1-1 Thus have I heard: Once the World Honored One was traveling through various lands to teach the Dharma. When he arrived in Vaishali, he rested under the Tree of Music, accompanied by eight thousand great bhiksus and thirty-six thousand bodhisattvas and mahasattvas, as well as kings, ministers, Brahmins, laymen, dragons, yakshas, and other human and non-human beings. This enormous assembly gathered respectfully around the Buddha as he preached the Dharma. At that time, Manjusri, Prince of the Dharma, through the marvelous power of the Buddha, rose up from his seat, exposed his shoulder, and knelt on his right knee. Bowing deeply, with palms joined, he addressed the Buddha:
“World Honored One, may I beseech you to expound the various names and titles of the buddhas, and their great original vows and extraordinary merits, to help remove karmic obstructions to those who hear them and to bring benefits and joy to sentient beings in the Dharma Semblance Age.”
Then the World Honored One praised Bodhisattva Manjusri: “Excellent! Excellent! Manjusri, out of great compassion, you have asked me to expound the buddhas’ names, as well as their vows and merits, in order to liberate those bound by karmic obstructions and bring benefits, peace, and joy to sentient beings in the Dharma Semblance Age. Now, listen attentively and reflect thoroughly. I will explain them to you.” Bodhisattva Manjusri replied: “Yes, please instruct us. We are listening with delight.”
1-2 The Buddha then said to Bodhisattva Manjusri: “To the east of this world, past countless buddha lands, there exists a world called Pure Lapis Lazuli. The buddha of that world is called the Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, Arhat, the Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Wisdom and Conduct, Well Gone, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed One, Skilled Tamer, Teacher of Heavenly and Human Beings, Buddha, and World Honored One. Manjusri, when the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata was practicing the bodhisattva way, he made Twelve Great Vows so sentient beings may have all their wishes fulfilled. They are:
“The first great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain unsurpassed complete enlightenment, my body will shine forth brilliant rays, illuminating infinite, countless, boundless realms. Endowed with Thirty-two Marks of the Great One and Eighty Auspicious Characteristics, I can enable all sentient beings to become just like me.
“The second great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain perfect enlightenment, my body will be translucent inside and out, like lapis lazuli, with brightness and flawless purity. This great, radiant body will be adorned with superlative virtues and dwell peacefully in a mesh of light more magnificent than the sun or moon. The light will awaken the minds of all beings dwelling in darkness, enabling them to engage in their pursuits according to their wishes.
The third great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain perfect enlightenment, with infinite wisdom and skillful means, I will enable all sentient beings to obtain inexhaustible goods so that they will never again lack anything.
1-3 “The fourth great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain perfect enlightenment, if there are those who follow evil ways, I will set them all upon the bodhi path; if there are those who cultivate the path of the sravaka or pratyekabuddha, I will set them onto the Mahayana path.
“The fifth great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain perfect enlightenment, I will help the countless sentient beings who cultivate morality in accordance with my Dharma to observe the precepts to perfection, in conformity with the Three Sets of Pure Precepts. Upon hearing my name, even those guilty of disparaging or violating the precepts will regain their purity and avoid descending into the wretched destinies.
“The sixth great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain perfect enlightenment, sentient beings with inferior bodies, deficient senses and abilities,who are ugly, stupid, blind, deaf, mute, crippled, hunchbacked, leprous, insane, or suffering from various other illnesses—upon hearing my name, they will obtain bodies with fine features endowed with intelligence, intact senses and abilities, free of illness and suffering.
“The seventh great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain perfect enlightenment, sentient beings afflicted with various illnesses, with no one to help them, nowhere to turn, no physicians, no medicine, no family, no home, who are destitute and miserable, will, when my name passes through their ears, be relieved of all their illnesses. With mind and body content and at peace, they will enjoy home, family, and property in abundance, and eventually realize unsurpassed enlightenment.
1-4 “The eighth great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain perfect enlightenment, if there are women who are extremely disgusted with the numerous feminine afflictions, and wish to abandon their female form, upon hearing my name, they will be reborn as men endowed with noble features, and eventually realize unsurpassed enlightenment.
“The ninth great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain perfect enlightenment, I will help all sentient beings escape from the demons’ net and free themselves from the bonds of heretical paths. Should they be caught in the thicket of wrong views, I will lead them to correct views,gradually inducing them to cultivate the ways of the bodhisattva so that they will promptly realize unsurpassed complete enlightenment.
“The tenth great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain perfect enlightenment, those sentient beings who are shackled, beaten, imprisoned, condemned to death, or subjected to countless miseries and humiliations by royal decree, and who are suffering in body and mind from such oppression, need only hear my name to be freed from all those afflictions, due to the marvelous power of my merits and virtues.
“The eleventh great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain perfect enlightenment, if sentient beings who are tormented by hunger and thirst, creating evil karma in their attempts to survive, should hear my name, recite and uphold it, I will first satisfy them with the most exquisite food and drinks.Later, with the flavor of the Dharma, I will establish them in the realm of peace and happiness.
1-5 “The twelfth great vow: I vow that in the future, when I attain perfect enlightenment, if sentient beings who are utterly destitute, lacking clothes to protect them from mosquitoes and flies, heat and cold, and are suffering day and night, should hear my name, recite and uphold it, their wishes will be fulfilled. They will receive all manners of exquisite clothing, precious adornments, flower garlands and incense powder, and will enjoy music and entertainment to their heart’s content.
“Manjusri, the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, Arhat, the Completely Enlightened made these Twelve Sublime Vows when he was cultivating the bodhisattva path. Moreover, Manjusri, the many great vows made by the Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata while he was practicing the bodhisattva way, as well as the merits and adornments of his buddha land, I cannot possibly describe them all, not even if I were to speak for a kalpa or more. However, this buddha land is utterly pure, without any woman, without the wretched destinies or any sounds of suffering. Its ground is made of lapis lazuli; the boundaries are demarcated with golden cords; the towns, towers, palaces, pavilions, balconies, windows, and draperies are all made of the seven jewels. The merits, virtues, and adornments of this realm are identical to those of the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. In this land dwell two great bodhisattvas: One is called Universal Sunlight and the other Universal Moonlight. They are the leaders of countless bodhisattvas and will be successors to this Buddha, upholding the True Dharma Treasury of the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata. For these reasons, Manjusri, devout good men and women should vow to be born in this buddha land.”
1-6 The Buddha then told Bodhisattva Manjusri: “Manjusri, there are sentient beings who cannot tell right from wrong. They are greedy and miserly; they do not practice charity nor understand its rewards. They are short on wisdom and deep in ignorance. Lacking the root of faith, they amass riches, which they assiduously hoard. When they see those begging for alms, they become annoyed; when they have to give against their will, they feel as much pain and anguish as if they were parting with their own flesh. Moreover, there are also countless sentient beings who are miserly and avaricious. They amass wealth, yet do not even spend it on themselves, let alone on their parents, spouses, children, servants, slaves, or beggars. Upon their death, these people will descend into the realms of hungry ghosts or animals.
“However, if they have briefly heard the name of the Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata when they were humans, although now they are reborn into the wretched destines, if they can recall the Buddha’s name even briefly, they will immediately be free from these destinies and be reborn as human beings. They will remember their sojourn in the lower destinies, and, dreading their past sufferings, cease to wallow in worldly pleasures. They will gladly practice charity, praise others who do so, and will no longer be ungenerous. Gradually, they will even be able to donate their heads, eyes, limbs, blood, flesh, or other parts of their bodies to those who need them, not to mention mere material possessions.
“Moreover, Manjusri, there are sentient beings who accept the teachings of the Tathagata but have violated the precepts; or, they have not violated the precepts, but have broken the regulations; or, while they do not violate the precepts or the regulations, they have disparaged right views; or they have not disparaged right views but have abandoned extensive study of the Dharma and therefore cannot understand the profound meaning of the sutras preached by the Buddha. Or else, although they may be knowledgeable, they have grown conceited in their Dharma knowledge. Clouding their minds with Dharma conceit, they believe that they are always right and others wrong. They may even deprecate the true Dharma, thereby allying themselves with demons. Such deluded persons not only follow wrong views themselves, but also lead countless others into very dangerous pitfalls. These sentient beings are bound to the paths of hell, animals, and hungry ghosts endlessly.
1-7 “Yet, if they should hear the name of the Medicine Buddha, they may abandon evil conduct, cultivate good deeds, and avoid descending into the wretched destinies. Even those who have descended into the wretched destinies because they cannot abandon evil practices nor cultivate good deeds, the marvelous power of the Medicine Buddha’s original vows may still enable them to hear his name momentarily, so that when their present lives end, they will be reborn in the human realm. They will obtain right views, be diligent, pursue right livelihood, and discipline their minds well and be joyful.They will then be able to abandon the home life to become monastics. They will uphold the precepts and regulations of the Tathagata without violation.With right views and extensive study, they will fathom the extremely profound meaning [of the Dharma], be free from arrogance, never disparage the true Dharma nor be companions to Mara (the demon). They will gradually cultivate the practices of bodhisattvas and swiftly perfect them.
1-8 “Moreover, Manjusri, there are sentient beings who are miserly, avaricious, envious, and jealous, praising themselves while disparaging others. They are bound to sink into the three wretched destinies, suffering intense misery for countless thousands of years. When this intense suffering comes to an end, they will be reborn in the world as oxen, horses, donkeys, or camels. Always afflicted with hunger and thirst, they are constantly beaten while carrying heavy loads on the road. If they are reborn as human beings, they will be among the poor and lowly, forever serving and belabored by others, enjoying no freedom. However, if any of them, in a former incarnation as a human being, have heard the name of the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, and as a result of this good cause, now remember and take refuge in him wholeheartedly, they will, thanks to this Buddha’s spiritual powers, be freed from all suffering. Their senses will be sharp and they will be learned and wise, constantly seeking the supreme teachings, and encounter good spiritual friends. They will forever break through Mara’s net, smash the shell of delusion, dry up the river of afflictions, and thus escape all the distress and suffering of birth, old age, illness, and death.
“Moreover, Manjusri, there are sentient beings who love to quarrel, create schisms, and engage in legal disputes. They make themselves and others suffer, creating and increasing all kinds of evil karma with body, speech, and mind. They plot against one another without mercy. While invoking the spirits of mountains, forests, trees, and tombs, they kill sentient beings and use their flesh and blood as sacrifices to the yaksa and raksasa demons. They may also write down the names and make images of those against whom they harbor grudges, curse them with evil mantras or try to harm or kill them with potions, witchcraft, or demons revived from the dead.
1-9 “However, if the victims succeed in hearing the name of the Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, none of these evil practices can harm them. Moreover, everyone involved will gradually develop compassion, endeavoring to benefit and bring peace and joy to others. Without harmful, angry, and spiteful thoughts, everyone will be happy and content.
“Moreover, Manjusri, there are those in the fourfold assembly of bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas, and upasikas, as well as among other men and women of pure faith, who are able to uphold the Eight Precepts or other precepts and regulations, for one year or three months, dedicating these good roots toward rebirths in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss, so as to listen to the true Dharma from the Buddha of Infinite Life. However, if their rebirth in the pure land is still uncertain, and they hear the name of the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, then, at the time of death, eight great bodhisattvas, namely: Bodhisattva Manjusri, Bodhisattva Guanyin, BodhisattvaGreat Strength, Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Mind, Bodhisattva Precious Sandalwood Flower, Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Superior Medicine, and Bodhisattva Maitreya will descend from space and show them the way. Thereupon, they will be reborn through natural transformation among precious flowers of various colors in that Pure Land. Moreover, thanks to hearing the Medicine Buddha’s name, there are those who are born in the celestial realms, and with their good roots still not exhausted, they will not be born again into the wretched destinies. When their celestial lifespan ends, they may return to the human realm as Wheel Turning Kings, ruling over the Four Continents. With merits, authority, and skill, they will set countless hundreds of thousands of sentient beings onto the path of the ten virtues.“There are those who are reborn as ksatriyas, Brahmins, or laymen of affluent families, with abundant wealth and overflowing granaries. They will be endowed with noble features, abundant families and full retainers, intelligence and wisdom, as well as courage, vigor, and strength of a giant.Likewise, if a woman hears the name of the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Tathagata, and wholeheartedly upholds his name, she will never again be reborn with a female body.
2-1 “Manjusri, when the Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata attained perfect enlightenment, he realized, by virtue of his original vows, that sentient beings endured various ailments, such as emaciation, crippling disabilities, fever, dysentery, jaundice, etc. Some were targets of black magic or various poisons, while others suffered short life or untimely death. He sought to put an end to these miseries and fulfill the wishes of these beings. At that time, the World Honored One entered a samadhi called ‘Eliminating All the Suffering and Afflictions of Sentient Beings’. Having entered that samadhi, a brilliant light shone forth from his usnisa (fleshy crown) as he uttered a great dharani:
nán mó bó qié fá dì pí shā shè jù lū bì liú lí
bō lá pó hē là shé yě dá tā jié duō yě ā là hē dì
sān miǎo sān bó tuó yě dá zhí tā ān pí shā shì
pí shā shì pí shā shè sān mò jié dì suō hē
“As soon as the Medicine Buddha, in his radiance, had uttered this mantra,the entire earth shook and shone brilliant lights, curing the disease and eradicating the suffering of sentient beings, enabling them to enjoy peace and happiness. Manjusri, if people come across any man or woman suffering from illness, they should sincerely and frequently help that person bathe, cleanse, and rinse, then recite this mantra one hundred and eight times over his food, medicine, or water that is free from insects. Once the sick person has taken the food or drink, the illness and suffering will be eradicated.
2-2 “If the patient wholeheartedly recites this mantra, he or she will be free of disease and enjoy longevity, with every wish being fulfilled. Furthermore, after death, this person will be born in the land of the Medicine Buddha and attain enlightenment without retrogression. Therefore, Manjusri, any man or woman who wholeheartedly reveres and respectfully makes offerings to the Medicine Buddha should keep reciting this mantra, never giving up or forgetting it.
“Moreover, Manjusri, men and women of pure faith upon hearing the various names of the Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, Arhat, the Completely Enlightened, should recite and uphold this name. Each morning, at dawn, having brushed their teeth and bathed themselves, they should make offerings of fragrant flowers, incense, scents, and various kinds of music before an image of this Buddha. Furthermore, they should copy this sutra or have others do so, as well as wholeheartedly accept and uphold it, and listen to explanations of its meaning. They should offer all the necessities of life to the Dharma masters, making sure they lack nothing. The buddhas will be mindful of and bless such devout men and women; all their wishes will be fulfilled and they will eventually attain enlightenment.”
Bodhisattva Manjusri then respectfully addressed the Buddha: “World Honored One, I vow that in the Dharma Semblance Age, I will use every skillful means to help men and women of pure faith hear the name of the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata; even in their sleep, I will awaken their ears with the name of this Buddha. World Honored One, if any devout persons should recite, remember, and uphold this sutra; or expound its meaning to others; or copy it or have others copy it; or if they should pay it the utmost reverence,adorning it with fragrant flowers, scents, incense powder and sticks, garlands, necklaces, banners, canopies, dance, and music, and with pockets made of five-colored cloth; and if they should prepare a clean site, erect a high altar, and place the sutra upon it, the Four Great Heavenly Kings, their retinues as well as countless hundreds of thousands of other celestial beings, will thereupon proceed to this place to make offerings and guard this sutra.
2-3 “World Honored One, wherever this sutra has spread and there are people capable of upholding it, you should know that, thanks to the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata’s original vows, his merits, and the power of his name, the place will be free of untimely death. In that place, there will no longer be evil demons or spirits to sap the vital energy of the people. Even if the harm were already done, they would recover and enjoy good health and peace of mind.”
The Buddha then spoke to Manjusri: “So it is, so it is. It is just as you have explained. Manjusri, if good men and women of pure faith wish to make offerings to the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata,they should first make an image of this Buddha, and install it upon a pure, clean altar. They should scatter all kinds of flowers, burn many varieties of incense, and adorn the place with many kinds of banners and pennants. For seven days and seven nights, they should uphold the Eight Precepts, consume only pure food, bathe and freshen themselves, put on clean, fresh clothing, and keep their mind undefiled, free of anger or malice. They should develop kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity toward all sentient beings, while bringing them benefits, peace, and happiness. They should circumambulate his image clockwise while offering music, chants, and praises to the Medicine Buddha.
2-4 “Moreover, they should bear in mind this Buddha’s merits and original vows while reciting and memorizing this sutra, reflect on its meaning, and explain it to others. All their wishes will then be fulfilled—wishing longevity, one will obtain longevity; wishing wealth, one will obtain wealth; wishing official position, one will obtain official postion; wishing the birth of sons anddaughters, one will obtain sons and daughters. Moreover, if people suddenly suffer nightmares and witnesses evil omens—such as flocks of strange birds or many strange occurrences where they live—if they venerate, with various kinds of wonderful offerings, the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, then these unfavorable incidents such as nightmares and bad omens will all disappear, and can no longer harm them. If any sentient beings are in fear of water, fire, knives, poison, falling off a precipice, or of vicious beasts—such as wild elephants, lions, tigers, wolves, bears, venomous snakes, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, mosquitos or gnats—they need only wholeheartedly recall and recite the name of the Medicine Buddha, and respectfully make offerings to him, and they will escape all these terrors. If a country should be subject to invasion, disruption, banditry, or rebellion, the inhabitants who pay homage and recall or recite the name of the Medicine Buddha will be free from such calamities.
“Moreover, Manjusri, there are men and women of pure faith who do not worship other deities for the rest of their lives and only one-mindedly take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and uphold the precepts—the five or ten lay precepts, the four hundred bodhisattva precepts, or the two hundred and fifty bhiksu or five hundred bhiksuni precepts. However, if any of them have violated the precepts they have taken, and are fearful of falling into the wretched destinies, they should concentrate on the name of the Medicine Buddha and respectfully make offerings to him, they will then certainly avoid rebirth in the three wretched destinies.
2-5 “If women, who experience extreme pain during childbirth, can recite and praise the name of the Medicine Buddha with utmost sincerity, venerate and make offerings to him, they will be relieved of their sufferings. The children born to them will have healthy bodies, be proper in appearance, and pleasing to those who see them. They will be endowed with sharp senses and intelligence. They will seldom become ill, nor will non-humans sap their vital energy.”
The World Honored One then asked Ananda: “I have just extolled the merits of the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata. These merits are results of the extremely profound practices of all buddhas, but are difficult to explain. Do you have any faith in them or not?” Ananda respectfully replied: “Venerable World Honored One, I do not have any doubts about the sutras preached by the Tathagatas. Why? It is because the Tathagatas’ karma of body, speech, and mind are all pure. World Honored One, the sun and the moon may fall, Mount Sumeru, the majestic king of mountains, may topple, but the words of the buddhas are never mistaken. World Honored One, some sentient beings, whose roots of faith are deficient, may hear of the sublime practices of the buddhas and think, how can we, just by being mindful of the name of the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata alone, obtain these superior merits? Because of this lack of faith, they even develop disparagement, thus forfeiting great benefits and remaining in the long, dark night. They descend into the wretched destinies, revolving in them without end.”
The Buddha then said to Ananda: “If sentient beings should hear the name of the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata,wholeheartedly uphold it without harboring doubts, then it will be impossible for them to fall into the wretched destinies.
2-6 “Ananda! These extremely profound practices of the buddhas are difficult to believe in, difficult to understand. Yet you are now able to accept them. You should realize that this is all due to the marvelous power of the Tathagatas. Ananda! Even the sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas who have not reached the Ten Grounds cannot completely understand and believe in this truth. Only the bodhisattvas who are one lifetime away from buddhahood can.
“Ananda! A human body is difficult to obtain; however, to believe in, respect, and honor the Triple Jewels is even more difficult. To hear the name of the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata is more difficult still. Ananda, the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata has cultivated countless bodhisattva practices, employed countless skillful means, and made countless far-reaching vows. If I were to take a kalpa or more to recount them, the kalpa would come to an end before I could exhaustively describe all these practices, vows, and skillful means.”
At that time a great bodhisattva in the assembly, named Salvation, arose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, knelt on his right knee, joined his palms, respectfully bowed and addressed the Buddha: “Venerable World Honored One, in the Dharma Semblance Age, there will be sentient beings who suffer numerous calamities, who are always sick and emaciated, unable to eat or drink, whose throats are dry and lips are parched, and whose eyes see darkness everywhere. As the signs of death appear, they are surrounded by parents, family, friends, and acquaintances, weeping and lamenting. As such a patient lies in bed, he sees the messengers of Yama arrive to lead his consciousness before this King of Justice.
2-7 “Now, all sentient beings have accompanying spirits who record everything they do, both their transgressions and their merits. These spirits then present the patient’s entire record to King Yama. At that time, the King questions the dying person and tabulates his good and bad karma before deciding upon his fate. If, at that point, the relatives and acquaintances of the patient are able to take refuge in the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, on his behalf, invite monks and nuns to recite this sutra, light seven-tiered lampsand hang five-colored longevity banners, his consciousness may return then and there, as if seeing himself clearly in a dream. Or else, after seven, twenty-one, thirty-five, or forty-nine days, when his consciousness returns, as if awakening from a dream, he will recall his good and bad karma and the consequences thereof. Having personally witnessed the consequences of karma, he will refrain from creating evil karma, even if his life were in danger.Therefore, men and women of pure faith should uphold the name of theWorld Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, venerate and make offerings to him according to their capacity.”
Ananda then asked the Bodhisattva Salvation: “Good Man, how should we venerate and make offerings to the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, and how should we make the longevity pennants and lamps?” Bodhisattva Salvation replied: “Virtuous One, in order to help the patient recover, you should uphold the Eight Precepts for seven days and seven nights, make offerings of food, drinks, and other necessities to monks and nuns in accordance with your means, you should pay homage and make offerings to the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagatafrom day to night and recite this sutra forty-nine times. You should light forty-nine lamps;make seven images of the Medicine Buddha and place seven lamps before each image, each lamp as large as a wheel, letting them burn continuously for forty-nine days and nights. You should also make multi-colored banners, forty-nine hand-lengths long. Furthermore, you should release forty-nine species of animals. The patient may then escape danger and will not be under the sway of evil demons, nor subject to untimely death.
2-8 “Moreover, Ananda, when the anointed ksatriya kings find themselves beset by calamities, such as epidemics, foreign invasion, internal insurrection,an adverse alignment of the stars, an eclipse of the sun or moon, unseasonable storms or a failure of the monsoons, the anointed ksatriya kings should develop compassion toward all sentient beings. They should also pardon prisoners, and in accordance with the rites described earlier, make offerings to the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata. Thanks to these good roots and the power of the Medicine Buddha’s original vows, peace and stability will soon return to the countries; the rains and winds will be favorable; crops will mature on time and everyone will be healthy and happy. The country will be free of evil yaksas who are out to harm the populace. All the evil omens will immediately disappear, and these anointed ksatriya kings will enjoy greater longevity and vitality, finer appearance as well as greater health and freedom than ever before.
“Ananda, when queens, consorts, princesses, royal heirs, great ministers, court ladies, officials, or commoners suffer disease and other misfortunes, they should also make offerings to the Medicine Buddha. They should make five-colored longevity banners, light lamps, ensuring that they burn continuously, free different kinds of animals, scatter flowers of various colors, and burn assorted premium incense. They will then recover from disease and escape misfortune.”
2-9 Then Ananda asked Bodhisattva Salvation: “Good Man, how can an expiring life span be lengthened?” Bodhisattva Salvation replied: “Venerable,have you not heard the Tathagata speak of the nine forms of untimely death? Therefore I urge everyone to make longevity banners and lamps and cultivate merits. Thanks to such cultivation, they will escape suffering and misfortune throughout their lives.” Ananda further asked: “What are the nine forms of untimely death?”
Bodhisattva Salvation replied: “Some sentient beings contract a minor illness which goes untreated for lack of a physician or medicine; or, even though there is a physician, he prescribes the wrong medicine, causing premature death. Or, the patients, believing the false pronouncement of earthly demons, heretics, or practitioners of black magic, may panic and fear, unable to calm their minds. They may then engage in divination or perform animal sacrifices in order to propitiate the spirits, praying for blessings or hoping to extend their lives. These are all in vain. Through ignorance, confusion, and reliance on wrong, deluded views, they meet with untimely death and sink into the hells with no end in sight. This is the first form of untimely death.
“The second form is execution by royal decree. The third is through hunting, debauchery, alcohol abuse, extreme dissipation, or, their vital energy is sapped by non-humans. The fourth is death by fire. The fifth is death by drowning. The sixth is being devoured by savage beasts. The seventh is falling off a mountain or a cliff. The eighth is death by poison, incantations, evil mantras, or demons revived from the dead. The ninth is from hunger or thirst, for lack of food and water. These are the nine forms of untimely death that the Tathagatas briefed. There are also countless other forms, which are too numerous to describe.
3-1 “Moreover, Ananda, King Yama is responsible for keeping the karmic register of everyone in the world. If sentient beings have not been filial, have committed the Five Cardinal Sins, disparaged the Triple Jewels, broken the laws of the land, or violated the major precepts, King Yama will mete out punishment according to the infraction. Therefore, I urge sentient beings to light lamps, make banners, free animals, and cultivate merits in order to avoid suffering and misfortune.”
At that time, there were twelve powerful yaksa generals in the great assembly: namely, General Kumbhira, General Vajra, General Mihira, General Andira, General Anila, General Sandila, General Indra, General Pajra, General Makura, General Sindura, General Catura, and General Vikarala. Each was accompanied by a retinue of 7,000 yaksas. They all raised their voices in unison and said respectfully to the Buddha:
“World Honored One, thanks to the Buddha’s marvelous power, now we have heard the name of the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata and no longer fear descending into the wretched destinies. Together, with one-mind, we take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha for the rest of our lives, and pledge to support all sentient beings, bringing them genuine benefits and joy. Whether in villages, towns, kingdoms, or the wilderness, if people circulate this sutra, or uphold the name of theWorld Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, and venerate or make offerings to him, we will protect them, so they will be released from all sufferings and calamities and have their wishes fulfilled. If those afflicted by disease or calamity wish for salvation, they should also recite this sutra. They should tie five-colored strands with our names on them and untie them when their wishes are fulfilled.”
3-2 Thereupon, the Buddha praised the great yaksa generals with these words: “Very well, very well, great yaksa generals! Those of you who wish to repay the benevolence and the virtues of the World Honored Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata, should always benefit and bring joy to all sentient beings in this way.”
Ananda then asked the Buddha: “World Honored One, what should we call this teaching, and how should we follow and uphold it?” The Buddha replied to Ananda: “This teaching is called the ‘Expounding the Original Vows and Merits of the Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata’ or ‘Expounding the Divine Mantra of the Vows of the Twelve Yaksa Generals to Benefit Sentient Beings’ or ‘Eradicating All Karmic Obstacles’. You should uphold it as such.”
When the Bhagavan had spoken this sutra, the great bodhisattvas, as well as the great sravakas, kings, ministers, Brahmins, laypersons, devas, nagas, yaksas, grandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, mahoragas, and other human and non-human beings, having heard the Buddha, were all filled with immerse joy; they accepted and followed the teaching faithfully.
The Sutra On The Original Vows And Merits Of The Medicine Master Lapis Lazuli Light Tathagata1-1 如 是我聞：一時薄伽梵，遊化諸國至廣嚴城，住樂音樹下。與大苾芻眾八千人俱，菩薩摩訶薩三萬六千，及國王、大臣、婆羅門、居士、天龍藥叉，人非人等，無量大 眾，恭敬圍繞，而為說法。爾時、曼殊室利法王子，承佛威神，從座而起，偏袒一肩，右膝著地， 向薄伽梵，曲躬合掌。白言：
曼 殊室利！是為彼世尊藥師琉璃光如來應正等覺行菩薩道時，所發十二微妙上願。復次，曼殊室利！彼世尊藥師琉璃光如來，行菩薩道時，所發大願，及彼佛土，功德 莊嚴，我若一劫、若一劫餘，說不能盡。然彼佛土，一向清淨，無有女人，亦無惡趣，及苦音聲； 琉璃為地，金繩界道，城闕宮閣，軒窗羅網，皆七寶成；亦如西方極樂世界，功德莊嚴，等無差別。於其國中，有二菩薩摩訶薩：一名日光遍照，二名月光遍照。是 彼無量無數菩薩眾之上首，次補佛處，悉能持彼世尊藥師琉璃光如來正法寶藏。是故曼殊室利！諸有信心善男子、善女人等，應當願生彼佛世界。」
1-6 爾時世尊，復告曼殊室利童子言：「曼 殊室利！有諸眾生，不識善惡，唯懷貪吝，不知布施，及施果報，愚癡無智，闕於信根，多聚財寶，勤加守護。見乞者來，其心不喜，設不獲已，而行施時，如割身 肉，深生痛惜。復有無量慳貪有情，積集資財，於其自身，尚不受用，何況能與父母妻子奴婢作使，及來乞者？彼諸有情，從此命終，生餓鬼界，或傍生趣。
復次，曼殊室利！若諸有情， 雖於如來受諸學處，而破尸羅；有雖不破尸羅，而破軌則；有於尸羅軌則，雖則不壞，然毀正見；有雖不毀正見，而棄多聞， 於佛所說契經深義，不能解了；有雖多聞，而增上慢，由增上慢，覆蔽心故，自是非他，嫌謗正法，為魔伴黨。如是愚人，自行邪見，復令無量俱胝有情，墮大險坑。此諸有情，應於地獄傍生鬼趣，流轉無窮。
1-7若 得聞此藥師琉璃光如來名號， 便捨惡行，修諸善法，不墮惡趣；設有不能捨諸惡行、修行善法，墮惡趣者，以彼如來本願威力，令其現前，暫聞名號，從彼命終，還生人趣，得正見精進，善調意 樂，便能捨家，趣於非家，如來法中，受持學處，無有毀犯， 正見多聞，解甚深義， 離增上慢，不謗正法，不為魔伴， 漸次修行諸菩薩行，速得圓滿。
1-8 復 次，曼殊室利！若諸有情， 慳貪嫉妒，自讚毀他，當墮三惡趣中，無量千歲，受諸劇苦！受劇苦已，從彼命終，來生人間，作牛馬駝驢，恆被鞭撻，饑渴逼惱，又常負重，隨路而行。或得為 人，生居下賤，作人奴婢，受他驅役，恆不自在。若昔人中，曾聞世尊藥師琉璃光如來名號，由此善因，今復憶念，至心歸依。以佛神力，眾苦解脫，諸根聰利，智 慧多聞， 恆求勝法，常遇善友，永斷魔羂，破無明，竭煩惱河，解脫一切生老病死，憂愁苦惱。
復 次，曼殊室利！若有四眾：苾芻、苾芻尼、鄔波索迦、鄔波斯迦，及餘淨信善男子、善女人等，有能受持八分齋戒， 或經一年，或復三月，受持學處，以此善根，願生西方極樂世界無量壽佛所，聽聞正法，而未定者，若聞世尊藥師琉璃光如來名號，臨命終時，有八大菩薩，其名 曰：文殊師利菩薩，觀世音菩薩，得大勢菩薩，無盡意菩薩，寶檀華菩薩，藥王菩薩，藥上菩薩，彌勒菩薩。是八大菩薩乘空而來，示其道路，即於彼界，種種雜色 眾寶華中，自然化生。或有因此，生於天上，雖生天中，而本善根，亦未窮盡，不復更生諸餘惡趣。天上壽盡，還生人間，或為輪王，統攝四洲，威德自在，安立無 量百千有情，於十善道；或生剎帝利、婆羅門、居士大家，多饒財寶，倉庫盈溢，形相端嚴，眷屬具足，聰明智慧，勇健威猛，如大力士。若是女人，得聞世尊藥師琉璃光如來名號，至心受持，於後不復更受女身。
缽喇婆 喝囉闍也 怛他揭多也
怛姪他 唵 鞞殺逝
復 次，曼殊室利！若有淨信男子女人，得聞藥師琉璃光如來，應正等覺，所有名號，聞已誦持。晨嚼齒木，澡漱清淨，以諸香花，燒香塗香，作眾伎樂，供養形像。於 此經典，若自書，若教人書，一心受持，聽聞其義。於彼法師，應修供養，一切所有資身之具，悉皆施與，勿令乏少。如是便蒙諸佛護念，所求願滿，乃至菩提。」
佛 告曼殊室利：「如是如是！如汝所說。曼殊室利！若有淨信善男子、善女人等，欲供養彼世尊藥師琉璃光如來者，應先造立彼佛形像，敷清淨座，而安處之。散種種 花，燒種種香， 以種種幢幡，莊嚴其處。七日七夜，受持八分齋戒，食清淨食，澡浴香潔，著新淨衣，應生無垢濁心，無怒害心，於一切有情，起利益安樂，慈悲喜捨，平等之心， 鼓樂歌讚，右繞佛像。
2-4 復 應念彼如來本願功德，讀誦此經，思惟其義，演說開示。隨所樂求，一切皆遂：求長壽得長壽，求富饒得富饒，求官位得官位，求男女得男女。若復有人，忽得惡 夢，見諸惡相；或怪鳥來集；或於住處，百怪出現。此人若以眾妙資具，恭敬供養，彼世尊藥師琉璃光如來者，惡夢惡相，諸不吉祥，皆悉隱沒，不能為患。或有水 火、刀毒懸險、惡象師子、虎狼熊羆、毒蛇惡蠍、蜈蚣蚰蜒、蚊虻等怖；若能至心憶念彼佛，恭敬供養，一切怖畏皆得解脫。若他國侵擾，盜賊反亂，憶念恭敬彼如 來者，亦皆解脫。
爾時世尊，告阿難言：「如我稱揚彼世尊藥師琉璃光如來所有功德，此是諸佛甚深行處，難可解了，汝為信不？」阿 難白言：「大德世尊！我於如來所說契經，不生疑惑，所以者何？一切如來身語意業，無不清淨。世尊！此日月輪，可令墮落，妙高山王，可使傾動，諸佛所言，無 有異也。世尊！有諸眾生，信根不具，聞說諸佛甚深行處，作是思惟：云何但念藥師琉璃光如來一佛名號，便獲爾所功德勝利？由此不信，反生誹謗。彼於長夜，失 大利樂，墮諸惡趣，流轉無窮！」
2-7 然 諸有情，有俱生神， 隨其所作，若罪若福，皆具書之，盡持授與琰魔法王。爾時彼王，推問其人， 算計所作，隨其罪福，而處斷之。時彼病人，親屬知識，若能為彼，歸依世尊藥師琉璃光如來，請諸眾僧，轉讀此經，然七層之燈，懸五色續命神幡，或有是處，彼 識得還，如在夢中，明了自見。或經七日，或二十一日，或三十五日，或四十九日，彼識還時，如從夢覺，皆自憶知，善不善業，所得果報；由自證見業果報故，乃 至命難，亦不造作諸惡之業。是故淨信善男子，善女人等，皆應受持，藥師琉璃光如來名號，隨力所能，恭敬供養。」
爾 時阿難問救脫菩薩言：「善男子！應云何恭敬供養，彼世尊藥師琉璃光如來？續命幡燈，復云何造？」救脫菩薩言：「大德！若有病人，欲脫病苦，當為其人，七日 七夜，受持八分齋戒。應以飲食，及餘資具，隨力所辦，供養苾芻僧。晝夜六時，禮拜供養，彼世尊藥師琉璃光如來。讀誦此經四十九遍，然四十九燈；造彼如來形像七軀，一一像前，各置七燈，一一燈量，大如車輪，乃至四十九日，光明不絕。造五色綵幡，長四十九搩手，應放雜類眾生，至四十九，可得過度危厄之難，不為諸橫惡鬼所持。
2-8 復 次，阿難！若剎帝利、灌頂王等，災難起時，所謂：人眾疾疫難，他國侵逼難，自界叛逆難，星宿變怪難，日月薄蝕難，非時風雨難，過時不雨難。彼剎帝利，灌頂 王等，爾時應於一切有情，起慈悲心，赦諸繫閉。依前所說，供養之法，供養彼世尊藥師琉璃光如來。由此善根，及彼如來本願力故，令其國界，即得安隱，風雨順 時，穀稼成熟，一切有情，無病歡樂。於其國中，無有暴惡，藥叉等神，惱有情者，一切惡相，皆即隱沒；而剎帝利，灌頂王等，壽命色力，無病自在，皆得增益。
救脫菩薩言：「若 諸有情，得病雖輕，然無醫藥，及看病者，設復遇醫，授以非藥，實不應死，而便橫死。又信世間邪魔外道，妖孽之師，妄說禍福，便生恐動，心不自正，卜問覓 禍，殺種種眾生，解奏神明，呼諸魍魎，請乞福祐，欲冀延年，終不能得。愚癡迷惑，信邪倒見，遂令橫死，入於地獄，無有出期，是名初橫。二者、橫被王法之所 誅戮。三者、畋獵嬉戲，耽淫嗜酒，放逸無度，橫為非人，奪其精氣。四者、橫為火焚。五者、橫為水溺。六者、橫為種種惡獸所噉。七者、橫墮山崖。八者、橫為 毒藥魘禱咒詛、起屍鬼等之所中害。九者、饑渴所困，不得飲食，而便橫死。是為如來略說橫死，有此九種，其餘復有無量諸橫，難可具說！
「世 尊！我等今者，蒙佛威力，得聞世尊藥師琉璃光如來名號，不復更有惡趣之怖。我等相率，皆同一心，乃至盡形，歸佛法僧，誓當荷負一切有情，為作義利，饒益安 樂。隨於何等，村城國邑，空閑林中，若有流布此經，或復受持藥師琉璃光如來名號恭敬供養者，我等眷屬，衛護是人，皆使解脫一切苦難，諸有願求，悉令滿足。 或有疾厄，求度脫者，亦應讀誦此經，以五色縷，結我名字，得如願已，然後解結。」
3-2 爾時，世尊讚諸藥叉大將言： 「善哉！善哉！大藥叉將！汝等念報世尊藥師琉璃光如來恩德者，常應如是，利益安樂，一切有情。」