''Emerging from the Earth'' chapter
"Emerging from the Earth" chapter
従地涌出品 ( Jpn Juji-yujuppon )
The fifteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra and the beginning of the essential teaching, or the latter fourteen chapters of the sutra. This chapter opens with innumerable great bodhisattvas who have assembled from other worlds vowing to propagate the Lotus Sutra in the saha world after Shakyamuni's death. Shakyamuni stops them, however, saying that there is no need; the saha world already has great bodhisattvas who will carry out this task. With this, the earth trembles and splits open, and a host of bodhisattvas emerge, equal in number to the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers, each with his own retinue. Four bodhisattvas lead this multitude: Superior Practices, Boundless Practices, Pure Practices, and Firmly Established Practices. Bodhisattva Maitreya, astounded at this sight, asks Shakyamuni Buddha on behalf of the assembly who these bodhisattvas are, where they come from and for what purpose, what Buddha they follow and what teaching they practice. Shakyamuni replies that they are his original disciples whom he has been teaching since long ago. Maitreya again asks how, in the mere forty-odd years since his awakening, Shakyamuni has managed to teach so many countless bodhisattvas. He beseeches Shakyamuni to explain further, especially for the sake of people in the future who may have doubts about this point. The "Emerging from the Earth" chapter ends here. To answer Maitreya's question, Shakyamuni reveals in the next chapter, "Life Span," that in reality countless kalpas have passed since he first attained enlightenment.