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

...Continued from Part One

Thereupon, the four kings got up from their seats, bared their right shoulders, and with right knee placed on the ground and palms joined [in supplication], they addressed the Buddha, saying, 'To whatever place this Sutra of Golden Light, king among sutras, should in the future happen to find its way or be distributed, whether sovereign country, city, hamlet, mountain forest, or wilderness, if the kings of those lands reverently listen to, receive, praise and make offering to this sutra, and is, moreover, they provide support for those persons of the fourfold sangha who receive and uphold this sutra, protecting them with solemn purpose and ensuring that they are free of disturbance, then by dint of these causes and conditions we will watch over those kings and their peoples, making certain that they are all secure and free from suffering, extending their lives, and perfecting their awe-inspiring virtue. World-Honoured One, if a king of those lands should come upon a member of the fourfold sangha who keeps this sutra, and should he choose to revere and protect that person as if it were his own parent, providing for his or her each and every need, then we four kings will constantly protect him, ensuring that there is no living being that does not esteem and revere him. It is for this reason that we [divine kings] and our countless yaksa spirits will conceal our bodies and provide protection wherever that sutra happens to circulate, ensuring that it suffers no harm. Moreover, we will guard and listen intently to this sutra and the human sovereign, etc. [who receives it], expelling their troubles and ensuring their security, Whatever malevolent brigands may approach from other lands, we will cause them all to flee.

'When a human sovereign listens to this sutra, malicious enemies in neighbouring countries will think thus: "I will raise four armies to destroy that country!" World-Honoured One, due to the awesome spiritual power of this king of sutras, other neighbouring enemies will also give rise to unusual feelings of malice and will come to harass [the first enemy's] borders. Numerous natural disasters and anomalies will take place, and plagues will break out. Once he has experienced these things, the [malevolent] king will organize his four armies and set out for that [righteous king's] land, with the intention of punishing him. We [four kings], together with our company of boundless and inestimable numbers of yaksa spirits, will each make himself invisible and [come to] lend him protective assistance, causing that malicious enemy to submit of his own accord. Never again will he dare to come into this country's domain, much less be able to obtain soldiers and weapons to attack it. . . .'

Thereupon the four divine kings addressed the Buddha saying, 'World-Honoured One, if a human sovereign will revere the true dharma and listen to this king of sutras, and if he will, likewise, revere, make offering to, esteem and extol persons from the fourfold sangha who uphold this sutra, then should he truly wish to please us, he should sprinkle and purify with perfumed water a spot to one side of the [main] altar. He should strew fine flowers around it, and having prepared this site, set up altar-seats for [we] four divine kings so that we may come to join that [human] king in listening to the true dharma. Whatever wholesome roots that king may [come to] possess by way of personal benefit, he also should donate a portion of those blessings to us. World-Honoured One, when that king invites the person designated to preach the dharma to ascend the high seat [and begin recitation of the sutra], he should thereupon burn all manner of famous incenses and make offering to the sutra on our behalf. World-Honoured One, the very instant that that incense begins to [send up its] smoke, in a flicker of thought it will rise through the empyrean and reach our heavenly palaces. Suffusing through the air, it will form [a vast] canopy of fragrance, and we heavenly hosts will all smell its sublime fragrance. This cloud of incense will also emit a golden light, the radiance of which will illuminate the palaces in which we dwell, even up to the palace of Brahma and the abodes of Indra, Sarasvati, the goddess Sri [and the other great gods].'

The Buddha told the four divine kings, 'Not only will the golden radiance of this incense reach our heavenly palaces, but as soon as the human sovereign takes censer in hand and lights the incense in offering to this sutra, the smoke of that incense will immediately spread through the entire universe . . . its fragrant vapours turning into cloud-like canopies of golden hue that universally illuminate heavenly palaces [everywhere]. All of these cloud canopies of incense that thereby fill the universe are [produced by] the awesome spiritual power of this Sutra of Golden Light.

'When this human king takes in hand the incense censer to make offering to this sutra, that cloud of incense will not only prevade the universe of this world-realm, but in a flicker of thought, it will spread through countless and inestimable hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of buddha-lands as numerous as the sands of countless and illimitable numbers of Ganges rivers. As it fills the air above those buddhas, it will transform into canopies of incense, the golden light of which will shine everywhere, just as it did [for the gods of our realm]. Upon smelling this sublime fragrance and seeing these cloud canopies and their golden lights produce supernatural manifestations in the presence of buddhas throughout the ten directions as countless in number as sands of the Ganges, they will together look into [this phenomenon] and, with a single unified voice, they will extol that dharma-master, saying, "Well done! Excellent! You are [truly] a great spiritual hero. To be able to disseminate such an exceedingly profound and marvellous sutra as this, then you have succeeded in [acquiring] an inestimable, illimitable and inconceivable mass of meritorious blessings. Should someone listen to this sutra, the amount of the merit that he or she receives will be truly numerous. How much the more so if he or she should copy [this sutra], receive and uphold [it], expound [it] for others and practise as [it] instructs. Why is that? Good son, if a being should hear this Sutra of Golden Light, a king among sutras, then he will never again slide back from supreme perfect enlightenment."'

Thereupon the four divine kings again addressed the Buddha, saying, 'World-Honoured One, this Sutra of Golden Light, the most excellent king among all the sutras, is able to perfect such countless merits as this, both in the present and in the future. Thus, if a human king is able to obtain the hearing of this sublime sutra, then it is due to the meritorious roots that he has already planted in the presence of countless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of buddhas. We will protect such a sovereign. Moreover, because we see that he enjoys the benefit of countless blessings and virtues, we four kings, together with the hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of [yaksa] spirits who make up our retinues, upon spying the myriad spiritual transformations produced by this cloud of incense, will conceal our physical forms, and in order to hear the dharma, we will come to that place in the royal palace for preaching the dharma that has been duly purified and adorned by the king. And so will [such gods as] Brahma, Indra, Sarasvati, Sri, Drdha the Earth Goddess [and so forth].'

...Excerpt from Buddhist Scriptures

Daily Words of Wisdom