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The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin

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12
The Essence of
the "Medicine King" Chapter
C
ONCERNING the general
meaning of this chapter called
the "Medicine King": the "Medicine
King" chapter is in the seventh volume
and is the twenty-third of the twenty-
eight chapters that make up the Lotus
Sutra.
The first volume of the sutra contains
two chapters, the "Introduction" chap-
ter and the "Expedient Means" chapter.
The "Introduction" chapter serves as
a prologue to the entire twenty-eight
chapters.
The eight chapters beginning with
"Expedient Means" and continuing
through "Prophecies" are concerned
primarily with clarifying how persons
of the two vehicles can attain Buddha-
hood, and secondarily with clarifying
how bodhisattvas and ordinary people
can attain Buddhahood.
The following five chapters, the
"Teacher of the Law," "Treasure Tower,"
"Devadatta," "Encouraging Devotion,"
and "Peaceful Practices" chapters, ex-
plain how the teachings set forth in
the preceding eight chapters are to be
carried out by ordinary people in the
latter age.
The ensuing "Emerging from the
Earth" chapter serves as an introduc-
tion to the "Life Span" chapter. The
subsequent twelve chapters, numbering
from the "Distinctions in Benefits"
chapter on, serve primarily to explain
91
how the doctrines set forth in the "Life
Span" chapter are to be carried out by
ordinary people in the latter age, and
secondarily to explain how those set
forth in the eight chapters from "Expe-
dient Means" on are to be carried out.
The "Medicine King" chapter, there-
fore, is a chapter that explains how one
ought to carry out the teachings both
of the eight chapters beginning with
"Expedient Means" and of the "Life
Span" chapter.
This chapter, the "Medicine King,"
contains ten analogies, the first of
which is the analogy of the great
ocean. I will begin by explaining this
analogy in outline form. In the south-
ern continent of Jambudvipa, there are
2,500 rivers; in the western continent
of Godaniya, there are 5,000 rivers. In
all the four continents, there are a total
of 25,900 rivers. Some of these rivers
are forty ri in length, some a hundred
ri, some only one ri, one cho, or one
fathom. However, concerning the mat-
ter of depth, not one of these rivers
can match the great ocean.
Among all the sutras, such as the
Flower Garland Sutra, the Agama
sutras, the Correct and Equal sutras,
the Wisdom, Profound Secrets, Amida,
Nirvana, Mahavairochana, Diamond
Crown, Susiddhikara, and Secret So-
lemnity sutras, all the sutras preached
by the Thus Come One Shakyamuni,
     

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