Earth Store Sutra, Chapter 4: Karmic Retributions of Beings in Jambudvipa with commentary by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
...Sutra: One time, limitless asamkhyeyas of nayutas of inexpressible eons ago, a Buddha named All-Knowledge-Accomplished Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, One of Proper and Pervasive Knowledge, One Perfect in Clarity and Conduct, Well-Gone One, Unsurpassed Knight Who Understands the World, Taming and Subduing Hero, Teacher of Gods and People, Buddha, World Honored One, appeared in the world. That Buddha’s life span was sixty thousand eons.
One time. . . how far back in time? Limitless asamkhyeyas of nayutas (these are terms for eons and large figures) of inexpressible eons ago, a Buddha named All-Knowledge-Accomplished Thus Come One appeared in the world. There are three types of knowledge: All Wisdom, Wisdom of Various Dharmas, and All Modes of Wisdom. All Wisdom includes the other two types of wisdom, and is what is realized by the Thus Come One. Thus Come One is one of the ten titles of the Buddha. One layperson asked me, “Are Thus Come One Buddha and Amitabha Buddha different?” Actually, Amitabha Thus Come One, Shakyamuni Thus Come One, Medicine Master Thus Come One, all have Thus Come One as part of their name. Just because one Buddha is named Thus Come One, it does not mean another Buddha cannot have the name Thus Come One.
The Buddha has ten titles. We may have a formal name that our elders call us by, then an informal name that our peers call us by. Lion’s Roar is a title that is heard far and wide as your reputation spreads. It symbolizes a loud sound. Thus Come One is one of the Buddha’s ten titles that are derived from former names of virtuous individuals.
“Thus” refers to not having any specific location. “Come” refers to manifestations when responses and the Way intertwine. These make up the name “Thus Come One”. Also, “Thus Come” also means one comes from nowhere and goes nowhere. “Thus” represents the noumenon in fundamental enlightenment. “Come” is starting of wisdom of enlightenment. The Thus Come One relates the noumenon of fundamental enlightenment to the wisdom of beginning enlightenment. This is roughly what “Thus Come One” means.
One Worthy of Offerings means that he deserves offerings from heavenly beings and people. There is another name for this, and that is “the title of Worthy of Being a Field of Blessings”. There are two types of fields of blessings, one that benefits oneself and another that benefits others. The one that benefits oneself is for one to study that which is true and eliminate delusion. What does that mean? It is beneficial for us when we study the truth and eliminate delusions. Once we understand, we can then go on to teach and change others, so that they also reach the truth and end delusions; hence benefiting others.
Three, One of Proper and Pervasive Knowledge. He is omniscient. “Proper” makes it different from the non-Buddhists’ “improper”. “Pervasive” is different from the Two Vehicles’ “non-pervasive”. Adherents of the Two Vehicles have certified to the noumenon of extreme emptiness rather than pervasiveness, which is distinct from the Two Vehicles. “Knowledge” makes it different from ordinary individuals who have no “Knowledge”. Proper and pervasive knowledge is omniscience. There is a title to the One of Proper and Pervasive Knowledge, which is “the title of Pervasively Knowing the Dharma Realm.” What does this title mean? As the Shurangama Sutra says, “W hy the pine is straight, why the brambles are twisted, why the goose is white, why the crow is black - I understand the reasons.” The Buddha understands fundamentally why the way these things are the way they are. He even knows the number of raindrops, even just one, beyond the Three Thousand Great Thousand Worlds. The Buddha received this title because he is omniscient, which is “Pervasively Knowing the Dharma Realm”.
One Perfect in Clarity and Conduct. Clarity is also wisdom while cultivation is blessings. Beings replete in both blessings and wisdom make the Buddha One Perfect in Clarity and Conduct. There are three types of clarity embedded in this name, and what are they? Clarity There is Clarity with the Heavenly Eye from acquiring the penetration of the Heavenly Eye . , Clarity of Past Lives—one understands everything that occurred in lives past . , and Clarity in Ending Outflows. There is also a special title to One Perfect in Clarity and Conduct, which is “the title of Results that Show Virtues at the Causal Level”. At the level of consequences, the Buddha manifests the virtuous conducts he cultivated in the past.
Well-Gone One, One Who Understands the World. Another title for this is “Wonderful Proceeding Towards Bodhi”. This title includes Wonderful Proceeding because he is good at going to all the Buddhalands throughout the ten directions. He uses provisional and clever expedients to teach and transform living beings.
Unsurpassed Knight is one of the Buddha’s ten titles too because the Buddha has ended all delusions so that he has no more delusions of view, delusions of thought, delusions of dust motes, and others. If there are delusions left to sever still, then that would be a knight who still has something to surpass. Unsurpassed Knight has an alternate title too, which is “the title of Connecting with the False and Reaching the True”. The Buddha knows that everything inside and outside his body are illusory and false; only the Buddha Vehicle is true and hence “the title of Connecting with the False and Reaching the True.”
Taming and Subduing Hero who metaphorically steers a carriage. In ancient times, carts are drawn by horses with someone whipping the horses and steering the cart. Driving a car nowadays is like steering a carriage. One evening someone said to me, “A driver is a taming and subduing hero.” What does this hero tame and subdue? He tames and subdues beings of the six realms so that they reach the Buddhas’ fruit of Bodhi. This is the greatest hero because he tames and subdues living beings so that they all become liberated from birth and death, transcending the six paths of transmigration. There is also another title to Taming and Subduing Hero, and that is, “the title of Gathering in and Transforming so They Comply with the Way”. He transforms living beings, saving all so that they cultivate according to this path.
Teacher of Gods and People. The Buddha is a role model for gods and people throughout the Triple Realm. He also goes by “the title of Speaking the Dharma According to Potential”.
The ninth name is Buddha. “Buddha” is half of the Sanskrit word, “Buddhaya”. Since the Chinese prefers things simple, the word became “Buddha”. The “Buddha” also goes by “the title of Perfect and Clear in the Three Enlightenments.” The three types of enlightenment are self-enlightenment, enlightenment of others, and perfection in enlightening conducts. When the three types of enlightenment are perfected, one is replete with the myriad virtues; hence one becomes a Buddha.
The last one is the World Honored One. Whether in the world or beyond the world, the Buddha is respected. This name also goes by “the title of Being the Only Honored One in the Triple Realm”. The Triple Realm consists of the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm. The Buddha is alone honored. When Shakyamuni Buddha was born, he pointed at the sky with one hand and pointed down at the earth with another hand, proclaiming, “Above and below, I alone am honored.” This is why the tenth name for the Buddha is the World Honored One and an alias by “the title of Being the Only Honored One in the Triple Realm.” There are six meanings to the name “World Honored One”: 1. Self-mastery. The Buddha is most at ease. 2. Blazes like fire. 3. Proper and adorned. 4. Universally known. Everyone knows the name, “Buddha”. 5. Auspiciousness. The name, “World Honored One” means auspiciousness. 6. Honored. The above explanations are simple explanations of ten titles to the Buddha.
This Buddha appeared in the world. That Buddha’s life span was sixty thousand eons.
Before he became a monk, he was the king of a small country and was friendly with the king of a neighboring country. Both kings practiced the Ten Wholesome Deeds and benefited beings. Because the citizens of those two neighboring countries did many bad things, the two kings made a plan using far-reaching expedients. One king vowed to quickly become a Buddha and then rescue absolutely all the other beings.
“The other king vowed, ‘I do not want to become a Buddha until I first rescue all those who are suffering for their offenses, enabling them to find peace and finally to reach Bodhi.’”
The Buddha told the Bodhisattva Samadhi Self-Mastery King, “The king who vowed to quickly become a Buddha is All-Knowledge-Accomplished Thus Come One. The king who vowed to keep saving beings who are suffering for their offenses rather than become a Buddha is Earth Store Bodhisattva.
Before he became a monk. . . Before this All-Knowledge-Accomplished Thus Come left the householder’s life, he was the king of a small country and was friendly with the king of a neighboring country. He was friends with a neighboring king. Both kings practiced the Ten Wholesome Deeds, which are not killing, not stealing, not committing sexual misconduct, not being greedy, not being angry, not being deluded, not speaking harshly, not lying, not speaking frivolously, and not speaking divisively. They did these ten kinds of good deeds and benefited beings. Because all the citizens of those two neighboring countries did many bad things, the two kings held a discussion, thought of some ways and made a plan using far-reaching expedients to help their people.
One king vowed to quickly become a Buddha. One of the kings made a vow that said, “I hope I will become a Buddha soon.” What will he do once he becomes a Buddha soon? On ce he becomes a Buddha, he will then do a good job of rescuing absolutely all the other beings who are creating evil. Without exception, all evil-creating beings will be saved.
“The other king vowed, ‘I do not want to become a Buddha until I first rescue all those who are suffering for their offenses, enabling them to find peace and finally to reach Bodhi. If I do not first save all beings who create evil and bear offenses, so that they leave suffering and reach peace and happiness, and even to Buddhahood, I will never become a Buddha. I must save all beings before I become a Buddha; I will not become a Buddha if there is still one being who is not yet a Buddha.’”
The Buddha told the Bodhisattva Samadhi Self-Mastery King, “The king who vowed to quickly become a Buddha is the Thus Come One we just talked about, All-Knowledge-Accomplished Thus Come One. The king who vowed to keep saving beings who are suffering for their offenses rather than become a Buddha is Earth Store Bodhisattva. Who is the king who refuses to become a Buddha if there is any being not yet a Buddha? He is Earth Store Bodhisattva and that is a vow he made in the past.
The Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva, Chapter 4: Karmic Retributions of Beings in Jambudvipa with commentary by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua