Dear Venerable Ones,
I was reading the Kāraṇḍavyūhaḥ sutra or the Buddha speaks of Mahayana Sublime Treasure King sutra as it is known in English and come across the part where a Bodhisattva was requesting the Buddha to teach him the Six Words Great Enlightening Dharani (Om Mani Padme Hum).
The Buddha responds that this dharani is difficult to encounter and that even the innumerable Buddhas do not know where it is gained from. And later on, the Buddha recounts how in the past he went to meet innumerable Buddhas to find this dharani but was unable to until he met a Buddha who received the dharani from Guan yin in the distant past. Because of this I have some questions:
1. How can Buddhas not know certain dharmas or where they come from? I was under the impression that Buddhas are omniscient.
2. Is this a special dharma peculiar to Guan Yin only? Is he the only one that can allow its transmission? Is that why many Buddhas do not teach it?
I hope the Venerable Ones will be compassionate and help me resolve my doubts.
I am not familiar with the Sutra you mentioned. It seems to be from the Pali canon which is different from my source of information: the Sanskrit canon.
Furthermore, I am not sure about the accuracy of the translation. I was very lucky to learn from English translations of Mahayana that were certified by my Chinese Master, Ven. Xuan Hua.
Allow me to briefly offer my humble and limited views:
- The story in the quoted sutra seems illogical. How must a Buddha receive transmission of that mantra from a Bodhisattva? Bodhisattvas are disciples of the Buddhas. They are taught everything they know by the Buddhas. That is how they become Buddhas.
- In fact, based on my Mahayana Chinese sources, that mantra was taught to Guan Yin Bodhisattva by a Buddha which enabled him to instantly become enlightened.
- Yes, all Buddhas are omniscient. There is nothing they do not know.
- Buddhas transmit Dharmas that are appropriate for the recipients.
- There are more inconsistencies in your sutra that would lead me to greatly question its accuracy.