, and he became
an arhat.

Many Buddhist traditions teach this story. That says
something that is being yourself, rather than to mere doing and
self-improvement. It expresses clear vision, seeing things just as they
are, rather than as we’d like them to be. It is a lovely, timeless
story. 

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. — Dhammapada, 1.1-3

Thus have I heard:

Once Buddha
was in the land of Shravasti, in the garden of Jeta and Anathapindika.
He was accompanied by twelve hundred and fifty great Bhikshus, all of
them great Arhats, well known to the assembly. Among them were his
leading disciples, such figures as the Elders Shariputra,
Maudgalyayana, Mahakashyapa, Maha Katyayana, and Mahakausthila, Revata,
Suddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ánanda, Rahula, Gavampati, Pindola-bharadvaja,
Kalodayin, Mahakapphina, Vakula, and Aniruddha, etc., all great
disciples.

Also present were the Bodhisattvas Mahasattva: Manjushri,
Prince of the Dharma, the Bodhisattva Ajita the Invincible, and the
Bodhisattva of Constant Progress, Gandhahastin, Nityodyukta, and other
such great enlightening beings. Also present was Shakra, the king of
the gods, along with countless numbers of heavenly beings, making up a
great assembly.

At that time Buddha said to the Elder Shariputra: “West
of here, past a hundred billion Buddha-lands, there exists a world
called “Ultimate Bliss”. In this land there exists a Buddha called
Amitabha, who is expounding the Dharma right now.

Buddha said to Shariputra: “Why is this land called
Ultimate Bliss”? It is called “Ultimate Bliss” because the sentient
beings in this land are free from the myriad sufferings, and only know
every kind of joy.
Furthermore, this land is called “Ultimate Bliss” because it is
surrounded by seven rings of railings, and seven layers of nets, and
seven rows of trees, all made of the four precious jewels.
Moreover, the Land of Ultimate Bliss has many jeweled ponds filled with
the waters of eight virtues. The bottom of each of the ponds is pure
golden sand, and the stepped walkways that lead up from all four sides
of each of the ponds are made of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and
crystal. Above the ponds there are towers which are adorned with silver
and gold and lapis lazuli and crystal and mother of pearl and red
agate. In the ponds there are lotus flowers as big as cart wheels: blue
ones shining with blue light, yellow ones shining with yellow light,
red ones shining with red light, and white ones shining with white
light, each emitting a subtle pure fragrance.
The Land of Ultimate Bliss is complete with all these merits and adornments.

And there is more — celestial music is constantly playing in this
Buddha-land, and the ground is made of tawny gold. Flowers in the shape
of heavenly orbs rain down at all hours of the day and night. Every
morning the sentient beings of this land decorate their garments with
multitudes of wondrous flowers and make offerings to hundreds of
billions of Buddhas in other worlds. When it is meal time, they return
to their own lands, to eat and circumambulate [the teaching assembly].
The Land of Ultimate Bliss is complete with all these merits and adornments.

And there is more still — in this land there are birds of all sorts of
wondrous variegated colors: white cranes, peacocks, orioles, myna
birds, cuckoos. All these birds bring forth harmonious songs day and
night. Their songs communicate such Buddhist teachings as the five
roots, the five powers, the seven factors of awareness and Awaken-ness, the
eightfold path, as well as other teachings. When the sentient beings in
this land hear the voices of the birds, they are mindful of the
Buddhas, mindful of the Dharma [Buddha’s teachings], and mindful of the
Sangha [Community of Seekers of Enlightenment].

Do not think that these birds were born as birds due to
karmic retribution for past misdeeds. Why not? In this Buddha-land, the
three evil planes of existence (as animals, hungry ghosts, and
hell-beings) do not exist. In this Buddha-land even the names of the
evil planes of existence do not exist, much less the realities. All
these birds are the creations of Amitabha Buddha, fashioned in order to
broadcast the sounds of the Dharma.

In this Buddha-land, there is a slight breeze that stirs
the rows of jewel trees and jewel nets, so that they emit subtle
wondrous sounds, like hundreds and thousands of melodies playing all at
once. All those who hear these sounds spontaneously develop the
intention to be mindful of the Buddha, mindful of the Dharma, and
mindful of the Sangha.
This Buddha-land is complete with all these merits and adornments.

What do you think: why is this Buddha called Amitabha? The light of
this Buddha is infinite, and shines on all lands throughout the
universe without obstruction. Thus this Buddha is called Amitabha.
Also, the life span of this Buddha and his people is an infinite number
of immeasurable eons, and so he is called Amitabha.
Amitabha Buddha attained awareness and Awaken-ness ten eons ago. Moreover, this
Buddha has innumerable disciples, all of whom are Arhats, and whose
numbers are incalculable. Amitabha also has a following of innumerable
Bodhisattvas.
The Land of Ultimate Bliss is complete with all these merits and adornments.

None of the sentient beings who are born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss
ever fall back into a lower realm [i.e., they are avaivartika]. Many
among them have only one more lifetime [to go before enlightenment].
These beings are very numerous, and their number is incalculable: they
can be spoken of as innumerable.
When sentient beings hear [of the Land of Ultimate Bliss], they must
take a vow to be born in this land. Why so? So that they can be
together with all these beings of superior goodness.
One cannot be born in this land through minor good roots, blessings, virtues and causal connections.

If there are good men or good women who hear of Amitabha Buddha, and
recite his name singlemindedly and without confusion, for one day or
two days or three days or four days or five days or six days or seven
days, then when these people are about to die, Amitabha Buddha and all
the sages who are with him will appear before them. When these people
die, their minds will not fall into delusion, and they will attain
rebirth in Amitabha Buddha’s Land of Ultimate Bliss.
I have seen this benefit, and so I speak these words. If sentient
beings hear what I say, they must make a vow to be born in that land.

I have seen this benefit, and so I speak these words. If
sentient beings hear what I say, they must make a vow to be born in
that land. Right now I am extolling the benefits of the inconceivable
merits of Amitabha Buddha. But in the eastern direction there are also
countless other Buddhas, like Akshobhya Buddha, and the Buddha “Marks
of the Polar Mountain”, and the Buddha “Great Polar Mountain”, and the
Buddha “Light of the Polar Mountain”, and the Buddha “Wondrous Voice”.
Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha,
and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the truth. All of you sentient
beings should believe this scripture extolling their inconceivable
merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind.

In the worlds of the southern direction there are
countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha “Lamp of the Sun and Moon”,
and the Buddha “Light of Renown”, and the Buddha “Great Flaming
Shoulders”, and the Buddha “Lamp of the Polar Mountain”, and the Buddha
“Infinite Progress”. Each of them preaches in his own land with the
eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the truth.
All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture extolling
their inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in
mind.

In the worlds of the western direction there are
countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha “Infinite Life”, and the
Buddha “Innumerable Characteristics”, and the Buddha “Innumerable
Banners”, and the Buddha “Great Light”, and the Buddha “Great
Illumination”, and the Buddha “Mark of Reality”, and the Buddha “Light
of Purity”. Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of
a Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the truth, All of you
sentient beings should believe this scripture extolling their
inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind.

In the worlds of the northern direction there are
countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha “Flaming Shoulders”, and the
Buddha “Supreme Voice”, and the Buddha “Unstoppable”, and the Buddha
“Born of the Sun”, and the Buddha “Netted Light”. Each of them preaches
in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a whole
cosmos, speaking the truth. All of you sentient beings should believe
this scripture extolling their inconceivable merits, and which all
Buddhas protect and keep in mind.

In the worlds of the nadir there are countless other
Buddhas, like the Buddha “Lion”, and the Buddha “Repute”, and the
Buddha “Light”, and the Buddha “Dharma Banner”, and the Buddha
“Upholding the Dharma”. Each of them preaches in his own land with the
eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the truth.
All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture extolling
their inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in
mind.

In the worlds of the zenith there are countless other
Buddhas, like the Buddha “Pure Voice”, and the Buddha “Sojourner King”,
and the Buddha “Incense Fragrance”, and the Buddha “Fragrant Light”,
and the Buddha “Great Blazing Shoulders”, and the Buddha “Body of
Multicolored Jewel Flower Garlands”, and the Buddha “Sala Tree King”,
and the Buddha “Precious Flower Virtue”, and the Buddha “Sees All
Truths”, and the Buddha “Like the Polar Mountain”. Each of them
preaches in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a
whole cosmos, speaking the truth. All of you sentient beings should
believe this scripture extolling their inconceivable merits, which all
Buddhas protect and keep in mind.

Why do you think this is called the sutra that is protected and kept in mind by all the Buddhas?
If there are good men and good women who hear this scripture, accept
it, and uphold it, and they hear the names of all these Buddhas, all
these good men and good women will be protected and kept in mind by all
these Buddhas, and all of them will reach the level where they do not
turn back from complete, unexcelled, correct awareness and Awaken-ness. Therefore,
all of you should faithfully accept what I say and what all the Buddhas
have said. All those people who have vowed, or are vowing, or will vow
to be born in the land of Amitabha Buddha reach the level where they do
not turn back from complete, unexcelled awareness and Awaken-ness, whether in their
past lives, their present lives, or their future lives. Therefore; all
good men and good women, if they have faith, must make a vow to be born
in that land.

Just as I am now extolling the inconceivable merits of
all the Buddhas, all those Buddhas are likewise extolling my
inconceivable merits, with these words: “Sakyamuni Buddha is able to
carry out a most difficult and rare task. In the world “Endurance”
[this world], in an evil world of the Five Corruptions - the corruption
of the age, the corruption of views, the corruption of afflictions, the
corruption of sentient beings, and the corruption of life — he is able
to achieve complete, unexcelled awareness and Awaken-ness, and to expound the Truth
which all beings in all worlds find hard to believe.”

Know then that in the midst of this evil world of the
Five Corruptions, I am able to carry out this difficult task, attain
complete, unexcelled awareness and Awaken-ness, and expound the Truth which is so
hard to believe for beings in all worlds. This is indeed most
difficult!

When Buddha had finished preaching this scripture,
Shariputra and all the monks and all the other gods and humans and
asuras and the rest who had been listening, having heard what the
Buddha said, rejoiced and faithfully accepted it. They all bowed in
homage and departed.

48 VOWS OF AMITABHA

In Infinite Life Sutra, 無量壽經
or Larger Pure Land Sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha spoke of how the
Bodhisattva Dharmakara, after witnessing the suffering of sentient
beings, spent five eons studying all the Buddha lands. Dharmakara then
made forty-eight vows, the fulfillment of which would create the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.
He declared that he would not attain Buddhahood unless his vows for a
perfect pure land, where all beings would advance along the Buddhist
path and never again fall back into suffering, were accomplished. Once
his vows were accomplished, Dharmakara Bodhisattva became Amitabha
Buddha. He is now speaking the Dharma in his Pure Land and helping all
who are truly sincere in their personal vows to be reborn there.

The 18th vow is among the most important as it forms a basic tenet
of the Pure Land school. This vow is most commonly known as 十念必生願 (shí
niàn bì shēng yuàn) because it states that if a sentient being makes
even “ten recitations” (十念 shí niàn) of the Amitabha Buddha’s name they
will attain “certain rebirth” (必生 bì shēng) into the Pure Land.

These are the 48 Great Vows that Dharmakara made before he ascended to Buddhahood:

  1. If, when I attain Buddhahood, there should be in my land a hell,
    a realm of hungry spirits or a realm of animals, may I not attain
    perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  2. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    after death fall again into three evil realms, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  3. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    not all be the color of pure gold, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  4. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    not all be of one appearance, and should there be any difference in
    beauty, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  5. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    not remember all their previous lives, not knowing even the events
    which occurred during the previous hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of
    kalpas, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  6. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    not possess the divine eye of seeing even a hundred thousand kotis of
    nayutas of the Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  7. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    not possess the divine ear of hearing the teachings of at least a
    hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddhas and should not remember
    all of them, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  8. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    not possess the faculty of knowing the thoughts of others, at least
    those of all sentient beings living in a hundred thousand kotis of
    nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  9. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    not possess the supernatural power of travelling anywhere in one
    instant, even beyond a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of
    Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  10. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    give rise to thoughts of self-attachment, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  11. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    not dwell in the Definitely Assured State and unfailingly reach
    Nirvana, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  12. If, when I attain Buddhahood, my light should be limited, unable
    to illuminate at least a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of
    Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  13. If, when I attain Buddhahood, my lifespan should be limited,
    even to the extent of hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of kalpas, may
    I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  14. If, when I attain Buddhahood, the number of the shravavakas in
    my land could be known, even if all the beings and pratyekabuddhas
    living in this universe of a thousand million worlds should count them
    during a hundred thousand kalpas, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness .

  15. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    have limited lifespan, except when they wish to shorten them in
    accordance with their original vows, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  16. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    even hear of any wrongdoing, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  17. If, when I attain Buddhahood, innumerable Buddhas in the land of
    the ten quarters should not praise and glorify my Name, may I not
    attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  18. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings
    in the lands of the ten quarters who sincerely and joyfully entrust
    themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and call my Name, even
    ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain perfect
    Awareness and Awaken-ness. Excluded, however, are those who commit the five
    greatest offenses, abuse the right Dharma.

  19. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the
    lands of the ten quarters, who awaken aspiration for Enlightenment, do
    meritorious deeds and sincerely desire to be born in my land, should
    not, at their death, see me appear before them surrounded by multitude
    of sages, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  20. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of
    ten quarters who, having heard my Name, concentrate their thoughts on
    my land, do various meritorious deeds and sincerely transfer the merits
    towards my land with a desire to be born there, should not eventually
    fulfill their aspiration, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness .

  21. If, when I attain Buddhahood, human and devas in my land should
    not all be endowed with the thirty two physical characteristics of a
    Great Man, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  22. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the Buddha-lands
    of other quarters who visit my land should not ultimately and
    unfailingly reach the Stage of Becoming a Buddha after one more life,
    may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. Excepted are those who wish to
    teach and guide sentient beings in accordance with their original vows.
    For they wear the armour of great vows, accumulate merits, deliver all
    beings from birth-and-death, visit Buddha-lands to perform the
    Bodhisattva practices, make offerings to Buddhas, Tathagatas,
    throughout the ten quarters, enlighten uncountable sentient beings as
    numerous as the sands of the River Ganges, and establish them in the
    highest, perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness. Such Bodhisattvas transcend the course
    of practice of the ordinary Bodhisattva stages, manifest the practices
    of all the Bodhisattva stages and actually cultivate the virtues of
    Samantabhadra.

  23. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in my land, in order
    to make offerings to Buddhas through my transcendent power, should not
    be able to reach immeasurable and innumerable kotis of nayuta of
    Buddha-lans in a short a time as it takes to eat a meal, may I not
    attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  24. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in my land should not
    be able, as they wish, to perform meritorious acts of worshipping the
    Buddhas with the offerings of their choice, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  25. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in my land should not
    be able to expound the Dharma with the all-knowing wisdom, may I not
    attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness .

  26. If, when I attain Buddhahood, there should be any Bodhisattva in
    my land not endowed with the body of the Vajra-god Narayana, may I not
    attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  27. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings should be able,
    even with the divine eye, to distinguish by Name and calculate by
    number all the myriads of manifestations provided for the humans and
    devas in my land, which are glorious and resplendent and have exquisite
    details beyond description, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  28. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in my land, even
    those with little store of merits, should not be able to see the
    Bodhi-tree which has countless colors and is four million li in height, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

  29. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in my land should not
    acquire eloquence and wisdom in upholding sutras and reciting and
    expounding them, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  30. If, when I attain Buddhahood, the wisdom and eloquence of
    Bodhisattvas in my land should be limited, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  31. If, when I attain Buddhahood, my land should not be resplendent,
    revealing in its light all the immeasurable, innumerable and
    inconceivable Buddha-lands, like images reflected in a clear mirror,
    may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness .

  32. If, when I attain Buddhahood, all the myriads of manifestations
    in my land, from the ground to the sky, such as palaces, pavillions,
    ponds, streams and trees, should not be composed of both countless
    treasures, which surpass in supreme excellence anything in the worlds
    of human and devas, and of a hundred thousand kinds of aromatic wood,
    whose fragrance pervades all the worlds of the ten quarters, causing
    all Bodhisattvas who sense it to perform Buddhist practice, may I not
    attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  33. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the
    immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters who
    have been touched by my light, should not feel peace and happiness in
    their bodies and minds surpassing those of humans and devas, may I not
    attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  34. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the
    immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters who
    have heard my Name , should not gain the Bodhisattva’s insight into the
    non-arising of all Dharmas and should not acquire various profound
    dharanis, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness .

  35. If, when I attain Buddhahood, women in the immeasurable and
    inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters who, having heard my
    Name, rejoice in faith, awaken aspiration for the Enlightenment and
    wish to renounce womanhood, should after death be reborn again as
    women, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  36. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the immeasurable
    and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters, who have heard my
    Name, should not, after the end of their lives, always perform sacred
    practices until they reach Buddhahood, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  37. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in the
    immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters, who
    having heard my Name, prostrate themselves on the ground to revere and
    worship me, rejoice in faith, and perform Bodhisattva practices, should
    not be respected by all the devas and people of the world, may I not
    attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  38. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should
    not obtain clothing, as soon as such a desire arises in their minds,
    and if the fine robes as prescribed and praised by the Buddhas should
    not be spontaneously provided for them to wear, and if these clothes
    should need sewing, bleaching, dyeing or washing, may I not attain
    perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  39. If, when I attain Buddhahood, human and devas in my land should
    not enjoy happiness and pleasure comparable to that of a monk who has
    exhausted all the positions, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  40. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in my land who wish
    to see the immeasurable glorious Buddha-lands of the ten quarters,
    should not be able to view all of them reflected in the jewelled trees,
    just as one sees one’s face reflected in a clear mirror, may I not
    attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness .

  41. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the lands of the
    other quarters who hear my Name should, at any time before becoming
    Buddhas, have impaired, inferior or incomplete sense organs, may I not
    attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  42. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the lands of the
    other quarters who hear my Name should not all attain the samadhi
    called ‘pure emancipation’ and, while dwelling therein, without losing
    concentration, should not be able to make offerings in one instant to
    immeasurable and inconceivable Buddhas, World Honored One, may I not
    attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  43. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the lands of the
    other quarters who hear my Name should not be reborn into noble
    families after their death, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  44. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the lands of the
    other quarters who hear my Name should not rejoice so greatly as to
    dance and perform the Bodhisattva practices and should not acquire
    stores of merits, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  45. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the lands of the
    other quarters who hear my Name should not all attain the samadhi
    called ‘universal equality’ and, while dwelling therein, should not
    always be able to see all the immeasurable and inconceivable Tathagatas
    until those Bodhisattvas, too become Buddhas, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  46. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in my land should not
    be able to hear spontaneously whatever teachings they may wish, may I
    not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  47. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the lands of the
    other quarters who hear my Name should not instantly reach the Stage of
    Non-retrogression, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

  48. If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the lands of the
    other quarters who hear my Name should not instantly gain the first,
    second and third insights into the nature of Dharmas and firmly abide
    in the Truths realized by all the Buddhas, may I not attain perfect Awareness and Awaken-ness.

THE BODHISATTVA KSITIGARBHA GREAT VOWS SUTRA | 地藏菩薩本願經

…any good person who reads the Sutra or who worships Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha will earn extraordinary merits,
be free of suffering due to past karma and ultimately, be born in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.

Ksitigarbha (地藏王菩薩; Dìzàng Wáng Púsà) is one of the four principal Bodhisattvas in Oriental Mahayana Buddhism. The others are Samantabhadra (普賢菩薩; Pŭxián Púsà, Manjusri (文殊師利菩薩; Wénshū Púsà, and Avalokitesvara (觀世音菩薩; Guānshì Yīn Púsà).

These four Bodhisattvas represent the four basic qualities of the
Buddha i.e. Manjushri for Great Wisdom; Avalokiteshvara for his Great
Compassion; Samantabhadra for his Great Meritorious Deeds; and
Ksitigarbha for his Great Vows (to help and liberate all sentient
beings residing in the hells). The famous pronouncement of Bodhisattva
Ksitigarbha “If I do not go to hell to help them there, who else will go?” is the manifestation of this profound vow.

After the death of Sakyamuni Buddha, there would be no Buddha on Earth
until the appearance of the Bodhisattva Maitreya over a few billion
years later, who is to become the next Buddha. During this transition
period, in the era between the death of Sakyamuni Buddha and the rise
of Maitreya Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha assigned and delegated to
Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha to act on His behalf, in order to save the
sentient beings.


Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha
Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha

The sutra was first translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the 7th
century A.D., T’ang Dynasty by Venerable Tripiṭaka Master Shikshananda
of Khotan in Central Asia. Speaking the Dharma for the sake of his
mother, Lady Maya, this Sutra was spoken by Sakyamuni Buddha towards
the end of his life to the beings of the Trayastrimsha Heaven as a mark
of gratitude and remembrance for his beloved mother. This is also known
in Buddhism as the filial piety
sutra. It tells the story of Earth Store - (the literal translation of
the Bodhisattva’s name in Sanskrit) Boddhisattva’s vows. How in past
lives as a filial daughter of a Brahmin woman she saved her mother from
Hell by making offerings and cultivation. Later she vowed to save all
beings from suffering and is now the Earth Store Bodhisattva.

This Sutra describes the past lives of Bodhisattva
Ksitigarbha, his great vow made to that effect by him and the benefit
accruing from that vow. The vow is that “if the hell is not yet empty, I vow not to become a Buddha.”

Until the Hells are empty, I vow not to become a Buddha,
Only after all living beings are saved, will I myself attain Bodhi.
Ksitigarbha

Presented in the form of seemingly mythic dialogue between the Buddha
and Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, 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 Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and his heroic Vow, and of
the benefits one can receive from worshipping Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha
and by reading the sutra.

Another importance of the Great Vows of Earth Store
Bodhisattva, the Ksitigharba Sutra is on the teaching of filial piety.
Filial piety is the first step in morality. That is why this Sutra is
so important for all Buddhist beginners. It not only relate to the
relationship between oneself and one’s parents but also as a universal
code of duty for all living beings. It is an initial step toward
embodying one’s universal duty, one begins with duty to one’s immediate
family and friends, of which parents are foremost in importance.

The Ksitigarbha Sutra

Buddha said, “….The reason why this person is protected by many gods
is that he or she respects and worships Ksitigarbha’s image and recites
this Vow Sutra. These people will removed from the ocean of suffering
and will be proof of the bliss of Nirvana.”
The Sutra - Chapter 11

THE CAUSE & EFFECT

There was a novice monk who has only 7 days left to live. One day
on his way back home, he noticed an army of ants about to be washed
away by the current of sudden downpour. Spontaneously, he used mud to
block the flow of water and thus, saved the lives of the ants.

As the saying goes: “Good actions produce good results”, the novice
monk lived up to a ripe old age, above eighty, before he entered
Nirvana.

To understand your previous life, look at what you have in your present life;
To have a preview of your next life, examine your daily act in this life.

Of The Myriad of Dharma, The Kindness of Parents is The Greatest! The verse of Maitreya’s advice on filiality says:

In the family there are two Buddhas, regretfully, people in the world do not know;
No need to use gold and color to adorn, also no need to use chandana to carve;

Just look at your present father and mother, they are Sakyamuni and Maitreya;
If you can mark offerings to them, where is the need to do other merit and virtue.

Thus have I heard:

Once upon a gathering at Lin Shan Assembly, where 1,250 followers
attended, Ananda, one of the chief disciples, after circling thrice
with folded hands around Sakyamuni Buddha, bowing in respect, humbly
asked, “In the present dark age, where the majority of our people are
indulgent in unrighteousness, disrespectful to the Buddha’s teaching,
unfilial to their parents, immoral, miserable and sordid, among them
some are deaf, some blind, some mute, some idiotic, some handicapped in
other aspects, the most people inured to killing. How could we
understand the cryptic and fundamental principle or what consequences
each individual is to suffer eventually for his deeds. My Lord, would
you kindly explain there to us?”

Sakyamuni Buddha told Ananda and the rest of the
disciples to listen carefully, “I will now expound the Law of Karma.
Because of Karmic effects inherited from previous life, some people are
poor, some rich, and some miserable. There are four rules inseparable
in obtaining happiness and prosperity for your next life.

They are to be filial to parents; to be respectful to
Buddha’s teaching, and to Buddhist monks; to abstain from killing and
set free sentient beings; and to abstain from eating meat and be
charitable.”

Then the Buddha proceeded on the Karma Sutra: “Destiny is
the aggregate Karmic effects from past life. Past karma determined your
present destiny. Present karma are to mould your next life. Learn the
Law of Karma expounded as follows. For karma are consequential and my
words truthful.”

Effect: Why in this life you have cars and various transportation facilities?
Cause: Because you have repaired broken bridges and paved roads for the benefits of other in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you have clothing in great variety?
Cause: Because you have donated warm clothing to monks in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you have splendid food?
Cause: Because you have donated food to the poor in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are starving and clothless?
Cause: Because you were to stingy to donate to charity in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you have houses and building?
Cause: Because you have donated food to monasteries in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are prosperous and happy?
Cause: Because you have donated money to temples and public shelters in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are pretty and handsome?
Cause: Because you respectfully offered flowers to the Buddha’s altar in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are so intelligent and wise?
Cause: Because you were a devout Buddhist and sober vegetarian in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are liked by others?
Cause: Because you have created good relationship with people in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life husband and wife are faithful to each other?
Cause: Because you have decorated temples with scrolls and tapestries to Buddha in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you both parents?
Cause: Because you have respected and helped the lonely in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are an orphan?
Cause: Because you were a bird shooter in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you have many children?
Cause: Because you have printed and distributed sutras in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life a son dies young?
Cause: Because you have committed killing by drowning a baby girl in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are heirless?
Cause: Because you have destroyed flowers habitually in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you enjoy longevity and good health?
Cause: Because you set free sentient beings in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are short-lived?
Cause: Because you committed too many killings in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you have no spouse?
Cause: Because you have committed adultery in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are a widow?
Cause: Because you have ill-treated your husband in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you have clear and good-sighted eyes?
Cause: Because you donated oil to light up the Buddha’s altar in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you suffer from blindness?
Cause: Because you have distorted truth and misled others in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you have wry mouth?
Cause: Because you have intentionally blown out candles before Buddha’s altar in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are hunch back?
Cause: Because you jeered at Buddha’s followers in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you have disabled hands?
Cause: Because you have committed evils with your hands in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you have lame legs?
Cause: Because you were a robber in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are born as a horse or an ox?
Cause: Because you never paid your debts in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are born as a pig or a dog?
Cause: Because you have deceived and harmed others in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you suffer from constant illness?
Cause: Because you have offered meat to monks in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are healthy?
Cause: Because you have offered medicine to cure the sick people in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are imprisoned?
Cause: Because you have relentlessly commited evils in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are starved to death?
Cause: Because you have plugged snake pits and mouse holes in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you die of poison?
Cause: Because you have intentionally poisoned a river or water source in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are forlorn and friendless?
Cause: Because you were unfaithful and deceitful to others in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are born as dwarf?
Cause: Because you have read and written sutra on the floor in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you spew blood?
Cause: Because you have eaten meat while praying in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are deaf?
Cause: Because you have attended Buddhist’ instructions with levity in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are afflicted with ulcers?
Cause: Because you have offered meat before the Buddha’s altar in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you have bad bodily odor?
Cause: Because you have sold incense with dishonesty in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you die by hanging yourself?
Cause: Because you hunted animals by using ropes and nets in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are bereft of a spouse?
Cause: Because you have been unduly envious and jealous in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are struck by lightning or burnt by fire?
Cause: Because you have committed dishonest trading with customers in your previous life.

Effect: Why in this life you are wounded by beasts or snakes?
Cause: Because you have created enemies in your previous life.

Whether you reap or you sow,
Effect: If you suffer in hell, blame yourself for what you did in your previous life.

Cause: If you in this life recite the Cause and Effect Sutra;
Effect: You will be respected by many people in your next life.

Cause: If you in this life print and distribute the Cause and Effect Sutra free to all;
Effect: You will become a leader to humanity in your next life.

Cause: If you doubt that eating vegetarian is cultivating charity;
Effect: Witness the happy and prosperous people around you.

Cause: It is good to cultivating giving to the Triple Gems;
Effect: You will be rewarded in return.

Cause: If you carry the Cause and Effect Sutra;
Effect: You will be free from disaster and calamity.

Cause: Do not think that the Cause and Effect Sutra is fallacious;
Effect: It will manifest either immediately or later in your life.

Cause: If you spread the truth of the Cause and Effect Sutra;
Effect: You will be wise and intelligent in your next life.

Cause: You are a Minister or an Officer in this life;
Effect: You gain the fruits because you cultivated pains in your previous life.

Cause: If you in this life insult the Cause and Effect Sutra;
Effect: You are no longer a human being in your next life.

Cause: If in this life you transcribe the Cause and Effect Sutra;
Effect: The generations will be smart scholars and live happily.

Cause: If you recite and act according to the Cause and Effect Sutra;
Effect: Whatever you do will be witnessed by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Cause: It is impossible to exhaust the speaking of the Law of Cause and Effect;
Effect: The fruit of a good deed will come in due course.

Cause and Effect: The good cause you have accomplished in your previous life will be the foundation of your good fortune.

Cause and Effect: The good seeds you have planted in this life will give you good fruits in your next life.

Cause: If you doubt the efficacy the Cause and Effect Sutra;
Effect: See how Maugalyayana could save his mother from suffering.

The Cause and Effect must not be treated as small matter,
The Buddha’s words are truth, you must not slight.

Cause: If people deeply believe in the Cause and Effect Sutra;
Effect: This will bring them all together to the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.

Having spoken the sutra to Ananda and the other followers, Buddha
added, “They are innumerable examples of the Karmic law. But I have
only mentioned them generally.”

Then Ananda said, “Until the end of the present dark age
most human beings would have, through successive life, accumulated
countless misdeeds because of their ignorance of the karmic
consequences. But thanks to Our Lord and the Sutra he has so kindly
given us, whoever writes and reads, prints and distributes this Sutra,
upon venerating the Buddha, will blessed with eternal happiness and be
able to see Amitabha Buddha, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and all other
Buddhas in the heavenly realm.”

THE SUTRA ABOUT THE DEEP KINDNESS OF PARENTS AND DIFFICULTY OF REPAYING IT

Thus I have heard:

At one
time, the Buddha dwelt at Shravasti, in the Jeta Grove, in the Garden
of the Benefactor of Orphans and the Solitary, together with a
gathering of great Bhiskshus, twelve hundred fifty in all and with all
of the Bodhisattvas, thirty eight thousand in all.

At that time, the World Honored One led the great
assembly on a walk toward the south. Suddenly they came upon a pile of
bones beside the road. The World Honored One turned to face them,
placed his five limbs on the ground, and bowed respectfully.

Ánanda put his palms together and asked World Honored
One, “The Tathagata is the Great Teacher of the Triple Realm and the
compassionate father of beings of the four kinds of births. He has the
respect and reverence of the entire assembly. What is the reason that
he now bows to a pile of dried bones?”

The Buddha told Ánanda, “Although all of you are my
foremost disciples and have been members of the Sangha for a long time,
you still have not achieved far-reaching understanding. This pile of
bones could have belonged to my ancestors from former lives. They could
have been my parents in many past lives. That is the reason I now bow
to them.” The Buddha continued speaking to Ánanda, “These bones we are
looking at can be divided into two groups. One group is composed of the
bones of men, which are heavy and white in color. The other group is
composed of bones of women, which are light and black in color.”

Ánanda said to Buddha, “World Honored One, when men are
alive in the world, they adorn their bodies with robes, belts, shoes,
hats and other fine attire, so that they clearly assume a male
appearance. When women are alive, they put on cosmetics, perfumes,
powders, and elegant fragrances to adorn their bodies, so that they
clearly assume a female appearance. Yet, once men or women die, all
that is left are their bones. How does one tell them apart? Please
teach us how you are able to distinguish them.”

The Buddha answered Ánanda, “If when men are in the
world, they enter temples, listen to explanations of Sutras and Vinaya
texts, make obeisance to the Triple Gem, and recite the Buddha’s name,
then when they die, their bones will be heavy and white in color. Most
women in the world have little wisdom and are saturated with emotion.
They give birth to and raise children, feeling that this is their duty.
Each child relies on its mother’s milk for life and nourishment, and
that milk is a transformation of the mother’s blood. Each child can
drink up to one thousand two hundred gallons of its mother’s milk.
Because of this drain on the mother’s body whereby the child takes milk
for its nourishment, the mother becomes worn and haggard and so her
bones turn black in color and are light in weight.”

When Ánanda heard these words, he felt a pain in his
heart as if he had been stabbed and wept silently. He said to the World
Honored One, “How can one repay one’s mother’s kindness and virtues?”
The Buddha told Ánanda, “Listen well, and I will explain it to you in
details. The fetus grows in its mother’s womb for ten lunar months.
What bitterness she goes through while it dwells there! In the first
month of pregnancy, the life of the fetus is as precarious as a dew
drop on grass: how likely that it will not last from morning to evening
but will evaporate by midday!”

“During the second lunar month, the embryo congeals like
curds. In the third month it is like coagulated blood. During the
fourth month of pregnancy, the fetus begins to assume a slightly human
form. During the fifth month in the womb, the child’s five limbs, two
legs, two arms, and a head start to take shape. In the sixth lunar
month of pregnancy, the child begins to develop the essences of the six
sense faculties: the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. During
the seventh month, the three hundred sixty bones and joints are formed,
and the eighty four thousand hair pores are also complete. In the eight
lunar month of the pregnancy, the intellect and the nine apertures are
formed. By the ninth month, the fetus has learned to assimilate the
different nutrients of the foods it eats. For example, it can
assimilate the essence of peaches, pears, certain plant roots and the
five kinds of grains.”

“Inside the mother’s body, the solid internal organs used
for storing hang downward, while the hollow internal organs used for
processing, spiral upward. These can be likened to three mountains,
which arise from the face of the earth. We can call these mountains
Mount Sumeru, Karma Mountain, and Blood Mountain. These analogous
mountains come together and form a single range in a pattern of upward
peaks and downward valleys. So too, the coagulation of the mother’s
blood from her internal organs forms a single substance, which becomes
the child’s food.”

“During the tenth month of pregnancy, the body of the
fetus is completed and ready to be born. If the child is extremely
filial, it will emerge with palms joined together inn respect and the
birth will peaceful and auspicious. The mother will remain uninjured by
the birth and will not suffer pain. However, if the child is extremely
rebellious in nature, to the extent that it is capable of committing
the five rebellious acts, then it will injure its mother’s womb, rip
apart its mother’s heart and liver, or get entangled in its mother’s
bones. The birth will feel like the slices of a thousand knives or like
ten thousand sharp swords stabbing her heart. Those are the agonies
involved in the birth of a defiant and rebellious child.”

To explain more clearly, there are ten types of kindnesses bestow by the mother on the child:

The first is the kindness of providing protection and care while the child is in the womb.
The second is the kindness of bearing suffering during the birth.
The third is the kindness of forgetting all the pain once the child has been born.
The fourth is the kindness of eating the bitter herself and saving the sweet for the child.
The fifth is the kindness of moving the child to a dry place and lying in the wet herself.
The sixth is the kindness of suckling the child at her breast, nourishing and bringing up the child.
The seventh is the kindness of washing away the unclean.
The eight is the kindness of always thinking of the child when it has travelled far.
The ninth is the kindness of deep care and devotion.
The tenth is the kindness of ultimate pity and sympathy.

The causes and conditions from accumulated kalpas grows heavy,
Until in this life the child ends up in its Mother’s womb.
As the months pass, the five vital organs develop;
Within seven weeks the six sense organs start to grow.
The mother’s body becomes as heavy as a mountain;
The stillness and movements of the fetus are like a kalpic wind disaster.
The mother’s fine clothes no longer hang properly,
And so her mirror gathers dust.

The pregnancy lasts for ten lunar months
And culminates in difficult labor at the approach of the birth.
Meanwhile, each morning the mother is seriously ill
And during each day drowsy and sluggish.
Her fear and agitation are difficult to describe;
Grieving and tears fill her breast.
She painfully tells her family
That she is only afraid that death will overtake her.

On the day the compassionate mothers bears the child,
Her five organs all open wide,
Leaving her totally exhausted in body and mind.
The blood flows as from a slaughtered lamb;
Yet, upon hearing that the child is healthy,
She is overcome with redoubling joy,
But after the joy, the grief returns,
And the agony wrenches her very insides.

The kindness of both parents is profound and deep,
Their care and devotion never cease.
Never resting, the mother saves the sweet for the child,
And without complain she swallows the bitter herself.
Her love is weighty and her emotion difficult to bear;
Her kindness is deep and so is her compassion.
Only wanting the child to get its fill,
The compassionate mother doesn’t speak of her own hunger.

The mother is willing to be wet
So that the child can be dry.
With her two breasts she satisfies its hunger and thirst;
Covering it with her sleeve, she protects it from the wind and cold.
In kindness, her head rarely rests on the pillow,
And yet she does this happily,
So long as the child is comfortable,
The kind mother seeks no solace for herself.

The kind mother is like the great earth.
The stern father is like the encompassing heaven;
One covers from above; the other supports from below.
The kindness of parents is such that
They know no hatred or anger toward their offspring,
And are not displeased, even if the child is born crippled.
After the mother carries the child in her womb and give birth to it,
The parents care for and protect it together until the end of their days.

Originally, she had a pretty face and a beautiful body,
Her spirit was strong and vibrant.
Her eyebrows were like fresh green willows,
And her complexion would have put a red rose to shame.
But her kindness is so deep she will forgo a beautiful face.
Although washing away the filth injures her constitution,
The kind mother acts solely for the sake of her sons and daughters,
And willingly allows her beauty to fade.

The death of loved ones is difficult to endure.
But separation is also painful.
When the child travels afar,
The mother worries in her village.
From morning until night, her heart is with her child,
And a thousand tears fall from her eyes.
Like the monkey weeping silently in love for her child,
Bit by bit her heart is broken.

How heavy is parental kindness and emotional concern!
Their kindness is deep and difficult to repay.
Willingly they undergo suffering on their child’s behalf.
If the child toils, the parents are uncomfortable.
If they hear that he has to travelled far,
They worry that at night he will have to lie in the cold.
Even a moment’s pain suffered by their sons and daughters,
Will cause the parents sustained distress.

The kindness of parents is profound and important.
Their tender concern never cease.
From the moment they awake each day, their thoughts are with their children.
Whether the children are near or far away, the parents think of them often.
Even if a mother lives for a hundred years,
She will constantly worry about her eighty-year-old child.
Do you wish to know when such kindness and love ends?
It doesn’t even begin to dissipate until her life is over!

The Buddha told Ánanda, “When I contemplate living beings, I see that
although they are born as human beings, nonetheless, they are ignorant
and dull in their thoughts and actions. They don’t consider their
parents’ great kindness and virtue. They are disrespectful and turn
their backs on kindness and what is right. They lack humaneness and
neither filial nor compliant.”

“For ten months while the mother is with the child, she
feels discomfort each time she rises, as if she was lifting a heavy
burden. Like a chronic invalid, she is unable to keep her food and
drink down. When the ten months have passed and the time comes for the
birth, she undergoes all kinds of pain and suffering so that the child
can be born. She is afraid of her own mortality, like a pig or lamb
waiting to be slaughtered. Then the blood flows all over the ground.
These are the sufferings she undergo.”

“Once the child is born, she saves what is sweet for him
and swallow what is bitter herself. She carries the child and nourishes
it, washing away its filth. There is no toil or difficulty that she
does not willingly undertake for the sake of her child. She endures
both cold and heat and never even mentions what she has gone through.
She gives the dry place to her child and sleeps in the damp herself.
For three years she nourishes the baby with milk, which is transformed
from the blood of her own body.”

“Parents continually instruct and guide their children in
the ways of propriety and morality as the youngsters mature into
adults. They arrange marriages for them and provide them with property
and wealth or devise ways to get it for them. They take responsibility
and trouble upon themselves with tremendous zeal and toil, never
speaking about their care and kindness.”

“When a son or daughter become ill, parents are worried
and afraid to the point that they may even grow ill themselves. They
remain by the child’s side providing constant care, and only when the
child gets well are the parents happy once again. In this way, they
care for and raise their children with sustained hope that their
offspring will soon grow to be mature adults.”

“How sad that all too often the children are un-filial in
return! In speaking with relatives whom they should honor, the children
display no compliance. When they ought to be polite, they have no
manners. They glare at those whom they should venerate, and insult
their uncles and aunts. They scold their siblings and destroy any
family feeling that might have existed among them. Children like that
have no respect of sense of propriety.”

“Children may be well taught, but if they are un-filial,
they will not heed the instructions or obey the rules. Rarely will they
rely upon the guidance of their parents. They are contrary and
rebellious when interacting with their brothers. They come and go from
home without ever reporting to their parents. Their speech and actions
are very arrogant and they act on impulse without consulting others.
Such children ignore the admonishments and punishments set down by
their parents and pay no regard to their uncles’ warnings. Yet, at the
same time, they are immature and always need to be looked after and
protected by their elders.”

As such children grow up, they become more and more
obstinate and uncontrollable. They are entirely ungrateful and totally
contrary. They are defiant and hateful, rejecting both family and
friends. They befriend evil people and under influence, soon adopt the
same kinds of bad habits. They come to take what is false to be true.”

“Such children may be enticed by others to leave their
families and run away to live in other towns, thus denouncing their
parents and rejecting their native town. They may become businessmen or
civil servants who languish in comfort and luxury. They may marry in
haste, and that new bond provides yet another obstruction which
prevents them from returning home for long periods of time.”

“Or, in going to live in other towns, these children may
be incautious and find themselves plotted against or accused of doing
evil. They may be unfairly locked up in prison or they may meet with
illness and become enmeshed in disasters and hardships, subject to
terrible pain of poverty, starvation, and emaciation. Yet no one there
will care for them. Being scorned and disliked by others, they will be
abandoned on the street. In such circumstances, their lives may come to
an end. No one bothers to try to save them. Their bodies swell up, rot,
decay, and are exposed to the sun and blown away by the wind. The bones
entirely disintegrate and scatter as these children come to their final
rest in the dirt of some other town. These children will never again
have a happy reunion with their relatives and kin. Nor will they ever
know how their aging parents mourn for and worry about them. The
parents may grow blind from weeping or become sick from extreme grief
and despair. Constantly dwelling on the memory of their children, they
may pass away, but even when they become ghosts, their could still
cling to this attachment and are unable to get it go.”

“Others of these un-filial children may not aspire to
learning, but instead become interested in strange and bizarre
doctrines. Such children may be villainous, coarse and stubborn,
delighting in practices that are utterly devoid of benefit. They may
become involved in fights and thefts, setting themselves at odds with
the town by drinking and gambling. As if debauchery were not enough,
they drag their brothers into it as well, to further distress of their
parents.”

“If such children do live at home, they leave early in
the morning and do not return until late at night. Never do they ask
about the welfare of their parents or make sure they don’t suffer from
heat or cold. They do not inquire after their parents’ well being in
the morning or the evening, nor even on the first and fifteenth of the
lunar month. In fact, it never occurs to these un-filial children to
ever ask whether their parents have slept comfortably or rested
peacefully. Such children are simply not concerned in the least about
their parents’ well being. When the parents of such children grow old
and their appearance becomes more and more withered and emaciated, they
are made to feel ashamed to be seen in public and are subjected to
abuse and oppression.”

“Such un-filial children may end up with a father who is
a widower or mother who is a widow. The solitary parents are left alone
in empty houses, feeling like guests in their own homes. They may
endure cold and hunger, but no ones takes heed of their plight. They
may weep incessantly from morning to night, sighing and lamenting. It
is only right that children should provide for aging parents with food
and drink of delicious flavors, but irresponsible children are sure to
overlook their duties. If they ever do attempt to help their parents in
any way, they feel embarrassed and are afraid people will laugh at
them. Yet, such offspring may lavish wealth and food on their own wives
and children, disregarding the toil and weariness involved in doing so.
Other un-filial offspring may be so intimidated by their wives that
they go along with all of their wishes. But when appalled to by their
parents and elders, they ignore them and are totally unfazed by their
pleas.”

“It may be the case that the daughters were quite filial
to their parents before their marriages, but they may become
progressively rebellious after they marry. This situation may be so
extreme that if their parents show even the slightest signs of
displeasure, the daughters become hateful and vengeful toward them. Yet
they bear their husband’s scolding and beatings with sweet tempers,
even though their spouses are outsiders with other surnames and family
ties. The emotional bonds between such couples are deeply entangled,
and yet these daughters hold their parents at a distance. They may
follow their husbands and move to other towns, leaving their parents
behind entirely. They do not long for them and simply cut off all
communication with them. When the parents continue to hear no word from
their daughters, they feel incessant anxiety. They become so fraught
with sorrow that it is as if they were suspended upside down. Their
every thought is of seeing their children, just as one who is thirsty
longs for something to drink. Their kind thoughts for their offspring
never cease.”

“The virtue of one’s parents’ kindness is boundless and
limitless. If one has made the mistake of being un-filial, how
difficult it is to repay that kindness!”

At that time, upon hearing the Buddha speak about the
depth of one’s parents kindness, everyone in the Great Assembly threw
themselves on the ground and began beating their breasts and striking
themselves until their hair pores flowed with blood. Some fell
unconscious to the ground, while others stamped their feet in grief. It
was a long time before they could control themselves. With loud voices
they lamented, “Such suffering! What a suffering! How painful! How
painful! We are all offenders. We are criminals who have never
awakened, like those who travel in a dark night. We have just now
understood our offenses and our very insides are torn to bits. We only
hope that the World Honored One will pity and save us. Please tell us
how can we repay the deep kindness of our parents!”

At the time the Tathagata used eight kinds of profoundly
deep and pure sounds to speak to the assembly. “All of you should know
this. I will now explain for you the various aspects of this matter.”

“If there were a person who carries his father on his
left shoulder and his mother on his right shoulder until his bones were
ground to powder by their weights as they bore through to the marrow,
and if that person were to circumambulate Mount Sumeru for a hundred
thousand kalpas until the blood that flowed out covered his ankles,
that person would still not have repaid the deep kindness of his
parents.”

“If there were a person who, during the period of a kalpa
fraught with famine and starvation, sliced the flesh off his own body
to feed his parents and did this as many times as there are dust motes
as he passed through hundreds of thousand of kalpas, that person still
would not have repaid the deep kindness of his parents.”

“If there were a person who, for the sake of this
parents, took a sharp knife and cut his eyes and made an offering of
them to the Tathagata, and continued to do that for hundreds of
thousands of kalpas, that person still would not have repaid the deep
kindness of his parents.”

“If there were a person who, for the sake of his parents,
took a hundred thousand swords and stabbed his body with them all at
once such that they entered one side and came out the other, and if he
continued in this way to do this for hundreds of thousands of kalpas,
that person still would not have repaid the deep kindness of his
parents.”

“If there were a person who, for the sake of his parents,
beat his bones down to the marrow and continued in this way to do this
for hundreds of thousands of kalpas, that person still would not have
repaid the deep kindness of his parents.”

“If there were a person who, for the sake his parents,
swallowed molten iron pellets and continued in this way to do this for
hundreds of thousands of kalpas, that person still would not have
repaid the deep kindness of his parents.”

At that time, upon hearing the Buddha speak about the
kindness and virtue of parents, everyone in the Great Assembly wept
silently and felt searing pain in their hearts. They reflected deeply,
simultaneously brought forth shame and said to Buddha, “World Honored
One, how can we repay the deep kindness of our parents?”

The Buddha replied, “Disciples of the Buddha, if you wish
to repay your parents’ kindness, write out this Sutra on their behalf.
Recite this Sutra on their behalf. Repent of transgressions and
offenses on their behalf. For the sake of your parents, make offerings
to the Triple Gem. For the sake of your parents, hold precept of pure
eating. For the sake of your parents, practice giving and cultivate
blessings. If you are able to do these things, you are being a filial
child. If you do not do these things, you are a person destined for the
hells.”

The Buddha told Ananda, “If a person is not filial, when
his life ends and his body decays, he will fall into, the great Avici
Hell. This great hell is eighty thousand yojanas in circumference and
is surrounded on all four sides by iron walls. Above, it is covered
over by nets, and the ground is also made of iron. A mass of fire burns
fiercely, while thunder roars and bright bolts of lightning set things
afire. Molten brass and iron fluids are poured over the offenders’
bodies. Brass dogs and iron snakes constantly spew fire and smoke which
burns the offenders and broils their flesh and fat to a pulp.”

“Oh, such suffering! Difficult to take, difficult to
bear! There are poles, hooks, spears, and lances. iron halberds and
iron chains, iron hammer and iron awls. Wheels of iron knives rain down
from the air. The offender is chopped, hacked, or stabbed, and
undergoes these cruel punishments for kalpas without respite. Then they
enter the remaining hells, where their heads are capped with fiery
basins, while iron wheels roll over their bodies, passing both
horizontally and vertically until their guts are ripped open and their
bones and flesh are squashed to a pulp. Within a single day, they
experience myriad births and myriad deaths. Such sufferings are a
result of committing the five rebellious acts and being un-filial when
one was alive.”

At that time, upon hearing the Buddha speak about the
virtue of parents’ kindness, everyone in the Great Assembly wept
sorrowfully and addressed the Tathagata, “On this day, how can we repay
the deep kindness of our parents?”

The Buddha said, “Disciples of the Buddha, if you wish to
repay their kindness, then for the sake of your parents, print this
Sutra. This is truly repaying their kindness. If one can print one
copy, then one will get to see one Buddha. If one can print ten copies,
then one will get to see ten Buddhas. If one can print one hundred
copies, then one will get to see one hundred Buddhas. If one can print
one thousand copies, then one will get to see one thousand Buddhas. If
one can print ten thousand copies, then one will get to see ten
thousand Buddhas. This is the power derived when good people print
Sutras. All Buddhas will forever protect such people with their
kindness and their parents can be reborn in the heavens to enjoy all
kinds of happiness, leaving behind the sufferings of the hells.”

At that time, Ananda and the rest of the Great Assembly
the asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, people, non-people, and
others, as well as the gods, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas,
wheel-turning sage kings, and all the lesser kings, felt all the hairs
on their bodies stand on their ends when they heard what the Buddha had
said. They wept grievously and were unable to stop themselves. Each one
of them made a vow saying, “All of us, from now until the exhaustion of
the bounds of the future, would rather that our bodies be pulverized
into small particles of dust for a hundred thousand kalpas, than to
ever go against the Tathagata’s sagely teachings. We would rather that
our tongues be plucked out, so that they would extend for a full
yojana, and that for a hundred thousand kalpas an iron plough to run
over them; we would rather have a hundred thousand bladed wheel roll
freely over bodies, than to ever go against the Tathagata’s sagely
teachings. We would rather that our bodies be ensnared in an iron net
for a hundred thousand kalpas, than to ever go against the Tathagata’s
sagely teachings. We would rather that for a hundred thousand kalpas
our bodies be chopped, hacked, mutilated, and chiseled into ten million
pieces, so that our skin, flesh, joints and bones would be completely
disintegrated, than to ever go against the Tathagata’s sagely
teachings.”

At that time, Ananda, with a dignity and a sense of
peace, rose from his seat and asked Buddha, “World Honored One, what
name shall this Sutra have when we accord with it and uphold it?”

The Buddha told Ananda, “This Sutra is called THE SUTRA
ABOUT THE DEEP KINDNESS OF PARENTS AND DIFFICULTY OF REPAYING IT. Use
this name when you accord with it and uphold it.”

At that time, the Great Assembly, the gods, humans,
asuras, and the others, hearing what the Buddha has said, were
completely delighted. They believed the Buddha’s teaching, received it,
and offered up their conduct in accord with it. Then they bowed
respectfully to the Buddha, before withdrawing.

Obama for America
Dear Jagatheesan –

As you may have heard, Barack has been in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia this week.

Today, he spoke in Berlin, Germany.

In a city where a wall once divided the free from the oppressed, he
talked about tearing down the walls that divide all peoples so we can
address our common problems — the threats of terrorism and nuclear
weapons, global warming and genocide, AIDS and poverty.

Watch Barack’s historic speech and share it with your friends:

Watch Barack's Speech

http://my.barackobama.com/berlinvideo

Please forward this email to your friends, family, and colleagues.

Thanks,

David

David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

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