Tag Archives: LS11

Day 11

Day 11 continues Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City

Having last month heard from the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the southeast, he hear from Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the south.

“Bhikṣus! The great Brahman-[heavenly-]kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the south, who saw their palaces illumined more brightly than ever, also danced with joy. They wondered why [their palaces were so illumined]. They visited each other and discussed the reason, saying, ‘Why are our palaces illumined so brightly?’ There was a great Brahman-heavenly­king called Wonderful-Dharma among them. He said to the other Brahmans in gāthās:

Our palaces are illumined so brightly.
There must be some reason.
Let us find [the place]
[From where the light has come].

We have never seen this [light]
For the past one hundred thousand kalpas.
Did a god of great virtue or a Buddha appear
Somewhere in the universe?

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion [worlds] went to the north, carrying flower-plates filled with heavenly flowers, in order to find [the place from where the light had come]. Their palaces also moved as they went. They [reached the Well-Composed World and] saw that Great­Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata was sitting on the lion­like seat under the Bodhi-tree of the place of enlightenment, surrounded respectfully by gods, dragon-kings, gandharvas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, men and nonhuman beings. They also saw that the sixteen princes were begging the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma. They worshipped the Buddha with their heads, walked around him a hundred thousand times, and strewed heavenly flowers to him. The strewn flowers were heaped up to the height of Mt. Sumeru. The Brahman-heavenly-king offered flowers also to the Bodhi-tree of the Buddha. Having offered flowers, they offered their palaces to the Buddha, saying, ‘We offer these palaces to you. Receive them and benefit us out of your compassion towards us!’ In the presence of the Buddha, they simultaneously praised him in gāthās with all their hearts:

It is difficult to see a World-Honored One.
You, the World-Honored One, eliminated all illusions.
We have not seen a World-Honored One
For the past one hundred and thirty kalpas.

Send the rain of the Dharma
On the hungry and thirsty beings!
Possessor of immeasurable wisdom,
We have never seen anyone wiser than you.
You are as rare as an udumbara-flower.
Now we have met you today.

Our palaces are beautifully adorned
With your light.
World-Honored One, receive them
Out of your great compassion towards us!

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings, having praised the Buddha with these gāthās, said, ‘World-Honored One! Turn the wheel of the Dharma so that Mara, Brahman, the other gods, śramaṇas, and brahmanas of the world may be peaceful, and that they may be saved!’ They simultaneously praised the Buddha in gāthās with all their hearts:

Most Honorable of Gods and Men!
Turn the wheel of the unsurpassed Dharma,
Beat the drum of the Great Dharma,
Blow the conch-shell horn of the Great Dharma,
Send the rain of the Great Dharma,
And save innumerable living beings!
Devoting ourselves to you, we beg you.
Resound your profound teaching!

“Thereupon Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata gave his tacit consent to their appeal.

See The Spirit of the Great Vehicle

The Spirit of the Great Vehicle

“May the merits we have accumulated by this offering be distributed among all living beings, and may we and all living beings togethere attain the enlightenment of the Buddha.”

Kenji Miyazawa, the Japanese poet and author of children’s stories, once said, “Individual happiness is impossible unless the world as a whole becomes happy.” The altruistic spirit of the Great Vehicle is summarized here in these words of the Brahman heavenly-king.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 11

Day 11 continues Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City

Having last month heard from the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the east whose palaces has been illumined, we hear from the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the southeast.

“Thereupon Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata gave his tacit consent to their appeal.

“Bhikṣus! The great Brahman-[heavenly-]kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the southeast, who saw their palaces illumined more brightly than ever, danced with joy. They also wondered why [their palaces were so illumined]. They visited each other and discussed the reason. There was a great Brahman-heavenly-king called Great-Compassion among them. He said to the other Brahmans in gāthās:

Why is it
That we see this light?
Our palaces are illumined
More brightly than ever.

Did a god of great virtue or a Buddha
Appear somewhere in the universe?
We have never seen this [light] before.
Let us do our best to find [the reason].

Let us go even to the end of one thousand billion worlds,
And find the place from where this light has come.
A Buddha may have appeared somewhere in the universe
In order to save the suffering beings.

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion [ worlds] went to the northwest, carrying flower-plates filled with heavenly flowers, in order to find [the place from where the light had come]. Their palaces also moved as they went. They [reached the Well-Composed World and] saw that Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata was sitting on the lion-like seat under the Bodhi tree of the place of enlightenment, surrounded respectfully by gods, dragon-kings, gandharvas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, men, and nonhuman beings. They also saw that the sixteen princes were begging the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma. Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings worshipped the Buddha with their heads, walked around him a hundred thousand times, and strewed heavenly flowers to him. The strewn flowers were heaped up to the height of Mt. Sumeru. The Brahman-heavenly-kings offered flowers also to the Bodhi-tree of the Buddha. Having offered flowers, they offered their palaces to the Buddha, saying, ‘We offer these palaces to you. Receive them and benefit us out of your compassion towards us!’ In the presence of the Buddha, they simultaneously praised him in gāthās with all their hearts:

Saintly Master, God of Gods!
Your voice is as sweet as a kalavinka’s.
You have compassion towards all living beings.
We now bow before you.
You, the World-Honored One, are exceptional.
You appear only once in a very long time.

No Buddha has appeared
For the past one hundred and eighty kalpas.
The three evil regions are crowded;
And the living beings in heaven, decreasing.

Now you have appeared in this world
And become the eye of all living beings.
As their refuge, you are saving them.
As their father, you are benefiting them
Out of your compassion towards them.
We are now able to see you
Because we accumulated merits
In our previous existence.

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings, having praised the Buddha with these gāthās, said, ‘World-Honored One! Turn the wheel of the Dharma and save all living beings out of your compassion towards them!’ Then they simultaneously said in gāthās with all their hearts:

Great Saint, turn the wheel of the Dharma
And reveal the reality of all things!
Save the suffering beings
And cause them to have great joy!

If they hear the Dharma, some will attain enlightenment;
Others will be reborn in heaven.
The living beings in the evil regions will decrease;
And those who do good patiently will increase.

“Thereupon Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata gave his tacit consent to their appeal.

See The Merits Of Faith In And Veneration For The Buddha

The Merits Of Faith In And Veneration For The Buddha

The Brahman heavenly-kings were unanimous in praising the Buddha and offering him their most cherished possessions. Each praised the Buddha in his own way. The words spoken by one deity … are often quoted:

May the merits we have accumulated by this offering be distributed among all living beings, and may we and all living beings together attain the enlightenment of the Buddha! (p. 139)

The “merits” spoken of here refer to the benefits they will receive for offering their palaces. Needless to say, they also imply merits in general which we all can attain through our faith in and veneration for the Buddha.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 11

Day 11 continues Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City

Having last month witnessed five hundred billion Buddha-worlds in each of the ten quarters quake in the six ways, we hear from the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the east.

“The palaces of the Brahman-heavenly[-kings] of the five hundred billion worlds in the east were illumined twice as brightly as ever. The Brahman-heavenly-kings [of those worlds] each thought, ‘My palace has never been illumined so brightly before. Why is that?’ They visited each other and discussed the reason. There was a great Brahman-heavenly-king called All-Saving among them. He said to the other Brahmans in gāthās:

Why are our palaces illumined
More brightly than ever?
Let us find [the place]
[From where this light has come].
Did a god of great virtue or a Buddha
Appear somewhere in the universe?
This great light illumines
The worlds of the ten quarters.

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds went to the west, carrying flower-plates filled with heavenly flowers, in order to find [the place from where the light had come]. Their palaces also moved as they went. They [reached the Well-Composed World and] saw that Great­Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata was sitting on the lion­like seat under the Bodhi-tree at the place of enlightenment, surrounded respectfully by gods, dragon-kings, gandharvas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, men and nonhuman beings. They also saw that the sixteen princes were begging the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma. Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly­kings worshipped the Buddha with their heads, walked around him a hundred thousand times, and strewed heavenly flowers to him. The strewn flowers were heaped up to the height of Mt. Sumeru. The Brahman-heavenly-kings offered flowers also to the ten-yojana-tall Bodhi-tree of the Buddha. Having offered flowers, they offered their palaces to the Buddha, saying, ‘We offer these palaces to you. Receive them and benefit us out of your compassion towards us!’ In the presence of the Buddha, they simultaneously praised him in gāthās with all their hearts:

You, the World-Honored One, are exceptional.
It is difficult to meet you.
You have innumerable merits.
You are saving all living beings.

As the great teacher of gods and men,
You are benefiting all living beings
Of the worlds of the ten quarters
Out of your compassion towards them.

We have come here from five hundred billion worlds.
We gave up the pleasure
Of deep dhyāna-concentration
Because we wished to make offerings to you.
Our palaces are beautifully adorned
Because we accumulated merits in our previous existence.
We offer [these palaces] to you.
Receive them out of your compassion towards us!

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings, having praised the Buddha with these gāthās, said, ‘World-Honored One! Turn the wheel of the Dharma and save all living beings! Open the Way to Nirvāṇa!’ They simultaneously said in a gāthā with all their hearts:

Hero of the World,
Most Honorable Biped!
Expound the Dharma!
Save the suffering beings
By the power of your great compassion!

The Daily Dharma from April 22, 2017, offers this:

Did a god of great virtue or a Buddha
Appear somewhere in the universe?
This great light illumines
The worlds of the ten quarters.

The Brahma Heavenly Kings of the East sing these verses as part of a story the Buddha tells in Chapter Seven of the Lotus Sūtra. Long ago there was another Buddha named Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence. When he became enlightened, the entire universe was illuminated. Beings who had never seen each other could recognize each other clearly. We can see this story as a metaphor for what happens when the Buddha’s wisdom comes into our lives. We leave the darkness of our ego attachment and come into the light of the world as it is.

The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com

Day 11

Day 11 continues Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City

Having last month concluded this portion of Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City, we begin again from the top.

The Buddha said to the bhikṣus:

“When Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Buddha attained Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi, five hundred billion Buddha-worlds in each of the ten quarters quaked in the six ways, and all those worlds, including those intercepted from the brilliant rays of light of the sun and the moon by the neighboring worlds, were illumined [by great rays of light], and the living beings of those worlds were able to see each other for the first time. They said to each other, ‘How did you appear so suddenly?’ The palaces of the gods of those worlds, including the palace of Brahmans, also quaked in the six ways. The great rays of light which illumined all those worlds were brighter than the rays of light emitted by those gods.

In reading this today I realized that this is a telling of the story of a Buddha’s light from the perspective of the observer as compared to the first chapter, where we are first told of the rays of light emitted by the Buddha and then learn of the reaction to the light. Imagine what was hidden before is suddenly revealed. That is the light of a Buddha. Without it, more people fall into the lower regions and fewer people enter the heavens.

Day 11

Day 11 continues Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City

Having last month seen the reaction of the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the south, we conclude this portion with the view from the zenith.

“Thereupon Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata gave his tacit consent to their appeal.

“The great Brahman-[heavenly-]kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the southwest, west, northwest, north, northeast, and nadir also did the same. The great Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the zenith, who saw their palaces illumined more brightly than ever, also danced with joy. They wondered why [their palaces were so illumined]. They visited each other and discussed the reason, saying, ‘Why are our palaces illumined so brightly?’ There was a great Brahman­heavenly-king called Sikhin among them. He said to the other Brahmans in gāthās:

Our palaces are adorned
More brightly than ever.
Why are they illumined
By this powerful light?

We have never seen nor heard
Of such a wonderful thing as this before.
Did a god of great virtue or a Buddha appear
Somewhere in the universe?

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion [worlds] went down, carrying flower-plates filled with heavenly flowers, in order to find [the place from where the light had come]. Their palaces also moved as they went. They [reached the Well-Composed World and] saw that Great-Universal­Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata was sitting on the lion-like seat under the Bodhi-tree of the place of enlightenment, surrounded respectfully by gods, dragon-kings, gandharvas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, men and non-human beings. They also saw that the sixteen princes were begging the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma. They worshipped the Buddha with their heads, walked around him a hundred thousand times, and strewed heavenly flowers to him. The strewn flowers were heaped up to the height of Mt. Sumeru. The Brahman-heavenly-kings offered flowers also to the Bodhi-tree of the Buddha. Having offered flowers, they offered their palaces to the Buddha, saying, ‘We offer these palaces to you. Receive them and benefit us out of your compassion towards us!’ In the presence of the Buddha, they simultaneously praised him in gāthās with all their hearts:

How good it is to see a Buddha,
To see the Honorable Saint who saves the world!
He saves all living beings
From the prison of the triple world.

The All-Knower, the Most Honorable One of Gods and Men,
Opens the gate of the teachings as sweet as nectar,
And saves all living beings
Out of his compassion towards them.

There has been no Buddha
For the past innumerable kalpas.
Before you appeared,
The worlds of the ten quarters were dark.

The living beings in the three evil regions
And asuras are increasing.
The living beings in heaven are decreasing.
Many fall into the evil regions after their death.

They do not hear the Dharma from a Buddha
Because they did evils,
Their appearances are getting worse;
And their power and wisdom, decreasing.
Because they did sinful karmas,
They lose pleasures and the memory of pleasures.
They are attached to wrong views.
They do not know how to do good.
They are not taught by a Buddha;
Therefore, they fall into the evil regions.

Now you have appeared for the first time after a long time,
And become the eyes of the world.
You have appeared in this world
Out of your compassion towards all living beings,
And finally attained perfect enlightenment.
We are very glad.
All the others also rejoice at seeing you,
Whom they have never seen before.

Our palaces are beautifully adorned
With your light.
We offer them to you.
Receive them out of your compassion towards us!

May the merits we have accumulated by this offering
Be distributed among all living beings,
And may we and all other living beings
Attain the enlightenment of the Buddha!

Note: I’m attending the Choeizan Enkyoji Buddhist Temple summer retreat in Seattle. While I will continue to post a portion of the daily section each evening, I won’t be able to add my commentary.

Seattle Choeizan Enkyoji Buddhist Temple summer retreat participants

Day 11

Day 11 continues Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City

Having last month seen the reaction of the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the southeast, we hear from the south.

“Bhikṣus! The great Brahman-[heavenly-]kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the south, who saw their palaces illumined more brightly than ever, also danced with joy. They wondered why [their palaces were so illumined]. They visited each other and discussed the reason, saying, ‘Why are our palaces illumined so brightly?’ There was a great Brahman-heavenly-­king called Wonderful-Dharma among them. He said to the other Brahmans in gāthās:

Our palaces are illumined so brightly.
There must be some reason.
Let us find [the place]
[From where the light has come].

We have never seen this [light]
For the past one hundred thousand kalpas.
Did a god of great virtue or a Buddha appear
Somewhere in the universe?

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion [worlds] went to the north, carrying flower-plates filled with heavenly flowers, in order to find [the place from where the light had come]. Their palaces also moved as they went. They [reached the Well-Composed World and] saw that Great­-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata was sitting on the lion-­like seat under the Bodhi-tree of the place of enlightenment, surrounded respectfully by gods, dragon-kings, gandharvas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, men and nonhuman beings. They also saw that the sixteen princes were begging the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma. They worshipped the Buddha with their heads, walked around him a hundred thousand times, and strewed heavenly flowers to him. The strewn flowers were heaped up to the height of Mt. Sumeru. The Brahman-heavenly-king offered flowers also to the Bodhi-tree of the Buddha. Having offered flowers, they offered their palaces to the Buddha, saying, ‘We offer these palaces to you. Receive them and benefit us out of your compassion towards us!’ In the presence of the Buddha, they simultaneously praised him in gāthās with all their hearts:

It is difficult to see a World-Honored One.
You, the World-Honored One, eliminated all illusions.
We have not seen a World-Honored One
For the past one hundred and thirty kalpas.

Send the rain of the Dharma
On the hungry and thirsty beings!
Possessor of immeasurable wisdom,
We have never seen anyone wiser than you.
You are as rare as an udumbara-flower.
Now we have met you today.

Our palaces are beautifully adorned
With your light.
World-Honored One, receive them
Out of your great compassion towards us!

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings, having praised the Buddha with these gāthās, said, ‘World-Honored One! Turn the wheel of the Dharma so that Mara, Brahman, the other gods, śramaṇas, and brahmanas of the world may be peaceful, and that they may be saved!’ They simultaneously praised the Buddha in gāthās with all their hearts:

Most Honorable of Gods and Men!
Turn the wheel of the unsurpassed Dharma,
Beat the drum of the Great Dharma,
Blow the conch-shell horn of the Great Dharma,
Send the rain of the Great Dharma,
And save innumerable living beings!
Devoting ourselves to you, we beg you.
Resound your profound teaching!

“Thereupon Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata gave his tacit consent to their appeal.

I enjoy the image of the wisdom of the Buddha shining a light that illumines the worlds of the 10 directions. And each time through here I ponder why in the south, “We have never seen this [light]
For the past one hundred thousand kalpas” and in other directions the length of the absence is different.

Day 11

Day 11 continues Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City

Having last month seen the reaction of the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the east, we witness the reaction in the southeast.

“Bhikṣus! The great Brahman-[heavenly-]kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the southeast, who saw their palaces illumined more brightly than ever, danced with joy. They also wondered why [their palaces were so illumined]. They visited each other and discussed the reason. There was a great Brahman­-heavenly-king called Great-Compassion among them. He said to the other Brahmans in gāthās:

Why is it
That we see this light?
Our palaces are illumined
More brightly than ever.

Did a god of great virtue or a Buddha
Appear somewhere in the universe?
We have never seen this [light] before.
Let us do our best to find [the reason].

Let us go even to the end of one thousand billion worlds,
And find the place from where this light has come.
A Buddha may have appeared somewhere in the universe
In order to save the suffering beings.

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion [worlds] went to the northwest, carrying flower-plates filled with heavenly flowers, in order to find [the place from where the light had come]. Their palaces also moved as they went. They [reached the Well-Composed World and] saw that Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata was sitting on the lion-like seat under the Bodhi tree of the place of enlightenment, surrounded respectfully by gods, dragon-kings, gandharvas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, men, and nonhuman beings. They also saw that the sixteen princes were begging the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma. Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings worshipped the Buddha with their heads, walked around him a hundred thousand times, and strewed heavenly flowers to him. The strewn flowers were heaped up to the height of Mt. Sumeru. The Brahman-heavenly-kings offered flowers also to the Bodhi-tree of the Buddha. Having offered flowers, they offered their palaces to the Buddha, saying, ‘We offer these palaces to you. Receive them and benefit us out of your compassion towards us!’ In the presence of the Buddha, they simultaneously praised him in gāthās with all their hearts:

Saintly Master, God of Gods!
Your voice is as sweet as a kalavinka’s.
You have compassion towards all living beings.
We now bow before you.
You, the World-Honored One, are exceptional.
You appear only once in a very long time.

No Buddha has appeared
For the past one hundred and eighty kalpas.
The three evil regions are crowded;
And the living beings in heaven, decreasing.

Now you have appeared in this world
And become the eye of all living beings.
As their refuge, you are saving them.
As their father, you are benefiting them
Out of your compassion towards them.
We are now able to see you
Because we accumulated merits
In our previous existence.

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings, having praised the Buddha with these gāthās, said, ‘World-Honored One! Turn the wheel of the Dharma and save all living beings out of your compassion towards them!’ Then they simultaneously said in gāthās with all their hearts:

Great Saint, turn the wheel of the Dharma
And reveal the reality of all things!
Save the suffering beings
And cause them to have great joy!

If they hear the Dharma, some will attain enlightenment;
Others will be reborn in heaven.
The living beings in the evil regions will decrease;
And those who do good patiently will increase.

“Thereupon Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata gave his tacit consent to their appeal.

One of the subsidiary lessons of this lengthy chapter (at least for me) is the effect of the light – the presence of the wisdom – of the Buddha. Earlier in the chapter the 16 princes say:

Seeing that you have peacefully attained
The enlightenment of the Buddha,
We, too, have obtained benefits.
Congratulations! How glad we are!
All living beings are suffering.
Being blind, they have no leader.
They do not know how to stop suffering,
Or that they should seek emancipation.
In the long night fewer people go to heaven,
And more people go to the evil regions.

They go from darkness to darkness, and do not hear
Of the names of the Buddhas.

The long night ends with the light of the Buddha’s wisdom. As Brahman­-heavenly-king
Great-Compassion says:

No Buddha has appeared
For the past one hundred and eighty kalpas.
The three evil regions are crowded;
And the living beings in heaven, decreasing.

Now you have appeared in this world
And become the eye of all living beings.
As their refuge, you are saving them.
As their father, you are benefiting them
Out of your compassion towards them.
We are now able to see you
Because we accumulated merits
In our previous existence.

Day 11

Day 11 continues Chapter 7, The Parable of the Magic City

Having last month seen the light, we now continue with the reaction of the reaction of the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds in the east.

“The palaces of the Brahman-heavenly[-kings] of the five hundred billion worlds in the east were illumined twice as brightly as ever. The Brahman-heavenly-kings [of those worlds] each thought, ‘My palace has never been illumined so brightly before. Why is that?’ They visited each other and discussed the reason. There was a great Brahman-heavenly-­king called All-Saving among them. He said to the other Brahmans in gāthās:

Why are our palaces illumined
More brightly than ever?
Let us find [the place]
[From where this light has come].
Did a god of great virtue or a Buddha
Appear somewhere in the universe?
This great light illumines
The worlds of the ten quarters.

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings of the five hundred billion worlds went to the west, carrying flower-plates filled with heavenly flowers, in order to find [the place from where the light had come]. Their palaces also moved as they went. They [reached the Well-Composed World and] saw that Great­Universal-Wisdom-Excellence Tathāgata was sitting on the lion­like seat under the Bodhi-tree at the place of enlightenment, surrounded respectfully by gods, dragon-kings, gandharvas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, men and nonhuman beings. They also saw that the sixteen princes were begging the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma. Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly­kings worshipped the Buddha with their heads, walked around him a hundred thousand times, and strewed heavenly flowers to him. The strewn flowers were heaped up to the height of Mt. Sumeru. The Brahman-heavenly-kings offered flowers also to the ten-yojana-tall Bodhi-tree of the Buddha. Having offered flowers, they offered their palaces to the Buddha, saying, ‘We offer these palaces to you. Receive them and benefit us out of your compassion towards us!’ In the presence of the Buddha, they simultaneously praised him in gāthās with all their hearts:

You, the World-Honored One, are exceptional.
It is difficult to meet you.
You have innumerable merits.
You are saving all living beings.

As the great teacher of gods and men,
You are benefiting all living beings
Of the worlds of the ten quarters
Out of your compassion towards them.

We have come here from five hundred billion worlds.
We gave up the pleasure
Of deep dhyāna-concentration
Because we wished to make offerings to you.
Our palaces are beautifully adorned
Because we accumulated merits in our previous existence.
We offer [these palaces] to you.
Receive them out of your compassion towards us!

“Thereupon the Brahman-heavenly-kings, having praised the Buddha with these gāthās, said, ‘World-Honored One! Turn the wheel of the Dharma and save all living beings! Open the Way to Nirvāṇa!’ They simultaneously said in a gāthā with all their hearts:

Hero of the World,
Most Honorable Biped!
Expound the Dharma!
Save the suffering beings
By the power of your great compassion!

The Daily Dharma from April 22, 2017, offers this:

Did a god of great virtue or a Buddha
Appear somewhere in the universe?
This great light illumines
The worlds of the ten quarters.

The Brahma Heavenly Kings of the East sing these verses as part of a story the Buddha tells in Chapter Seven of the Lotus Sūtra. Long ago there was another Buddha named Great-Universal-Wisdom-Excellence. When he became enlightened, the entire universe was illuminated. Beings who had never seen each other could recognize each other clearly. We can see this story as a metaphor for what happens when the Buddha’s wisdom comes into our lives. We leave the darkness of our ego attachment and come into the light of the world as it is.

The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com