Day 26 concludes Chapter 21, The Supernatural Powers of the Tathāgatas, includes Chapter 22, Transmission, and introduces Chapter 23, The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.
Having last month completed the task of transmitting the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma to the Bodhisattvas who sprang up from underground, it’s time to discuss The Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva.
Thereupon Star-King-Flower Bodhisattva said to the Buddha:
World-Honored One! Why does Medicine-King Bodhisattva walk about this Saha-World? World-Honored One! This MedicineKing Bodhisattva will have to practice hundreds of thousands of billions of nayutas of austerities in this world. World-Honored One! Tell me why! Not only the gods, dragons, yaksas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kirnnaras, mahoragas, men and nonhuman beings but also the Bodhisattvas who have come from the other worlds and the Sravakas present here will be glad to hear the reason.
Before proceeding I want to underscore the purpose in discussing Star-King-Flower Bodhisattva austerities, I want to over this overview from Rev. Ryusho Jeffus’ Lecture on the Lotus Sutra:
In Chapter 23, the Previous Life of Medicine-King Bodhisattva, the Buddha tells Star-King-Flower Bodhisattva that there is no suffering that cannot be overcome through the practice of the Lotus Sutra. Just as a man who is thirsty is able to quench that thirst when he reaches a pond, so too can we overcome any tribulation. It is here that the Buddha talks about a torch dispelling darkness as well as eliminating the sufferings from diseases and breaking the bonds of birth and death.
When I am working in the hospital as a chaplain I carry an amulet that I dedicated solely for the purpose of healing for all the sick patients I visit. On that amulet I have the phrase “this Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma saves all living beings from all sufferings, from all diseases.” It is my ongoing prayer for the health of all the people I visit in the hospital as well as the physicians and nurses who administer care to those patients.
Lecture on the Lotus Sutra