The Vows Ksitigarbha Sutra
Translated by Pitt Chin Hui
Shakyamuni Buddha's Instructionto Human Beings and Devas
At that time, Shakyamuni Buddha raised His golden arms, touching Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva's head, and said, "Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, your supernatural power, your Infinite Loving Kindness, your wisdom and your eloquence! (One could take) millions of kalpas to praise you and your incomparable activities, yet they can never give the fullest account. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, remember that I am standing in the presence of such a multitude, who have assembled at these thirty-three Heavens, to declare unto you that you must not allow any sentient beings to fall into the evil state of suffering for even one day and one night. So much the more, should never allow them to be cast to the five Avici Hells or the last and the deepest of the eight hot Hells where the culprits suffer, die or instantly return to suffering without interruption for millions of kalpas. Sentient beings are prone to evil habits, and when they reform they easily yield to temptation, backslide and, worst of all, the bad habits will multiply. That is why it is necessary to have millions and millions of transformations to aid each erring one according to his own weakness and avoid it, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, I now place the guardianship of all these beings into your hands. Encourage even the slightest of good deeds and encourage beings, either devas or human beings, male or female, never to discontinue their efforts to practise even a small act of good deed. It is your profound duty, through your supernatural powers, to protect such beings and help them to improve their good deeds with no retreat. In the future, if any beings have Karma that brings them into Hell, and can remember the name of one Buddha or one Bodhisattva, or one passage, or even one sentence from the Mahayana Sutra when they reach the gate of the Hell, then, through your supernatural powers, you should lead these beings out of their sufferings. Show them your various transformations and bring them to Salvation to enjoy Supreme Bliss."
At that time, Shakyamuni Buddha spoke in stanzas, "Now I place in your hands sentient beings of the present and future, and I exhort you, by your supernatural powers and obligations, never to allow any sentient beings fall into any of the evil worlds."
At that time, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva knelt down with clasped hands and spoke to Shakyamuni Buddha, "Honoured of the world, please do not be worried; if any sentient beings of the future have only one thought of respect for the Buddha's Teachings, I shall endeavour to the utmost to relieve such people out of the sufferings of Birth and Death and lead them to Salvation by numerous ways and means. If I come to know any persons who practise meritorious deeds, I shall make a strong effort to help them to proceed to Buddhahood without falling back."
At that time, one Bodhisattva by the name of Dharmakaya Bodhisattva said to Shakyamuni Buddha, "Honoured of the World, since I have come to this gathering and have heard the Buddha praising the inconceivable merits of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, please tell me how many kinds of benefits will accrue to those who hear the Ksitigarbha Sutra, his name, or pay homage to his images? I ask this in order that I may help beings in the future." Shakyamuni Buddha told the Bodhisattva, "Listen to me carefully and I shall tell you in detail. If virtuous people of the future see the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva's image, hear the Ksitigarbha Sutra, chant the Ksitigarbha Sutra, make offerings to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, pay homage to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, they will get twenty-eight kinds of benefits as under:--
1. They will be protected by devas and dragons.
2. Their ability to do good deeds will increase.
3. Opportunities for doing good will increase.
4. The will to approach Buddhahood will continue unfailingly.
5. Such people will enjoy sufficiency of food and clothing.
6. They will be free from all diseases.
7. They will never suffer from floods or fire.
8. They shall not fall victims to robbery and loss of goods.
9. They will be respected and admired by people.
10. They will be protected and assisted by spirits and devas.
11. Females shall be reborn as males.
12. The females will become daughters of kings and nobles.
13. They will be reborn with good complexion.
14. They will be reborn in the heavens for many lives.
15. They will be reborn as kings or rulers of countries.
16. They will have wisdom to recollect their previous lives.
17. They will be successful in all their aspirations.
18. They will have happy family relations.
10. They will be free from all disastrous happenings.
20. They will be free from bad Karma forever.
21. Wherever they go, they shall be safe.
22. They shall always have peaceful dreams.
23. Their deceased relatives will be free from sufferings.
24. They will be reborn with happiness.
25. They will be praised by divine beings.
26. They will be intelligent and skilful.
27. They will have compassion for others.
28. They will finally attain Buddhahood.
Again, Dharmakaya Bodhisattva, if devas, dragons, devils or spirits hear the inconceivable merits of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, and praise Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, they will attain seven kinds of benefits as under:
1. They can attain the divine stages quickly.
2. They will be free from bad Karma.
3. They will be protected by Buddhas.
4. They will proceed towards Buddhahood without falling back.
5. The energy of will to do right will be increased.
6. They will have the power to recollect past lives.
7. They will finally attain Buddhahood.
When all these innumerable Buddhas, Maha Bodhisattvas, devas, dragons etc, from the ten quarters of space, had heard Shakyamuni Buddha praising the inconceivable, supernatural powers of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, flowers and precious gems were seen falling down from Heaven as offerings to Shakyamuni Buddha and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. With clasped hands and deep reverence, they all returned to their own realms.