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CHAPTER XXIV.

CHAPTER CALLED THAT OF THE ALL-SIDED ONE, CONTAINING A DESCRIPTION OF THE TRANSFORMATIONS OF AVALOKITESVARA[1].

Thereafter the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Akshayamati rose from his seat, put his upper robe upon one shoulder, stretched his joined hands towards the Lord, and said : For what reason, O Lord, is the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Avalokitervara called Avalokitcrvara ? So he asked, and the Lord answered to the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva Akshayamati: All the hundred thousands of myriads of ko/is of creatures, young man of good family, who in this world are suffering troubles will, if they hear the name of the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva Avalokitervara, be released from that mass of troubles. Those who shall keep the name of this Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Avalokitejvara, young man of good family, will, if they fall into a great mass of fire, be delivered therefrom by virtue of the lustre of the Bodhisattva MahAsattva. In case, young man of good family, creatures, carried off by the current of rivers, should implore the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Avalokitervara, all rivers will afford them a ford. In case, young man of good family, many hundred thousand myriads of ko/is of creatures, sailing in a ship on the ocean, should see their bullion, gold, gems, pearls, lapis lazuli, conch shells, stones (?), corals, emeralds, Musâragalvas, read pearls (?), and other goods lost, and the ship by a vehement, untimely gale cast on the island of Giantesses[2], and if in that ship a single being implores Avalokitesvara, all will be saved from that island of Giantesses. For that reason, young man of good family, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Avalokitesvara is named Avalokitesvara[3].

If a man given up to capital punishment 3 implores Avalokitesvara, young man of good family, the swords of the executioners shall snap asunder 4 . Further, young man of good family, if the whole triple chiliocosm were teeming with goblins and giants, they would by virtue of the name of the Bodhisattva Mahisattva Avalokitesvara being pronounced lose the faculty of sight in their wicked designs[4]. If some creature, young man of good


Vadhyotsish/a; I do not feel certain of the rendering of u£Mish/a; perhaps we should translate it by ' a reprobate condemned to capital punishment.'

Vadhyagh&takSna'JW tani sastrdni (sic) vijiryeyu^. family, shall be bound in wooden or iron manacles, chains or fetters, be he guilty or innocent, then those manacles, chains or fetters shall give way as soon as the name of the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva Avalokitesvara is pronounced. Such, young man of good family, is the power of the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva Avalokite^vara. If this whole triple chiliocosm, young man of good family, were teeming with knaves, enemies, and robbers armed with swords, and if a merchant leader of a caravan marched with a caravan rich in jewels; if then they perceived, those robbers, knaves, and enemies armed with swords, and in their anxiety and fright thought themselves helpless; if, further, that leading merchant spoke to the caravan in this strain : Be not afraid, young gentlemen, be not frightened; invoke, all of you, with one voice the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva Avalokiteivara, the giver of safety; then you shall be delivered from this danger by which you are threatened at the hands of robbers and enemies ; if then the whole caravan with one voice invoked Avalokitesvara with the words : Adoration, adoration be to the giver of safety, to A valokitervara Bodhisattva Mah&sattva ! then, by the mere act of pronouncing that name, the caravan would be released from all danger. Such, young man of good family, is the power of the Bodhisattva MahAsattva Avalokitesvara. In case creatures act under the impulse of impure passion, young man of good family, they will, after adoring the Bodhisattva Mahisattva Avalokitesvara, be freed from passion. Those who act under the impulse of hatred will, after adoring the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Avalokitervara, be freed from hatred. Those who act under the impulse of infatuation will, after adoring the Bodhisattva Mahsattva Avalokitesvara, be freed from infatuation. So mighty, young man of good family, is the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva Avalokitesvara. If a woman, desirous of male offspring, young man of good family, adores the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, she shall get a son, nice, handsome, and beautiful; one possessed of the characteristics of a male child, generally beloved and winning, who has planted good roots[5]. If a woman is desirous of getting a daughter, a nice, handsome, beautiful girl shall be born to her; one possessed of the (good) characteristics of a girl 2 , generally beloved and winning, who has planted good roots. Such, young man of good family, is the power of the Bodhisattva MaMsattva Avalokite^vara.

Those who adore the Bodhisattva Mahlisattva Avalokiteivara will derive from it an unfailing profit. Suppose, young man of good family, (on one hand) some one adoring the Bodhisattva Mahisattva Avalokitervara and cherishing his name; (on the other hand) another adoring a number of Lords Buddhas equal to sixty- two times the sands of the river Ganges, cherishing their names and worshipping so many Lords Buddhas during their stay, existence, and life, by giving robes, alms-bowls, couches, medicaments for the sick; how great is then in thine opinion, young man of good family, the accumulation of pious merit which that young gentleman or young lady will produce in consequence of it ? So asked,

In the margin added paramayi jubhavar«apushkalatay£, (and) of an egregiously blooming complexion.

Dvashash/inaw Gang£°. the Bodhisattva Mahcisattva Akshayamati said to the Lord : Great, O Lord, great, O Sugata, is the pious merit which that young gentleman or young lady will produce in consequence of it. The Lord proceeded : Now, young man of good family, the accumulation of pious merit produced by that young gentleman paying homage to so many Lords Buddhas, and the accumulation of pious merit produced by him who performs were it but a single act of adoration to the Bodhisattva Mahcisattva Avalokitesvara and cherishes his name, are equal. He who adores a number of Lords Buddhas equal to sixty-two times the sands of the river Ganges and cherishes their names, and he who adores the Bodhisattva Mahcisattva Avalokite^vara and cherishes his name, have an equal accumulation of pious merit[6]; both masses of pious merit are not easy to be destroyed even in hundred thousands of myriads of ko/is of iEons. So immense, young man of good family, is the pious merit resulting from cherishing the name of the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Avalokitesvara.

Again the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Akshayamati said to the Lord : How, O Lord, is it that the Bodhisattva Mahcisattva A valokite^vara frequents this Sahaworld ? And how does he preach the law ? And which is the range of the skilfulness of the Bodhisattva MahAsattva Avalokitervara ? So asked, the Lord replied to the Bodhisattva Mahcisattva Akshayamati: In some worlds, young man of good family, the Bodhisattva Mahcisattva Avalokitervara preaches the law to creatures in the shape of a Buddha; in others he does so in the shape of a Bodhisattva. To some beings he shows the law in the shape of a Pratyekabuddha ; to others he does so in the shape of a disciple; to others again under that of Brahma, Indra, or a Gandharva. To those who are to be converted by a goblin, he preaches the law assuming the shape of a goblin; to those who are to be converted by l^vara, he preaches the law in the shape of 1-rvara ; to those who are to be converted by Mahesvara, he preaches assuming the shape of Mahesvara. To those who are to be converted by a Kakravartin[7], he shows the law after assuming the shape of a Kakravartin; to those who are to be converted by an imp, he shows the law under the shape of an imp; to those who are to be converted by Kubera, he shows the law by appearing in the shape of Kubera; to those who are to be converted by Sendpati[8], he preaches in the shape of Sendpati; to those who are to be converted by assuming a Br&hman[9], he preaches in the shape of a Brahman ; to those who are to be converted by Va^rapiwi 4 , he preaches in the shape of Va^rap&rci[10]. With such inconceivable qualities, young man of good family, is the Bodhi-

Va^Tapam is the name of one of the Dhyanibuddhas, and of certain geniuses, and an epithet of Indra. sattva Mah&sattva Avalokitervara endowed[11]. Therefore then, young man of good family, honour the Bodhisattva Mahisattva Avalokitejvara. The Bodhisattva Mahisattva Avalokitervara, young man of good family, affords safety to those who are in anxiety. On that account one calls him in this Saha-world Abhayandada (i. e. Giver of Safety).

Further, the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva Akshayamati said to the Lord: Shall we give a gift of piety, a decoration of piety, O Lord, {o the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Avalokitexvara? The Lord replied: Do so, if thou thinkest it opportune. Then the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Akshayamati took from his neck a pearl necklace, worth a hundred thousand (gold pieces), and presented it to the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva Avalokite^vara as a decoration of piety, with the words: Receive from me this decoration of piety, good man. But he would not accept it. Then the Bodhisattva Mahisattva Akshayamati said to the Bodhisattva Mahisattva Avalokite^vara : Out of compassion to us, young man of good family, accept this pearl necklace. Then the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Avalokiteivara accepted the pearl necklace from the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva Akshayamati, out of compassion to the Bodhisattva Mahdsattva Akshayamati and the four classes, and out of compassion to the gods, N&gas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, GarWas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human. Thereafter he divided (the necklace) into two parts, and offered one part to the Lord .S&kyamuni, and the other to the jewel Sttipa of the Lord Prabhtitaratna, the Tath&gata, &c, who had become completely extinct.

With such a faculty of transformation, young man of good family, the Bodhisattva Mah&sattva Avalo- kitervara is moving in this Saha-world.

And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:

1. A!ltradhva^a asked Akshayamati the following question : For what reason, son of Gina, is Avaloki- twvara (so) called * ?

2. And Akshayamati, that ocean of profound in- sight, after considering how the matter stood 2 , spoke to Altradhva^a : Listen to the conduct of Avalokitervara.

3. Hear from my indication how for numerous, inconceivable -^ons he has accomplished his vote under many thousand ko/is of Buddhas.

4. Hearing, seeing, regularly and constantly thinking 3 will infallibly destroy all suffering, (mundane) existence, and grief of living beings here on earth.

5. If one be thrown into a pit of fire, by a wicked enemy with the object of killing him, he has but to think of Avalokitervara, and the fire shall be quenched as if sprinkled with water.

6. If one happens to fall into the dreadful ocean, the abode of Nigas, marine monsters, and demons, he has but to think of Avalokitesvara, and he shall never sink down in the king of waters 4 .


It will be observed that this poetical version here entirely differs from the preceding prose introduction. As to the name of Kitradhvaga, I have not met with it elsewhere.

TSdrrrata vilokiy*.

Of whom or what ? is not expressed. From the sequel one might be tempted to infer that Avalokitervara, or the exposition of his power, is the object of hearing, &c.

Smarato (for smaratu), Avalokitexvaraaz^alara^e na kad&& sidati. 7. If a man happens to be hurled down from the brink of the Meru, by some wicked person with the object of killing him, he has but to think of Avalokitesvara, and he shall, sunlike, stand firm in the sky 1 .

8. If rocks of thunderstone and thunderbolts are thrown at a man's head to kill him, he has but to think of Avalokite^vara, and they shall not be able to hurt one hair of the body.

9. If a man be surrounded by a host of enemies armed with swords, who have the intention of killing him, he has but to think of Avalokitervara, and they shall instantaneously become kind-hearted.

10. If a man, delivered to the power of the executioners, is already standing at the place of execution, he has but to think of Avalokite^vara, and their swords shall go to pieces.

11. If a person happens to be fettered in shackles of wood or iron, he has but to think of Avalokitesvara, and the bonds shall be speedily loosened.

12. Mighty spells, witchcraft, herbs, ghosts, and spectres, pernicious to life, revert thither whence they come, when one thinks of Avalokitervara.

13. If a man is surrounded by goblins, N&gas, demons, ghosts, or giants, who are in the habit of taking away bodily vigour, he has but to think of Avalokitesvara, and they shall not be able to hurt one hair of his body 2 .

Smarato Avalokitejvaro (r. °ram) suryabhuta/« (r. °to) va nabhe pratish/y&ati. I have taken the liberty of translating pratishMati as if the text had pratitishMati. The version of Beal has 'stand in space, fixed as the sun.'


Here I have followed the marginal reading, which agrees with Burnouf's. The older text has instead of thirteen and fourteen but one stanza, the translation of which runs thus : ' If, &c, sur14. If a man is surrounded by fearful beasts with sharp teeth and claws, he has but to think of Avalokitesvara, and they shall quickly fly in all directions.

15. If a man is surrounded by snakes malicious and frightful on account of the flames and fires (they emit), he has but to think of Avalokitesvara, and they shall quickly lose their poison.

16. If a heavy thunderbolt shoots from a cloud pregnant with lightning and thunder, one has but to think of Avalokitcsvara, and the fire of heaven shall quickly, instantaneously be quenched.

17. He (Avalokitcrvara) with his powerful knowledge beholds all creatures who are beset with many hundreds of troubles and afflicted by many sorrows, and thereby is a saviour in the world, including the gods.

18. As he is thoroughly practised in the power of magic, and possessed of vast knowledge and skilfulness, he shows himself[12] in all directions and in all regions of the world.

19. Birth, decrepitude, and disease will come to an end for those who are in the wretched states of existence, in hell, in brute creation, in the kingdom of Yama, for all beings (in general[13]).

[Then Akshayamati in the joy of his heart uttered the following stanzas:]

20. O thou whose eyes are clear, whose eyes are

rounded by Nâgas, marine monsters, demons, ghosts, or giants he has, &c, and they shall quickly fly in all directions.'

The words in brackets have been added in the margin by a later hand. kind, distinguished by wisdom and knowledge, whose eyes are full of pity and benevolence; thou so lovely by thy beautiful face and beautiful eyes!

21. Pure one, whose shine is spotless bright, whose knowledge is free from darkness, thou shining as the sun, not to be beaten away, radiant as the blaze of fire, thou spreadest in thy flying course thy lustre in the world 1 .

22. O thou who rejoicest in kindness having its source in compassion, thou great cloud of good qualities and of benevolent mind 2 , thou quenchest the fire that vexes living beings, thou pourest out nectar, the rain of the law.

23. In quarrel[14], dispute, war, battle, in any great danger one has to think of Avalokitervara, who shall quell the wicked troop of foes.

24. One should think of Avalokitervara, whose sound is as the cloud's and the drum's, who thunders like a rain-cloud, possesses a good voice like Brahma, (a voice) going through the whole gamut of tones.

25. Think, O think with tranquil mood of Avalokitervara, that pure being; he is a protector, a refuge, a recourse in death, disaster, and calamity.

26. He who possesses the perfection of all virtues, and beholds all beings with compassion and benevolence, he, an ocean of virtues, Virtue itself, he, Avalokitervara, is worthy of adoration.

Aparaliata anila^alaprabhS (voc. case) prapatento ^agati viro£asi. For anila^ala I read anala^ala (Sansk. anala^vala). Cf. K&randa-vytiha, p. 43: Athdrydvalokitejvaro ^valad ivagnipwdam £kafe 'ntarhita^.

Kr/pasa/rcbhtitamaitragar^itS (voc.) jubhaguaa maitramanS mahdghand (voc.) 27. He, so compassionate for the world, shall once become a Buddha, destroying all dangers and sor- rows 1 ; I humbly bow to Avalokitcrvara.

28. This universal Lord, chief of kings, who is a (rich) mine of monastic virtues, he, universally wor- shipped, has reached pure, supreme enlightenment, after plying his course (of duty) during many hun- dreds of iEons.

29. At one time standing to the right, at another to the left of the Chief Amitdbha, whom he is fan- ning, he, by dint of meditation, like a phantom, in all regions honours the <7ina.

30. In the west, where the pure world Sukhikara 2 is situated, there the Chief AmitAbha, the tamer of men 3 , has his fixed abode.

31. There no women are to be found; there sexual intercourse is absolutely unknown ; there the sons of Gina, on springing into existence by appari- tional birth, are sitting in the undefiled cups of lotuses.

32. And the Chief Amitibha himself is seated on a throne in the pure and nice cup of a lotus, and shines as the .SSla-king 4 .

The present will make room for the future, life will end in death ; the living Avalokitcrvara will pass into the state of Buddha, al. Dharmara^a, i.e. Death, the great physician.

I.e. procuring bliss or tranquillity; the more common name is Sukhavati. In Greek and Roman mythology we find the Insulae Fortunatae and the gardens of the Hesperidae lying in the same quarter.

From this it appears that Amitdbha or Amitayus is but another name of Yama, and just as Yama also governs the planet Saturn, it may be held that Amitibha, as one of the five Dhydni-Buddhas, among his other offices, is invested with the dignity of being the ruler of Saturn.

I do not understand the meaning of this compound. In the 33. The Leader of the world, whose store of merit has been praised, has no equal in the triple world O supreme of men, let us soon become like thee!

Thereupon the Bodhisattva Mahisattva Dharanindhara rose from his seat, put his upper robe upon one shoulder, fixed his right knee against the earth, stretched his joined hands towards the Lord and said: They must be possessed of not a few good roots, O Lord, who are to hear this chapter from the Dharmaparyclya about the Bodhisattva Masattva Avalokitervara and this miraculous power of transformation of the Bodhisattva Mahctsattva Avalokite^vara.

And while this chapter of the All-sided One was being expounded by the Lord, eighty-four thousand living beings from that assembly felt their minds drawn to that supreme and perfect enlightenment, with which nothing else can be compared l .

next following chapter we shall meet with a Tathdgata named Salendrara^a, i.e. king of the *S&la-chiefs.

Asamasama; Burnouf takes it as 'qui est e*gal a ce qui n'a pas d'e'gal.' The term also occurs Lalita-vistara, p. 114, 1. 9.


  1. A translation of this chapter from the Chinese has been published by Rev. S. Beal in his Catena, pp. 389-396.
  2. In the Kâranda-vyuha, a work entirely devoted to the glorification of Avalokitesvara and his sublime achievements, the isle of the Giantesses is identified with Ceylon; see pp. 45 and 53 of that work (Calcutta edition), and the extract given by Burnouf, Introduction, pp. 221-227.
  3. Avalokita means 'beheld;' it is as such synonymous with dr/'sh/a, seen, visible, and pratyaksha, visible, manifest, present. The Bodhisattva is everywhere present, and therefore implored in need and danger. If we take avalokita as a substantive in the neuter gender, the compound will mean 'the Lord of view, of regard/ with which one may compare .Siva's epithet Dr/'sh/iguru, the Master of view.
  4. It is well known that those children of darkness are unable to stand the sun's light.
  5. We should rather say: in whom a good natural disposition is implanted.
  6. Burnouf has followed a text of greater length.
  7. This term is ambiguous; it means both 'the mover of the wheel', i.e. Vishnu, and 'an emperor.'
  8. Ambiguous; the word denotes both 'the commander-in-chief of the army of the gods, Skanda,' and 'a commander-in-chief in general.'
  9. The Brahman may be Brihaspati.
  10. The functions of Avalokitesvara, as it appears from these passages, agree with those of Gadgadasvara mentioned in the foregoing chapter. Both beings have many qualities in common, just as Siva and Vishnu have.
  11. Burnouf has followed another reading.
  12. Drisyate.
  13. We have to understand: in consequence of the conduct of the great Avalokitesvara.
  14. Kalahe.