New Publications: The Great Cloud (1) and The Great Cloud (2)
84000 is pleased to announce two new publications
Toh 232 and Toh 235
The Great Cloud (2)
The Great Cloud (1) features a long dialogue between the Buddha Śākyamuni and a bodhisattva named Great Cloud Essence, who are periodically joined by various additional interlocutors from the vast audience of human and divine beings who have assembled to hear the Buddha’s teaching. The topics of their conversation are diverse and wide-ranging, but a central theme is the vast conduct of bodhisattvas, which is illustrated through the enumeration of the various meditative states and liberative techniques that bodhisattvas must master in order to minister to all sentient beings. This is followed by a conversation with the brahmin Kauṇḍinya concerning the Buddha’s cousin Devadatta, who is revealed to be a bodhisattva displaying the highest level of skillful means. Kauṇḍinya then inquires about the possibility of obtaining a relic from the Buddha, and another member of the audience responds with an explanation of how truly rare it is for a buddha relic to appear within the world. Finally, the discourse ends with the Buddha delivering a series of detailed prophecies describing the principal interlocutor’s future attainment of buddhahood, and he further explains the benefits and powers that can be obtained through the practice of this sūtra itself.
The Great Cloud (2) was identified more precisely in its colophon as a supplementary chapter from The Great Cloud on “the array of winds that bring down rainfall.” It describes a visit from the Buddha Śākyamuni to the realm of the nāgas. The assembly of nāgas pays homage to the Buddha with a grand panoply of magically emanated offerings, and their king asks him to explain how the nāgas can eliminate their own suffering and aid sentient beings by causing timely rain to fall. The Buddha, in response, extols the benefits of loving-kindness and then teaches them a dhāraṇī that when accompanied by the recitation of a host of buddha names will dispel the nāgas’ suffering and cause crops to grow. At the nāga king’s request, the Buddha then teaches another long dhāraṇī that will cause rain to fall during times of drought. The discourse concludes with instructions for constructing an altar and holding a ritual rainmaking service.
Sūtras in the Clouds: Making it Rain with Dharma
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