Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva

CHAPTER 11: The Dharma Protection of an Earth Spirit

At that time the Earth Spirit Firm and Stable spoke to the Buddha and said, "World Honored One, from long ago I have personally beheld and bowed to limitless numbers of Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas. All of them have inconceivable and great spiritual penetrations and wisdom that they use in taking vast numbers of beings across. Among all the Bodhisattvas, Earth Store Bodhisattva, Mahasattva has the deepest and most weighty vows.

"World Honored One, Earth Store Bodhisattva has great affinities in Jambudvipa. Manjushri, Samantabhadra, Avalokiteshvara, and Maitreya, also produce by transformation, hundreds of thousands of bodies to take across those in the Six Paths, but their vows have an end.

Earth Store Bodhisattva has made these vows to teach and transform beings in the Six Paths throughout eons as many as the number of sand grains in hundreds of thousands of millions of Ganges Rivers.

"World Honored One, as I regard beings of the present and future, I see those who make shrines of clay, stone, bamboo, or wood and set them on pure ground in the southern part of their dwellings. They place within the shrines images of Earth Store Bodhisattva, either sculpted, painted, or made of gold, silver, copper, or iron. They then light incense, make offerings, behold, worship, and praise him.

By doing those things, such people will receive ten kinds of benefits.

"What are those ten?
First, their lands will be fertile.
Second, their families and homes will always be peaceful.
Third, their ancestors will be born in the heavens.
Fourth, those of the current generation will enjoy benefits and long lives.
Fifth, they will easily obtain what they want.
Sixth, they will not encounter disasters of water and fire.
Seventh, they will avoid unforeseen calamities.
Eighth, they will never have nightmares.
Ninth, they will be protected by spirits in their daily comings and goings.
Tenth, they will encounter many causes that pertain to Sagehood.

World Honored One, beings of the present and future who make offerings in their homes in the prescribed manner will attain benefits like those."

He further said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, good men or good women in the future may keep this Sutra and an image of the Bodhisattva where they live. Further, they may recite the Sutra and make offerings to the Bodhisattva.

For those who do that, I shall constantly use my own spiritual powers to guard and protect them day and night so that nothing bad happens to them, including floods, fire, robbery and theft, major disasters, and minor accidents."

The Buddha told the Earth Spirit Firm and Stable, "There are few spirits who can match your great spiritual power. Why do I say that?

"All the lands in Jambudvipa receive your protection. All the grasses, woods, sands, stones, paddy fields, hemp, bamboo, reeds, grains, rice, and gems come forth from the earth because of your power.

Moreover, your constant praising of the beneficial deeds of Earth Store Bodhisattva makes your meritorious virtues and spiritual penetrations hundreds of thousands of times those of ordinary earth spirits.

"If good men or good women in the future make offerings to this Bodhisattva, or recite the Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva and rely upon even a single aspect of it in their cultivation, you should use your own spiritual powers to protect them. Do not allow any disasters or unwelcome events even to be heard, much less undergone, by them.

Not only will those people be protected by you, they will also be protected by the followers of Shakra, Brahma, and other gods. Why will they receive protection from sages and worthies such as those?

It will be due to their having beheld and worshipped an image of Earth Store Bodhisattva and from having recited this Sutra of his past vows. Such people will quite naturally be able to leave the sea of suffering and ultimately be certified to the bliss of Nirvana. For those reasons they receive great protection."

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