OM. Adoration to the Three Treasures! Om. Adoration to all the glorious Buddhas and Bodhisattvas! Adoration to all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Āryas, Śrāvakas, and Pratyekabuddhas, past, present, and to come, who dwell in the unlimited and endless Lokādhatus of the ten quarters! Adoration to Amitābha! Adoration to him whose soul is endowed with incomprehensible virtues!
Adoration to Amitābha, to the Gina, to thee, O Muni!
I go to Sukhāvatī through thy compassion also;
To Sukhāvatī, with its groves, resplendent with gold,
The delightful, adorned with the sons of Sugata,—
I go to it, which is full of many jewels and treasures;
And the refuge of thee, the famous and wise.
with thirty-two thousands of Bhikshus, all holy (arhat), free from frailties and cares, who had performed their religious duties, whose thoughts had been thoroughly freed through perfect knowledge, with inquiring thoughts, who had broken the fetters of existence, who had obtained their desires, who had conquered, who had achieved the highest self-restraint, whose thoughts and whose knowledge were unfettered, Mahānāgas (great heroes), possessed of the six kinds of knowledge, self-controlled, meditating on the eight kinds of salvation, possessed of the powers, wise in wisdom, elders, great disciples, viz.
1. Ājñātakauṇḍinya,2. Aśvajit,
9. Pūrṇa Maitrāyaṇīputra,
33. Rāhula, and
34. the blessed Ānanda,
—with these and with other elders, and great disciples, who were wise in wisdom, with the exception of one person who had still to be advanced on the path of the disciples, viz. the blessed Ānanda;—and with many noble-minded Bodhisattvas, led by Maitreya.
§ 2. Then the blessed Ānanda, having risen from his seat, having put his cloak on one shoulder, and knelt on the earth with his right knee, making obeisance with folded hands in the direction of the Bhagavat, spoke thus to the Bhagavat: ‘Thy organs of sense, O Bhagavat, are serene, the colour of thy skin is clear, the colour of thy face bright and yellowish. As an autumn cloud is pale, clear, bright and yellowish, thus the organs of sense of the Bhagavat are serene, the colour of his face is clear, the colour of his skin bright and yellowish. And as, O Bhagavat, a piece of gold coming from the Gâmbû river, having been thrown into a furnace by a clever smith or by his apprentice, and well fashioned, when thrown on a pale cloth, looks extremely clear, bright and yellowish, thus the organs of sense of the Bhagavat are serene, the colour of his face is clear, and the colour of his skin bright and yellowish. Moreover, I do not know, O Bhagavat, that I have ever seen the organs of sense of the Tathāgata so serene, the colour of his face so clear, and the colour of his skin so bright and yellowish before now. This thought occurs to me, O Bhagavat: probably, the Tathāgata dwells today in the state of a Buddha, probably the Tathāgata dwells to-day in the state of a Gina, in the state of omniscience, in the state of a Mahānāga; and he contemplates the holy and fully enlightened Tathāgatas of the past, future, and present.’
After these words, the Bhagavat thus spoke to the blessed Ānanda: ‘Well said! well said! Ānanda. Did the gods suggest this matter to you? or the blessed Buddhas? Or do you know this through the philosophical knowledge which you possess?
After these words the blessed Ānanda spoke thus to the Bhagavat: ‘The gods, O Bhagavat, do not suggest this matter to me, nor the blessed Buddhas, but this thought occurs to me by my own philosophy alone, viz. that probably the Tathāgata dwells to-day in the state of a Buddha, probably the Tathāgata dwells to-day in the state of a Gina, in the state of omniscience, in the state of a Mahānāga ; or he contemplates the venerable Buddhas of the past, future, and present.’
After these words the Bhagavat spoke thus to the blessed Ānanda: ‘Well said! well said! Ānanda; excellent indeed is your question , good your philosophy, and beautiful your understanding! You, O Ānanda, have arrived for the benefit and happiness of many people, out of compassion for the world, for the sake of the great body of men, for the benefit and happiness of gods and men, as you think it right to ask the Tathāgata this matter : Thus, indeed, Ānanda might pile up intellectual knowledge under immeasurable and innumerable blessed, holy, and fully enlightened Tathāgatas, and yet the knowledge of the Tathāgata would not be exceeded thereby. And why? Because, O Ānanda, one who possesses the knowledge of a Tathāgata possesses an intellectual knowledge of causes that cannot be exceeded . If the Tathāgata wished, O Ānanda, he could live for a whole kalpa (age) on one alms-gift, or for a hundred kalpas, or for a thousand kalpas, or for a hundred thousand kalpas, to a hundred thousand niyutas of koṭīs of kalpas , nay, he could live beyond, and yet the organs of nature of the Tathāgata would not perish, the colour of his face would not be altered, nor would the colour of his skin be injured. And why? Because, O Ānanda, the Tathāgata has so fully obtained the Pāramitās which arise from Samādhi . The appearance of fully enlightened Buddhas is very difficult to be obtained in this world, O Ānanda. As the appearance of Audumbara-flowers is very difficult to be obtained in this world; thus, O Ānanda, the appearance of Tathāgatas who desire welfare, wish for what is beneficial, are compassionate, and have arrived at the highest compassion, is very difficult to be obtained. But, O Ānanda, it is (owing to) the grace of the Tathāgata himself that you think that the Tathāgata should be asked this question, so that there may arise in this world beings who can be teachers of all the world, for the sake of noble-minded Bodhisattvas. Therefore, O Ānanda, listen, and take it well and rightly to heart! I shall tell you.’
‘Yes, O Bhagavat,’ so did the blessed Ānanda answer the Bhagavat.
§ 3. The Bhagavat then spoke to Ānanda: ‘At the time, O Ānanda, which was long ago in the past, in an innumerable and more than innumerable, enormous, immeasurable, and incomprehensible kalpa before now,—at that time, and at that moment, there arose in the world a holy and fully enlightened Tathāgata called
1. Dīpankara. Following after Dīpankara, O Ānanda, there was a Tathāgata
2. Pratāpavat, and after him,