Lotus Sutra

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  The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law
Chapter 26 - Dharanis
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At that time the Medicine King Bodhisattva rose from his seat and, humbly baring his right shoulder, folded his hands toward the Buddha and spoke to the Buddha, saying: "World-honored One! If there be any good son or good daughter who is able to receive and keep the Law-Flower Sutra, either reading or reciting or studying or copying the sutra, what is the extent of the blessings obtained?"

The Buddha answered the Medicine King: "Suppose any good son or good daughter pays homage to eight hundred myriad kotis of nayutas of buddhas, equal to the sands of the Ganges, in your opinion are not the blessings so obtained rather numerous?"

"Very numerous, World-honored One!" [was the reply]. The Buddha continued: "If any good son or good daughter is able, in regard to this sutra, to receive and keep but a single four-line verse, read and recite, understand its meaning, and do as it says, his merits will be still more numerous."

Thereupon the Medicine King Bodhisattva said to the Buddha: "World-honored One! To the preachers of the Law I will now give dharanis spells1 for their guard and protection." Whereupon he delivered the following spell:

"Anye manye mane mamane citte carite same samita vishante mukte muktame same avishame samasame jaye [kshaye] akshaye akshine shante samite dharani alokabhashe pratyavekshani nidhiru abhyantaranivishte abhyantaraparishuddhi utkule mutkule arade parade sukankshi asamasame buddhavilokite dharmaparikshite samghanirghoshani [nirghoshani] bhayabhayavishodhani mantre mantrakshayate rute rutakaushalye akshaye akshayavanataye [vakkule] valoda amanyanataye [svaha].2

"World-honored One! These supernatural dharani spells have been spoken by buddhas numerous as the sands of sixty-two kotis of Ganges rivers. If anyone does violence to the teacher of this Law, then he will have done violence to these buddhas."

Then Shakyamuni Buddha extolled the Medicine King Bodhisattva, saying: "Good, good, O Medicine King! Because you are compassionate and protect these teachers of the Law, you have pronounced these dharanis, which will abundantly benefit the living."

Thereupon the Bodhisattva Courageous Giver spoke to the Buddha, saying: "World-honored One! I, too, for the protection of these who read and recite, receive and keep the Law-Flower Sutra, will deliver dharanis. If these teachers of the Law possess these dharanis, neither yakshas, nor rakshasas, nor putanas, nor kriityas, nor kumbhandas, nor hungry ghosts, nor others spying for their shortcomings can find a chance." Then, in the presence of the Buddha, he delivered the following spell:

"Jvale mahajvle ukke [tukku] mukku ade adavati nritye nrityavati ittini vittini cittini nrityeni nrityavati [svaha].3

"World-honored One! These supernatural dharani spells have been spoken by buddhas numerous as the sands of the Ganges, and all approved. If anyone does violence to the teachers of this Law, he will have done violence to these buddhas."

Thereupon the Divine King Vaishravana, protector of the world, spoke to the Buddha, saying: "World-honored One! I, too, in compassion for the living and for the protection of these teachers of the Law, will deliver these dharanis." Whereupon he delivered the following spell:

"Atte [tatte] natte vanatte anade nadi kunadi [svaha].

"World-honored One! By these supernatural spells I will protect the teachers of the Law. I will also myself protect those who keep this sutra, so that no corroding care shall [come] within a hundred yojanas."

Thereupon the Divine King Domain Holder,4 who was present in this congregation, with a host of thousands of myriads of kotis of nayutas of gandharvas5 reverently encompassing him, went before the Buddha, and folding his hands said to the Buddha, "World-honored One! I, too, with supernatural dharani spells, will protect those who keep the Law-Flower Sutra." Whereupon he delivered the following spell:

"Agane gane gauri gandhari candali matangi [pukkashi] samkule vrusali sisi [svaha].

"World-honored One! These supernatural dharani spells have been spoken by forty-two kotis of buddhas. If anyone does violence to these teachers of the Law, he will have done violence to these buddhas."

Thereupon there were female rakshasas,6 the first named Lamba, the second named Vilamba, the third named Crooked Teeth, the fourth named Flowery Teeth, the fifth named Black Teeth, the sixth named Many Tresses, the seventh named Insatiable, the eighth named Necklace Holder, the ninth named Kunti, and the tenth named Spirit Snatcher. These ten female rakshasas, together with the Mother of Demon Sons7 and her children and followers, all went to the Buddha and with one voice said to the Buddha: "World-honored One! We, too, would protect those who read and recite, receive and keep the Law-Flower Sutra, and rid them of corroding care. If any spy for the shortcomings of these teachers of the Law, we will prevent their obtaining any chance." Whereupon in the presence of the Buddha they delivered the following spell:

"Iti me, iti me, iti me, iti me, iti me; ni me, ni me, ni me, ni me, ni me; ruhe, ruhe, ruhe, ruhe, [ruhe]; stuhe, stuhe, stuhe, stuhe, stuhe [svaha].

"Let troubles come on our heads, rather than on the teachers of the Law; neither yakshas, nor hungry ghosts, nor putanas, nor kriityas, nor vetadas, nor kashyas, nor umarakas, nor apasmarakas, nor yaksha-kriityas,8 nor man-kriityas;9 nor fevers, whether for a single day, or quotidian, or tertian, or quartan, or weekly, or unremitting fevers; whether in male form, or female form, or form of a youth, or form of a maiden, even in dreams shall ever cause distress." Whereupon before the Buddha they spoke thus in verse:

"Whoever resists our spell
And troubles a preacher,
May his head be split in seven
Like an arjaka sprout;10
May his doom be that of a parricide,
His retribution that of an oil-expresser11
Or a deceiver with [false] measures and weights,
Or of Devadatta who brought schism into the Samgha;
He who offends these teachers of the Law,
Such shall be his retribution."

After these female rakshasas had uttered this stanza, they addressed the Buddha, saying: "World-honored One! We ourselves will also protect those who receive and keep, read and recite, and practice this sutra, and give them ease of mind, freedom from corroding care and from all poisons."

The Buddha addressed the rakshasa women: "Good, good! Even if you are only able to protect those who receive and keep the name of the Law-Flower, your happiness will be beyond calculation; how much more if you protect those who perfectly receive, keep, and pay homage to the sutra with flowers, necklaces, sandal powder, perfumes, incense, flags, canopies, and music, burning various kinds of lamps - ghee lamps, oil lamps of scented oil, lamps of oil of campaka flowers, lamps of oil of varshika flowers, and lamps of oil of udumbara flowers, such hundreds of thousands of kinds of offerings as these. Kunti! You and your followers should protect such teachers of the Law as these."

While this chapter of the dharanis was preached, sixty-eight thousand people attained the assurance of no [re]birth.

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Kosei - The Gift of Life. The Power to Live.
1 A spell or talismanic word, one of the four kinds of dharanis. There are four kinds of spells: (1) to heal disease, (2) to put an end to the consequences of sin, (3) to protect the sutras, and (4) for wisdom. The following spell is for the protection of this sutra.
2 The lists in Burnouf and Kern are somewhat different. Kern adds: "All these words are, or ought to be, feminine words in the vocative. I take them to be epithets of the Great Mother, Nature or Earth, differently called Aditi, Prajna, Maya, Bhavani, Durga. Anya may be identified with the Vedic anya, inexhaustible, and synonymous with aditi. More of the other terms may be explained as synonymous with prajna (e.g. pratyavekshani), with nature (kshaye akshaye), with the earth (dharani)" (SBE vol. 21, p. 371 n). Dharmaraksha translated the spell into Chinese and Oka into Japanese according to one of several interpretations.
3 Kern writes: "These terms are obviously names of the flame, mythologically called Agni's wife, the daughter of Daksha. As Shiva may be identified with Agni, the feminine words again are epithets of Durga. Jvala and mahajvala are perfectly clear; ukka is the Prakrit form of Sanskrit ulka" (SBE vol. 21, p. 372 n).
4 The extant Sanskrit text has "Virudhaka" (Divine King Growth).
5 The extant Sanskrit text has "kumbhandas."
6 The wives and daughters of rakshasa demons.
7 Also called "Joyful Mother" or "Mother Who Loves Her Children." She is a female rakshasa, or rakshasi, who devoured others' babies every day until her own five hundred babies were hidden by Shakyamuni Buddha and she was converted. After her conversion she vowed to protect the Buddha-law and especially to guard babies.
8 Akriitya in the form of a yaksha.
9 A kriitya in human form.
10 It is said that if one touches an arjaka flower its petals open and fall into seven pieces. Kern identifies the plant as Symplocos racemosa, while Monier-Williams' dictionary has Ocinum gratissimum.
11 The crime of producing worms by grinding sesame and at the same time squeezing the worms. This is the crime of taking life.
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