Chapter 9 : Bestowing Predictions Upon Those Studying and Those Beyond Study
At that time Ananda and Rahula had this thought, “We have often thought how happy we would be if we received predictions!”
Then they went before the Buddha, bowed with their heads at his feet, and said, “World Honored One, we, too, should have a share in this, for it is only to the Thus Come One that we go for refuge.”
“Further, we are seen, known and recognized by the gods, people and Asuras in all the worlds. Ananda is always your attendant, protecting and upholding the treasury of Dharma. Rahula is the Buddha’s son. If the Buddha would see fit to bestow upon us a prediction for Annuttarasamyaksambodhi, our wishes would be fulfilled and the hopes of the assembly would be satisfied.”
Then, the two thousand Sound Hearer disciples, those who were studying and those beyond study, all rose from their seats, bared their right shoulders, and went before the Buddha. Singlemindedly they put their palms together and gazed at the World Honored One expressing the same wish as Ananda and Rahula. Then they withdrew to one side.
At that time the Buddha told Ananda, “You in a future age shall become a Buddha by the name of King of Self-control and Penetrations with Wisdom like the Mountains and Seas Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, One of Right and Universal Knowledge, One Whose Clarity and Conduct are Complete, Well-Gone One who Understands the World, Unsurpassed Lord, A Subduing and Taming Hero, Teaching of Gods and People, Buddha, The World Honored One. You shall make offerings to sixty-two million Buddhas, protecting and upholding their storehouses of Dharma. After that, you shall obtain Annuttarasamyaksambodhi. You shall teach and transform twenty-thousand myriads of millions of Gange’s sands of Bodhisattvas, causing them to accomplish Annuttarasamyaksambodhi. Your country shall be called ‘Banner of Victory Always Raised’. This land will be pure, with lapis lazuli for soil. The Kalpa shall be called ‘All-pervasive Wonderful Sound’. This Buddha’s lifespan shall be limitless thousands of myriads of millions of Asankhyeya aeons. Were someone to attempt to reckon it through thousands of myriads of millions of limitless Asankhyeya aeons, they could not do so. The Proper Dharma shall dwell in the world for twice that length of time. The Dharma Image Age shall dwell twice the length of the Proper Dharma.
“Ananda, the merit and virtue of the Buddha King of Self control and Penetrations with Wisdom like the Mountains and Seas shall be praised by all the Buddhas of the ten directions equal in number to the sands of limitless thousands of myriads of millions of Ganges rivers.”
At that time the World Honored One, wishing to restate this principle, spoke verses saying:
“Now in the midst of the Sangha, I say,
That Ananda, who upholds the Dharma,
Shall make offerings to all the Buddhas
And afterwards realize Right Enlightenment
His name will be The Buddha, King of Self-control and Penetrations,
With Wisdom like the Mountains and Seas.
His country shall be pure;
Called “Banner of Victory Always Raised”.
He shall teach and transform the Bodhisattvas,
Uncountable in number.
This Buddha shall have great awesome virtue,
And his name shall be known throughout the ten directions.
His lifespan shall be limitless in length,
Because of his pity for living beings.
The Proper Dharma shall dwell twice as long as his lifespan,
And the Dharma Image Age will last twice that again.
Countless living beings,
Their number like the Ganges’ sands,
Shall plant the causal condition of the Buddha Path,
Within this Buddha’s Dharma.
At that time, the eight thousand newly resolved Bodhisattvas within the Assembly all had this thought: “We have never heard even great Bodhisattvas receive predictions such as this. For what reason have the Sound Hearers received such directions?”
Then the World Honored One, knowing the thoughts in the minds of the Bodhisattvas, spoke to them, saying, “Good sons, Ananda and I, in the presence of the Buddha Emptiness King, simultaneously brought forth the thought of Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Ananda always took delight in learning, while I was always diligent and vigorous. Therefore, I have already realized Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, and Ananda protects and upholds my Dharma. He will also protect the Dharma storehouses of all the Buddhas of the future, teaching, transforming and bringing to accomplishment the multitudes of Bodhisattvas. Since his past vow was such as this, he has therefore obtained this prediction.
When, Ananda, facing the Buddha, heard this prediction and heard of the adornments of his Buddhaland, his wishes were fulfilled, and his heart was filled with joy, for he had obtained what he never had before. He immediately recollected the Dharma storehouse of limitless thousands of myriads of millions of past Buddhas, penetrating them without obstruction, as if he had just heard them now. He also recalled his past vow.
At that time, Ananda spoke these verses:
The World Honored One is extremely rare,
Having caused me to remember,
Limitless Buddhadharmas of the past,
As if I had but heard them today.
I now have no further doubts,
But dwell securely in the Buddha Path,
Acting expediently as his attendant,
Protecting and upholding the Buddhas’ Dharmas.
The Buddha then addressed Rahula saying, “You in a future age shall become a Buddha by the name of ‘One Who Steps Upon Flowers of the Seven Jewels’. Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, One of Proper and Universal Knowledge, One Whose Clarity and Conduct are Complete, Well Gone One Who Understands the World, Supreme Lord, A Subduing and Taming Hero, Teaching of Gods and People, A Buddha, The World Honored One. You shall make offerings to Buddhas, Thus Come Ones, in number as the dust motes in ten world systems, always acting as the eldest son of those Buddhas, just as you are now. “The Buddha Who Steps Upon Flowers of the Seven Jewels” shall have an adorned land, and the number of aeons of his lifespan, the number of disciples he shall teach, the length of the Proper Dharma, and the Dharma Image Age shall be the same as those of the Thus Come One King of Self control and Penetrations with Wisdom like Mountains and Seas. He shall also be the eldest son of this Buddha and thereafter obtain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.
Then, the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke these verses:
“When I was a crown prince,
Rahula was my eldest son.
Now I have realized the Buddha Path,
He has received the Dharma and is my Dharma-son.
In a future age,
He shall see limitless millions of Buddhas,
And be the eldest son of each of them,
Singlemindedly seeking the Buddha Path.
Rahula’s secret practices,
Only I can know.
He manifests as my eldest son
So manifesting himself to living beings.
His limitless thousand of myriads of millions
Of merits cannot be counted.
He abides securely in the Buddhadharma,
And thereby seeks the Supreme Path.
At that time the World Honored One saw that those who study and those beyond study, two thousand in all, were pliant in mind, quiet and pure, singlemindedly contemplating the Buddha. The Buddha spoke to Ananda, saying, “Do you see these two thousand who study and are beyond study?”
“Yes, I have seen them.”
“Ananda, they shall all make offerings to as many Buddhas, Thus Come Ones, as there are motes of dust in fifty worlds, revering and honoring them, protecting and upholding their storehouses of Dharma. Then simultaneously, in the lands of the ten directions, they shall each realize Buddhahood. They shall all have the same name, “Jewelled Appearance-Thus Come One,” One Worthy of Offerings, One of Proper and Universal Knowledge, One Whose Clarity and Conduct are Complete, Well Gone One who Understands the World, Unsurpassed Lord, a Subduing and Taming Hero, Teacher of Gods and People, Buddha, World Honored One. Their lifespans shall be one aeon, the adornments of their lands, the number of Sound Hearers and Bodhisattvas, as well as the length of the Proper Dharma and Dharma Images Ages shall all be the same.
At that time, the Buddha, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses, saying:
Upon these two thousand Sound Hearers,
Now standing before me,
I bestow a prediction,
Of their future realization of Buddhahood.
The Buddhas to whom they shall make offerings
Shall be in number as stated above.
Protecting and upholding their Dharma storehouses,
They shall afterwards realize Proper Enlightenment.
Each one, throughout the ten directions,
Shall have the same name,
And at the same time sit upon their Bodhimandas.
Because they shall have certified to Supreme Wisdom,
They shall all be called “Jeweled Appearance”
Their lands and their disciples,
And the length of the Proper Dharma and Dharma Image Ages,
Shall be identical with no difference.
They shall all use spiritual powers,
To save living beings in the ten directions.
Their renown shall be all pervasive,
As they gradually enter into Nirvana.
At that time, the two thousand people, both those who study and those beyond study, hearing the Buddha bestow these predictions, jumped for joy and spoke verses, saying:
O World Honored One, Bright-Lamp-of-Wisdom,
Hearing the sound of these predictions,
Our hearts are filled with joy,
As if sprinkled with sweet dew.