A Propitious Prophecy


The Sutra continues with a long litany by Bodhisattva Akṣhobhya’s resolve to obey all of the monastic precepts that need to be honored before his attainment of Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi (Supreme Enlightenment). One of these precepts begs to be further examined:

 “‘World-Honored One, from now until my attainment of supreme enlightenment, if I, who have resolved to pursue all-knowing wisdom, have any sensual desire resulting in an ejaculation, even in a dream, then I will be disobeying all Buddhas, the Tathāgatas. World-Honored One, I will follow this practice until I realize supreme enlightenment, so as to make the monastic Bodhisattvas in my land free from ejaculations even in dreams…”

Quite a harsh penalty if one should suddenly awaken from an involuntary ‘wet-dream’. The compiler of this particular translation observes:

To the best of my knowledge, neither the Hīnayāna, Mahāyāna, nor Tantric teachings is a “wet dream” or sexual desire in a dream considered to be a violation of precepts, because a purely physical, involuntary action cannot be construed as an offense.

I would tend to concur with this analysis. All involuntary-actions are skandhic based and are not subject to castigation in and of themselves. They are the results of involuntary and sporadic movements within the Body-consciousness itself. On the other hand, this passage appears to suggest that “having the sensual desire” is an intentional act—since the act of desire is a voluntary and intentional action. For instance, if the wet dream was initiated by former voluntary and conscious dark-desires, then the resulting action would be detrimental to a celibate monk’s spiritual development.

At the conclusion of his litany, Tathāgata Great Eyes makes the following auspicious prophesy:

Śāriputra, at that time, Tathāgata Great Eyes prophesied Bodhisattva Akṣhobhya‘s attainment of supreme enlightenment, saying, ‘Good man, in a future life you will become a Buddha named Tathāgata Akṣhobhya; the Worthy One, the perfectly Enlightened One, the one Perfect in Learning and Conduct, the well-Gone One, the World-Knower, the Unexcelled One, the Great Tamer, the Teacher of Gods and Humans, the Buddha, the World-Honored One.’ The prophecy was similar to Dīpakara Buddha’s prophecy of my attainment of supreme enlightenment.

Notice here how our own Śākyamuni Buddha makes the comparison with his own attainment as prophesized by Dīpaṃkara Buddha. Ergo, in all the Buddha-Realms of the ten directions, a similar prophesy needs to be fulfilled. The same will follow suit with the following:

“Śāriputra, when Bodhisattva Akṣhobhya received-the prophecy, there was a great light that illuminated the whole world, and the earth quaked in the six ways, as did the billion-world universe when I realized all-knowing wisdom.

“Furthermore, Śāriputra, at that time all the flowers, trees, and jungles of the billion-world universe leaned toward that Bodhisattva, just as all the grasses and trees leaned toward me when I realized enlightenment.

“Furthermore, Śāriputra, when Bodhisattva Akṣhobhya received the prophecy from the Buddha, all the gods, dragons, yakas, asuras, garuas, kinnaras, and mahoragas of that billion-world universe joined their palms and prostrated themselves with their heads at the Bodhisattva’s feet to pay homage to him, just as all the gods, dragons, and so forth of the Sahā world did to me when I realized great enlightenment here.

“Furthermore, Śāriputra, at the moment when Bodhisattva Akṣhobhya received the prophecy, all the pregnant women in the world gave birth to their children safely and peacefully, without travail or difficulty; the blind recovered their sight and the deaf restored their hearing, all just as it was when I attained Buddhahood.

“Furthermore, Śāriputra, at the two moments-when the Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva Akhobhya resolved to pursue supreme enlightenment, and when Tathāgata Great Eyes, the Worthy One, the Perfectly Enlightened One, prophesied his attainment of enlightenment-no sentient being died an unnatural death, just as it was when I realized all-knowing wisdom.

“Śāriputra, when Bodhisattva Akhobhya received the prophecy, the sentient beings of the Realm of Desire brought superb delicacies to him and played celestial music for him, as offerings.

“Śāriputra, such are the merits achieved by the Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva Akhobhya alter he received the prophecy.”

Then the Venerable Śāriputra said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, most extraordinary is the Tathāgata, the Worthy One, the Perfectly Enlightened One, who is so skillful in explaining the inconceivable states of Buddhas, the inconceivable states of dhyānas, the inconceivable states of dragons, and the inconceivable karmic results. World-Honored one, when the Bodhisattva Akshobhya abided in the initial generation of bodhicitta, he embraced the before-mentioned merits: when he received the Tathāgata’s prophecy, he perfected those great, inconceivable merits.”

The Buddha told Śāriputra,” So it is, so it is, as you say. “

Śāriputra is indicating here that upon receiving the Tathāgata Great Eye’s prophecy, Bodhisattva Akṣhobhya meritoriously perfected all the aforementioned merits.

Then the Venerable Ānanda said to Śāriputra, “Most virtuous one, the World-Honored One has explained only a small portion of that novice Bodhisattva’s merits of wearing the armor of vigor, not all of them.”

Śāriputra said, “So it is, so it is. The Tathātgata has only touched upon them briefly. Why? Because when that Bodhisattva first brought forth bodhicitta and donned the armor of vigor, he achieved inconceivable, immeasurable merits.”

Śāriputra is reassuring Ānanda that Bodhisattva Akṣhobhya’s “bringing-forth bodhicitta” was no ordinary affair. He was empowered to don the ‘armor of vigor’ precisely because his undivided spiritual awakening in bodhicitta was so incredibly refined—an inconceivable feat. Śāriputra beckons Śākyamuni Buddha to elaborate further…

Śāriputra said further to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, now you have praised briefly Bodhisattva Akhobhya’s superb merits of wearing the armor of vigor. May the World-Honored One elaborate upon them for the sake of gathering in Bodhisattvas of the present and future.”

The Buddha told Śāriputra, “Inconceivable are the merits of Bodhisattva Akhobhya when he first brought forth bodhicitta and donned the armor of vigor. Now I will further relate to you a small portion of them. Listen attentively and think well about them.”

Śāriputra said, “Yes, World-Honored One. I am willing and glad to listen.”

The Buddha said, “The Bodhisattva Akhobhya once made this vow: ‘Even if empty space changes, I shall not withdraw from my great vows.’ Because of this vow, Bodhisattva Akhobhya achieved all merits quickly. Śāriputra, I cannot find any Bodhisattva in the Worthy Kalpa who wears the armor of vigor as Bodhisattva Akhobhya did. Śāriputra, the practices cultivated by Bodhisattva Precious Banner were less than a small part, or even an infinitesimal part, of those cultivated by Bodhisattva Akhobhya.

“Śāriputra, in wearing the armor of vigor, Bodhisattva Akhobhya had no peer among countless thousands of other-Bodhisattvas. Śāriputra, with his firm vows, Bodhisattva Akṣhobhya has realized supreme enlightenment. Now he is living in the World of Wonderful-Joy and is named Tathāgata Akhobhya, the Worthy One, the Perfectly Enlightened One. .”

Śākyamuni Buddha indicates that so “inconceivable are the merits” of Bodhisattva Akṣhobhya when *he* first donned the Armor of Vigor; he was so propitiously-attuned with the Enlightened Mindstream of all Tathāgatas that he was, in actuality, participating in the awakened-compassionate Mindseal Itself: the inconceivable Bodhicittapada. His *Great-Vow* sealed this participation for endless kalpas. There is an unassailable truth: that emptiness itself has no beginning and no ending—yet even if that assertion were to disappear, he would still not renege on his vow. Śākyamuni Buddha then empathically declares that there is no Bodhisattva in any “Worthy Kalpa” who can measure-up to Akṣhobhya’s great resolve. He has earned-well his new designation: Tathāgata Akṣhobhya, the Worthy One, the Perfectly Enlightened One…

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