閻羅王眾讚歎品第八
Admiration From Ghost Kings


爾時鐵圍山內,有無量鬼王,與閻羅天子,俱詣忉利,來到佛所。所謂:惡毒鬼王、多惡鬼王、大諍鬼王、白虎鬼王、血虎鬼王、赤虎鬼王、散殃鬼王、飛身鬼王、電光鬼王、狼牙鬼王、千眼鬼王、噉獸鬼王、負石鬼王、主耗鬼王、主禍鬼王、主食鬼王、主財鬼王、主畜鬼王、主禽鬼王、主獸鬼王、主魅鬼王、主產鬼王、主命鬼王、主疾鬼王、主險鬼王、三目鬼王、四目鬼王、五目鬼王、祁利失王、大祁利失王、祁利叉王、大祁利叉王、阿那吒王、大阿那吒王、如是等大鬼王,各各與百千諸小鬼王,盡居閻浮提,各有所執,各有所主。

At that time, from the Iron-Mountain, many ghost kings and sons of the heavens came to the Trayastrimsa Heaven where Buddha taught the Dharma. Those who came included Evil Poison Ghost King, Evil Doing Ghost King, Dispute Ghost King, White Tiger Ghost King, Blood Tiger Ghost King, Red Tiger Contagious Ghost King, Disaster Ghost King, Flying Body Ghost King, Lightning Flash Ghost King, Wolf Teeth Ghost King, Thousand Eyes Ghost King, Eating Beast Ghost King, Rock-Carrying Ghost King, Exhaustion Ghost King, Calamity Ghost King, Food Ghost King, Wealth Ghost King, Domestic Animal Ghost King, Fowl Ghost King, Beast Ghost King, Mountain Spirit Ghost King, Birth Ghost King, Life Ghost King, Disease Ghost King, Danger Ghost King, Three Eyes Ghost King, Four Eyes Ghost King, Five Eyes Ghost King, the Fire Spirit King, The Great Fire Ghost King, the Dharma Protector King, the Great Dharma Protector King and so on. There were also thousands of major and minor ghost kings who live in all the worlds and rule over specific areas.

是諸鬼王與閻羅天子,承佛威神,及地藏菩薩摩訶薩力,俱詣忉利,在一面立。

These ghost kings and sons of heavens, by the divine power of Buddha and Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, Mahasattva, all came to the Buddha’s assembly in Trayastrimsa. They reverently stood beside the Bodhisattva.

爾時閻羅天子,胡跪合掌白佛言:「世尊,我等今者與諸鬼王,承佛威神,及地藏菩薩摩訶薩力,方得詣此忉利大會,亦是我等獲善利故。我今有小疑事,敢問世尊。唯願世尊慈悲宣說。」

At that time, Yama, Son of Heaven, knelt down, placed his hands together and asked, “World Honored One, inheriting the divine power of Buddha and Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, Mahasattva, and having good merits, we, sons of heavens and all ghost kings, join this great assembly in the Trayastrimsa. Now, we have a small doubt we would like to express. May Buddha be merciful and explain it to us.”

佛告閻羅天子:「恣汝所問,吾為汝說。」
Buddha told Yama, Son of Heaven, “Whatever you ask, I shall explain it to you.”

是時閻羅天子瞻禮世尊,及迴視地藏菩薩,而白佛言:「世尊,我觀地藏菩薩在六道中,百千方便而度罪苦眾生,不辭疲倦,是大菩薩有如是不可思議神通之事。然諸眾生獲脫罪報,未久之間,又墮惡道。世尊,是地藏菩薩既有如是不可思議神力,云何眾生而不依止善道,永取解脫?唯願世尊為我解說。」

At that time, Yama, Son of Heaven looked at Buddha with respect, turned his head towards Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and said, “World Honored One, as we have observed, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has used hundreds and thousands of convenient way to help and cultivate the suffering offenders of the six levels. He never feels tired. This great Bodhisattva has such inconceivable divine power. But these beings fall into evil soon after they are relieved from their criminal retributions. World Honored One, since this Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has such unimaginable divine power, why do not all beings follow the Dharma and be relieved from pain forever? Will World Honored One please explain this to us.”

佛告閻羅天子:「南閻浮提眾生,其性剛強,難調難伏。是大菩薩,於百千劫,頭頭救拔如是眾生,早令解脫。是罪報人乃至墮大惡趣,菩薩以方便力,拔出根本業緣,而遣悟宿世之事。自是閻浮提眾生結惡習重,旋出旋入,勞斯菩薩久經劫數而作度脫。

The Buddha told Yama, Son of Heaven, “Those beings of the worlds are hard-minded. It is difficult to subdue them. This Great Bodhisattva has saved these beings for a long, long time. Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha uses every possible way to point out their own basic karma relationship and make them realize the things which they did in their former lives. However, all beings have a pattern of bad habits, and they quickly fall into the same pattern again. This Bodhisattva has taken many aeons to help and save them.

譬如有人迷失本家,誤入險道,其險道中,多諸夜叉、及虎狼獅子、蚖蛇蝮蠍。如是迷人,在險道中,須臾之間,即遭諸毒。有一知識,多解大術,善禁是毒,乃及夜叉諸惡毒等。忽逢迷人欲進險道,而語之言:咄哉男子,為何事故而入此路,有何異術,能制諸毒。是迷路人忽聞是語,方知險道,即便退步,求出此路。是善知識,提攜接手,引出險道,免諸惡毒。至於好道,令得安樂。有何異術,能制諸毒

For example, if someone accidentally walks onto a dangerous road and gets lost among the many devils, tigers, wolves, lions, snakes and scorpions on this road, this person will be attacked immediately. If this person happens to meet and heed the advice of a wise and knowledgeable person, then he could avoid those evil beasts. The person does not know how dangerous this situation is until he hears the wise and knowledgeable person’s advice. Soon after, the person wants to get out of that situation. This wise person leads him away and protects him from those evils, and when he arrives to a safe place, he is peaceful and happy.

而語之言:「咄哉迷人,自今已後,勿履是道。此路入者,卒難得出,復損性命。」
Then, this wise person tells him, ‘Do not walk this road from now on. Those who walk this road will live a difficult and dangerous life.’

是迷路人亦生感重。臨別之時,知識又言:「若見親知及諸路人,若男若女,言於此路多諸毒惡,喪失性命。無令是眾自取其死。」

The person who was once lost appreciates him very much. Before leaving, the wise person says, ‘If you see your friends, relatives or any person walk by, whether they are male or female, you should let them know that this way is full of evil. Anyone entering those road will have their lives threatened. Do not allow any beings to walk this way.’

是故地藏菩薩俱大慈悲,救拔罪苦眾生,生人天中,令受妙樂。是諸罪眾,知業道苦,脫得出離,永不再歷。如迷路人,誤入險道,遇善知識引接令出,永不復入。逢見他人,復勸莫入。自言因是迷故,得解脫竟,更不復入。

In this way, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha helps and cultivates the criminal beings by his benevolent and compassionate heart. Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha helps them be reborn as human beings or heavenly beings and thus obtain peace and happiness. Because they know the sufferings of retribution, when they are released they will be reluctant to go through the pain of evil again. That person will never walk that dangerous way again since he was saved by the wise person. Beside this, he also persuades others not to walk along this dangerous road. And since he has been there before, he will certainly not walk that way again.

若再履踐,猶尚迷誤,不覺舊曾所落險道,或致失命。如墮惡趣,地藏菩薩方便力故,使令解脫,生人天中。旋又再入,若業結重,永處地獄,無解脫時。」

If he is still confused and makes the same mistake, and does not realize that he himself has been on this dangerous road before, he will lose his life. This is the same as falling into evil. Although Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has used all kinds of useful ways to release them and allow them to be reborn into heaven or as a human being, those beings will still fall into evil again. If he has heavy karma, he will stay in hell with no definite time to be released from suffering.”

爾時惡毒鬼王合掌恭敬白佛言:「世尊,我等諸鬼王,其數無量,在閻浮提,或利益人,或損害人,各各不同。然是業報,使我眷屬遊行世界,多惡少善。過人家庭,或城邑聚落,莊園房舍。或有男子女人,修毛髮善事,乃至懸一旛一蓋,少香少華,供養佛像及菩薩像。或轉讀尊經,燒香供養一句一偈。我等鬼王敬禮是人,如過去現在未來諸佛。敕諸小鬼,各有大力,及土地分,便令衛護,不令惡事橫事、惡病橫病,乃至不如意事,近於此舍等處,何況入門。」

At that time, Evil Poison Ghost King reverently placed his hands together and said, “World Honored One, we, the many ghost kings in the worlds have different jobs, some of us advantageous and help people, some of us hurt people. Our karmic retribution causes us and our retinues to travel throughout all the worlds and do more evil than good. While we are passing through a house, a town, a castle, a village or a farm, if we see any man or woman do a tiny benefaction, hang a pennant or streamers of silk before a Buddha’s image, prepare a little incense of flowers to offer the Buddha or Bodhisattva, or recite even just one sentence or word of the sutras, all of us will salute this person as we do to Buddhas past, present and in the future. We will also order all powerful ghosts and gods of the lands to protect this person and never let any evil thing, disease or bad luck draw near to this person’s house, not to mention to themselves.”

佛讚鬼王:「善哉,善哉!汝等及與閻羅,能如是擁護善男女等,吾亦告梵王帝釋,令衛護汝。」

The Buddha praised the ghost king, “Very good, very good. All of you and Yama also can support and protect these good men and women. I will ask Brahma King and Shakra to protect you as well.”

說是語時,會中有一鬼王,名曰主命。白佛言:「世尊,我本業緣,主閻浮人命,生時死時,我皆主之。在我本願,甚欲利益。自是眾生不會我意,致令生死俱不得安。

After this, another ghost king named Life Master said to Buddha, “World Honored One, in accordance with their retributions, I am in charge of humans’ lives. Their lives and deaths are governed by me. Fundamentally, I am willing to help them. But, because they do not realize my true heart, they have little happiness and peace when either bearing children or dying.

何以故? 是閻浮提人初生之時,不問男女,或欲生時,但作善事,增益宅舍,自令土地無量歡喜,擁護子母,得大安樂,利益眷屬。或已生下,慎勿殺害,取諸鮮味供給產母,及廣聚眷屬,飲酒食肉,歌樂絃管,能令子母不得安樂。

Why? If people could offer some benefactions to increase the merits of their own family when they are going to have either a son or a daughter, the God of Land would be happy to protect the mothers and children to obtain happiness and peace. Even their relatives could obtain merits, too. On the other hand, they should not kill any creature for offering as food to a woman who just given birth. Neither gather relatives together to eat meat, drink wine, sing songs and dance in celebration of the new born baby. This behavior will make the mother and baby lose peace and happiness.

何以故? 是產難時,有無數惡鬼及魍魎精魅,欲食腥血。是我早令舍宅土地靈祇。荷護子母,使令安樂,而得利益。如是之人,見安樂故,便合設福,答諸土地。翻為殺害,聚集眷屬。以是之故,犯殃自受,子母俱損。

Why? Because uncounted evil ghosts and monsters would like to eat the offensive-smelling blood at childbirth. I have already ordered the God of Land to protect the mother and child and make them peaceful and happy and without any disaster. These people should offer more benefactions to thank this god for the happiness and peace they obtain. However, not only do they show little gratitude but they also kill creatures and gather relatives for celebration. Therefore, their retribution is caused by themselves. They deserve the damage. The mother and child will also suffer.

又閻浮提臨命終人,不問善惡,我欲令是命終之人,不落惡道。何況自修善根增我力故。是閻浮提行善之人,臨命終時,亦有百千惡道鬼神,或變作父母,乃至諸眷屬,引接亡人,令落惡道。何況本造惡者。

Furthermore, throughout the worlds, I will help the people who are about to die, regardless of whether they are good or evil, not to fall further into evil. My power to help them is increased when they have done good deeds. When benevolent persons are going to die, hundreds or thousands of evil spirits will turn into the same form as their parents or relatives, and encourage them to be a part of their evil horde. It will be even more difficult for a person who has done many evil deeds to get away from evil.

世尊,如是閻浮提男子女人臨命終時,神識惛昧,不辨善惡,乃至眼耳更無見聞。是諸眷屬,當須設大供養,轉讀尊經,念佛菩薩名號。如是善緣,能令亡者離諸惡道,諸魔鬼神悉皆退散。

World-Honored One, when men or women in all the worlds are going to die, they are incapable of clear thinking, they cannot tell good from bad, their eyes are unable to see and their ears are unable to hear. If their relatives make offerings to Buddha for them, recite the sutra and recite Buddhas’ or Bodhisattvas’ names, these good deeds will help the dead people turn away from evil and all the devils and ghosts will retreat.

世尊,一切眾生臨命終時,若得聞一佛名,一菩薩名,或大乘經典,一句一偈。我觀如是輩人,除五無間殺害之罪,小小惡業,合墮惡趣者,尋即解脫。」

World Honored One, if anyone who is about to die hears a Buddha’s name or Bodhisattva’s name or one sentence from a Mahayana sutra, these people can be relieved from the Five Endless Offenses. As for the minor bad karma which could basically lead them into evil, this can be relieved immediately.”

佛告主命鬼王:「汝大慈故,能發如是大願,於生死中,護諸眾生。若未來世中,有男子女人至生死時,汝莫退是願,總令解脫,永得安樂。」

Buddha told Life Master Ghost King, “You have great benevolence to make such a great vow to protect all beings, both alive and dead. In future generations if anyone, male or female, faces life and death, do not forget the vow you have made, and be sure to release all beings from hardship and allow them to observe happiness and peace.”

鬼王白佛言:「願不有慮。我畢是形,念念擁護閻浮眾生,生時死時,俱得安樂。但願諸眾生於生死時,信受我語,無不解脫,獲大利益。」

The ghost king replied to Buddha, “Please do not be concerned. I shall do my best to protect all beings in all the worlds so that they will have happiness both at the time of birth and at the time of death. I hope they will believe my word so they will be released, receive happiness, and earn numerous merits.”

爾時佛告地藏菩薩:「是大鬼王主命者,已曾經百千生,作大鬼王,於生死中,擁護眾生。是大士慈悲願故,現大鬼身,實非鬼也。卻後過一百七十劫,當得成佛,號曰無相如來,劫名安樂,世界名淨住,其佛壽命不可計劫。地藏,是大鬼王,其事如是不可思議,所度人天亦不可限量。」

At that time, Buddha told Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, “This Life Master King has already been a great ghost king for thousands of generations. Supporting and protecting all those beings between life and death is the benevolent merciful power of his vow. He is now incarnated as a ghost king, but in reality he is not a ghost. One hundred and seventy aeons from now, in an aeon named Tranquility, he will be a Buddha named No Appearance Thus Come One. His kalpa will be named Happiness. The world he lives in will be called Pure Dwelling and his age will be uncountable. Ksitigarbha, everything about this great ghost king is unimaginable. The people he has saved, is saving and will save in all the worlds and in heavens are innumerable.”



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.

南无地藏王菩萨