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This version of The Sutra of Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows is a colloquial English translation of the ancient 7th century Chinese sutra translated from Sanskrit by Master Siksananda from the Kingdom of Khotan. Ksitigarbha is a Sanskrit word meaning “earth treasure”, which reflects the hidden treasure in the minds/hearts of all sentient beings, and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s specialty and merit is His power of vow – He vowed not to become a Buddha until He has rescued all beings, including those in hell.
The Sutra of Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows has the most direct connection with us sentient beings in this chaotic, troubled and distressed era and world. The Buddha foresaw the suffering and chaos in this Dharma-Declining Period that we are now living in, which is due to our own individual as well as collective deeds.
Although there is still a lot of work to be done, but the Buddha had a miraculous plan! Through His great kindess and mercy, before He went into nirvana, the Buddha entrusted us to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Mahasattva to be saved and rescued, not just humans, but also celestial beings and especially all beings in the three lower realms – animals, hungry ghosts and hell beings.
The narrator, Paul, is an inmate that was under maximum security incarceration in the U.S. who has been rescued by the Three Jewels and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva countless times, especially when faced with life-death issues. In fact, while recording, Paul was suffering from a life-threatening illness for the third time, and on occasion, the lung cancer affected his strength and voice. Miraculously, not long after finishing the recording, he became cancer-free again! Moreover, he was recently moved to a medium-security correction center due to his transformation. This recording is Paul’s offering to the Three Jewels and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Mahasattva.
This is an unprecedented project and would not have been possible without the gracious and generous support of the state correctional officers, the superintendent and the officers of the corrections center to whom we are deeply grateful. We are also very thankful to our audio editor/sound engineer, Jonathan Raz, for his caring, patient and detailed work that made it possible for the recording to be so professional and pleasing to listen to. Due to the limitations of the recording circumstances, there are a few places in the sutra where the recorded audio does not exactly reflect the printed version, or you may hear some background noise.
Throughout the past four years of learning Buddhism with Paul, we have been moved by his serious, persistent vows to change himself and cultivate inwardly according to the Buddha and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s teachings. He often generously and selflessly shared his struggles, troubles and doubts as well as times of joy when the illuminating wisdom of the Buddha and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva saved him. These experiences helped and inspired many Buddhist practitioners all over the world.
We’re grateful that our Buddhist dharma friend is sharing his life with us and helping us to validate that the miraculous power of the Three Jewels and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is real. And we are immensely honored to have had the chance to witness these miracles.
From our experience, reading and/or copying this sutra helps to obtain calm, peace and inspiration; we hope that listening to it can also bring the same. You can find the printed copy at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/1724474812/. May Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Mahasattva bless and guide us all to find true liberation and peace!
Society of Ksitigarbha Studies, USA
Dong Shan Institute of Buddhism