Tag Archives: LS30

Day 30

Day 30 covers all of Chapter 26, Dhāraṇīs

Having last month received dhārāṇis from 10 rākṣasas daughters and Mother-Of-Devils and her children, we conclude the chapter with the Buddha’s response.

The Buddha said to the rākṣasas:

“Excellent, excellent! Your merits will be immeasurable even when you protect the person who keeps only the name of the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma. Needless to say, so will be your merits when you protect the person who keeps the sūtra itself, and makes to a copy of this sūtra hundreds of thousands of offerings such as flowers, incense, necklaces, powdered incense, incense applicable to the skin, incense to burn, streamers, canopies, music, and various lamps like lamps of butter oil, oil lamps, lamps of perfumed oil, lamps of sumanas-flower oil, lamps of campaka flower oil, lamps of vārṣika-flower oil, and lamps of utpala-flower oil. Kunti! You [rākṣasas] and your attendants should protect this teacher of the Dharma.”

When the Buddha expounded this chapter of Dhārānis, sixty-eight thousand people obtained the truth of birthlessness.

See Keeping and Maintaining

Keeping and Maintaining

We should say a little more about dharanis. Bodhisattvas, who are practitioners of the Great Vehicle, are expected to practice and obtain the power of dharanis. In Chapter One, “Introduction,” it says that there were eighty thousand Bodhisattvas in the congregation, and all of them “had obtained dharanis” (p. 1).

It is believed that the root of the word dharani in Sanskrit is the verb dhuti, which means “to keep or maintain.” Probably the original meaning of dharani was to keep or maintain something in the memory. It was necessary for people learning a sutra to be able to remember its words and recite them accurately.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 30

Day 30 covers all of Chapter 26, Dhāraṇīs

Having last month received World-Holding Heavenly-King’s dhārāṇis, we hear from the 10 rākṣasas daughters and Mother-Of-Devils and her children.

There are rākṣasas called 1. Lambā, 2. Vilambā, 3. Crooked-Teeth, 4. Flower-Teeth, 5. Black-Teeth, 6. Many-Hairs, 7. Insatiable, 8. Necklace-Holding, 9. Kuntī, and 10. Plunderer-Of-Energy-Of-All-Beings. These ten rākṣasas [and their attendants] came to the Buddha, together with Mother-Of-Devils and her children and attendants. They said to the Buddha simultaneously:

“World-Honored One! We also will protect the person who reads, recites and keeps the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma so that he may have no trouble. No one shall take advantage of the weak points of this teacher of the Dharma.”

Then they uttered spells before the Buddha:

“Ideibi (1), ideibin (2), ideibi (3), adeibi ( 4), ideibi (5), deibi (6), deibi (7), deibi (8), deibi (9), deibi (10), rokei (11), rokei (12), rokei (13), rokei (14), takei (15), takei (16), takei (17), tokei (18), tokei (19).”

[They said to the Buddha:]

“Anyone may step on our heads, but shall not trouble this teacher of the Dharma. Neither shall any yakṣa, rākṣasa, hungry spirit, pūtana, kṛtya, vetāda, kumbhāṇḍa, umāraka, apasmāraka, yakṣa-kṛtya or human kṛtya. Neither shall anyone who causes others to suffer from a fever for a day, two days, three days, four days, seven days or forever. Neither shall anyone who takes the shape of a man, a woman, a boy or a girl and appears in his dream.”

Then they sang in gāthās before the Buddha:

Anyone who does not keep our spells
But troubles the expounder of the Dharma
Shall have his head split into seven pieces
Just as the branches of the arjaka-tree [ are split].

Anyone who attacks this teacher of the Dharma
Will receive the same retribution
As to be received by the person who kills his parents,
Or who makes [sesame] oil without taking out worms [from the sesame],
Or who deceives others by using wrong measures and scales,
Or by Devadatta who split the Saṃgha.

Having sung these gāthās, the rākṣasas said to the Buddha:

“World-Honored One! We also will protect the person who keeps, reads and recites this sūtra, and acts according to it so that he may be peaceful, that he may have no trouble, and that poison taken by him may be neutralized.”

See Total Upholding

Total Upholding

Dharani is a Sanskrit word; in Chinese it is taken to mean “total upholding.” Total upholding means holding on to the good, thus preventing evil. Since it has the meaning of not to lose the [good] teachings of the Buddha, it signifies to memorize phrases of the Sutra. The memorized phrases of teachings are called dharanis, and phrases of spells are called dharani-ju or dharani-jinju. In this chapter of the Sutra, dharani refer to dharani-ju.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 30

Day 30 covers all of Chapter 26, Dhāraṇīs

Having last month received Vaiśravaṇa Heavenly-King’s dhārāṇis, we hear from World-Holding Heavenly-King.

World-Holding Heavenly-King, accompanied by thousands of billions of nayutas of gandharvas who were surrounding him respectfully, came to the Buddha, joined his hands together, and said to him, “World-Honored One! I also will protect the keeper of the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma with dhārānis, with divine spells.”

Then he uttered spells,” Akyanei (1), kyanei (2), kuri (3), kendari (4), sendari (5), matōgi (6), jōguri (7), furoshani (8), atchi (9).”

[He said to the Buddha:]

“World-Honored One! These dhārānis, these divine spells, have already been uttered by four thousand and two hundred million Buddhas. Those who attack and abuse this teacher of the Dharma should be considered to have attacked and abused those Buddhas.”

See Dharani Spells

Dharani Spells

In a book called Maha-prajna-paramitopadesa, the great Indian philosopher Nagarjuna (second century) says about dharanis, “If a Bodhisattva obtains the power of dharanis, he will never lose the Dharma from his memory, but will keep it forever.”

This idea was later developed to mean that if someone continues in this practice diligently until he can recite an entire sutra by heart, he will obtain the miraculous power inherent in that sutra. Phrases and words of the sutra are then called dharani-spells. In the Lotus Sutra, the dharani-spells are uttered to protect the practitioners, teachers, and expounders of the Sutra.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 30

Day 30 covers all of Chapter 26, Dhāraṇīs

Having last month received Brave-In-Giving Bodhisattva’s dhārāṇis, we hear Vaiśravaṇa Heavenly-King’s dhārāṇis.

Thereupon Vaiśravaṇa Heavenly-King, the Protector of the World, said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One! I also will utter dhārānis in order to protect this teacher of the Dharma out of my compassion towards all living beings.”

Then he uttered spells, “Ari (1), nari (2), tonari (3), anaro (4), nabi (5), kunabi (6).”

[He said to the Buddha:]

“World-Honored One! I will protect this teacher of the Dharma with these divine spells. I also will protect the person who keeps this sūtra so that he may have no trouble within a hundred yojanas’ distance [from here].”

Lotus World offers this:

According to Chih-i, in his Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra, the four heavenly kings represent the four characteristics of nirvana or buddhahood as taught in the Nirvana Sutra: true self (Virupaksha), eternity ( Dhritarashtra), purity (Vaiśravaṇa), and bliss ( Virudhaka).

Vaiśravaṇa is the chief of the four heavenly kings. The Flammarion Iconographic Guide: Buddhism describes Vaiśravaṇa as follows: Vaiśravaṇa is the guardian of the north and the chief of the four guardian kings, ‘He who is knowing’, ‘He who hears everything in the kingdom’, the protector of the state par excellence, sometimes thought to be a god of defensive warfare. In China, he is considered to be a Buddhicization of the Indian god of wealth, Kuvera, the north being considered to hold fabulous treasures. He presides over winter and is black, so is also called ‘the black warrior’. His symbols are a jewel and a serpent, and he commands a large army of Yaksas.

Vaiśravaṇa’s army and attendants consisted of the kimnaras and the yakshas, two of the eight kinds of supernatural beings who are said to revere and protect the Dharma. The kimnaras are celestial musicians and dancers who have the bodies of birds with human heads and torsos. They officiate at Vaiśravaṇa’s court. The yakshas are a kind of flesh-eating demon or spirit who make up Vaiśravaṇa’s army.
Lotus World: An Illustrated Guide to the Gohonzon

Day 30

Day 30 covers all of Chapter 26, Dhāraṇīs

Having last month covered Medicine-King Bodhisattva’s dhārāni-spells, we receive Brave-In-Giving Bodhisattva.

Thereupon Brave-In-Giving Bodhisattva said to the Buddha:

“World-Honored One! I also will utter dhārānis in order to protect the person who reads, recites and keeps the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma. If he keeps these dhārānis, this teacher of the Dharma will not have his weak points taken advantage of by any yakṣa, rākṣasa, pūtana, kṛtya, kumbhāṇḍa or hungry spirit.”

Then he uttered spells before the Buddha:

“Zarei (1), makazarei (2), ukki (3), mokki (4), arei (5), arahatei (6), netsureitei (7), netsureitahatei (8), ichini (9), ichini (10), shichini(11), netsureichini (12), netsurichihachi (13).”

[He said to the Buddha:]

“World-Honored One! These dhārānis, these divine spells, have already been uttered by as many Buddhas as there are sands in the River Ganges. Those Buddhas uttered them with joy. Those who attack and abuse this teacher of the Dharma should be considered to have attacked and abused those Buddhas.”

Protection of weak points: Everyone has them.

Day 30

Day 30 covers all of Chapter 26, Dhāraṇīs

Having last month covered the merits to be earned by “the good men or women who keep, read, recite, understand or copy the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma,” we receive Medicine-King Bodhisattva’s dhārāni-spells.

Thereupon Medicine-King Bodhisattva said to the Buddha,

“World-Honored One! Now I will give dhārāni-spells to the expounder of the Dharma’ in order to protect him.”

Then he uttered spells:

“Ani (1), mani (2), manei (3), mamanei (4), shirei (5), sharitei (6), shamya (7), shabi-tai (8), sentei (9), mokutei (10), mokutabi (11), shabi (12), aishabi (13), sōbi (14), shabi (15), shaei (16), ashaei (17), agini (18), sentei (19), shabi (20), darani (21 ), arokya-basai-ha habi-shani (22), neibitei (23), abentarancibitei (24), atantahareishudai(25), ukurei (26), mukurei (27), ararei (28), hararei (29), shukyashi (30), asammasambi (31), botsudabikirijittei (32), darumaharishitei (33), sōgyanekkushanei (34), bashabashashudai(35), mantara (36), manta ashayata (37), urntaurota (38), kyōsharya(39), ashara (40), ashay taya (41), abaro (42), amanyanataya (43).”

[He said to the Buddha:]

“World-Honored One! These dhārānis, these divine spells, have already been uttered by six thousand and two hundred million Buddhas, that is, as many Buddhas as there are sands in the River Ganges. Those who attack and abuse this teacher of the Dharma should be considered to have attacked and abused those Buddhas.”

Thereupon Śākyamuni Buddha praised Medicine-King Bodhisattva, saying:

“Excellent, excellent, Medicine-King! You uttered these dhārānis in order to protect this teacher of the Dharma out of your compassion towards him. You will be able to give many benefits to all living beings.”

It bears repeating that the reward for a Bodhisattva is not in personal gain but in the ability “to give many benefits to all living beings.”

Day 30

Day 30 covers all of Chapter 26, Dhāraṇīs

Having last month concluded the chapter with the rākṣasas and the Mother of Devils, we begin again at the top with Medicine-King Bodhisattva.

Thereupon Medicine-King Bodhisattva rose front his seat, bared his right shoulder, joined his hands together towards the Buddha, and said to him:

“World-Honored One! How many merits will be given to the good men or women who keep, read, recite, understand or copy the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma?”

The Buddha said to him:

“Suppose some good men or women make offerings to eight hundred billion nayuta Buddhas, that is, as many Buddhas as there are sands in the River Ganges. What do you think of this? Are the merits given to them many or not?”

“Very many, World-Honored One!”

The Buddha said: “More merits will be given to the good men or women who keep, read or recite even a single gāthā of four lines of this sūtra, understand the meanings of it or act according to it.”

Underscore here even a single gāthā of four lines of this sūtra, understand the meanings of it or act according to it with emphasis on or in that list.