Immeasurable Meanings Sutra
無量義経 (Chin Wu-liang-i-ching; Jpn Muryogi-kyo )
Also known as the Sutra of Immeasurable Meanings. A sutra regarded as the introductory teaching, or prologue, to the Lotus Sutra. It was translated into Chinese in 481 by Dharmagatayashas, a monk from central India. The sutra describes the Buddha's preaching on Eagle Peak and consists of three chapters. In the first, or "Virtuous Practices," chapter, Bodhisattva Great Adornment praises Shakyamuni Buddha in verse on behalf of the assembly. This verse section contains the passage known as the thirty-four negations, referring to the substance or essence of the Buddha. In the second chapter, "Preaching the Law," Shakyamuni explains that all principles and meanings derive from a single Law. He then declares: "Because their people's natures and desires are not alike, I preached the Law in various different ways. Preaching the Law in various different ways, I made use of the power of expedient means. But in these more than forty years, I have not yet revealed the truth," indicating that all the prior teachings were provisional and expedient. The final, "Ten Benefits," chapter explains that by practicing this sutra one can obtain ten kinds of blessings. The Buddha encourages Bodhisattva Great Adornment and the other eighty thousand bodhisattvas present to propagate the sutra, and they vow to do so.