The Lord then addressed the Bodhisattva Mahisattva Mahâsthâmaprâpta. In a similar way, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, one may infer from what has been said that he who rejects such a Dharmaparyâya as this, who abuses monks, nuns, lay devotees male or female, keeping this Sûtra, insults them, treats them with false and harsh words, shall experience dire results, to such an extent as is impossible to express in words. But those that keep, read, comprehend, teach, amply expound it to others, shall experience happy results, such as I have already mentioned: they shall attain such a perfection of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind as just described...
...Bodhisattva Mahâsattva [Sadâparibhûta] was in the habit of exclaiming to every monk or nun, male or female lay devotee, while approaching them: I do not contemn you, worthies. You deserve no contempt, for you all observe the course of duty of Bodhisattvas and are to become Tathâgatas, &c. In this way, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, that Bodhisattva Mahâsattva, when a monk, did not teach nor study; the only thing he did was, whenever he descried from afar a monk or nun, a male or female lay devotee, to approach them and exclaim: I do not contemn you, sisters. You deserve no contempt, for you all observe the course of duty of Bodhisattvas and are to become Tathâgatas, &c. So, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva at that time used to address every monk or nun, male or female devotee. But all were extremely irritated and angry at it, showed him their displeasure, abused and insulted him: Why does he, unasked, declare that he feels no contempt for us? just by so doing he shows a contempt for us. He renders himself contemptible by predicting our future destiny to supreme, perfect enlightenment; we do not care for what is not true. Many years, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, went on during which that Bodhisattva Mahâsattva was being abused, but he was not angry at anybody, nor felt malignity, and to those who, when he addressed them in the said manner, cast a clod or stick at him, he loudly exclaimed from afar: I do not contemn you. Those monks and nuns, male and female lay devotees, being always and ever addressed by him in that phrase gave him the (nick)name of Sadâparibhûta.
BTW, "contemn" and "descry" are real words. "Contemn" means "to show contempt," and "descry" means to see from a distance.
It was the Lord Bhîshmagargitasvararâga, the Tathâgata, &c., who expounded this Dharmaparyâya in twenty times twenty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of stanzas, which the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Sadâparibhûta heard from a voice in the sky, when the time of his death was near at hand. On hearing that voice from the sky, without there appearing a person speaking, he grasped this Dharmaparyâya and obtained the perfections already mentioned: the perfection of sight, hearing, smell, taste, body, and mind. With the attainment of these perfections he at the same time made a vow to prolong his life for twenty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of years, and promulgated this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law. And all those proud beings, monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees to whom he had said: I do not contemn you, and who had given him the name of Sadâparibhûta, became all his followers to hear the law, after they had seen the power and strength of his sublime magic faculties, of his vow, of his readiness of wit, of his wisdom. All those and many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of other beings were by him roused to supreme, perfect enlightenment.
Afterwards, Mahâsthamaprâpta, that Bodhisattva Mahâsattva disappeared from that place and propitiated twenty hundred kotis of Tathâgatas, &c., all bearing the same name of Kandraprabhâsvararâga, under all of whom he promulgated this Dharmaparyâya. By virtue of his previous root of goodness he, in course of time, propitiated twenty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Tathâgatas, &c., all bearing the name of Dundubhisvararâga, and under all he obtained this very Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law and promulgated it to the four classes. By virtue of his previous root of goodness he again, in course of time, propitiated twenty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Tathâgatas, &c., all bearing the name of Meghasvararâga, and under all he obtained this very Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law and promulgated it to the four classes. And under all of them he was possessed of the afore-mentioned perfectness of sight, hearing, smell, taste, body, and mind.
Self serving? Yes, in the sense that the authors of the sutra don't address the conflict of interest issue (saying "this text is IT" serves the purpose of the writers of the text to benefit materially - yes materially - from the dissemination of this text). Literally true? It'd be difficult to justify that in this universe, from what we know today, so I'd say the evidence is against more Tathâgatas than say, the number of planets on which life might be inhabited, at least in this universe.
I'd say yes. You know not when someone might be struck to embody boundless compassion, wisdom and generosity.
Nota bene: I'll be somewhat glad when this sutra'd done. But I will be going on to the Lankavatara Sutra, and the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra, if I can find a good version on the Net.
We're all familiar with the Heart Sutra (heh...my 42 readers per day might be familiar, so "we're all" isn't meant to be exhaustive of humanity here), I'd like to get to that too.
It's shorter though.