Avatamsaka Sutra

(Taisho Tripitaka 0279)

Translated into English by B.T.T.S.



Volume 7, Book 4: The Coming into Being of Worlds


At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva Mahasattva, by means of the Buddhas' spiritual power, pervasively contemplated the ocean of all worlds, the ocean of all beings, the ocean of all Buddhas, the ocean of all dharma realms, the ocean of all beings' karma, the ocean of all beings' roots and desires, the ocean of all Buddhas' Dharma wheels, the ocean of all three periods of time, the ocean of all Tathagatas' vow-power, and the ocean of all Tathagatas' spiritual transformations.

Having contemplated thus, he spoke to all the Bodhisattvas in the oceanic assemblies in all bodhimandas, saying, “Disciples of the Buddha! The pure wisdom that all Buddhas, World Honored Ones, have of knowing the formation and destruction of the oceans of all worlds is inconceivable. Their wisdom of knowing the oceans of all beings' karma is inconceivable. Their wisdom of knowing the oceans of arrangements of all dharma realms is inconceivable. Their wisdom in speaking of the boundless oceans of all Buddhas is inconceivable.

Their wisdom of entering the oceans of all desires, understandings, and roots is inconceivable. Their wisdom of universally knowing in a single thought all the three periods of time is inconceivable. Their wisdom of revealing the oceans of all Tathagatas' limitless vows is inconceivable. Their wisdom of manifesting the oceans of all Buddhas' spiritual transformations is inconceivable. Their wisdom of turning the Dharma wheel is inconceivable. Their wisdom of establishing the oceans of promulgation is inconceivable.

The purification of their Buddha-body is inconceivable. The pervasive and illuminating brightness of the ocean of their boundless forms and characteristics is inconceivable. The purity of their hallmarks and subtle characteristics is inconceivable. The ocean of the radiant orbs of their boundless, immaculate characteristics is inconceivable. The ocean of the luminous clouds of their various physical marks is inconceivable. The ocean of their sublime, blazing jewels is inconceivable. The ocean of their sounds of speech is inconceivable. The ocean of their manifesting three modes of self-mastery to tame all beings and bring them to maturity is inconceivable. The ocean of their courageous taming of all beings, which is never in vain, is inconceivable.

Their abiding on the level of Buddhas is inconceivable. Their entry into the realm of the Tathagatas is inconceivable. Their awesome protective power is inconceivable. Their contemplation of what all Buddhas practice in their wisdom is inconceivable. The invincible perfection of their powers is inconceivable. Their unsurpassed, fearless merit and virtue are inconceivable. Their dwelling in the samadhi of nondiscrimination is inconceivable. Their spiritual penetrations and transformations are inconceivable. Their pure and independent wisdom is inconceivable. The indestructible Dharma of all Buddhas is inconceivable.

Receiving the Buddhas' spiritual strength and all Tathagatas' awesome spiritual power, I will now fully explain all of these dharmas.

I do this in order that beings may enter the ocean of the Buddhas' wisdom; in order that all Bodhisattvas may dwell in the ocean of the Buddhas' meritorious virtues; in order that all seas of worlds may be adorned with the self-mastery of all Buddhas; in order that the lineage of the Tathagatas may be perpetuated for all oceans of eons; in order to reveal the true nature of all dharmas in all seas of worlds; in order to explain the teachings according to the ocean of all beings' measureless capacities to understand; in order to expediently bring forth Buddhadharma in accord with the ocean of all beings' potentials; in order to fulfill the ocean of beings' wishes and joys and to topple their mountains of obstacles; in order to be attuned to the ocean of all beings' mental activity so as to lead them to purely cultivate the essential path of escape; in order that all Bodhisattvas may dwell in the ocean of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva's vows.

At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further wished to lead the oceanic assemblies in the limitless bodhimandas to become joyful and happy; to produce even greater delight toward the Dharma; to evince genuine belief and understanding as vast as an ocean; to purely cultivate the treasury body of the Dharma Realm through its universal gate; to become firmly established in the ocean of Universal Worthy's vows; to purely cultivate the wisdom eye that impartially enters the three periods of time; to expand the great sea of wisdom that universally illuminates the treasury of all worlds; to produce the power of dharani that supports all Dharma wheels; to exhaustively reveal the states of the Buddhas in all bodhimandas; to expound the dharma doors of all Tathagatas; and to expand the deeply profound nature of All-Wisdom to be as vast as the Dharma Realm. Thereupon he spoke verses.

With deep wisdom and merit like a sea,
Buddhas manifest throughout the ten directions' limitless lands,
Responding in accord with what beings ought to see.
Universally radiant, they turn the Dharma wheel.

Inconceivable, the ten directions' seas of lands:
Through countless eons, the Buddhas purified them all.
In order to transform beings and bring them to maturity,
The Buddhas appear in each and every land.

Deep beyond conception: the realm of Buddhas.
They show all beings the way to enter.
Beings inclined to the small, who cling to existence
Fail to fathom the Buddhas' awakening.

Those of pure faith and resolute minds
Always draw near to good mentors.
All Buddhas grant them the strength
To enter into the Thus Come Ones' wisdom.

Those pure in mind, free from flattery and deceit,
Are joyful in nature, always delighting in compassion;
Those of broad outlook and deep faith
Rejoice to hear this Dharma.

Abiding in the vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva,
One cultivates the pure path of Bodhisattvas.
Contemplating how the Dharma Realm resembles space,
One understands the practice of the Buddhas.

All these Bodhisattvas gain wholesome benefit
From seeing the Buddhas' spiritual penetrations.
Cultivators of other paths fail to understand;
Only those who practice like Universal Worthy can awaken.

Vast multitudes of beings, beyond any bounds,
Receive the mindful protection of the Thus Come Ones.
The turning of the Proper Dharma wheel reaches all.
Such is the power of Vairocana's realm.

My body encompasses each and every land,
As well as the Buddhas dwelling therein.
Contemplate my every pore:
I'll now show you the Buddhas' realm.

Samantabhadra's boundless conduct and vows,
I have already cultivated to perfection.
The vast, great body with its universal view of states
Is cultivated by all Buddhas, so listen well!

At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva Mahasattva told the entire great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha! The seas of worlds have ten aspects, which all Buddhas of the past, present, and future have spoken, are speaking, and will speak about. What are the ten? They are, namely, the causes and conditions under which the seas of worlds originate and develop; the basis for the existence of the seas of worlds; the forms and appearances of the seas of worlds; the substances of which the seas of worlds are composed; the adornments of the seas of worlds; the purities of the seas of worlds; the manifestations of Buddhas in the seas of worlds; the durations of the seas of worlds; the distinct evolutionary stages of the seas of worlds; and the ways in which the seas of worlds are undifferentiated.

  “Disciples of the Buddha! Generally speaking, the seas of worlds have these ten aspects, which, if explained extensively, have facets as numerous as dust motes in seas of worlds. All Buddhas of the past, present, and future have spoken, are speaking, and will speak about them.

  “Disciples of the Buddha! Generally speaking, there are ten causes and conditions under which all seas of worlds have come into being, are coming into being, or will come into being. What are the ten? They come into being because of the spiritual power of the Thus Come Ones; because the Dharma is thus; because of the karmic activity of all beings; because of all Bodhisattvas' realization of All-Wisdom; because of the good roots collectively amassed by all beings and Bodhisattvas; because of the power of all Bodhisattvas' vows to adorn and purify lands; because of all Bodhisattvas' realization of nonretreating conduct and vows; because of the pure, superior understanding and self-mastery of all Bodhisattvas; because of the flowing forth of all Thus Come Ones' good roots, and all Buddhas' power of self-mastery upon realizing the Way; and because of the self-mastery of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva's power of vows.

  “Disciples of the Buddha! This has been a general explanation of the ten causes and conditions, which, if extensively explained, have facets as numerous as dust motes in seas of worlds.”

Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the awesome spiritual power of the Buddhas, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.

Vairocana Buddha adorns and purifies
All the boundless seas of lands mentioned above.
The realm of the World Honored One defies conception;
So do his wisdom, spiritual penetrations, and powers.

Bodhisattvas cultivate an ocean of vows,
Fulfilling the wishes of all beings.
Beings' thoughts and activities are vast beyond bounds.
Thus, the Bodhisattvas' lands pervade the ten directions.

Bodhisattvas advance towards All-Wisdom,
Diligently cultivating various powers of self-mastery.
Their ocean of measureless vows swells forth everywhere,
Bringing vast lands into being.

They cultivate a boundless ocean of practices,
Entering the infinite realm of Buddhas.
Wishing to purify the ten directions' lands,
They spend countless eons in every land.

Beings are vexed and defiled by afflictions.
Their desires and aspirations are not identical.
Following their impulses, they create unthinkable karma.
Thus do the seas of lands come to exist.

Disciples of the Buddha!

Some seas of lands are a treasury of adornment--
Immaculate, radiant, made of jewels.
Arising from vast faith and understanding,
They are thus throughout the ten directions.

Bodhisattvas who cultivate Universal Worthy's conduct
Roam the Dharma Realm, traveling paths as numerous as dust motes.
Within each dust mote appear limitless ksetras
As immaculate and extensive as space.

Manifesting spiritual penetrations equal to space,
They visit all Buddhas in their bodhimandas.
Seated upon lotus daises, they display the myriad hallmarks.
The body of each one encompasses all ksetras.

In a single thought, they manifest in all three periods of time,
As all the seas of worlds come into being.
The Buddha enters them expediently.
Vairocana Buddha adorns and purifies them.

At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further told the great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha! The circumstances upon which the existence of the seas of worlds is based are as numerous as dust motes in the seas of worlds. Perhaps their existence is based upon all adornments; perhaps their existence it based upon space; perhaps their existence is based upon the light of all gems; perhaps their existence is based upon the light of all Buddhas; perhaps their existence is based upon jewel-hued rays of light; perhaps their existence is based upon all Buddhas' voices; perhaps their existence is based upon the vajra hand of a powerful asura born from illusory karma; perhaps their existence is based upon the bodies of all world rulers; perhaps their existence is based upon the bodies of all Bodhisattvas; or perhaps their existence is based upon the different seas of adornments produced by Universal Worthy Bodhisattva's vows.

“Disciples of the Buddha! Such are the circumstances, numerous as dust motes in the seas of worlds, upon which the existence of the seas of worlds is based.”

At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the awesome spiritual power of the Buddha, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.

Throughout the ten directions of space,
All lands and countries are spread.
By the aid of the Thus Come Ones' spiritual power,
They appear and become visible to all.

Perhaps there are various lands and countries
Composed of immaculate jewels.
Made of pristine mani, wondrous and sublime,
They appear in an ocean of dazzling light.

Perhaps there are ksetras of pure radiance
Situated in empty space.
Perhaps within the sea of jeweled mani,
Other lands reside in a treasury of light.

In the sea-vast assembly, the Thus Come One
Proclaims the magical wonder of the Dharma wheel.
Vast and boundless, the states of Buddhas
Delight the hearts of sentient beings who see them.

There are lands ornamented with mani,
Shaped like flower-lamps, spread out everywhere.
Clouds of blazing, fragrant light
Provide a radiant, netlike cover of exquisite jewels.

And there are lands without boundaries,
Dwelling in a vast, deep sea of lotus-blossoms,
Expansive and pure, unique in the world
Adorned with the wondrous goodness of all Buddhas.

Some seas of lands revolve like wheels.
Established by means of the Buddhas' awesome spirit,
They are filled with multitudes of Bodhisattvas,
Who constantly see endless expanses of jewels.

Worlds may exist upon a vajra hand
Or perhaps in the body of a heavenly lord.
Vairocana, the unsurpassed Honored One,
Always turns the Dharma wheel in those places.

Some worlds dwell balanced on jeweled trees;
Others, amid dazzling clouds of incense.
Some are submersed in great bodies of waters,
While others float upon a vajra ocean.

Some are located upon a vajra banner,
While others dwell amid an ocean of flowers.
Such vast, all-pervasive spiritual transformations,
Are manifested solely by Vairocana Buddha.

Worlds may be long or short; there is limitless variety.
Like turning wheels, their appearances are not the same.
Rare in the world, this wondrous treasury of adornments
Is perceived through pure cultivation alone.

All these distinct and various lands
Exist by virtue of a sea of vows.
Some lands are constantly suspended in space,
With Buddhas filling them like clouds.

Some hang upside-down in space,
Sometimes present, sometimes gone.
Perhaps there are lands of utmost purity
Lodged in the jeweled crown of a Bodhisattva.

The great spiritual powers of the Buddhas of the ten directions
Are everywhere seen throughout these lands,
And their voices are everywhere heard.
The power of karma produces such phenomena.

Some lands pervade the Dharma Realm,
Arising from the mind in unsullied purity.
Vast beyond bounds, like shadows or illusions,
They are each unique, like the interstices of Indra's net.

Displaying myriad adornments,
Some lands are established in space.
These inconceivable states of karma
By the Buddhas' power are visible to all.

Each mote of dust in every land
In thought after thought displays all Buddhalands,
Infinite as the number of beings.
So, too, Universal Worthy's deeds are always thus.

Wishing to bring sentient beings to maturity,
Buddhas cultivate for oceans of eons.
Vast spiritual transformations everywhere arise,
Pervading the entire Dharma Realm.

In the lands of the Dharma Realm, in each dust mote,
There exist great seas of ksetras.
The Buddhas' clouds evenly cover those lands,
Extending throughout all regions.

The effortless functioning in a single mote of dust
Likewise occurs in every mote of dust.
Vairocana Buddha can fully display
The Buddhas' and Bodhisattvas' great spiritual powers.

All of these ksetras, vast and extensive,
Resemble shadows, illusions, and flames.
One sees not where they arise in the ten directions,
As they are without origin or destination.

The cycle of decay and extinction, formation and dwelling,
Occurs in the void without the slightest pause.
All lands arise from vows of purity,
Sustained by karma's tremendous force.

At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further told the great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha! The seas of worlds all have many different appearances and characteristics. They may be round or square, or neither round nor square. There are limitless variations. They may be shaped like a whirlpool, like the soaring flames of a volcano, like trees or flowers, like a palace or a being, or perhaps like a Buddha. Such variations are as numerous as the motes of dust in a sea of worlds.”

Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate these principles, received the awesome spiritual power of the Buddhas, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.

All of you should contemplate
The variations in the seas of lands:
Their myriad adornments and environments,
Their distinct, beautiful forms in the ten directions.

They may be round or square,
Triangular or octagonal,
Or shaped like lotuses or wheels of mani.
Karma produces these distinct forms.

Perhaps their adornments are blazing and pure,
Interlaced with pure gold of the finest quality.
Doors large and small are thrown wide open.
All this results from the vast karma of unmixed intention.

The boundless sea of ksetras, with myriad differentiations,
Resembles a bank of clouds drifting in space.
Jeweled wheels cover their ground in wondrous adornment
Under the dazzling light of the Buddhas' radiance.

Mere discriminations of the mind,
All lands appear in shining light.
Manifesting within the seas of ksetras,
Each and every Buddha displays his spiritual powers.

Some lands are defiled, others pure.
The joy and misery of each being
Differs because of the inconceivable sea of karma.
The cyclic flow of dharmas is eternally thus.

A single pore contains inconceivable lands
As numerous as motes of dust, in diverse environments.
Each land has an All-Shining Honored One
Proclaiming wondrous Dharma for the assembled multitudes.

A single dust mote includes lands great and small,
Their variations as multitudinous as motes of dust.
Whether level, high, or low, each terrain is unique.
The Buddhas travel to them all to turn the Dharma wheel.

Ksetras appear in every mote of dust
By the power of spiritual penetrations and past vows.
Fulfilling the different wishes of sentient beings,
The Buddhas can accomplish anything within the void.

Consider all the dust motes in every land:
The Buddhas enter each and every one.
For all beings, they perform spiritual transformations.
The Dharma of Vairocana Buddha is thus.

At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further told the great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha, you should know that the seas of worlds are composed of various substances. That is, they may be composed of the adornments of myriad jewels, or of various adornments of a single type of jewel. They may be composed of light from myriad jewels, or of light of various colors. They may be composed of radiance from all adornments, or of indestructible vajra. They may be composed of the Buddhas' sustaining power, or of the characteristics of lovely gems. They may be composed of the Buddhas' transformations, or of sun-mani wheels. They may be composed of extremely tiny jewels, of the shining brilliance of jewels, of various kinds of incense, or of a crown of jeweled flowers. They may be composed of the reflections of jewels, of a display of myriad ornaments, of a state pervasively manifested by a single thought, of jewels in the form of Bodhisattvas, of jeweled flower stamens, or of the sound of a Buddha's voice.

Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the Buddhas' awesome spiritual power, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.

Perhaps there are seas of worlds
Composed of clusters of wondrous gems,
Solid, adamant, and indestructible,
Peacefully dwelling on jeweled lotus flowers.

Perhaps there is pure brightness
From which emerge unknowable
Myriad adorning lights
Shining in empty space.

Some lands are composed of pure radiance
And exist within bright light.
Luminous clouds embellish those lands,
As Bodhisattvas wander in their midst.

There may be seas of ksetras
Born from the power of vows.
Like reflections they abide,
Beyond apprehension and speech.

Some may be fashioned from mani,
Everywhere shining like the sun.
Wheels of pearls adorn their ground.
Bodhisattvas fill these lands.

Some lands from jeweled flames are made,
With blazing clouds hovering above
And myriad gems exquisitely glowing.
Such are the results of karma.

Some lands arise from the wondrous hallmarks.
Myriad forms adorn their terrain,
Like crowns worn at the same time.
These are the Buddhas' creations.

Some arise from the ocean of the mind,
And according to the mind's understanding they dwell.
Illusory, they have no fixed abode,
Since everything is made from discriminations.

Lands may be composed of the Buddhas' brilliance
Or formed of the light of mani.
The Buddhas appear in their midst,
Each using his spiritual powers.

Perhaps Universal Worthy Bodhisattva
Transformationally creates the seas of lands.
Adorned by the power of his vows,
Everything is rare and exquisite.
                                                                    
At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further told the great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha, you should know that the seas of worlds have various kinds of adornments. Perhaps they are adorned by splendid, wondrous clouds emerging from amidst myriad ornaments.

Perhaps they are adorned by the proclamation of the Bodhisattvas' meritorious virtues. Perhaps they are adorned as expressions of the karmic retributions of beings. Perhaps they are adorned by the appearance of the Bodhisattvas' seas of vows. Perhaps they are adorned by the displayed images of all Buddhas of the three periods of time. Perhaps they are adorned by the states of spiritual penetrations that manifest boundless eons in the space of a single thought.

Perhaps they are adorned by the appearance of Buddhas' bodies. Perhaps they are adorned by the appearance of clouds of incense and jewels. Perhaps they are adorned by the dazzling radiance of rare, exquisite objects appearing in all bodhimandas. Perhaps they are adorned by the revelation of the practices and vows of every Universal Worthy Bodhisattva. Such adornments are as numerous as the fine motes of dust in an entire sea of worlds.

Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate these principles, received the Buddhas' awesome spiritual power, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.

The vast sea of ksetras, a boundless expanse,
Comes into being from pure karma.
Varied in adornment and location,
They completely pervade the ten directions.

Precious, blazing clouds, infinite in hue and form,
Magnificently adorn in more ways than one.
Constantly appearing in the ten directions' seas of ksetras,
Their wondrous sounds everywhere pronounce the Dharma.

The Bodhisattvas' sea of boundless merit and virtue,
By their various great vows is adorned.
Their wondrous voices constantly resound in these lands,
Sending reverberations through the ten directions' net of worlds.

The sea of beings' karma is vast and boundless.
Their individual retributions are not the same.
From within the adornments of every location,
The Buddhas proclaim all such phenomena.

Every Thus Come One of the three periods of time
Displays his spiritual powers throughout the seas of worlds.
Every Buddha involved in every such instance--
Contemplate how each adorns and purifies.

The magnificent adornments
Of eons past, present, and future,
Throughout the lands of the ten directions,
Are beheld in this land, one and all.

Amidst all phenomena are limitless Buddhas,
Equal in number to all beings throughout the worlds.
Using their spiritual powers to tame those beings,
They thereby adorn the seas of lands.

Every ornament emits wondrous clouds:
Assorted clouds of flowers, clouds of blazing incense,
And clouds of mani gems constantly appearing,
All serving to embellish the seas of ksetras.

Wherever the Way is realized in the ten directions
Myriad adornments are perfected
And colorful clouds of swirling light
Are seen throughout the seas of ksetras.

Disciples of the Buddha,

For eons as numerous as beings, diligently practice
Universal Worthy's conduct and vows.
Limitless lands, fully adorned,
Manifest in every place.

At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further told the great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha! You should know that the seas of worlds have seas of pure expedient means as numerous as motes of dust in the seas of worlds. That is to say, Bodhisattvas draw near to all good advisors with whom they share good roots in common; their extensive cloud of merit and virtue grows until it pervades the Dharma Realm; they purely cultivate magnificent, sublime liberations; they contemplate and abide in the states of all Bodhisattvas; they cultivate all paramitas to perfection; they contemplate all Bodhisattva grounds, entering and dwelling within them; they give rise to a sea of pure vows; they cultivate all practices leading to liberation; they enter the sea of all adornments; and they achieve the power of pure expedient means. Such pure expedient means are as numerous as dust motes in the seas of worlds.”

Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the Buddhas' awesome spiritual power, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.

The adornments throughout all seas of worlds
Emerge from innumerable expedients and power of vows.
The seas of ksetras, ever luminous and bright,
Arise from the power of infinite pure karma.

Since long ago, Bodhisattvas have drawn near good advisors,
Together cultivating wholesome karma, completely pure.
Vast kindness and compassion extends to all beings:
With these the seas of ksetras are adorned.

All methods of practice as well as samadhis,
Dhyana concentrations, liberations, and expedient grounds
Are cultivated in the presence of Buddhas,
Thereby giving rise to seas of ksetras.

As Bodhisattvas gain limitless, decisive understanding,
Their comprehension fully matches the Thus Come Ones'.
Having cultivated a sea of patience and skill-in-means,
They adorn and purify boundless ksetras.

Cultivating sublime practices to benefit beings,
Their vast blessings and virtue constantly grow.
Like clouds spreading across the skies,
All seas of ksetras are perfected.

Limitless perfections, numerous as dust motes in a ksetra,
Have already been cultivated to completion.
The infinite paramita of vows
Gives birth to oceans of pure ksetras.

Pure cultivation of peerless dharmas
Initiates boundless transcendent practices.
By transforming beings with sundry skill-in-means,
Bodhisattvas thereby adorn the oceans of lands.

By practicing and adorning the grounds of expedients,
They enter the sea of methods derived by the Buddhas' merit and virtue.
When beings' sufferings are exhausted,
Vast, pure ksetras come into being.

Vast and peerless, the sea of powers
Causes all beings to plant good roots,
Make offerings to all Thus Come Ones,
And purify boundless lands.

At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further told the great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha, you should know that each and every sea of worlds has Buddhas in different manifestations as numerous as the motes of dust in the seas of worlds. These Buddhas may manifest in small or large bodies; they may manifest short or long life spans; they may adorn and purify only one land or limitless Buddhalands; they may reveal the Dharma wheel of the One Vehicle or the Dharma wheels of inconceivably many vehicles; they may manifest the taming of a few beings or of boundless beings. Such manifestations are as numerous as the motes of dust in the seas of worlds.”

Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the Buddhas' awesome spiritual power, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.

The Buddhas' diverse expedient means
Give rise to all seas of ksetras,
Totally delighting sentient beings.
This is the Thus Come One's power of skillful versatility.

The Dharma body of all Buddhas is inconceivable—
Devoid of form, shape, or appearance.
Yet for beings it manifests in myriad forms,
Which beings perceive according to their wishes.

Perhaps they manifest a short life span for beings,
Or perhaps enjoy a long life of limitless eons.
The Dharma body manifests throughout the ten directions,
Appearing in worlds at opportune times.

Perhaps they adorn and purify inconceivable
Seas of all lands throughout the ten directions.
Or perhaps they adorn and purify only one land,
Manifesting in that single land and no other.

Perhaps, depending on what beings delight in,
They display an unimaginable array of vehicles.
Or they may proclaim the Dharma of the One Vehicle,
Expediently revealing limitless means within the One.

Perhaps they naturally gain Right Enlightenment
And guide a few beings to dwell in the Way.
Or perhaps in the space of a single thought,
They enlighten confused beings beyond number.

Perhaps magical clouds issue from their pores,
Revealing limitless, boundless Buddhas.
Everyone in the worlds sees these Buddhas
Saving beings with various skillful means.

Perhaps the sound of their voices pervades everywhere
As they speak Dharma to delight the hearts of beings.
For inconceivable numbers of great eons
They temper and subdue limitless seas of beings.

Perhaps in countless splendid lands
Seated majestically in pure assemblies
Are Buddhas like clouds hovering above,
Pervading every sea of lands in the ten directions.

With inconceivable skills-in-means, the Buddhas
Manifest before beings according to their thoughts.
Pervasively dwelling in diverse adorned ksetras,
They encompass all lands everywhere.

At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further told the great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha, you should know that the durations of existence of seas of worlds are as numerous as the motes of dust in the seas of worlds. That is to say, they may exist for asamkhyeya eons; they may exist for limitless eons; they may exist for boundless eons; they may exist for unequaled eons; they may exist for innumerable eons; they may exist for inexpressible eons; they may exist for inconceivable eons; they may exist for unreckonable eons; they may exist for ineffable eons; they may exist for ineffably ineffable eons. The different durations of existence are as numerous as the motes of dust in seas of worlds.”

Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the Buddhas' awesome spiritual power, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.

The seas of worlds with their various different eons
Are adorned by vast, expansive expedient means.
The lands of the ten directions are completely seen,
Their numbers and differentiations clearly known.

I behold the seas of worlds of the ten directions
Through measureless eons equal to the number of beings.
They may be long or short or boundless.
I now proclaim them with the Buddhas' voice.

I gaze upon the oceans of lands of the ten directions:
Some abide for eons as numerous as dust motes in lands.
Some dwell for one eon, others for countless eons.
Because of different vows, they are not the same.

They may be completely pure or completely defiled,
Or perhaps a mixture of purity and defilement.
Established by oceanic vows, each and every one different,
They dwell in the thoughts of beings' minds.

Past cultivation for eons as numerous as dust motes in ksetras
Results in magnificent, pure seas of worlds.
The states of all Buddhas, fully adorned,
Endure perpetually for vast and boundless eons.

Some are named Light of Myriad Jewels;
Others, Equal Sound Flaming Eye Treasury;
And yet others, Immaculate Light or Worthy Eon.
This pure kalpa gathers them in, one and all.

A single Buddha may appear in some pure kalpas;
Or boundless Buddhas may appear in a single kalpa.
With infinite expedients and magnificent vows,
They enter into different types of kalpas.

Perhaps measureless kalpas enter one kalpa;
Perhaps one kalpa enters many kalpas.
The different entrances into all seas of kalpas
Appear distinctly in the ten directions' lands.

Perhaps the adornments of all kalpas
Are completely visible in a single kalpa.
Perhaps adornments from a single kalpa
Universally appear in boundless kalpas.

From a single thought and to an entire kalpa—
All are produced from the thoughts of beings.
The boundless kalpas of all seas of ksetras
Are completely purified by a single expedient.

At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva told the great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha, you should know that the seas of worlds evolve through distinct stages as numerous as motes of dust in the seas of worlds.

“Specifically, due to the Dharma being thus, seas of worlds evolve through limitless stages of formation and destruction. By being inhabited by defiled beings, seas of worlds evolve through stages of defilement. By being inhabited by beings who vastly cultivate blessings, seas of worlds evolve through stages of defilement and purity. By being inhabited by Bodhisattvas of faith and understanding, seas of worlds evolve through stages of defilement and purity.

Because measureless beings bring forth the bodhi resolve, seas of worlds evolve through stages whereby they become totally purified. Because each and every Bodhisattva travels throughout all worlds, seas of worlds evolve through stages of boundless adornments. Because all Bodhisattvas assemble like clouds from the seas of worlds of the ten directions, seas of worlds evolve through stages of infinite and magnificent adornments.

Because all Buddhas, World Honored Ones, enter nirvana, seas of worlds evolve through stages of solemn tranquility. Because all Buddhas appear in the world, all seas of worlds evolve through stages whereby they become expansive, majestic, and purified. Because of the transformations of the Thus Come Ones' spiritual penetrations, seas of worlds evolve through stages whereby they universally become purified. They evolve through stages as numerous as motes of dust in the seas of worlds.”

Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the Buddhas' awesome spiritual power, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.

Every land and country
Is born through karma's power.
All of you should contemplate
The characteristics of its evolution.

Defiled and turbid beings
Are fettered by fearsome karma and delusion.
By their thoughts, the oceans of lands
Are completely polluted.

If pure-minded beings
Cultivate deeds of blessings and virtue,
Their thoughts cause the seas of lands
To be partly pure and partly polluted.

Bodhisattvas of faith and understanding
Born in the midst of those kalpas.
Perceive defilement or purity
Depending on their thoughts.

When numberless beings
Make the resolve for bodhi,
Their thoughts make the oceans of lands
Abide in eons of constant purity.

Limitless kotis of Bodhisattvas
Roam the ten directions.
Their adornments, though not different,
Are perceived differently through the kalpas.

Each and every mote of dust
Contains Buddhalands in number like motes of dust.
Bodhisattvas gather like clouds,
And all countries become pure.

When the World Honored Ones enter nirvana,
The adornments disappear from their lands.
When beings lack a vessel for Dharma,
The world becomes a mass of pollution.

If a Buddha appears in the world,
Everything becomes splendid and fine,
As beings' thoughts are purified,
All adornments come to be.

The Buddhas' spiritual powers
Manifest inconceivable states.
At that time the oceans of lands
Become totally pure and clean.

At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva told the great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha, you should know that the ways in which the seas of worlds are undifferentiated are as numerous as motes of dust in the seas of worlds.

“Specifically, within each and every sea of worlds, there are worlds as numerous as dust motes in the seas of worlds, and they are undifferentiated. Within each and every sea of worlds, the awesome power of all Buddhas' appearances is undifferentiated. Within each and every sea of worlds, all the bodhimandas that pervade the dharma realms of the ten directions are undifferentiated. Within each and every sea of worlds, the assemblies of all Thus Come Ones' bodhimandas are undifferentiated. Within each and every sea of worlds, the light of all Buddhas that pervades the Dharma Realm is undifferentiated. Within each and every sea of worlds, all Buddhas' transformations and titles are undifferentiated.

  “Within each and every sea of worlds, the voices of all Buddhas, which pervade the seas of worlds for boundless eons, are undifferentiated. Within each and every sea of worlds, the expedients of the Dharma wheel are undifferentiated. Within each and every sea of worlds, the ability for all seas of worlds to enter a single dust mote is undifferentiated. Within each and every sea of worlds, the manifestation in every single mote of dust of the vast realm of all Buddhas, World Honored Ones, of the three periods of time is undifferentiated.

“Disciples of the Buddha, this is a general explanation of the ways in which the seas of worlds are undifferentiated. If one were to extensively speak about them, the ways in which they are undifferentiated are as numerous as motes of dust in the seas of worlds.”

Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the Buddhas' awesome spiritual power, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.

A single dust mote holds many seas of ksetras,
Each splendid, pure, and distinctly placed.
Thus the measureless enter the one,
Yet the separate entities do not mix.

In each and every dust mote, inconceivable Buddhas
Manifest everywhere according to beings' thoughts.
Their presence pervades all seas of ksetras:
Such expedient means are undifferentiated.

In each and every mote of dust are Kings of Trees,
Draped with myriad adornments.
The lands of the ten directions simultaneously appear,
Yet there is no differentiation among them.

In every dust mote are multitudes in dust motes
Surrounding the Lord of Humans.
He transcends everything and pervades all worlds
Without cramming or disarray.

In each and every dust mote, infinite light
Pervades the lands of the ten directions.
It reveals the Buddhas' practices for bodhi,
Undifferentiated throughout all seas of lands.

In each and every dust mote are infinite bodies
With cloudlike transformations pervading everywhere,
Using the Buddhas' spiritual penetrations to guide beings.
It is no different in the lands of the ten directions.

Myriad dharmas are pronounced in every mote of dust.
Such dharmas are pure, like revolving wheels.
Various free and easy expedient methods
Are expressed without differentiation.

In a single mote of dust all Buddhas' sounds are proclaimed,
Filling up beings, who are vessels for the Dharma.
Pervading oceans of lands for countless eons
Such sounds are also undifferentiated.

The infinite, wondrous adornments of oceans of lands
Enter into every single mote of dust.
Such spiritual powers of the Buddhas
Arise from the nature of karma.

In every dust mote, the Buddhas of the three periods of time
Manifest all the sights that delight beings.
Neither arriving nor departing in essence,
They pervade all worlds by the power of their vows.

(End of Book 4)
(End of Volume 7)

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