This chapter opens with a miraculous phenomenon taking place while Sakyamuni is preaching. The ground suddenly splits open, and a huge Stupa (a round dome-shaped shrine), five hundred yojanas high and two hundred and fifty yojanas wide, springs up from underground and hangs in space before the Buddha. Some say that a yojana is about forty miles, and others argue that it is about seventy-five miles (the distance of a one-day trip by bullock cart). At any rate, an enormous stupa—huge beyond our imagination—suddenly appears. It is magnificent in appearance, adorned with jewels and ornaments.
At the sight of this stupa, the assembled congregation bursts into song, offers jewels and flowers before it, venerates it, honors it, and worships it. Then a loud voice of praise is heard from within the stupa:
Excellent, excellent! You, Sakyamuni, the World-Honored
One, have expounded to this great multitude the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law, the Teaching of Equality, the Great Wisdom, the Law for Bodhisattvas, the Law Upheld by the Buddhas. What you, Sakyamuni, the World-Honored One, have expounded is all true! (p. 181)
The speaker is a Buddha called Many-Treasures Tathagata (“Thus Come”), who resides within the stupa. Because he proves the authenticity of the Lotus Sutra, which is expounded by Sakyamuni, the World-Honored One, he is called the Validating Buddha. His Stupa is named the Stupa of Treasures.Introduction to the Lotus Sutra