Mention of mindfulness of the Buddha meditation and its merits in The Sutra of Manjushri's Questions.
At that time Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha:
World-honored One, there are buddhas who exist in other buddha lands.
Some of those [gathered] here would like to see these buddhas. How
might they be able to see them?
The Buddha told Mañjuśrī:
The buddhas will never cease to exist for anyone who is able to single-
mindedly think on the ten titles of the tathāgatas. Such persons will be
able to hear the buddhas preach the Dharma and will see those buddhas
in their fourfold assemblies. They will also increase their life spans and
be without the various illnesses.
What are the ten titles? They are Tathāgata, He Who Should Receive
Offerings, Omniscient One, He Who Is Sufficient in the Practice of Wis-
dom, Well-gone One, He Who Understands the World, Unsurpassed
One, He Who Disciplines People, Teacher of Humans and Gods, and
World-honored One. Mañjuśrī, those who think on these ten titles should
first think on the Buddha’s physical body with all its special marks. Next
think on the dharmakāya, which has an inexhaustible life span. You
should think as follows: “The Buddha is not the physical body, the
Buddha is the dharmakāya.” Grasp onto this thought firmly and visualize
the Buddha as if he pervades all of space. It is through taking pleasure
in space that one understands all the doctrines.
Mañjuśrī, it is like the mountains of Sumeru, Yugaṃdhara, Īṣādhara,
Sudarśana, and Khadiraka; Aśvakarṇa, Vinataka, Nemiṃdhara, and
Cakravāla. Even though one’s way might be blocked by all these moun-
tains, if one single-mindedly thinks on the ten titles of the Buddha these
mountains will be unable to hinder one. Why? Because of correct mind-
fulness and the holy power of the Buddha. Again, Mañjuśrī, if one thinks
on the ten titles of the Buddha as if they are like space, one will be without
fault because he understands them to be like space. Because one is without
fault, he will attain the forbearance of the birthlessness of all dharmas.
Thus one may rely on the names of the Buddha to increase one’s correct
mindfulness: seeing the Buddha’s special marks, one’s correct meditation
is complete; and by being complete in correct meditation one will see
those other buddhas. Just as a shape is visible when illuminated (i.e.,
reflected) on water or in a mirror, so will one see the buddhas. This is
called the initialstage of meditation. One will eventually see all the buddhas
of the ten directions with the same clarity of an image of the Buddha
reflected in a mirror. Following this, one will only have to contemplate the Buddha in correct mindfulness in order to generate the characteristics
(i.e., the mental image) of that buddha, and since one is able to generate
those characteristics at will he will always take pleasure in seeing the
Buddha. When one performs this practice of mindfulness, all the buddhas
will be manifested. One will neither attain their supernormal powers nor
proceed to their worlds. Instead, he will merely see all the buddhas while
remaining here in this world; he will hear those buddhas preach the Dharma
and attain an accurate understanding of their teachings.
Later in the sutra, the Buddha describes the merit of the one who practices this meditation.
Mañjuśrī, if the entire trichiliocosm were filled with dust, and if some-
one donated the same number of the seven precious things as there are dust particles in the world, what would you think? Would such a person’s
merit be great?
Mañjuśrī said, “Extremely great, World-honored One.”
The Buddha said:
I tell you now that if a good man or good woman were simply to hear
of this meditation without feelings of fear, the merit attained would be
even greater. How much more so for those who contemplate it with faith,
practice it, and recite it! How much more so for those who preach it far
and wide for others! How much more so for those who cultivate and
attain this meditation—I would not be able to explain the extent of their
merit! Therefore, Mañjuśrī, good men and good women should cultivate
this meditation, they should remember this meditation. At the same time
they should preach this meditation extensively for others.
Mañjuśrī, during the conflagration at the end of the present eon, any
bodhisattva who maintains this meditation will be unharmed by the
flames. Even government persecutions, evil demons, and the various
types of poisons will not trouble him, and the determinate retribution
of deep layers of evil karma will be eradicated.
Again, Mañjuśrī, any great bodhisattva who maintains this meditation
will be without illness, his six senses will be pure, and he will be without
the myriad afflictions. Furthermore, Mañjuśrī, any bodhisattva who
maintains this meditation will be protected by heavenly beings (devas)
and dragons (nāgas). He will be admired by the heavenly beings and
even the buddhas will always praise him. The heavenly beings will
always take pleasure in looking on him and the buddhas too will always
take pleasure in looking on him. Furthermore, Mañjuśrī, anyone who
accepts this meditation will be able to hear all the dharmas he has not
yet heard. Even while sleeping he will dream of this meditation.
Mañjuśrī, even if I spent an entire eon or more than an eon explaining
the merits of this meditation, I would not be able to finish. How much
greater the merit of bodhisattvas who are able to attain this meditation!
Mañjuśrī, it is like a man of great strength who walked toward the east
for a hundred thousand years, and then did likewise to the south, west,
and north, and above and below. What would you think? Would anyone be able to count how far he had traveled? Would it be one yojana or two
yojanas, or a hundred thousand yojanas?”
Except for the Buddha, who is all-knowing, and Śāriputra, who has great
wisdom, and the nonregressing bodhisattvas, no one would be able to
count how far he had gone.
The Buddha told Mañjuśrī:
Suppose there is a good man or good woman who donates enough pre-
cious things to fill up all the places where that person went, and again
suppose that there is someone who heard of this meditation and, after
hearing of it, joyfully vowed to attain enlightenment and erudition in
the Buddhist scriptures—the merit of the material donation would not
equal even a hundredth part, a thousandth part, or even a hundred thou-
sand–ten thousand–hundred-millionth part of the merit that arose from
the joyful vow based on hearing this meditation! All the buddhas of the
past will be joyful regarding this person, and all the buddhas of the
present and future will be also be joyful! I will also be joyful!
Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, “World-honored One, so it is, so it is.
The meritorious fruits of this meditation are truly inconceivable!”
The Buddha told Mañjuśrī:
If a bodhisattva cultivates this meditation for a single day, the merit cul-
tivated by all the sentient beings of past, present, and future will not be
even a hundred thousand–ten-thousandth part of the merit gained from
The Buddha spoke this verse:
Thinking on the ten titles of the Tathāgata
Brings unbounded merit.
Merit such as this
Cannot be calculated.
The difference between the extensive donation of precious things,
As explained above, And hearing about this meditation and feeling joyful agreement
Is so great as to be inestimable.