The Lotus Sutra
Translated into English by Burton Watson
Chapter Twenty-six: Dharani
At that time the Bodhisattva Medicine king rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, pressed his palms together and, facing the Buddha, spoke to him, saying, "World-Honored One, if there are good men or good women who can accept and uphold the Lotus Sutra, if they read and recite it, penetrate its meaning, or copy the sutra scrolls, how much merit will they gain?"
The Buddha said to Medicine King, "If there are good men or good women who offer alms to Buddhas equal in number to the sands of eight hundred ten thousand million nayutas of Ganges, what is your opinion? The merit they gain will surely be great, will it not?"
"Very great, World-Honored One."
The Buddha said, "If there are good men or good women who, with regard to this sutra, can accept and uphold even one four-line verse, if they read and recite it, understand the principle and practice it as the sutra directs, the benefits will be very many."
At that time Bodhisattva Medicine King said to the Buddha, "World-Honored One, I will now give to those who preach the Law dharani spells, which will guard and protect them." Then he pronounced these spells:
anye manye mane mamane chitte harite shame shamitavi
shante mukte muktatame same avashame sama same kshaye
akshaye akshine shante shame dharani alokabhashe-
pratyavekshani nivshte abhyantaranivishte atyantaparishuddhi
ukkule mukkule arade parade shukakashi asamasame
buddhavilokite dharmaparikshite samghanirghoshani
bhayabhayashodhani mantre mantrakshayate rute
rutakaushalye akshaye akshayavanataya abalo amanyanataya.
"World-Honored One, these dharanis, these supernatural spells, are pronounced by Buddhas equal in number to the sands of sixty-two million Ganges. If anyone should assault or injure these teachers of the Law, then he will have assaulted and injured these Buddhas!"
At that time Shakyamuni Buddha praised Bodhisattva Medicine King, saying, "Excellent, excellent, Medicine King! You keep these teachers of the Law in your compassionate thoughts, shield and guard them, and for that reason you pronounce these dharanis. They will bring great benefit to living beings."
At that time Bodhisattva Brave Donor said to the Buddha, "World-Honored One, I too will pronounce dharanis to shield and guard those who read, recite, accept, and uphold the Lotus Sutra. If a teacher of the Law acquires these dharanis, then although yakshas, rakshasas, putanas, krityas, kumbhandas or hungry spirits should spy out his shortcomings and try to take advantage of them, they will be unable to do so." Then in the presence of the Buddha he pronounced these spells:
jvale mahajvale ukke mukke ade adavati nritye nrityavati ittini
vittini chittini nrityani nrityakati
"World-Honored One, these dharanis, these supernatural spells, are pronounced by Buddhas equal in number to the sands of the Ganges, and all of them respond with joy. If anyone should assault or injure these teachers of the Law, then he will have assaulted and injured these Buddhas!"
At that time the heavenly king Vaishravana, protector of the world, said to the Buddha, "World-Honored One, I too think compassionately of living beings and shield and guard these teachers of the Law, and therefore I pronounce these dharanis." Then he pronounced these spells:
atte natte nunatte anada nade kunadi
"World-Honored One, with these supernatural spells I shield and guard the teachers of the Law. And I will also shield and guard those who uphold this sutra, making certain that they suffer no decline or harm within the area of a hundred yojanas."
At that time heavenly king Upholder of the Nation, who was in the assembly along with a host of thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of gandharvas who surrounded him and paid him reverence, advanced to the place where the Buddha was, pressed his palms together and said to the Buddha, "World-Honored One, I too will employ dharanis, supernatural spells, to shield and guard those who uphold the Lotus Sutra." Then he pronounced these spells:
agane gane gauri gandhari chandali matangi janguly vrusani
"World-Honored One, these dharanis, these supernatural spells, are pronounced by forty-two million Buddhas. If anyone should assault or injure these teachers of the Law, then he will have assaulted and injured these Buddhas!"
At that time there were daughters of rakshasa demons, the first named Lamba, the second named Vilamba, the third named Crooked Teeth, the fourth named Flowery Teeth, the fifth named Black Teeth, the sixth named Much Hair, the seventh named Insatiable, the eighth named Necklace Bearer, the ninth named Kunti, and the tenth named Stealer of the Vital Spirit of All Living Beings. These ten rakshasa daughters, along with the Mother of Devil Children, her offspring, and her attendants, all proceeded to the place where the Buddha was and spoke to the Buddha in unison, saying, "World-Honored One, we too wish to shield and guard those who read, recite, accept, and uphold the Lotus Sutra and spare them from decline or harm. If anyone should spy out the shortcomings of these teachers of the Law and try to take advantage of them, we will make it impossible for him to do so." Then in the presence of the Buddha they pronounce these spells:
itime itime itime atime itime nime nime nime nime nime ruhe
ruhe ruhe ruhe stahe stahe stahe stuhe shuhe
"Though they climb upon our very heads, they will never trouble the teachers of the Law! Whether it be a yaksha, or a pakshasa, or a hungry spirit, or a putana, or a kritya, or a vetada, or a skanda 8, or an umaraka, or an apasmaraka, or a yaksha kritya, or a human kritya, or a fever, a one day, a two day, a three day, or a four day, or up to a seven day or a constant fever, whether it be in a man's form, in a woman's form, in young boy's form, in young girl's form, though it be only in a dream, it will never trouble them!"
Then in the presence of the Buddha they spoke in verse form, saying:
If there are those who fail to heed our spells
and trouble and disrupt the preachers of the Law,
their heads will split into seven pieces
like the branches of the arjaka tree.
Their crime will be like that of one who kills father and mother,
or one who presses out oil,
or cheats others with measures and scales,
or, like Devadatta, disrupts the Order of monks.
Anyone who commits a crime against these teachers of the Law
will bring on himself guilt such as this!"
After the rakshasa daughters had spoken these verses, they said to the Buddha, "World-Honored One, we will use our own bodies to shield and guard those who accept, uphold, read, recite, and practice this sutra. We will see that they gain peace and tranquility, freeing them from decline and harm and nulling the effect of all poison herbs."
The Buddha said to the rakshasa daughters, "Excellent, excellent! If you can shield and guard those who accept and uphold the mere name of the Lotus Sutra, your merit will be immeasurable. How much more so if you shield and guard those who accept and uphold it in its entirety, who offer alms to the sutra scrolls, flowers, incense, necklaces, powdered incense, paste incense, incense for burning, banners, canopies, music, who burn various kinds of lamps, lamps of butter oil, oil lamps, lamps of various fragrant oils, lamps of sumana flower oil, and lamps of utpala flower oil, and who in this manner offer hundreds and thousands of varieties of alms? Kunti, you and your attendants should shield and guard the teachers of the Law such as these!"
When [the Buddha] preached this Dharani chapter, sixty-eight thousand persons gained the truth of birthless-ness.
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