Day 2 completes Chapter 1, Introductory.
Last month I discussed Manjusri’s prediction of what the light being emitted by Sakyamuni portends. Today, Manjusri’s recollection of what he saw “innumerable, inconceivable, asamkya kalpas ago” underscores that what is to come is not some ordinary lecture but a sutra of very rare greatness.
“Good men! Innumerable, inconceivable, asamkya kalpas ago, there lived a Buddha called Sun-Moon-Light, the Tathagata, the Deserver of Offerings, the Perfectly Enlightened One, the Man of Wisdom and Practice, the Well-Gone, the Knower of the World, the Unsurpassed Man, the Controller of Men, the Teacher of Gods and Men, the Buddha, the World-Honored One. He expounded the right teachings. His expounding of the right teachings was good at the beginning, good in the middle, and good at the end. The meanings of those teachings were profound. The words were skilful, pure, unpolluted, perfect, clean, and suitable for the explanation of brahma practices. To those who were seekng Sravakahood, he expounded the teaching of the four truths, a teaching suitable for them, saved them from birth, old age, disease, and death, and caused them to attain Nirvana. To those who were seeking Pratyekabuddhahood, he expounded the teaching of the twelve causes, a teaching suitable for them. To Bodhisattvas, he expounded the teaching of the six paramitas, a teaching suitable for them, and caused them to attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, that is, to obtain the knowledge of the equality and differences of all things.
After his extinction there appeared a Buddha also called SunMoon-Light. After his extinction there appeared another Buddha also called Sun-Moon-Light. In the same manner, twenty thousand Buddhas appeared in succession, all of them being called Sun-Moon-Light with the surname Bharadvaja.
Maitreya, know this! All those Buddhas were called Sun-Moonlight with the ten epithets. Their expounding of the Dharma was good at the beginning, good in the middle, and good at the end. The last Sun-Moon-Light Buddha was once a king. He had eight sons born to him before he renounced the world. The first son was called Having-Intention; the second, Good-Intention; the third, Infinite-Intention; the fourth, Treasure-Intention; the fifth, Increasing-Intention; the sixth, Doubts-Removing-Intention; the seventh, Resounding-Intention; and the eighth, Dharma-Intention. These eight princes had unhindered powers and virtues. Each of them was the ruler of the four continents [of a Sumeru-world]. Having heard that their father had renounced the world and attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, they abdicated from their thrones, and followed their father. They renounced the world, aspired for the Great Vehicle, performed brahma practices, and became teachers of the Dharma. They had already planted the roots of good under ten million Buddhas in their previous existence.
Thereupon the last Sun-Moon-Light Buddha expounded a sutra of the Great Vehicle called the ‘Innumerable Teachings, the Dharma for Bodhisattvas, the Dharma Upheld by the Buddhas.’ Having expounded this sutra, he sat cross-legged [facing the east] in the midst of the great multitude, and entered into the samadhi for the purport of the innumerable teachings. His body and mind became motionless.
Thereupon the gods rained mandarava-flowers, mahamandarava-flowers, manjsaka-flowers, and maha-manjuSakaflowers upon the Buddha and the great multitude. The world of the Buddha quaked in the six ways. The great multitude of the congregation, which included bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas, upasikas, gods, dragons, yaksas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, men, nonhuman beings, the kings of small countries, and the wheel turning-holy kings, were astonished. They rejoiced, joined their hands together [towards the Buddha], and looked up at him with one mind.
Thereupon the Tathagata emitted a ray of light from the white curls between his eyebrows, and illumined all the corners of eighteen thousand Buddha-worlds in the east just as this Buddha is illumining the Buddha-worlds as we see now.
Not only is what they see from the light of Sakyamuni the same, but it is extremely rare. Twenty thousand Buddhas all preached the dharma, but only the last offered the light of his own wisdom.