The name of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva means the ground of the heart. The heart is like the earth, which can nourish everything and contain everything. The earth contains treasures, the heart contains immeasurable merits, and the heart contains three treasures: the nature of the heart is the treasure of Buddha, the wisdom of the heart is the treasure of Dharma, and the wonderful inaction of the heart is the treasure of Sangha. The heart also contains the three treasures of morality, concentration, and wisdom, as well as the treasures of compassion, joy, and equanimity. Therefore it is called Ksitigarbha.
“Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s Original Vow Sutra” has always been regarded as the filial piety sutra of Buddhism. This sutra mainly tells the story of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s filial piety for the earth, and the great compassion vows, side by side with karma, retribution, hell conditions, etc. This is the Buddha’s filial piety. Litian Palace is a Dharma assembly specially opened for the biological mother, Mrs. Maya. This sutra coincides with the tradition of attaching importance to filial piety in our country, so it is extremely popular among the people.
This sutra has the following origins:
First, Lady Maya passed away seven days after the birth of the Buddha and was reborn in the Trayasatra Palace. After the Buddha became a monk and became enlightened, he preached the Dharma throughout his life until he was eighty years old. In order to repay his mother’s kindness when he was about to enter Nirvana, he went to the Trayastrim Heaven to preach the Dharma and fulfill his wish to repay his kindness.
Second, the Buddha is about to pass away, and people in the last days of practice will encounter many obstacles and demons, making it difficult for them to achieve their goals. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva has a great affinity with all sentient beings in Jambudvipa, and he has made a vow: ‘Unless hell is empty, I vow not to become a Buddha.’ The Buddha entrusted his unfinished business of educating all sentient beings in the Saha world to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, waiting for Maitreya Buddha to be reborn, and asked heavenly beings to do their best to support the practitioners. Therefore, this sutra was proclaimed in the Trayastrim Palace.
Third, the Buddha went to the Trayastra Palace to preach to his mother in order to break the doubts and slanders of the six hereditary teachers. At that time, the Sixth Pagan Division in India was very powerful and highly respected by the king and worshiped by ministers. However, ever since Sakyamuni’s Buddhism flourished, the theory of the Six Masters has become as dim as a firefly under the light of the Buddha’s Sun of Wisdom. Therefore, they spread rumors and said that the Buddha was unfilial to his own parents, ungrateful and other weird things, hoping to use this to cover his own teachings and restore his fame and fortune. For this reason, the Buddha preached the Ksitigarbha Sutra to his mother in the Trayastrim Heaven, instructing his disciples not only to save their parents in this life, but also to make the vow to save the deceased in countless lives, just like Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, in order to repay their parents’ kindness. In this way, the rumors of the Sixth Heretic Division will be self-defeating.
Buddhism attaches great importance to repaying the four kinds of kindness – the kindness of parents in nurturing, the kindness of teachers in teaching, the kindness of country’s soil and water, and the kindness of all living beings who protect and help us. This is a broad ethics of repaying gratitude. Not only my parents, but also everyone who has been kind to me must repay the kindness. In order to become a monk, a monk temporarily leaves his parents to study Taoism. This does not mean that he abandons his parents and ignores them, nor does he sever his moral integrity. Rather, he makes a transition between temporary filial piety in the world and eternal filial piety outside the world, between incomplete filial piety and complete filial piety. choice. Because those who can truly repay the kindness of their parents need to achieve Taoism and can truly escape the suffering of their parents in past lives and reincarnate in the paradise. This is the complete filial piety.
There are three types of Buddhist filial piety:
- The filial piety of man and nature, focusing on filial piety and nurturing parents’ blessings in this world.
- The filial piety of Hinayana people can save relatives from suffering.
- The filial piety of the Bodhisattva vehicle can save all sentient beings, escape suffering and achieve happiness, and together they can achieve Buddhahood.
It can be seen that the filial piety of people in the world is narrow, temporal, short-sighted, temporary, and incomplete. For example, a son who is not good at swimming wants to save his drowning parents, but is unable to do so, or both of them sink. The filial piety of a transcendent person is broad, three-life, far-sighted, permanent, and thorough. For example, a son who is good at swimming or boating can easily save his parents from drowning. This is the difference between worldly filial piety and transcendental filial piety. As the saying goes, “Being a human being without being filial to your parents is not enough to be a human being; being filial without being aware of life and death is not enough to be a filial person.”
In this sutra, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva not only loved his parents but also loved all sentient beings during his previous reincarnations. Therefore, every time I make a great vow, I will save all suffering sentient beings. Because the Bodhisattva knows that all living beings were once his parents. Therefore, the Bodhisattva has made a great vow throughout his life, “Only when all sentient beings are saved can he realize Bodhi. Until the hell is empty, he vows not to become a Buddha.” ’ This is exactly the filial piety of Buddhism, the original vow of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, and the expression of great compassion for the Bodhisattva to realize his true nature.
Therefore, the Buddha preached the Dharma for his mother in Trayasa Heaven and entrusted the important task of saving countless sentient beings to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, who performed great filial piety and made great vows. This embodies the Buddhist spirit of repaying the kindness of all parents.