I am so touched by this teaching on Earth Store Bodhisattva by Master Hsuan Hua. Much love and respect to our earth. Much love and respect to the vow to liberate beings.
Why the name “Earth Store”? Earth nurtures the growth of all things, and “Store” refers to treasure troves—all the treasure troves are in the ground. “Store” can also mean “to keep hidden”, i.e., “to keep from view.” All the treasure troves are hidden from view underground. The earth can grow the myriad things; it can also keep the myriad things hidden—buried underground.
Like the great earth, this Bodhisattva is able to make the myriad things grow. Like the great earth, he has endless, boundless treasure troves in the ground for people to uncover. Those who believe in this Bodhisattva are entitled to the treasures within.”
What were the vows he made? He vowed:
“Until the hells are empty I vow to forgo Buddhahood…”
…He will hold off on becoming a Buddha; only when the hells are completely empty will he become a Buddha. Now, think about that. How great is that vow-power?
Let us go over the word “Earth.” There are ten meanings to the word, and though the ten still cannot cover all its functions, they give a general idea.
First, Vast and Great: Do you see that the earth is vast and great? Some of you are saying, “Dharma Master, you may skip that one. We all knew it’s vast and great. Why bother?”
Just because everyone knew that, all the more I need to bring it up to your attention.
Second, Relied upon by [Sentient] Beings: All [sentient] beings rely on the earth to sustain life. Do you know of any [sentient] beings that do not do that? Surely none of them lives in empty space.
Third, Not Given to Likes and Dislikes: The earth has no likes or dislikes. It does not pick and choose, dictating, “You! Stay here. That [sentient] being there, I don’t want you.” No way. [Sentient] beings: good, bad, wholesome, and evil, together with tigers, sila deer, monkeys and everything else all live and rely on the earth. All the more, it is not given to preferences or biases.
Some people might claim, “Oh, I know! The earth simply has no awareness. It’s insensate.”
Do you know for sure that it has no awareness? The earth’s awareness and perception is beyond the scope of our awareness and perception. The earth has its awareness, because it is also one of the [sentient] beings.
Fourth, Acceptant of Great Rains: It can withstand the most forbidding of downpours.
Fifth, Bringing Forth Vegetation.
Sixth, A Repository for Seeds: All the seeds are buried underground.
Seventh : The seventh is Bearing Many Treasures: There are lots of valuables in the ground.
Eight, Yielding Various Medicines: All medicines are produced from the earth.
Ninth, Unmoved by Blowing Winds: Not even the gustiest of winds, not even hurricanes, can move the earth. What about earthquakes? They are not caused by movement of winds.
Ten, Unstirred at the Lions’ Roars : When the lions roar, all creatures are scared, but the earth does not flinch.
In light of these ten meanings, Earth Store Bodhisattva takes the earth to represent his name.