Sacred Books of the East/Volume 21/Chapter 19
CHAPTER XIX. SADÂPARIBHÛTA. The Lord then addressed the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Mahâsthâmaprâpta. In a similar way, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, one may infer from what has been said that he who rejects such a Dhafmaparydya as this, who abuses monks, nuns, lay devotees male or female, keeping this Sûtra, insults them, treats them with false and harsh words, shall experience dire results, to such an extent as is impossible to express in words. But those that keep, read, comprehend, teach, amply expound it to others, shall experience happy results, such as I have already mentioned: they shall attain such a perfection of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind as just described.
In the days of yore, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, at a past period, before incalculable Æons, nay, more than incalculable, immense, inconceivable, and even long before, there appeared in the world a Tathâgata, &c., named Bhîshmagargitasvararâga, endowed with science and conduct, a Sugata, &c. &c., in the Æon Vinirbhoga, in the world Mahâsambhava. Now, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, that Lord Bhîshmagargitasvararâga, the Tathâgata, &c., in that world Vinirbhoga, showed the law in the presence of the world, including gods, men, and demons; the law containing the four noble truths and starting from the chain of causes and effects, tending to overcome birth, decrepitude, sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, woe, grief, despondency, and finally leading to Nirvâna, he showed to the disciples; the law connected with the six Perfections of virtue and terminating in the knowledge of the Omniscient, after the attainment of supreme, perfect enlightenment, he showed to the Bodhisattvas. The lifetime of that Lord Bhîshmagargitasvararâga, the Tathâgata, &c., lasted forty hundred thousand myriads of ko/is of iEons equal to the sands of the river Ganges. After his complete extinction his true law remained hundred thousands of myriads of ko/is of iEons equal to the atoms (contained) in Gambudvîpa, and the counterfeit of the true law continued hundred thousands of myriads of ko/is of ^Eons equal to the dust-atoms in the four continents. When the counterfeit of the true law of the Lord Bhishmagaigitasvarard^ia, the Tathfigata, &c, after his complete extinction, had disappeared in the world Mahâsambhava, Mahâsthimaprdpta, another Tathâgata Bhlshmagar^itasvarari^a, Arhat, &c, appeared, endowed with science and conduct. So in succession, Mahisthimapripta, there arose in that world Mahâsambhava twenty hundred thousand myriads of ko/is of Tath&gatas, &c, called Bhishmagar^itasvarar&^a. At the time, Mahisth&mapripta, after the complete extinction of the first Tathfigata amongst all those of the name of Bhlshmagaritasvararaa, Tathgata, &c., endowed with science and conduct, &c. &c, when his true law had disappeared and the counterfeit of the true law was fading; when the reign (of the law) was being oppressed by proud monks, there was a monk, a Bodhisattva Mahisattva, called Sadâparibhûta. For what reason, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, was that Bodhisattva Mahâsattva called Sadâparibhûta? It was, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, because that Bodhisattva Mahâsattva was in the habit of exclaiming to every monk or nun, male or female lay devotee, while approaching them: I do not contemn you, worthies. You deserve no contempt, for you all observe the course of duty of Bodhisattvas and are to become Tathâgatas, &c. In this way, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, that Bodhisattva Mahâsattva, when a monk, did not teach nor study; the only thing he did was, whenever he descried from afar a monk or nun, a male or female lay devotee, to approach them and exclaim: I do not contemn you, sisters. You deserve no contempt, for you all observe the course of duty of Bodhisattvas and are to become Tathâgatas, &c. So, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva at that time used to address every monk or nun, male or female devotee. But all were extremely irritated and angry at it, showed him their displeasure, abused and insulted him: Why does he, unasked, declare that he feels no contempt for us? Just by so doing he shows a contempt for us. He renders himself contemptible by predicting our future destiny to supreme, perfect enlightenment; we do not care for what is not true. Many years, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, went on during which that Bodhisattva Mahisattva was being abused, but he was not angry at anybody, nor felt malignity, and to those who, when he addressed them in the said manner, cast a clod or stick at him, he loudly ex- claimed from afar : I do not contemn you. Those monks and nuns, male and female lay devotees, being always and ever addressed by him in that phrase gave him the (nick)name of Sadfiparibhftta 1 .
Under those circumstances, Mahdsthimapr&pta, the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva Sad&paribhtita happened to hear this Dharmaparydya of the Lotus of the True Law when the end of his life was impending, and the moment of dying drawing near. It was the Lord Bhtshmagar^itasvararfiga, the Tathfigata, &c, who expounded this Dharmaparydya in twenty times twenty hundred thousand myriads of ko/is of stan- zas, which the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Sad&pari- bhflta heard from a voice in the sky, when the time of his death was near at hand. On hearing that voice from the sky, without there appearing a person speaking, he grasped this Dharmaparydya and obtained the perfections already mentioned : the perfection of sight, hearing, smell, taste, body, and mind. With the attainment of these perfections he at the same time made a vow to prolong his life for twenty hundred thousand myriads of ko/is of years, and promulgated this Dharmaparydya of the Lotus of the True Law. And all those proud beings, monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees to whom he had said: I do not contemn you, and who had given him the name of SadAparibhtita, became all his fol-
I.e. both 'always contemned' (sad& and paribhuta) and 'always not-contemned, never contemned' (sad& and aparibhuta). lowers to hear the law, after they had seen the power and strength of his sublime magic faculties, of his vow, of his readiness of wit, of his wisdom. All those and many hundred thousand myriads of ko/is of other beings were by him roused to supreme, perfect enlightenment.
Afterwards, Mah&sth&mapr&pta, that Bodhisattva Mahdsattva disappeared from that place and propi- tiated twenty hundred ko/is x of Tathdgatas, &c, all bearing the same name of A'andraprabhisvarar&^a, under all of whom he promulgated this Dharmapar- y&ya. By virtue of his previous root of goodness he, in course of time, propitiated twenty hundred thousand myriads of ko/is of Tath&gatas, &c, all bearing the name of Dundubhisvarar^a, and under all he obtained this very Dharmapary&ya of the Lotus of the True Law and promulgated it to the four classes. By virtue of his previous root of goodness he again, in course of time, propitiated twenty hun- dred thousand myriads of ko/is of Tathigatas, &c, all bearing the name of Meghasvarar^a, and under all he obtained this very Dharmaparyiya of the Lotus of the True Law and promulgated it to the four classes. And under all of them he was possessed of the afore-mentioned perfectness of sight, hearing, smell, taste, body, and mind.
Now, Mah£sth&mapr£pta, that Bodhisattva Mahsattva Saddparibhftta, after having honoured, respected, esteemed, worshipped, venerated, revered so many hundred thousand myriads of ko/is of Tathgatas, and after having acted in the same way towards
From the sequel it appears that the text ought to have 'twenty hundred thousand myriads of kotis.' many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of other Buddhas, obtained under all of them this very Dharmapary&ya of the Lotus of the True Law, and owing to his former root of goodness having come to full development, gained supreme, perfect enlightenment. Perhaps, Mah&sth&mapr&pta, thou wilt have some doubt, uncertainty, or misgiving, and think that he who at that time, at that juncture was the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva called Sad&parfbhflta was one, and he who under the rule of that Lord Bhishmagarfi- tasvarari^a, the Tath&gata, &c, was generally called Saddparibhtita by the four classes, by whom so many Tath£gatas were propitiated, was another. But thou shouldst not think so. For it is myself who at that time, at that juncture was the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Sad&paribhftta. Had I not formerly grasped and kept this Dharmapary&ya, Mahctsthcimapr£pta, I should not so soon have arrived at supreme, perfect enlightenment. It is because I have kept, re£d, preached this Dharmapary&ya (derived) from the teaching of the ancient Tathdgatas, &c, Mah&sth£mapr&pta, that I have so soon arrived at supreme, perfect enlightenment. As to the hundreds of monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees, Mahsth&mapr&pta, to whom under that Lord the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Sad&paribhtita promulgated this Dharmaparydya by saying: I do not contemn you ; you all observe the course of duty of Bodhisattvas ; you are to become Tathdgatas, &c, and in whom awoke a feeling of malignity towards that Bodhisattva, they in twenty hundced thousand myriads of ko/is of Æons never saw a Tath&gata, nor heard the call of the law, nor the call of the assembly, and for ten thousand* iEons they suffered terrible pain in the great hell Avîki. Thereafter released from the ban, they by the instrumentality of that Bodhisattva Mahâsattva were all brought to full ripeness for supreme, perfect enlightenment. Perhaps, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, thou wilt have some doubt, uncertainty, or misgiving as to who at that time, at that juncture were the persons hooting and laughing at the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva. They are, in this very assembly, the five hundred Bodhisattvas headed by Bhadrapâla, the five hundred nuns following Simhakandrâ, the five hundred lay devotees following Sugataketanâ, who all of them have been rendered inflexible in supreme, perfect enlightenment. So greatly useful it is to keep and preach this Dharmaparyâya, as it tends to result for Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas in supreme, perfect enlightenment. Hence, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, the Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas should, after the complete extinction of the Tathâgata, constantly keep, read, and promulgate this Dharmaparyâya.
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas :
1. I remember a past period, when king Bhîshmasvara, the Gina, lived, very mighty, and revered by gods and men, the leader of men, gods, goblins, and giants.
2. At the time succeeding the complete extinction of that Gina, when the decay of the true law was far advanced, there was a monk, a Bodhisattva, called by the name of Sadâparibhûta.
3. Other monks and nuns who did not believe but in what they saw, he would approach (and say): I never am to contemn you, for you observe the course leading to supreme enlightenment.
4. It was his wont always to utter those words, which brought him but abuse and taunts from their part. At the time when his death was impending he heard this Sûtra.
5. The sage, then, did not expire; he resolved upon a very long life, and promulgated this Sûtra under the rule of that leader.
6. And those many (persons) who only acknowledged the evidence of sensual perception were by him brought to full ripeness for enlightenment. Then, disappearing from that place, he propitiated thousands of kotis of Buddhas.
7. Owing to the successive good actions performed by him, and to his constantly promulgating this Sûtra, that son of Gina reached enlightenment. That Bodhisattva then is myself, Sâkyamuni.
8. And those persons who only believed in perception by the senses, those monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees who by the sage were admonished of enlightenment,
9. And who have seen many kotis of Buddhas, are the monks here before me,—no less than five hundred,—nuns, and female lay devotees.
10. All of them have been by me brought to complete ripeness, and after my extinction they will all, full of wisdom, keep this Sûtra.
11. Not once in many, inconceivably many kotis of Æons has such a Sûtra as this been heard. There are, indeed, hundreds of kotis of Buddhas, but they do not elucidate this Sûtra.
12. Therefore let one who has heard this law exposed by the Self-born himself, and who has repeatedly propitiated him, promulgate this Sûtra after my extinction in this world.
- According to Burnouf: 'autant de centaines de mille de myriades de kotis de Kalpas qu'il y a de grains de sable dans quarante Ganges.'
- It may seem strange that we find no other word than this, but the reading of the text cannot be challenged.
- Paribhûtam âtmânam karoti, yad, &c. Burnouf must have followed a different reading.
- Upâsaka, the masculine; this does not suit, but on the other hand it must be admitted that the omission of male devotees is not to be accounted for. Not unlikely some words have been left out by inadvertence, not only in the Cambridge MS., but also in the MSS. known to Burnouf. Cf., however, st. 9.
- Bhîshmasvaro râga gino yadâsi.
- Upalambhadrishtîna; I am not sure of the correctness of this translation; Burnouf renders it by 'qui ne voyaient que les objets extérieurs,' which comes pretty much to the same.
- Pratishthihitvâ, (Sansk. pratishthâya) ka sudîrgham âyuh, properly 'having stood still for a very long time of life.'
- The text has upâsikâh.