The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law
Translated By H. Kern (1884)
ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE FUTURE DESTINY OF ÂNANDA, RAHULA, AND THE TWO THOUSAND MONKS
On that occasion the venerable Ânanda made this reflection: Should we also receive a similar prediction? Thus thinking, pondering, wishing, he rose from his seat, prostrated himself at the Lord’s feet and uttered the following words. And the venerable Râhula also, in whom rose the same thought and the same wish as in Ânanda, prostrated himself at the Lord’s feet, and uttered these words: ‘Let it be our turn also, O Lord; let it be our turn also, O Sugata. The Lord is our father and procreator, our refuge and protection. For in this world, including men, gods, and demons, O Lord, we are particularly distinguished, as people say: These are the Lord’s sons, the Lord’s attendants; these are the keepers of the law-treasure of the Lord. Therefore, Lord, it would seem meet, were the Lord ere long to predict our destiny to supreme and perfect enlightenment.’
Two thousand other monks, and more, both such as were still under training and such as were not, likewise rose from their seats, put their upper robes upon one shoulder, stretched their joined hands towards the Lord and remained gazing up to him, all pre-occupied with the same thought, viz. of this very Buddha-knowledge: Should we also receive a prediction of our destiny to supreme and perfect enlightenment.
Then the Lord addressed the venerable Ânanda in these words: Thou, Ânanda, shalt in future become a Tathâgata by the name of Sâgaravaradharabuddhivikrîditâbhigña, an Arhat, &c., endowed with science and conduct, &c. After having honoured, respected, venerated, and worshipped sixty-two kotis of Buddhas, kept in memory the true law of those Buddhas and received this command, thou shalt arrive at supreme and perfect enlightenment, and bring to full ripeness for supreme, perfect enlightenment twenty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Bodhisattvas similar to the sands of twenty Ganges. And thy Buddha-field shall consist of lapis lazuli and be superabundant. The sphere shall be named Anavanâmita-vaig-ayanta and the Æon Manogñasabdâbhigargita. The lifetime of that Lord Sâgaravaradharabuddhivikriditâbhigña, the Tathâgata, &c., shall measure an immense number of Æons, Æons the term of which is not to be found by calculation. So many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of incalculable Æons shall last the lifetime of that Lord. Twice as long, Ânanda, after the complete extinction of that Lord, shall his true law stand, and twice as long again shall continue its counterfeit. And further, Ânanda, many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas, similar to the sands of the river Ganges, shall in all directions of space speak the praise of that Tathagata Sâgaravaradharabuddhivikrîditâbhigña, the Arhat, &c.
1. I announce to you, congregated monks, that Ânanda-Bhadra, the keeper of my law, shall in future become a Gina, after having worshipped sixty kotis of Sugatas.
2. He shall be widely renowned by the name of Sâgarabuddhidhârin Abhigñaprâpta [These names may be translated by ‘possessor of an intellect (unfathomable) as the ocean, having arrived at transcendant wisdom.’], in a beautiful, thoroughly clear field, (termed) Anavanatâ Vaigayantî (i. e. triumphal banner unlowered).
3. There shall be Bodhisattvas like the sands of the Ganges and even more, whom he shall bring to full ripeness; he shall be a Gina endowed with great (magical) power, whose word shall widely resound in all quarters of the world.
4. The duration of his life shall be immense. He shall always be benign and merciful to the world. After the complete extinction of that Gina and mighty saint [Tâyin], his true law shall stand twice as long.
5. The counterfeit (shall continue) twice as long under the rule of that Gina. Then also shall beings like grains of sand of the Ganges produce in this world what is the cause of Buddha-enlightenment.
In that assembly were eight thousand Bodhisattvas who had newly entered the vehicle. To them this thought presented itself: Never before did we have such a sublime prediction to Bodhisattvas, far less to disciples. What may be the cause of it? what the motive? The Lord, who apprehended in his mind what was going on in the minds of those Bodhisattvas, addressed them in these words: Young men of good family, I and Ânanda have in the same moment, the same instant conceived the idea of supreme and perfect enlightenment in the presence of the Tathagata Dharmagahanâbhyudgataraga, the Arhat, &c. At that period, young men of good family, he (Ânanda) constantly and assiduously applied himself to great learning, whereas I was applying myself to strenuous labour. Hence I sooner arrived at supreme and perfect enlightenment, whilst Ânanda-Bhadra was the keeper of the law-treasure of the Lords Buddhas; that is to say, young men of good family, he made a vow to bring Bodhisattvas to full development.
When the venerable Ananda, heard from the Lord the announcement of his own destiny to supreme and perfect enlightenment, when he learned the good qualities of his Buddha-field and its divisions, when he heard of the vow he had made in the past, he felt pleased, exultant, ravished, joyous, filled with cheerfulness and delight. And at that juncture he remembered the true law of many hundred thousand rnyriads of kotis of Buddhas and his own vow of yore.
And on that occasion the venerable Ânanda uttered the following stanzas:
6. Wonderful, boundless are the Ginas who remind us of the law preached by the extinct Ginas and mighty saints. Now I remember it as if it had happened to-day or yesterday.
7. 1 am freed from all doubts; I am ready for enlightenment. Such is my skilfulness, (as) I am the servitor, and keep the true law for the sake of enlightenment.
Thereupon the Lord addressed the venerable Râhula-Bhadra in these words: Thou, Râhula, shalt be in future a Tathâgata of the name of Saptaratnapadmavikrântagâmin, an Arhat, &c., endowed with science and conduct, &c. After having honoured, respected, venerated, worshipped a number of Tathâgata, &c., equal to the atoms of ten worlds, thou shalt always be the eldest son of those Lords Buddhas, just as thou art mine at present. And, Râhula, the measure of the lifetime of that Lord Saptaratnapadmavikrântagâmin, the Tathâgata, &c., and the abundance of all sorts of good qualities (belonging to him) shall be exactly the same as of the Lord Sâgaravaradharabuddhivikrîditâbhigña, the Tathâgata, &c.; likewise shall the divisions of the Buddha-field and its qualities be the same as those possessed by that Lord. And, Râhula, thou shalt be the eldest son of that Tathâgata Sâgaravaradharabuddhivikrîditâbhigña, the Arhat, &c. Afterwards thou shalt arrive at supreme and perfect enlightenment.
8. Râhula here, my own eldest son, who was born to me when I was a prince royal, he, my son, after my reaching enlightenment, is a great Seer, an heir to the law.
9. The great number of kotis of Buddhas which he shall see in future, is immense. To all these Ginas he shall be a son, striving after enlightenment.
10. Unknown is this course (of duty) to Râhula, but I know his (former) vow. He glorifies the Friend of the world (by saying): I am, forsooth, the Tathâgata’s son.
11. Innumerable myriads of kotis of good qualities, the measure of which is never to be found, appertain to this Râhula, my son; for it has been said: He exists by reason of enlightenment.
The Lord now again regarded those two thousand disciples, both such as were still under training and such as were not, who were looking up to him with serene, mild, placid minds. And the Lord then addressed the venerable Ânanda : Seest thou, Ânanda, these two thousand disciples, both such as are still under training and such as are not? I do, Lord; I do, Sugata.’ The Lord proceeded: All these two thousand monks, Ânanda, shall simultaneously accomplish the course of Bodhisattvas, and after honouring, respecting, venerating, worshipping Buddhas as numerous as the atoms of fifty worlds, and after acquiring the true law, they shall, in their last bodily existence, attain supreme and perfect enlightenment at the same time, the same moment, the same instant, the same juncture in all directions of space, in different worlds, each in his own Buddha-field. They shall become Tathâgatas, Arhats, &c., by the name of Ratnaketurâgas. Their lifetime shall last a complete Æon. The division and good qualities of their Buddha-fields shall be equal; equal also shall be the number of the congregation of their disciples and Bodhisattvas; equal also shall be their complete extinction, and their true law shall continue an equal time.
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
12. These two thousand disciples, Ânanda, who here are standing before me, to them, the sages, I now predict that in future they shall become Tathâgatas,
13. After having paid eminent worship to the Buddhas, by means of infinite comparisons and examples, they shall, when standing in their last bodily existence, reach my extreme enlightenment.
14. They shall all, under the same name, in every direction, at the same moment and instant, and sitting at the foot of the most exalted tree, become Buddhas, after they shall have reached the knowledge.
15. All shall bear the same name of Ketus of the Ratna, by which they shall be widely famed in this world. Their excellent fields shall be equal, and equal the congregation of disciples and Bodhisattvas.
16. Strong in magic power, they shall all simultaneously, in every direction of space, reveal the law in this world and all at once become extinct; their true law shall last equally long.
And the disciples, both such as were still under training and such as were not, on hearing from the Lord, face to face, the prediction concerning each of them, were pleased, exultant, ravished, joyous, filled with cheerfulness and delight, and addressed the Lord with the following stanzas:
17. We are satisfied, O Light of the world, to hear this prediction; we are pleased, O Tathâgata, as if sprinkled with nectar.
18. We have no doubt, no uncertainty that we shall become supreme amongst men; to-day we have obtained felicity, because we have heard that prediction.
Source: Reluctant Messenger
The Lotus Sutra: Saddharma Pundarika Sutra or the Lotus of the True Law (H.Kern)
The Lotus Sutra and its Opening and Closing Sutras: A Beautiful Translation with Deep Love from a Lay Buddhist Practitioner (Minerva Lee)