Chapter 2: The Assembly of Innumerable Transformational Ksitigarbhas
At that time, all the separate transformational Ksitigarbha Bodhisattvas came from all the hells in hundreds, thousands, myriads and millions of unthinkable, indiscussible, immeasurable, inexpressible, countless numbers of worlds to assemble in Trayastrimsas Palace. By virtue of the Tathagata’s miraculous power, each came from his realm together with those who had been liberated from karmic paths-thousands, myriads, millions and nayutas of sentient beings-and all of them held incense and flowers to be offered to the Buddha. Because they had been instructed and converted by Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, those who came there together would never retrogress from Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi. Those beings had, for vast, long kalpas, wandered through numerous births and deaths, suffering on the six paths of existence without one moment’s rest. However, by virtue of the extensive mercy and compassion as well as the profound vows of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, each one of them had realized the bodhi fruit. Having arrived at Trayastrimsas Palace, they were overwhelmed with rejoicing in their hearts and gazed admiringly at the Tathagata without one blink of their eyes.
At that time, the World Honored One reached out his golden-hued arms to touch the heads of all the separate transformational Ksitigarbha Bodhisattvas from hundreds, thousands, myriads, millions, unthinkable, indiscussible, immeasurable, inexpressible, countless numbers of worlds and uttered these words:
“I have taught and converted many stubborn beings in this evil time with its five kinds of defilement, making them tame at heart and causing them to forsake the perverted and return to the right way. However, there are still one or two out of ten who continue to be bound by their evil habits. I have also divided myself into hundreds, thousands and millions of transformational bodies and employed extensive skillful means for the deliverance and liberation of sentient beings. Sometimes there were those with sharp wits who would hear and immediately believe and accept. There were others with virtuous fruition who could achieve liberation only through hard persuasion; or there were dumb and dull ones who would come to awareness only after long conversion. There were still others with heavy karma who would not show respect. For such beings, each different from the others, I have divided myself into many bodies in order to deliver and liberate them all. I manifest myself in the forms of a man or a woman, a deva or naga, a god or ghost, a grove, a river, a plain, a stream, a pond, a spring or a well for the benefit of all sentient beings so that they all may be delivered and liberated. Sometimes I manifest myself in the forms of a devaraja, a brahmaraja or a cakravarti, of a devotee, a king, a minister or an official, of a bhiksu, a bhiksuni, an upasaka or an upasika, or even in the forms of a sravaka, an arhant, a pratyekabuddha or a Bodhisattva in order to accomplish the conversion and deliverance of sentient beings. Not only in the form of a Buddha have I manifested myself.
“Now be aware that I have been working hard kalpa after kalpa in order to deliver and liberate such hardy, stubborn, sinful and suffering beings. However, there are those not yet tamed who will receive their due retribution according to their karma. If they follow evil paths and suffer great distress, you should remember that I, here in Trayastrimsas Palace, have, with confidence, placed in your care, until the advent of Maitreya, all those suffering beings in the Saha World, desiring that you deliver and liberate them all so that they may continually free themselves from suffering forever and thus be predestined to meet the Buddhas.”
At that time, all the separate transformational Ksitigarbha Bodhisattvas from all the different worlds reassembled into one entity and, shedding tears of compassion, addressed the Buddha, saying, “Now for vast long kalpas I have been called and received and led by Buddha, who granted me inconceivable magic power and endowed me with great wisdom. My divided transformational entities fill hundreds, thousands, myriads and millions of worlds-as many as the sand-grains in the Ganges River. In each one of those worlds, I have hundreds, thousands, myriads and millions of transformational bodies. Each of these bodies has delivered hundreds of thousands of myriads of millions of people, causing them to take refuge in the Precious Three and, once and for all, ridding them of birth and death and helping them attain the joy of Nirvana. However, for any virtuous deed accomplished by a sentient being in the name of Buddhadharma-even if it be as small as the tip of a strand of hair, a drop of water, one grain of sand, one mote of dust or even one iota-I shall make use of it for his deliverance and liberation so that he may attain the maximum benefit therefrom. I only hope that you, O World Honored One, do not worry about those beings of future generations who have wicked karma.”
He repeated this again and again to the Buddha, saying, “I only hope that you, O World Honored One, do not worry about those beings of future generations who have wicked karma.”
At that time, the Buddha praised Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, saying, “Excellent, excellent! I shall help you to rejoice. You will be able to fulfill the great vows you took vast long kalpas ago, so that universal deliverance will be consummated for all and so that Bodhi will be directly attained by all.”
— ” Translated from Chinese into English by Upasaka Tao-Tsi Shih”