At that time, the World Honored One emitted bright lights from his body, illuminating the millions of worlds in which Buddhas lived. Buddha Sakyamuni pronounced in a loud voice, informing all the Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, in every world, the heavenly beings, dragons, ghosts and gods, humans and non-humans, “Today, listen to me as I glorify Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, Mahasattva. He shows inconceivable, benevolent, and compassionate divine power to help and protect the suffering. After I reach Nirvana, all of you Bodhisattvas, heavenly beings, dragons, ghosts and gods should employ every possible way to protect this sutra in order to allow all beings to obtain Nirvana’s happiness.”
After Buddha finished, there was a Bodhisattva named Universally Expansive who placed his hands together and said to Buddha with respect, “Today, World Honored One glorifies Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha who has such unbelievable divine powers and virtues. World Honored One, for the sake of all future beings of the Dharma-Ending Age, please tell us how Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha will benefit people. May gods, dragons, the eight divisions, and all those beings in the future accept Buddha’s instructions.”
At that time, the World Honored One said to Bodhisattva Universally Expansive, “Listen, listen. I will explain in general about Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha – how he benefits the human and heavenly beings with his blessings and merit.”
Bodhisattva Universally Expansive answered, “Yes, World Honored One, we would all be pleased to know.”
Buddha told Bodhisattva Universally Expansive, “In the future world, any good man or good woman when hearing the name of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, Mahasattva, places both hands together, glorifies, bows and admires Ksitigarbha, this person can be relieved of sins from the past thirty aeons.
Universally Expansive, if any good man or good woman paints Ksitigarbha’s portrait, or using clay, stones, glue, varnish, gold, silver, copper or iron to engrave or erect a statue of Bodhisattva for worship, this person can be born a hundred times in Thirty-Three Heaven and will never fall into the evil levels. Even if his welfare in heaven comes to an end and he is born in the world, he still can be king. That is, he will still have great merits.”
“If there is a woman who dislikes being a woman, she can reverently worship the portrait of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha day after day; or she can offer fragrant flowers, food, clothing, paintings, flags, money or treasures as offerings, and after she ends this life, for hundreds or thousands of aeons she will be born in a world where there exist no women. She will not be born a woman unless she mercifully wishes to be a woman to help and cultivate others. She will inherit the merit power from these offerings to Ksitigarbha and will not be a woman for hundreds or thousands of aeons.”
“Again, Universally Expansive, if there is a woman who hates herself, is ugly and constantly ill, she can gaze at and bow in front of Ksitigarbha’s image with sincere devotion, and in a moment she will have a countenance of good fortune. Even though this person does not hate being female, she can be reborn as a king’s, minister’s or virtuous person’s daughter, or a minister’s wife and she will have perfect features. Because she concentrates her heart with sincere devotion, on gazing and bowing to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, she can gain such merits.”
“Moreover, Universally Expansive, if there is a good man and good woman who can play music or sing to extol before the Bodhisattva’s image, who can offer fragrant flowers or who can persuade one or many people to worship Bodhisattva, such people will be protected by many spirits day and night, and will hear no evil things, not to mention personally experiencing evil things or accidents.”
“Moreover, Universally Expansive, in the future world, if evil people, evil gods or evil ghosts ridicule or slander that good man or good woman who reverently makes offerings and praises, gazes at and bows to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s image, by saying that this is completely without advantage or merit, or laughs at, or talks behind their backs, or persuades others to slander together, even if they only slander in one thought – the retributions from these peoples’ slanders will be to suffer great pains in Great Arbi for an infinite time. After finishing the sufferings in hell, they will become a hungry ghost. Through a thousand aeons, they will become a human, they will still have a hard life, for example, crippled, weak or poor. Because they are often upset and distressed by the evil karma that twists their hearts, they will again soon fall into evil. Therefore, Universally Expansive, to slander others’ offerings, not to mention having an evil mind to destroy the Dharma, will cause such retributions.”
“Moreover, Universally Expansive, in the future, anyone who has a long illness and can neither live nor die, who always dreams of evil ghosts or dead families, or dreams of walking on dangerous roads with spirits and in which these situations continue for months to years, and has a chronic disease, groans in his dreams, and always feels grieved and unhappy, must have done something wrong or evil causing these retributions. This is all due to their past karma road, which is a judgement that has not been decided, and which is not allowing them to die, or to recover either. Most of the ordinary men or women cannot distinguish why these phenomena happen.
If anyone suffers from this kind of thing, this sutra should be read once aloud. In addition, one may take favorite article of the sick person, such as clothing, treasures, manors or houses, to give to charity or sell for offering and making Buddhas’ or Bodhisattva’s images. In front of the sick person’s face, he should speak loudly that he would like to give these up on behalf of the sick person. One could also build a temple, light an oil lamp, or donate money to a shrine. Speak this three times in front of the sick person and make sure that he hears what you say clearly.
If he has already been in a coma or has breathed his last, you can still speak these words and read this sutra aloud for seven days. Because of this, after the person dies, his past heavy crimes can be released forever, including the five crimes which will lead him to Endless Hell. In his next life, he will always know the things that happened in his former life.
If any good man or good woman writes this sutra by hand or teaches others to write it, or paints or moulds the Bodhisattva’s image or teaches others to paint or mould, he will certainly gain a great deal of merit.
Hence, Universally Expansive, if you see anyone read or recite this sutra, praise this sutra even with a single thought or respect this sutra as soon as he hears it, you must use every way to urge them to study hard and not to regress. They can obtain inconceivable merits both now and in the future.”
“Moreover, Universally Expansive, if those beings in the future dream of many gods, ghosts or even forms, and are always grieving, crying, distressed, sighing, terrified or anxious, they must have relatives from their past lives who have fallen into evil, and these relatives are unable to save themselves and have no way to ask people who have fortune or power for help. You should tell these people to do many convenient things to help their relatives get far away from the evil level.”
“Moreover, Universally Expansive, using your divine power, you should make those people read this sutra in front of the images of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas. Or ask anyone to recite this sutra three to seven times for themselves. Thus, these relatives who remain in evil can be released after reciting this sutra. And they will never again dream of those spirits.”
“Moreover, Universally Expansive, in the future world, if the people of lower positions, such as servants, slaves or people who are not free, realize the former karma and wish to repent, they may gaze at and bow to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s image, and with sincere devotion recite Ksitigarbha’s name ten thousand times during seven days. Such people after they finish this life will be reborn in noble families for thousands of lives and they will not suffer the pain of evil.”
“Moreover, Universally Expansive, in future generations around the worlds, no matter what type of people they are, if they recite the inconceivable sutra for seven days for their new born babies, male or female, and again recite Ksitigarbha’s name ten thousand times, these babies will be released from their past retributions, can be easily raised and will enjoy longevity. If the baby is born by his own fortune, his happiness and life will increase.”
“Moreover, Universally Expansive, if those beings in the future can recite this sutra once in front of any Buddha’s or Bodhisattva’s image during certain ten days including the first, eight, fourteenth, fifteenth, eighteenth, twenty-third, twenty-fourth, twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth and thirtieth days of the lunar calendar, they will be safe, without any disasters. The neighboring families, both young and old, will be far away from evil.
On these certain days the offenses of living beings will gathered together and judged, since all behaviour or thoughts of those in the worlds are karma and an offense – not to speak of such offenses as killing, stealing, debauching or slandering willfully. If people can recite this sutra once a month on the special ten days, their families can be free of every kind of disease and their clothes and food will be opulent
“Universally Expansive, you should know that Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has such unspeakable, great divine power to benefit all who worship. All beings of the worlds have a deep relationship with this Mahasattva. As long as they hear the Bodhisattva’s name, see the Bodhisattva’s image or listen to a single paragraph, sentence or even a few words from this sutra, they can enjoy wonderful pleasure, peace and happiness today, and be reborn with fine features in noble families in the future million lives.”
At this moment, after listening to the Buddha glorify the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, Bodhisattva Universally Expansive knelt down, placed his hands together and said, “World Honored One, I have known of the great, inconceivable divine power of Bodhisattva’s vow for a long time. In order to make those beings in the future understand the benefits, I therefore ask Buddha and we shall keep this in our hearts.
World Honored One, what do we call this sutra? And how do we proclaim this sutra?”
The Buddha said to Universally Expansive, “There are three names for this sutra. One is the Ksitigarbha Vow Sutra, another name is the Ksitigarbha Past Conduct Sutra, the other name is the Ksitigarbha Powerful Vow Sutra. Because so many aeons ago this Bodhisattva took such a great vows to benefit all beings, you should proclaim this sutra in accord with these vows.”
After Bodhisattva Universally Expansive heard this, he placed his hands together, and withdrew.
May the merits and virtues accrued from this work adorn the Buddha’s Pure Land, repay the Four Kindness above and relieve the sufferings of those in the Three Realms below. May those who see, hear and read this sutra bring forth the Bodhi mind and live the teachings for the rest of this life, then be born together in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.