Earthly Spirits Protecting the Dharma
At that time, the Spirit of the strong earth said to the Shakyamuni Buddha, “Honored of the World. In the past, I have paid homage to innumerable Maha Bodhisattvas who possessed inconceivable honor and wisdom, and who have converted boundless sentient beings. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva made strong and deep vows among these Bodhisattvas. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva has great relationship with the sentient beings in Jampudvipa. Such as Manjushri, Samantabhadra Bodhisattvas, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and Maitreya Buddha, all of whom make hundreds of thousands of transformations to convert the erring beings of the six Directions of Reincarnation and their vows have already been achieved. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva made strong vows, as many as the grains of sands of the Ganges River, to convert the sentient beings of the six Directions of Reincarnation. Honored of the World, I can see that the sentient beings of the present and future can make images of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva in iron, brass, silver, gold or simple drawings, and enshrine them in cases either of earth, stone, bamboo or wood and keep the cases in a neat place in the south of their residence of purity, and pay homage to the Bodhisattva with the deepest reverence and earnest admiration and make scented offerings, such pious persons will receive ten kinds of benefits around their residences. What are the ten kinds of benefits? They are as follows:
1. Their soil will be rich by producing good harvest.
2. The whole family will be in peace forever.
3. All deceased relatives will be born in the heavens.
4. All the living relatives will have longevity.
5. All of their aspirations will be achieved.
6. They will never suffer the danger of flood and fire.
7. All bad becomings will be done away with.
8. They will never have bad dreams.
9. They will be protected by guardians wherever they go.
10. They will always come across holy conditions.
Honored of the World, sentient beings at present and in the future will receive the same kinds of benefit if they practice the same kind of merit and offerings at their residences. Honored of the World, if sentient beings in the future keep the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra or Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s images in their homes or if they also chant the Sutra of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva or make offerings to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, I shall do my very best to protect such persons day and night always, and they will never come across floods, fires robbery, theft, destructive calamities or any other disastrous happenings, either big or small.” Shakyamuni Buddha told the Spirit of the strong earth, “You are powerful and other spirits cannot be compared to yourself. It is because all the sentient beings in the Jampudvipa are protected by you. Every material, from the grain of sand to the most precious jewel, is produced from the earth through your Infinite powers; and you are praising the meritorious deeds of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. Your merits and your powers are a thousand times greater than those of other earthly spirits. If sentient beings of the future make offerings to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, or chant the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra, or lead a meritorious life according to the Teachings of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, you should protect them all with your supernatural powers and prevent all of them from suffering, and not even allow them to come across any unhappy circumstances, or even allow such unhappy happenings to come to their ears. They are not only protected by your good self, but they are also protected by the devas. By paying homage to the images of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva or chanting the Ksitigarbha Sutra, they will not only be protected by divine beings but will be free from the ocean of sufferings and finally attain Nirvana.”