His patience is steadfast like the earth,
his meditative absorption as profound
and subtle as treasure troves,
his meditative equanimity sublime
and wonderful akin
to beautiful flower garlands,
and his wisdom deep
and vast as the great ocean.
Today, the 30th day of the seventh Lunar month, is the birthday of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva.
It is recorded in the Daśa-cakra-kṣitigarbha Sūtra that the Buddha was once expounding the Dharma for the great bhikṣus and bodhisattvas at Gayā, manifesting various clouds of fragrant flowers, rains of flowers, and rains of jewels, and issuing great sounds of the Dharma, when suddenly the masses felt the element of earth increased and their bodies became hard and heavy, unable to move. A deity named Stainless Birth from Śakra’s retinue bowed to the Buddha with his palms joined together and asked, “World-honored One, what is the reason for such phenomena? Please kindly explain to us.”
The Buddha then said to Stainless Birth, “You should know that a great bodhisattva named Kṣitigarbha has been delivering sentient beings for countless and infinite great eons in the worlds of five turbidites where Buddhas did not appear. Now, to come with innumerable bodhisattvas to worship and make offerings to me, and rejoiced at seeing the assembly, he and his retinue will arrive here in the appearance of śrāvaka monastics. Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva has immeasurable, infinite, and inconceivable wonderful virtues that no worldings, śrāvakas, or pratyekabuddhas can fathom. Upon his arrival, he first manifested such mystic powers.”
At that moment, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva Mahāsattva and his retinue in great number came before the Buddha from the south and reverently bowed with their heads at Buddha’s feet; after walking clockwise around the Buddha three circuits, they stood before the Tathāgata, joined their palms, praised and made offerings to the Buddha, and then sat down in front of the Buddha to listen to the teaching. The assembly also made offerings to Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva one after another. One bodhisattva named Fond of Questioning, with his palms joined together, beseeched the Buddha to recount the virtues and merits of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva.
The Buddha said that a great bodhisattva as Kṣitigarbha is endowed with the virtues and roots of goodness unknowable to heavenly and human beings in all worlds. If they heard from the Tathāgata an extensive explanation of the bodhisattva’s good qualities and virtuous roots, they would feel confused and faint, or be unable to believe or accept them. As Bodhisattva Fond of Questioning repeated his request, the Buddha briefly explained the virtues of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva.
Having achieved various kinds of wonderful samādhi, and awakened and entered the state of the Tathāgata, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva has already attained the foremost anutpattika-dharma-kṣānti (acquiescence based on the awareness of the non-arising of phenomena), perfected boundless excellent virtues, and brought infinite sentient beings he intended to deliver to accomplishment. Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva has long practiced great compassion that is unwavering, and made incalculable great vows, saving sentient beings with his vigorous and diligent strength that continuously increases. For those who can wholeheartedly recite Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva’s title, read the sutras, and take refuge in, worship and make offerings to the bodhisattva, all their wishes that are compliant with the Dharma will be fulfilled, all their worries and sorrows will perish, and they will obtain peace and joy of heavenly and human worlds and attain ultimate nirvāṇa. Namo Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva Mahāsattva of the Great Vow!