“Manjusri! I will tell you a parable. Suppose a powerful wheel-turning-holy-king demanded surrender of the kings of smaller countries by threat of force. They did not obey his demand. He led soldiers, and went and suppressed them. He was very glad to see that some soldiers distinguished themselves in war. According to their merits, he gave them paddyfields, houses, villages, cities, garments or ornaments; or various treasures such as gold, silver, lapis lazuli, shell, agate, coral or amber; or elephants, horses, vehicles, menservants, maidservants or subjects. But he did not give a brilliant gem which he was keeping in his top-knot to anyone because the gem on the head of the king was the only one [in the world]. If he had given it to anyone, the followers of the king would have been much surprised.
“Manjusri! l am like the king. I obtained the world of the Dharma by my powers of dhyana-concentration and of wisdom, and became the king of the triple world. But the kings of the Maras did not assent to my demand for surrender to me. Therefore, my army led by generals, that is, by sages and saints, fought with them. I was glad to see that some distinguished themselves [in war]. In order to cause them to rejoice, I expounded many sutras to the four kinds of devotees. I gave them the treasures of the Dharma such as dhyana-concentrations, emancipations, the roots without asravas, and the powers without asravas, and also the city of Nirvarya, telling them that they had already attained extinction. Although I led them [by giving these things to them) and caused them to rejoice, [ did not expound to them the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.
“Manjusri! When he saw a soldier of extraordinary merit, the wheel-turning-holy-king joyfully gave that soldier the unbelievably precious gem, which he had kept in his top-knot for a long time and had not given to anyone. I am like the king. I am the great king of the Dharma in the triple world. I expound the Dharma and teach all living beings. Because I see that my soldiers led by generals, that is, by sages and saints, have already obtained extraordinary merits in their fight with the Mara of the five aggregates, with the Mara of illusions, and with the Mara of death, and that they have already eliminated the three poisons, left the triple world, and destroyed the nets of the Maras, I now expound this So.tra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma with great joy. This sutra leads all living beings to the knowledge of all things. I did not expound it before because, if I had done so, many people in the world would have hated it and few would have believed it.
And in gathas:
I will tell you a parable.
A wheel-turning-holy-king was powerful.
Some of his soldiers
Distinguished themselves in war.
He was glad to honor them.
He gave them elephants or horses,
Vehicles or ornaments,
Paddyfields or houses,
Villages or cities,
Garments or various treasures,
Menservants or maidservants,
Or other valuables.
He took a brilliant gem
Out of his top-knot
And gave it to the bravest man
Who had done the most difficult feats.
I am like the king.
I am the King of the Dharma.
I have the great power of patience
And the treasury of wisdom.
I save all living beings in the world by the Dharma
Out of my great compassion towards them.
The people were under the pressure
Of various sufferings.
They were fighting with the Maras
In order to emancipate themselves
Because I saw all this,
I expounded various teachings to them.
I expounded many sutras with skillful expedients.
Now I know that they can understand the Sutra
Of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.
Therefore, I expound it to them lastly
Just as the king took the brilliant gem
Out of his top-knot
And gave it [to the bravest man lastly].