(Sūtra) The Dharma-Door of Praising Tathāgata Akṣobhya’s Merits

Select from one of the following chapters below to navigate, there are 6 chapters in total.

I.II.III.IV.V.VI.

Transcribed by Tâm Tịnh from the book titled, “A Treasury of Mahāyāna Sūtras

Akṣobhya Buddha’s Dhāraṇī:

ན་མོ་རཏྣ་ཏྲ་ཡཱ་ཡ། ཨོཾ་ཀཾ་ཀ་ནི་ཀཾ་ཀ་ནི། རོ་ཙ་ནི་རོ་ཙ་ནི་ ཏྲོ་ཊ་ནི་ཏྲོ་ཊ་ནི།

ཏྲཱ་ས་ནི་ཏཱ་ས་ནི། པྲ་ཏི་ཧ་ན་པྲ་ཏི་ཧ་ན། སརྦ་ཀརྨ་པ་རཾ་པ་ར་རཱ་ནི་མེ་སྭཱཧཱ། 

Namo Bhagavate Akṣhobhāya, Tathāgatāyārhate Saṃyaksaṃbuddhyāya, Tadyathā: Oṃ Kaṃkani Kaṃkani, Rotsani Rotsani, Troṭani Troṭani, Trāsani Trāsani, Pratihana Pratihana, Sarva Karma Paraṃparāṇime Sarva Sattvānañcha Svāhā

(NOTE: The Dhāraṇī is not mentioned in the sūtra, everything below it is. Added as a personal foot note to invoke Akṣobhya’s blessing’s while reading it).

Chapter I

Thus have I heard. Once the Buddha was dwelling on Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa near Rājagṛha, together with an assembly of twelve hundred fifty great monks. All these monks were well-known Arhats who had extinguished all defilements and suffered afflictions no more. They were liberated in mind and in wisdom, and were as free and unhindered as great dragons. They had done what should be done and abandoned the heavy burdens. They had benefited themselves and severed all bonds of existence. They were conversant with the true teaching and had reached the other shore. [Among them,] only Ānanda remained in the stage of learning.

At the time, the Venerable Śāriputra rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, knelt on his right knee, joined his palms toward the Buddha, and said, “World-Honored One, how did Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas of the past resolve to pursue supreme enlightenment, cultivate all pure deeds, and wear the armor of vigor, adorning themselves with merits? How did those nonregression from the pursuit of supreme enlightenment? May the utterly kind World-Honored One reveal and expound their deeds, their vows, and their engendering of bodhicitta. World-Honored One, those Bodhisattvas-Mahāsattvas, for the benefit, peace, and happiness of gods and humans, exerted themselves to cultivate all pure deeds and wore the armor of vigor; thereby they rendered benefit, peace and happiness to all sentient beings, and illuminated the Buddha-Dharma for Bodhisattvas of the present and future. By praising merits and obtaining good roots, they caused the Bodhisattvas [of the present and future] to learn and cultivate diligently [the insight into] suchness, the Dharma-nature, and to attain supreme enlightenment without fail after hearing the Buddha-Dharma explained.”

The Buddha said, “Excellent! It is excellent, Śāriputra, that you can ask me about past Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas pure deeds, their illumination, their great armor, and their praising of merits for the sake of embracing Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas of the future. Now, listen attentively and think in accordance with the truth. I will explain this to you.”

            Śāriputra said, “Yes, World-Honored One, I am willing and glad to listen.”

            The Buddha told Śāriputra, “A thousand worlds from here to the east, there is a Buddha-land named Wonderful Joy, where Tathāgata Great Eyes, the Worthy One, the Perfectly Enlightened One, once appeared to expound the subtle, wonderful Dharma to Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas, beginning with the six pāramitās.

            Śāriputra, at the time, a monk rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, knelt on his right knee, joined his palms toward the Buddha, and said, ‘World-Honored One, I am determined to follow the way of the Bodhisattva as taught by the Buddha.”

            “That Buddha said, ‘Now, good man, you should know that the way of the Bodhisattva is very difficult to follow. Why? Because a Bodhisattva bears no malice against sentient beings.’

            “Thereupon, the monk said to Buddha, ‘World-Honored One, I now engender supreme bodhicitta. I will seek all-knowing wisdom by doing away with crookedness and deceit, and by invariably speaking the truth. If I bear malice against sentient beings from now until my attainment of supreme enlightenment, I will be disobeying all the Buddhas, Tathāgatas, who are now expounding the Dharma in numberless, countless, boundless worlds.

            “’World-Honored One, now I have resolved to pursue all-knowing wisdom and dedicate myself to this. If, during this pursuit, I feel any inclination to be a Śrāvaka or Pratyekabuddha, I will be deceiving all Buddhas.

            “’World-Honored One, now I have resolved to pursue all-knowing wisdom and am dedicated to this. If I generate any desire, hatred, or ignorance toward sentient beings, or am prone to stupor, arrogance, or misdeeds from now until my attainment of supreme enlightenment, I will be deceiving all Buddhas.’

            “Śāriputra, at the time, certain other monks thought, ‘After he has first brought forth bodhicitta, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva will wear the armor of vigor, and will never be moved by hatred or the like toward any sentient being.’ Śāriputra, then, because of their thought, the Bodhisattva was called Akṣobhya of the Land of Wonderful Joy. When Tathāgata Great Eyes, the Worthy One, the Perfectly Enlightened One, saw that this Bodhisattva had obtained the name ‘Akṣobhya,’ he rejoiced over the name and acclaimed it as excellent. The four deva kings, Śakra, and Brahmā, upon hearing this name, also rejoiced over it.

            “Śāriputra, in that Buddha’s presence, Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva Akṣobhya continued, ‘World-Honored One, now I have resolved to pursue all-knowing wisdom and am dedicated to the attainment of supreme enlightenment. If my practice, from now until my attainment of supreme enlightenment, is ever contrary to these words, then I will be deceiving all the Buddhas, the Tathāgatas, who expound the Dharma in numberless, countless worlds.

            “’World-Honored One, now I have made this great decision and have dedicated myself to it. If I say anything that is not in harmony with the recollection of the Buddha or will all-knowing wisdom from now until my attainment of enlightenment, then I will be deceiving all Buddhas.

            “’World-Honored One, now I have brought forth this aspiration and am dedicated to it. If I remain in the household life instead of renouncing it in any lifetime from now until my attainment of supreme enlightenment, then I will be disobeying all Buddhas.

            “’World-Honored One, now I have resolved to pursue all-knowing wisdom. If I leave the household life in every lifetime, but do not beg for food, take only one meal a day, practice temperance in eating, … limit my clothing to the three garments, wear garments of cast-off rags, sit anywhere, practice never lying down, live in a secluded forest, rest under a tree, sit in the open air, or live among graves from now until my attainment of supreme enlightenment, then I will be deceiving all Buddhas.

            “’World-Honored One, now I have resolved to pursue great enlightenment and am so dedicated. If I cannot attain unimpeded eloquence to expound the wonderful Dharma from now until my attainment of all-knowing wisdom, then I will be deceiving all Buddhas.

            “’World-Honored One, now I have thus resolved. If I do not remain dignified in standing, sitting, and walking from now up to my attainment of supreme enlightenment, then I will be deceiving all the innumerable Buddhas.

            “’World-Honored One, now I have thus resolved. If I commit any major offense against sentient beings, or lie, or speak in a worldly or boisterous manner, or have any inclination to defeat others in argument from now until my attainment of all-knowing wisdom, then I will be deceiving all the countless Buddhas.

            “’World-Honored One, now I have resolved to pursue all=knowing wisdom and am firmly dedicated to the attainment of supreme enlightenment. If, when expounding the Dharma to women, I do not keep in mind impermanence, suffering, emptiness, or the absence of self, but am attracted by the women’s appearance and smile broadly, then I will be deceiving all Buddhas.

            “’World-Honored One, I have now resolved to pursue all-knowing wisdom and am firmly dedicated to the attainment of supreme enlightenment. If I look around and gesture frivolously when expounding the Dharma, or do not regard other Bodhisattvas as great masters when I see them, then I will be deceiving numberless Buddhas.

            “’World –Honored One, now I have resolved to pursue all-knowing wisdom. From now until my attainment of supreme enlightenment, if I sit down to listen to [heterodox] doctrines or pay homage to heterodox Śramaṇas and brāhmins, instead of [listening to the Dharma and paying homage to] Buddhist Śramaṇas and devotees, then I will be deceiving all Buddhas.

            “’World-Honored One, now I have brought forth this great aspiration. From now until I attain supreme enlightenment, if, when practicing the giving of material things or the giving of the Dharma, I am partial or discriminate among the recipients of my offerings, then I will be deceiving all Buddhas.

            “’World-Honored One, now I have resolved to pursue all-knowing wisdom. From now until I attain supreme enlightenment, if, when seeing criminals about to be punished, I do not save them even at the risk of my own life, then I will be deceiving all Buddhas.

            “Śāriputra, from the time when this Bodhisattva began to cultivate such a great practice up to his attainment of supreme enlightenment, not a single sentient being about to be punished for some crime was not rescued by him.

            “Śāriputra, at the time, a monk thought, ‘The Tathāgata will be the witness for this Dharma-practitioner, as will these gods, humans, asuras, and so forth.’

            “Śāriputra, thereupon, perceiving what the monk thought, Tathāgata Great Eyes, the Worthy One, the Perfectly Enlightened One, will be his witness, as will these gods, humans, asuras, and so forth. Monk, any Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva who thus wears the armor of great vigor to pursue supreme enlightenment will surely attain it.’

            “Śāriputra, after that, the Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva Akṣobhya further said to the Buddha, ‘World-Honored One, now I have resolved to pursue all-knowing wisdom. If I mention any offense committed by, or any dissension among, monks, nuns, laymen, or laywomen from now until my attainment of supreme enlightenment, then I will be disobeying all Buddhas, the Tathāgatas. World-Honored One, I will devote myself to the practice of this vow until I attain supreme enlightenment, so as to make my [Buddha-] land vast and pure and the Śrāvakas there all faultless.

            “’World-Honored One, from now until my attainment of supreme enlightenment, if I, who resolved to pursue all-knowing wisdom, have any sensual desire resulting in an ejaculation, even in a dream, then I will be disobeying all Buddhas, the Tathāgatas. World-Honored One, I will follow this practice until I realize supreme enlightenment, so as to make the monastic Bodhisattvas in my land free from ejaculations, even in dreams.

            “’World-Honored One, I have resolved to pursue all-knowing wisdom. If however, when I have attained supreme enlightenment, the women in my Buddha-land have the same female faults as those of women in other lands, then I will relinquish supreme enlightenment. If I do not relinquish it, the I shall be cheating all Buddhas.’…

            “Śāriputra, at the time, Tathāgata Great Eyes prophesied Bodhisattva Akṣobhya’s attainment of supreme enlightenment, saying, ‘Good man, in a future life you will become a Buddha named Tathāgata Akṣobhya; the Worthy One, the Perfectly Enlightened One, the One Perfect in Learning and Conduct, the Well-Gone One, the World-Knower, the Unexcelled One, the Great Tamer, the Teacher of Gods and Humans, the Buddha, the World-Honored One.’ The prophecy was similar to Dīpaṃkara Buddha’s prophecy of my attainment of supreme enlightenment.

            “Śāriputra, when Bodhisattva Akṣobhya received the prophecy, there was a great light that illuminated the whole world, and the earth quaked in the six ways, as did the billion-world universe when I realized all-knowing wisdom.

            “Furthermore, Śāriputra, when Bodhisattva Akṣobhya received the prophecy from the Buddha, all the gods, dragons, yakṣas, asuras, garuḍas, kinnaras, and mahoragas of the that billion-world universe joined their palms and prostrated themselves with their heads at the Bodhisattva’s feet to pay homage to him, just as all the gods, dragons, and so forth of the Sāha World did to me when I realized great enlightenment here.

            “Furthermore, Śāriputra, at the moment when Bodhisattva Akṣobhya received the prophecy, all the pregnant women in the world gave birth to their children safely and peacefully, without travail or difficulty; the blind recovered their sight and the deaf restored their hearing, all just as it was when I attained Buddhahood.

            “Furthermore, Śāriputra, at the two moments-when the Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva Akṣobhya resolved to pursue supreme enlightenment, and when Tathāgata Great Eyes, the Worthy One, the Perfectly Enlightened One, prophesied his attainment of enlightenment – no sentient being died an unnatural death, just as it was when I realized all-knowing wisdom…

            “Śāriputra, when Bodhisattva Akṣobhya received the prophecy, the sentient beings of the Realm of desire brought superb delicacies to him and played celestial music for him, as offerings.

            “Śāriputra, such are the merits achieved by the Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva Akṣobhya after he received the prophecy.”

            Then the Venerable Śāriputra said to the Buddha, “ World-Honored One, most extraordinary is the Tathāgata, the Worthy One, the Perfectly Enlightened One, who is so skillful in explaining the inconceivable states of Buddhas, the inconceivable states of dhyānas, the inconceivable states of dragons, and the inconceivable karmic results. World-Honored One, when the Bodhisattva Akṣobhya abided in the initial generation of bodhicitta, he embraced the before-mentioned merits; when he received the Tathāgata’s prophecy, he perfected those great, inconceivable merits.”

            The Buddha told Śāriputra, “So it is, so it is, as you say.”

            Then the Venerable Ānanda said to Śāriputra, “Most virtuous one, the World-Honored One has explained only a small portion of that novice Bodhisattva’s merits of wearing the armor of vigor, not all of them.”

            Śāriputra said, “So it is, so it is. The Tathāgata has only touched upon them briefly. Why? Because when that Bodhisattva first brought forth bodhicitta and donned the armor of vigor, he achieved inconceivable, immeasurable merits.”

            Śāriputra said further to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, now you have praised briefly Bodhisattva Akṣobhya’s superb merits of wearing the armor of vigor. May the World-Honored One elaborate upon them for the sake of gathering in Bodhisattvas of the present and future.”

            The Buddha told Śāriputra, “Inconceivable are the merits of Bodhisattva Akṣobhya when he first brought forth bodhicitta and donned the armor of vigor. Now I will further relate to you a small portion of them. Listen attentively and think well about them.”

            Śāriputra said, “Yes, World-Honored One.  I am willing and glad to listen.”

            The Buddha said, “The Bodhisattva Akṣobhya once made this vow: ‘Even if empty space changes, I shall not withdraw from my great vows.’ Because of this vow, Bodhisattva Akṣobhya achieved all merits quickly. Śāriputra, I cannot find any Bodhisattva in the Worthy Kalpa who wears the armor of vigor as Bodhisattva Akṣobhya did. Śāriputra, the practices cultivated by Bodhisattva Precious Banner were less than a small part, or even an infinitesimal part, of those cultivated by Bodhisattva Akṣobhya.

            “Śāriputra, in wearing the armor of vigor, Bodhisattva Akṣobhya had no peer among countless thousands of other Bodhisattvas. Śāriputra, with his firm vows, Bodhisattva Akṣobhya has realized supreme enlightenment. Now he is living in the World of Wonderful Joy and is named Tathāgata Akṣobhya, the Worthy One, the Perfectly Enlightened One…”

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