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''Emergence of the Treasure Tower'' chapter

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"Emergence of the Treasure Tower" chapter
見宝塔品 ( Jpn Ken-hoto-hon )

    Abbreviated as the "Treasure Tower" chapter. The eleventh chapter of the Lotus Sutra. This chapter describes the emergence of the treasure tower of the Buddha Many Treasures, who bears witness to the truth of the Lotus Sutra, and the beginning of the Ceremony in the Air. After the proclamations in the preceding chapters of the sutra that voice-hearers and cause-awakened ones will attain Buddhahood in the future, a magnificent tower adorned with the seven kinds of treasures, 500 yojanas in height and 250 yojanas each in width and depth, emerges from beneath the earth and hangs suspended in midair. A voice issues from within, praising Shakyamuni Buddha and declaring that all he has taught thus far in the Lotus Sutra is true. Through the person of Bodhisattva Great Joy of Preaching, the assembly asks to know the meaning of this event.

Shakyamuni explains that within the tower is the body of a Buddha called Many Treasures who once lived in the land of Treasure Purity, an incalculable number of worlds to the east. Though he has long since entered nirvana, he has made a vow that he will appear in the treasure tower wherever anyone might preach the Lotus Sutra and testify to the truth of that sutra . Bodhisattva Great Joy of Preaching then requests to see the figure of Many Treasures Buddha. Shakyamuni replies that, in order to open the door to the treasure tower, he must first assemble from throughout the ten directions those Buddhas who are preaching the Law as emanations of himself, and he proceeds to purify the lands three times to make room for the emanations.

First he purifies the saha world by removing all the human and heavenly beings other than the members of the assembly to other lands, leaving no one but the assembled multitude. Then he uses his transcendental powers to purify "two hundred ten thousand million nayutas of lands in each of the eight directions." In these lands, there are no longer any beings of hell and of the realms of hungry spirits, animals, and asuras that is, no beings of the four evil paths. In addition, Shakyamuni moves the human beings and heavenly beings to other lands so that these purified lands are not inhabited by any beings in the six paths.He then purifies yet "another two hundred ten thousand million nayutas of lands in each of the eight directions" in the same manner.

Now that the saha world and two other groups of lands have been transformed into Buddha lands in this way, all the Buddhas assemble from throughout the ten directions, seating themselves on lion seats under jeweled trees. When they all have gathered, Shakyamuni opens the treasure tower, and Many Treasures Buddha invites him to share his seat. Shakyamuni then uses his transcendental powers to raise the entire assembly into open space so that they can see Many Treasures Buddha more clearly, and the Ceremony in the Air begins. Seated beside Many Treasures in the treasure tower, Shakyamuni then makes three pronouncements, calling upon the multitude to propagate the Lotus Sutra after his death. In the course of the third pronouncement, he sets forth "the six difficult and nine easy acts" to emphasize the great difficulty of embracing and propagating the Lotus Sutra after his death.