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38
ii.
SADDHARMA-PUNDARÎKA.

A third time the venerable Sâriputra entreated the Lord, saying: Let the Lord expound, let the Sugata expound this matter. In this assembly, O Lord, there are many hundreds of living beings my equals, and many hundreds, many thousands, many hundred thousands, many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of other living beings more, who in former births have been brought by the Lord to full ripeness. They will believe, value, and accept what the Lord declares, which shall tend to their advantage, weal, and happiness in length of time.

On that occasion the venerable Sâriputra uttered the following stanzas:

34. Explain the law, O thou most high of men! I, thine eldest son, beseech thee. Here are thousands of kotis of beings who are to believe in the law by thee revealed.

35. And those beings that in former births so long and constantly have by thee been brought to full maturity and now are all standing here with joined hands, they, too, are to believe in this law.

36. Let the Sugata, seeing the twelve hundred, my equals, and those who are striving after superior enlightenment, speak to them and produce in them an extreme joy.

When the Lord for the third time heard the entreaty of the venerable Sâriputra, he spoke to him as follows: Now that thou entreatest the Tathâgata a third time, Sâriputra, I will answer thee. Listen then, Sâriputra, take well and duly to heart what I am saying; I am going to speak.

Now it happened that five thousand proud monks, nuns, and lay devotees of both sexes in the congregation rose from their seats and, after saluting with