Then Sudhana went to the great city Kapilavastu, remembering the teaching of the earth goddess Sthavara, remembering that enlightening liberation “unassailable asylum of knowledge,” extending the cultivation of that enlightening concentration, contemplating that enlightening doctrine, roaming in the freedom of that enlightening liberation, looking into the subtleties of knowledge of that enlightening liberation, entering into the ocean of knowledge of that enlightening liberation, focusing on the unity of the knowledge of that enlightening liberation, pursuing the accomplishment of the endless knowledge of that enlightening liberation, plunging into the ocean of knowledge of that enlightening liberation.
Going around the city from left to right, he went in by the eastern gate and stood in the middle of the crossroads of the city. Before long the sun set, and, skillfully grasping the instructions of spiritual benefactors, he longed to see the night goddess Vasanti, considering spiritual benefactors a sure source of attainment of enlightened knowledge, based concretely on the sphere of the eye of universal knowledge, turning in all directions, wishing to see the spiritual benefactor, thinking of her with great respect as the abode of knowledge, his eye of knowledge extending to all objects, looking over the ocean of all that is knowable with the eye of concentration reaching throughout the ocean of knowledge of principles of all reality realms, intent on extension of the eye of great knowledge. He saw the night goddess Vasanti in the sky over Kapilavastu, in a tower of brilliant, incomparable jewels, sitting on a great jewel lion throne in the calyx of a lotus of all the finest fragrances.
She was beautiful, with a golden complexion, soft, rich black hair, and dark eyes. Her body was adorned with all kinds of ornaments, and she was wearing a red robe. She wore a sacred crest adorned with the orb of the moon, and her body showed reflections of all the stars and constellations. He also saw in her pores all the sentient beings who had been liberated by her from the calamities of unfavorable circumstances, evils, and miserable conditions. He also saw in her pores all the sentient beings whom she had settled in heaven, and all whom she had perfected in the enlightenment of hearers and individual illuminates, and in omniscience. He also saw in her pores all the various means, embodiments, and appearances she assumed to perfect them. He also heard coming from her pores the various utterances she used to teach and develop them. He also perceived in her pores the timing, the adaptation to sentient beings’ inclinations and interests, the enlightening practices, forceful means, ways of mystic transformation through concentration, powers, states, observations, contemplations, mystic projections, powerful expansions of the great person, and free masteries of liberation by which they were perfected.
Having seen and heard those oceans of teachings involving various means, Sudhana was transported with joy; he paid his respects to the night goddess Vasanti and said to her, “Noble one, I have set my mind on supreme perfect enlightenment. to the stage of the ten powers.”
Vasanti answered Sudhana, “It is good that you are so devoted to spiritual benefactors and desire to hear the words of spiritual benefactors. Carrying out the instructions of spiritual benefactors, you will surely arrive at supreme perfect enlightenment. I have attained an enlightening liberation, a means of guiding sentient beings by the light of truth, which dispels the darkness for all sentient beings. I am kind to the evil-minded, compassionate to evil-doers, pleased with those who do good, impartial toward the good and the bad; I am determined to purify the defiled, to set the misguided straight, to inspire higher aspirations in those with low aspirations, to increase the energy of those with inferior faculties, to free those attached to the mundane whirl from its repetitious circles, and to set those oriented toward the vehicles of individual salvation onto the path of omniscience. I am concentrating on these concerns and am imbued with the enlightening liberation through which I guide sentient beings with the light of truth that dispels the darkness for all sentient beings.
“Any people who travel on a dark night, where ghosts, thieves, and thugs lurk, when the sky is covered with black clouds, when it is misty, windy, and raining, when there is no moonlight or starlight, when there is no visibility, if they go on the sea, or on land, or in the mountains, or over deserts, or through forests, or through provinces or villages, or on the roads, if they are shipwrecked at sea or held up on land, or fall in the mountains or run out of provisions in the desert, or if they get stuck in the underbrush in the forest or run into trouble, or if they get scattered in the darkness, or if they get mugged in a town, or if they get lost or confused and cannot tell which direction they are going in, or if they run into disaster on the road, I rescue them by various means. For those traveling on the sea I quell hurricanes, get them past bad waters, stop unfavorable winds, quiet the raging billows, free them from the perils of whirlpools, clarify the directions, lead them on the right sea lanes, show them the channels, guide them to the isles of treasure, show them the way in the form of a navigator. Through various forms of being I act as a support and reliance. This root of goodness, furthermore, I dedicate in this way: ‘May I be a refuge for all sentient beings, to put an end to all suffering.’
“For those on land on a dark night, where there are thickets and brambles, gravel and grit, on uneven terrain, battered by vicious wind and rain, painfully cold or hot, where savage beasts lurk, where killers and bandits roam, I save those who have lost their way on the earth, by means of the forms of the sun, the risen moon, meteoric showers, planets, the light of the stars, celestial beings, and enlightening beings. And I think: By this root of goodness may I become a savior of all sentient beings.
“For those on precipitous mountain paths, in danger of death, so that they may live, and for those who are dominated by the desire for fame, those who wish for renown, those who seek enjoyment, those who are avaricious, those who strive to get material things, those whose foremost desire is worldly success, those who are wrapped up in affection for their families, those who are lost in the jungle of views, and those who are oppressed by various miseries and fears, I become a refuge by various means: for example, by producing caves in the mountains for shelter, by producing fruits and roots for food, by producing streams for drinking water, by producing shelter against cold and heat, by showing the right path, by the songs of birds, by the luster of medicinal plants, by the glow of mountain spirits. I become a refuge for those in mountain caves and crevices, those oppressed by various pains, dispelling the darkness, producing level ground for them. And I resolve that just as I rescue these people in the mountains, so will I become a refuge for those fallen on the precipitous trails of the mountain of mundane existence, who are in the grip of old age and death.
“For those stuck in the jungle on a dark night, confronted with a vast expanse of trees, on roads blocked by grass and water, reeds, trees, and vines, in thickets of various trees and creepers, frightened by tigers roaring, their minds filled with what they have to do, plagued with various perils and misfortunes, not knowing the way out of the forest, I show the right way to go. And I resolve that by this root of goodness I will free those in the thicket of views, caught in the web of craving, oppressed by the various pains and perils of the mundane whirl, liberating them from all miseries.
“And as for those in the desert, in the darkness, by various means I comfort them, show them the way, and lead them to safety, resolving that by this root of goodness I shall liberate those who are in the desert of the mundane whirl, who have fallen into evil ways, freeing them from all suffering and setting them on the road of omniscience, where there is eternal safety.
“As for those in inhabited areas who are experiencing the trouble of owning a home, I draw them away from their them in nonreliant omniscience.
“As for those in villages who are attached to their house and relatives, beset by various family troubles, their minds agitated by various anxieties, I take care of them by material gifts and please them in a proper manner, establish them in the state of nonattachment, and resolve by this root of goodness to remove those who cling to the village of their senses from the sphere of mundane objects and set them in the sphere of omniscience.
“As for those who lose their sense of direction on a dark night, who think level ground is uneven, who think high ground is low, who think low ground is high, I light the way for them by various means. To those who want to go out I show the door, to those who want to travel I show the road, to those who want to cross over I show the bridge, to those who want to go in I show the house, to those who want to look around I show the directions. I show the high and low ground, the smooth and rough terrain and its various formations. I show travelers the villages, cities, towns, provinces, and capitals. I show those who are hot and thirsty streams and ponds and groves and parks. To those grieving at separation from their loved ones I show their family and friends, advisers, acquaintances, and kin, and various pleasing forms. And I resolve that just as I light the way for those in the dark who cannot see and have lost their way, as I create light to make various forms manifest, in the same way I will use the light of great wisdom to destroy the darkness of ignorance of those in the long night of the mundane whirl, who have no sense of direction at all, who are in the darkness of ignorance, whose eye of knowledge is covered by the veil of nescience, who are perverted in concepts, thoughts, and views, who think the impermanent is permanent, who think the painful is painless, who think the selfless has self, who think the impure is pure, who cling to a definite self, being, life, soul, individuality, and personality, who are attached to sense faculties, sense consciousnesses, and sense data, who are confused about cause and effect, who do what is not good, who take life, who steal, who abuse sexuality, who tell lies, who slander others, who speak harshly, who sow dissension, who are covetous, who are malicious, who hold erroneous views, who do not honor their parents or mendicants or priests, who do not recognize the blameworthy or the good, who do not take pleasure in what is right, who are dominated by ill-gotten gain, who pervert what is right by erroneous views, who falsely impugn the enlightened, who try to suppress true teaching, who fly the banner of demons, who injure or kill enlightening beings, who are hostile to the Great Vehicle, who cut off the aspiration for enlightenment, who defame enlightening beings, who injure or kill their mothers, who are hostile, who revile the wise, who consort with the corrupt and unjust, who damage the relics of saints and the goods of the religious community, who oppose their parents, who act in hellish ways, who are on the brink of disaster—having destroyed the darkness of their ignorance by the light of great wisdom and directed them toward supreme perfect enlightenment, by the Great Vehicle of universal good I shall show them the path to the stage of knowledge of the ten powers; I shall show them the stage of the enlightened, the realm of the enlightened, the ocean of wisdom of omniscience, the sphere of enlightened knowledge, the consummation of the ten powers, the power of mental command of buddhas, and the unity of all buddhas. Having shown them this, I will establish them in the knowledge of equality of all buddhas.
“As for those who are sick, who are worn out from long illness, whose bodies are weakened, who have wasted away, those who have grown old and are overcome by old age, those who are wretched and poor, those who have come to the end of their lives, those who are in bondage, those who are being tortured, and convicts who have been imprisoned, I stand by them to save them from the danger of injury to their lives. I employ all means to remove the illnesses of those who are sick. Those who are wasted away and overcome by old age I take care of by constant attendance. I provide protection for the helpless, I enrich the poor, I take care of those who have fallen into misfortune by regarding their welfare as my own. Those abroad I lead to their own country, and those astray I lead in the right direction. Those in bondage I release from their bonds. Those who are being tortured I release from the pain of torture. I save the lives of convicts who have been handed over to the king for execution. I resolve that just as I am a refuge saving these beings from various perils and afflictions, so shall I take care of them with the supreme protection of the truth and liberate them from all mental afflictions. I shall enable them to transcend birth, old age, sickness, death, grief, lamentation, misery, depression, and mental disturbance. I shall free them from all fears of falling into bad conditions. I shall establish them in the care of spiritual benefactors. I shall take care of them by giving them jewels of true teaching. I shall get them to act impeccably. I shall direct is ultimately no old age or death.
“As for those on wrong paths, those in the tangles of various views, those acting on erroneous conceptions, those doing evil in thought, word, and deed, those uncontrolled in action, those devoted to various pious observances and ascetic practices, those who think the unenlightened are enlightened, those who think the enlightened are unenlightened, those who practice self-torture, those who worship bodies of water, mountains, or particular places, and those who are under the control of bad companions, I become a refuge for them by various means and thence turn them away from evil, from immersion in views, from all bad conditions. I establish them in right seeing in the world and place them in celestial and human states. I resolve that just as I liberate these sentient beings from the miseries of such bad behavior, so shall I establish all sentient beings in the transmundane path of transcendence, make them irreversible in progress toward omniscience, and lead them to omniscience by the great vow of universal good; and I shall not fall from the stages of enlightening beings, while not turning away from the realm of all sentient beings.”
At that point, further revealing the realm of the enlightening liberation which guides the world by the light of truth that dispels the darkness for all sentient beings, the goddess looked over the ten directions by the power of Buddha and spoke these verses to Sudhana:
This peaceful liberation of mind guides the world To happiness in accord with the time By producing the light of truth To end the darkness of delusion and ignorance.
My kindness is vast and pure, Developed over boundless eons past; Dispelling evil, I illumine the world— Realize this wisdom, O Sudhana, steadfast one. Measureless is my ocean of compassion for the world; Herein the buddhas of all times are born, Hereby the pains of the world are soothed— Realize this wisdom, O Sudhana, steadfast one.
Producing worldly happiness, both the joys Which are conditional and those of the sages, Thereby I am delighted, uplifted, pleased—Realize this wisdom, O son of Buddha.
Forever turned away from the ills of the conditional, As well as the knowledge and liberation of individual salvation, Perfecting the power of buddhas— Realize this wisdom, O son of Buddha.
Vast and pure is my eye, by which I see The lands of the ten directions— I see the buddhas in those lands Sitting under the enlightenment tree.
I see thousands of buddhas with their circles, The buddhas’ bodies adorned with marks of greatness, Emanating multifold glorious lights, Radiating oceans of light from their pores.
I see the sentient beings in those lands, How they die and are born; I see the ignorant in the ocean of transmigration as they go Round in circles experiencing the results of their own deeds.
My ocean of hearing is pure, And all sounds enter therein: Hearing the words of all sentient beings, I keep them in mind.
The infinite expressions of the teachings of buddhas I also hear and remember.
My sense of smell is far-reaching and pure, Unobstructed in the midst of all things, An entry into all states of liberation; You should realize this wisdom.
My tongue is broad and long, coppery red, Shiny like a jewel, pure; With it I communicate to beings according to their mentalities: You should realize this wisdom.
My reality body is transcendentally pure, Omnipresent in all times; The physical body beings see according to their mentalities, By the power of their devotion.
My mind is free from attachment and taint,
Resonant with thunderous sound; Therein are all buddhas assembled, Yet I have no discrimination.
Innumerable are the beings on the face of the earth; I know the oceans of their minds, I know their faculties and inclinations, But I have no discrimination.
My occult power is vast and consummate, I shake innumerable worlds And produce an aura of light Whereby I tame the intractable.
My virtue is vast and pure, An endless treasury, adorning everywhere; With it I make offerings to buddhas And sustain the life of all beings.
I have entered the ocean of buddhas, Realizing the wisdom of all time, And I enter into their vows— This wisdom is peerless and perfect.
In every atom I see oceans of worlds Of past, present, and future; And I see oceans of buddhas therein, And their universal ground of wisdom.
See Vairocana, enlightened, Pervading all lands in the ten directions, Sitting at the foot of the enlightenment tree In each atom expounding the teaching of peace.
Then Sudhana said to the night goddess Vasanti, “How long ago did you set out for supreme perfect enlightenment? How long ago did you attain this liberation, by the at tainment of which you have come to perform all beneficial actions in this way?”
Vasanti replied, “As many eons ago as atoms in the polar mountain, there was an eon called Tranquil Light, in which five billion buddhas were born. There was then a world system called Born of the Light of Jewels, in which there was a central world of four continents called Jewel Moon Lamp Light, the capital city of which was called Lotus Light. In that capital city was a king named Bridge of Good Law, who was a just ruler, a sovereign with all the attributes of kingship. He had conquered that trouble-free earth by justice and ruled it righteously.
“The king’s wife was named Moon of Understanding of Right. She enjoyed herself making love in the first part of the night, and in the middle of the night, when the love play had ceased, she slept. At that time, in a forest called Source of Radiance of Peace, to the east of the city of Lotus Light, a buddha named Supreme Thunder of All Truths attained supreme perfect enlightenment at a great enlightenment site made of the finest jewels, with the lights of all supernal manifestations, radiating the lights of the magical displays of all buddhas. That buddha lit up the whole world-system Born of the Light of Jewels clearly with a great multicolored light.
“Also in that capital city Lotus Light was a night goddess named Pure Moonlight. She went to the wife of the king, awakened her by the sound of her jewelry jingling, and said to her, ‘Know, O queen, that in the forest Source of Radiance of Peace, a buddha named Supreme Thunder of All Truths has attained supreme perfect enlightenment.’ And she gave the queen an extensive explanation of the virtuous qualities of the buddha, the spiritual transformation of the buddha, and the vow practices by universally good enlightening beings. The queen, illumined by the light of the buddha, set out for supreme perfect enlightenment with overpowering resolve. She made great offerings to that buddha and to his group of enlightening beings and disciples.
“Do not suppose that queen was anyone other than me myself—I was the queen Moon of Understanding of Right in that time. By virtue of that aspiration, and the roots of goodness I planted with that buddha, I was not born in any bad states for as many eons as atoms in the polar mountain, nor did I have defective faculties, nor did I suffer. I always attained celestial greatness passed as many eons as atoms in the polar mountain happily, peacefully, safely, and rightly, planting roots of goodness with the enlightened: yet after all that time my enlightening faculties were not yet perfectly developed.
“After those eons had passed, ten thousand eons before this eon of Virtue, there was an eon called Sorrowless Dispassion, in a world called Blazing Light Undefiled by Passion. That world was both defiled and pure. Five hundred buddhas were born there. The first of those five hundred buddhas was named Light of Tranquil Eyes with Senses Like the Polar Mountain, accomplished in knowledge and action, gone to felicity, supreme knower of the world, guide of tractable people, teacher of celestials and humans, enlightened, blessed. I was an outstanding girl named Light of Wisdom, daughter of an eminent man named Resounding Fame, and I was beautiful and robust. The night goddess Pure Moonlight, by the power of a vow, became a night goddess named Light of Purified Eyes. In the still of the night when my parents were in bed, she made our house tremble, showed her body to me with a great light, told me about the qualities of the buddha, and then showed me the buddha sitting at the enlightenment site in the first week after his enlightenment.
“I went with my parents and a large group of relatives to that buddha, led by the night goddess Pure Moonlight. I made great offerings to that buddha, and when I saw the buddha, I attained a concentration called ‘born of the world-guiding vision of Buddha,’ and I attained a concentration called ‘sphere of light of knowledge of the ground of past, present, and future,’ whereby I remembered those eons as many as atoms in the polar mountain; and my aspiration for enlightenment came to the fore. Having heard the Teaching from that buddha, I attained this enlightening liberation called ‘the means of guiding sentient beings by the light of truth which dispels the darkness for all sentient beings,’ by the attainment of which I physically pervade as many worlds as atoms in ten buddha-lands, and see the buddhas in those worlds, and perceive myself at the feet of those buddhas. I also see all the sentient beings in those worlds, and I know their vocal signals, and their thoughts, inclinations, faculties, and interests, and their previous development under the tutelage of spiritual benefactors; and I manifest a body to them which will please them according to their inclinations.
“Also, this liberation grows in each mental moment: in an unbroken succession of mental moments I pervade as many buddha-lands as atoms in a hundred worlds, as many buddha-lands as atoms in a thousand worlds, as many buddha-lands as atoms in a hundred thousand worlds; in each mental moment I go on like this to pervade up to as many buddha-lands as atoms in untold unspeakable numbers of worlds: and I see all the buddhas in those lands, and I perceive myself in their presence, and I hear, take in, remember, reflect on, and meditate on the teachings of those buddhas. I also enter into the oceans of past vows of those buddhas, and the purifications of the buddha-lands of those buddhas. I also undertake to purify a buddha-land. I also see the sentient beings in those oceans of worlds, and I transform my body to accord with the measures of the inclinations, faculties, and interests of those sentient beings, in order to develop and guide them. Thus this liberation expands in each mental moment, by working to expand it to pervade everywhere in the cosmos.
“I only know this enlightening liberation that is a method of guiding the world by the light of the truth which dispels the darkness of all sentient beings—how can I know the practice or tell of the virtues or comprehend the sphere or show the freedom of liberation of the enlightening beings who are completely versed in the infinite vow of enlightening practice of universal good, who command the power to enter into every principle in the ocean of the cosmos, who have mastered the adamantine concentration of knowledge realized by all enlightening beings, who have undertaken the vow to preserve the lineage of buddhas in all worlds, who have perfected great goodness purifying all worlds in each mental moment, who command the knowledge to develop and guide all universes in each mental moment, whose eyes are suns that dispel the darkness of all obstructions for all sentient beings in all worlds, who strive to inform all sentient beings about the Great Vehicle of universal liberation, who are moons of wisdom dispelling the darkness of doubt and confusion for all sentient beings, whose pure voices obliterate attachment to existence, who have the power to show miracles in each atom of all phenomena, who have unfragmented knowledge of the ground of past, present, and future?
“In this very enlightenment site in Magadha lives a night goddess named Samantagambhirashrivimalaprabha, who inspired in me the determination for enlightenment and has encouraged me time and again. Go ask her how to learn and carry out the practice of enlightening beings.”
Then Sudhana praised the night goddess with these verses:
I see your body now, pure, with various characteristics, Like the polar mountain. Above the world, you illumine the world, With a body like Manjushri.
Your reality body is transcendentally pure, Equal in all times, without distinction: Therein all worlds are gathered, And form and dissolve without obstruction.
I see your body in all realms, In a variety of manifestations: And in your pores I see The moon and stars.
Your mind is broad and pure, pervading Like space in all directions; Therein are assembled all buddhas, Yet your knowledge is free from the taint of discrimination.
Brilliant clouds, as many as atoms in lands, Issue from your pores; They reach the buddhas in the ten directions, Raining all kinds of ornaments.
Infinite bodies, as many as living beings, Emerge from your pores; They fill all the worlds in the ten directions, And purify beings by various means.
I see inconceivably many lands in your pores, Adorned in various ways, Which you have purified, Produced according to the minds of the beings.
Happy are those who hear your name, Great is their gain; And people who see you Are near the path of enlightenment.
One should endure inconceivable eons of misfortune In order to see you; For those who are happy to hear of you, You will extinguish their afflictions on sight.
Even if one were to speak Of your qualities for as many eons As atoms in a thousand lands, There is no exhausting them.
Having praised the night goddess Vasanti with these verses, Sudhana paid his respects to her, looking at her again and again, never tired of attending spiritual benefactors, and left her.