Fan-shaped Lotus Sutra, twelfth century. Courtesy of Shitenno-Ji, Japan.
Fan-shaped Lotus Sutra, twelfth century. Courtesy of Shitenno-Ji, Japan.

Shakyamuni Buddha with the fingers of his right hand then opened the door of the tower of the seven treasures. A loud sound issued from it, like the sound of a lock and crossbar being removed from a great city gate, and at once all the members of the assembly caught sight of Many Treasures Thus Come One seated on a lion seat inside the treasure tower, his body whole and unimpaired, sitting as though engaged in meditation. And they heard him say, “Excellent, excellent, Shakyamuni Buddha! You have preached this Lotus Sutra in a spirited manner. I have come here in order that I may hear this sutra.”

At that time, the four kinds of believers, observing this Buddha who had passed into extinction immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of kalpas in the past speaking in this way, marveled at what they had never known before and took the masses of heavenly jeweled flowers and scattered them over Many Treasures Buddha and Shakyamuni Buddha.

At that time, Many Treasures Buddha offered half of his seat in the treasure tower to Shakyamuni Buddha, saying, “Shakyamuni Buddha, sit here!” Shakyamuni Buddha at once entered the tower and took half of the seat, seating himself in cross-legged position.

At that time the members of the great assembly, seeing the two Thus Come Ones seated cross-legged on the lion seat in the tower of seven treasures, all thought to themselves, These Buddhas are seated high up and far away! If only the Thus Come Ones would employ their transcendental powers to enable all of us to join them there in the air!

Immediately Shakyamuni Buddha used his transcendental powers to lift all the members of the great assembly up into the air. And in a loud voice he addressed all the four kinds of believers, saying, “Who is capable of broadly preaching the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law in this saha world? Now is the time to do so, for before long the Thus Come One will enter nirvana. The Buddha wishes to entrust this Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law to someone so that it may be preserved.”

At that time the World-Honored One, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

This holy lord, this World-Honored One,
Though he passed into extinction long ago,
Still seats himself in the treasure tower,
Coming here for the sake of the Law.
You people, why then do you not also
Strive for the sake of the Law?
This Buddha passed into extinction
An endless number of kalpas ago,
but in many places he comes to listen to the Law
because such opportunities are hard to encounter.
This Buddha originally made a vow, saying,
“After I have passed into extinction,
wherever I may go, in whatever place,
my constant aim will be to hear the Law!”
In addition, these emanations of my body,
Buddhas in immeasurable numbers
Like Ganges sands,
have come, desiring to hear the Law,
and so they may see Many Treasures Thus Come One
who has passed into extinction.
Each has abandoned his wonderful land,
As well as his host of disciples,
the heavenly and human beings, dragons and spirits,
and all the offerings they give him,
and has come to this place on purpose
to make certain the Law will long endure.

© 1993 Soka Gakkai. Reprinted with permission of Columbia University Press.

 

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