Day 16 concludes Chapter 11, Beholding the Stūpa of Treasures, and completes the Fourth Volume of the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.
Last month I started Day 16’s portion of Chapter 11, Beholding the Stūpa of Treasures, but I’ve decided to move where I make that break. As a result, last month’s portion, plus the portion below have been moved into the end of Day 15.
The Buddha said to him:
“The perfect body of a Tathāgata is in this stūpa of treasures. A long time ago there was a world called Treasure-Purity at the distance of many thousands of billions of asaṃkhyas of worlds to the east [of this world]. In that world lived a Buddha called Many-Treasures. When he was yet practicing the Way of Bodhisattvas, he made a great vow: ‘If anyone expounds a sūtra called the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma in any of the worlds of the ten quarters after I become a Buddha and pass away, I will cause my stūpa-mausoleum to spring up before him so that 1 may be able to prove the truthfulness of the sūtra and say ‘excellent’ in praise of him because I wish to hear that sūtra [directly from him].”
“He attained enlightenment[, and became a Buddha]. When he was about to pass away, he said to the bhikṣus in the presence of the great multitude of gods and men, ‘If you wish to make offerings to my perfect body after my extinction, erect a great stūpa!’
“If anyone expounds the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma in any of the worlds of the ten quarters, that Buddha, by his supernatural powers and by the power of his vow, will cause the stūpa of treasures enshrining his perfect body to spring up before the expounder of the sūtra. Then he will praise [the expounder of the sūtra], saying, ‘Excellent, excellent!’
“Great-Eloquence! Now Many-Treasures Tathāgata caused his stūpa to spring up from underground in order to hear the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma [directly from me]. Now he praised me, saying, ‘Excellent, excellent!’ ”
Thereupon Great-Eloquence Bodhisattva, resorting to the supernatural powers of [Śākyamuni] Tathāgata, said to him, “World-Honored One! We wish to see that Buddha.”
The Buddha said to Great-Eloquence Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas:
“Many-Treasures Buddha made another great vow: ‘If a Buddha wishes to show me to the four kinds of devotees when my stūpa of treasures appears before him in order that l may be able to hear the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma [directly from him], he must call back all the Buddhas of his replicas who will be expounding the Dharma in the worlds of the ten quarters at that time. Then I will show myself [to the four kinds of devotees].’ Great-Eloquence! Now I will collect the Buddhas of my replicas who are now expounding the Dharma in the worlds of the ten quarters.”
Great-Eloquence said to him, “World-Honored One! We also wish to see the Buddhas of your replicas, bow to them, and make offerings to them.”
Thereupon the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the white curls [between his eyebrows, and faced the east]. The congregation saw the Buddhas of five hundred billion nayuta worlds, that is, as many worlds as there are sands in the River Ganges, in the east. The ground of those worlds was made of crystal. Those worlds were adorned with jeweled trees and garments, and filled with many thousands of billions of Bodhisattvas. Jeweled curtains were stretched and jeweled nets were hung over those worlds, where the Buddhas were expounding the Dharma with loud and wonderful voices. The congregation also saw that many thousands of billions of Bodhisattvas, with whom those worlds were filled, were expounding the Dharma to the living beings of those worlds.
The Buddha also illumined the worlds of the south, west, north, the four intermediate quarters, zenith, and nadir, with rays of light emitted from the white curls [between his eyebrows]. The worlds of those quarters looked like those of the east.
Next month I’ll begin again with what is now the start of Day 16’s portion of Chapter 11, Beholding the Stūpa of Treasures. Most breaks between days are clearly marked, e.g. the transition from prose to gāthās or the end of a chapter. But a few are more difficult for me to discern. In those cases I’ve used “logical” breaks, e.g. in Chapter 3, A Parable, between Day 5, which ends with Śāriputra asking Śākyamuni to remove the doubts of the four kinds of devotees, and the start of Day 6, where Śākyamuni responds.
The Day 15-Day 16 split is different in that there are several Shindoku words that I recognize such as “zen zai” which means excellent, “butsu” which means Buddha, “bo satsu” which is Bodhisattva and “shaka muni” which is Śākyamuni. For several months I’ve realized my Day 15-Day 16 split had been misplaced, but only this month did I sit down with both books.
The split in Myoho Renge Kyo Romanized occurs at: ni ji jip po sho butsu, kaku go shu bo satsu gon, zen nan shi, ga kon o o, sha ba se kai, shaka muni bus sho…
I’ve placed that split in Senchu Murano’s translation at: “Thereupon each of the Buddhas of the [ worlds of the] ten quarters said to the Bodhisattvas under him, “Good men! Now I will go to Śākyamuni Buddha of the Sahā-World. …”
Eventually I hope to verify all of the breaks.