The Benevolent Bodhisattva Maitreya arose from his seat in the sacred assembly, bowed and then prostrated himself at the feet of the Tathagata and then circumambulated about him three times to the right. He then knelt down and with hands clasped in a manner depicting sublime devotion, invoked the Blessed One.
“Most Highly Compassionate One! You have graciously swung-wide the Dharma-door of the secret treasury for Bodhisattvas and have empowered this great assembly to profoundly awaken from the bonds of cyclic-existence and to properly distinguish between the true and the false. You have imparted the Fearless Eye of the Unborn upon sentient beings in this degenerate age, and have thus endowed them with Great Resolute Faith in the Great Nirvana so that they may never again turn to the false path of decadent cyclic viewpoints.”
“Blessed One, if sentient beings in the Dharma-ending age truly desire to navigate on the Tathagata’s oceanic tranquility, how can they best sever the root of cyclic transmigration? How many types of beings are there in this cyclic-maze? What is the different manner of cultivating the Buddha’s Bodhimind? As Bodhisattvas return to bring comfort and release from samsaric-realms, what are the best expedient measures at their disposal to administer deliverance?”
“I beseech thee to not turn your compassionate face away from these troubled realms, but to turn and empower Bodhisattvas and worldlings to purify their Wisdom-Eyes and thus illumine their mirror-like minds. In such manner may they wholeheartedly invoke and awaken to the Tathagata’s unsurpassed Buddha-gnosis.”
After invoking his pleas in three-fold fashion, he then once again prostrated himself on the ground before the feet of the Blessed One.
Maitreya: the very name means “loving kindness.” It is stated that Maitreya is presently a Bodhisattva in the Tushita heavens, a place of complete contentment and joy, and there he continually contemplates the skillful means that will one day liberate all sentient beings. It is further stated that one day he will leave these heavens and become “reborn” in the womb of a woman, who, for ten months, will care for his developing and radiating body. Afterwards, within a sacred grove of beautiful trees she will grab hold of a sacred branch, and, standing up she will give birth to Maitreya. He will then emerge from the “right side” and raising his eyes to the ten directions will speak the following words: “This is my last birth and there will be no more rebirth after this one; hence, now all pure, I shall win Nirvana!” In such vein, he will be the successor to Gautama Buddha. The prophecy of his arrival concerns a future time when the Buddhadharma is all but long forgotten. The questions raised by Maitreya in this sutra will induce severance from all attachments in the heart of the listener.
Presently, the World-Honored One addressed the Bodhisattva Maitreya: “Most outstanding, most outstanding indeed! Benevolent One, for the sake of the assembly you have masterfully enquired about the Tathagata’s sublime Buddha-gnosis that will awaken the long-dormant Wisdom-Eyes that will reveal to sentient beings in the degenerate age the way to dissolve their cyclic-inclinations. In such manner will their minds awaken to Absolute Reality thereby patiently enduring in the Unborn Mind. Listen attentively, as I shall now reveal it before you.”
Bodhisattva Maitreya then became filled with ecstatic-joy and became silently attentive along with the rest of the assembly.
“Virtuous ones, all sentient beings transmigrate through cyclic cycles due to their extreme attachment to their cravings and severe coupling with affections ranging from dependency upon apparent love and insatiable sensate desires.”
“All manner of shapes and beings, whether born from eggs, wombs, moisture, or by transformation are shaped by sexual desire. In this sense you should know that extreme attachment to apparent love is the root-cause of cyclic existence. Additionally, the attachments to this love and consequent birthing have desire as their main root. Hence, desire arises because of attached love and infatuation with this love leads to samsaric animation.”
“It is in conjunction with this mad desire that all manner of likes and dislikes arise. When something arises that is contrary to the attached mind and spirit, one gives birth to extreme hatreds and jealousies that lead to the creation of all sorts of karmic misdeeds. Consequently, one is reborn as a hell-being or a hungry ghost. If, however, one decides to lay to rest all karmic misdeeds by focusing exclusively on the good, then one is reborn in the realms of the gods or as a human being. Then again, with the realization that one should lay aside all vexatious desires and subsequent attachments, one in actuality is stirring up the root of attachment itself. This produces much meritorious fruits that is samsaric in itself and thus far from realizing the way of the sage. The best course of action is to completely sever all desires and subsequent attachments thereby bypassing the cyclic curse of birth and death.”
“Virtuous ones, the manifestation of Bodhisattvas in the saha-realms is not the result of some form of attachment. It is solely based on their compassion to induce all sentient beings to abandon their attachments that they tentatively assume all manner of samsaric associations. If sentient beings in the degenerate age discard all their desires and attachments and their resulting habits of love and hate thus severing cyclic-cravings, they will then be free to pursue the Tathagata’s Primordial Enlightenment and with minds purified, will realize direct-awakening.”
“Virtuous ones, because of inherent desires present in all sentient beings, ignorance abounds. In so doing they manifest five distinct natures [Beings whose innate seeds gave them the capacity to achieve full Buddhahood, yet who have not eliminated and extinguished these two obstructions are called ‘those who have not attained Buddhahood.’ (i.e. Bodhisattva path). Beings whose innate seeds gave them the capacity to achieve the state of a pratyekabuddha (private Buddha). Beings whose innate seeds gave them the capacity to achieve the state of an arhat. Beings whose innate seeds had an indeterminate nature, and could potentially be any of the above. Beings whose innate seeds were incapable of achieving enlightenment ever. Wiki] In regard to the two obstructions, all hindrances may appear to be deep or shallow. What are the two obstructions? The first is rendered as noumenal since it corrupts the pureness of awareness. The second is phenomenal since it perpetuates the cycle of samsara.”
“Virtuous ones, if sentient beings in the Dharma-ending age wish to sail on the Tathagata’s quiescent ocean of Primordial Enlightenment, they must first avow to practice diligently and thus overcome the two obstructions. When the two obstructions have been obliterated, then the door is open to awaken in the realm of Bodhisattvas. If the two obstructions are thus permanently severed, then the Great Mantle of the Tathagata’s Primordial Enlightenment will descend upon them; hence they are then empowered to consummate their Bodhi-mind and win the Nirvanic Kingdom.”
“Virtuous ones, when sentient beings meet a true teacher of the Buddha-dharma and relies upon the teaching of the Mindground, both sudden and gradual roots of karmic-hindrances will be curtailed. Yet, if they come across the Tathagata’s unsurpassed Mind of Bodhi and engage in Right Practice, then regardless of one’s abilities they will realize Buddhahood. However, in the quest to find a superior teacher of the Buddhadharma, if one should fall upon mistaken views they will not gain Right Awakening; the fault herein lies with the teacher and not the adept.”
“Virtuous ones, remember that it is only due to their Great Compassion that Bodhisattvas manifest in various forms and offers sundry expedient methods according to the capacities of sentient beings. The Bodhisattvas become strengthened in their mission because of their vows made since beginningless time.”
“Subsequently, sentient beings in like manner are called upon to arouse the Supreme invocation of Primordial Enlightenment and make a similar Bodhisattvic commitment declaring, “I hereby vow to forever dwell in the Primordial Enlightenment of the Tathagata. Furthermore, in my quest for an Authentic Teacher of the Buddhadharma, to never engage in heterodox viewpoints or practices of the two inferior vehicles (sravaka and pratyekabuddha).” When honoring and practicing this vow, all hindrances will gradually be severed thus fulfilling the sacred promise. They will hereafter be empowered to enter into the Grand Entrance Hall of Supreme Liberation, thus actualizing the Great Sanctuary of Primordial Enlightenment.”
In order to reinforce this Mind-teaching, the World-Honored One spoke thus in verse:
Maitreya, you should thus know
that sentient beings are prevented
from actualizing Great Liberation
due to their cravings and attachments
which impale them to the cyclic wheel of Samsara.
If they can forever sever likes and dislikes,
together with desire, hatred, and ignorance,
in spite of their differing karmic natures,
they will soon win the Unborn Path to Liberation.
Likewise, the two obstructions will permanently be destroyed.
Always seek a Teacher who has an authentic awakening in the Unborn,
in such fashion one will be in universal accord with vows of the Bodhisattva,
and thus abide in Great Nirvana.
All Bodhisattvas in the ten-directions,
will make their appearance in samsaric realms,
thus bringing to fruition their Compassionate Vows.
All present practitioners,
as well as all entrapped in the degenerate age,
should diligently strive to eradicate all attached viewpoints,
thereby winning the Supernal Prize of Primordial Enlightenment.