The Lotus Sutra is one of the most important of all the Mahayana Sutra.
It is divided into 28 chapters, of which Chapter 16, The Thus Come One's Life Span is especially important for its eulogy of Shakyamuni as the embodiment of eternal life and as having attained enlightenment in the inconceivably remote past.
There are mainly seven parables in the Sutra, such as the three carts and the burning house, the wealthy men and his poor son, the three kinds of medicinal herbs and two kinds of trees, the phantom city and the treasure land, etc.
It is noted that Chapter 25 The Universal Door of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, which describes the blessings of the Bodhisattva, was circulated in China and other countries as an independent Sutra and is recited today.
The Sutra is work of great literary merit, including as it does many sections of verses and various parables. Moreover, it brings out the most profound Buddhist concept of One Vehicle, who has had immeasurable influence upon the development of Mahayana Buddhism. The Sutra is the principal text of Tien Tai School in Chinese Buddhism, and the Nichiren School in Japanese Buddhism.
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