Tathāghatagarbha Sutra - one of the basic Buddhist sutras from the third turning of wheel of Dharma, where Buddha explained the basic principle of Tathāgatagarbha or Buddha-dhātu, in our days well known us "Buddha Nature".
Thus I have heard: The Bhagavan was staying on Grdhra-kuta near Rajagriha in the lecture hall of a many-tiered pavilion built of fragrant sandalwood. He had attained Buddhahood ten years ago and was accompanied by an assembly of hundreds of thousands great bhikshus and a crowd of bodhisattvas and great beings, sixty times more than sands in the Ganga. Everyone had perfected their virtues and has been giving offerings to hundreds of thousands of Buddhas in the past. They all could turn the Irreversible Dharma Wheel. If a being would hear their names, he would become irreversible on the unsurpassed path. Their names were Bodhisattva Dharma-mati, Bodhisattva Simha-mati, Bodhisattva Vajra-mati, Bodhisattva Harmoniously Minded, bodhisattva Shri-mati, Bodhisattva Chandra-prabha, Bodhisattva Ratna-prabha, Bodhisattva Purna-candra, Bodhisattva Vikrama, Bodhisattva Ananta-vikramin, Bodhisattva Trailokya-vikramin, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva Maha-sthama-prapta, Bodhisattva Gandha-hastin, Bodhisattva Sugandha, Bodhisattva Surpassing Sublime Fragrance, Bodhisattva Supreme matrix, Bodhisattva Surya-garbha, Bodhisattva Ensign Adornment, Bodhisattva Great Arrayed Banner, Bodhisattva Vimala-ketu, Bodhisattva Boundless Light, Bodhisattva Light Giver, Bodhisattva Vimala-prabha, Bodhisattva Pramudita-raja, Bodhisattva Sada-pramudita, Bodhisattva Ratna-pani, Bodhisattva Akasha-garbha, Bodhisattva King of the Light of Virtue, Bodhisattva Independent Dharani King, Bodhisattva Dharani, Bodhisattva Sarvashoka-pramardin, Bodhisattva Liberating All Beings from Sorrow, Bodhisattva Joyful Mind, Bodhisattva Purna-manoratha, Bodhisattva Eternal Satisfaction, Bodhisattva All-Splendour, Bodhisattva Candra-prabha, Bodhisattva Ratna-mati, Bodhisattva Body of a Transformation Woman, Bodhisattva Great Thunderclap, Bodhisattva Kalyana-mitra, Bodhisattva Notirrelevant Views, Bodhisattva Sarva-dharma-svatantra, Bodhisattva Maitreya and Bodhisattva Manjushri. There were also present bodhisattvas and maha-sattvas, just like them, from incalculable Buddha realms, whose number equalled sixty times the number of sands in the Ganga. Together with incalculable Devas, Nagas, Yaksas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Garudas, Kimnaras and Mahoragas, they all gathered to pay their respects and make offerings.
Now, Buddha sat up straight in meditation posture in the sandalwood pavilion and, with his riddhi (miraculous power) created a miraculous vision:
In the sky appeared countless thousand-petaled lotus flowers as large as chariot wheels, in so many colours and fragrances that nobody could count them. In the centre of each flower appeared an image of Buddha. Flowers grew very fast and soon they covered the sky like umbrella, each flower was emanating countless rays of light. All petals simultaneously unfolded their splendour and then, through the Buddha riddhi, all withered in a moment. Within the flowers, each Buddha-image was sitting with crossed legs in the lotus posture, and each radiated countless rays of light. The decoration of the place at the time was so wonderful (adbhuta) that the whole assembly rejoiced and danced ecstatically. In fact, it was so very strange and wonderful that all began to wonder why all the countless wonderful flowers should suddenly be destroyed. As they withered and darkened, the fragrance they emanated was foul and loathsome.
But at that point Bhagavan realized why bodhisattvas were confused, so he addressed Vajramati saying, "kulaputra, If there is anything in the Buddha's teaching that confuses you, feel free to ask about it." Bodhisattva Vajramati knew that everyone in the whole assembly was confused, so she addressed Buddha, saying, "Bhagavan, why there appeared so many Buddha images inside each of countless flowers? And for what reason did they ascend into the sky and covered the world? And why the images of Buddha were radiating countless hundreds of thousands of rays?" Everyone in the assembly was waiting for response and joined their hands together in a sign of respect. At that point, Bodhisattva Vajramati spoke in gatha, saying:
"I never have seen such a
Miraculous view like today.
I saw hundreds of thousands and millions of Buddhas
Seated in the padmagarbha (lotus-cup),
Each emitting countless rays,
Filling all the kshetras,
Scattering the dirt of false teachers,
Adorning all the worlds!
The lotuses suddenly wilted;
There was none which was not disgusting.
Now tell us,
Why did you show us this miraculous vision?
We saw Buddhas more numerous than
Sands of the Ganga,
And incalculable transfigured forms.
Never before have I seen
Anything like I am witnessing now.
I wish you would give us a clear explanation.”
Now Bhagavan addressed Vajramati and other bodhisattvas, saying, "Kulaputras, there is a Vaipulya Sutra named 'Tathāgatagarbha'. I showed you those signs because I wanted to explain it to you. You should all listen carefully and ponder it well." All said, "Excellent. We would like to hear it very much."
The Buddha said, "kulaputras, we can compare the countless flowers magically shown you by Buddha, which suddenly withered and the innumerable Buddha images that appeared with their many adornments, seated in a lotus posture inside the flowers, who emanated light so extremely rare that there was nobody in assembly who didn’t show a reverence.
In a similar way, kulaputras, when I look to all beings with my Buddha eye, I can see that, hidden behind defilements, such as greed, confusion, hatred and obscuration, there is majestic and unmoving Tathagata-wisdom, Tathagata-vision and Tathagata-body seated. Kulaputras, all beings, even they are defiled with all sorts of defilements, have a Tathāgatagarbha that is eternally pure and which have all kinds of perfect virtues, not different from my own. Moreover, kulaputras, it is just like a person with supernatural abilities, who can see the bodies of Tathagatas seated in a lotus posture inside flowers, even if their petals are not unfolded yet; however, when the wilted petals will be removed, those Tathagatas will be manifested for everyone to see it. In a similar way, Buddha can truly see the Tathāgatagarbha of all beings.
And, because he wants to reveal the Tathāgatagarbha to them, he is explaining Sutras and Dharma, to destroy defilements and reveal the Buddha-dhātu (Buddha-element, Buddha nature).
Kulaputras, this is dharma of all Buddhas. . Whether or not Buddhas appear in the world, the Tathāgatagarbha of all beings is eternal and unchanging. It is only covered by defilements of sentient beings. When Tathagata appears in the world, he expounds the Dharma far and wide to remove their ignorance and suffering, and to purify their ultimate wisdom.
Kulaputras, if there is a bodhisattva with faith to this teaching and who is practicing it with single-pointed concentration, he will attain liberation and the ultimate enlightenment for benefit of the world. He will accomplish Buddha deeds far and wide.
"It is like the wilted flowers;
Before their petals are open,
One with supernatural vision can see
The unstained Tathagata-kaya.
After the wilted flowers are removed,
One sees, without obstacles, the Teacher,
Who, in order to sever kleshas,
Triumphantly appears in the world.
Buddha sees that all kinds of beings
Universally possess the Tathāgatagarbha.
It is covered by countless defilements,
Just like a tangle of smelly, wilted petals.
So I, on behalf of all beings,
Everywhere expound the Saddharma,
To help them to remove their defilements
And reach the Buddha path fast.
I see with my Buddha eye
That in the bodies of all beings
Concealed Buddha-garbha lies,
So I am teaching Dharma to reveal it.
Kulaputras, it is like a pure honey in a cave or tree, surrounded and protected by a huge swarm of bees. If someone with skilful methods approach it, he first get rid of bees and take the honey, and do with it whatever he wish after that, eat it himself or share it with others.
In a similar way, kulaputras, all beings have Tathāgatagarbha. It is like a pure honey in a cave or tree, but it is covered with defilements, which, like a swarm of bees, guard it from approaching.
With my Buddha eye I can see it clearly, and with appropriate methods of wisdom I explain Dharma, to eliminate all defilements and reveal the view of Buddha. And Everywhere I perform activities of Buddha to benefit the world.
And again the Bhagavan expressed himself in gatha, saying:
"It is just like what happens when the honey is in a cave or tree,
Though surrounded by countless bees,
Is taken by someone who knows a cure
To first get rid of the swarm.
The Tathāgatagarbha of sentient beings
Is like the honey in a cave or tree.
The entanglement of ignorance and suffering
Is like the swarm of bees,
Guarding it from approaching.
For the sake of all beings,
I explain the Dharma with skilful methods
I remove the bees of defilement,
I reveal the Tathāgatagarbha.
With profound and irresistible Teaching,
I preach the Dharmamrita,
Compassionately liberating beings,
Everywhere helping them to reach an absolute enlightenment.
Kulaputras, it is like a kernel of wheat, husk of which isn’t yet pealed. Someone may foolishly disdain it and think it should be thrown away. But when it is cleaned, the kernel can be used.
In a similar way, good sons, when I observe beings with my Buddha eye, I see defilement like a husk covers their limitless Tathagata view. For that reason I explain Dharma with skilful methods, to enable them to remove those defilements, purify their ultimate wisdom and attain the ultimate view of Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, tenth stage of Bodhisattva path, in all worlds.
After this, Bhagavan expressed this in gatha, saying:
"It is just like what happens when all the kernels,
The husks of which have not been cleaned yet,
Are disdained by someone,
And said to be something bad.
But although the outside seems like something useless,
The inside is genuine and indestructible.
After the husks are removed,
It becomes a food for the king.
I see that all kinds of beings
Have a Buddha-garbha hidden by defilements.
I preach them to remove the garbage
To be able to attain the ultimate wisdom.
The way like I have a Tathagata dhātu,
So do all beings.
When they develop it and purify it,
They quickly attain the unsurpassed path.
Kulaputras, it is like a genuine gold that has fallen into a pit of waste and buried there and not seen for years. The pure gold does not decay, yet no one knows that it is there.But let’s suppose, there would come a man, with extraordinary vision and tell to others: 'Within the impure waste there is a genuine bar of gold. You should get it out and do with it as you please.'
Similarly, kulaputras, the impure waste is your innumerable defilements. The genuine bar of gold is your Tathāgatagarbha. For this reason, Tathagata profoundly explains Dharma to make all beings able to destroy their defilements, attain the ultimate enlightenment and perform activities of Buddha.
After that, Bhagavan expressed himself in gatha, saying:
"It is just like what happens when gold is submerged
In impure waste, where nobody can see it.
But someone with supernatural vision sees it
And tells people about it, saying
'If you get it out and wash it clean,
You may do with it as you wish,'
It makes their families and relatives to rejoice.
The sugata-vision is like this.
He sees that for all kinds of beings,
The Tathagata dhātu is indestructible,
Even it is submerged in the muddy silt of defilements.
So he appropriately expounds the Dharma
And enables them to manage all things,
So that defilements which cover the Buddha dhātu
Are quickly removed and beings are purified."
Kulaputras, it is like a bag of treasures, hidden beneath the house of a poor. The treasure cannot speak and say that it is there, since it isn't conscious of itself and doesn't have a voice. So no one can discover this treasure bag. It is just the same with beings. But there is nothing that can hide from Tathagata’s view. The treasure bag of unsurpassed Dharma is inside bodies of beings. It does not hear and it is not aware of the addictions and delusions of the five desires. The wheel of samsara is turning its way and exposing beings to countless suffering. Therefore Buddhas appear in the world and reveal them the Tathagata-dharma-garbha in their bodies. And they believe in it and accept it and purify their ultimate wisdom. Everywhere on behalf of beings he reveals the Tathāgatagarbha. He is using a skilful rhetoric, which knows no obstacles for benefit of the Buddha's disciples.
This way, kulaputras, with my Buddha eye, I see that all beings have the Tathāgatagarbha. And so on behalf of bodhisattvas I expound this Dharma."
Here Tathagata expressed himself in gatha, saying:
"It is like a bag of treasures,
Beneath the house of an impoverished man.
The owner is not aware of it,
Nor can the treasure speak.
For a very long time it is buried in darkness,
As there is no one who can tell of its presence.
When you have treasure, but do not know of it,
This causes poverty and suffering.
When the Buddha eye observes beings,
It sees that, although they transmigrate
Through the five gates
There is a great treasure in their bodies
That is eternal and unchanging.
When he sees this, the Buddha
Teaches on behalf of all beings,
Enabling them to attain the ultimate wisdom
And the great wealth of compassion to others.
If you believe what I have taught you
That everyone has a bag of treasures
And practice it faithfully and ardently,
Using skilful methods,
You will attain the path of Buddhas.
Kulaputras, it is like a seed in amra fruit, which doesn’t decay. If you plant it in the ground, it grows into the largest and most regal tree. In the same way, kulaputras, when I look at beings with my Buddha vision, I see that the Tathāgatagarbha is surrounded by a husk of ignorance, just like seeds of the fruit are found only inside of them.
Kulaputras, this Tathāgatagarbha is cold and unripe. It is the profound enlightenment which is revealed by ultimate wisdom. It is called Samyak-sam-Buddha, Perfect Buddha, Tathagata, Arhat and so on. Kulaputras, when Tathagata has seen beings, he reveals this message with intention to purify the ultimate wisdom of Bodhisattvas.
Here Bhagavan expressed himself in gatha, saying:
"It is just like the seed of an amra fruit
That does not decay.
Plant it in the earth
And inevitably a great tree will grow.
The Tathagata's faultless vision
Sees that the Tathāgatagarbha
Within the body of beings
Is just like the seed within a flower or fruit.
Though ignorance covers the Buddha-garbha,
You need a faith and realization
That you have the ultimate wisdom,
None of which can be destroyed.
For this reason I expound the Dharma
And reveal the Tathāgatagarbha,
That you may quickly attain the unsurpassed path,
Like a fruit grows into the most regal of trees.
Kulaputras, it is like a man with a statue from pure gold, who was travelling the narrow roads of a foreign country and was afraid he can be attacked and robbed. And he wrapped the statue in old rags, so nobody would know he got it. On the way this man suddenly died and the statue was left in an open field. Travellers trampled it and it became very filthy. But a man with supernatural vision saw that, within the old rags, there was a statue from pure gold, so he unwrapped it and everyone paid homage to it.
Similarly, kulaputras, I see so many beings with their various defilements, travelling through the long night of endless samsara and I perceive that within their bodies is the wondrous Tathāgatagarbha. It is royal and pure and not different from my own. For this reason Buddha explains Dharma for beings, so they can cut off those defilements and purify their Tathagata-wisdom. I turn the wheel of Dharma again and again to liberate all worlds.
At this point, Bhagavan expressed himself in gatha, saying:
"It is like a traveller in a foreign country
Carrying a golden statue,
Who wraps it in a dirty old rags
And forget it in an unused field.
One with supernatural vision sees it
And tell other people about it.
They remove the dirty rags and reveal the statue
And everyone greatly rejoiced.
My supernatural vision is like this.
I see that beings of all types
Are entangled in defilements and evil actions
And are tormented by all samsaric sufferings.
Yet I also see that within
The dust of ignorance of all beings,
The Tathāgatagarbha sits motionless,
Great and indestructible.
After I have seen this,
I explain to bodhisattvas that
Defilements and evil actions
Cover the most victorious body.
You should cut them off,
And manifest the Tathagata wisdom.
It is the refuge of all --
deva, manushya (human being), naga and bhuta.
Kulaputras, it is like a woman who is poor, vile, ugly and hated by others, who bears an Arya son in her womb. He will become a Chakra-vartin King, a ruler of all the four directions. But she doesn’t know about his future and constantly thinks of him as a bastard, miserable child.
In a similar way, kulaputras, Tathagata sees that all beings are carried around by samsara-wheel, receiving suffering and pain, but inside their bodies is Tathāgatagarbha. Just like that women they do not realize it. That’s why Tathagata is always teaching Dharma, saying: “kulaputras don’t think you are inferior or low. Each one of you has Buddha dhātu!” If you put efforts and purify evils of your past, you will be called Bodhisattva or Bhagavan and liberate and save countless beings.
This moment Bhagavan expressed him in gatha, saying:
"It is like an impoverished woman
Whose appearance is common and vile,
But who bears an Arya son
Who will become a Chakravartin king.
Crowned with Seven Jewels and all virtues,
As a king he will own four quarters of the earth.
But she doesn’t know it
And creates only thoughts of inferiority.
I see that all beings
Are like infants in distress.
Within their bodies is the Tathāgatagarbha,
But they do not realize it.
So I tell bodhisattvas,
'Be careful; don’t think of you as inferior.
Your bodies are Tathāgatagarbhas;
They always contain
The world's light of saving grace.'
If you develop yourselves
And do not spend a lot of time
Sitting in the meditation hall,
You will attain the path of very highest siddhi
And save limitless beings."
Kulaputras, it is like when sculpture is casting a statue of pure gold. When the statue is ready, it is covered and put on the ground. Although the outside is dark, the inside is unchanged. When it is opened and the statue taken out, the golden colour is radiant and shining. Similarly, kulaputras, when the Tathagata observes all beings, he sees that the Buddha-garbha is inside their bodies, full of virtues of all kinds. After seeing this, he announces far and wide that all beings will have a cure. He removes all defilements with his Vajra wisdom and reveals Buddha-body like a master removing the cover from golden statue.
At this moment Bhagavan expressed himself in gatha, saying:
"It is like a great studio
With countless golden statues.
Foolish people look at the outside
And see only the dark molds.
Sculpture estimates that they are ready,
And opens them to show what’s inside.
All impurity is removed And the features clearly revealed.
With my Buddha vision
I see that all beings are like this.
Within the muddy shell of passions,
Everybody has the Tathagata-nature.
By means of Vajra wisdom,
We break the mould of defilements
And reveal the Tathāgatagarbha,
Like pure, shining gold.
Just as I have seen this
And so instructed all the bodhisattvas,
You should think it this way,
And liberate all other beings."
At this point Bhagavan addressed Vajramati and other bodhisattvas maha-sattvas with words:
“Whether you are bhikshu or upasaka, kulaputra and duhita, you should accept, recite, copy, revere and widely explain this "Tathāgatagarbha Sutra" for the benefit of others. The virtues that you will derive from it are inestimable.
Vajramati, if there would be a bodhisattva who, for the sake of the Buddha path, would work diligently and devotedly, or who would cultivate merits, or who would enter all the deepest meditative states, or who would wish to plant the roots of virtue, or who would worship the present-day Buddhas, more numerous than the sands of the Ganga, or who would erect more Seven-jewelled stupas than there are sands in the Ganga, of a height of ten yojanas and a depth and breadth of one yojana, or who would place in those stupas seven-jewelled altars covered with divine paintings, or who would daily erect for each Buddha seven-jewelled stupas more than there are sands in the Ganga and who would present them to each Tathagata and bodhisattva and shravaka in the assembly, or who would do similar things everywhere for all the present day Buddhas, whose number is greater than the sands of the Ganga, or who would erect fifty times more jewelled stupas than there are sands in the Ganga and who would present them to each Tathagata and bodhisattva and shravaka in the assembly, or who would do this similar offerings everywhere to all the present day Buddhas, whose number is greater than the sands of the Ganga, or who would erect fifty times more jewelled stupas than there are sands in the Ganga and who would present them as an offering to fifty times more Buddhas and bodhisattvas and shravakas in the assembly than there are sands in the Ganga and who would do this countless hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of kalpas, Vajramati, that bodhisattva would still not be the equal of the person who finds deep joy and perfect enlightenment in the 'Tathāgatagarbha Sutra', who accepts it, recites it, copies it, or even reveres even a single one of its metaphors.
Vajramati, even though the number of merits and virtues planted by those kulaputras on behalf of the Buddhas is incalculable, it is not comparable even to a hundredth or a thousandth or any possible calculable fraction of the number of virtues attained by the kulaputra and duhita who revere the 'Tathāgatagarbha Sutra'.”
At this moment Bhagavan expressed himself in a gatha:
"If there is a person seeking perfect Bodhi
Who listens to and accepts this sutra, And who copies and reveres
Even a single gatha,
The subtle, profound Tathāgatagarbha
Will instantly manifest, accompanied with delight.
If you dedicate yourself to this true teaching
Your virtues will be incalculable.
If there is a person seeking Sambodhi
Who has attained great spiritual powers,
And who wants to make an offering
To the Buddhas of ten directions
And to the bodhisattvas and shravakas of the assembly,
The number of which is greater
Than the sands of the Ganga,
A hundred million times incalculable;
If for each of the Buddhas
He constructed a marvellous jewelled stupa
Ten yojanas in height
And a breadth of forty li,
Within which he would bestow a seven-jeweled seat,
With all the marvels
Appropriate for the highest Teacher,
Covered with divine pictures and cushions,
Each one with its own unique designs;
If he offered to the Buddhas and the Sangha
An incalculable number of these,
More than the sands of the Ganga,
And if he offered them
Without ceasing day or night
For hundreds and thousands
And tens of thousands of kalpa,
The virtues he would obtain in this manner
Could not be compared with
The far greater virtues of
The wise person who listens this sutra,
Who accepts even a single metaphor from it
And who explains it for the benefit of others.
Beings who take refuge in it
Will quickly attain the unsurpassed path.
Bodhisattvas who devote their thought
To the profound Tathāgatagarbha,
Know that all beings have it
And quickly attain the unsurpassed."
At this moment Bhagavan again addressed Bodhisattva Vajramati with words:
"An incalculably long time ago in a distant past, there was Buddha who was called the King, Giver of Eternal Light, Tathagata, Arhat, Samyak-sam-Buddha Vidya-carana-sampanna SugataLokavit Anuttara-purusha-damya-sarathi Shasta-deva-manushyanam Buddha Bhagavan. Vajramati, why was he called the King , Giver of Eternal Light? When that Buddha was originally practicing the bodhisattva path and descended as a spirit into the womb he always radiated a light which penetrated and illuminated in an instant even the tiniest atoms in thousands of Buddha worlds in ten directions. Any being that saw this light was filled with joy. His defilements were destroyed; he became endowed with the power of form; his wisdom became perfect; and he attained an eloquence which knew no obstacles. If a hell-being, preta-bhuta (hungry ghost), tiryagyoni (animal), Yama King, Lord of the Dead, or an asura saw this light, all of his rebirths in evil realms were cut off and he was born as a deva. If any deva saw this light, he attained irreversibility on the highest path and was endowed with the five abhijna. If anyone who had attained irreversibility saw this light, he attained Anutpattika-dharma-kshanti (endurance of the nonproduction-dharma) and the fifty virtues dharani.
Vajramati, all the lands illuminated by that light became subtle and pure, like translucent porcelain, with golden cords marking out the paths, luxuriant with the fragrance of various kinds of jewelled trees, flowers, and fruits. Light breezes blew gently through them, producing soft, subtle sounds that were freely and without breaks telling about the Triple Jewel, the bodhisattva virtues, the power of kushala mulas, the study of the path, samadhi and vimukti (liberation). Beings who heard it, all were enjoyed in Dharma. Their faith became firm and they were forever freed from the realms of lower rebirth. Vajramati, because all the beings of the ten directions were instantly enveloped in light, at six o'clock every morning and evening they joined their palms together and offered worship. Vajramati, until they attained Buddhahood and Parinirvana, the place where that bodhisattva emanated light from the womb always was shining in light. And after his parinirvana the stupa in which his ashes were kept also gleamed with light. Consequently, the inhabitants of the heavenly realms called him the Eternally Light-giver King. Vajramati, when Eternally Light-bestowing King Tathagata Arhat Samyak-sam-Buddha first attained Buddhahood, among his Dharma shravakas there was a bodhisattva named Unending Light, as well as a group of two billion other bodhisattvas.
The maha-sattva Bodhisattva Unending Light turned toward the place where the Buddha was and asked about the 'Tathāgatagarbha Sutra', and the Buddha explained it. He was in his seat for fifty long kalpas. And because he protected thoughts of all bodhisattvas, his voice reached everywhere in the ten Buddha worlds, even down to the smallest atoms, and it spread to hundreds of thousands of Buddha kshetras. Because of the numberless different lives of the bodhisattvas, he presented hundreds of thousands of metaphors. He called it the 'Mahayana Tathāgatagarbha Sutra'. All bodhisattvas who heard him preaching this Sutra accepted it, recited it and practiced it just as it was explained. All bodhisattvas, except four, attained Buddhahood. Vajramati, you must not regard them as exceptional. How could Bodhisattva Unending Light be different from you? You are identical with him. The four bodhisattvas who didn’t attain the Buddhahood yet were Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, Maha-sthama-prapta and you, Vajramati. Vajramati, the 'Tathāgatagarbha Sutra' have a great potential. Anyone who hears it can attain the Path of the Buddha."
Now Buddha again expressed himself in gatha:
"Countless kalpas ago
Buddha named King of Light
Always emanated great light
And illumined innumerable kshetras everywhere.
Bodhisattva Unending Light
First attained the way under that Buddha,
And he wished to hear this sutra.
Buddha accordingly preached it.
And all those who heard it
Except of four bodhisattvas.
Maha-sthama-prapta and Vajramati --
These four bodhisattvas
All have heard this Dharma in the past.
Of them, Vajramati
Was the most gifted disciple.
At the time he was called Unending Light
And had already heard this sutra.
When I originally sought the way
To the Lion Throne at Bodhi-tree,
I received this sutra once too
And practiced it as I heard it.
Because of these kushala mulas (virtue-roots),
I quickly attained the Buddha path.
Therefore all bodhisattvas
Should preserve and preach this sutra.
After you have heard it
And have practiced it as it has been explained,
You will become Buddhas just like I am now.
If a person realizes this sutra,
He will behave like the Bhagavan.
If a person obtains this sutra,
He will be called 'Protector of the Buddha-dharma',
And then, on behalf of the world, he will protect
What all Buddhas proclaim.
If anyone realizes this sutra,
He will be called 'The Dharma King',
And in the eyes of the world
He will deserve to be praised
Like a Bhagavan."
When Bhagavan finished explaining this sutra, Vajramati, together with four groups of bodhisattvas, Devas, Gandharvas, Asuras and the rest, rejoiced about explanations Buddha has given and they practiced it as they had been told.