Ksitigarbha sutra: Chapter Thirteen – Shakyamuni Buddha’s Instruction to Human Beings and Devas

KSITIGARBHA SUTRA

Chapter Thirteen – Shakyamuni Buddha’s Instruction to Human Beings and Devas

At that time, Shakyamuni Buddha raised His golden arms, touching Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s head, and said, “Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, your supernatural power, your Infinite Loving Kindness, your wisdom and your eloquence! (One could take) millions of kalpas to praise you and your incomparable activities, yet they can never give the fullest account. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, remember that I am standing in the presence of such a multitude, who have assembled at these thirty-three Heavens, to declare unto you that you must not allow any sentient beings to fall into the evil state of suffering for even one day and one night. So much the more, should never allow them to be cast to the five Avichi Hells or the last and the deepest of the eight hot Hells where the culprits suffer, die or instantly return to suffering without interruption for millions of kalpas. Sentient beings are prone to evil habits, and when they reform they easily yield to temptation, backslide and, worst of all, the bad habits will multiply. That is why it is necessary to have millions and millions of transformations to aid each erring one according to his own weakness and avoid it, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, I now place the guardianship of all these beings into your hands. Encourage even the slightest of good deeds and encourage beings, either devas or human beings, male or female, never to discontinue their efforts to practice even a small act of good deed. It is your profound duty, through your supernatural powers, to protect such beings and help them to improve their good deeds with no retreat. In the future, if any beings have Karma that brings them into Hell, and can remember the name of one Buddha or one Bodhisattva, or one passage, or even one sentence from the Mahayana Sutra when they reach the gate of the Hell, then, through your supernatural powers, you should lead these beings out of their sufferings. Show them your various transformations and bring them to Salvation to enjoy Supreme Bliss.”

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Ksitigarbha sutra: Chapter Twelve – The Benefit through Sight and Hearing

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Chapter Twelve – The Benefit through Sight and Hearing

At that time, Shakyamuni Buddha, the Honored of the World, was radiating various kinds of great, blazing, perfectly colored lights from the crown of His head. The head controls the whole body and the crown of the head is the superior of the whole. The Buddha radiated light from the crown of His head to show to the gathering that He himself also has the highest respect for the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and his Sutra.

After radiating different kinds of lights, the Buddha also produced wonderful sounds. His intention of showing light and producing sounds was to communicate to the gathering that excellent benefit can be obtained from sight and hearing.

The different colors of light revealed to the gathering that sentient beings of different types might be ignorant in committing sins and be cast into the Hells for punishment, yet they would have every opportunity and pleasure of being relieved by the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva out of their sufferings and also be guided to the Path of Righteousness and finally attain Buddhahood. For light represents transcendental wisdom, which enlightens beings in every corner of all universes without any exception.

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Ksitigarbha sutra: Chapter Eleven – Earthly Spirits Protecting the Dharma

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Chapter Eleven – Earthly Spirits Protecting the Dharma

At that time, the Spirit of the strong earth said to the Shakyamuni Buddha, “Honored of the World. In the past, I have paid homage to innumerable Maha Bodhisattvas who possessed inconceivable honor and wisdom, and who have converted boundless sentient beings. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva made strong and deep vows among these Bodhisattvas. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva has great relationship with the sentient beings in Jampudvipa. Such as Manjushri, Samantabhadra Bodhisattvas, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and Maitreya Buddha, all of whom make hundreds of thousands of transformations to convert the erring beings of the six Directions of Reincarnation and their vows have already been achieved. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva made strong vows, as many as the grains of sands of the Ganges River, to convert the sentient beings of the six Directions of Reincarnation. Honored of the World, I can see that the sentient beings of the present and future can make images of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva in iron, brass, silver, gold or simple drawings, and enshrine them in cases either of earth, stone, bamboo or wood and keep the cases in a neat place in the south of their residence of purity, and pay homage to the Bodhisattva with the deepest reverence and earnest admiration and make scented offerings, such pious persons will receive ten kinds of benefits around their residences. What are the ten kinds of benefits? They are as follows:

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Ksitigarbha sutra: Chapter Ten – The Comparison of Merits for Alms-giving

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Chapter Ten – The Comparison of Merits for Alms-giving

At that time, the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, under the supernatural power of Shakyamuni Buddha, rose from his seat and knelt down with clasped hands by saying to Him, “Honored of the World, I can see that the comparison of merits for almsgiving differ from each other in small or great ways. Some receive their reward for only one life, some receive their reward for ten lives, and even some receive great bliss for hundreds of thousands of lives. I do not know the reason why it differs in such a great way and hope that you will graciously explain it to me.” The Shakyamuni Buddha replied, “Now, I shall give you the comparison of merits, whether great or small. As rewards for the sentient beings who practice alms-giving in the Jampudvipa, I tell all who are assembled here at the thirty-three Heavens and I hope you will listen to me carefully.” Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva said to Shakyamuni Buddha, “I’m quite doubtful about this, and I would like to hear the comparison of merits for alms-giving.”

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Ksitigarbha sutra: Chapter Nine – The Chanting of the Buddha’s Name

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Chapter Nine – The Chanting of the Buddha’s Name

At that time, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva said to Shakyamuni Buddha, “Honored of the World, let me now declare how human beings in the future will acquire great benefit and happiness, during their life-time and at the moment of their death. I anticipate you to be congenial enough to listen to me.” Shakyamuni Buddha then disclosed to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, “It is because of your compassionate Infinite Loving Kindness that you long to assert about a possible tendency of relieving all the erring beings from the six States of reincarnation. Of course, it is the proper time now. Please speak promptly, as I am about to enter Nirvana. I wish to bless you with success in discharging the strong vow, so that I shall have no worry about human beings in the future.”

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva told the Exalted Buddha, “Honored of the World, I name below a list of Buddhas for your hearing –

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Ksitigarbha sutra: Chapter Eight – Appreciation of Emperor Yama and His Followers— The Ruler of Yamadevaloka and Judge of the Dead

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Chapter Eight – Appreciation of Emperor Yama and His Followers— The Ruler of Yamadevaloka and Judge of the Dead

At that time, Emperor Yama of the Hells came to Tusita Heaven from Mahachakravala with an innumerable number of his followers, as listed below, to pay respect to the Shakyamuni Buddha—

1. Devil-king who possesses a resolute attitude towards the poisonous group of Evildoers, for evils committed through actions, words and thoughts are classed as poison. This King of devils leads erring beings to abstain from bad deeds and to practice a good life by showing them the poisonous result of committing sins.

2. Devil-king of violent anger. The outer appearance of this King of devils is frightfully fierce, but his thoughts are compassionate. He tries to convert stubborn and erring beings from committing bad deeds by way of being stern although greatly compassionate inwardly. Thus, he leads the erring to righteousness gradually.

3. Devil-king of Quarrels. Love and hatred, greed and jealousy are the sources of quarrels. This King of devils shows the harmful result of quarrels. As a result, he leads the erring to the happy path of harmony.

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Ksitigarbha sutra: Chapter Seven – Benefiting the Living and the Dead

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Chapter Seven – Benefiting the Living and the Dead

At that time, Ksitigarbha Maha Bodhisattva said to Shakyamuni Buddha “Honored of the World, I can see that beings in Jambudvipa have committed sins in actions, words and thoughts. If they have any opportunity to do good, they act with flagging zeal. When opportunity presents itself for the commission of evil deeds, they continue in evil. Such sentient beings are those walking in a mire with heavy loads on their backs. The farther they go, the deeper they sink and the heavier the burden.

If they encounter wise persons, they are aided to carry half of the load or all.

Owing to the superior energy of the wise, they not only are able to give aid, but also to counsel the erring ones to stand firm, determined to err no more once out of the Slough of evil, thereafter avoiding all evil ways.” Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva again said to the Buddha, “Honored of the World The bad habits of those people often originate in something as small as a mote; but they gradually increase. Their parents, family and friends ought to perform some benevolence on their behalf when the erring ones are about to depart from this life.

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Ksitigarbha sutra: Chapter Six – Shakyamuni Buddha Praising Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva

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Chapter Six – Shakyamuni Buddha Praising Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva

Shakyamuni Buddha radiated great brilliant light to all the Buddha-Worlds, as many as the grains of sand on the shores of the Ganges River. He sent His great voice to all the Maha Bodhisattvas, devas, dragon-kings, spirits and human beings, as well as the other sentient beings in the Buddha-Worlds.

“Listen to me today. I am praising the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva on how he converted, and will continue to convert, all erring beings in the ten quarters of space by incalculable Infinite powers and Infinite love and compassion. I hope you will endeavor in your utmost to protect and propagate the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra, so as to lead all beings to attain Enlightenment after I enter Nirvana.” After Shakyamuni Buddha had spoken, Universal Bodhisattva spoke to the Shakyamuni Buddha with clasped hands, respectfully, “I have just heard your Honored Self praising the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva for his incalculable Infinite powers in relieving sentient beings, and hope that you, the Honored of the World, will tell us in more detail the ways and means by which Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva brings happiness and benefit to sentient beings, so that the future generations may understand and practice the Teachings.” At that time, Shakyamuni Buddha told the Universal Bodhisattva, and all those who were present, “Please listen to me carefully; I will tell you all briefly how Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva converted sentient beings, and brought them happiness and good merit.” Universal Bodhisattva replied, “Please speak, Honored of the World, and we shall all listen to you carefully.” Shakyamuni Buddha told the Universal Bodhisattva, “If both males and females in the future will chant the name of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva with clasped hands, praising him, paying homage to him, or admiring him, all those people will be exonerated from the sins that they have committed even thirty kalpas ago.

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Ksitigarbha sutra: Chapter Five – The Names of Different Kinds of Hells

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Chapter Five – The Names of Different Kinds of Hells

At that time, Samantabhadra Maha Bodhisattva requested Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and said, “My meritorious One, please be kind enough to relate to devas, the dragons and all beings of the Samsara world, in the present and the future, the names of different Hells and the kinds of punishment for committing sins, so that beings in the future generation will realize the result of evil deeds and therefore will avoid evil.” Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva replied, “My compassionate One, under the supernatural powers of the Buddha and your kind support, I now give you the names of Hells and the kinds of punishment for sinners in brief—

1. The Great Avichi Hell At the East of the Mahachakravala mountain which is extremely cold, for there is neither light of the sun nor the moon, there is a great Hell by the name of Great Avichi. Punishments in this Hell comprise of pain, form, birth and death. Such punishments continue without intermission.

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Ksitigarbha sutra: Chapter Four – Evil Actions and Retributions of Human Beings of the Samsara World

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Chapter Four – Evil Actions and Retributions of Human Beings of the Samsara World

At that time, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva told Shakyamuni Buddha, “Honored of the World, only through your transcendental powers, am I then able to have transformations throughout millions and millions of Universes to enlighten suffering beings to real Salvation. It must be by your great compassion and supernatural power that I am also able to have such innumerable transformations. I solemnly promise to fulfill your instruction to continue to relieve beings from this state of suffering and to lead them to Salvation. I shall strive to work hard until the next Buddha, Maitreya Buddha, comes to this world. Pray, do not despair.” Shakyamuni Buddha then told Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, “The natural powers of perception of all those who have not yet been liberated from the Samsara world are of an unsteady nature. Sometimes they do good deeds, and sometimes they commit sins. They receive their Karma according to their deeds. They have to undergo births and deaths, to be tested continuously at different stages in the ocean of sufferings from kalpas to kalpas. They will always be in one of the following five states.

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