The Lotus Sutra in Japan


Lotus Sutra (Hokke-kyô) Chapter 12: Section Describing the Enlightenment of the Dragon King's Daughter
Sacred scriptures that contain the teachings of the Buddha are known as sutras. The Lotus Sutra stands out among the many hundreds of sutras as arguably the most popular and best known of all Buddhist scriptures in East Asia. Originally composed in Idia in the first century CE, the Lotus Sutra reached Japan by the late sixthy century.

The sutra stresses the inability of humankind to comprehend ultimate reality and aims to dissolve the distinctions between past, present, and future through a series of dramatic parables, presented in 28 chapters.

When sutras were imported to Japan from continental Asia, they were at first copied exclusively in the official scriptoria of major temples by professional scribes. Over time, laypeople adopted the practice of copying sutras as a means of generating spiritual merit. Not only was the content of each sutra considered sacred, the physical copies themselves were also revered.