Lotus Sutra

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The White Lotus of the Good Dharma (Skt. Saddharmapuṇḍarīka; Tib. དམ་པའི་ཆོས་པད་མ་དཀར་པོའི་མདོ།, Wyl. dam pa’i chos pad ma dkar po mdo) (Toh. 113) , popularly known as the Lotus Sutra, was taught by Buddha Shakyamuni on Vulture's Peak to an audience of bodhisattva. Buddha Prabhutaratna, who had long since passed into nirvana, appears within a floating stupa to hear the sutra, and Shkyamuni enters the stupa and sits beside him.

The Lotus Sutra is celebrated, particularly in East Asia, for its presentation of crucial elements of the Mahayana tradition, such as the doctrine that there is only one yana (Skt. ekayāna); the distinction between expedient and definite teachings; and the notion that the Buddha’s life, enlightenment, and parinirvana were simply manifestations of his transcendent buddhahood, while he continues to teach eternally.

A recurring theme in the sutra is its own significance in teaching these points during past and future eons, with many passages in which the Buddha and bodhisattvas such as Bodhisattva Samantabhadra describe the great benefits that come from devotion to it, the history of its past devotees, and how it is the Buddha’s ultimate teaching, supreme over all other sutras.[1]


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.

Tibetan Text

  • (Toh 113) Derge Kangyur, vol. 51 (mdo sde, ja), folios 1.b–180.b.