SUTRA ON HOW TO PRACTICE MEDITATION ON BODHISATTVA UNIVERSAL WORTHY
THIS IS WHAT I heard:
At one time, when the Buddha was in the double-storied hall in the Great Forest Monestary in Vaishali, he announced to the monks, “Three months from now I will enter parinirvana.”
The venerable Ananda thereupon rose from his seat, straightened his robe, brought his hands together so the palms were touching, and walked three times around the Buddha. Bowing in obeisance to the Buddha, he knelt on one knee, with his palms pressed together, and gazed intently at the thus come one, not turning his eyes aside for an instant. The elder Mahakashyapa and the bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya also rose from their seats, pressed their palms together, and bowed in obeisance, gazing up in reverence at the face of the honored one.
Then these three great men, three mouths speaking in one voice, addressed the Buddha, saying: “World-Honored One, after the thus come one has entered extinction, how can living beings nurture the bodhisattva mind, practice the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, and employ correct thoughts in pondering the realm of the single truth? How can they be certain of attaining the mind of unsurpassed enlightenment? How, without cutting off earthly desires or separating themselves from the five desires, can they purify their senses and wipe away their offenses? How, with the pure everyday eyes they received from their fathers and mothers at birth, and without cutting off the five desires, will they be able to see what lies beyond obstacles?”
The Buddha said to Ananda: “Listen with attention, listen with attention, and consider the matter carefully. In the past, I, the thus come one, on Mount Gridhrakuta and in other places, have already widely explained in detail the way of the single truth. Now in this place, for the sake of living beings of ages to come who wish to study the practice of Universal Worthy and to carry out Universal Worthy’s practice, I will now explain the method that they should hold in mind. Whether you have already seen Universal Worthy or have not yet seen him, I will now explain for you the steps to be observed in order to reduce the number of your offenses.
“Ananda, the bodhisattva Universal Worthy was born in the land Pure and Wonderful in the east. The characteristics of that land I have already explained in detail in the Miscellaneous Flower Sutra. Now in this sutra I will explain the matter in brief.
“Ananda, if there are monks, nuns, laymen, or laywomen, heavenly beings, dragons, or others of the eight kinds of beings, or any living beings who intone the great vehicle, practice the great vehicle, set their minds on the great vehicle, wish to see thee form and body of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, wish to see the tower of Many Treasures Buddha, wish to see Shakyamuni Buddha and the many buddhas that are emanations of his body, or with to attain purification of the six sense organs — they should study this meditation.
“The benefits of this meditation remove obstacles and impediments so they can see the finest, the most wonderful forms. They need not enter a samadhi, but merely by reciting and upholding it [the great vehicle] they can practice with their entire minds, from one instant of mind to the next never departing from the great vehicle, and by the time they have done so for one day and up to three times seven days, they will be able to see Universal Worthy.
“Those who are impeded by heavy obstacles will have to do so for seven times seven days before they can see him. Those who have even heavier obstacles will take a lifetime to see him. Those with even heavier obstacles will take two lifetimes to see him. And those with even heavier will take three lifetimes to see him. Because the effects of karma differ in these various cases, it is necessary to explain the matter in different ways.
“Bodhisattva Universal Worthy is boundless in the volume of his body, boundless in voice, boundless in form and shape. Wishing to come to this land, he employs his freely exercised transcendental powers to shrink his body, making it small. Because the people of Jambudvipa are impeded by the three obstacles, he employs the power of wisdom, transforming himself and riding on a white elephant. The elephant has six tusks and seven legs that support it on the ground, and under the seven legs grow seven lotus blossoms.
“The elephant is pure white in color, the finest of all whites. Even the crystal hue of the Snow Mountain cannot compare to it. The body of the elephant is 450 yojanas in length and 400 yojanas in height. At the tips of its six tusks are six ponds, and in each of these ponds there grow fourteen lotus blossoms that are as big as the pond itself. When these blossoms open and unfold, they are like the king of heavenly trees. On each blossom there is a lovely woman whose face is a crimson-like hue and who shines more brightly than a heavenly maiden. In each hand are five harps that have appeared as though of themselves, and each harp is accompanied by five hundred other musical instruments as its attendants. Five hundred kinds of birds, ducks, wild geese, mandarin ducks, all with the colors of various treasures, spring up in the spaces between the blossoms and the leaves. There is also a blossom on the elephant’s trunk. Its stem is the color of pure red pearl. The blossom is a golden color and is closed and not yet unfolded.
“Once you have seen these things, then you carry out further repentance, meditate intensively with all your mind, and ponder the great vehicle, not permitting your mind to rest or to wander, then the blossom will unfold and shine with a golden hue. The dais or calyx of the lotus blossom is composed of kimshuka jewels and wonderful pure mani jewels, and diamond jewels make up the stamens of the blossom. You will see a conjured buddha sitting on the dais of the lotus blossom, and a host of numerous bodhisattvas sitting on the stamens of the lotus blossom.
From the space between the eyebrows of this conjured buddha a beam of golden light will shine forth and will enter the elephant’s trunk. Taking on the color of a red lotus blossom, it will emerge from the elephant’s trunk and enter the elephant’s eyes. Emerging from the elephant’s eyes, it will enter the elephant’s ears. Emerging from the elephant’s ears, it will illuminate the crown of the elephant’s head, where it will be transformed into a golden dais.
“On top of the elephant’s head there will be three conjured persons, one grasping a golden wheel, one holding a mani jewel, and one wielding a diamond-pounder. When the last raises the daimond-pounder and signals to the elephant, then the elephant is allowed to begin walking. His feet do not touch the ground, but he treads on empty air and moves about freely. He is elevated seven feet above the ground, but his footprints appear on the ground. In every footprint there is a thousand-spoked wheel, and in each of these wheels a large lotus blossom springs up. On each of these lotus blossoms there appears a conjured elephant, which also has seven feet and follows along after the big elephant. Each time these elephants raise and lower their feet, seven thousand other elephants appear to act as their attendants, all following along after the big elephant.