The Difficulty

Many-Treasures then calls Sakyamuni to join him inside the stupa, offering him half of his seat. Thus Many-Treasures and Sakyamuni sit side by side, sharing the same seat.

Since the seat of the two Buddhas is too high for the congregation to see, Sakyamuni raises them up into the sky by his supernatural powers. Then he says to them, “I shall soon enter into Nirvana. Is there anyone here who is willing to expound the Lotus Sutra in the world after my extinction? I wish to hand it on to someone so that it can be perpetuated” (p. 187).

This statement is followed by verses explaining how difficult it will be to expound the Lotus Sutra after his extinction.

He lists nine examples of unimaginable difficulty, and then stresses in six articles that those hardships are nothing compared to the demanding mission of his followers. The first part of the teaching is as follows:

It is not difficult to expound all the other sutras, as many as there are sands in the River Ganges. It is not difficult to grasp Mount Sumeru and hurl it to a distance of countless Buddha worlds. It is not difficult to move a world composed of one thousand million Sumeru-worlds with the tip of a toe and hurl it to another world. It is difficult to expound this Sutra in the evil world after my extinction (p. 190-1).