Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva
CHAPTER 02: The Division Bodies Gather
At that time the division bodies of Earth Store Bodhisattva began gathering in the Palace of the Trayastrimsha Heaven from billions of inexpressible, unutterable, immeasurable, ineffable, limitless Asamkhyeyas of worlds. They came from wherever hells were found.
Due to the spiritual powers of the Thus Come One, each came from his own direction and was joined by billions of nayutas of those who had obtained liberation from the force of bad karma. All came holding incense and flowers as offerings to the Buddha.
Those groups that came were irreversible from Anuttara- samyaksambodhi because they had been taught and transformed by Earth Store Bodhisattva.
For long eons they had wandered in birth and death, undergoing suffering within the Six Paths without even temporary respite. Now they had reached levels of Sagehood due to the great compassion and deep vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva.
They felt joyful as they arrived at the Trayastrimsha Heaven and gazed at the Thus Come One, their eyes not leaving him for a moment.
At that time, the World Honored One stretched forth his golden colored arm and rubbed the crowns of all the division bodies of Earth Store Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, gathered from billlons of Inexpressible, Inconceivable, immeasurable, ineffable, limitless Asamkhyeyas of worlds, and 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.
Those with keen roots will listen and immediately believe. Those with good rewards will respond to exhortation and strive to succeed. Those who are dark and dull will return only after being taught for a long time. Those whose karma is heavy fail to show any respect.
My division bodies take across and liberate all those different kinds of beings. 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 Sound-hearer, 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.
"Reflect on how I have toiled for repeated eons and endured acute suffering to take across and free stubborn beings who resist being taught and who continue to suffer for their offenses.
Those not yet subdued undergo retributions according to their karma. If they fall into the evil destinies and are enduring tremendous suffering, then you should remember the gravity of this entrustment I am now giving you here in the palace of the Trayastrimsha Heaven:
Find ways to liberate all beings in the Saha world from now until the time when Maitreya comes into the world. Help them escape suffering forever, encounter Buddhas, and receive predictions."
At that time all the division bodies of Earth Store Bodhisattva that came from all those worlds merged into single form. Then he wept and said to the Buddha, "Throughout long eons I have been receiving the Buddha's guidance and from that have developed inconceivable spiritual power and great wisdom.
My division bodies fill worlds as many as grains of sand in billions of Ganges Rivers. In each of those worlds, I transform myself into billions of bodies. Each body takes across billions of people, helping them to return respectfully to the Triple Jewel, escape birth and death forever, and reach the bliss of Nirvana.
Even if their good deeds within the Buddhadharma amount to as little as a strand of hair, a drop of water, a grain of sand, or a mote of dust, I will gradually take them across, liberate them, and help them gain great benefit.
I only hope that the World Honored One will not be concerned about beings of the future who have bad karma. " In that way he addressed the Buddha three times: "I only hope that the World Honored One will not be concerned about beings of the future who have bad karma."
At that time the Buddha praised Earth Store Bodhisattva and said, "Excellent! Excellent! I will help you in this work you so willingly undertake. When the vast vows that you keep making throughout so many eons are fulfilled and all those beings have been saved, then I will certify your ultimate Bodhi."
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