The Beneﬁts Obtained by an Expounder of the Dharma
Thereupon the Buddha addressed Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Satatasamitā- bhiyukta, saying: “If sons or daughters of a virtuous family preserve this Lotus Sutra, recite, explain, and copy it, they will attain eight hundred qual- ities of the eye, twelve hundred qualities of the ear, eight hundred qualities of the nose, twelve hundred qualities of the tongue, eight hundred qualities of the body, and twelve hundred qualities of the mind. These qualities will adorn the six sense faculties, purifying them all. Through the natural bodily eyes given them by their parents, which are thus puriﬁed, those sons and daughters of a virtuous family will see the mountains, forests, rivers, and oceans both within and beyond the great manifold cosmos, all the way from the lowest hell up as far as the highest summit of the universe. They will also see all the sentient beings there, perceive and know the causes and conse- quences of their deeds and of their states of birth.”
Then the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate upon the meaning of this fur- ther, spoke these verses:
Listen to the qualities
Of those in the great assembly Who can fearlessly teach
This Lotus Sutra! Such people will attain
The eight hundred qualities Of the excellent eye.
Adorned with these qualities Their eyes are extremely pure.
With the eyes given by their parents They see both all the manifold cosmos,
Within and beyond Mount Meru, Sumeru, up to Mount Cakravāḍa,
And many other mountains, Forests, oceans, rivers, and streams, Down to the lowest hell
And up to the summit of the universe. There they see all the sentient beings; Although they have not yet
Attained the divine eyes,
Their power of sight will be like this.
“Furthermore, O Satatasamitābhiyukta, if sons or daughters of a virtu- ous family preserve, recite, explain, or copy this sutra, they will attain the twelve hundred qualities of the ear. Through their pure ears they will hear both within and beyond the great manifold cosmos, down as far as the low- est hell and up as high as the summit of the universe; they will hear all kinds of voices and sounds, such as the sound of elephants, the neighing of horses, the sound of cows and carts, cries, weeping, the sound of conches and drums, gongs and bells, laughter, talking, male and female voices, the voices of boys and girls, righteous and unrighteous voices, the sounds of suffering and hap- piness, the voices of common and holy people, pleasant and unpleasant sounds; the voices of devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, the sounds of ﬁre, water, wind, beings in the hells, animals, hungry ghosts, monks, nuns, śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhi- sattvas, and buddhas.
“In short, although they do not have the divine faculty of hearing, they will always hear and know everything both within and beyond the great man- ifold cosmos, through the puriﬁed, natural bodily ears given by their par- ents. They distinguish all these various sounds and yet their faculty of hear- ing remains unharmed.”
Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:
The ear, given by the parents, Is pure and spotless;
With this natural ear
They hear the sounds of the manifold cosmos. They hear the sounds of elephants,
Horses, carts and cows;
The sounds of gongs, bells, conches, Drums, and vīṇās;
The sounds of harps, bamboo pipes, and ﬂutes; Pure and pleasing songs.
And even though they hear these, They are not attached to them.
They hear innumerable kinds of human voices, And yet they are able to discriminate them.
Furthermore, they hear divine sounds, Subtle melodies, male and female voices, The sounds of boys and girls.
They also hear the cries of the kalaviṅka And jīvakajīvaka birds in the mountains, Around the rivers, or in deep valleys.
They hear as well various sounds of pain And suffering from the hells,
And sounds of hungry ghosts,
Who, suffering from hunger and thirst, Are in search of food and drink.
When the asuras living along the ocean Speak to each other and utter great cries, Such expounders of the Dharma, living here, Hear all of these various voices from afar, And yet their faculty of hearing is unharmed. Those expounders of the Dharma
Hear all birds and animals
In the ten directions calling to each other. The expounders of the Dharma dwelling here Also hear the voices in the Ābhāsvara
And Śubhakṛtsna Heavens above the Brahma world, All the way up to the summit of the universe.
The expounders of the Dharma dwelling here Hear all of the monks and nuns
Either reciting the sutra
Or explaining it to others. They also hear such voices
As those of the bodhisattvas reciting the sutra, Teaching it to others, compiling the collections, And explaining their meaning to others.
Those who preserve this Lotus Sutra
Will all hear the buddhas, the great seers, Teaching the subtle Dharma to the great assembly And leading and inspiring sentient beings.
They will hear all the sounds
Both within and beyond the manifold cosmos, Down to the lowest hell
And up to the summit of the universe; And yet their faculty of hearing Remains unharmed.
Because their faculty of hearing is keen, They are able to discriminate these sounds. Although those who preserve this Lotus Sutra
Have not yet attained the divine faculty of hearing, They can simply use the ears given by their parents. Their qualities are exactly like this.
“Furthermore, O Satatasamitābhiyukta, if sons or daughters of a good family preserve this sutra, recite, explain, or copy it, they will perfect the eight hundred qualities of the nose. With this pure faculty of the nose they will smell all kinds of fragrances both within and beyond the great manifold cosmos, such as the fragrance of sumanas, jāti, mallikā, campaka, pāṭala ﬂowers, and red, blue, and white lotus ﬂowers, the scent of blossoming and fruit-bearing trees like sandalwood, aloeswood, and tagara wood, the aroma of the leaves of the tamāla tree, thousands of myriads of sorts of fragrances of blended incense, either powdered, shaped into balls, or made into scented ointments. Those who preserve this sutra will be able to distinguish all of these fragrances while remaining in a single place. They will be able to dis- tinguish the scents of sentient beings such as elephants, horses, cows, sheep, men and women, boys and girls, grasses, trees, and shrubs or any kind of odor, either nearby or at a distance. They will also be able to unerringly dis- tinguish all kinds of scents.
“Those who preserve this sutra, although they dwell here, can smell all kinds of divine fragrances in heaven, such as the fragrance of pāracitraka and kovidāra trees; māndārava, great māndārava, mañjūṣaka, and great mañjūṣaka ﬂowers, or the fragrance of sandalwood and aloeswood powder and various kinds of powdered and blended incense. Among these divine fragrances, there is not one whose scent they cannot distinguish.
“They can smell the fragrance of the bodies of all the devas. They can also smell from afar the fragrance that is emitted when Śakra, the king of devas, is dwelling in his excellent palace, when he is enjoying the desires of the ﬁve senses, or the fragrance that is emitted when he is in the Sudharmā Hall teaching the Dharma to the thirty-three devas, or the fragrance that is emitted when he plays in the garden, or the fragrance of the bodies of all the other male and female devas.
“In this way their faculty of smell reaches up to the Brahma world and to the highest summit of the universe, wherein they can smell the bodies of the devas and the incense the devas burn. They can also smell from afar the fragrance of the śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas, and buddhas and know where they are.
“Although they can smell all these fragrances, their faculty of smell will not be harmed or misled; and if they want to discriminate and explain these different fragrances to others, they remember them without error.”
At that time the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate the meaning of this fur- ther, spoke these verses:
Their faculty of smell is pure. They can smell and discriminate All kinds of good and bad odors In this world, such as sumanas And jāti ﬂowers, tamāla leaves,
Sandalwood, aloeswood, and tagara trees, And various fruits and ﬂowers.
And they also know the fragrance Of sentient beings, men and women.
The Dharma teachers, although dwelling afar, Know where these fragrances come from.
They smell the scents of the noble emperors Of great dignity, the lesser rulers
And their children, subjects and attendants, And know where they are.
They can smell the fragrance of the rare jewels That they wear, their underground treasuries, And the noble emperor’s bejeweled queens, And also know where they are.
They can also smell the ornaments, garments,
And necklaces with which people adorn themselves And the fragrances they anoint themselves with, And know who wears them.
Those who preserve this Lotus Sutra can smell The fragrance of the devas and tell
Whether they are walking, sitting, Playing, or transforming themselves. Although they dwell here,
Those who preserve this sutra, Know the location of the fragrances
Of various ﬂowers, fruits, and oils in detail. They can smell the scent of sentient beings, Either deep in dangerous mountains,
Or where the sandalwood ﬂowers are in bloom, And know where they are.
Those who preserve this sutra
Can smell the scents of sentient beings, Either on Mount Cakravāḍa,
In the ocean or underground,
And know exactly where they are.
They can also smell the scents of the male And female asuras and their attendants; And they can discriminate them,
When they are ﬁghting or when at play.
They can also smell the odors of lions, Elephants, tigers, wolves, buffaloes,
And water buffaloes dwelling in dangerous Precipitous places in the wilderness,
And know where they are.
They can smell and discriminate exactly The scent of a pregnant woman
And determine whether the embryo Will be male or female,
Without sex organs, or nonhuman. Through this power of smell
They know in the ﬁrst instance If the woman is pregnant,
And whether or not
It will be carried to full term; And if she will give birth easily, And to a happy child.
Through this power of the faculty of smell They know what men and women are thinking, Their desires, delusions, and anger,
Or whether they cultivate goodness. They can also smell gold, silver,
And various rare treasures hidden underground, As well as the contents of copper vessels,
And completely distinguish them. They can smell various necklaces
And know whether they are valuable or not, Even when their prices are undetermined, Where they come from and where they are now. They can smell and know all about
Divine ﬂowers such as māndārava
And mañjūṣaka ﬂowers and pārijāta trees. They can also smell and discriminate
The difference between superior, Mediocre, and inferior fragrances
Of heavenly palaces adorned With various jeweled ﬂowers.
They can also smell and know exactly About those who take pleasure
In the heavenly gardens, excellent palaces, Towers and Dharma halls.
Moreover, they can smell and know exactly Whether the devas are listening to the Dharma, Are enjoying the desires of the ﬁve senses,
Or whether they are coming, going, Walking, sitting, or lying.
They can also smell and know every detail of The garments worn by the heavenly maidens, Giving off the fragrance of beautiful ﬂowers, And where those maidens ramble in their play. In this way their power of smell reaches
All the way up to the Brahma world. They can smell and know exactly The devas entering meditation and Emerging from meditation.
They can also smell
All the way from the Ābhāsvara And Śubhakṛtsna Heavens
Up to the highest summit of the universe, And know exactly
Who has been born there for the ﬁrst time And who has emerged.
Those who preserve this sutra can
Smell the monks and know exactly where they are,
If they are constantly persevering toward the Dharma, If they are either sitting or walking,
Reciting this sutra;
Or if they are diligently Meditating under forest trees.
They can also smell and know exactly
If a bodhisattva is ﬁrm in intention, Meditating or reciting the sutra,
Or teaching the Dharma to others. They can also smell and know exactly If the Bhagavat is being honored by all, And if he is teaching the Dharma
Out of his compassion for sentient beings. Moreover, they can smell and know exactly If the sentient beings in the presence
Of the Buddha are joyfully listening To the sutra, and are practicing According to the Dharma.
Those who preserve this sutra
Will attain a faculty of smell such as this, Even before the bodhisattva’s faculty of smell
That is attained from the incorruptible Dharma.
“Furthermore, O Satatasamitābhiyukta, if sons and daughters of a vir- tuous family preserve, recite, explain, or copy this sutra, they will attain the twelve hundred qualities of the tongue. All that they taste, whether of good or bad ﬂavor, savory or bland, bitter or astringent, will, through their pure faculty of tongue, come to taste just like the heavenly nectar of immortality, and they will ﬁnd nothing unpleasant.
“If they expound the teaching to the great multitude with their tongues, their voices will be profound and touch the heart. All those in this multitude will be gladdened and pleased.
“Furthermore, Śakra, Brahma and other devaputras and heavenly maid- ens, hearing a sequence of their teaching expounded with such profound voices, will all come to hear it. Dragons, the daughters of nāgas, yakṣas, the daughters of yakṣas, gandharvas, the daughters of gandharvas, asuras, the daughters of asuras, garuḍas, the daughters of garuḍas, kiṃnaras, the daugh- ters of kiṃnaras, mahoragas, and the daughters of mahoragas will all approach, respect, and honor them in order to listen to their teaching. The monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, kings and princes, ministers and their attendants, and the lesser noble emperors and great noble emperors adorned with the seven treasures and their thousand princes and their attendants of the inner and outer households will enter the palace and listen to the teaching.
“Since these bodhisattvas expound the teaching skillfully, the brahmans, householders, and the people of their land will attend and honor such bodhi- sattvas until the end of their lives. All the śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhi- sattvas, and buddhas will always wish to see them.
“Wherever this person may be, he will teach the Dharma in the pres- ence of the buddhas there. He will thus be able to preserve the Buddha- Dharma entirely as well as utter the profound word of the Dharma.”
Whereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:
Such people, through their pure faculty of taste, Will never taste bad ﬂavors.
Whatever they eat
Will all become the nectar of immortality. With their profound, subtle voice
They will teach the Dharma to the great assembly. With various explanations and illustrations
Their teaching will touch the hearts of sentient beings. All those who hear them will be gladdened
And honor them with the best offerings. All the devas, nāgas, yakṣas, and asuras Will come together and listen with respect To the Dharma.
If these expounders of the Dharma want Their subtle voice to penetrate Throughout the manifold cosmos,
It will reach wherever they wish. The great and lesser noble emperors,
And their thousand princes and attendants, Will always come and listen to the Dharma With their palms pressed together
And with respectful thoughts. All the devas, nāgas, yakṣas, Rākṣasas, and piśācas
With joyful minds will also always Rejoice to come and honor them. All the devas,
Such as Brahma, Māra, Īśvara, Maheśvara, Will always come to them.
All the buddhas and their disciples, Hearing the sound of his teaching,
Will always remember and protect him, And at times appear in his presence.
“Furthermore, O Satatasamitābhiyukta, those sons and daughters of a virtuous family who preserve, recite, explain, and copy this sutra will attain eight hundred qualities of the body. Their bodies will be as pure as clear lapis lazuli and sentient beings will gladly look upon them. Because of this purity of body, everything will appear therein: the sentient beings in the great manifold cosmos, when they are born or die, whether they are superior or inferior, whether they are fair or ugly, whether they are in the good or bad states of being. The mountain kings, such as Mount Cakravāḍa, Mount Mahā- cakravāḍa, Mount Meru, or Mount Mahāmeru, as well as all the sentient beings who dwell there, will all appear in their body. All those who dwell down as far as the lowest hell and up as high as the summit of the universe will appear in their body. Wherever those śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhi- sattvas, or buddhas are, the buddhas teach the Dharma; and will appear with their physical images in their body.”
Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:
Their bodies are extremely pure Like clear lapis lazuli.
All those sentient beings Who preserve the Lotus Sutra Will gladly look upon them. Just as all physical images Reﬂect in a clear mirror,
The bodhisattvas will see in their own bodies Everything in this world.
They alone see it, While no one else does.
All those sentient beings, devas, humans,
Asuras, hell-dwellers, hungry ghosts, Or animals in the manifold cosmos Will also appear in this body
With their physical images. All the heavenly palaces
Which reach as high as the top of the universe, Mount Cakravāḍa, Mount Meru, Mount Mahāmeru And the oceans will appear in their bodies.
Those buddhas, śrāvakas, or bodhisattvas, Heirs of the buddhas,
Who are either alone
Or who teach the Dharma to the assembly, Will all appear in their body.
Even though they have not yet attained The Dharma body,
Which is subtle and without corruption, Everything in this world
Will appear in their pure physical bodies.
“Furthermore, O Satatasamitābhiyukta, a son or a daughter of a virtuous family who preserves, recites, explains, or copies this sutra, after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata will attain twelve hundred qualities of the mind. Through their pure faculty of mind, on hearing but a single verse or a single line, they will become versed in the immeasurable and limitless meaning. “If, after having understood this meaning, they teach a single line or a single verse for the period of one month, four months, or one year, all the teachings they expound will be entirely characterized by the mark of truth, in accordance with its meaning.
“If they teach the works on worldly affairs, treatises on political science or enterprise, all these will be in harmony with the True Dharma. They will completely know the minds of those sentient beings who pass through the six transmigratory states in the great manifold cosmos—their workings, shifts, and fallacies—even though they have not yet attained the uncorrupted wisdom. Their faculty of mind will be pure just like this.
“Whatever this person contemplates, judges, or expounds will be noth- ing but the True Buddha-Dharma, which has also been taught in the sutras by previous buddhas.”
Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate the meaning of this fur- ther, spoke these verses:
The minds of such people are pure And transparent without impurity. Through their faculty of intellect They will know the superior, Mediocre and inferior teachings. On hearing a single verse,
They will thoroughly penetrate The immeasurable meaning.
Thus they will teach the Dharma little by little For a period of one month,
Four months, or one year.
As the result of preserving the Lotus Sutra,
They will instantly know What all the sentient beings, Inside and outside this world,
Such as devas, nāgas, humans, yakṣas, rākṣasas, And those who dwell in the six transmigratory states, Think in their various ways.
They will hear and completely preserve the Dharma Which the innumerable buddhas in the ten directions, Who are possessed of the marks of a hundred merits, Teach for the sake of sentient beings.
They contemplate the immeasurable meaning
And they teach the Dharma in immeasurable ways; They will neither forget nor be confused
From the beginning to the end Because they preserve the Lotus Sutra.
They will completely know All aspects of all dharmas, And discern the meaning According to the sequence.
They will be versed in names and words
And expound in accordance with this knowledge. What they teach is the Dharma
That has all been taught By the buddhas of the past.
Because they expound this Dharma, They will have no fear among the people.
Those who preserve the Lotus Sutra possess The pure faculty of mind just like this.
Even though they have not yet attained The stage of noncorruption,
They will previously have had
The characteristics described above. These people preserve this sutra And dwell in the marvelous stage; All the sentient beings will rejoice And revere them.
They will illuminate and explain the teaching
With thousands of myriads of koṭis of skillful words Because they preserve the Lotus Sutra.