The Four Great Kings

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Then the great king Vaishravana, the great king Dhrta-rashtra, the great king Virudhaka and the great king Virupaksha rose from their seats, put their upper robes over one shoulder and knelt on their right knees. Bowing in reverence in the direction of the Tathagata, they spoke thus:

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, is proclaimed by all tathagatas, discerned by all tathagatas, considered by all tathagatas, upheld by the entire assembly of bodhisattvas, honored by the entire community of gods, worshiped by the entire community of gods, praised by all the kings of gods, and is venerated, praised and revered by the world protectors. It illuminates the dwellings of the gods, magnanimously bestows supreme bliss upon all sentient beings, dries up the suffering of beings in the hells, the animal realms and the world of Yama, severs the continuity of fear, repels all opponent armies, utterly ends all desolate famine, thoroughly pacifies all hopeless illnesses and overthrows all unfriendly planets. This sutra makes beings supremely serene, utterly alleviates sorrow and afflictive emotions, utterly removes all forms of harm and utterly overcomes hundreds of thousands of afflictions.

“If, Venerable Transcendent Victor, this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light is expounded perfectly and extensively among the assembly, then by hearing the Dharma and by the nectar of the Dharma, the divine bodies of us four great kings along with our armies and retinues will wax immensely, having great awe-inspiring glory. In our bodies, stamina, might and prowess will be generated. Into our bodies, charisma, excellence and consummate good fortune will flow.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, we the four great kings abide by the Dharma, profess the Dharma and are Dharma kings. Venerable Transcendent Victor, through the power of the Dharma, we will be kings of gods, nagas, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras and mahoragas. We will rout the terrible hordes of bhutas who are without compassion and steal their glory from others.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, we, along with the twenty-eight great generals of the yakshas and with numerous hundreds of thousands of yakshas too, will always watch over, guard and protect the whole of Jambudvipa with our divine eye, which is pure and surpasses the eyes of humans.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, for this reason, we the four great kings are known by the name ‘world-protectors.’ Venerable Transcendent Victor, whatever region of this Jambudvipa is overrun by foreign armies, afflicted with famine and disease, and acutely oppressed by hundreds of different harms, thousands of harms and hundreds of thousands of harms, Venerable Transcendent Victor, we the four kings will give support to the devout monks who keep the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, when devout monks – upon receiving encouragement from us, the four great kings, through magic power and blessings – travel to those regions and proclaim perfectly the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, the hundreds of harms and the thousands of harms occurring in those regions will cease.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, whatever regions of a king of humans the devout monks who hold the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light visit, those very regions will be visited by the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, should a king of humans listen to the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, and having listened, should he then give protection, give refuge, care for and save those monks from all their enemies, then Venerable Transcendent Victor, we the four great kings will protect, give refuge, care for, save and give peace and well-being to the beings living in the entire country of that king of humans.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, should a king of humans help bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas or upasikas to hold this king of sutras, providing them with all conducive resources, then we the four great kings will ensure that all beings in the entire country of that king of humans possess excellent well-being and resources.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, when a king of humans respects, honors, and offers service to the bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas or upasikas who hold the king of sutras, then Venerable Transcendent Victor, we the four great kings will greatly respect, greatly honor, greatly offer service and greatly worship that king of humans. We will praise him in all regions.”

Then the Tathagata congratulated the four great kings: “Excellent! Excellent, O great kings! Excellent! Excellent, you four great kings! It is like this: You have offered astonishing service to previous buddhas, produced roots of virtue, honored hundreds of thousands of millions of buddhas, abided by the Dharma and professed the Dharma, and through the Dharma you have become kings of gods and humans.

“It is like this: For a long time you have held a caring mind for all beings, a loving and giving mind resolutely set in the special resolve to bring benefit and happiness to all sentient beings. You have averted the unhelpful; you have persevered to achieve complete happiness for all beings.

“O you four great kings! Do guard, give refuge, guide, care for, avert retribution and ensure the peace and happiness of the kings of humans who venerate and honor this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light. In this way, you four great kings with your armies, retinues and numerous hundreds of thousands of yakshas will thoroughly safeguard the Dharma system of past, present and future buddhas. You will also preserve and retain it.

“Then you four great kings, along with your armies, retinues and numerous hundreds of thousands of yakshas will be victorious in the battle of gods and demigods. The demigods will be routed. In this way, as the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light subjugates the armies of adversaries, O four great kings, therefore, do guard, give refuge, guide, care for and ensure peace and happiness of bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas and upasikas who uphold the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light.”

Then the great king Vaishravana, the great king Dhrta-rashtra, the great king Virudhaka and the great king Virupaksha, rose from their seats, put their upper robes over one shoulder and knelt on their right knees. Bowing in reverence in the direction of the Tathagata, they spoke thus:

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, wherever in the future, in villages, cities, towns, country vales, in the whole country, at royal courts and whichever regions of a king of humans it may reach, if the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light is utilized by a certain king of humans to wield sovereign authority according to the treatise on kingship called The Inviolable Commitments of Divine Kings, and if he continually listens to, venerates and worships this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, or reveres, venerates, worships and honors bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas, or upasikas who uphold this king of sutras and listens to the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, then, through the water of listening to the Dharma and the nectar of the Dharma, the divine bodies of us four great kings, our retinues and numerous hundreds of thousands of yakshas will increase immensely in majesty. We will receive perseverance, energy and power. Our majesty, glory and general excellence will be increased.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, we the four great kings, along with our armies, retinues and numerous hundreds of thousands of yakshas, will make our bodies invisible. Now and in the future, we will visit any place – villages, cities, towns, country vales, royal courts or the entire nation – where this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light is utilized. We will perpetually protect, give refuge, guide, look after, avert retribution and ensure peace and happiness of the king of humans who listens to, venerates and worships the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light. We will perpetually protect, give refuge, guide, look after, avert retribution and ensure peace and happiness of the royal courts, their lands and regions. We will free these lands from all fear, harm and conflicts. Invading armies will be turned away.

“Should a hostile king encroach upon a king of humans who listens to, venerates and worships this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, and Venerable Transcendent Victor, should this hostile encroaching king think to himself, ‘With the four divisions of my army I will march to that region and destroy it,’ then Venerable Transcendent Victor, at that time, at that moment, by the power of the majesty of the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, a battle will take place between the hostile king and the other king. Even if the other king retreats to his own kingdom, there will be conflicts between the regions. There will be fierce troubles for the other king. There will be planetary afflictions and sicknesses in his territory. Hundreds of different disturbances will break out in the land. Venerable Transcendent Victor, should the invading king go back to his land, there will be hundreds of different disturbances and hundreds of different urgent problems. Venerable Transcendent Victor, if that hostile king builds up the four divisions of his army and advances to meet a foreign power, leaving his land behind and pressing ahead with the four divisions of his army to that foreign land, and if the land he seeks to overrun is a land where the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light exists, then Venerable Transcendent Victor, we the four great kings along with our armies, retinues and numerous hundreds of thousands of yakshas will make our bodies invisible and go there. Even before it enters the land, we will turn back this foreign army in that very spot. We will create hundreds of different difficult situations for him and cause obstacles. Thus, that foreign army of the hostile king will not be able to enter this land, much less cause destruction to it.”

Then the Tathagata congratulated the four great kings and said: “Excellent! Excellent, O great kings! O you four great kings, again, excellent! You have performed perfectly for hundreds of thousands of millions of eons. For the sake of this peerless, perfect enlightenment, do protect, save, guide, look after, avert retribution and ensure peace and happiness of a king of humans who listens to, venerates and worships the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light. Likewise, do protect, save, guide, look after, avert retribution and ensure peace and happiness of those royal courts, cities, lands and regions. Do set free those lands from all fear, harm and strife. Do turn back foreign armies. Do take delight in ensuring that the kings in Jambudvipa do not fight, do not allege, do not dispute or wage war. If, in the eighty-four thousand cities in this Jambudvipa, eighty-four thousand kings remain immensely happy and contented in their own lands, remain immensely happy with power over their kingdoms, do not intimidate each other with stockpiles of wealth, do not generate violence against each other, are contented with the lordship of a king over their kingdoms achieved according to the karma they have gathered, do not threaten one another and do not advance to destroy land, but instead, if the eighty-four thousand kings in the eighty-four thousand cities in this Jambudvipa have loving thoughts for each other, mutual loving and caring thoughts and do not fight, allege, dispute or wage war and remain very happy in their own lands, then as a result of this, you four great kings with your armies and retinues will flourish. That region will have years of good harvest, will be relaxed and happy and the land will be full of people and men. The land will become lush; seasons, months, fortnights and entire years will be marked by abundance and plenty. The planets, stars, moon, sun, day and night will move smoothly; rain will continually fall at the right time; all beings in the whole of Jambudvipa will be rich with wealth and grain. They will be wealthy. They will not be miserly; instead, they will be generous. They will follow the path of ten virtuous deeds. Most of them will be born into worlds of higher states of existence. The divine lands of gods will be full of gods and their divine children.

“O great kings! Suppose a certain being becomes a king of humans. If he then listens to, venerates and worships this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, and also, if he respects, reveres, venerates and worships bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas and upasikas who uphold this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, and if, out of sympathy for you four great kings, along with your armies, retinues and many thousands of yakshas, he continually listens to this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, then, with the nectar of the waterfall of Dharma teachings, he will satisfy your bodies. The great majesty of your divine bodies will increase. He will induce perseverance, energy and power, and this will increase your majesty, glory and excellence. This king of humans will make inconceivably great, vast offerings to me, the Tathagata, the Arhat, the perfectly enlightened Buddha Shakyamuni. With all his inconceivably great and vast material resources, this king of humans will make offerings to hundreds of thousands of millions of past, future and present tathagatas too. Therefore, great protection will be accorded to that king of humans. Therefore, that king of humans will be fully protected, saved, looked after and guided. His retribution will be averted and his peace and happiness ensured. His sublime queen, royal children, retinues of the queen and all retinues at the royal court will be fully protected, saved, looked after and guided. Their retribution will be averted and their peace and happiness ensured. Likewise, all the deities dwelling in the palace will be endowed with heightened majesty, power, inconceivable peace and bliss. They will experience manifold joys. The cities and lands too will be fully protected and looked after, will be without harm and without enemies. They will not be trodden over, harmed, or attacked by a rival army.”

When he had spoken thus, the great king Vaishravana, the great king Dhrta-rashtra, the great king Virudhaka and the great king Virupaksha addressed the Tathagata in this way: “Venerable Transcendent Victor, should a certain king of humans seek to listen to this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, seek great protection for himself and for his sublime queen as well as the princes, princesses and retinues of the queen, should he seek the great, inconceivable, supremely superior peerless peace and well-being for the retinues in the palace, should he seek to increase in that life the great, inconceivable power of his sovereign kingship, to become endowed with inconceivable greatness, to hold an incalculable stock of merit, to protect his entire land, guard it, ensure it is without harm, without enemy and not overrun by the rival army, without infectious disease and without trouble, then Venerable Transcendent Victor, that king of humans, with an undistracted mind filled with respect and veneration should honor and listen to this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light. In order to listen to this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, that king of humans will go to the exalted palace. Having arrived there, he will sprinkle the palace with water of various perfumes and strew it with various flowers. When that palace has been sprinkled with water of various perfumes and strewn with various flowers, he will set up a high Dharma throne well adorned with various ornaments. That place will be well embellished with various umbrellas, victory banners and flags. This king of human will wash his body, put on well-perfumed clothes, wear new attire and adorn himself with various ornaments. He will lay a much lower seat for himself. Once seated on that seat, he will cease to be haughty with the pride of a king. In that place, he will not experience craving for domain of his kingdom. With a mind that is free from pride, arrogance and haughtiness, he will listen to the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light. He will generate the awareness that sees the monk who expounds the Dharma as the Teacher. At that time and at that moment, that king of humans will look with affection and kindness upon his sublime queen, princes, princesses and retinues of the queen. He will speak kind words to his sublime queen, princes and princesses; he will also speak kind words to the retinues of the queen. To celebrate hearing the Dharma, a myriad of offerings will be assembled. He will satiate himself with previously unfelt, inconceivable joy. He will be blissful through inconceivable joy and peace. His senses will be blissful. He will resolve to achieve the higher purpose. With this great joy, he will gladden himself. Feeling very joyous, he will receive the expounder of the Dharma.”

When they said this to him, the Tathagata said this to the four great kings: “O great kings, at that time and at that moment, the king of humans will clothe himself wholly in white, light-colored, new, beautiful clothing. He will adorn himself exquisitely with various ornaments. He will hold white umbrellas as well. With great royal might and pageantry, taking various auspicious items, he will leave the palace in order to receive the expounder of the Dharma. Why? Because for as many hundreds of thousands of millions of eons as the numbers of steps he takes there, he will shun cyclic existence. For as many hundreds of thousands of millions of eons as the number of steps he takes he will obtain Chakravartin kingship. In that life his royal domain will increase inconceivably by the number of steps he takes. He will obtain expansive dwellings of divine palaces made of the seven jewels for many hundreds of thousands of millions of eons. A king of the human race, he will obtain numerous hundreds of thousands of noble divine palaces. In all his births he will obtain great domain. He will have longevity. He will sustain life for a long period. He will be endowed with confidence in eloquence. His words will be worthy of remembrance; he will be famous; he will be widely talked about; he will be worthy of praise; he will bring good to the worlds of gods, humans and demigods. He will obtain the magnanimous bliss of gods and humans. He will be powerful; he will possess the powerful strength of a great crowd and will be handsome too. He will be good looking and attractive; he will be endowed with supreme complexion. In all his births he will meet tathagatas; he will find virtuous friends; he will hold an incalculable stock of merit. O great kings, seeing such benefits of virtue, the king of humans will go nearly one league to receive the expounder of the Dharma. He will go one hundred leagues, or one thousand leagues to receive the expounder of the Dharma. He will generate a sense of seeing the expounder as the Teacher.

“He will think to himself, ‘Today the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened Shakyamuni Buddha will enter my palace. Today the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened Shakyamuni Buddha will enjoy a meal in my palace. Today I will hear the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened Shakyamuni Buddha’s Dharma, vastly unlike anything in the world. Today, by hearing the Dharma, I will advance irreversibly to the peerless, perfect enlightenment. Today I will please many hundreds of thousands of millions of tathagatas. Today I will make expansive and inconceivable great offerings to past, future and present buddhas. Today I will utterly sever the continuum of all suffering for beings in the worlds of hell, animals and Yama. Today I will plant seeds of virtue to obtain several hundreds of thousands of millions of bodies of a Brahma king. Today I will plant seeds of merit to obtain several hundreds of thousands of millions of bodies of Shakra. I will plant seeds of merit to obtain several hundreds of thousands of millions of rebirths as a Chakravartin king. Today I will be free from cyclic existence for several hundreds of thousands of millions of eons. Today I will hold a stock of merit that is inconceivable, great, vast and incalculable. Today I will accord great protection to the entire circle of the queen’s retinues. Today, here in the palace, I will give inconceivable, supreme, excellent, matchless great peace and happiness to beings. Today I will cause the entire land to be protected, guarded, freed from harm and enemies, undefeated by all foreign armies, free of infectious diseases and free of conflict.’
 
“O great kings, if that king of humans should respect, revere, venerate and worship bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas and upasikas who uphold this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, out of such devotion to the sublime Dharma, and should he give the best share of merit thus acquired to you, the four great kings, along with your armies and retinues, assemblies of gods and numerous hundreds of thousands of yakshas, then that human king’s accumulation of merit and virtue and the inconceivable grandeur of his life and royalty will increase greatly. In that life the king will be endowed with inconceivable majesty. He will be adorned with glory, excellence and majestic charisma. He will utterly rout all adversaries and enemies in accordance with the Dharma.”

When he had spoken thus, the four great kings said this to the Tathagata: “Suppose a certain being becomes a king of humans. With such devotion to the Dharma, should he listen to this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, and likewise respect, revere, venerate and worship bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas and upasikas who uphold this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light; should he thoroughly sweep and clean his palace for the sake of us, the four great kings, sprinkle it with various perfumed water and hear the Dharma along with us four great kings, and then for his own sake and for the sake of all gods, should he give away a little share of merit roots, then Venerable Transcendent Victor, for the sake of us, the four great kings, as soon as the bhikshu who expounds the Dharma takes his Dharma seat, he will light various fragrant incenses. Venerable Transcendent Victor, as soon as perfumed incenses are lit for the purpose of worshiping this King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, vines having various fragrances and perfumes will issue forth. In that instant, second and moment, in the sky above us four great kings there will emerge umbrellas made of vines of various incenses and perfumes. Tremendous fragrances of perfume will be sensed. Light like that of gold will arise and this light will illuminate our dwellings. Venerable Transcendent Victor, in that instant, second and moment, the vines of incense and perfume will appear in the sky above the dwellings of Brahma, lord of the fearless world; Indra, king of the gods; the great goddess Sarasvati; the great goddess Drdha; the great goddess Shri; Samjnaya, the great general of yakshas along with the twenty-eight generals of the yakshas; Maheshvara, the divine son; Vajrapani, the great general of yakshas; Manibhadra, the great general of yakshas; Hariti with her retinue of five hundred sons; Anavatapta, the king of nagas and Sagara, the great king of nagas. The umbrellas of various incenses and perfumes will remain afloat in their dwellings. Exorbitant fragrances of perfume will be sensed. Golden lights will flood their abodes and these lights will illuminate all their dwellings.

When they said this to him, the Tathagata replied in this way to the four great kings: “O great kings, it is not just that the umbrellas made of vines of various incenses and perfumes will arise in the sky above the dwellings of you four great kings alone. Why? It is also because, O great kings, as soon as that king of humans lights various incenses in order to worship the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, vines of those various incenses and perfumes will appear from the single stick of incense that he holds in his hands. Then, at that instant, second and moment, in the entire triple thousand, great thousand world systems in which there exist one thousand million moons, one thousand million suns, one thousand million great oceans, one thousand million Sumerus, the kings of mountains, one thousand million Chakra-vadas and Maha-chakra-vadas, the kings of mountains, one thousand million world systems of the four continents, one thousand million gods in the class of the four great kings, one thousand million gods of the thirty-third abode of the desire realm, one thousand million gods of neither awareness nor non-awareness of the formless realm, and in the abodes of one thousand million gods of the Thirty-Three in all these triple thousand great thousand world systems, and in the sky above the respective dwellings of the assemblies of gods, nagas, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras and mahoragas, the vines of various incenses and perfumes will float. Those beings will smell fragrance of exalted perfumes. Golden lights will flood their divine dwellings and illuminate them. O great kings, in this way, just as in the sky above the divine dwellings in the triple great thousand world systems, those vines of incenses and perfumes will abide as umbrellas. As soon as that king of humans lights various incenses in order to worship the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, by the power of the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, there will appear vines of various incenses and perfumes.

“At that instant, second and moment, on all sides in the ten directions and in numerous world systems as many as hundreds of thousands of millions of buddha fields equaling grains of sand in the river Ganges and in the sky above as many hundreds of thousands of millions of tathagatas equaling grains of sand in the river Ganges, umbrellas made of vines of various incenses and perfumes will appear. These will smell profusely as incense and perfumes for the hundreds of thousands of millions of buddhas. There will be golden light and that light will illuminate as many hundreds of thousands of millions of buddha fields equaling the grains of sand in the river Ganges. O great kings, as soon as these miracles have taken place, then as many hundreds of thousands of millions of tathagatas as there are grains of sand in the river Ganges will recognize that expounder of the Dharma. They will congratulate him: ‘Excellent! Excellent, O sublime being! It is most marvelous that you, a sublime being, wish to preach extensively the great features of the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, which is possessed of inconceivable qualities such as illumination on the profound. If even those beings who hear the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light will have no lesser roots of virtue, what need is there to say that those who take it up, hold it, recite it, understand it and expound it extensively in the assembly will sow great roots of virtue? Why? Because, O sublime being, as soon as they hear the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, numerous hundreds of thousands of millions of bodhisattvas will advance irreversibly to peerless perfect enlightenment.’

“Then hundreds of thousands of millions of tathagatas residing in their respective buddha fields in all the ten directions, in hundreds of thousands of millions of buddha fields as numerous as the grains of sand in the Ganges, with one word, one voice and one sound proclaimed to the preaching bhikshu seated on the Dharma seat: ‘O sublime being, in the future you will advance to the final state of enlightenment. O sublime being, having gone to the supremely sublime essence of enlightenment and sitting at the foot of the king of trees, you will display transcendence over all the triple realms. You will display numerous hundreds of thousands of millions of austere deeds, awe-inspiring in the triple worlds, surpassing those of all beings. O sublime being, you will thoroughly glorify the essence of enlightenment. O sublime being, you will thoroughly save the triple thousand world systems. O sublime being, sitting at the foot of the king of trees, you will triumph over the inconceivable army of maras, which display the most terrifying repulsive forms and various hideous appearances. O sublime being, having gone to the supremely sublime essence of enlightenment, you will attain the complete state of enlightenment which is peerless, perfect and consummate, incomparable, utterly serene, without dust and profound. O sublime being, seated upon the immutable vajra seat, you will turn the wheel of the Dharma which is praised by all holders of Dharma wheels to be twelve-fold, supremely profound. O sublime being, you will beat the supreme drum of the Dharma. O sublime being, you will sound the supreme conch of the Dharma. O sublime being, you will hoist the great banner of the Dharma high. O sublime being, you will light the supreme torch of the Dharma. O sublime being, you will rain a supreme rain of Dharma. O sublime being, you will be victorious over numerous thousands of afflictions. O sublime being, you will free numerous hundreds of thousands of millions of sentient beings from the terrifying ocean of fear. O sublime being, from the wheel of cyclic existence you will free hundreds of thousands of millions of sentient beings. O sublime being, you will please hundreds of thousands of millions of buddhas.’’’

As he spoke thus, the four great kings replied to the Tathagata: “Venerable Transcendent Victor, upon seeing that the king of humans who perceives the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light has such qualities as these in present and futures lives, that he will generate roots of virtue under hundreds of thousands of buddhas and thoroughly hold incalculable stocks of merit, then out of compassion, Venerable Transcendent Victor, we the four great kings, along with our armies and retinues and numerous hundreds of thousands of yakshas, while in our own respective dwellings, as soon as we have been encouraged by the umbrellas made of vines of incenses and perfumes, will render our bodies invisible and go to the palace of that king of humans to listen to the Dharma, the palace built by the king of humans which is well swept and clean, sprinkled with water of various perfumes and exquisitely adorned with various ornaments.

“Brahma, lord of the fearless world; Indra, king of the gods; the great goddess Sarasvati; the great goddess Drdha; the great goddess Shri; Samjnaya, great general of the yakshas along with the twenty-eight generals of yakshas; Maheshvara, the divine son; Vajrapani, great general of yakshas; Manibhadra, great general of the yakshas; Hariti with her retinue of five hundred sons; Anavatapta, king of nagas; Sagara, the great king of nagas and numerous hundreds of thousands of millions of gods and goddesses will all make their bodies invisible and approach the palace of that king of humans, which is well adorned and where, on the flower-strewn ground, is set up for the expounder of the Dharma a high seat well decorated with various adornments.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, we the four great kings, along with our army and retinues including numerous hundreds of thousands of yakshas, will be agreeable to the king. As soon as we have been satiated with the nectar juice of the Dharma by the king of humans who assists in virtue, causes beings to receive virtue and bestows the supreme generosity of the peerless Dharma, we will fully protect that human king. We will save, guide, care for and ensure peace and happiness for him. We will also protect his palace, cities and regions. We will save, guard, look after, ensure peace and happiness and avert retribution for beings in these places. We will ensure that region is free of all threats, harm, contagious diseases and conflict.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, suppose a certain being becomes a king of humans and in the land of this king of humans there exists the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light. Venerable Transcendent Victor, if that king of humans does not respect, revere, venerate and worship bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas and upasikas who uphold the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light, then he will not satisfy us four kings or numerous hundreds of thousands of millions of yakshas with the hearing of the Dharma and the nectar juice of the Dharma. He will not venerate us. These divine bodies of ours will not increase in majesty. Our perseverance, might and power will not be enhanced. Majesty, glory and excellence will not increase in our bodies. Venerable Transcendent Victor, we four great kings, along with our armies and retinues and numerous hundreds of thousands of millions of yakshas will neglect the land. Venerable Transcendent Victor, when we neglect the land, then all the assembly of gods and goddesses who dwell in the land will also neglect the land. Venerable Transcendent Victor, when the gods and goddesses discard the land, there will be various conflicts in the land. There will be fierce disputes among kings. All beings living in that land will become quarrelsome, accusatory and contentious. They will be divided and ruined. The land will experience various illnesses and unfavorable planets. Comets will fall from various directions. Planets and stars will become hostile with one another. The moonrise at night will seem like the rising of the sun. There will be lunar and solar eclipses. Even the sun and moon in the sky will be attacked continually by Rahu. From time to time halos the color of rainbows will appear in the sky. There will be earthquakes. The wells in the ground will howl with sounds. Gale force winds will blow in the land. There will be torrential rainfalls. There will be desolate famines in the land. Rival armies will crush the land. The land will be filled with swarms of bees. Beings will experience rampant afflictions. The land will become most unpleasant. Venerable Transcendent Victor, when we the four great kings, along with our armies and retinues, numerous hundreds of thousands of yakshas, nagas who live in the land and gods and goddesses all ignore it, there will arise hundreds of these and similar harms and thousands of harms in that land.

“Venerable Transcendent Victor, suppose a certain being becomes a king of humans. If he seeks to provide great protection for himself, to experience various regal joys, to exercise his sovereignty with an intention to give all happiness and well-being to every being living in the land, to defeat the entire rival army, to reign over all the land for a great length of time, to be a Dharma king and to free his land from all fear, harm, contagious disease and conflict, that king of humans, Venerable Transcendent Victor, will undoubtedly hear the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light. He will respect, revere, venerate and worship bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas and upasikas who uphold the King of Glorious Sutras. We the four great kings, along with our armies and retinues, will be satisfied by roots of virtue gathered from listening to the Dharma and by the nectar juice of the Dharma. These divine bodies of ours will increase in majesty. Why? Because, Venerable Transcendent Victor, that king of humans will undoubtedly listen to the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light. Venerable Transcendent Victor, the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light supremely surpasses the many various mundane and supramundane treatises expounded by Brahma lords, the many various mundane and supramundane treatises expounded by Shakra, the king of gods and the many various mundane and supramundane treatises expounded for the sake of sentient beings by seers possessed of the five extrasensory perceptions.

“It is perfectly and widely expounded for the sake of sentient beings by the Tathagata who is more supreme and exalted than hundreds of thousands of Lord Brahmas, numerous hundreds of thousands of millions of Shakras and hundreds of thousands of millions of seers possessed of the five extrasensory perceptions. The King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light is expounded so that kings of humans in Jambudvipa may be supreme reigning kings, all beings may be happy, fully protect their lands and reign in their lands, that their lands may be without harm and enemies, that they may defeat the armies of adversaries and turn them away, that there may be no infectious illness and conflict in those lands, that through the Dharma those lands may be without conflict and not be overrun, that these kings of humans may light the great torch of the Dharma and illuminate their lands, that all the divine dwellings may be filled with gods and divine children, that we the four great kings along with armies and retinues and numerous hundreds of thousands of yakshas and all the gatherings of gods dwelling in Jambudvipa may be satisfied, that all may be auspicious, that these divine bodies of ours may increase in majesty, that perseverance, power and strength may be instilled in our bodies, that majesty, glory and excellence may flow into our bodies, that Jambudvipa may have good crops and be filled with people, and that all beings dwelling in Jambudvipa may be happy and experience various pleasures, that all sentient beings may have various joys and experience magnanimous joys of gods and humans for numerous hundreds of thousands of millions of eons, find the company of lord buddhas, and in some future time be fully enlightened in the peerless state of perfect enlightenment. The Venerable Transcendent Victor, the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened Buddha possesses blessings infused by the power of great compassion exceedingly superior to that of hundreds of thousands of millions of Brahma lords, unsurpassable tathagata knowledge exceedingly superior to the knowledge of hundreds of thousands of millions of Shakras, and blessings exceedingly superior to that of numerous hundreds of thousands of millions of various seers possessed of the five extrasensory perceptions. The Venerable Transcendent Victor, the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened Buddha has widely and perfectly expounded here in Jambudvipa the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light for the sake of sentient beings.

“Whatever royal views, royal treatises and royal duties there are in the whole of Jambudvipa which ensure happiness for sentient beings, all have been revealed, stated and expounded by the Venerable Transcendent Victor, the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened Buddha, in the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light. Venerable Transcendent Victor, for this reason and for this cause, the king of humans will undoubtedly listen to, venerate and worship the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light.”

As they said this to him, the Venerable Transcendent Victor said thus to them: “Therefore, O you four great kings, with your armies and retinues, do take unhesitating great delight in protecting the kings of humans who listen to, respect and worship the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light. O great kings, do let bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas, upasikas who hold the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light uphold buddha deeds. They will perform buddha deeds in the worlds of gods, humans and asuras. They will expound the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light well and extensively. You four great kings by all means will protect, safeguard, guide, look after and ensure the peace and happiness of bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas and upasikas who hold the King of Glorious Sutras so they may be secure, without harm, ailments or conflicts, and endowed with peace of mind enabling them to expound the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light well and extensively.”

Then indeed, the great king Vaishravana, the great king Dhrtarashtra, the great king Virudhaka and the great king Virupaksha rose from their seats, placed their upper robes over one shoulder, knelt their right knees on the ground and bowed in reverence with their folded hands pointing in the direction of the Tathagata. At that time, they praised the Tathagata in these befitting verses:

O Conqueror, your form is the flawless full moon. O Conqueror, your thousand-ray light is the sun. O Conqueror, your eyes are the stainless lotus petal. O Conqueror, your teeth are the flawless lotus stem.

O Conqueror, your virtues, like the ocean, are the source of myriad jewels. O Conqueror, your ocean is filled with wisdom water, and with one hundred thousand concentrations.

O Conqueror, the soles of your feet are inscribed with wheels, perfectly round and with a thousand spokes. Your hands and feet are netted by webs of light; the webs of your feet resemble those of the king of geese.

O Conqueror, you are like a golden mountain. O Conqueror, the flawless king of the golden mountain, your virtues are like Mount Sumeru. We worship you, O Conqueror, the lord of the mountain. The Tathagata is like the fully-waxed moon and likewise resembles and takes after space. We prostrate to the flawless Conqueror.

Then the Tathagata spoke these verses to the four great kings:

O you, the four guardians of the world, safeguard with utmost effort The King of Glorious Sutras, The Sublime Golden Light of the ten powers.

In this way, this profound precious sutra that bestows goodness upon all creatures will abide long in this Jambudvipa to bring solace and benefit to beings. In this way, the suffering of the lower realms, all suffering of hell beings in the hell realms of the triple thousand, great thousand worlds will be utterly pacified. Here in this Jambudvipa, all the kings in the land will feel intense great joy and will rule according to the Dharma.

One who makes Jambudvipa tranquil, extremely bountiful and full of joy, will make beings in the whole of Jambudvipa full of peace.

Here, the lords of humans who delight in bringing happiness to themselves and their lands and who find joy in making their kingdoms prosperous should listen to this King of Glorious Sutras.

This King of Glorious Sutras fully destroys external enemies, turns back legions of foreign armies, removes the fear of the terrified and poor and causes supreme virtue.

Just as the jewel tree – intensely beautiful and the source of all virtue – stands as a centerpiece in a house, so should this supreme king of sutras be viewed by those who desire the virtue of kings.

Just as cool water quenches the thirst of one who is tortured by heat, so does this supreme king of sutras satisfy kings oppressed by thirst for virtue.

Like having a jewel box, the source of all jewels, sitting in the palm of one’s hand, the supreme King of Sutras, The Sublime Golden Light acts thus for the lords of humans.

Venerated by the assembly of gods and worshiped by the kings of gods, this king of sutras is carefully guarded by four world protectors possessed of potent magic power.

The buddhas in the ten directions continually remember this king of sutras. When this king of sutras is expounded, Buddhas bestow rejoicing ‘Well said!’ remarks.

Further, one hundred thousand million yakshas will protect lands in the ten directions where this king of sutras is heard with keen interest and great joy.

The inconceivable hosts of gods who dwell in Jambudvipa will listen to this king of sutras with great joy.

The gods will obtain charisma, power and enthusiasm. Their enchanting divine forms will wax and wax greatly.

Upon hearing such verses as these from the Tathagata, the four great kings were amazed, enthralled and delighted. Moved by the power of the Dharma, they were overcome by emotion and became tearful. Then, wiping away their tears, endowed with inconceivable joy, happiness and gladness, their bodies upright, their limbs quivering, they strew the Tathagata profusely with divine mandaravava flowers. Having strewn the Tathagata with flowers, they rose from their seats, put their upper robes over one shoulder, knelt their right knees on the ground and bowed to the Tathagata. Folding their hands in reverence, they observed thus to him:

“O Venerable Transcendent Victor, in order to protect and care for the bhikshu who expounds the Dharma, we the four great kings, each with five hundred yakshas, will always follow after him.”

This concludes the seventh chapter, the Chapter on the Four Great Kings, from the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light.

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