Nirvana Sutra

Appreciation of the "Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra"

The "Nirvana Sutra" Continued (R)

Chapter Twenty-Four: On Pure Actions-4

At that time, there was in the great castle of Rajagriha a great king called Ajatasatru [son of Bimbisara and his royal consort, Vaidehi], one who was very evil-natured, who took pleasure in taking life and who was fully accomplished in the four evil actions of the mouth [i.e. lying, flattering, speaking maliciously, and speaking with a "double tongue"]. Greed, ill-will and ignorance ruled his mind. He only saw the present and not the days to come. All evil persons were of his group. He abandoned himself to the five desires [wealth, lust, food and drink, fame, and sleeping] and the pleasures of life. As a result of this, he harmed his own innocent father. After having harmed his father, repentance [remorse] brought down a fever upon his mind. No adornment or necklaces or music could help him. With his mind in a fever of repentance, there came about boils all over his body. These sent forth stinking, evil smells and none could come near him. Then he said to himself: "Now I am receiving these karmic results in this present life. It will not be long before the punishments of hell press down upon me." Then his mother, Queen Vaidehi, applied various medicines. But the boils only increased in number and there was no sign of a cure. The king said to his mother: "Such boils come from the mind, and not from the four elements. People may claim to [be able to] cure me, but such cannot be."

At that time, there was a minister called Candrayasas. He went to the king and stood to one side and said: "O great king! Why are you so crestfallen and why are you so sorrowful? Do you have any pain in your body? Or is it in your mind?" The king said to his minister: "How could I not have pain in my body and mind? My father did nothing wrong, and I committed deadly sins against him. I once asked a wise man about this. There are five persons in the world who have to be born in hell. These are those who have committed the five deadly sins. I now have innumerable, boundless, asamkhyas of sins. How could I not have pain in body and mind? And there can be no good doctor who can effect a cure for my body and mind."

The minister said: "O great king! Do not be so sorrowful." He said in a gatha:

"If one always worries,

The worry ever increases and grows.

If one is pleased and sleeps,

One's sleep ever increases and grows.

So does it stand with greed, lust, and drinks.

"You, King, say that there are five persons who cannot escape from hell. Who is it who went there, saw this, and came and told you, the King, so? Hell is what is called thus by the intellectual mind. You, King, say that there is no doctor who can cure your body and mind. There is a great doctor called Purana. He knows everything and abides in unmolested [unassailed, inviolable] dhyana [meditation]. He has practised pure actions and always speaks to innumerable beings about unsurpassed Nirvana. To all disciples, he says: "There can be no black actions and no black results from black actions; there can be no white actions and no white results from white actions. There are no black and white actions and no black and white results. There are no high actions and no low actions." This master is now in Rajagriha. O great King! Please condescend to go and see him, and let this master cure you." Then, the king answered and said: "If he can definitely cure me, I shall take refuge in him."

And there was a minister called Virtue-Store, who also went to the king and said: "O great King! Why is it that you look so emaciated, with your lips and mouth so dried up and your voice so low that you look like a coward facing a great enemy, and you look so changed? What are you worried about? Is it that your body gives you pain, or your mind?" The king anwered and said: "How could it be that I should not now have pain in body and mind? I am ignorant and blind and have no eye of Wisdom. I have associated with all bad friends and befriended them. Caught by the words of the evil-minded Devadatta, I wilfully committed deadly actions against the rightful king. I once heard a wise man say in a gatha:

"Any ill-will and action

Towards one's parents, the Buddha, or his disciples

Buy one a life

In avichi hell."

"On account of this I fear and have great worries. No good doctor can ever cure me."

The minister said: "O great King! Have no fear for a while. Of law, there are two kinds. One is that of the world-fleeing, and the other is the king's law. In the king's law, if one harms one's father, this is a deadly sin. But, truth to tell, it does not constitute a sin. it is like the case of the kalala insect, which gains birth by breaking out of the belly of its mother insect. As this is the law of its birth, the harming of one's mother, in truth, does not buy one any sin. It is the same with the conception of a mule. Thus must it obtain with state law, which is [concerned with] governing. Though one may kill one's parents, there can be no sin. With the law of the world-fleeing, the killing of even a mosquito or an ant buys one sin. O great King! Please broaden your mind and have no worry! Why? Because:

"If one always worries,

The worry ever increases and grows.

If one is pleased and sleeps,

One's sleep ever increases and grows.

So do things go with greed, lust, and drinks."

"You, King, say that there is no good doctor who can cure your body and mind. Now there is a great master called Maskarigosaliputra. He knows all and pities beings as one would one's own child. Himself already away from illusion, he thoroughly extracts the sharp arrows of the three poisons. All beings cannot see, know, and realise all things. Only this person sees, knows, and realises. So, the great master always speaks to his disciples. All beings have seven things with their body. What are the seven? These are: 1) earth,  2) water,  3) fire,  4) wind,  5) sorrow,  6) bliss,  and  7) life. These seven are no phantoms, not things that have been made, and they cannot be destroyed. These are like the isika reed [hard and strong reed, from which arrows are made]; they are as static and immovable as Mount Sumeru. And they do not abandon [one], and like milk and cream, do not come into conflict. One may strike with a sword at sorrow, bliss, good, or non-good, and they cannot be harmed. Why not? This is like the seven categories of the Void , where there is nothing that obstructs. Thus life, too, can never be destroyed. Why not? For there are no people that cause harm and none that dies. Nothing is done and there is nothing that suffers being done; nothing is said and nothing is heard; there is nothing thought about and none that teaches. He always teaches thus, and well enables beings to do away with innumerable grave sins. This master is now in the great castle of Rajagriha. O great King! Please condescend to go to him. If you see him, all your sins will die away." Then the king answered: "If he definitely can make away with all my sins, I shall certainly take refuge in him."

Also, there was a minister called Real-Gain, who went to the king and spoke thus in a gatha:

"O great King! Why is it

That you have no jewellery on your body,

That your hair is dishevelled?

Why do you show yourself thus?

Why do you shake so and look frightened

As when a strong wind shakes a tree full of blossom?"

"O King! Why do you look so sorrowful? You look like a farmer who is all sorrow when the rain does not fall after his having sown seed. Do you have pain in your body or your mind?" The king replied: "How could my body and mind not have pain? My late father and king was compassionate and gracious and particularly felt pity for me. There really was nothing wrong. He went and consulted an augur, who said: "After he has been born, this child will surely kill his father." Despite being told this, he raised me. Once a wise man said: "If a person has carnal intercourse with his mother, violates a bhiksuni [nun], or steals that which belongs to the Sangha, causes harm to one who aspires after Enlightenment or kills his own father, such a person will assuredly fall into Avichi Hell." How could I not have pain in my body and mind?" The minister said further: "O great King! Please do not be sorry for a time. If your father killed a person who was in quest of emancipation, there could be sin. If one kills following state law, there can be no sin. O great King! What does not accord with law is no law. No-law is no law. If one has no son, we say sonless. Also, a bad son is called no son. Though we say "no son", this does not mean that the person does not have a son. If food contains no salt, we say saltless. Even when there is not much salt, we say saltless. When there is no water in the river, we say waterless. Even when the amount of water is small, we say waterless. When a thing dies out moment after moment, we say impermanent. Even if a thing exists for a kalpa, we say impermanent. When a person has sorrow, we say blissless. Even when the bliss he has is only small, we say blissless. The molested [i.e. un-free] state is called selfless. Even when there is a little freedom, we say selfless. The dark night is called sunless; even at the time when we have cloud and mist, we say sunless. O great King! Little law may be called lawless. And yet it is not the case that there is no law [there]. O great King! Listen carefully to what I say. All beings have remnant karma. Because of karma, a person often repeats birth and death. If the late king had remnant karma and you killed your father, how could you have committed a crime? O great King! Broaden your mind and do not be sad. Why? Because:

"If one always worries,

The worry ever increases and grows.

If one is pleased and sleeps,

One's sleep ever increases and grows.

So do things go with greed, lust, and drinks."

"You, King, say that there is no good doctor in the world who can cure your body and mind. Now, there is a great teacher called Sanjaya-vairatiputra. He knows and sees all. His wisdom is deep and wide and is like the great sea. He has great virtue and divine powers. He well enables people to make away with all doubts. All beings do not know, see, and realise. Only this person knows, sees, and realises. He now  lives near Rajagriha and speaks thus to his disciples: "Of all beings, if a king, he performs good and evil unmolestedly. Any evil that one commits has no sin. It is as with fire, which burns things, and there is no calling it pure or impure. It is the same with the king. He is like fire. For example, the great earth supports things both clean and dirty. Acting thus, it is neither angry nor glad. The same with the king. He shares the same nature as the earth. For example, the nature of water is to wash things pure or not pure. Thus acting, it has neither worry nor pleasure. The same with the king. He shares the same nature as water. For example, the nature of the wind is to blow things away, be they pure or impure. Thus acting, it has neither worry nor pleasure. The same with the king. Also, an autumnal stub [bulb, seed] calls forth buds in spring. Also, a stub may be cut and there is no sin. The same with all beings. They die here in this life and gain life here again. What sin is there in getting life back again? All the fruits of suffering and bliss of all beings arise out of what has been done in this life. The cause was in the past and one harvests the result in this life; if there is no cause in the present life, there cannot be any result in the life to come. Because of the results that arise in this life, beings uphold sila [morality]. Severely practising the Way and with effort, a person prevents the arising of bad fruits in the present life. By upholding sila, one harvests non-”asrava” [non-defilement]. When one attains the non-”asrava”, one puts an end to the karma of the “asravas”. When karma ends, all sorrows end. When all sorrows end, one attains emancipation. O great King! Please be quick and go there, and make away with the suffering of your body and mind. If you see him, all your sins will die out." The king answered: "If this teacher can clearly make away with sin, I shall take refuge in him."

Also, there was a minister called "All-Knowing", who also went to the king and said: "O King! Why do you look so austere? You look quite like one who has lost his kingdom or a spring that has dried up, or a pond without lotuses, or a tree without leaves, or a bhiksu who has violated sila and lost dignity. Does this come from pain in your body or your mind?" The king replied: "How could I not have pain in my body and mind? My father, the late king, was compassionate and kind-hearted. But I was undutiful and forgot all that I owed him. The only happiness he cared about was solely my own. But I acted against him and put an end to his bliss. Though he had no faults, I wilfully committed a deadly sin against him. I, also, once heard a wise man say: "If one kills one's own father, one will suffer from great pains for innumerable asamkhyas of kalpas." Soon, before long, I shall fall into hell. And no good doctor can cure me of my sin." The minister said: "O great king! Please discard your worries and pains. O King! Did you not hear of a king called Rama? He killed his father and came to the throne. All such kings as Bhadrika, Virucin, Nahusa, Karttika, Visakha, Bright-Moonlight, Bright-Sunlight, Love, and Many-Possessing did away with their fathers and came to the throne. At present, all such kings as Vidudabha, Udayana, Evil-Natured, Rat, and Lotus-Blossom have all killed their fathers. Not one king has suffering or worry. We can indeed look into the realms of hell, hungry ghosts, and heaven [animals], and there are none such. O great King! There are two existences. One is that of the humans, and the other is that of the animals. Though these are two, they have not come out of cause and effect, nor do these die out by cause and effect. If not from cause and effect, how could there be anything good or non-good? Please, O great King, do not entertain worry and sorrow. Why not?

"If one always worries,

The worry ever increases and grows.

If one is pleased and sleeps,

The sleep ever increases and grows.

So do things stand with greed, lust, and drinks."

"You, King, say: "There isn't any good doctor who can cure both my body and mind." There is now a great teacher called Ajitakesakambara, who knows and sees everything. He views gold and dirt with an equal eye; they are not two. He cuts his right-hand side with a sword, and smears sandalwood on his left-hand side. Between two persons, he sees no difference. He looks upon enemy and friend with an equal eye, and his mind sees no difference. This teacher is truly a good doctor of this world. Whether walking, standing, sitting, or reclining, his mind is not in disorder. He speaks to many of his disciples thus: "Whether by my own hand or by instigating others, whether I kill or get others to kill, whether I expose [someone] to heat or cause others to do so, whether I commit immoral deeds or have others do so, whether I tell lies or get others to lie, whether I drink liquor or cause others to do so, whether I kill the people of a village, a castle-town, or a state, whether I kill all beings with a war chariot, or whether I give offerings to all who live to the south of the Ganges or kill those to the north of the Ganges - in none of any of this can there be any talk of crime or weal, giving, sila or meditation." He also lives near to Rajagriha. O King! Please go [to him] at once. If you see him, your sin will all disperse." The king said to the minister: "If he cures me of my sin, I shall surely take refuge in him."

Also, there was a minister called Auspicious-Virtue, who came to the king and said: "O King! Why has your mien no lustre? You look like a lamp at mid-day, or like the moon in daytime, or a king who has lost his kingdom, or the earth in a waste-land. O great King! The four quarters of the state are pure and at peace, and there is no enemy. And why do you now look so worried and pained? Is the pain in your body or mind? There are princes who always think: "When will I be able to gain the unmolested [unlimited, unconstrained] state?" O you, great King, have now attained your wish and reign over Magadha unmolested, and you possess the storehouse of the late king, full of treasure. Cheer up and please yourself as you will! How do you come to be so worried and pained?" The king answered: "How could I not be worried. It is as with the ignorant, who only cling to the taste and do not see the sharp sword, or take poison and do not see the harm that ensues. It is the same with me. It is like the case of a deer, who only sees grass, not the deep hole [trap], or the rat, who carries on devouring without seeing the cat and the fox. I am like that. I saw [only] the pleasure that dangled before me, and not the evil that will ensue in days to come. I once heard a wise man say: "Even if one were hit in one day by 300 halberds, one should not have an evil thought about one's own parents." I am now close to the fire of hell. How could I not be worried?" The minister said further: "Who has come and cheated the king and said that there is hell? Who makes the sharp points of the thrusting spears? Who makes the rare colours of flying birds? Who makes the watery marshes, the hardness of stone, the moving power of the wind, the heat of fire, how do all things die and get born of their own accord? And who makes all of these? Hell is nothing but a fiction of intellectuals. I shall now explain. "Ji" means "earth"; "goku" means "to break". The earth breaks the earth. There can be no return to crimes. This is the meaning of "jigoku" [“naraka” - hell]. Also, "ji" means "man"; "goku" means "heaven". By killing one's father, one gains birth in heaven. That is why the rishi, Vasu, says that by killing a sheep, one is blessed with the bliss of man and heaven. This is hell. Also, "ji" means "life"; "goku" means "long". By killing, one arrives at a long life. Hence, hell. O great King! For this reason, know that, in truth, there is no such thing as hell. O great King! We sow barley and we gain barley; we plant rice and we gain rice. He who kills hell gains hell in return. By killing man, one gains man in return. O great King! Listen to what I, your vassal, say. Truth to tell, there is no such thing as killing or harmony. If there is a Self, then in truth there is no such thing as harming. If there is no Self, then again there cannot be any harming. Why not? If there is a Self, what there is is the eternal and no change. Because of the eternal, there cannot be any killing. What there is is non-breaking-up, non-destroying, non-tying, non-binding, non-anger, non-joy. It is like the Void. How can there be any sin in killing? If there is no Self, then all things are non-eternal. Because of impermanence, extinction proceeds moment after moment. Through the extinction that occurs moment after moment, he who kills and he who dies [both] die off moment after moment. If there is extinction every moment, who is there to be punished for the sin? O great King! Fire burns wood, but fire commits no crime. An axe cuts a tree, but no sin attaches to the axe. A scythe cuts grass, but the scythe does not have any sin. A sword kills a man, but the sword, truth to tell, is not a man and has no sin. How can man sin? Poison kills a man. The poison, truth to tell, is not a man. The poison has no sin. It is like this with all things. Truth to tell, there is no sin of killing. How could there be any sin? Please, O great King, have no worry. Why not?

"If one always worries,

The worry ever increases and grows.

If one is pleased and sleeps,

One's sleep ever increases and grows.

So does it obtain with greed, lust, and drinks."

"You, King, say: "There is no good doctor who can cure this vile karma." Now, there is a great doctor, called Kakudakatyayana, who knows and sees everything. In the flash of a moment, he sees clearly the Three Times [past, present and future] and the innumerable, boundless worlds. With his hearing it is the same. He thoroughly enables beings to segregate themselves from wrong and vile actions. This is like the Ganges that thoroughly washes away and cleanses all sins, in and out. It is the same with this good teacher. He does away thoroughly with all evil sins, in and out. He speaks to all his disciples thus: "One kills all beings, and if there is no repentance in one's mind, one never falls into evil realms. This is like space, which does not suffer from dust and water. If one feels repentance, one falls into hell. This is like a great volume of water wetting the great earth. All beings are made by Ishvara [God]. If Ishvara is pleased, beings will have peace and happiness; if he becomes angry, all beings will suffer from pain and worry. Any sin or weal of any being goes back to Ishvara, who makes them. How can man say that man has sin or weal? It is like a mechanical appliance or wooden man, which can walk, stand, sit, or lie on a bed, as made [capable of doing so] by the artisan; yet, it cannot speak. It is the same with beings. Ishvara is, for example, like an artisan; the wooden man may can be compared to beings. How can there be any sin with such a creation?" Such a great teacher now lives close to Rajagriha. Please hasten! Just one glimpse of him will cleanse you of all your sins." The king answered: "If I am quite sure that this person can indeed do away with my sins, I shall certainly take refuge in him."

Also, there was a minister called Fearless, who came to the king and said: "O great King! There are ignorant people in the world who, in the course of a day, are happy and sad 100 times, sleep and wake up 100 times, and become frightened and weep 100 times. With the wise, nothing such as this occurs. O great King! How is it that you look worried and sorrowful? You look like a man who has lost his comrade, or a man who has lost his feet in deep mud, with no hope of being saved, or like a thirsty man who cannot expect a drink, or one who has lost his way and cannot find a guide, or a man with an incurable illness, or like a shipwrecked ship, with no one else on the sea to provide rescue. O great King! Is it your body or your mind that gives you pain?" The king replied: "How could my body and mind not give me pain? I associated with a bad friend and encountered evilness of speech. There was nothing in the late king for which one could reproach him, and yet I wilfully committed a deadly sin [against him]. I know for sure that I shall fall into hell. And there is no good doctor who can cure." The minister said: "O great King! Please do not let the poison of suffering raise its head! Now, the Kshatriya belongs to the kingly caste. There cannot be any talk of sin if he kills for the sake of the state, for the sake of sramanas or Brahmins, or for the sake of giving peace to people. Although the late king respected the sramanas, he did not serve the Brahmins. There was no fairness in his mind. Being unfair, he was no Kshatriya. Now, you, great King, desire to serve all Brahmins, and you have killed the late king. What sin have you committed? O great King! There really is no killing. Now, killing means taking life. Life has the nature of the wind. The nature of the wind cannot be killed. How, then, can one kill life? Could there be any sin [here]? Please, O great King! Do not worry and be sorrowful. Why not?

"If one always worries,

The worry ever increases and grows.

If one is pleased and sleeps,

One's sleep ever increases and grows.

So is it also with greed, lust, and drinks."

"You say, King, that there is no good doctor who can cure your body and mind. Now, there is a great teacher called Nirgrantha-Jnatiputra [the best-known of the "six masters"], who knows, sees, and pities all beings. He knows all the sharp and dull natures of all beings and fully knows all kinds of expedients fitting for the occasion. The eight things of the world [profit, weakening, breaking up, honour, praise, slander, suffering, and bliss] cannot defile him. Silently, he practises pure actions. To his disciples, he says: "There cannot be any such thing as dana [charitable giving], good, father, mother, present life, after-life, arhat, practising, or the Way. All beings, after 80 thousand kalpas, wil spontaneously be relieved from the wheel of birth and death. It is the same with sin and non-sin. It is like the four great rivers,  namely, the Indus, Ganges, Vaksu, and Sita. All of them enter the sea, and then there is no difference. It is the same with all beings. There is no difference once one is liberated." This teacher is now living in Rajagriha. O great King! Please speed to him. If you see him, all your sins will go away." The king answered: "If this teacher can make away with my sins, I shall surely take refuge in him."

At that time, there was a great doctor called Jivaka, who went to the king and said: "O great King! Do you sleep well or not?" The king replied in a gatha:

"If all defilements are done away with eternally

And one has no greed in the defiled three realms,

There can be sound sleep.

If one has attained Great Nirvana

And speaks of its deep meaning,

Such a person is a true Brahmin.

And such a person can gain sound sleep.

If one's body knows no evil actions that have been committed,

And if one's mouth is far from the four wrongs,

If one's mind has no doubts,

One can get sound sleep.

If the body and mind have no fever,

And if one lives in a peaceful quarter,

And is blessed with unsurpassed bliss,

One can have sound sleep.

If one's mind has no clinging,

And if one is far away from all enmity,

And if the mind is in harmony

And has no quarrels,

One can have sound sleep.

If the body does not do any evil,

And if the mind always repents,

And believes that evil has karmic fruit,

One can have sound sleep.

If one respects and serves one's parents,

And does not spoil life, all the way through,

And one does not steal others' possessions,

One can have sound sleep.

Repress all sense-organs

And befriend a good teacher of the Way

And crush out the four Maras

[worry of illusion in body and mind; the five skandhas;

death; Mara himself, who cannot rest, seeing others doing good],

And one can have sound sleep.

If one does not care about good or bad fortune,

Or if one has no sorrow or bliss,

And for all beings' sake

Rides on the wheel of birth and death,

And if things proceed thus,

One can have sound sleep.

Who has sound sleep?

It is all the Buddhas,

Who deeply sit in the samadhi of the All-Void

And whose body and mind are in peace

And are unshakable.

Who is it that sleeps in peace?

It is the person who is all-compassionate.

Always practising non-indolence,

He views beings as he views his own son.

Beings are in the darkness of ignorance

And do not see the karmic fruits of defilement.

They always do all kinds of evil actions

And cannot have sound sleep.

If one commits the ten evil deeds,

For oneself or for others,

No sound sleep will come about.

If one, out of a desire for ease and pleasure,

Commits deadly acts against one's own father

And says that one has done no wrong,

And befriends bad teachers,

One cannot have sound sleep.

If one acts beyond what is proper

And drinks too much cold water,

Such will end in illness

And no sound sleep will come to one.

If the king has an evil mind

And thinks of others' females,

And goes across a wilderness,

No sound sleep will come.

The upholding of sila [morality] is

Not yet perfect with the fruition

And the crown prince is not yet on the throne,

And the robbers have not yet gained wealth,

And there can be no sound sleep."

"O Jivaka! I am seriously ill. I have committed a deadly sin against my law-abiding king. No good doctor, no wonders of medicine, no charms or the best of care can cure me. Why not? My father, the law-abiding king, governed the state lawfully. There was nothing in him that one could complain about, and I killed him without reason. I am like a fish on land. What pleasure can I have? I am like a deer caught in a trap, and nothing pleases me. I am just like a man who knows that his life is going to end within a day, just like a king who has taken refuge in a foreign land, just like a man who is told that he is suffering from an incurable illness, just like a man who has broken the moral rules and is now told of his punishment. I once, in the past, heard a wise man say: "A person whose action is not pure in body, mouth and mind - know that this person will surely fall into hell." I am now thus. How can I sleep peacefully? There is nobody who can now give me the unsurpassed medicine of Dharma and relieve me of my illness."

Jivaka replied: "Well said, well said! You have sinned, but you repent and feel ashamed. O great King! The All-Buddha-World-Honoured One says: "There are two white dharmas which save beings. One is "zan" [feeling ashamed], and the other "gi" [feeling ashamed]. "Zan" is not committing sin, and "gi" not having others commit sin. "Zan" is feeling ashamed of oneself, and "gi" is to confess to others. "Zan" is feeling ashamed [guilty] towards man, and "gi" is feeling ashamed towards heaven. This is "zan-gi" [repentance, remorse]. One without repentance is no man. Such is an animal. When one has repentance, one respects father and mother, teachers and elders. When one has repentance, there are father, mother, elder brother, younger brother, elder son, and younger sister." Well said, O great King! Listen for a moment! I have heard the Buddha say: Of the wise, there are two kinds. One is the person who does not do evil, and the other is the person who repents after having committed evil. Of the ignorant, there are again two kinds. One is he who does evil, and the other is he who conceals it. First, one does evil, but later one thoroughly confesses it and repents, and does not repeat it. This is as in the case of muddy water, in which, if the "Bright-Moon" mani [jewel] is placed there, the water becomes clear, due to the wonderful power of the gem. Or it is as when the clouds disperse and the moon reveals itself in its brightness. It is also the same with the repentance of evil acts which one has done. O King! If you repent and feel remorse, the sin will go away and you will be pure as before. O great King! There are two kinds of wealth. One is [having] such various animals as elephants, horses, etc., and the other such various treasures as gold, silver, etc. One might possess many elephants and horses, but these cannot equal one piece of a gem. O great King! It is the same with beings. One is vile wealth, and the other good wealth. Many evil acts performed cannot compare with an act that is good. I have heard the Buddha say: "If one gains a single good mind [state of mind, volition], this destroys 100 evil deeds." O great King! This is comparable to a small piece of a diamond, which can well crush Mount Sumeru, or like a small fire which can well reduce everything to ashes, or like a small amount of poison that can harm beings. It is the same with a small amount of good, too. It well crushes out  great evil. We say a small amount of good. But actually, it is big. Why? Because it crushes out great evil. O great King! As the Buddha says, hiding [one's sin] is what leaks out [i.e. is an “asrava”]; not hiding is [the state where] nothing more leaks out. One bares the evil and repents of it. Hence, non-leakable. A person does many evil things, but if he does not hide and store them up, the sin will be small, because of this non-concealment. If there is repentance for the evil that has been done, and if one feels ashamed, the sin dies out. O great King! Even small drops of water fill a big vessel. It is the same with the good mind. Each good mind [good volition] thoroughly crushes out a great evil. If one hides the evil, it augments and grows. If one bares it and repents, the sin will die out. Because all Buddhas say that the wise do not hide their sins. Well done, well done, O great King! You believe in the law of causality, in karma, and in the result that comes about. Please, O great King, have no worry or fear! There are beings who, performing all evil deeds, do not repent and feel ashamed, and do not see the law of causality and the result that is to follow. They do not ask others for guidance, and do not approach a good teacher of the Way. Such people cannot be cured by a good doctor or by nursing. It is like leprosy? ["kamala"], for which most secular doctors can devise no cure. A person who conceals his sin is like that. Why do we say that the icchantika is sinful? The icchantika does not believe in causality, has no repentance, does not believe in karma, does not see the present and the days to come, does not befriend a good teacher of the Way, and does not act in accordance with the injunctions of all Buddhas. Such a person is an icchantika. Such a person is one whom the All-Buddha-World-Honoured One cannot cure. Why not? Even doctors cannot cure a body that is dead. It is the same with the icchantika. Such a person is one whom the All-Buddha-World-Honoured One cannot cure. O great King! You are no icchantika. How could you not be cured?

"You, King, say: "There is no means of cure." Know, O great King! In Kapilavastu, there was a prince, the son of Suddhodana. His family name is Gautama, and his personal name Siddhartha. Without anyone to teach him, he awakened to Truth and spontaneously attained unsurpassed Bodhi, adorning his body thereby with the 32 signs of perfection and the 80 minor marks of excellence, gaining the 10 powers and the four fearlessnesses. He knows and sees all. Greatly compassionate, he pities all beings as he does his own son, Rahula. He truly follows the way of life of beings, just as a calf walks after its mother. He knows when to speak and when not to. His words are true, pure, wonderful and lawful, and a single word from him well cuts away the bond of defilement of all beings. He thoroughly knows the nature of the sense-organs and the mind of all beings. He acts in a manner fitting to the occasion and enacts expedients, and there is nothing that is not known to  him. His Wisdom is great, like Sumeru. It is deep and vast like the great sea. This Buddha-World-HonouredOne has Adamantine Wisdom, which thoroughly crushes out all the evils of beings. There is nothing that is not possible to him. Now, 12 yojanas from here, in the castle town of Kusinagara, between the twin sal trees, he is addressing innumerable asamkhyas of Bodhisattvas all about such things as: "is" or "is-not", the created or the uncreated, the leakable [“asrava”], the karma-results of defilement or the karma-results of the Good Dharma, matter or non-matter, or non-matter-not-non-matter, Self or non-Self, or non-Self-not-non-Self, the eternal, or the non-eternal, or the non-eternal-not-non-eternal, Bliss, or non-bliss, or non-bliss-not-non-bliss, characteristics or non characteristics, or non-characteristics-not-non-characteristics, segregation or non-segregation, or non-segregation-not-non-segregation, the secular or the non-secular, or the non-secular-not-non-secular, vehicle or non vehicle, or vehicle-not-non-vehicle, self-doing and self-receiving, or receiving from others, and non-doing and non-receiving. O great King! You should hear at the place of the Buddha all about doing and non-receiving. All grave sins will be expiated.

"O King! Hear me a while! When Sakrodevendra was about to see the end of his life, five things were seen, which were: 1) clothing giving out a bad, oily smell,  2) fading of the flower on his head,  3) his body issuing an evil smell,  4) perspiration under the armpits,  5) not finding pleasure where he was sitting. Then, Sakra, as he sat in a quiet place, saw a sramana or Brahmin and gained the thought that this was the Buddha. Then the sramana or Brahmin, seeing Sakra come, was glad and said: "O Sakra! I now take refuge in you." Hearing this, Sakra saw that this person was not the Buddha. He also thought to himself: "If this person is not the Buddha, I cannot change the five signs of extinction." At that, the charioteer, Pancashiki, said to Sakra: "O Kausika! There is a gandharva whose name is "Mirage". He has a daughter called Subhadra. If you give me this woman, I shall tell you how to make away with the signs of decline." Sakra replied: "Vemacitra, the asura king, has a daughter called "Saci", whom I respect. If you can tell me who can make away with these signs of my decline, I shall give her to you, how much more than Subhadra!"  "O Kausika! There is a Buddha-World-Honoured One who is called Sakyamuni. He is now at Rajagriha. If you go there and ask him about the signs of decline, these will assuredly disappear."  "O good man! If the Buddha-World-Honoured One can indeed do away with these, drive me there." At that, the charioteer, at these words, drove Sakra to Rajagriha, to Grdhrakuta. Reaching the place where the Buddha was, Sakra prostrated himself and, touching the Buddha's feet, thus paid the Buddha homage. Drawing back, he took his seat on one side. Sakrodevanam-Indra said to the Buddha: "Of all the devas, who is it that binds one?" The answer came: "O Kausika! The miserly mind, greed, and jealousy!" He further asked: "Where does the miserly, greedy and jealous mind come from?" The answer came: "It comes from ignorance." Again he asked: "From where does ignorance come?" The answer was: "From indolence." Again the question: "From where does indolence come?" The answer was: "From an inversion [of truth]." A renewed question: "Where does the inversion come from?" The answer stated: "From a doubting mind."  "O World-Honoured One! You say that the inversions arise from a doubting mind. It is like the Buddhist teaching. Why? Because I have a doubting mind within me. With such doubt, I have an inversion. I mistook one who was not the World-Honoured One for such. I now see the Buddha and all my doubts leave me. As my doubts leave me, the inversion also departs. Through the ending of the inverted mind, the miserly mind, down to jealousy, depart." The Buddha said: "You now say that you have no miserly mind and no jealous mind. Are you an anagamin? An anagamin has no greedy mind. If you have no greedy mind, why is it that you come to me, seeking life? Any anagamin does not truly seek life."  "O World-Honoured One! If there is an inversion, there is a seeking of life. If there is no inversion, there is no seeking of life. What I seek is the Buddha-Body and the Buddha-Wisdom."  "O Kausika! If you seek the Buddha-Body and the Buddha-Wisdom, you will surely gain these in the life to come."

"Then, as Sakrodevendra heard the Buddha's sermon, the five signs of decline all at once faded away. And he stood up, paid homage, walked around the person of the Buddha three times [as a sign of respect], respectfully folded his hands and said: "O World-Honoured One! I am now dead and am born; I have lost my life and gained it. I have now been told that, as I take to the Buddha's Path, I will gain unsurpassed Bodhi. This is a rebirth. This is gaining life again. O World-Honoured One! Why do humans and gods increase in number? And why do they decline in number?"  "O Kausika! Because of quarrelling and disputing, the number of humans and gods decreases; through living harmoniously, their number grows."  "O World-Honoured One! Since by quarrelling we decrease in number, from now on I shall not fight with the asuras." The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O Kausika! The All-Buddha-World-Honoured One says that forbearance is the cause of unsurpassed Enlightenment." Then Sakrodevendra stepped forwards, paid homage to the Buddha, drew back, and went on his way.

"O great King! As the Tathagata thoroughly makes away with the evil characteristics, we say that the Buddha is inconceivable. The grave sin that you amassed in days gone by will unfailingly die out.

"O great King! Hear me a while! A Brahmin had a son called "Non-Harming". Because he had killed so many people, he was called “Angulimalya”. He also thought of killing his own mother. When he gained an evil state of mind, his body also shook. The shaking of body and mind is a sign of the five deadly sins. In consequence of the five deadly sins, one unfailingly falls into hell. Later, on seeing the Buddha, his body and mind shook. He thought of harming the Buddha. The shaking of body and mind bespeaks the five deadly sins. Due to the five deadly sins, one unfailingly falls? ?into hell. This person, having met the great teacher Tathagata, was able to do away with the cause of hell and aspire to unsurpassed Enlightenment. For this reason, we say that the Buddha is the unsurpassed doctor; he is not of the kind of the six masters.

"O great King! There was a prince called “Suvira". His father cut off the hands and legs of this prince in anger and threw him into a deep pit. His mother, feeling sorrow and pity for him, had someone pulll him out and took him to the Buddha. On seeing the Buddha, his hands and legs were restored, and he gained the unsurpassed Bodhichitta. O great King! From seeing the Buddha, there was actual reward in this present life. Hence, we say that the Buddha is the unsurpassed doctor; he is not of the kind of the six masters.

"O great King! There were many hungry pretas [ghosts] on the bank of the Ganges, to the number of 500. For an uncountable number of years, they were unable to see any water. Even when in water, what they saw was a flow of fire. Oppressed by thirst, they cried and wept. At that time, the Tathagata was in the udumbara forest, and was musing under a tree. Then the hungry pretas came to the Buddha and said: "O World-Honoured One! We are oppressed by hunger and thirst and will die before long." The Buddha replied: "Why do you not drink the water of the Ganges?" The pretas answered: "The Tathagata sees water, but we see fire." The Buddha said: "The water of the Ganges is not fire. Through the karma of evil actions performed, your mind is inverted and you make of this fire. I shall relieve you of this inversion and let you see water." Then the Buddha, for the sake of the pretas, expansively taught them the wrongs of the miserly and greedy mind. Then the pretas said: "We are now thirsty. We hear you speak of Dharma, but our mind is away [from it]." The Buddha said: "If you are thirsty, get into the river and drink your fill!" All those pretas, due to the power of the Buddha, were able to drink the water. When they had drunk the water, the Tathagata, for their sake, spoke variously about Dharma. On hearing this, they asppired to unsurpassed Enlightenment. Casting away their bodily forms as pretas, they gained heavenly forms. O great King! Because of this, we say that the Buddha is the unsurpassed doctor; he is not of the kind of the six masters.

"O great King! In the state of Sravasti, there was a band of robbers, who numbered 500 in all. King Prasenajit took out their eyes. As there was no one to guide them, they were unable to go to the Buddha. Pitying them, the Buddha went to them. He consoled them and said: "O good people! Guard your body and mind well and do not do evil!" The robbers listened to the wonderful voice of the Tathagata, and they regained their eyes. They came to the Buddha, folded their hands together, worshipped him and said: "O World-Honoured One! We now see that your all-compassionate heart embraces all beings, not just the worlds of gods and humans." Then the Tathagata spoke about Dharma. When his sermon had ended, all aspired to unsurpassed Enlightenment. For such reason, the Tathagata is truly the unsurpassed doctor. He is not of the kind of the six masters.

"O great King! In the state of Sravasti, there was a candala by the name of "False-Air". He killed an innumerable number of people. Having met the great Maudgalyayana, he at once broke off the cause of hell and was born in Trayastrimsa Heaven. As he has such a holy disciple, we call the Buddha-Tathagata the unsurpassed doctor. He is not ot the kind of the six masters.

"O great King! There was in Varanasi the son of a rich man who was called Ajita. He had unlawful relations with his mother and killed his father. His mother had further bad relations with other people. So he killed her also. There was an arhat who was his good teacher of the Way. As he felt ashamed in fromt of him, he killed this arhat. Having killed this arhat, he went to Jetavana to get ordained. But, since all the bhiksus knew that he had committed three deadly sins, none of them wanted to accord with his wish. When his wish was not granted, he became all the more angry and set fire to the vihara, and many innocent people were killed. Then he went to Rajagriha, to the Tathagata, and sought ordination. The Tathagata allowed him to get ordained and delivered some sermons to him. By degrees, his grave sins began to lessen in weight and he came to aspire to unsurpassed Bodhi. For this reason, we say that the Buddha is the good doctor. He is not of the kind of the six masters.

"O great King! Being by nature very evil in your heart, you believed in the words of an evil person and allowed Devadatta to let loose a big, intoxicated elephant upon the Buddha, so as to have it trample him. On seeing the Buddha, the elephant became sane. So the Buddha stretched out his hand to it and gave it a stroke on the head, spoke of Dharma, as a result of which it aspired to unsurpassed Enlightenment. O great King! An animal sees the Buddha, and this destroys the animal's karmic results. How could it not be so with a human being? O great King! Know that any person who sees the Buddha can indeed make away with grave sin."

"O great King! When the World-Honoured One had not yet attained unsurpassed Bodhi, Mara came to the Buddha with an innumerable and boundless number of kindred. At that time, the Bodhisattva, with his power of forbearance, crushed the evil mind of Mara and made him aspire to unsurpassed Enlightenment and accept Dharma. The Buddha possesses that much great virtue.

"O great King! Some atavakas [i.e. field demons] were causing harm to the people. The Tathagata, at that time, went to the wasteland village and delivered a sermon for the sake of the rich man, Subhadra. Then, the atavakas, on hearing the sermon, were greatly gladdened and gave the rich man to the Tathagata. Later, they aspired to unsurpassed Enlightenment.

"O great King! In the state of Varanasi, there was a butcher called "Broad-Forehead", who every day killed an innumerable number of sheep. Having encountered Sariputra, he received the eight precepts and then a day and night passed. Because of this, after his death, he was born as the son of Vaisravana, the king of the northern heaven. Even a disciple of the Tathagata possesses such great virtue. How could things be otherwise with the Buddha?

"O great King! In North India, there was a castle called "Small-Stone". There was a king in that castle named "Naga-Mark". He usurped the state. Desperate for the crown, he killed his own father. Having killed his father, remorse filled his breast. He abandoned the state, came to the Buddha and wished to be ordained as a monk. The Buddha welcomed him and made him a bhiksu. His sins died out and he aspired to unsurpassed Enlightenment. Know, O great King, that the Buddha possesses such innumerable amounts of great virtue.

"O great King! Devadatta was the Tathagata's disciple. He harmed many a monk and caused blood to flow from the Buddha's body and killed Utpalavarna, thus committing the three deadly deeds. The Tathagata spoke in diverse ways about Dharma and caused his grave sins to lessen by degree in their weight. Hence, we say that the Tathagata is a great doctor. He is not of the kind of the six masters.

"O great King! If you believe in my words, please speed to the Tathagata. If you believe in my words, weigh up well what I say. O great King! The All-Buddha-World-Honoured One covers all with great compassion. He does not love only one person. Wonderful Dharma reigns widely. There is no one who is not taken in [by it]. His mind is all-equal towards the hostile and the friendly. His mind does not hate and does not love. It is not the case that only one person gains the Way and others do not. The Tathagata is not merely the teacher of the four classes of the Sangha alone; he is the teacher of all gods, humans, nagas, demons, hell-dwellers, animals and hungry ghosts. And all beings should look up to the Buddha as they look up to their own father and mother. O great King! Know that it is not the case that the Tathagata only speaks of Dharma to the noble king, Bhadrika; he even addresses the lowly Upali. He does not only accept offerings from Sudatta-Anathapindada, but also accepts food from the poor man, Sudatta. He does not only speak of Dharma to sharp-witted Sariputra, but also to dull-witted Suddhipanthaka. He does not only allow such a greedless person as Mahakasyapa to enter the Order, but also such a person as greedy Nanda. He does not only allow such an illusion-free person as Uruvilva-Kasyapa to seek the Way, but also one full of illusion who has committed grave deadly sins, like Sudaya, the younger brother of King Prasenajit. It is not the case that he extracts the root of anger because one offers him the galingale [an aromatic spice] but abandons a person who means to do harm. He does not only speak of Dharma to intellectual males, but also to the lowest in life, those who are married, and females. He not only enables sramanas to attain the four fruitions of the Way, but also enables lay people to gain the three fruitions of the Way. He does not only present Dharma to a person who has abandoned the odd duties of life such as the Puttala and others and who seeks to meditate in quiet quarters, but also to such as King Bimbisara, who has to reign over a state. It is not the case that Dharma is spoken only to teetotallers, but it is also spoken to those lost in strong drinks, like the rich man, Ugravati, and the intoxicated. It is not the case that Dharma is spoken of only to those who sit in dhyana [meditation] like Revata, but also to the Brahmin woman, Vasistha, who is now mad after losing her child. It is not the case that his sermons are only preached to his own disciples, but also to tirthikas, Nirgranthas, and others. It is not the case that Dharma is preached only to those of full [i.e. strapping] manhood aged 25, but also to the elderly as old as 80, who are weak in physique. He does not only preach to those who are closely connected with Buddha-Dharma, but also to those who are not very well up in the practice of the Way. He does not only preach to Mallika, but also to such a prostitute as Utpala. He does not only receive the offerings of best dishes and sweet things from King Prasenajit; he also receives those of the rich man, Srigupta, which contain poison. O great King! Srigupta, in days gone by, sowed the seeds of deadly sins. But after having met the Buddha and having listened to his sermons, he aspired to unsurpassed Enlightenment.

"O great King! Even if one were to make offerings for a month to all beings, the merit would not compare to one-sixteenth of that of meditating single-mindedly upon the Buddha. O great King! Though one were to work gold and make a man, and put on [bestow, display] vehicles and horse-treasures 100 in number, this could not compare to a person who aspires to Enlightenment and takes a step towards the Buddha. O great King! Even though one might put on 100 carts drawn by elephants, bearing various rare treasures from Roman lands  and women with items of jewellery as many as 100, such could not compare to aspiring to Bodhi and taking a step towards the Buddha. Or even if one were to give this and the four things [i.e. food, clothing, decoctions, and accommodation] to all the beings of the 3,000 great-thousand worlds, this could not compare to aspiring to Enlightenment and taking a step towards the Buddha. Furthermore, even if we gave dana [alms] to beings as innumerable as the sands of the Ganges, this would never be better than the great King's going to where the twin sal trees stand, to where the Tathagata is, and listening with the sincerest heart to what he says."

Then the great king answered: "The Tathagata-World-Honoured One is by nature mellow and soft. By reason of this, he has as his kindred all who are mellow and of a soft nature. Just as a forest of sandalwood is surrounded by sandalwood trees, so is the Tathagata pure and pristine and surrounded by people who are also pure and pristine. This is like a great naga [serpent] having kindred who are nagas; the Tathagata is silent and quiet, and his people, too, are silent and quiet. The Tathagata does not covet, nor do any of his people, either. The Buddha has no illusion, nor do any of his people. I am the most wicked of men. Lined with evil karma, my body issues an evil smell and is tethered to hell. How can I dare to hope ever to go to where the Tathagata is? I may well go, but words may not get connections. You wish to have me go to the Buddha. And yet, I am now of a base constitution and despair of my own self and have no mind to go."

Then there came a voice from above: "The unsurpassed Buddhist teaching is weak and is now about to die out. The great river of full water is about to dry up. It will not be long before the bright lamp of Dharma goes out. The mountain of Dharma is about to crumble, and the ship of Dharma is about to sink to the bottom. The bridge of Dharma is about to break, and the palace of Dharma is about to be levelled to the ground. The banner of Dharma is about to fall, and the tree of Dharma is about to snap and break. The good friend is about to leave us, and a great fear is about to raise its head. It will not be long before beings will inevitably feel the lack of Dharma. The epidemics of illusion are about to run amok. The time of great gloom is arriving, and people will have to feel thirst for Dharma. King Mara will be gladdened and will ungarb all his armour. The sun of Buddha-Dharma is about to sink behind the mountain of Great Nirvana. O great King! If the Buddha is gone, there will never be anyone who can undo your grave sins. O great King! You have committed deadly sins that will take you to Avichi Hell. There is no doubt that this karma will do its work. O great King! “A “ means "nothing"; “bi” means "in- between". As there is no moment of pleasure in-between, we say “abi”. O great King! If only a single person falls into this hell, the height of his body will measure 80,000 yojanas. It will fill [the place] up, and there will be no space there in-between. The body is surrounded all around and is subject to various pains. If there are many people, the bodies fill up, and there is no space in-between and nothing separates them. O great King! When one is in the cold hell, hot air will come for a moment, and this is a cause of pleasure; in the hot hell, a momentary blast of cold air becomes a cause of pleasure. One's life comes to an end in hell, but if one hears a living voice, it is restored. In Avichi Hell, such never occurs. O great King! There are four gates in Avichi Hell. Outside each gate there is a great fire which burns. It goes through everything, to east, west, south and north. Iron walls go all around for 8,000 yojanas. Above is an iron net; the ground, too, is made of iron. The fire passes from above to down below; it goes from bottom to top. O great King! This is like a fish on a frying pan whose fat and oil are burning. It is the same with the criminal, too. O great King! One who has committed one deadly sin has fully to suffer thus for one sin. One who has committed two deadly sins has to answer for two. If five, the sin goes [reaps] five times as much [pain]. O great King! I know that you will definitely have to experience your karmic results. Please speed to where the Buddha is. Other than the Buddha-World-Honoured One, no one can save you. I feel sorry. Hence, I urge you thus."

Then, on hearing this, fear overtook the king; a shudder ran through his whole body; his five limbs shook like a plantain. Looking up, he asked: "O you god! Who are you? You show no form; only your voice comes down."  "O great King! I am your father, Bimbisara. You should now do as Jivaka tells you. Do not give ear to the twisted views of your ministers."

On hearing this, the king fell to the ground. The pain of his boils increased, and the bad smell became twice as great as before. Cold medicine was applied and smeared over his body. But the boils burned; the poison increased its heat. And there was no whit of decrease felt.