Nirvana Sutra

Appreciation of the "Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra"

The Complete Kosho Yamamoto English Translation of the "Nirvana Sutra", edited and revised by Dr. Tony Page, typographically improved by Jay and Gabriele Mazo

Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra

Translated by KOSHO YAMAMOTO

FROM Dharmakshema's Chinese version

The World's genuinely first-ever web edition of this complete scripture

(This "Yamamoto/page edition" is Copyright of Dr. Tony Page, 2004 )

 

(Please note: for some strange technical reason, the web-pages of the "Nirvana Sutra" do not always show in full at "busy" times of the day. Best to try to access them in the early morning until midday or around midnight (British time). If you see the blue Contents Page on the right of the screen, you will know that you have got the full web-page! Apologies for these technical challenges to our patience! - Dr. Tony Page)


Also, for a pdf version of the complete sutra -  very convenient! - please go to: http://www.prajna.nl/teksten/onderricht/soetras/

 

Chapter One Introductory

 

 

Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was staying at Kusinagara in the land of the Mallas, close to the river Ajitavati, where the twin sal trees stood. At that time, the great bhiksus [monks] as many as 80 billion hundred thousand were with the Blessed One. They surrounded him front and back. On the 15th of the second month, as the Buddha was about to enter Nirvana, he, with his divine power, spoke in a great voice, which filled the whole world and reached the highest of the heavens. It said to all beings in a way each could understand: "Today, the Tathagata [i.e. Buddha] the Alms-deserving and Perfectly Awakened One, pities, protects and, with an undivided mind, sees beings as he does his [son] Rahula. So, he is the refuge and house of the world. The greatly Awakened Blessed One is about to enter Nirvana. Beings who have doubts may all now put questions to him."

 

At that time, early in the morning, the World-Honoured One emitted from his mouth rays of light of various hues, namely: blue, yellow, red, white, crystal, and agate. The rays of light shone all over the 3,000 great-thousand Buddha lands. Also, the ten directions were alike shone upon. All the sins and worries of beings of the six realms, as they were illuminated, were expiated. People saw and heard this, and worry greatly beset them. They all sorrowfully cried and wept: "Oh, the kindest father! Oh, woe is the day! Oh, the sorrow!" They raised their hands, beat their heads and breasts, and cried aloud. Of them, some trembled, wept, and sobbed. At that time, the great earth, the mountains, and great seas all shook. Then, all of them said to one another: "Let us for the present suppress our feelings, let us not be greatly smitten by sorrow! Let us speed to Kusinagara, call at the land of the Mallas, touch the feet of the Tathagata, pay homage and beg: "O Tathagata! Please do not enter Parinirvana, but stay one more kalpa [aeon] or less than a kalpa." They pressed their palms together and said again: "The world is empty! Fortune has departed from us beings; evil things will increase in the world. O you! Hurry up, go quickly! Soon the Tathagata [i.e. Buddha] will surely enter Nirvana." They also said: "The world is empty, empty! From now on, no one protects us, and we have none to pay homage to. Poverty-stricken and alone! If we once part from the World-Honoured One, and if doubts arise, whom are we to ask?"

At that time, there were many of the Buddha's disciples there, such as Venerable Mahakatyayana, Vakkula, and Upananda. All such great bhiksus, when they saw the light, shook and were greatly stirred, so much so that they could not hold themselves well. Their minds became muddled, and chaos ruled. They cried aloud and displayed variegated grief. There were present, at that time, 8 million bhiksus. All were arhats [saints]. They were unmolested [unlimited] in mind and could act as they willed. They were segregated from all illusions, and all their sense-organs were subdued. Like great naga [serpent] kings, they were perfect in great virtue. They were accomplished in the wisdom of the All-Void and perfect in the attainments of their own [in inner attainments]. They were like the sandalwood forest with sandalwood all around, or like a lion king surrounded by lions. They were perfect in all such virtues. They were the true sons of the Buddha. Early in the morning, when the sun had just risen, they were up from their beds in the places where they lived and were about to use their toothbrushes, when they encountered the light that arose from the Buddha's person. And they said to one another: "Hurry up with bathing and gargling, and be clean." So did they say, and their hair stood on end all over their body, and their blood so ran that they looked like palasa flowers. Tears filled their eyes, which expressed great pain. To benefit and give peace to beings, to establish the Transcendent Truth of the All-Void of Mahayana, to reveal what the Tathagata had by expediency latently taught so that all his sermons would not come to an end, and to subjugate the minds of all beings, they sped to where the Buddha was. They fell down at the Buddha's feet, touched them with their heads, walked around him a 100 thousand times, folded their hands, paid homage, stepped back and sat on one side.

At that time, there were present such women as Kuddara and such bhiksunis [nuns] as Subhadra, Upananda, Sagaramati, and 6 million bhiksunis. They were all great arhats. All "'asravas"' [inner defilements] having been done away with, they were unmolested in mind and could act as they willed. They were parted from all illusion and all their sense-organs were subdued. Like great nagas, they were perfect in virtue. They were accomplished in the Wisdom of the All-Void. Also, early in the morning, after the sun had just risen, their hair stood on end all over their body and their blood so ran through their vessels that they looked like palasa flowers. Tears filled their eyes, which bespoke great sorrow. They desired to benefit beings, to give peace and bliss, and establish the Transcendent Truth of the All-Void of Mahayana. They meant to manifest what the Tathagata had by expediency latently taught, so that all his sermons would not disappear. In order to subjugate the minds of all beings, they sped to where the Buddha was, touched his feet, walked around him a 100 thousand times, folded their hands, paid homage, stepped back and sat on one side.

Of the bhiksunis, there were again those who were the nagas of Bodhisattvas and humans. They had attained the ten stages [of Bodhisattvic development], where they abided unmoved. They were born as females so as to teach beings. They always practised the four limitless minds [of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity], thereby attaining unlimited power and acting well in place of the Buddha.

At that time there were also Bodhisattva-mahasattvas [great Bodhisattvas] who were as plentiful as the sands of the river Ganges and who were all nagas of men, attaining the level of the ten stages and abiding there unmoved. As an expedient, they had gained life as men and were called Bodhisattvvas Sagaraguna and Aksayamati. Such Bodhisattva-mahasattvas as these headed the number. They all prized Mahayana, abided in it, deeply understood, loved and protected it, and well responded to the call of the world. They took vows and each said: "I shall pass those who have not yet attained the Way to the other shore [i.e. of salvation]. Already over innumerable past kalpas, I have upheld the pure precepts [of morality] and acted as I should have acted. I made the unreleased gain the Way so that they could carry over the seed of the Three Treasures [i.e. Buddha, Dharma, Sangha]. And in the days to come, I shall turn the wheel of Dharma [i.e. teach Buddhism], greatly adorn myself, accomplish all innumerable virtues, and see beings as one views one's only son." They likewise, early in the morning, encountered the light of the Buddha. All their hair stood on end, and all over their body their blood so ran that they looked like palasa flowers. Tears filled their eyes, which spoke of great pain. Also to benefit beings, to give bliss, to manifest what the Tathagata had out of expediency latently taught, and to prevent the sermons from dying out, and to subjugate all beings, they sped to where the Buddha was, walked around him 100 thousand times, folded their hands, paid homage, stepped back and took their seats on one side.

At that time, there were present upasakas [lay followers of Buddha] who were as many as the sands of two Ganges. They had accorded with the five precepts, and their deportment was perfect. These were such upasakas as Untainted-Virtue-King, Highly-Virtuous and others, who headed their number. They deeply cherished the thought of combating such opposites as: sorrow versus bliss, eternal versus non-eternal, pure versus non-pure, self versus non-self, real versus not-real, taking refuge versus not taking refuge, beings versus non-beings, always versus not-always, peace versus non-peace, created versus non-created, disruption versus non-disruption, Nirvana versus non-Nirvana, augmentation versus non-augmentation, and they always thought of combating such opposites of the Dharma elements as stated above.

They also always loved to listen to the unsurpassed Mahayana, acted upon what they had heard and desired to teach others. They upheld well the untainted moral precepts and prized Mahayana. Already they were well contented within themselves and they made others feel well contented who prized Mahayana. They imbibed the unsurpassed Wisdom very well, loved and protected Mahayana. They accorded well with the ways of the world, passed those who had not yet gained the Way to the other shore of life, emancipated those not yet emancipated, and protected the seed of the Three Treasures so that it would not die out and so that, in days to come, they could turn the wheel of Dharma, adorn themselves greatly, deeply taste the pure moral precepts, attain accomplishment in all such virtues, have a great compassionate heart towards all beings, being impartial and not-two, and see all beings just as one views one's own only son.

Also, early in the morning when the sun had just risen, in order to cremate the Tathagata's body, people each held in their hands tens of thousands of bundles of such fragrant wood as sandalwood, aloes, goirsa sandalwood, and heavenly wood, which had annual rings and heart and which all shone out in the wonderful hues of the seven treasures. For example, the various hues were like painted colours, all of which wonders having arisen out of the power of the Buddha, and which were blue, yellow, red, and white. These were pleasing to beings' eyes. All the wood was thickly smeared with such various incense as saffron, alo wood, sarjarasa, etc. Flowers were strewn as adornments, such as the utpala [blue lotus], kumuda, padma [red lotus] and pundarika [white lotus]. Above all the fragrant wood were hung banners of five colours. They were soft and delicate, like such heavenly veils as kauseya cloth, ksuma, and silken twill. All these fragrant woods were laden onto bejewelled wagons, which shone in such various colours as blue, yellow, red, and white. The thills and spokes were all inlaid with the seven treasures. Each of these wagons was drawn by four horses, which ran like the wind. In front of each wagon stood 57 hanging ensign plants, over which were spread thin nets of true gold. Each wagon had 50 wonderful bejewelled parasols, each having on it the garlands of utpala, kumuda, padma, and pundarika. The petals of these flowers were of pure gold, and the calyxes were of diamond. In the flowers was many a black bee, which gathered there, played and amused themselves, sending forth wonderful music. These spoke of non-eternal, sorrow, All-Void, and non-Self. Also, this sound spoke of what the Bodhisattva originally does. Dances, singing, and mask dances went on, and such musical instruments were played as the "'cheng"', the flute, harp, "'hsiao"' and "'shã. "'And from the music arose a voice, which said: "Oh, woe is the day, woe the day! The world is empty!" In front of each wagon stood upasakas who were holding bejewelled tables, which were laden with various flowers such as the utpala, kumuda, padma, pundarika, and such various incense as kunkuma and others, and fumigating incense, which were all wonderful. They carried in various utensils, to prepare meals for the Buddha and the Sangha. The cooking was done with sandalwood and aloe wood as fuel, done up with the water of eight virtues. The dishes were sweet and beautiful in six tastes: bitter, sour, sweet, hot, salty, and plain. Also the virtues were three: 1) light and soft, 2) pure, and 3) true to cuisine. Equipped with such things, they sped to the land of the Mallas, to the sal forest. They also strew sand all over the ground, spreading kalinga and kambala cloths and silken cloths on it. Such covered all about, for a space of 12 yojanas [yojana= 15-20 kilometres]. For the Buddha and the Sangha, they erected simhasana seats [lions' seats], which were inlaid with the seven treasures. The seats were as high and large as Mount Sumeru. Above these seats were hung bejewelled screens. Garlands of all kinds hung down, and from all the sal trees also hung down wonderful banners and parasols. Wonderful scents were dispersed amongst the trees and various wonderful flowers were set in between. The upasakas all said to one another: "O all beings! If you feel the need, meals, clothing, heads, eyes, limbs and everything awaits you; all will be yours." While giving, greed, anger, defilement, and poisonous [states of] mind fled; no other wish, no thought of any other blessing or pleasure was entertained. Their minds were bent solely upon the unsurpassed, pure Bodhi-mind [Enlightenment mind]. All these upasakas were well established in the Bodhisattvic state. They also said to themselves: "The Tathagata will now take our dishes and enter Nirvana." As they thought this, all their hair stood on end; all over their body their blood so ran that their bodies looked like  palasa flower. Tears filled their eyes, expressing great pain. Each carefully carried in the utensils of the meals on bejewelled wagons. The incense wood, banners, bejewelled parasols, and meals were all sped to where the Buddha was. They touched the feet of the Buddha, made offerings to the Buddha on these, walking around him 100 thousand times. They cried aloud. The earth and heaven melted in sympathy and shook. They beat their breasts and cried. Their tears ran like rain. And they said to one another: "O you! Woe is the day! The world is empty, is empty!" They threw their bodies to the ground before the Tathagata and said to him: "O Tathagata! Please have pity and accept our offerings!"

The World-Honoured-One, aware of the occasion, was silent, and did not take [their offerings]. Thrice they beseeched him, but their supplications went unheard. Failing in their purpose, the upasakas were sad and sat silently. This was as in the case of a compassionate father who has but an only son. This son, of a sudden, becomes ill and dies. The cremation over, the father goes back home and is sunk in great grief. The same was the case with all the upasakas, who wept and were grief-stricken. With all their utensils positioned in a safe place, the upasakas stepped back and sat silently on one side.

At that time, there were upasikas [female lay followers] present, as many as the sands of three Ganges, who were perfect in the five precepts and in deportment. They included such as Ayusguna, Gunamalya, and Visakha who headed the 84,000 and could well protect the True Dharma. In order to carry over innumerable 100 thousand beings to the other shore, they were born as females. They severely checked their own selves in the light of household laws and meditated on their own persons. Like the four vipers [the four great elements of earth, air, fire and water], this carnal body is ever pecked at and supped by innumerable vermin. It smells ill and is defiled. Greed binds. This body is hateful, like the carcass of a dog. This body is impure, from which nine holes leak out defilements. It is like a castle, the blood, flesh, spine, bone and skin forming the outer walls and the hands and legs serving as bastions, the eyes as gunholes, and the head as donjon. The mind-king [citta-raja] is seated within. Such a carnal castle is what the All-Buddha-World-Honoured One abandons and what common mortals and the ignorant always love and cling to. Such rakshasas [flesh-eating demons] as greed, anger and ignorance sit within. This body is as frail as reed, eranda [foul-smelling "recinus communis" plant], foam, and plantain. This body is non-eternal and does not stay stable even for a second. It is like lightning, madding water, and a mirage. Or it is like drawing a picture on water, which no sooner done than disappears. This body breaks just as easily as a big tree hanging over a river precipice. It does not last long. It is pecked at and devoured by foxes, wolves, owls, eagles, crows, magpies and hungry dogs. Who with a good mind finds joy in such a carnal self? One might sooner fill a cow's footprint with water than fully explain the non-eternal, the non-pure, the ill-smell and defilement of this body; or one could sooner split the great earth and crush it into the size of a pickpurse [weed] seed or even the size of a dust-mote, but never could one fully explain the wrongs and ills of this body. This being so, one ought to discard it like tears or spittle. Because of this, all upasikas train their mind in such dharmas as the Void, formlessness and desirelessness. Thus they very much desire to inquire into and abide in the teaching of the Mahayana sutras. Having listened, they expound them to others. They guard and uphold their vows and deprecate the female form. It is much to be detested and is by nature not unbreakable. Their mind thus ever rightly sees things and crushes the endless wheel of birth and death. They look to Mahayana and are themselves well nourished by it. They feed the minds of those who prize it. They greatly cherish, defend and protect it. Though female in form, they are, truth to tell, none but Bodhisattvas. They accord well with the ways of the world and help those who have not yet gained the other shore and emancipate those not yet emancipated. They uphold the heritage of the Three Treasures, so that it will not die out and so that they can turn the wheel of Dharma in the days to come. They greatly adorn their own persons, living ever true to the prohibitions and accomplishing such virtues. Their compassionate heart extends towards all beings. They are impartial and not-two, just as one would regard one's only son. They also, early in the morning when the sun had just risen, said to one another: "Let us hasten today to the forest of the twin trees!" The upasikas' utensils were twice as many. They took these to where the Buddha was, touched his feet, walked around him 100 thousand times and said: "O World-honoured One! We have with us here meals for the Buddha and the Sangha. O Tathagata! Please have pity and accept our offerings!" The Tathagata was silent and did not take [the offerings]. Their supplication not met, all the upasikas were sad. They stepped back and sat down on one side.

At that time, the Licchavis of Vaisali Castle were present and others as numerous as the sands of four Ganges, who were males, females, big and small, wives and children, relatives, and those of the kings of Jambudvipa [India]. Seeing the Way, they were true to the prohibitions and perfect in deportment. They crushed out the people of other teachings who acted against the Wonderful Dharma. They always said to one another: "We shall have stores of gold and silver for the service of upholding the sweet and endless depths of the Wonderful Dharma, so that it will flourish. Let us hope always to learn Dharma. We shall draw out the tongues of those who slander the Buddha's Wonderful Dharma." They also prayed: "Should there be any bhiksu who transgresses against the prohibitions, we shall turn him back to secular life and have him for labour; if anyone abides in the Wonderful Dharma, we shall esteem and serve him as we do our parents. If priests well practise the Wonderful Dharma, we shall participate in their joy and support them, so that they will increase." They were always glad to lend an ear to the Mahayana sutras. Having listened, they widely expounded to others what they had heard.  All were accomplished in such virtues. They included such Licchavis as [the following persons]: Pure-and-Untainted-Store, Pure-and-Non-Indulgent, Ganges-Water-of-Pure-and-Untainted-Virtue.  All of these said to themselves: "Let us now speed to where the Buddha is!" Various were their utensils of offerings. Each Licchavi had 84,000 elephants all decorated, along with 84,000 four-horse wagons of treasures, 84,000 bright moon gems. There were also bundles of fuel such as heavenly wood, sandalwood, and aloes, all to the number of 84,000. In front of each elephant hung bejewelled hanging ensigns, banners and parasols. Even the smallest of parasols was as wide as one yojana crosswise and lengthwise. Even the shortest of the banners measured 32 yojanas. And the lowest of the bejewelled hanging-ensigns was 100 yojanas high. With these objects of offerings, they went to where the Buddha was, touched his feet, walked around him 100 thousand times and said to him: "O World-Honoured One! We are now here with offerings for you, the Buddha, and the Sangha. Please have pity and accept ours!" The Tathagata was silent and did not accept [the offerings]. Not having gained what they desired, the Licchavis were all sad. By the Buddha's power, they were raised up into the sky seven talas high, where they remained in silence.

At that time, there were, further, ministers and rich laymen as numerous as the sands of five Ganges. They prized Mahayana. If there were any of other teachings slandering the Wonderful Dharma, they would crush such down just as hail and rain do grass and plants. They were Sunlight, World-Protecting, and Dharma-Protecting. These headed their number. Five times as many were their utensils as those who had preceded them. They carried these to the forest of the twin sal trees, touched the Buddha's feet, walked around the Buddha 100 thousand times, and said: "O World-Honoured One! We have brought you and the Sangha utensils of offerings. Please have pity and accept our [gifts]!" The Tathagata was silent and did not accept [them]. Their wish not granted, the rich elders were sad. By the Buddha's divine power, they were raised up seven talas from the ground into the sky, where they remained in silence.

At that time, there were present the King of Vaisali and his consort, the people of the harem, and all the kings of Jambudvipa, excepting Ajatasatru and those of the castle town and villages of his kingdom. They included such as King Taintless-as-the-Moon and others. They took along with them the four military forces [of elephants, horses, infantry and chariots] and desired to go to where the Buddha was. Each king had people and relatives as many as 180 million billion. The chariots and soldiers were drawn by elephants and horses. The elephants were six-tusked and the horses ran like the wind. Their adornments and utensils of offerings were six times as many as those which had preceded them. Of all the bejewelled parasols, even the smallest filled a diameter of 8 yojanas. The smallest of the banners measured 16 yojanas. All these kings abided peacefully in the Wonderful Dharma and detested twisted laws [teachings]. They esteemed Mahayana and felt deep joy in it. They loved beings as one loves an only son. The fragrance of the meals and drinks which they were holding filled the air for four yojanas all around. They too, early in the morning when the sun had just risen, carried forth all these sweet dishes and went to the forest of twin sal trees where the Tathagata was and said: "O World-Honoured One! We wish to offer these to the Buddha and Sangha. Please have pity, O Tathagata! and accept our final offerings!" The Tathagata, aware of the occasion, would not take [the offerings]. Their wishes unanswered, all these kings were sad. They stepped back and took their seats on one side.

At that time, there were the consorts of the kings as numerous as the sands of seven Ganges, excepting those of King Ajatasatru. So as to save beings, they manifested as females. They always were mindful of their bodily actions and perfumed their minds with the dharmas of the Void, formlessness and desirelessness. They included such as the ladies Wonderful-Three-Worlds and Virtue-Loving. All consorts such as these abided peacefully in the Wonderful Dharma and observed the prohibitions and were perfect in their deportment. They behaved towards beings as one does to one's only son. They all said: "Let us all speed to where the World-Honoured One is." The offerings of these royal consorts were seven times as many as those that had preceded them, and these were: incense, flowers, bejewelled hanging-ensigns, silken cloths, banners, parasols, and the best meals and drinks. Even the smallest of the bejewelled parasols measured 16 yojanas. The lowest of the bejewelled hanging-ensigns measured 68 yojanas. The fragrance of the meals and drinks filled an area of eight yojanas all around. Bearing all these offerings, they went to where the Tathagata was. They touched his feet, walked around him 100 thousand times, and said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! We have with us offerings for the Buddha and the bhiksus. Please have pity and accept our final offerings!" The Tathagata, aware of the occasion, was silent and did not accept [the offerings]. Their requests ungranted, all the consorts were sad. They pulled out their hair, beat their breasts and wailed as though a compassionate mother had newly lost her only son. They stepped back, and sat silently to one side."

"At that time, there were also devis [goddesses] as numerous as the sands of eight Ganges. Virupaksa headed their number and said: "O sisters! See clearly, see clearly! The best offerings of all these beings are for the Tathagata and the bhiksus. We ought to be serious and make offerings to the Tathagata with all such wonderful utensils as these. He will partake of our offerings and enter Nirvana. O sisters! It is hard to encounter the appearance into the world of the All-Buddha-Tathagata. It is also difficult to make the last offerings. Should the Buddha enter Nirvana, the world will become empty." All these heavenly females loved Mahayana and desired to hear it. Having heart it, they expounded it widely to [other] people. Much prizing Mahayana, they also satisfied those who were dying for it. They protected Mahayana very well. If there were any of other teachings who opposed or were jealous of Mahayana, they severely crushed them out, just as hail does grass. They were observant of the prohibitions and their deportment was perfect. They accorded well with the world, passed across those who had not yet gained the other shore, and turned the wheel of Dharma. They upheld the heritage of the Three Treasures so that it would not die out. They studied Mahayana and greatly adorned themselves. Perfect in all these virtues, they loved beings equally, just as one would love one's only son. They also, early in the morning when the sun had just risen, all took up incense of heavenly wood twice as great in number as those of the human world. The fragrance of all this incense blew away all bad human smells. Their wagons had white roofs and were pulled by four horses. Each wagon had curtains, and on each of the four corners were hung golden bells. Of diverse kind were the incense, flowers, the hanging-ensigns, banners, parasols, wonderful dishes, and mask dances. There were simhasanas [lion thrones], the four legs of which were of pure blue beryl. Behind the simhasanas were couches inlaid with the seven treasures. In front of each couch was an arm-rest of gold. The tree of light was of the seven treasures, and various gems served as lamps. Wonderful flowers were spread on the ground. And having made their offerings, all these devis were sad at heart. Tears welled up and great was their sorrow. In order to benefit beings and make them happy, they had accomplished the unsurpassed practice of the All-Void of Mahayana and they purposed to reveal the Tathagata's undisclosed teaching of expediency. And in order to prevent the various sermons from dying out, they came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet, walked around him 100 thousand times, and said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! Please accept our final offerings." The Tathagata, aware of the occasion, was silent and did not accept [their offerings]. All these devis, their wishes unanswered, were sad. They stepped back, took their seat on one side, and sat [there] silently.

At that time, there lived various naga kings in the four quarters, as many of them as sands of nine Ganges. They were Vasuki, Nanda, and Upananda, who headed up their number. All these naga kings too, early in the morning when the sun had just risen, took up their utensils of offerings, as numerous as those of man and heaven. Carrying these to where the Buddha was, they touched his feet, walked around him 100 thousand times, and said to him: "O Tathagata! Please accept our final offerings." The Tathagata, aware of the occasion, was silent and did not accept [their offerings]. All the naga kings, their wishes not met, were sad. They stepped back and sat to one side.

At that time, there were demon kings as numerous as the sands of ten Ganges. Vaisravana headed their number. They said to one another: "Let us all hasten to where the Buddha is!" Carrying with them various things of offering, twice as many as those of the naga kings, they went to where the Buddha was, touched his feet, walked around him 100 thousand times, and said to him: "O Tathagata! Please have pity and accept the last of our offerings!" The Tathagata, aware of the occasion, was silent and did not accept. Their wishes unfulfilled, they felt sad, stepped back, and sat on one side.

At that time, there were also garuda [mythical bird] kings, as numerous as the sands of 20 Ganges. King Victor-over-Resentment headed their number.

Also, there were gandharva [demigod musician] kings, who were as numerous as the sands of 30 Ganges. King Narada headed their number.

Also, there were kimnara [celestial singer and dancer] kings there, as numerous as the sands of 40 Ganges. King Sudarsana headed their number.

Also, there were mahoraga [snaked-headed beings] kings, who were as numerous as the sands of 50 Ganges. King Mahasudarsana headed their number.

Also, there were asura [contentious, titanic demon] kings, who were as numerous as the sands of 60 Ganges. King Campalu headed their number.

Also, there were danavat [abounding in gifts] kings, who were as numerous as the sands of 70 Ganges. King Water-of-the-Untainted-River and Bhadradatta headed up their number.

Also, there were rakshasa [carnivorous demon] kings, who were as numerous as the sands of 80 Ganges. King Fearful headed their number. Abandoning evil, he did not devour men; even amidst resentment, he showed compassion. His form was ugly to look at, and yet looked right and austere, due to the power of the Buddha.  Also, there were forest kings there, who were as numerous as the sands of 90 Ganges. King Music-and-Odour headed their number.

Also, there were dharani [magic spell]-possessing kings, who were as numerous as the sands of 1,000 Ganges. King Great-Vision-of-Dharani-Upholding headed their number.

Also, there were lustful pretas [ghosts] there, who were as numerous as the sands of 100 thousand Ganges. King Sudarsana headed their number.

Also, there were lustful devis, who were as numerous as the sands of 10 million Ganges. Heavenly-Blue-Wet, Sad-Wet-Corpse, Imperial-Way-Wet and Visakha headed up their number.

Also, there were the preta kings of the earth there, who were as numerous as the sands of a billion Ganges. King Whitely-Wet headed there number.

Also, there were princes, heavenly guardians, and the four guardian angels of the earth, as numerous as the sands of 10 million-billion Ganges.

Also, there were the vayus of the four quarters, as numerous as the sands of 10 million-billion Ganges. These called forth seasonal and unseasonal flowers upon the trees and strewed them between the twin sal trees.

Also, there were as many principal gods of cloud and rain present as the sands of 10 million-billion Ganges, who said to themselves: "When the Tathagata enters Nirvana, we shall call forth rain at the time of the cremation and extinguish the fire. Should there by anyone who feels hot and moans, we shall make the air cool."

Also, there were greatly fragrant elephant kings there, as numerous as the sands of 20 Ganges. They included Rahuhastin, Suvarnavarnahastin, Amrtahastin, Blue-Eye Elephant, Fragrance-desiring Elephant, who headed up their number. They respected and loved Mahayana. As the Buddha was about to enter Nirvana, each took up innumerable, boundless, beautiful lotus flowers and came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, stepped back, and sat down to one side.

Also there were lion kings there, as numerous as the sands of 20 Ganges. King Lion's Roar headed their number. To all beings they gave fearlessness. Bearing various flowers and fruits, they came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, stepped back, and sat on one side.

Also, there were the kings of flying birds there, as numerous as the sands of 20 Ganges. They included lapwings, wild geese, mandarin ducks, peacocks, and all such birds, and gandharvas, karandas, mynahs, parrots, kokilas, wagtails, kalavinkas, jivamjivakas, and all such birds, bearing flowers and fruit, came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, stepped back, and sat to one side.

Also, there were buffaloes, cows, and sheep present, who were as numerous as the sands of 20 Ganges, who all came to the Buddha and gave forth wonderfully fragrant milk. All this milk filled the ditches and pits of Kusinagara Castle. The colour, fragrance and taste [of this milk] was all perfect. This done, they stepped back and sat down to one side.

Also, there were present rishis [sages] from the four lands, who were as numerous as the sands of 20 Ganges. Ksantirsi headed their number. Carrying flowers, incense and fruit, they came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, walked around him three times, and said to him: "O World-Honoured One! Please have pity and accept our final offerings!" The Tathagata, aware of the occasion, was silent and did not accept [their offerings]. At this, their wish unanswered, all the rishis were sad. They stepped back and sat on one side.

There were [also] present all the kings of the bees of Jambudvipa [India]. Wonderful-Sound, the King of bees, headed their number. They brought in many flowers, came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, walked around him once, stepped back, and sat down to one side.

At that time, the bhiksus [monks] and bhiksunis [nuns] of Jambudvipa were all gathered together, excepting the two venerable ones, Mahakasyapa and Ananda. Also, there were [stretches of] space in between the worlds as numerous as the sands of innumerable asamkhyas [infinitudes] of Ganges, as well as all the mountains of Jambudvipa, of which King Mount Sumeru headed their number. Grand were the adornments of the mountains. Old and luxuriant were the bushes and forests, and the branches and leaves were fully grown, so that they hid the sun. Various were the wonderful flowers which bloomed all around and were beautiful. The grand springs and streams were pure, fragrant, and transparent. Devas, nagas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, rishis, charmers, actors, dancers and musicians filled the place. All these heavenly ones of the mountains and others came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, stepped back, and sat on one side.

Also, there were present the gods of the four great seas and of the rivers, who were as numerous as the sands of asamkhyas of Ganges and who all had great virtues and heavenly feet. Their offerings were twice as many as those who had preceded them. The lights that emanated from the bodies of these gods and those of the mask dancers so eclipsed the light of the sun and the moon that they were hidden and could not be seen any more. Campaka flowers were strewn upon the waters of River Hiranyavati. They came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, stepped back, and sat down on one side.

At this time, the forest of sal trees of Kusinagara changed colour and looked like white cranes. In the sky, a hall of seven treasures spontaneously appeared. Detailed decorations were engraved [upon it]. There were balustrades all round, with gems studded into them. Down [round] the buildings were streams and the bathing places of ponds, where wonderful lotuses floated. It looked as if one were in Uttarakuru, in the pleasance of Trayastrimsa Heaven. That is how things were in the sal forest, the adornments all lovely and wonderful. The devas, asuras and others all witnessed the scene of the Tathagata's entering Nirvana, and were sunk in sorrow, sad and woebegone."

"Then the four guardian angels of the earth and Sakrodevendra said to one another: "See! All devas, human beings, and asuras are making preparations and intend to make their final offerings to the Tathagata. We, too, shall do the same. If we can make our final offerings, it will not be hard to be perfect in danaparamita [perfected giving]." At that time, the offerings of the four guardian angels of the earth were twice as many as those that had preceded them. They carried in their hands all such flowers as mandara, mahamandara, kakiruka, makakakiruka, manjusaka, mahamanjusaka, santanika, makasantanika, loving, greatly-loving, samantabhadra, mahasamantabhadra, time, great time, fragrant castle, greatly-fragrant castle, joy, great joy, desire-calling, great desire-calling, fragrant-intoxicating, greatly-fragrant-intoxicating, all-fragrant, greatly-all-fragrant, heavenly-golden leaves, nagapuspa, paricitra, kovidara, and also, carrying wonderful dishes, they came to where the Buddha was and touched his feet with their heads. All the light of these devas outshone the light of the sun and moon, so that these could not be seen. With these utensils, they intended to make offerings to the Buddha. The Tathagata, aware of the occasion, was silent and did not accept [their offerings]. Their wishes not granted, the devas were sad and worried, and they stepped back, and sat to one side.

At that time, Sakrodevendra and the beings of Trayastrimsa Heaven carried up the vessels of their offerings, which were twice as many as those that had preceded them. The flowers which they carried were equally as many. Wonderful was the fragrance, very lovely to smell. They carried the victory hall, Vaijayanta [palace of Sakrodevendra], and many small halls and came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, and said to him: "O World-Honoured One! We greatly love and protect Mahayana. O Tathagata! Please accept our dishes." The Tathagata, aware of the occasion, was silent and did not accept [their dishes]. Shakra [Indra, chief of the gods] and all the devas, their wishes not fulfilled, were sad. They stepped back and sat on one side.

The offerings of those up to the sixth heaven increased in size one after the other. There were bejewelled hanging-ensigns, banners, and parasols. Even the smallest of the bejewelled parasols covered the four lands; the smallest of the banners covered the four seas; even the shortest of the hanging-ensigns reached Mahesvara's heaven. Soft breezes blew and sweet sounds arose. Carrying up the sweetest of dishes, they came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, and said to him: "O World-Honoured One! Pray, O Tathagata! have pity and accept our last offerings!" The Tathagata, aware of the occasion, was silent, and did not accept [their offerings]. Their wishes not answered, all the devas were sad. They stepped back, and sat to one side."

'All the devas up to the highest heaven were gathered there. At that time, Great Brahma and other devas put forth light which shone over the four lands. To the men and devas of the world of desire, the lights of the sun and moon were all hidden. They had bejewelled hanging-ensigns, banners and parasols of coloured silk. Even the smallest banner which hung on Brahma's palace came down to where the sal trees stood. They came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, and said to him: "O World-Honoured One! Pray, O Tathagata! have pity and accept our last offerings." The Tathagata, aware of the occasion, was silent and did not accept [their offerings]. At this, the devas, their wishes unfulfilled, were sad. They stepped back and sat on one side.

At that time, Vemacitra, the king of asuras, was present with innumerable great relatives. The light that shone [here] was brighter than that of Brahma. He had bejewelled hanging-ensigns, banners, and parasols. Even the smallest banner covered a thousand worlds. Carrying the sweetest dishes, they came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, and said to him: "Pray, O Tathagata! have pity and accept our last offerings!" The Tathagata, aware of the occasion, was silent and did not accept [their offerings]. Their wishes were not answered, so all the asuras were sad. They stepped back and sat on one side.

At that time, Marapapiyas [the Devil] of the world of desire with all his kindred demons and domestic females, and with his innumerable people, opened the gates of hell, sprinkled about pure water, and said: "You now have nothing to do. Only think of the Tathagata, the Alms-deserving, and the All-Enlightened One, take part in joy, and offer your last offerings. You now shall have a long night of peace." Then, Marapapiyas made away with all the big and small swords and the poison and pain of hell. He had rain fall and extinguish the burning fire. Through the Buddha's power, he gained this state of mind. He made all his kindred demons throw away their big and small swords, bows, crossbows, armour, arms, halberds, shields, long hooks, metal hammers, axes, war chariots, and lassoos. What offerings they had were twice as many as those of man and heaven. Even the smallest of the parasols covered the middle-thousand world. They came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, and said to him: "We now love and protect Mahayana. O World-Honoured One! Men and women in the world may, for the purpose of making offerings, out of fear, for reasons of cheating others, for profit, and for following others, accept this Mahayana, whether all of it is true or not true. We shall, then, in order to make away with the fear of such ones, enunciate the following dharani [spell]: "Taki, tatarataki, rokarei, makarokarei, ara, shara, tara, shaka"....  We chant this dharani, for the sake of those who have lost their courage, who may be entertaining fear, who preach for others, who pray that the Dharma shall not die out, who desire to crush out the tirthikas [deluded believers, non-Buddhists], for protecting one's own self, for protecting the Wonderful Dharma, and for protecting Mahayana. Armed with this dharani, one [need] have no fear of a mad elephant, or when crossing wildernesses, marshy lands, or any precipitous places; there can be no fear of water, fire, lions, tigers, wolves, robbers, or kings. O World-Honoured One! Armed with such a dharani, none will have fear. We shall protect the person who has such a dharani, and he will be like a tortoise who guards his six limbs inside his shell. O World-Honoured One! We do not say this just to flatter. In truth, we will make things such that one armed with such a dharani will augment his power. Only we pray, O Tathagata! have pity and accept our last offerings." Then, the Buddha said to Marapapiyas: "I do not accept your offerings; I already have your dharani. This is to make all beings and the four classes of people of the Sangha rest in peace." So saying, the Buddha fell into silence and did not accept Marapapiyas' offerings. Thrice Marapapiyas asked the Buddha to accept them, but the Buddha would not. At this, his wishes unanswered, Marapapiyas was sad, and stepped back, and sat on one side.

At that time, there was present Mahesvararaja with his innumerable kindred and other devas. They carried in their vessels of offerings, which were far more than those of Brahma and Indra, and those of the guardian angels of the earth, men and devas, the eight beings, and non-humans. The preparations which Sakrodevendra had made looked like black against white as when the white of horse-shoe shell is taken up for comparison, and all glory disappears. Even the smallest of the bejewelled parasols covered the 3,000 great-thousand worlds. Carrying such vessels of offerings, they came to where the Buddha was, touched his feet with their heads, walked around him innumerable times, and said to him: "O World-Honoured One! What paltry things we now have with us may [be] equal to offerings made us by mosquitoes and sawflies, to a man throwing a scoop of water into the great ocean, or to trying to assist with a small light that of 100 thousand suns, or trying, in spring and summer when there are so many flowers, with just a single flower to add to the glories of all the flowers, or to the splendour of Mount Sumeru with just a pickpocket seed. How could there be any augmenting of the great ocean, of the brightness of the sun, of all the flowers, and of Sumeru? O World-Honoured One! What little we carry in [to you] here may well be likened to this. We could indeed offer you incense, flowers, mask dances, banners, and parasols of the 3,000 great-thousand worlds, but these are still not worthy of mention. Why not? Because you always undergo pains in the unfortunate realms of hell, hungry pretas, and animals. Because of this, O World-Honoured One! Please have pity and likewise accept our offerings."