Universal Gates Chapter Of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin
In Wondrous Dharma Lotus Sutra

Translated into Chinese by
Tripitaka Dharma Master Kumarajiva of
Yao Qin Dynasty
Translated from Chinese into English by
Dr. Yutang Lin


Then Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent rose up from his seat, exposed his right shoulder as a gesture of respect, folded his palms, facing the Buddha and asked, "World Honored One, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is for what causal conditions to be named Guan Shi Yin, Observing Worldly Sounds?"

Buddha told Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent, "Good man, if there were innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of billions sentient beings who were experiencing all sorts of suffering and sorrows, and upon hearing about this Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin they would single-mindedly repeat his name, then Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin would instantaneously observe their sound and they would thereby attain emancipation.

If there were someone who maintained repetition of the name of this Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin, and if this person entered a big fire, then by the forceful spiritual power of this Bodhisattva fire could not burn this person. If such a person were floated away by huge water, and called out the name of this Bodhisattva, then this person would reach shallows. Suppose that there were hundreds of thousands of myriads of billions sentient beings who entered great ocean in search of gold, silver, beryl, crystal, agate, coral, amber, pearl and other treasures. If black winds had blown their ships to the ghost land of raksasas, and there were even only one among them that called out the name of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin, then all those people would be free from the danger of raksasas. For such causal conditions he is named Observing Worldly Sounds.

Further, if there were someone who, on the brink of being harmed, called out the name of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin, then the knives and sticks held by others would break into pieces and thereby that person would be spared. If a great-thousand world system consisting of thousand-cube worlds were filled fully with yaksas and raksasas that intend to vex someone, then upon hearing that person’s calling the name of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin those horrible ghosts could not even gaze at the person with angry eyes not to mention to inflict harms. If someone, guilty or innocent, were physically confined by handcuffs and shackles, and this person called out the name of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin, then all such fetters would break down and the person become liberated.

If a great-thousand world system consisting of thousand-cube worlds were filled fully with vengeful thieves, and a master of merchants led a group of merchants carrying precious treasures on a dangerous road, then one among them called out to say, ‘Good men, don’t be afraid. You should all call out single-mindedly the name of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin. This Bodhisattva is capable of conferring the blessing of fearlessness upon sentient beings. If you call out the name, then you would be free from these vengeful thieves.’ The merchants, upon hearing this, all said aloud, ‘Namo Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin.’ Due to this calling of his name they right away got liberated. Inexhaustible Intent, the forceful spiritual power of Great Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin is as awe-inspiring as such.

If there were sentient beings who were much under the influence of sexual desires, by constantly repeating the name of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin with reverence they would become free from such desires. Were they full of anger, by constantly repeating the name of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin with reverence they would become free from anger. Were they full of ignorance, by constantly repeating the name of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin with reverence they would become free from ignorance. Inexhaustible Intent, Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin possesses great forceful spiritual power of this sort that could benefit beings in many ways; therefore, sentient beings should often repeat his name in their minds.

If a woman desired a male offspring, by prostrating and making offerings to Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin she would give birth to a male endowed with merits and wisdom. If she desired a female offspring, she would give birth to a female endowed with proper features and merits accumulated in past lives that would win admiration from people. Inexhaustible Intent, Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin possesses such powers. If there were sentient beings who would reverently prostrate to Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin, then the merits they thereby accrued would not be in vain. Therefore, sentient beings should all maintain repetition of the name of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin.

Inexhaustible Intent, if there were someone who maintained repetition of the names of Bodhisattvas as numerous as the sands of sixty-two billion Ganges rivers, and in addition had made offerings of drinks, foods, clothing, beddings, and medicines to them throughout this person’s lifetime, then what do you think, did such a good man or good woman have much merits?" Inexhaustible Intent said, "Very much, World Honored One." Buddha said, "If there were someone else who maintained repetition of the name of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin or just made prostration and offering once, then the merits of these two persons were exactly the same without differences, inexhaustible through hundreds thousands myriads billions kalpas. Inexhaustible Intent, maintaining repetition of the name of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin would receive similar benefit of countless and boundless merits."

Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent asked Buddha, "World Honored One, how does Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin roam this Saha world? How does he convey Dharma to sentient beings? What are matters that demonstrate his power of skillful means?" Buddha told Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent, "Good man, if there were lands and sentient beings that should be saved through the body of a Buddha, then Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin would appear as the body of a Buddha to preach Dharma to them. To those that should be saved through the body of a Pratyeka-Buddha he would appear as the body of a Pratyeka-Buddha to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of a Sravaka he would appear as the body of a Sravaka to preach Dharma.

To those that should be saved through the body of Mahabrahman he would appear as the body of Mahabrahman to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of Sakra-devanam-indra he would appear as the body of Sakra-devanam-indra to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of Isvara he would appear as the body of Isvara to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of Mahesvara he would appear as the body of Mahesvara to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of a heavenly great general he would appear as the body of a heavenly great general to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of Vaisravana he would appear as the body of Vaisravana to preach Dharma.

To those that should be saved through the body of a minor king he would appear as the body of a minor king to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of an elder he would appear as the body of an elder to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of a householder he would appear as the body of a householder to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of an official he would appear as the body of an official to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of a Brahman he would appear as the body of a Brahman to preach Dharma.

To those that should be saved through the body of a Bhiksu, Bhiksuni, Upasaka, or Upasika he would appear as the body of a Bhiksu, Bhiksuni, Upasaka, or Upasika to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of the wife of an elder, householder, official, or Brahman he would appear as the body of such a lady to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of a boy or girl he would appear as the body of a boy or girl to preach Dharma.

To those that should be saved through the body of a heavenly being, dragon, Yaksa, Gandharva, Asura, Garuda, Kimnara, Mahoraga, human, or non-human he would appear as all those to preach Dharma. To those that should be saved through the body of a Vajrapani he would appear as the body of a Vajrapani to preach Dharma.

Inexhaustible Intent, this Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin had accomplished such merits, and used various forms to roam all kinds of lands in order to guide sentient beings toward liberation from suffering. Therefore, all of you should whole-heartedly make offerings to Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin. This Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin could give blessing of fearlessness in fearful and urgent dangers. Therefore, all in this Saha world call him the Provider of Fearlessness."

Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent said to Buddha, "World Honored One, now I should make offerings to Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin." Then he untied the necklace around his neck that consisted of all kinds of jewel beads and was worth hundreds of thousands taels of gold, gave it to Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin with the words, "Kind One, accept this offering of jeweled necklace for the sack of Dharma." Then Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin would not accept it. Inexhaustible Intent said again to Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin, "Kind One, out of sympathy for those of us please accept this necklace." Then Buddha told Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin, "Should have sympathy for this Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent and the four groups, heavenly beings, dragons, Yaksas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Garudas, Kimnaras, Mahoragas, humans, non-humans, etc., therefore accept this necklace." Right then Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin out of sympathy for all those among the four groups and the heavenly beings, dragons, humans, non-humans, etc., accepted his necklace. He divided it into two halves. One half offered to Buddha Sakyamuni; one half offered to the pagoda of Buddha Prabhutaratna.

"Inexhaustible Intent, Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin possesses such freedom of miraculous power to roam the Saha world." Then Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent asked in gathas:

World Honored One with wondrous signs complete
Now I ask him once more
For what causal conditions the son of Buddha
Is named Guan Shi Yin

The honorable one with wondrous signs complete
Replies in gathas to Inexhaustible Intent
Listen you to the activities of Guan Yin
Responding well to all places in all directions

Great vows deep as oceans
Having passed kalpas inconceivable
Attended more than thousands of billions Buddhas
Developed great pure vows

For you I mention them in brevity
Hearing his name and seeing his form
Such mental glimpses would not be in vain
But could extinguish suffering in all realms

Suppose some harmful intention had arisen
And one is pushed into a huge pit of fire
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would transform the fire pit into a pond

Or if one were floating in a huge ocean
And experiencing dangers of dragons, fish and ghosts
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would prevent waves from sinking this person

Or if one were at the pinnacle of Mount Sumeru
But pushed off the peak by some human being
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would sustain one in sky like the sun

Or if one were chased by bad people
And fell off the Vajra Mountain
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would render impossible the loss of a hair

Or if one were surrounded by vengeful foes
Each holding a knife to inflict harm
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would immediately raise mercy in their minds

Or if one were suffering from judicial hardship
At the brink of ending one’s life by execution
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would break the executioner’s knife into pieces

Or if one were imprisoned and shackled
With hands cuffed and feet chained
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would release one from such bondage

Curses and all sorts of poisons
Which were intended to harm one’s body
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would send them back to the originator

Or if one encountered evil Raksasas
Malevolent dragons, ghosts and the like
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would right away stop them from doing harm

Or if one were surrounded by fierce animals
With sharp teeth and claws that are scary
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would drive them hurriedly away in all directions

Venomous snakes and scorpions
Poisonous miasma, smoke and burning fire
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would turn them back automatically

Clouds, drumming thunders and striking lightning
Falling hails and pouring heavy rains
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would right away disperse all of them

Sentient beings are cornered into difficult situations
Countless sufferings are pressing on them
The power of wondrous wisdom of Guan Yin
Could relieve all sufferings in the world

Complete with all sorts of supernatural powers
Applying extensively skillful means of wisdom
In all lands in the ten directions there is
No place where Guan Yin does not appear

All sorts of evil realms such as
Hells, ghosts and animals
Suffering of birth, senility, illness and death
Gradually would all be rendered extinct

View of Truth, view of purity
View of extensive wisdom
View of compassion and view of mercy
Constantly longed for, constantly looked up to

Light of purity that is blemish free
Sun of wisdom destroying all darkness
Capable of pacifying calamities of wind or fire
Universal clarity illuminating the world

Embodiment of compassion with thundering precepts
Merciful intentions form wondrous huge clouds
Pouring nectar rains of Dharma
To extinguish flames of sorrows

In courts due to legal battles or
In battle formation that are horrible
The power of chanting Guan Shi Yin
Would cause all enemies to retreat and disperse

Wondrous sounds, observing worldly sounds
Pure sounds, ocean tidal sounds
Superior to worldly sounds
Therefore one should constantly recall it

Thought after thought, let no doubt arise
Pure Holiness Guan Shi Yin
In suffering, sorrows, dying and dangers
Capable of serving as a refuge

Complete with all kinds of merits
Watching sentient beings with merciful eyes
Happiness accumulated as a boundless ocean
Therefore all should make prostration to him

Then Bodhisattva Earth Holding stood up from his seat, walked up to Buddha and said, "World Honored One, if there were sentient beings who heard about the liberated activities of Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin as mentioned in this chapter and his supernatural power to appear through universal gates, then it should be understood that such people had had not few merits." While Buddha was saying this Universal Gates Chapter eighty-four thousand sentient beings among the assembly all initiated the nonequal-rank unsurpassable right Bodhi mind.


Translation completed on October 29, 2001
El Cerrito, California


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