Karmic Retributions of Beings of Jambudvipa
At that time Earth Store Bodhisattva said
to the Buddha, "World Honored One, because I receive the awesome
spiritual strength of the Buddha, Thus Come One, I am able to
divide my body and rescue beings who are undergoing karmic retributions
everywhere in billions of worlds. If it were not for the great
compassionate strength of the Thus Come One, I would be unable
to perform such changes and transformations.
Now the World Honored One has entrusted me
with rescuing and liberating beings in the Six Paths until Ajita
becomes a Buddha. I accept the entrustment, World Honored One.
Please have no further concern.
Then the Buddha told Earth Store Bodhisattva,
"Beings who have not yet obtained liberation have unfixed natures
Their bad habits reap karma; their good habits
bring rewards. Reacting to situations by doing good or evil acts
causes them to turn in the Five Paths without a moment's rest.
Throughout eons as numerous as motes of dust they remain confused,
deluded, obstructed, and afflicted by difficulties.
They are like fish swimming through waters
laced with nets. They may slip through and keep their freedom
temporarily, but sooner or later they will be caught. I am concerned
about such beings.
But since you keep making extensive vows repeatedly
throughout successive eons to take such offenders across, what
further worries need I have?
After that was said, a Bodhisattva, Mahasattva
in the assembly named Samadhi Self-Mastery King said to the Buddha,
"World Honored One, what vows has Earth Store Bodhisattva made
during so many successive eons that he now receives the World
Honored One's special praise? We hope the World Honored One will
tell us about that."
Then the World Honored One said to Samadhi
Self-Mastery King, "Listen attentively, listen attentively, and
reflect well on the examples I am about to give you.
One time, limitless Asamkhyeyas of
nayutas of inexpressible eons ago, a Buddha named All-Knowledge-Accomplished
Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, One of Proper and Pervasive
Knowledge, One Perfect in Clarity and Conduct, Well-Gone One,
Unsurpassed Knight Who Understands the World, Taming and Subduing
Hero, Teacher of Gods and Humans, Buddha, World Honored One appeared
in the world.
"That Buddha's lifespan was sixty thousand
Before he became a monk, he was the king of
a small country and was friendly with the king of a neighboring
country. Both of them practiced the Ten Wholesome Acts and benefited
Because the citizens of those two neighboring
countries did many bad things, the two kings made a plan using
"One king vowed to quickly become a Buddha
and then cross over absolutely all the others.
"The other king vowed, 'I do not want to become
a Buddha until I first take across all those who are suffering
for their offenses, enable them to gain peace, and finally to
The Buddha told the Bodhisattva Samadhi Self-Mastery
King, "The king who vowed to become a Buddha quickly is All-Knowledge-Accomplished
Thus Come One.
The king who vowed to keep crossing over beings
who are suffering for their offenses rather than to become a Buddha
is Earth Store Bodhisattva.
"Another time, limitless Asamkhyeya
eons ago, a Buddha named Pure-Lotus-Eyes Thus Come One appeared
in the world. His lifespan was forty eons.
In his Dharma-image age, an Arhat who had
blessings from rescuing beings met a woman named Bright Eyes who
offered a meal to him once while he was teaching and transforming
"'What is your wish?' asked the Arhat.
"Bright Eyes replied, 'On the day of my mother's
death I performed meritorious deeds for her rescue, but I do not
know where my mother is now.'
"Sympathizing with her, the Arhat entered
into samadhi to contemplate and saw that Bright Eyes' mother had
fallen into a bad destiny where she was undergoing extreme suffering.
The Arhat asked, 'Bright Eyes, what karma
did your mother commit while alive that makes her now have to
undergo such terrible suffering in a bad destiny?'
"Bright Eyes replied, 'My mother enjoyed eating
fish, turtles, and the like. She especially liked to fry or broil
the eggs of fish and turtles. Every time she ate those she took
thousands of lives. Oh, Venerable One, please be compassionate
and tell me how she can be saved."
"The Arhat took pity on Bright Eyes and used
a skillful means. He urged Bright Eyes, saying, 'With sincere
resolve, be mindful of Pure-Lotus-Eyes Thus Come One and also
make carved and painted images of him. By doing so both the living
and the dead will be rewarded.'
"Bright Eyes heard that, quickly renounced
everything she loved, and swiftly commissioned painted images
of the Buddha. Then she made offerings before them. The reverence
she felt moved her to tears and she wept in grief as she beheld
and bowed to the Buddha.
Suddenly near the end of night in a dream
she saw that Buddha's body, dazzling gold in color and as large
as Mount Sumeru, emitting great light. He said to Bright Eyes,
'Your mother will be born in your household before long and as
soon as that child can feel hunger and cold he will speak.'
"Shortly thereafter a maidservant in the house
bore a son who spoke before he was three days' old. Lowering his
head and weeping he said to Bright Eyes, 'The karmic conditions
we create during our lives and deaths result in retributions that
we ourselves must undergo.
I am your mother and have been in darkness
for a long time. Since you and I parted, I have repeatedly fallen
into the great hells. Upon receiving the power of your blessings,
I have been reborn as a servant's child with a short lifespan.
Thirteen years from now, I will fall into the Evil Paths again.
Do you have some way to free me so that I can avoid them?'
"When Bright Eyes heard those words, she knew
without a doubt that they were her mother's. Choked with sobs,
she said to the servant's child, 'Since you were my mother, you
should know your own past offenses. What karma did you create
that made you fall into the Evil Paths?'
"The maidservant's child answered, 'I am undergoing
retribution for two kinds of karma: killing and slandering. Had
I not received the blessings you earned to rescue me from difficulty,
I would not yet be released from that karma.'
"Bright Eyes asked, 'What happens in the hells
when beings undergo retributions for their offenses?'
"The maidservant's son answered, 'I can't
bear to speak of the ways in which beings suffer for their offenses.
Even if I lived for a hundred thousand years, I would find it
hard to talk about.'
"When Bright Eyes heard that she wept bitterly
and spoke into the air saying, 'I vow that my mother will be released
from the hells forever. At the end of these thirteen years, she
will be finished with her heavy offenses and will not go back
to the Evil Paths.
0 Buddhas of the Ten Directions, with your
compassion and sympathy, please listen to the vast and mighty
vow that I am making for the sake of my mother.
If my mother will never again enter the Three
Evil Paths, never again be born into low stations, and never again
be female, then here before the image of Pure-Lotus-Eyes Thus
Come One, I vow that from this day on, throughout billions of
eons I will respond to all beings who are undergoing suffering
for their offenses in the hells or the Three Evil Paths of any
'I vow to rescue them from the bad destinies
of the hells, hungry ghosts, animals, and the like. Only after
beings with such retributions have all become Buddhas will I myself
achieve Proper Enlightenment.'
"After making that vow, she clearly heard
Pure-Lotus-Eyes Thus Come One say to her, 'Bright Eyes, your own
great compassion and sympathy reaches your mother by this mighty
vow that you are making.
My contemplation shows me that after thirteen
years your mother will finish this retribution and will be born
a Brahman with a lifespan of one hundred years. After that retribution
she will be born in the Land of No Concern with a lifespan of
uncountable eons. Later she will realize the fruition of Buddhahood
and cross over people and gods numbering as many as sand grains
in the Ganges.'"
Shakyamuni Buddha told Samadhi Self-Mastery
King, "The Arhat whose blessings helped Bright Eyes then is now
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva. The mother of Bright Eyes
is now Liberation Bodhisattva. Bright Eyes herself is now Earth
Store Bodhisattva. He has been extending his compassion and sympathy
like that from distant eons onward by making vows as many as Ganges's
sands, to rescue vast numbers of beings.
"Men and women in the future may fail to do
good deeds and only do evil; may not believe in cause and effect;
may indulge in sexual misconduct and false speech; may use divisive
and harsh speech; and may slander the Great Vehicle. Beings with
karma like that should certainly fall into bad destinies.
But if they encounter Good and Wise Advisors
who exhort them and lead them quickly to take refuge with Earth
Store Bodhisattva, those beings will just as quickly be released
from their retributions in the Three Evil Paths.
If those beings are resolved and respectful,
if they behold, bow to, and praise the Bodhisattva, and if they
make offerings of flowers, incense, clothing, jewels, food and
drink to him, they will enjoy supremely wonderful bliss in the
heavens for billions of eons.
When their blessings in the heavens end and
they are born as people, they will have the potential to be leaders
of nations throughout billions of eons who are able to remember
all aspects of causes and effects from previous lives.
"0,Samadhi Self-Mastery King, Earth Store
Bodhisattva has such inconceivably great awesome spiritual power
that he uses expansively for the benefit of beings. All of you
Bodhisattvas should remember this Sutra and proclaim and widely
Samadhi Self-Mastery King said to the Buddha,
"World Honored One, please do not be concerned. We billions of
Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, based on the Buddha's awesome spiritual
strength, will certainly proclaim this Sutra widely throughout
Jambudvipa for the benefit of beings."
Having spoken thus to the World Honored One,
Samadhi Self-Mastery King Bodhisattva put his palms together respectfully,
bowed, and withdrew.
At that time the Four Heavenly Kings arose
from their seats, put their palms together respectfully, and said
to the Buddha, "World Honored One, Earth Store Bodhisattva has
been making such great vows from distant eons onward.
Why is it that up to now he has not yet finished
taking beings across? Why does he continue to renew his vast and
mighty vows? Please, World Honored One, explain that for us."
The Buddha told the Four Heavenly Kings, "Excellent,
excellent. Now to bring benefit to you and to extend that benefit
to people and gods of the present and future, I will speak about
how Earth Store Bodhisattva uses his compassion and sympathy within
the paths of birth and death in Jambudvipa in the Saha world to
rescue, take across, and liberate beings who are undergoing suffering
for their offenses.
The Four Heavenly Kings replied, "Please,
World Honored One, we would like to hear about his work."
The Buddha told the Four Heavenly Kings, "From
distant eons onward to the present. Earth Store Bodhisattva has
been taking across and liberating beings. Since his vows are still
not finished, he continues with compassion and sympathy to help
beings suffering for their offenses in this world.
Moreover, he sees the ceaseless tangle of
their causes extending on through infinite, future eons. Because
of that he renews his vows. Thus, in this Saha world on the continent
of Jambudvipa, this Bodhisattva teaches and transforms beings
by means of billions of expedient means.
"Four Heavenly Kings, To killers, Earth Store
Bodhisattva says that short lifespans will be the retribution.
To robbers he says that poverty and acute
suffering will be the retribution.
To those who indulge in improper sex he says
that rebirth as pigeons or mandarin drakes or ducks will be the
To those who use harsh speech he says that
quarrelling families will be the retribution.
To those who slander he says that being tongueless
and having cankerous mouths will be the retribution.
To the hateful he says that being ugly and
crippled will be the retribution.
To the stingy he says that not getting what
they seek will be the retribution.
To gluttons he says that hunger, thirst and
sicknesses of the throat will be the retribution.
To hunters he says that a frightening insanity
that destroys one's life will be the retribution.
To those who oppose their parents he says
that being killed in natural disasters will be the retribution.
To arsons who burn mountains and forests he
says that trying to take one's own life in the confusion of insanity
will be the retribution.
To cruel parents or step-parents, he says
that being flogged in future lives will be the retribution.
To those who net and trap animals, he says
that being separated from one's own relatives will be the retribution.
To those who slander the Triple Jewel he says
that being blind, deaf, or mute will be the retribution.
To those who slight the Dharma and regard
the teachings with arrogance, he says that remaining in the bad
paths forever will be the retribution.
To those who destroy or misuse possessions
of the Eternally Dwelling he says that revolving in the hells
for billions of eons will be the retribution.
To those who defile the pure conduct of others
and bear false witness against members of the Sangha he says that
remaining in the animal realm forever will be the retribution.
To those who scald, burn, behead, maim, or
otherwise harm beings he says that undergoing repayment in kind
will be the retribution. To those who violate precepts and the
regulations of pure eating he says that being born as birds or
beasts that must suffer hunger and thirst will be the retribution.
To those who make unprincipled and destructive
use of things he says that being unable to ever obtain what they
seek will be the retribution.
To the arrogant and haughty he says that being
servile and of low station will be the retribution.
To those who use back-biting to cause discord
among others he says that being tongueless or having speech impediments
will be the retribution.
To those with deviant views he says that being
reborn in undeveloped regions will be the retribution.
"The bad habits involving body, mouth, and
mind karma that beings of Jambudvipa perpetuate, result in hundreds
of thousands of retributions like those. I have listed only a
few examples here.
Since the karma created by beings of Jambudvipa
calls forth different responses, Earth Store Bodhisattva uses
hundreds of thousands of expedient means to teach and transform
Those beings must first undergo retributions
such as those and then fall into the hells, where they pass through
eons without being able to escape. You should therefore protect
people and protect nations. Do not allow the accumulation of karma
to confuse beings."
On hearing that, the Four Heavenly Kings wept
in sorrow, placed their palms together, and withdrew.
End of Part One of Sutra of
the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva