Flowering of Goodness    

J Krishnamurti
Tao Te Ching

Buddhist Classics

A Call To Practice!
One Buddha Per Universe
A Lesson From A Ghost
Karma Tales
A Scripture That Protects Kings
The Realms of Rebirth

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Buddhist Classics
A Scripture that Protects Kings

The Chapter on the Four Divine Kings

At that time, the Divine King Vaisravana, the Divine King Dhrtarastra, the Divine King Virudhaka, and the Divine King Virupaksa, having arisen together from their seats, bared their right shoulders, kneeled with the right knee to the ground, and faced the Buddha reverently with palms joined. Having prostrated to the Buddha's feet in obeisance, they addressed him, saying, 'World-Honoured One, this Sutra of Golden Light, peerless king among sutras, is borne in mind and watched over constantly by all the buddhas and world-honoured ones. It is revered by all the bodhisattvas; it is worshipped by the sovereign gods, bringing joy to all the heavenly hosts; it is praised in eulogy by all the divine protectors of the world; and it is constantly received and upheld by sravakas and pratyekabuddhas, alike. [The radiance of this sutra] is able to illuminate the palaces of all the gods; it is able to give animate beings the most sublime happiness; it is able to put an end to the sufferings in the destinies of the hells, hungry ghosts and animal [realms]; it is able to expel all fear and to cause all malicious enemies to instantly flee in retreat. It is able to supply more than one needs in times of famine and want; it is able to cure the pains of every imaginable illness. [In its presence] the hundred thousand afflictions that arise from natural anomaly and disaster will all disappear. World-Honoured One, this Sutra of Golden Light, the peerless king among scriptures, is able in this way to bring security, benefit, happiness and succour to us all. Our sole wish is that the World-Honoured One will proclaim and expound it widely to the grand assembly [of the sangha]. Whenever we four divine kings and our retinues detect the ambrosial flavour of this unsurpassed dharma, we experience a surge in our vital energy, an increase in our majestic aura, and a redoubling of our vigour, our boldness and our supernatural powers.

'World-Honoured One. We four divine kings ourselves cultivate the true dharma; constantly we are expounding the true dharma, and by means of this dharma we transform [and bring] the world [to order]. We cause all gods, dragons, yaksas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, and mahoragas, demons and spirits, as well as all human kings to govern the world by means of this true dharma and to expel and keep in check all the evils. All those demons and spirits, devoid of compassion, that suck and feed off the vital energy of human beings we cause to move far away. We four divine kings and our various yaksa generals of the twenty-eight divisions, together with their hundreds of thousands of yaksas, demons and spirits, survey and watch over this continent of Jambudvipa with a pure a divine eye that far surpasses that of ordinary humans. World-Honoured One, it is for this reason we divine kings are called "protectors of the world".

'Moreover, if in this continent there is a king who suffers invasion by malicious brigands from other regions, or who suffers the rampages of famine and plague and countless hundreds of thousands of other sorts of crisis and disaster [then he should realize], O World-Honoured One, that we four divine kings venerate and make offering to this supremely sovereign Sutra of Golden Light. Should there be a bhiksu dharma-master who receives and upholds this sutra, we four kings will collectively go to that individual to enlighten and encourage him. That dharma-master will thereupon, by dint of the power of our supernormal abilities and our enlightenment, [be made to] travel to that realm and widely proclaim and distribute this most sublime Sutra of Golden Light. By the power of that sutra, those hundreds of thousands of tribulations, calamities and crises will all be removed completely.

'World-Honoured One, if a bhiksu dharma-master who upholds this sutra should reside among the realms of the various kings, you should realize that when the bhiksu arrived in that land, this sutra arrived in that land along with him. World-Honoured One, the king of that land should then go to that dharma-master's abode and listen to what he preaches. Upon hearing it, he will be overjoyed. He will revere and make offerings to that dharma-master; and with profound heart he will protect [that bhiksu] and keep him from trouble. He will publicly expound this sutra, [thereby] bringing benefit to all. World-Honoured One, because of this sutra, we four divine kings, united in our singular purpose, will protect that human king and the people of his realm, ensuring that they remain free of calamity and that they are always secure. World-Honoured One, whenever there is a bhiksu [monk], a bhiksuni [nun], an upasaka [male lay disciple], or an upasika [female lay disciple] who upholds this sutra, and that king of men provides for and offers whatever he needs, so that he lacks nothing, then we four divine kings will cause that sovereign and the populace of his realm to all experience security and be far removed from calamity and misfortune. World-Honoured One, if there is a person who receives, upholds, reads and recites this sutra, and a king should make offering to, venerate, honour and praise it, we will cause that king to be revered and honoured as the foremost among all kings, and to be praised together by the kings of all these other lands.' Upon hearing this, the grand assembly was overjoyed, and all resolved to receive and keep this sutra.

At that point, having heard the four divine kings revere and [pledge] to make offerings to the Sutra of Golden Light, as well as to support and protect those individuals who uphold the sutra, the World-Honoured One praised them, saying, 'Excellent! Well done! In times past you four kings have already venerated, made offering, esteemed and sung praises before countless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of buddhas. You have planted roots of goodness, cultivated the true dharma, preached the true dharma, and by means of the dharma you [rule over and] transform the world. In the course of the long enduring night, you constantly think of the benefit of other living beings; and arousing a heart of great loving-kindness and compassion, you vow to bring them peace and happiness. It is causes and conditions such as these that have enabled you to receive in this current incarnation such an excellent [karmic] retribution as this. If a human king makes offering to and venerates this marvellous and sublime Sutra of Golden Light, you should strive to extend to him your protection so that he may know peace and security. If you four kings and your retinues, with your countless and boundless hundreds of thousands of yaksas protect this sutra, then it is tantamount to protecting the true dharma of all the buddhas of the past, future and present. Whenever you four kings, together with your hosts of gods and the yaksas do battle with the asuras, you will always gain the victory. If you are able to protect and uphold this sutra, you will be able through the power of this sutra to eliminate malicious brigands, famine, illness and a host of other miseries. If among the fourfold sangha you find persons who receive, uphold, read and recite this king among sutras, you should also energetically extend your protection to them, eliminating their afflictions and bestowing on them peace and happiness.'

...Excerpt from Buddhist Scriptures

Continues in Part Two...

Daily Words of Wisdom