How Earth Treasury Bodhisattva Entered The Buddha Path With Mindfulness Of Buddha 地藏菩萨如何以念佛入佛道

《地藏经》忉利天宮神通品第一 (摘录)
Kṣitigarbha Sūtra’s Chapter One: Supernormal Powers [In] Trāyastriṃśa Heavenly Palace (Excerpt)


[Śākyamuni Buddha]: ‘Mañjuśrī, this Earth Treasury Bodhisattva Mahāsattva, in past, long [and] distant, unspeakably unspeakable kalpas before, [was] as [a] great elder’s son. [In that] period, was [a] Buddha, named Lion Swiftly Complete [With] Ten Thousand Practices Thus Come [One].


Then, [the] elder’s son, seeing [the] Buddha’s forms’ excellences, [with] thousands [of] blessings adorned, due [to this] asked that Buddha, “[With the] making [of] what practices [and] vows, then attains these forms?”


Then, Lion Swiftly Complete [With] Ten Thousand Practices Thus Come [One] told [the] elder’s son, “[If] desiring [to] realise this body, [there] must [be] long [and] distant deliverance [and] liberation [of] all sentient beings receiving suffering.”


Mañjuśrī, then, [the] elder’s son, due [to] giving rise [to his] vow, said, “I, [from] now [until the] end [of the] future’s incalculable kalpas, [will] for sentient beings [with] transgressive suffering [in the] six paths, widely establish skilful means, [to] completely enable [them to be] liberated, then [with] my own self, then accomplishing [the] Buddha path.”


Therefore, at that Buddha, before [him, he] established this great vow. To [the] present, [for] thousands [of] millions [of] koṭis [of] nayutas [of] unspeakable kalpas, [he is] still as [a] Bodhisattva.’


[1] It was with the inspired practice of mindfulness of a Buddha’s form (观像念佛), which is also a form of mindfulness of Buddha (念佛), that the future Earth Treasury Bodhisattva (地藏菩萨) first gave rise to the Bodhi Mind (菩提心), to guide all beings to Buddhahood.

[2] As can be seen in the rest of the sūtra, which mainly promotes mindfulness of Buddha, this key practice marks the (i) beginning, (ii) middle and (iii) end of its teachings. (i) It marks the beginning as Earth Treasury Bodhisattva’s origin was from mindfulness of Buddha. (ii) It marks the middle as Earth Treasury Sūtra’s teachings on mindfulness of Buddha form its essence. (iii) It marks the end as the goal of the sūtra is to encourage all to practise mindfulness of Buddha.

[3] Although Earth Treasury Bodhisattva is still a Great Bodhisattva (大菩萨), to be a most effective one, who embodies and expresses Great Vows (Aspiration) (大愿), he could have already become a Buddha (who is a perfected Bodhisattva) during his long progress on the Bodhisattva path, after which he continues to manifest as an exemplary Bodhisattva.

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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