Chapter XXX — Sadaprarudita (RiBa)

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Chapter XXX


Sadaprarudita Sets Out to Find Perfect Wisdom

Furthermore, Subhuti, one searches for perfect wisdom as the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita, at present leading the holy life in the presence of the Tathagata Bhishmagarjitanirghoshasvara.

Subhuti: How does Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita search for perfection of wisdom?

The Lord: First of all Sadaprarudita, the Bodhisattva, searches for perfect wisdom in such a way as to have no regard for body or life, and gain, honor and fame do not interest him. In the seclusion of a remote forest, a voice in the air said to him:

"In the East, son of good family, hear the perfection of wisdom! And on your way do not pay attention to weariness of your body, do not give in to any fatigue, pay no attention to food or drink, day or night, or to cold or heat. Do not make any definite plans, either about inward, or about outward things. Do not look to the left or right, to the South, East, West or North, upwards or downwards, or in any of the intermediate directions. Neither be shaken by self or individuality, nor by form or other skandhas. [482] For one shaken by these, is turned away from Buddha-dharmas. As one is turned away from Buddha-dharmas, one wanders in birth-and-death. And as one wanders in birth-and-death, one does not course in perfect wisdom, and cannot reach perfection of wisdom."

Sadaprarudita said to the voice: This is how, from this point on, I am and act accordingly. As I aspire to indicate light to all beings, as I aspire to procure the dharma of a Buddha.

The Voice answered: "Well spoken, son of good family!"

The Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita again listens to the voice, and he hears this:

"Son of good family, this search for perfect wisdom takes place as you produce the firm conviction all dharmas are void, signless and wishless. Be not affected by signs, existence, and false views anywhere, or at anytime here appears being, or are beings appearing. Be not affected by thoughts of bad friends. Good thoughts of friends, however, tend, love and honor. These demonstrate dharma, and teach 'all dharmas are void, signless and wishless, not produced, not stopped and non-existent.'

"As you progress like this, you are studing or applying this perfection of wisdom either from a book, direct experience, or from the mouth of a monk speaking dharma. Treat as the Teacher any person from whom you come to hear perfection of wisdom, be grateful and thankful, and think [483]: 'This is my good friend. As I hear this perfection of wisdom from this one, I gradually come to realize irreversibility from full enlightenment, I draw nearer to Tathagatas, and come to be reborn in Buddha-fields in which Tathagatas are not lacking, and, avoiding unfortunate rebirths, I accomplish auspicious rebirth!' As you weigh up such advantages, you are bound to treat a monk speaking dharma as the Teacher. Do not follow this one with motives of worldly gain, but for love of dharma, out of respect for dharma, and the benefit of any and all beings.

"Also, see through things which are thought of or seen as Mara's deeds for here always is appearing Mara, the Evil One, who may seem to suggest your teacher tends, enjoys and honors things which are seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched, while in actual fact the teacher does so from skill in means, and has really risen above these. Here now, do not lose confidence in the teacher, but say to yourself: 'I do not yet know skill in means as the teacher naturally does. The teacher tends, enjoys and honors such dharmas in order to indicate proper discipline to beings, in order to bring to realization wholesome roots for them. For no attachment to such objective supports exist in or for Bodhisattvas.' At this, contemplate this true reality of dharmas, which is to say, as all dharmas are without defilement OR purification. As all dharmas are empty of own-being [484], such can 'have' no properties as appear to be these attributes of a living being, such can 'have' no life, no individuality, no personality, such are as illusion, a dream, an echo, a reflected image. As you thus contemplate this true reality of all dharmas, and follow what is spoken of Dharma, you go forth in, and as, perfection of wisdom. But watch out for seeing yet another deed of Mara. As you may be disheartened at what the preacher of dharma has said, let this not make you averse to perfection of wisdom; but with a mind which desires only dharma, which respects only dharma may you, unwearied, follow any monk which preaches Dharma."

After receiving this admonition from this voice, the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita now journeys East. Before long it occurs to him that he had not asked the voice how far he ought to go. He stands still just at this, crying, sorrowful and lamenting. For seven days he stays in this very spot waiting to be told how far to go to hear this perfection of wisdom, and all this time he pays no attention to anything else, and takes no food, but simply pays homage to perfect wisdom, waiting to be far he needs to go, and how to do this.

Any person, Subhuti, who loses their only child are very sad and unhappy, [485] and can think of one thing only, the child and the sorrow felt due to this. Even so this Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita can at this time think of nothing else, except "when then shall I hear this perfection of wisdom?"

Description of Gandhavati, and of Dharmodgata's Life

As Sadaprarudita thus sorrows and pines away, a Tathagata-frame [suddenly] stands here before him, gives his approval and says: "Well spoken, son of good family! The Tathagatas of these three times, while these are still Bodhisattvas as you are now, also search for perfect wisdom in the same spirit in which you just now search for this. In this same spirit of vigor and determination, of zeal and zest, -do you go East! Five hundred leagues away from here, is a town called Gandhavati. It is built of seven precious things. It is twelve leagues long and twelve leagues broad, and enclosed by seven walls, seven moats and seven rows of palm trees.

It is prosperous and flourishing, secure from attack, contains abundant provisions and is full of beasts and beings. Five hundred rows of shops run through the town from one end to the other, beautiful to behold like a well-colored painting, arranged one by one in regular succession, and in between them well-constructed sites and passages are erected, respectively for vehicles drawn by animals, for palanquins, and for pedestrians, so that there is plenty of room for all.

The walls all round this town are made of the seven precious substances. [486] Their well-founded copings slope into the golden river Jambu. And on each coping grows a tree, made of the seven precious things, laden with various fruits, also made of precious things. A network of small bells is fastened on strings, and thus surrounds the entire city. When stirred by the wind, the small bells give out a sweet, charming and delightful sound, just like the sound from five musical instruments when they are played in harmony by the Gandharvas, skilled in songs. And this sound causes beings to divert, enjoy and amuse themselves. The moats all around the city are full of water which flows gently along, neither too cold nor too hot.

The boats on this river are brilliant with the seven precious things, beautiful to behold, and existence is a reward of past deeds of inhabitants who, aboard these, divert, enjoy and amuse themselves. The water is everywhere covered with blossoms of the blue lotus, of the pink lotus, of the white lotus and with other most beautiful and fragrant flowers. Here is not any species of flowers in the great trichiliocosm which is not found.

All around this city are five hundred parks, beautiful to behold, brilliant with the seven precious things. [487] Each park has five times five hundred large lotus ponds, covered with beautiful blossoms, each of the size of a cartwheel, fragrant, -blue, yellow, red and white. The sounds of geese, cranes, ducks, curlews and other birds fill the air over the ponds. And the existence of these parks which none regard as their own private property is a reward for past deeds of these beings, for these have coursed for a long time in perfection of wisdom, their minds faithfully devoted to this Guide of the Buddhas and bent on listening to her and understanding her, and for a long time these remain intent on deep and even truly fathomless dharmas.

"And here, in this city of Gandhavati, at a place four roads meet, is the house of the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata, - one league all round, with the seven precious things, beautiful to behold, enclosed by seven walls and seven rows of palm trees. Here are four parks near the house, for the enjoyment of these who live in it. These are called Nityapramudita, Asoka, Sokavigata, and Pushpacitra. Each park has eight lotus ponds, called Bhadra, Bhadrottama, Nandi, Nandottama, Kshama, Kshamottama, Niyata and Avivaha. One side of each pond is gold, the second of silver, [488] the third of vaidurya, the fourth of crystal. The ground at the bottom consists of quartz, with golden sand over it. Each pond has eight stairs to it, decorated with steps, made of variegated jewels. In the gaps between the steps, inside the golden river Jambu, grows a plantain tree. The ponds are covered with various kinds of water flowers, and the air above these is filled with the sounds of various birds. Round these ponds grow various flowering trees, and as these are stirred by the wind, their flowers drop into the ponds. The water in the ponds has the scent, color, taste, and feel of sandalwood.

"In this mansion lives Bodhisattva Dharmodgata, with his retinue, among these sixty-eight thousand women. He diverts, enjoys and amuses himself, he feels and tastes the five kinds of sense-pleasure. All the inhabitants of this city, both women and men, divert, enjoy and amuse themselves, these have constant joy in the parks and on the ponds and feel and taste the five kinds of sense-pleasure. The Bodhisattva Dharmodgata, however, with his retinue, diverts, enjoys and amuses himself only for a certain time, and so now also he always demonstrates perfection of wisdom. And the citizens of this town built a pulpit for the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata in the central square of the town. It has a golden base, a cotton mattress is spread on this, and a woolen cover, a cushion and a silken cloth are put on top of this. High up in the air, half a Kos high, here an awning, shining with pearls, even and firm. All [489] round this pulpit flowers of the five colors are strewed and scattered, and the pulpit itself is scented with various perfumes. So pure is the heart of Dharmodgata, so great the respect of his hearers for dharma.

"Seated on the pulpit the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata demonstrates perfection of wisdom. The citizens of this town listen to his teaching with great respect for dharma, with trust in dharma, with faith in what is worthy of faith, with minds that are lifted up in faith. In addition many hundreds, many thousands, many hundreds of thousands of living beings, Gods and people, assemble here to listen. Some of these explain perfection of wisdom, some repeat it, some copy it, some follow it with wise attention. All these beings are no longer doomed to fall into states of woe, and are irreversible from full enlightenment. Son of good family, go to Bodhisattva Dharmodgata! From him you hear perfection of wisdom. For he is for a long time your good friend, he summons you, and even now instigates and encourages you to realize full enlightenment. He also, in these three times, searches for perfection of wisdom in this same way in which you search even now. Go forth, son of good family, go on day and night, giving your undivided attention to this unending task, this never-ending blessing which we learn quite naturally to neither accept as a basis, nor develop aversion to as a means to some end! Before long you hear perfection of wisdom!"

As the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita hears this, he is contented, elated, joyful, overjoyed and jubilant. [490] A man, hit with a poisoned arrow, can not think of anything else except: "Where do I find a surgeon, a skilled physician, who can pull out this arrow, and free me from this suffering." Just so Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita at this time pays no attention to any dharma except:

"As I see this son of good family from whom I hear perfection of wisdom, as I hear this dharma, I forsake all attentions to any basis." Without leaving the place he is Sadaprarudita now hears Bodhisattva Dharmodgata demonstrating perfection of wisdom.

The List and Significance of the Concentrations

As a result he produces perception which does not lean on any dharma, nay, not even perception itself. And he is face to face with many doors to concentration. The names of the concentrations are as follows:

"This surveys own-being of any and all dharmas," "The non-apprehension of own-being of any and all dharmas," "Non-difference of any and all dharmas," "Spectator of unchangeability of any and all dharmas," "Illuminator of any and all dharmas," "From any and all dharmas darkness vanished," "This shatters cognition of any and all dharmas," "This tosses any and all dharmas about," "The non-apprehension of any and all dharmas," "Bedecked with flowers," "Within this body this consummates any and all dharmas," "Having abandoned illusion," "Calling forth images reflected in a mirror," "Calling forth sounds of all beings," "Without any dirt," "Gladdening all beings," "A follower of vocal sounds of all beings, from skill in means," [491] "Consummation of the whole variety of letters, words and vocal sounds," "This state which comes from feeling no rigidity," "Inexpressible in essential nature," "Realization of unobstructed emancipation," "Visit from the king," "Grammatical analysis of speech into words and letters," "Insight into any and all dharmas," "This leaves the sphere of any and all dharmas beyond," "Unobstructed limit of any and all dharmas," "Fashioned as a firmament," "As a thunderbolt," "The king is near," "The unrivalled king," "Victorious," "One cannot avert this eye," "Fixed on this element of dharma," "Come out of this element of dharma," "Granter of consolation," "This roars like a lion," "No world for beings to be reborn in," "Free from dirt," "Undefiled," "Lotus-array," "Annihilation of hesitation," "Follower of any and all substantial excellence," "Situated beyond any and all dharmas," "Attainment of super-knowledges, powers and the grounds of self-confidence," "Piercer of any and all dharmas," "Seal of desisting from becoming on the part of any and all dharmas," "The ocean in which any and all dharmas lose any becoming," "Spectator of any and all dharmas without distinction," "This leaves behind this jungle of any and all views and actions," "Without darkness," "Without a sign of any and all dharmas," [492] "Free from any and all attachment," "Without a trace of laziness," "This sheds light on deep dharmas," "Fashioned like Meru," "Irresistible," "This shatters what is seen as the circle of Mara's army," "No inclination for anything in the triple world," "Emission of rays," "Sight of the Tathagata," "Spectator of all Tathagatas."

Established in these concentrations, he now sees Buddhas and Lords in the countless world systems in the ten directions, as these reveal this very perfection of wisdom to Bodhisattvas. And these Tathagatas applaud and comfort him, and these say to him:

"We also in these three times as Bodhisattvas, search for perfection of wisdom in just this same way. We also as we search, come to acquire by revelation, these concentrations which you acquire just now. Even after we acquire these we go on our route, established in and transmitting perfection of wisdom and irreversible dharmas of a Buddha. But as we peruse original essential nature and search for any true own-being of these concentrations, we do not see any real dharma enter into these, or emerge from these, course toward enlightenment, or know full enlightenment. This absence of imaginings about any dharma whatsoever...this is perfection of wisdom. As we stand in firm absence of any and all self-conceited imaginings we naturally reveal our bodies of golden color, these thirty-two marks of Tathagatas, these eighty accessory marks, and these splendid haloes around us, and reveal of us this unthinkable and yet, supreme cognition of Buddhas, this wisdom of Buddhas, this supreme concentration of Buddhas, and this perfection of all these dharmas and qualities of Buddhas, and quite simply as all in all...this nature of Buddhas. [493] Even Tathagatas cannot grasp any measure, nor define any boundary, of this perfection of qualities, -how much less Sravakas, Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas. Here and now fill your mind with respect for these dharmas of Buddhas, so you increasingly aspire toward these, so you become more and more zealous for these. The supreme enlightenment is not hard to realize for one aspiring towards this, who is zealous for this. For the good friend also arouses intense respect and affection, and to be sure, serenely keep your confidence in such. For it is as we are taken hold of by these good friends Bodhisattvas quickly come to reveal, realize, and know full enlightenment."

Sadaprarudita asked the Tathagatas: Who is our good friend?

A Tathagata replied: "The Bodhisattva Dharmodgata for a long time matures you toward this supreme enlightenment, he upholds you, he is your preceptor in perfecting this perfect wisdom, in skill in means, and in these dharmas of Buddha. It is he who has upheld you, and for this friendly deed you honor him in gratitude and thankfulness, and bear in mind what he does for you. As, son of good family, you for one aeon, or for two aeons, or for up to one hundred thousand aeons, or more, carry about the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata like a turban on your head, furnish him with everything which makes beings happy, and present him with as many forms, sounds, smells, tastes and touchables as are in the great trichiliocosm, [494] - even so you can not have repaid this son of good family for what he does for you. This has happened through his might as you have acquired these concentrations, that you hear of perfection of wisdom and of skill in means, and that you gain this perfection of wisdom."

Sadaprarudita and the Merchant's Daughter

As these Tathagatas comfort Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita, they again disappear. But Sadaprarudita emerged from his concentrations, and asked himself, "whence do these Tathagatas come, and whither do these go?" Since he no longer sees these Tathagatas, he worries and pines away for these. He thinks to himself: "The holy Bodhisattva Dharmodgata has acquired the revelations of these dharanis in awareness and realization, and likewise he possesses the five superknowledges, he has performed his duties under the Jinas of these three times, he is my patron and good friend, who for a long time has done good all about me. When I come to him I must ask him about this matter, ask him to explain whence these Tathagatas come, and whither these go." Sadaprarudita here nursed affection and confidence, esteem and respect for Bodhisattva Dharmodgata. He now reflects: "With what kind of honoring gift can I now approach the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata? But I am poor, and have nothing of any value [495] with which I could express my respect and reverence for him. It is not seemly for me to come without anything at all. But I am poor, and this now makes me sad and regretful."

Such are these feelings, such these attitudes of reverence, with which this Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita proceeded on his journey. In due course he reaches a town, goes to the midst of the marketplace, and decides to sell his own body, and with the price hereof do honor to the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata. "As through the long night of past time, in this measureless cycle of birth-and-death, thousands of bodies of mine are shattered, wasted, destroyed and sold, again and again. I experience measureless pains in the hells for the sake of sense pleasures, as a result of sense pleasures, but never yet on behalf of dharmas of this kind, never yet for this purpose of doing honor to beings of such a kind." Sadaprarudita now goes to the middle of the marketplace, lifted up his voice, and cried: "Who wants a man? Who wants a man? Who wants to buy a man?"

Here now Mara the Evil One is thought of as, and indeed seen in the view of many to have thought to himself: "Lets obstruct this Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita. For as he succeeds in selling himself out of concern for dharma, and as he goes on to honor the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata, and to ask him, with regard to perfection of wisdom and skill in means just how a Bodhisattva coursing in perfect wisdom realizes full enlightenment, he is bound to reach this ocean of sacred knowledge, and become inaccessible to Mara and his host, [496] and reaches the perfection of all qualities, as he works the weal of all beings, and takes these away from my sphere, and others again he takes away as he realizes full enlightenment."

Mara, the Evil One, is thought of and seen to so dispose the Brahmins and householders in this town, so that these can not hear the voice of Sadaprarudita. As Sadaprarudita can not find a buyer for himself, he goes to one side, wailed, shed tears, and said: "Alas, it is hard on us this, as we do not find a buyer even for our body, so we could by selling our body, honor the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata." [in case anyone wonders...the name 'Sadaprarudita' means 'perpetual tears'(!) -- in Tibetan this name is - rtag tu ngu -]

So now, Sakra, Chief of Gods, thinks to himself: "Let me weigh up the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita. Does he now, filled with earnest intention, renounce his body out of concern for dharma, or does he not?" Sakra conjured up the guise of a young man, goes to the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita, and says to him: "Why do you, son of good family, stand here dejected, pining away and shedding tears?" [497] Sadaprarudita replied: "I want to sell myself, but I cannot find anyone to buy my body." Sakra, in the form of the young man, said: "On behalf of what do you want to sell yourself?" Sadaprarudita replied: "From love for Dharma I sell myself, so as to worship Dharma, and to honor the holy Bodhisattva Dharmodgata. But I do not find a buyer for this body of mine. I now think to myself, alas, I must be a person of exceedingly small merit indeed." The young man said: "I myself do not need a man. But my father is due to offer sacrifice. For this I require a man's heart, his blood and the marrow of his bones. These you give me, and I shall pay for these." Sadaprarudita now thinks to himself: "I exceedingly easily get as I desire. Now I know my body is sufficiently perfect for realizing perfect wisdom, skill in means and the dharmas of a Buddha, since in this young man I now find a buyer for my heart, blood and marrow." As his mind is bristling with joy, and all ready, he says: "I give you my body, as you have need of it!" The young man asked: "What price do I give you?" Sadaprarudita answered: "Give me whatever you do!" [498] Sadaprarudita took a sharp sword, pierced his right arm, and made the blood flow. He pierced his right thigh, cut the flesh from this, and strode up to the foot of a wall in order to break the bone.

A merchant's daughter, from her upper window, sees this, and she thought to herself: "Why does this son of good family do this to himself? Let me go to him, and ask him." She goes to Sadaprarudita, and said: "Why do you inflict such fatal treatment on yourself? What do you do with this blood, and with this marrow of your bones?"

Sadaprarudita said: "As I have sold them to this young man, I go to worship perfection of wisdom, and to do honor to the holy Bodhisattva Dharmodgata." The merchant's daughter said: "What is the kind of quality, what is the excellence of the qualities, which you create in yourself by your wish to honor the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata as you sell your own heart, blood and marrow?"

Sadaprarudita replied: "Dharmodgata now explains to me perfection of wisdom and the skill in means. [499] In these I train myself, and, as a result, I become a refuge to all beings; and, as I at this point realize full enlightenment, I acquire a body of golden color, thirty-two marks of the Tathagata, eighty accessory marks, the splendor of a halo the rays of which extend throughout infinitude, great friendliness, great compassion, great sympathetic joy, great impartiality, four grounds of self-confidence, four analytical knowledges, eighteen special dharmas of a Buddha, and I acquire five superknowledges, an unthinkable purity of conduct, and unthinkable purity of concentration, an unthinkable purity of wisdom, and ten powers of a Tathagata. I fully awake to the supreme cognition of a Buddha, and acquire the supremely precious jewel of Dharma, which I share with all beings."

The merchant's daughter replied: "It is wonderful, son of good family, how exalted and sublime are these dharmas which you proclaim. For the sake of even one of these dharmas should one be willing to renounce one?s bodies even for countless aeons, how much more so for the sake of many of these. These dharmas which you proclaim please me also, and seem good to me. But see, son of good family, I give you whatever you require, and with this you may [500] honor the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata! But do not inflict such treatment on yourself! I also go with you to the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata! I also, together with you, plant wholesome roots, which help to realize such dharmas!"

Sakra, Chief of Gods, now throws off his disguise as a young man, and in his own proper body he stood before the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita, and says to him: "I applaud your firm sense of obligation. In these three times Tathagatas have so great an aspiration for Dharma, and it is this which helps these to full enlightenment and to gain the precious jewel of Dharma, as these first course in the vehicle of a Bodhisattva, and ask questions about perfection of wisdom and skill in means. I have no need for your heart, blood or marrow. I only come here to test you. Now choose a boon. I give you any boon whatsoever!"

Sadaprarudita answered: "Give me supreme dharmas of a Buddha!" Sakra, Chief of Gods, replied: "This lies not within my province. This lies within the province of Buddhas, the Lords. Choose another boon!" Sadaprarudita replied: "Do not trouble your mind about the mutilated condition of my body! I now make it whole again by the magical power of enunciation of Truth. As I am in truth irreversible, and predicted to full enlightenment, and am known to the Tathagatas by my unconquerable resolution, -may through this Truth, through this utterance of the Truth, this my body be again as it is before!" [501] This very moment, instant and second, through the Bodhisattva's might and through the perfect purity of the Bodhisattva's resolution, the body of the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita became as before, healthy and whole. And Sakra, Chief of Gods, and Mara, the Evil One, reduced to silence, just vanished from this place.

The merchant's daughter then said to Sadaprarudita: "Come on, son of good family, let us go up to my house. I ask my parents to give you riches with which you can express your desire to worship this perfection of wisdom, and to honor the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata, a desire which is due to your love for dharma." The Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita and the merchant's daughter go together to her house. Upon arriving, Sadaprarudita remains standing on the threshold, while the merchant's daughter goes into the house, and now she says to her parents: "Mummy and daddy, give me a part of your wealth! I go away with the five hundred maidens you gave me for servants! Together with Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita I go to the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata, in order to worship him. And he demonstrates dharma to us, and in this way we acquire the dharmas of a Buddha." [502] Her parents replied: "Who is this Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita, and is he here just now?"

The merchant's daughter said: "This son of good family stands at the threshold of the door to our house. He set out determined to know full enlightenment, in other words, he aspires to set all beings free from immeasurable sufferings of birth-and-death." She told her parents all she saw and heard, [503] how Sadaprarudita sold his body, and mutilated it, and how, as she asked him for a reason, he praises and reveals to her unthinkable qualities of a Buddha and immeasurable dharmas of a Buddha, which he has in mind as his goal. She goes on to say, "As I hear of unthinkable qualities of a Buddha, I feel exceeding joy and elation. I think to myself: "It is wonderful to such extent as this son of good family is a doer of what is hard, and how much he loves the dharma to endure oppression and pain in this body. It is due to this love for dharma he renounces himself. How can we fail to worship dharma, and to make a vow to reach such stations, we who have vast and abundant possessions?" [504] So I said to this son of good family: "Do not inflict such fatal treatment on yourself! I give you abounding riches, which you may use to worship and honor the holy Bodhisattva Dharmodgata, I also go with you to this Bodhisattva, as I can worship him, too. I also accomplish these supreme dharmas of a Buddha which you proclaim!" Mummy and daddy, allow me to go, and give me the riches I ask for!

Her parents replied: "It is wonderful how well you relate the hardships of this son of good family. Unthinkable, for sure are the dharmas for the sake of which he endures these hardships, these must be the most distinguished in the whole world, a source of happiness to all beings! We give you our possessions to go. We also like to come with you, to see, to salute, to honor, to worship the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata." The daughter replied: "Do as you say. I do not oppose any who in truth do right."

The Meeting with Dharmodgata

Thus this merchant's daughter set out to worship and honor the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata. [505] She takes five hundred carriages and orders her five hundred servant girls to get ready. She takes abundant riches, and ample provisions, mounts upon one carriage together with the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita, and proceeds East, surrounded by the five hundred maidens on their five hundred carts, accompanied by a huge retinue, and preceded by her parents.

After some time the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita sees the city of Gandhavati from afar. In the middle of the marketplace he sees the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata on his pulpit, demonstrating dharma, surrounded and revered by an assembly of many hundreds, of many thousands, of many hundreds of thousands.

The moment he sees him he is filled with that kind of happiness [506] which a monk feels as with one-pointed attention he obtains the first trance. He looks upon him and thinks to himself: "It is not seemly to approach this Bodhisattva Dharmodgata seated on a carriage. Let me here and now alight from it!" He alights from this carriage, and the merchant's daughter with her five hundred maidens follow suit. Sadaprarudita, with the merchant's daughter and her five hundred maidens go up to the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata's seat amidst a magnificent display of religious aspirations.

For the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata at this time created, for perfection of wisdom, a pointed tower, made of the seven precious substances, adorned with red sandalwood, and encircled by an ornament of pearls. Gems are placed into four corners of the pointed tower, and performed the functions of lamps. Four incense jars made of silver are suspended on its four sides, and pure black aloe wood is burning in these, as a token of worship for the perfection of wisdom. And in the middle of this pointed tower a couch made of the seven precious things is put up, and on it a box made of four large gems. Into this, the perfection of wisdom is placed, written with melted vaidurya on golden tablets. And this pointed tower is adorned with brightly colored garlands which hang down in strips.

The Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita and the merchant's daughter with her five hundred maidens look upon this pointed tower, so magnificently decorated as a display of religious aspirations. These see thousands of Gods, with Sakra, Chief of Gods, scattering over this pointed tower heavenly Mandarava flowers, heavenly sandalwood powder, heavenly gold dust, and heavenly silver dust, [507] and these hear the music of heavenly instruments. Sadaprarudita now asks Sakra, Chief of Gods: "For what purpose do you, together with many thousands of Gods, scatter over this pointed tower, which consists of precious substances, heavenly Mandarava flowers, etc., and why do the Devas up in space play heavenly music on their instruments?"

Sakra answered: "Do you not know the reason, son of good family? This is perfection of wisdom, the mother and guide of the Bodhisattvas. As Bodhisattvas train in this, these soon reach perfection of wisdom of all qualities, and, consequent on this, all dharmas of a Buddha and knowledge of all modes."

Sadaprarudita replied: "Where is this perfection of wisdom, the mother of Buddhas and guide of Bodhisattvas?"

Sakra answered: "The holy Bodhisattva Dharmodgata placed this in the middle of this pointed tower, as he has written this on golden tablets with melted Vaidurya, and sealed this with seven seals. We cannot easily show this to you."

Here just now the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita and the merchant's daughter, with her five hundred maidens, all pay worship to the perfection of wisdom - with the flowers which these brought along, and with garlands, wreaths, raiment, jewels, incense, flags and golden and silvery flowers [508] and, one after another, these deposited their portion in front of this, for the greater honor of the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata. These now worship the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata by scattering flowers, garlands, wreaths, raiment, jewels, incense, flags, and golden and silvery flowers over him, and played heavenly music on their instruments - motivated by an aspiration to worship Dharma.

The flowers now rise high above the head of the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata and form a pointed tower of flowers. And these flowers of various colors, golden and silvery, stand high in the air, as a canopy. And also the robes, raiment and jewels stand high up in the air, as a pavilion in the clouds. As the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita and the merchant's daughter with her five hundred maidens behold this wonder, these think to themselves: "This is wonderful to see such wonderworking power this Bodhisattva Dharmodgata possesses, how great a might, how great an influence.

So far he courses but in the course of a Bodhisattva, and now already he possesses such power to work wonders. How much more does he have after he has known full enlightenment?" [509] The merchant's daughter and the five hundred maidens here feel a longing for the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata. All of one mind, these resolutely raise their hearts to the supreme enlightenment, and say: "May we, through this wholesome root, be Tathagatas in this future period! May we come to course in the course of Bodhisattvas, and may we receive these very dharmas which this Bodhisattva Dharmodgata receives! And may we just so honor and respect the perfection of wisdom as this Bodhisattva Dharmodgata honors and respects this, and may we reveal this to many just as he does! And may we be as endowed with perfect wisdom and skill in means, and as accomplished in these as this Bodhisattva Dharmodgata is!"

The Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita, and the merchant's daughter with her five hundred maidens, as these worship the perfection of wisdom and honor the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata with their heads, respectfully salute him with hands together, and stand on one side. The Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita now tells the whole story of quest for perfection of wisdom, beginning with the voice he hears in the forest, which bid him go East. [510] He told Dharmodgata how he stands in many concentrations, and how the Buddhas and Lords of the ten directions comforted and applauded him, and had said:

"Well done, son of good family! These concentrations issue from perfection of wisdom. By firmly standing in the perfection of wisdom we achieve all the dharmas of a Buddha." He goes on to relate: "The Tathagatas now vanished, and I emerged from this state of concentration. I asked myself, 'whence now these Tathagatas come, and whither these go?' I think to myself, 'the holy Bodhisattva Dharmodgata receives the dharanis, [511] he possesses five superknowledges, he does his duties under the Jinas of these three times, he plants wholesome roots, and is trains well in the perfect wisdom and skill in means. He can explain to me this matter as it really is, and tell me whence these Tathagatas come and whither these go.' Now I am come to you, and I ask you, son of good family: 'Whence these Tathagatas come, and whither these go?' Demonstrate to me, son of good family, this coming and going of these Tathagatas, so we may cognize this, and so we may be not lacking in vision of the Tathagatas."

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