The Thus Come One's Praises
At that time the World Honored One emitted
a great bright light from his entire body, totally illuminating
Buddhalands as many as grains of sand in billions of Ganges Rivers.
His strong voice reached to all the Bodhisattvas,
Mahasattvas in those Buddhalands, as well as to the gods, dragons,
ghosts and spirits, humans, non-humans and others, saying, "Listen
today, as I praise Earth Store Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, who displays
an inconceivable awesome spiritual strength and compassionate
power throughout the Ten Directions as he rescues and protects
beings when things happen to them as they suffer for offenses
they have committed.
After I pass into Nirvana, all of you Bodhisattvas,
Mahasattvas and all of you gods, dragons, ghosts, spirits, and
others should use vast numbers of expedient means to protect this
Sutra and to cause all beings to realize the bliss of Nirvana."
After that was said a Bodhisattva named Universally
Expansive arose in the assembly, placed his palms together respectfully,
and said to the Buddha, "We are now about to witness the World
Honored One praise Earth Store Bodhisattva's inconceivably great
awesome spiritual virtue.
We hope the World Honored One will also aid
beings in the future Dharma Ending Age by telling us about how
Earth Store Bodhisattva benefits people and gods and about the
working out of cause and effect. That will help the gods, dragons,
and the rest of the Eightfold Division, along with beings of the
future to receive the Buddha's teaching respectfully."
At that time the World Honored One said to
the Bodhisattva Universally Expansive, to the Fourfold Assembly,
and others, "Listen attentively, listen attentively. I will briefly
describe to you how Earth Store Bodhisattva's virtuous deeds keep
benefiting people and gods."
Universally Expansive replied, "Excellent,
World Honored One. We are happy to listen."
The Buddha told the Bodhisattva Universally
Expansive, "If, in the future, good men or good women who, upon
hearing Earth Store Bodhisattva, Mahasattva's name, place their
palms together, praise him, bow to him, or gaze in worship, they
will overcome thirty eon's worth of offenses.
Universally Expansive, if good men or good
women gaze upon and bow but once to painted or drawn images of
the Bodhisattva or images made using clay, stone, lacquer, gold,
silver, copper and iron, they will be reborn one hundred times
in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three and will eternally avoid falling
into the Evil Paths.
If their blessings in the heavens come to
an end and they are born in the human realm, they will become
national leaders who suffer no loss of benefits.
"There may be women who dislike having female
bodies. Suppose they whole-heartedly make offerings to images
of Earth Store Bodhisattva that are paintings or are made using
clay, stone, lacquer, copper, iron, or other materials.
If they continually make such offerings day
after day without fail, using flowers, incense, food, drink, clothing,
colored silks, banners, money, jewels, and other items as offerings,
when those good women finish their current female retributions,
then throughout hundreds of thousands of eons they will never
again be born in worlds where there are women, much less be one,
unless it be through the strength of their compassionate vows
to liberate beings.
Based on the strength of their offerings to
Earth Store Bodhisattva and the power of their meritorious virtues,
they will not be born into female bodies throughout hundreds of
thousands of eons.
"Moreover, Universally Expansive, women who
are ugly or prone to sickness will dislike those problems. If
they gaze at and bow to images of Earth Store Bodhisattva with
sincere resolve for even just a few minutes, then throughout millions
of eons, they will always be born with full and perfect features.
If those woman who are ugly do not dislike
having female bodies, then throughout billions of lives they will
always be born as women of royal lineage, or will marry into royalty,
or will become daughters of prime ministers, prominent families,
or great Elders.
They will be of upright birth and full-featured.
They will receive such blessings from having sincerely beheld
and worshipped Earth Store Bodhisattva.
"Moreover, Universally Expansive, there may
be good men or good women who are able to play music, sing, or
chant praises, and make offerings of incense and flowers before
images of the Bodhisattva or who are able to exhort one or more
others to do likewise.
Now and in the future, such people will be
surrounded day and night by hundreds of thousands of ghosts and
spirits who will even prevent bad news from reaching their ears,
much less allow them to be personally involved in any accidents.
"Moreover, Universally Expansive, in the future,
evil people, evil spirits, or evil ghosts may see good men or
good women taking refuge with, respectfully making offerings to,
praising, beholding, and bowing to images of Earth Store Bodhisattva.
Those beings may make the mistake of ridiculing
such acts of worship, saying that they are of no merit. They may
sneer at those good people, condemn them behind their backs, or
get a group or even one other person to have even as little as
one thought of condemnation.
Such beings will fall into the Avichi Hell
and the extreme misery they will undergo as retribution for their
slander will not end even after the thousand Buddhas of the Worthy
Eon have passed into tranquility.
Only after that eon will they be reborn among
the hungry ghosts, where they will pass a thousand more eons before
being reborn as animals. Only after another thousand eons will
they obtain human bodies, but they will be poor and lowly with
incomplete faculties, and their evil karma will cause them to
suffer mental afflictions. Before long they will fall into the
Evil Paths again.
Universally Expansive, such are the retributions
that will undergo those who ridicule and slander others' acts
of worship. How much worse will the retributions be if besides
their slandering, they have other evils views.
"Moreover, Universally Expansive, in the future,
men or women may be bedridden for years and in spite of their
wishes be unable either to get well or to die. At night they may
dream of evil ghosts, or of family and relatives, or of wandering
on dangerous paths. In numerous nightmares they may roam with
ghosts and spirits.
As days, months, and years go by, such people
may weaken and waste away, cry out in pain in their sleep, and
become progressively depressed and melancholy.
Those things happen when the force of karma
has not yet been determined, which makes it difficult for them
to die and impossible for them to be cured. The ordinary eyes
of men and women cannot recognize such things.
"In that situation some people should recite
this Sutra aloud once before images of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
They should also offer possessions which those
sick people cherish, such as clothing, jewels, gardens, or houses.
They should speak distinctly to the sick people saying, 'Now before
this Sutra or these images, we are offering these items on behalf
of these sick people.' They may offer sutras or images, or commission
images of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, or build stupas or monasteries,
or light oil lamps, or give to the Eternally Dwelling.
They should tell the sick people three times
about the offerings that are being made, informing them so they
both hear and understand what is being done.
"If their consciousnesses are already scattered
and their breathing has stopped, then for one, two, three, four,
and on through seven days, others should continue to inform them
clearly and to read this Sutra aloud.
When those people's lives end, they will gain
liberation from all heavy and disastrous offenses they committed
in previous lives, even offenses warranting Fivefold Relentless
Retribution. They will be born in places where they will always
know past lives.
How much greater will the karmic reward be
if good men or good women can write out this Sutra themselves
or commission others to do so. If they can carve or paint images
themselves or commission others to do so, the benefits they receive
will be great indeed!
"Therefore, Universally Expansive, if you
see people reading and reciting this Sutra or even having a single
thought of praise for it, or if you meet someone who reveres it,
you should employ hundreds of thousands of expedients to exhort
such people to be diligent and not retreat.
In both the present and the future they will
be able to obtain billions of inconceivable meritorious virtues.
"Moreover, Universally Expansive, beings in
the future may, while dreaming or drowsy, see ghosts, spirits,
and other forms that are either sad, weeping, or worried, fearful,
Those are all fathers, mothers, sons, daughters,
brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, and relatives from one, ten,
a hundred, or a thousand lives past who have not yet been able
to leave the bad destinies.
They have no place from which to hope for
the power of blessings to rescue them, and so they try to communicate
with their closest descendants, hoping that those relatives will
use some skillful means to help them get out of the Evil Paths.
"Universally Expansive, using your spiritual
powers, exhort those descendants to recite this Sutra with sincere
resolve before the images of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas or to request
others to recite it, either three or seven times.
When the Sutra has been read aloud the proper
number of times, relatives in the Evil Paths will obtain liberation
and never again be seen by those who are dreaming or drowsy.
"Moreover, Universally Expansive, people of
low station, and those who are slaves, or who are bonded, or who
are deprived of their freedom in other ways may be aware of their
past deeds and wish to repent of them and to reform.
If while beholding and bowing to Earth Store
Bodhisattva's image with sincere resolve for seven days they are
able to recite his name a full ten thousand times, then when their
current retribution ends, those people will always be born into
wealth and honor for thousands lives. How much the more will they
avoid any of the sufferings of the Three Evil Paths.
"Moreover, Universally Expansive, in the future
in Jambudvipa when the wives of Kshatriyas, Brahmans, Elders,
Upasakas, and those of other names and clans are about to give
birth to sons or daughters, the family members should recite this
inconceivable Sutra and recite the Bodhisattva's name a full ten
thousand times during the seven days before the birth of their
If those infants, whether male or female,
were destined to undergone a terrible retribution for things done
in past lives, they will be liberated from those retributions.
They will be peaceful, happy, easily raised, and will have long
If those children were due to receive blessings,
then their peace and happiness will increase, as will their lifespans.
"Moreover, Universally Expansive, on the first,
eighth, fourteenth, fifteenth, eighteenth, twenty-third, twenty-fourth,
twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and thirtieth days of the lunar month,
the offenses of beings are tabulated and their gravity assessed.
"Every single movement or stirring of thought
on the part of beings of Jambudvipa creates karma and offenses.
How much more is that the case when they blatantly indulge in
killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech and hundreds
of thousands of other kinds of overt offenses.
"If they are able to recite this Sutra once
on those ten vegetarian days, before the images of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas,
or worthy one and sages, then there will be no disasters for within
a radius of one hundred yojanas.
The relatives of those who recite, both old
and young, now and in the future, will be apart from the Evil
Paths throughout hundreds of thousands of years.
If they can recite this sutra once on each
of these ten vegetarian days, then there will be no accidents
or illnesses in the family, and there will be food and clothing
"Universally Expansive, you should know of
the beneficial deeds done by Earth Store Bodhisattva as he makes
use of his indescribably many billions of great awesome spiritual
The beings of Jambudvipa have strong affinities
with this Bodhisattva. If they hear the Bodhisattva's name, see
the Bodhsattva's image, or hear but a few words, a verse, or sentence
of this Sutra, then they will enjoy particularly wonderful peace
and happiness in this present life.
Through hundreds of thousands of ten thousands
of future lives, they will always be handsome or beautiful, and
they will be born into honorable and wealthy families."
Having heard the Buddha, Thus Come One, praise
Earth Store Bodhisattva in that way. Universally Expansive Bodhisattva
knelt, placed his palms together, and again addressed the Buddha,
saying, "World Honored One, I have long known that this Bodhisattva
has both inconceivable spiritual powers and mighty vows. I have
questioned the Thus Come One so that beings in the future will
know of these benefits. I receive this answer most respectfully.
World Honored One, how should this Sutra be
titled and how should we propagate it?"
The Buddha said to Universally Expansive,
"This Sutra has three titles:
the first is The Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva;
it is also called Earth Store's Past Conduct; and
it is called Sutra of the Power of Earth Store's Past Vows.
Because this Bodhisattva repeatedly makes
such great and mighty vows throughout long eons to benefit beings,
you should all propagate this Sutra in accord with his vows."
After Universally Expansive had heard that,
he placed his palms together respectfully, made obeisance, and