Day 27 concludes Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.
Last month concluded The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva, and now it’s time to start again.
Having sung this gatha, Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, ‘World-Honored One! You do not change, do you?
Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha said to Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva, ‘Good man! The time of my Nirvana is near at hand. The time of my extinction is coming. Prepare me a comfortable couch! I shall enter into Parinirvana tonight.’
Then he instructed Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva, saying, ‘Good man! I will transmit all my teachings to you. [I also will transmit] to you all the Bodhisattvas and all my great disciples. [I also will transmit] to you my teachings for Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. I also will transmit to you the one thousand Sumeru worlds made of the seven treasures, the jeweled trees, the jeweled platforms, and the gods attending on me. I also will transmit to you the sariras to be left after my extinction. Distribute my sariras far and wide and make offerings to them! Erect thousands of stupas [to enshrine them]!’
Having given these instructions to Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva, Sun-Moon-Pure-Bright-Virtue Buddha entered into Nirvana in the last watch of that night. Having seen the extinction of the Buddha, Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva was overcome with sorrow. He adored the Buddha all the more. He made a pyre of the candana grown on this shore of the sea, offered it to the body of the Buddha, and burned it. After it burned up, he collected the sariras. He made eighty-four thousand urns of treasures[, and put the sariras therein]. He erected eighty-four thousand stupas[, and enshrined the urns therein]. The stupas were higher than the Third Dhyana-Heaven. They were adorned with yastis. Many streamers and canopies were hanging down [from the stupas]. Many jeweled bells also were fixed [on the stupas].
The Daily Dharma from May 29, 2016, offers this insight:
Having sung this gāthā, Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, ‘World-Honored One! You do not change, do you?’
This description of the life of Gladly-Seen-By-All-Beings Bodhisattva comes from Chapter Twenty-Three of the Lotus Sūtra. In a previous existence, this Bodhisattva had given up his body and his life for the sake of teaching the Wonderful Dharma. He was then reborn into a world in which the Buddha he served previously was still alive and benefiting all beings. Recognizing this unchanging aspect of the Buddha despite his changing appearances helps us see into our own capacity for enlightenment.
The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com