Buddhism: The Lotus Sutra and Japanese Buddhism
The Lotus Sutra and Japanese Buddhism
Buddhism started in India many centuries ago around 6th and 5th BCE through one man,
Buddha or otherwise called Siddhartha Gautama. Buddhism has various religious scriptures or
texts called Sutras. Some of these sutras include the Lotus Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Contemplation
Sutra, The Heart Sutra and The Parable sutra among many others. In Buddhism, a sutra is
scripture or text that contains Buddha's teachings. While Buddhism started in India, it spread to
other Asian countries, including China and Japan, before expanding to the rest of the world.
Among the entire Buddhist sutras, the Lotus Sutra is termed as the very influential, especially in
Mahayana Buddhism. This paper gives the meaning of Lotus Sutra and the importance it has on
Buddhism among the Japanese.
Soka Gakkai International argues that Buddhists adore and regard the Lotus Sutra as a
unique, persuasive, believable and holy Buddhist scripture. As expounded by Shakyamuni in the
1200s, the Lotus sutra arguably provides the ultimate truth of life in its principle messages. The
most fundamental insights of the Lotus Sutra is that Buddhahood or the supreme state of
consciousness as described by courage, wisdom and infinite compassion is natural and resides
within all humans regardless of ethnicity, gender, intellectual reasoning or social status1.
Nichiren Shu, a group of different schools including Minobu-san, Hama-san, Ikegamishu, Fuji-Fuse and Nakayama-san and others that emphasize on the Nichiren Buddhism, the
insight of the Lotus Sutra is the most adorable of the entire Buddhism sutras for Mahayana
Jones, Christopher V. "The Lotus Sutra: A Biography, by Donald S. Lopez, Jr."
Buddhism. While Buddhism passed from one generation to the other through word of mouth,
Buddhism believes that Lotus Sutra was written in years between 100 B.C and 200 A.D.
Although the Lotus sutra was recognized in India, it became more influential and prominent after
its translation by Kumarajiva into the Chinese language in the year 406. In the 6th century, a
Chinese Buddhist, Chih-i established T’ien-T’ai, one of the historic schools in China on matters
concerning Buddhism Notably, Chih-i grounded T’ien-T’ai school on the teachings within the
Following the establishment of this school, most of the Chinese people embraced
Buddhism and considered this holy text as the fundamental sutras of Buddhism across China.
Later, a Japanese Buddhist named Saicho introduced the Chinese T’ien-T’ai school to Japan.
Buddhists across Japan treasured the wisdom in the Lotus sutras. Of importance, Lotus Sutra
borrows its meaning from the word lotus that symbolizes the unity of purpose and effect.
Notably, oneness aspires enlightenment of Buddhahood and the impact of achieving
Buddhahood. Buddhists hold that the lotus is a “flower that blooms and seeds at the same time.
Just like the lotus flourishes in muddy water in the pod, it also signifies Buddhahood’s purity.
The Lotus Sutra’s teachings
Of importance, the teachings of the Lo...
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