Kṣitigarbha Sūtra’s Chapter Four: Jambudvīpa’s Sentient Beings’ Karmic Connections (Excerpt)
[Extra Note: See previous section on ‘Record Of Bright Eyes’ Mindfulness Of Buddha To Save Her Mother And Giving Rise Of The Bodhi Mind’ (光目念佛救母发菩提心记) at https://purelanders.com/2022/09/15/record-of-bright-eyes-mindfulness-of-buddha-to-save-her-mother-and-giving-rise-of-the-bodhi-mind.]
[Evil Habits That Form Fruits Have A Hundred Thousand Retributive Responses]
At that time, [the] Four Directions’ Heavenly Kings, together from [their] seats arose, [with] joined palms reverencing, to [Śākyamuni] Buddha (释迦牟尼佛) said, ‘World-Honoured [One, as] Earth Treasury Bodhisattva, from long [and] distant kalpas since, gave rise [to] this great vow, why [is it] until now, still [with] deliverance yet [to] end, again giving rise [to his] vast [and] great vow’s words? [We] only wish [the] World-Honoured [One will] for us [and] others speak [of this].’
[Note 1: The Four Great Heavenly Kings (四大天王) are the four cardinal directions’ god kings, of the heaven named after them, Four Heavenly Kings’ Heaven: 四天王天), which is the heaven nearest to humans. This great vow mentioned is to guide all beings to Buddhahood before accomplishing (and manifesting) it personally.]
[The] Buddha told [the] Four Heavenly Kings, ‘Excellent, excellent. I now, [will] for you, future and present heavenly beings’ assemblies [and] others, [for] widely benefitting thus, speak [of] Earth Treasury Bodhisattva’s practices of skilful means, in [this] Sahā World’s Jambudvīpa within, births’ [and] deaths’ paths within, [with] compassionate empathy, [for] saving, delivering [and] liberating all sentient beings [with] transgressions [and] suffering.
[Note 2: This Sahā World (娑婆世界) is our world system. Jambudvīpa (阎浮提) is the southern ‘continent’ of this world system, where we are in. Births and deaths (生死) is the cycle of rebirth.]
[The] Four Heavenly Kings said, ‘It is so, World-Honoured [One, that we] aspire joyfully [and] desire [to] listen.’
[The] Buddha told [the] Four Heavenly Kings, ‘Earth Treasury Bodhisattva, [from] long [and] distant kalpas since, until reaching now, delivering [and] liberating sentient beings, [has] still yet [to] complete [his] vow. [With] compassionate empathy [for] this world’s sentient beings [with] transgressions [and] suffering, again contemplating [that in] future immeasurable kalpas within, because [of their] “creepers” not severed, for this reason thus, again give rise [to this] weighty vow. Thus, this Bodhisattva, [is] in [this] Sahā World’s Jambudvīpa within, [with a] thousand million koṭis [of] skilful means, then for teaching [and] transforming [them].
[Note 3: Their ‘creepers’ not severed (蔓不断) are due to their roots of three poisons (三毒) of greed, anger and delusion (贪嗔痴) being thick and heavy.]
「四天王！地藏菩萨， 若遇杀生者，说宿殃短命报。 若遇窃盗者，说贫穷苦楚报。 若遇邪淫者，说雀鸽鸳鸯报。 若遇恶口者，说眷属鬪诤报。 若遇毁谤者，说无舌疮口报。
‘Four Heavenly Kings, Earth Treasury Bodhisattva,  if meeting those killing lives, [will] speak [of this as] retribution [of] past [lives’] destined misfortune, [to have] short lives.  If meeting those stealing, [will] speak [of] retribution [of] poverty’s suffering.  If meeting those [with] sexual misconduct, [will] speak [of] retribution [as] sparrows, doves [and] mandarin ducks.  If meeting those [with] harsh speech, [will] speak [of] retribution [of] having family members [with] fights [and] disputes.  If meeting those slandering, [will] speak [of] retribution [of being] without tongues [and with] ulcers.
 若遇瞋恚者，说丑陋癃残报。 若遇悭悋者，说所求违愿报。 若遇饮食无度者，说饥渴咽病报。 若遇畋猎恣情者，说惊狂丧命报。 若遇悖逆父母者，说天地灾杀报。 若遇烧山林木者，说狂迷取死报。
 If meeting those [with] anger, [will] speak [of] retribution [of] ugliness, ageing [with] feebleness, sickness [and] limbs disabled.  If meeting those [with] stinginess, [will] speak [of] retribution [of] that sought [being] apart from [that] wished.  If meeting those drinking [and] eating without limit, [will] speak [of] retribution [of] hunger, thirst [and] swallowing sickness.  If meeting those [in] hunting indulging, [will] speak [of] retribution [of being] frightened, [to be] insane [and] killed.  If meeting those rebellious [to their] fathers [and] mothers, [will] speak [of] retribution, [by the] heavens’ [and] earth’s disasters killed.  If meeting those burning mountains’ [and] forests’ trees, [will] speak [of] retribution, [by] insanity confused seeking death.
 若遇前后父母恶毒者，说返生鞭挞现受报。 若遇网捕生雏者，说骨肉分离报。 若遇毁谤三宝者，说盲聋瘖痖报。 若遇轻法慢教者，说永处恶道报。 若遇破用常住者，说亿劫轮回地狱报。 若遇污梵诬僧者，说永在畜生报。
 If meeting those previous and later fathers [and] mothers malicious, [will] speak [of] retribution, [of] returning [to be] born, [with] lashings then received.  If meeting those [with] nets catching living young birds, [will] speak [of] retribution, [from their] bones [and] flesh separated.  If meeting those slandering [the] Triple Gem, [will] speak [of] retribution [of] blindness, deafness [and] muteness.  If meeting those slighting [the] Dharma [and] arrogant [over its] teachings, [will] speak [of] retribution, [of] long dwelling [in] evil paths.  If meeting those [who] destroy [and] abuse constant dwellings, [will] speak [of] retribution, [for] koṭis [of] kalpas reborn [in] hell.  If meeting those [who] defile [the] pure [and] defame [the] Saṃgha, [will] speak [of] retribution, long in [the] animal [path].
[Note 4: Those previous and later fathers and mothers (前后父母) are past parents and step parents. Their bones and flesh (骨肉) are blood relations. Constant dwellings (常住) are monasteries.]
 若遇汤火斩斫伤生者，说轮回递偿报。 若遇破戒犯斋者，说禽兽饥饿报。 若遇非理毁用者，说所求阙绝报。 若遇吾我贡高者，说卑使下贱报。 若遇两舌鬪乱者，说无舌百舌报。 若遇邪见者，说边地受生报。
 If meeting those [with] boiling water slaughtering [and] harming lives, [will] speak [of] retribution [of] rebirth [to] successively repay.  If meeting those [who] break precepts [and] violate purification [precepts, will] speak [of] retribution [as] birds [and] beasts [with] hunger.  If meeting those [with] unreasonable [and] destructive use [of things, will] speak [of] retribution [with] that sought lacking.  If meeting those [with] I myself arrogant, [will] speak [of] retribution [as the] inferior, servile [and] lowly.  If meeting those [with] double-tongued [speech] fighting [and] confusing, [will] speak [of] retribution [of being] without tongues [and with a] hundred tongues.  If meeting those [with] evil views, [will] speak [of having] retribution [of] receiving border land births.
[Note 5: With a hundred tongues (百舌) is to have speech impairments, not able to speak clearly. To receive border land (边地) births is to be born where the Dharma is not central, where there is little or no Dharma to learn, what more to practise and realise.]
[As] these such Jambudvīpa’s sentient beings, [with their] physical, verbal [and] mental karmas’ evil habits forming fruits, [have a] hundred thousand retributive responses, [I am] now coarsely [and] briefly speaking [of them only. As] these such [and] other Jambudvīpa’s sentient beings, [have] karmic connections [with] differences, Earth Treasury Bodhisattva [has a] hundred thousand skilful means, [to] then teach [and] transform them. All these sentient beings, first receiving these such [and] other retribution, later fall [into] hell. [With the] moving [and] passing [of] numerous kalpas, without having exiting dates. Therefore, you [and] others, [should] protect humans [and] protect [their] countries, [to] not cause all these numerous karmas, [to] confuse sentient beings.’
[Note 6: The 23 but inexhaustive examples of karmic retribution taught cover the breaking of many precepts, which creates evil karmas (恶业). Other than teaching on the dynamics of karma, they should also serve as a checklist, on what karmas to not create.
With sincere, diligent and regular practice of mindfulness of Amitā(bha) Buddha’s name (Āmítuófó: 阿弥陀佛), the three poisons that cause the creating of these evil karmas will be kept at bay, and be diminished. Upon reaching his Pure Land (净土), the poisons remaining will be disabled forever, with the swiftest liberation ensured.]
[The] Four Heavenly Kings, [having] heard [this] already, weeping tears [and] sorrowfully sighing, [with] joined palms then retreated.
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Kṣitigarbha Sūtra’s Niànfó Teachings