Spiritual Penetrations in the Palace of the Trayastrimsha Heaven
Thus I have heard:
At one time, the Buddha was in the Trayastrimsha
Heaven speaking Dharma for his mother.
At that time, uncountably many Buddhas and
Great Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas from infinite worlds in the Ten
Directions assembled to praise how Shakyamuni Buddha is able to
manifest powerfully great wisdom and spiritual penetrations in
the evil world of the Five Turbidities. They lauded how he regulates
and subdues obstinate beings so they learn what causes suffering
and what brings bliss. Each sent his attendants to pay their respects
to the World Honored One.
At that time the Thus Come One smiled and
emitted billions of great light clouds. There was
a light cloud of great fullness, a light cloud
of great compassion, a light cloud of great wisdom, a light cloud
of great prajna, a light cloud of great samadhi, a light cloud
of great auspiciousness, a light cloud of great blessings, a light
cloud of great merit, a light cloud of great refuge, and a light
cloud of great praise.
After emitting indescribably many light clouds,
he also uttered many wonderful, subtle sounds
There was the sound of dana paramita, the
sound of shila paramita, the sound of kshanti paramita, the sound
of virya paramita, the sound of dhyana paramita, and the sound
of prajna paramita.
There was the sound of compassion, the sound
of joyous giving, the sound of liberation, the sound of no-outflows,
the sound of wisdom, the sound of great wisdom, the sound of the
Lion's roar, the sound of the Great Lion's roar, the sound of
thunderclouds, and the sound of great thunderclouds.
After he uttered indescribably many sounds,
countless millions of gods, dragons, ghosts, and spirits from
the Saha and other worlds also gathered in the Palace of the Trayastrimsha
They came from the Heaven of the Four Kings,
the Trayastrimsha Heaven, the Suyama Heaven, the Tushita Heaven,
the Blissful Transformations Heaven, and the Heaven of Comfort
Gained Through Others' Transformations.
They came from the Heaven of the Multitudes
of Brahma, the Heaven of the Ministers of Brahma, the Heaven of
the Great Brahma Lord, the Heaven of Lesser Light, the Heaven
of Limitless Light, the Heaven of Light Sound, the Heaven of Lesser
Purity, the Heaven of Limitless Purity, and the Heaven of Universal
They came from the Birth of Blessings Heaven,
the Love of Blessings Heaven, the Abundant Fruit Heaven, the No
Thought Heaven, the No Affliction Heaven, the No Heat Heaven,
the Good Views Heaven, the Good Manifestation Heaven, the Ultimate
Form Heaven, the Maheshvara Heaven, and so forth, to the Heaven
of the Station of Neither Thought Nor Non-Thought.
All those groups of gods, dragons, ghosts
and spirits came and gathered together.
Moreover, sea spirits, river spirits, stream
spirits, tree spirits, mountain spirits, earth spirits, brook
and marsh spirits, sprout and seedling spirits, day, night, and
space spirits, heaven spirits, food and drink spirits, grass and
wood spirits, and other such spirits from the Saha and other worlds
came and gathered together.
In addition, all the great Ghost Kings from
the Saha and other worlds came and gathered together. They were:
the Ghost King Evil 'Eyes, the Ghost King
Blood-drinker, the Ghost King Essence and Energy-eater, the Ghost
King Fetus and Egg-eater, the Ghost King Spreader of Sickness,
the Ghost King Collector of Poisons, the Ghost King Kind-hearted,
the Ghost King Blessings and Benefits, the Ghost King Great Regard
and Respect, and others.
At that time, Shakyamuni Buddha said to the
Dharma Prince, Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, Manjushri, "As you regard
these Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gods, dragons, ghosts and spirits
from this land and other lands who are now gathered in the Trayastrimsha
Heaven, do you know their number?"
Manjushri said to the Buddha, "World Honored
One, even if I were to measure and reckon with my spiritual powers
for a thousand eons I would not be able to know their number."
The Buddha told Manjushri, "Regarding them
with my Buddha Eye, I also cannot count them all. Those beings
have been taken across, are being taken across, will be taken
across, have been brought to accomplishment, are being brought
to accomplishment, or will be brought to accomplishment by Earth
Store Bodhisattva, throughout many eons."
Manjushri said to the Buddha, "World Honored
One, throughout many eons I have cultivated good roots and my
wisdom was certified as unobstructed. When I hear what the Buddha
says, I immediately accept it with faith.
But Sound-hearers of small attainment, gods,
dragons, and the rest of the Eightfold Division, and beings in
the future who hear the Thus Come One's true and sincere words
will certainly harbor doubts. Even if they receive the teaching
most respectfully, they will still be unable to avoid slandering
My only wish is that the World Honored One
will proclaim for everyone what practices Earth Store Bodhisattva
did. Tell us what vows he made while on the level of planting
causes that now enable him to succeed in doing such inconceivable
The Buddha said to Manjushri, "By way of analogy
suppose that each blade of grass, tree, forest, rice plant, hemp
stalk, bamboo, reed, mountain, rock and mote of dust in a Three
Thousand Great Thousand-World System were a Ganges River. Then
suppose that each grain of sand in each of those Ganges Rivers
were a world and that each mote of dust in each of those worlds
were an eon. Then suppose each mote of dust accumulated in each
of those eons were itself an eon.
The time elapsed since Earth Store Bodhisattva
was certified to the position of the Tenth Ground is a thousand
times longer than that in the above analogy. Even longer was the
time he dwelled on the levels of Sound-hearer and Pratyekabuddha.
Manjushri, the awesome spiritual strength
and vows of this Bodhisattva are inconceivable.
If good men or women in the future hear this
Bodhisattva's name, praise him, behold and bow to him, call his
name, make offerings to him, or if they draw, carve, cast, sculpt
or make lacquered images of him, such people will be reborn in
the Heaven of the Thirty-Three one hundred times and will never
fall into the Evil Paths.
"Manjushri, indescribably many eons ago, during
the time of a Buddha named Lion Sprint Complete in the Ten Thousand
Practices Thus Come One, Earth Store Bodhisattva, Mahasattva was
the son of a great Elder.
That Elder's son, upon observing the Buddha's
hallmarks and fine features and how the thousand blessings adorned
him, asked that Buddha what practices and vows made him so magnificent.
Lion Sprint Complete in the Ten Thousand Practices
Thus Come One then said to the Elder's son. If you wish to have
a body like mine, you must first spend a long time liberating
beings who are undergoing suffering.'
"Manjushri, that comment caused the Elder's
son to make a vow: 'From now until the ends of future time throughout
uncountable eons I 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
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.
"Another time, inconceivable Asamkhyeya eons
ago there was a Buddha named Enlightenment-Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery
King Thus Come One. That Buddha's llfespan was four hundred billion
During his Dharma-lmage Age, there lived a
Brahman woman endowed with ample blessings from previous lives
who was respected by everyone. Whether she was walking, standing,
sitting, or lying down, gods surrounded and protected her.
Her mother, however, embraced a deviant faith
and often slighted the Triple Jewel.
Her worthy daughter made use of many expedients
in trying to convince her mother to hold right views, but her
mother never totally believed. Before long the mother's life ended
and her consciousness fell into the Relentless Hell.
"When that happened, the Brahman woman, knowing
that her mother had not believed in cause and effect while alive,
feared that her karma would certainly pull her into the Evil Paths.
For that reason, she sold the family house
and acquired many kinds of incense, flowers, and other gifts.
With those she performed a great offering in that Buddha's stupas
She saw an especially fine image of the Thus
Come One Enlightenment Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery King in one
of the monasteries.
As the Brahman woman beheld the honored countenance
she became doubly respectful while thinking to herself, 'Buddhas
are called Greatly Enlightened Ones who have gained All-Wisdom.
If this Buddha were in the world I could ask him where my mother
went after she died. He would certainly know.'
"The Brahman woman then wept for a long time
as she gazed longingly upon the Thus Come One.
Suddenly a voice in the air said, '0 weeping,
worthy woman, do not be so sorrowful. I shall now show you where
your mother has gone."
"The Brahman woman placed her palms together
as she addressed space saying, 'Which Virtuous Divinity is comforting
me in my grief? From the day I lost my mother onward I have held
her in memory day and night, but there is nowhere I can go to
ask about the realm of her rebirth.'
"The voice in the air spoke to the woman
again, I am the one you behold and worship, the former Enlightenment-Flower
Samadhi Self-Mastery King Thus Come One. Because I have seen your
regard for your mother is double that of ordinary beings, I have
come to show you where she is.'
"The Brahman woman suddenly lunged toward
the voice she was hearing and then fell, injuring herself severely.
Those around her supported and attended upon her and after a long
time she was revived.
Then she addressed the air saying, I hope
the Buddha will be compassionate and quickly tell me into what
realm my mother has been reborn. I am now near death myself.'
"Enlightenment-Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery
King Thus Come One told the worthy woman, After you make your
offerings, return home quickly. Sit upright and concentrate on
my name. You will soon know where your mother has been reborn.'
"The Brahman woman bowed to the Buddha and
returned home. The memory of her mother sustained her as she sat
upright recollecting Enlightenment-Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery
King Thus Come One.
"After doing so for a day and night, she suddenly
saw herself beside a sea whose waters seethed and bubbled. Many
evil beasts with iron bodies flew swiftly back and forth above
She saw hundreds of thousands of men and women
bobbing up and down in the sea, being fought over, seized, and
eaten by the evil beasts.
She saw Yakshas with different shapes.
Some had many hands, some many eyes, some many legs, some many
heads. With their sharp fangs they drove the offenders on towards
the evil beasts. Or the Yakshas themselves seized the offenders
and twisted their heads and feet together into shapes so horrible
that no one would dare even look at them for long.
During that time the Brahman woman was naturally
without fear due to the power of recollecting the Buddha.
"A ghost king named Poisonless bowed his head
in greeting and said to the worthy woman, 'Welcome, 0 Bodhisattva.
What conditions bring you here?'
"The Brahman woman asked the ghost king, 'What
is this place?'
"Poisonless replied, 'We are on the western
side of the Great Iron Ring Mountain and this is the first of
the seas that encircle it.'
"The worthy woman said, 'I have heard
that the hells are within the Iron Ring. Is that actually so?'
"Poisonless answered, 'Yes, the hells are
"The worthy woman asked, 'How have I now come
to the hells?'
"Poisonless answered, If it wasn't awesome
spiritual strength that brought you here, then it was the power
of karma. Those are the only two ways anyone comes here. "
The worthy woman asked, 'Why is this water
seething and bubbling, and why are there so many offenders and
Poisonless 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
What the combined evil causes of the three
karmic vehicles evoke is called the sea of karma. This is that
"The worthy woman asked the Ghost King Poisonless,
'Where are the hells?'
"Poisonless answered, 'Within the three seas
are hundreds of thousands of great hells, each one different.
Eighteen of those are known as the great hells. Five hundred subsequent
ones inflict limitless cruel sufferings. Following those are hundreds
of thousands that inflict limitless further sufferings.'
"The worthy woman again questioned the great
ghost king, 'My mother died recently and I do not know where she
"The ghost king asked the worthy woman, 'When
the Bodhisattva's mother was alive, what habits did she have?"
"The worthy woman replied, 'My mother held
deviant views and ridiculed and slandered the Triple Jewel. Even
if she occasionally believed, she would soon become disrespectful
again. She died recently and I still do not know where she was
"Poisonless asked, 'What was the Bodhisattva's
mother's name and clan?'
"The worthy woman replied, 'My parents were
both Brahmans; my father's name was Shila Sudarshana, my mother's
name was Yue Di Li.'
"Poisonless placed his palms together and
implored the worthy woman, 'Please, Worthy One, quickly return
home. There is no need for you to grieve further. The offender
Yue Di Li was born in the heavens three days ago.
It is said that she received the benefit of
offerings made and blessings cultivated by her filial child who
practiced giving to Enlightenment-Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery
King Thus Come One at stupas and monasteries.
Not only was the Bodhisattva's mother released
from the hells. All the other offenders who were destined for
the Relentless Hell received bliss and were reborn together with
Having finished speaking, the ghost king put
his palms together and withdrew.
"The Brahman woman returned swiftly as if
from a dream, understood what had happened, and then made a profound
and far-reaching vow before the stupas and images of Enlightenment-Flower
Samadhi Self-Mastery King Thus Come One, saying, 'I vow that until
the end of future eons I will respond to beings suffering for
their offenses by using many expedient means to bring about their
The Buddha told Manjushri, "The Ghost King
Poisonless is the present Bodhisattva Foremost Wealth. The Brahman
woman is now Earth Store Bodhisattva."