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The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Blossom Sutra

The Universal Gateway of Observer of the World's Sounds (Avalokiteshvara) Bodhisattva

 

Chapter Twenty-five

 

5/98 Beta Translation by Dharmamitra from the Chinese of Kumarajiva

 

 

At that time, Endless Intention Bodhisattva arose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, placed his palms together as he faced the Buddha and spoke these words, "World Honored One, on account of what causes and conditions is Observer of the World's Sounds (Avalokiteshvara) Bodhisattva referred to as 'Observer of the World's Sounds'?"

The Buddha told Endless Intention Bodhisattva, "Good Son, If there were an incalculable number of hundreds of thousands of ten-thousands of millions of beings who were undergoing all manner of suffering and affliction, and if, having heard of this Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, they single-mindedly uttered the name, then Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva would immediately observe the sound of their voices and they would all succeed in gaining liberation.

"If there are those who uphold the name of this Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, even if they were to enter a conflagration, that fire would be unable to burn them. This is on account of the awesome spiritual power of this bodhisattva.

"If they were swept away by a great flood, if they uttered his name, then they would immediately find a shallow place.

"If there were hundreds of thousands of ten-thousands of millions of beings who went to sea in order to seek gold, silver, vaidurya, mother-of-pearl, agate, coral, amber, pearls and other such jewels, and if there then arose a black wind which blew over their ships so that they capsized and descended into the region of the raak.sasa ghosts, if there was even just one person among them who uttered the name of Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, all of these people would succeed in escaping the calamity of the raak.sasas. It is on account of these causes and conditions that he is named 'Observer of the World's Sounds.'"

"If there were also people who were approaching a situation where they were about to be set upon and injured, if they uttered the name of Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, the knives and clubs wielded [by the attackers] would break into pieces and they would succeed in escaping.

"If all of the countries of the great trichiliocosm were filled with yak.sas and raak.sasas intent on afflicting people, upon hearing their utterance of the name of Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, none of these evil ghosts would even be able to cast an evil eye on them, how much the less would they be able to inflict harm.

"If there were people, whether guilty of offenses or innocent of offenses, who were subjected to manacles, leg-irons, the cangue, or chains which confined or restrained their bodies, if they uttered the name of Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, then [the restraints] would be broken and they would gain their freedom.

"It may be that the lands of the great trichiliocosm are full of hostile thieves and there is a leader of traders guiding merchants with a cargo of precious jewels down a dangerous road. It may be that someone calls out, 'Good men, don't be afraid. You should single-mindedly call out the name of Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva. This Bodhisattva is able to bestow fearlessness on beings. If you all utter the name then you should be able to escape from these hostile thieves.' If when the group of merchants hear this they then all raise their voices, proclaiming, 'Namo Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva,' on account of uttering his name they will immediately succeed in escaping.

"Endless Intention. The awesome spiritual power of Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, Mahasattva is so lofty and mighty as to be like this.

"If there are beings who are afflicted with much sexual desire, if they are constantly mindful of and respectful towards Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, they will then succeed in transcending desire. If they are afflicted with much anger, if they are constantly mindful of and respectful towards Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, they will then succeed in transcending hatred. If they are afflicted with much stupidity, if they are constantly mindful of and respectful towards Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, they will then succeed in transcending stupidity.

"Endless Intention. Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva possesses great and awesome spiritual power such as this which is beneficial in many ways. Therefore beings should constantly remain mindful of him.

"If there is a woman who seeks to give birth to a son, she should make reverence and offerings to Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva. She will then give birth to a son endowed with blessings, virtue and wisdom. If she wishes to give birth to a daughter, she shall give birth to a daughter who is well-formed and possessed of the proper features. She will have planted the roots of virtue in the past and so will be loved and respected by many people.

"Endless Intention. Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva possesses power such as this. If there are beings who respectfully make reverence to Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, their blessings will not be wasted. Therefore beings should all uphold the name of Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva.

"Endless Intention. If there were a person who upheld the names of bodhisattvas equal in number to the sands in sixty-two ko.tis of Ganges' Rivers and to the end of life made offerings of food and drink, clothing, bedding and medicines, what do you think? Would the merit of this good man or woman be immense, or not?"

Endless Intention replied, "It would be extremely immense, World Honored One."

The Buddha said, "If there was yet another person who even one time upheld the name of Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva while also making reverence and presenting offerings, the blessings of these two people would be exactly the same. There would be no difference. It could not be exhausted in even hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of kalpas.

"Endless Intention. One who upholds the name of Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva gains the benefit of an incalculable and boundless measure of meritorious qualities such as this.

Endless Intention Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha, saying, "World Honored One. Why does Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva roam about in this Sahaa World? Why does he speak Dharma for beings? And what is the extent of the power of his skillful means?"

The Buddha declared to Endless Intention Bodhisattva, "Good Man, If there are beings in a country who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a buddha, then Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva manifests the body of a buddha and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a pratyekabuddha, he then manifests the body of a pratyekabuddha and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a Hearer, he then manifests the body of a Hearer and speaks Dharma for their sakes.

"If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a Brahma Heaven King, he then manifests the body of a Brahma Heaven King and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of an Indra God, he then manifests the body of an Indra god and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of an Isvara Heaven god, he then manifests the body of an Isvara Heaven god and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a Great Isvara Heaven god, he then manifests the body of a great Isvara Heaven god and speaks Dharma for their sakes.

"If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the body of a great heavenly general, he then manifests the person of a great heavenly general and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a Vaishrava.na, he then manifests the body of a Vaishrava.na and speaks Dharma for their sakes.

"If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a lesser king, he then manifests the body of a lesser king and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain liberation assisted by the person of an elder, he then manifests the body of an elder and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a community leader, he then manifests the body of a leader of the community and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a government official, he then manifests the body of a government official and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a brahman, he then manifests the body of a brahman and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a bhikshu, bhikshuni, upaasaka or upaasikaa, he then manifests the body of a bhikshu, bhikshuni, upaasaka or upaasikaa and speaks Dharma for their sakes.

"If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of the wife or daughter of an elder, community leader, government official, or brahman, he then manifests the body of such a wife or daughter and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation through the person of a boy or a girl, he then manifests the body of a boy or a girl and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the presence of a heavenly dragon, a yak.sa, a gandharva, an asura, a garu.da, a kinnara, a mahoraga, a human, a non-human, or some other, he then manifests the form of any one of them and speaks Dharma for their sakes. If there are those who ought to gain the crossing over to liberation assisted by the person of a vajra-holding spirit, he then manifests the body of a vajra-holding spirit and speaks Dharma for their sakes.

"Endless Intention. This Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva has perfected meritorious qualities such as these whereby he employs all different sorts of forms and wanders to every region crossing beings over to liberation. Therefore, you should all single-mindedly make offerings to Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva. In the midst of fear and urgent difficulty, this Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, Mahasattva is able to bestow fearlessness. Hence everyone in this Sahaa World calls him 'The Bestower of Fearlessness.'"

Endless Intention Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha, saying, "World Honored One. It is fitting that I now make an offering to Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva." He then took from his neck a necklace of many precious pearls worth a hundred thousand taels of gold and then gave it to him, saying, "Pray, Humane One, accept this necklace of precious jewels as a Dharma gift."

At that time, Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva declined to accept it. Endless Intention again addressed Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, saying, "Pray, out of pity for us, please accept this necklace."

At that time the Buddha told Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva, "It is fitting that you accept this necklace out of pity for this Endless Intention Bodhisattva as well as for the four-fold assembly with its gods, dragons, yak.sas, gandharvas, asuras, garu.das, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans, non-humans and others."

Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva immediately took pity on everyone in the four-fold assembly as well as the gods, dragons, yak.sas, gandharvas, asuras, gar?u.das, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans, non-humans and others and so accepted his necklace, divided it into two parts, and then presented one part to Shakyamuni Buddha and presented the other part to the stupa of Multitude of Jewels Buddha.

"Endless Intention. Observer of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva possesses sovereignly independent spiritual powers such as this whereby he roams throughout the Sahaa World."

At that time, Endless Intention Bodhisattva inquired in verse, saying:

"World Honored One of wondrous marks
About him now I ask again:
What reasons is this son of Buddha
Named 'Observer of the World's Sounds'?"

The Honored One of wondrous marks
Replied in verse to Endless Intention:
"Now hear of the conduct of Observer of Sounds.
In skillful response he goes forth to all regions.

His vastness in vows is as deep as the ocean.
It goes on through kalpas past thought and description.
He's served many thousands of kotis of buddhas.
And has brought forth great vows which in nature are pure.

In brief I'll now tell you these things for your sake.
The hearer of the name and the seer of the person
And the bearer in mind have not done so in vain
For they're able to demolish all sufferings of existence.

If someone who's acting on harmful intentions
Then pushes one down in a pit of great fire,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds:
So that fire then will change and become just a pond.

If one's churning and flowing upon the great ocean,
Where one's troubled by dragons and fishes and ghosts,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds,
Thus that heaving of waves cannot cause one to sink.

If one's high on the ridges of Sumeru Mountain,
And is pushed off by someone and thence made to fall,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds,
So that just like the sun in the sky one may stand.

If one's chased forth by someone who by nature is evil,
And thus one then falls off the Mountain of Vajra,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds,
So he won't then be able to injure one hair.

If one meets with encirclement by hostile invaders,
And each holds a knife and then threatens to harm one,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds,
They'll all then bring forth thoughts imbued with compassion.

If one meets with the sufferings from troubles with sovereigns
So that drawing close to punishment one's life will soon end,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds,
Thus those knives then will shatter by falling to pieces.

If one's hauled off to prison wearing chains and the cangue,
Whilst the hands are in manacles and the feet are in fetters,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds,
As if fallen away, one then gains freedom from them.

Hit by mantras and curses and poisonous potions
From someone intending to injure one's body,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds,
They'll turn back and then cling to the person they came from.

Perhaps one encounters a poisonous raak.sasa
Or else toxic dragons, many ghosts, or yet others,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds,
Just in time, none will dare to bring forth any harm.

If malevolent creatures come forth and surround one
And bare their sharp teeth and sharp claws which are frightful,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds,
They'll then quickly run off to the unbounded regions.

If meeting with serpents and vipers and scorpions,
Whose poison from breath spews like smoke and like fire,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds,
So that following the voice they'll return whence they came.

When thunder from clouds drums and lightning is striking,
When hail is descending and rain falls in torrents,
Then be mindful of the power of that Observer of Sounds,
As a response to the moment, they'll melt off and scatter.

When beings are set on by troubles and misery
And incalculable suffering then threatens their bodies,
The power of Observer of Sound's wondrous wisdom
Is able to rescue from worldly sufferings.

Replete with the power of all superknowledges
While vast in the practice of wisdom and means,
In all of the lands of the ten-fold directions,
There's not one k.setra his body won't appear in.

In all of the different pathways so woeful,
Among hells, among ghosts, among animals also,
The anguish of birth, aging, sickness and dying,
Is made by these methods to gradually be extinguished.

With the true contemplation, the pure contemplation,
The vast and great wisdom-suffused contemplation,
With compassion contemplation and kindness contemplation,
He's constant in vows and eternally watchful.

With pure light that is free of the slightest defilement,
The sun of his wisdom breaks through all the darkness.
He ably constrains wind and fire disasters,
And with universal brilliance illumines the worlds.

With compassionate embodiment, thundrous quaking of precepts,
And the wondrous great cloud of his kindly intention,
He pours down sweet dew as a rainfall of Dharma
And puts out the flames from the fire of afflictions.

In disputes and lawsuits, through government places,
Amidst all the terrors of army's formations,
Just be mindful of the power of Observer of Sounds.
So hostilities then will abate and then scatter.

That wondrous sound of: "Observer of World's Sounds"
[Compared to] the brahman sound or to the sea-tide sound,
Is superior to all of those sounds of the world.
So thence one should constantly bring it to mind.

In thought after thought, don't bring forth any doubting
In Observer of World's Sounds purity and sagehood.
In afflictions from suffering and misery of dying,
He's able to serve one through acts of support.

He's perfect in all of the merits and qualities.
His loving kind eyes gaze upon all the beings.
His sea of gathered blessings goes beyond any measure.
And hence one should move thence to offer him reverence.

At that time Keeper of the Earth Bodhisattva arose from his seat and addressed the Buddha from in front, saying, "World Honored One. If there are beings who have listened to the sovereignly independent karmic actions described in this chapter and to the [description of] spiritual powers manifest by this universal gateway, one should understand that the merit gained by these people is not insignificant."

When the Buddha spoke this Universal Gateway Chapter, eighty-four thousand beings in the assembly all brought forth the mind intent on realizing the unequaled anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.

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5/98 Beta Translation Copyright © by Dharmamitra. All rights reserved.

(Translated May 29-31, 1998 in commemoration of the third anniversary of Master Hsuan Hua's passing.)

Minh Quang posted November 23, 2001

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