Cover image for The Lotus Sutra
The Lotus Sutra
Watson, Burton, 1925-2017.
Uniform Title:
Tripiṭaka. Sūtrapiṭaka. Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra. English.
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, 1993.
Physical Description:
xxix, 359 pages ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Translated from: Miao-fa Lion-hua ching by Kumarajiva.

Includes index.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BQ2052.E5 W38 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Since its appearance in China in the third century, The Lotus Sutra has been regarded as one of the most illustrious scriptures in the Mahayana Buddhist canon. The object of intense veneration among generations of Buddhists in China, Korea, Japan, and other parts of the world, it has had a profound impact on the great works of Japanese and Chinese literature, attracting more commentary than any other Buddhist scripture.

As Watson notes in the introduction to his remarkable translation, " The Lotus Sutra is not so much an integral work as a collection of religious texts, an anthology of sermons, stories, and devotional manuals, some speaking with particular force to persons of one type or in one set of circumstances, some to those of another type or in other circumstances. This is no doubt why it has had such broad and lasting appeal over the ages and has permeated so deeply into the cultures that have been exposed to it."

Author Notes

Burton Watson is one of the world's best-known translators from the Chinese and Japanese. His translations include The Vimalakirti Sutra, Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings, Ryokan: Zen Monk-Poet of Japan, Saigyo: Poems of a Mountain Home, and The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry: From Early Times to the Thirteenth Century, all published by Columbia.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

A third-century Mahayana text, this is used and revered in several traditions. It contains the essential teachings of Mahayana, stressing the doctrine of the transcendental nature of the Buddha, the ideal of the Boddhisattva, and the possibility of universal liberation. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Expedient Means
3 Simile and Parable
4 Belief and Understanding
5 The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs
6 Bestowal of Prophecy
7 The Parable of the Phantom City
8 Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples
9 Prophecies Conferred on Learners and Adepts
10 The Teacher of the Law
11 The Emergence of the Treasure Tower
12 Devadatta
13 Encouraging Devotion
14 Peaceful Practices
15 Emerging from the Earth
16 The Life Span of the Thus Come One
17 Distinctions in Benefits
18 The Benefits of Responding with Joy
19 Benefits of the Teacher of the Law
20 The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging
21 Supernatural Powers of the Thus Come One
22 Entrustment
23 Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King
24 The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound
25 The Universal Gateway of the Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World's Sounds
26 Dharani
27 Former Affairs of King Wonderful Adornment
28 Encouragements of the Bodhisattva Universal Worthy