How Buddhas And Bodhisattvas Use Innumerable Manifestation Bodies To Deliver Sentient Beings At The Same Time 佛菩萨如何以千百亿化身同时度众生

诸菩萨,及阿罗汉,应身生彼末法之中… 终不自言:『我真菩萨、真阿罗汉』,泄佛密因…

— 释迦牟尼佛

All Bodhisattvas and Arhats, manifesting bodies to be born within that Dharma-Ending Age…. to the end, not self-say, “I am a true Bodhisattva, a true Arhat”, to divulge [the] Buddha’s secret cause…

— Śākyamuni Buddha
(Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Section On Clear And Definitive Instructions On Purity)

Guānshìyīn (i.e. Contemplator Of The World’s Sounds) Bodhisattva in immeasurable kalpas (i.e. world cycles) before, had long accomplished the Buddha’s path, named Right Dharma’s Brightness (Thus Come One: 正法明如来). However, with deliverance of sentient beings’ thought earnest, and saving from suffering’s mind ardent, not departing from stillness’ light, she approaches with skilful forms in the six paths (of hell-beings [地狱], hungry ghosts [饿鬼], animals [畜生], human beings [人], asuras [阿修罗] and heavenly beings [天人]]. (观世音菩萨于无量劫前,久成佛道,号正法明。但以度生念切,救苦心殷,不离寂光,垂形六道。)

Everywhere in the ten directions’ (i.e. the four cardinal, four intermediate, below and above directions) dust motes’ number of Buddha lands, universally appearing with physical bodies, to deliver and liberate sentient beings. Not only stopping at appearing with the body of a Bodhisattva, and also with that of the Two Vehicles (of Voice-Hearers [声闻] and those by Conditions Awakened [缘觉]), and the six paths’ beings, with no bodies not appearing. This is the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sūtra’s (妙法莲华经) so-called ‘for those who should, with whatever body attain deliverance, immediately appearing with whatever body then, for speaking the Dharma’. (遍于十方微尘佛国,普现色身,度脱众生。非独止现菩萨之身,而二乘六道,无身不现。法华所谓应以何身得度者,即现何身而为说法。)

Although then everywhere entering the ten directions’ Buddha lands, yet with this Sahā World’s cause and conditions (i.e. karmic affinity), they are extremely profound, extremely profound. Although then universally appearing with the ten Dharma realms’ bodies (of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, those by Conditions Awakened, Voice-Hearers and those of the six paths), yet the world’s people, according to signs then discussing, often stop at speaking of her appearing as a Bodhisattva only. With her completely realising mind-only, perfectly manifesting her self-nature, thus attaining compassion applied for those of the same body, with loving-kindness arising for those without conditions. Due to the original nature being high, and with its essence great, thus are her signs vast, and with their functions great. (虽则遍入十方佛国,而于娑婆因缘,甚深甚深。虽则普现十法界身,而世人据迹而论,止云菩萨而已。以其彻证唯心,圆彰自性,故得悲运同体,慈起无缘。由本高而体大,故迹广而用宏。)

She, according to different types of beings, has individual forms, seeking their sounds to save them from suffering. Once having connection immediately responding, without those aspiring to connect not following them to manifest accordingly. As an analogy, like the moon magnificent and high in the sky within, with its reflections appearing in many waters. Not only in rivers, lakes, streams and seas, in each appearing with the complete moon. Even in as small as one spoon’s one drop of water, without that not, in each and every one, all appearing with the complete moon. Also, of the moon within rivers, lakes, streams and seas, when one person sees it, then will this moon and oneself match. Even if a hundred thousand of ten thousand persons in a hundred thousand of ten thousand places see it, likewise will all, each and every one and oneself match. (其随类逐形,寻声救苦,有感即应,无愿不从之迹,喻如月丽中天,影现众水。不但江湖河海,各现全月。即小而一勺一滴,无不各各皆现全月。又江湖河海中月,一人观之,则其月与己相对。即百千万人于百千万处观之,亦皆各各与己相对。)

A person, if to the East walks, the moon thus accordingly then goes to the East. A person, if to the West walks, the moon thus accordingly then goes to the West. A person, if peacefully standing does not move, the moon then does not leave that place. For one person, and even a hundred thousand of ten thousand persons, for all thus. The Bodhisattva, in one thought within, pervades the Dharma realm to connect, and pervades the Dharma realm to respond. With connection and response for mutual interaction, not in the least with any faults. And with this one moon universally appearing in many waters, according to the person and according to the place, with each seeing the complete moon, completely without having differences. This is truly due to the Bodhisattva, whose mind embraces vast emptiness, with magnanimity universal in sands’ number of worlds. With the minds of sentient beings as her mind, and with the realms of sentient beings as her realm. Thus attaining that without consulting yet conforming, without conditions yet responding. (人若东行,月则随之而东。人若西行,月则随之而西。人若安住不动,月则不离当处。一人乃至百千万人,悉皆如是。菩萨于一念中,遍法界感,遍法界应。感应道交,无少差殊。与此一月普现众水,随人随地各见全月,了无有异。良由菩萨心包太虚,量周沙界。以众生之心为心,以众生之境为境。故得不谋而合,无缘而应。) (Note: The above principles of manifestation apply to other Great Bodhisattvas and all Buddhas too, including Āmítuófó [阿弥陀佛: Amitābha Buddha].)

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(Lithographic Prints Of Mount Pǔtuó Record’s Preface)

Related Sūtra:

Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Section On Clear And Definitive Instructions On Purity

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