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The wisdom of The Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva

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(The World Honored One said) “I teach and transform obstinate beings such as these within the evil worlds of the Five Turbidities, causing their minds to be regulated and subdued so they renounce the deviant and return to the proper. But one or two of ten still cling to their bad habits. For them I again divide into billions of bodies and use numerous additional expedient means…I may appear in a male body. I may appear in a female body. I may appear in the body of a god or dragon. I may appear in the body of a spirit or ghost. I may appear as a mountain, as a forest, as a stream, as a spring, as a river, as a lake, as a fountain, or as a well in order to benefit people. I use all these ways to save beings. I may appear in the body of God Shakra. I may appear in the body of Lord Brahma. I may appear in the body of a Wheel-Turning King. I may appear in the body of a lay person. I may appear in the body of a national leader. I may appear in the body of a prime minister. I may appear in the body of an official. I may appear in the body of a Bhikshu, a Bhikshuni, an Upasaka, an Upasika, and so forth to my appearing in the body of a Soundhearer, an Arhat, a Pratyekabuddha, or a Bodhisattva in order to teach and rescue beings. It is not that I only appear to them in the body of a Buddha.”




Buddhism 8029 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







T he Great Ghost of Impermanence comes so unexpectedly that the spirit of the deceased drifts unconsciously without knowing his offenses and blessings. For forty-nine days they are as if in a state of delusion and deafness or under judgment for their karmic retributions. Once judgment is fixed, rebirths are undergone according to their karma. Pending judgment, the deceased has to go through myriads of sufferings, not to mention the agonies of falling to the evil paths.




Buddhism 8003 | 
Translated by Pure Voices. Hong Kong. 







B y performing vegetarian offerings on behalf of deceased fathers, mothers, and other relatives while making earnest supplication on their behalf, beings of Jambudvipa benefit both the living and the dead.




Buddhism 7944 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







M en and women in the future may fail to do good deeds and only do evil; may not believe in cause and effect; may indulge in sexual misconduct and false speech; may use divisive and harsh speech; and may slander the Great Vehicle. Beings with karma like that should certainly fall into bad destinies.




Buddhism 7940 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







[9]Beings who usurp or damage the property of the Eternally Dwelling, who defile Bhikshus or Bhikshunis, who commit sexual-acts within the Sangharama, or who kill or harm beings, they will fall into the Relentless Hell where for billions of eons they will seek escape in vain.




Buddhism 7939 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







B eings who shed the Buddha’s blood, slander the Triple Jewel49, and do not venerate Sutras will fall into the Relentless Hell where for billions of eons they will seek escape in vain.




Buddhism 7938 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 
49 The Three Jewels.







B eings who are not filial to their parents, even to the extent of harming or killing them, will fall into the Relentless Hell where for billions of eons they will seek escape in vain.




Buddhism 7937 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







P oisonless replied. These are beings of Jambudvipa who did evil deeds. They have just died and passed through forty-nine days without any surviving relatives doing any meritorious deeds on their behalf to rescue them from their distress. Besides that, during their lives they themselves didn’t plant any good causes. Now their own karma calls forth these hells. Their first task is to cross this sea. Ten thousand yojanas east of this sea is another sea in which they will undergo twice as much suffering. East of that sea is yet another sea where the sufferings are doubled still again. What the combined evil causes of the three karmic vehicles evoke is called the sea of karma. This is that place.




Buddhism 7936 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







B eings should never think that minor bad deeds are unimportant or assume that they do not count as offenses. After death there will be retributions to undergo that cover all those details. Fathers and sons have the closest relationship, but their roads diverge and each must go his own way. Even if they met, neither would consent to undergo suffering in the other’s place.




Buddhism 7926 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







T he power of karma is extremely great. It rivals Mount Sumeru in its heights. It surpasses the great oceans in its depth. It obstructs the path leading to Sagehood. For that reason, beings should never think that minor bad deeds are unimportant or assume that they do not count as offenses. After death there will be retributions to undergo that cover all those details.




Buddhism 7922 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







M oreover, Universally Expansive, beings in the future may, while dreaming or drowsy, see ghosts, spirits, and other forms that are either sad, weeping, or worried, fearful, or terrified. Those are all fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, and relatives from one, ten, a hundred, or a thousand lives past who have not yet been able to leave the bad destinies. They have no place from which to hope for the power of blessings to rescue them, and so they try to communicate with their closest descendants, hoping that those relatives will use some skillful means to help them get out of the Evil Paths. Universally Expansive, using your spiritual powers, exhort those descendants to recite this Sutra with sincere resolve before the images of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas or to request others to recite it, either three or seven times. When the Sutra has been read aloud the proper number of times, relatives in the Evil Paths will obtain liberation and never again be seen by those who are dreaming or drowsy.




Buddhism 7909 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







T he Buddha told Lord Yama, “The beings of Jambudvipa have stubborn and obstinate natures, difficult to tame, difficult to subdue. This Great Bodhisattva continually rescues such beings throughout hundreds of thousands of eons and causes them to obtain liberation quickly. For those beings undergoing retributions even in the worst destinies, the Bodhisattva applies the strength of expedients to extricate them from their own basic karmic conditions and lead them to understand the events of their past lives. But because beings of Jambudvipa are so bound by their own heavy bad habits, they keep revolving in and out of the various paths over and over as this Bodhisattva labors throughout many long eons to entirely effect their rescue and release.”




Buddhism 7908 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







W hen men or women laden with offenses who failed to plant good causes die, even they can receive one-seventh of any merit dedicated to them by relatives who do good deeds on their behalf. The other six-sevenths of the merit will return to the living relatives who did the good deeds. It follows that men and women of the present and future who cultivate while they are strong and healthy will receive every portion of the benefit derived.




Buddhism 7907 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







M oreover, Earth Store, in the future leaders of nations, Brahmans, and others may, upon encountering ancient Buddhist stupas and monasteries or sutras and images that are damaged, decaying, or broken, resolve to restore them. Those leaders and good people may then do so themselves or encourage others, as many as hundreds of thousands of people to help and thereby establish affinities. Those leaders and good people will become Wheel-Turning Kings for hundreds of thousands of successive lives and those who made offerings with them will be leaders of small nations for as many lives. If, before the stupas or monasteries, they resolve to dedicate that merit, then, based on that limitless and unbounded reward, those leaders, good people, and their helpers will eventually all complete the path to Buddhahood.




Buddhism 7761 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 







T he Buddha told Earth Store Bodhisattva, “In Jambudvipa22, leaders of nations, prime ministers, high officials, great Elders, great Ksatriyas, great Brahmans, and others may encounter those who are poor, hunchbacked, crippled, dumb, mute, deaf, retarded, blind or handicapped in other ways. Those leaders and good people may wish to give to those people and may be able to do so with great compassion, a humble heart, and a smile. They may arrange to give generously, either personally with their own hands, or by arranging for others to do so, using gentle words and sympathetic speech. The blessings and benefits that such leaders and good people will accrue will be comparable to the meritorious virtues derived from giving to as many Buddhas as there are grains of sand in a hundred Ganges Rivers. Why is that? Those leaders and good people will receive such rewards of blessings and benefits for having shown a great compassionate heart toward the most impoverished and handicapped individuals.”




Buddhism 7760 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 
22 Jambudvipa: In the cosmologies of Hinduism and Buddhism, one of the four continents where ordinary human beings live in a world system.(???:???????????,???????????????????????)







M anjushri, that comment caused the Elder’s son to make a vow: “From now until the ends of future time throughout uncountable eons I16 will use expansive expedient means to help beings in the Six Paths who are suffering for their offenses. Only when they have all been liberated, will I myself become a Buddha.” From the time he made that great vow in the presence of that Buddha until now, hundreds of thousands of nayutas of inexpressibly many eons have passed and still he is a Bodhisattva.




Buddhism 7743 | 
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society. 
15 ??????(???)??????????????
16 “I” (Elder’s son) here refers to one of the past lives of Earth Store Bodhisattva.





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