Once upon a time there
was a great king. He was the greatest of kings and was called the Wheel-Rolling
King. It was said that he owned a magical wheel of jewels that would spin
while he governed.
The king was a fine ruler,
and when he found a country that was run by evil people, he would wage
war against it. He continually fought such evil countries until he had
crushed them all.
The king was very glad to see
that some of his soldiers were very brave in war. He rewarded these
soldiers with treasures such as gold, silver, shell, agate, coral, and
amber. He gave some of them farms, houses, villages, and cities. He also
gave elephants, horses, and vehicles to those who were worthy.
Every time the soldiers
were given these gifts from the king, they boasted, saying “I received
golden rings and necklaces from the Wheel-Rolling King.”
Or: “He gave me a fabulous
elephant and an ox-cart, praising my brave fight in the war.”Or: “It was
clothes this time for me. But I’ll get much more next time for my valiant
Or: “But you’ll not outdo me.
I’ll be fighting with all my might, too.”
There was one thing that the
king kept for himself: the brilliant gem which he was keeping in his topknot.
This gem was the only one of its kind in the world. If he had given it
to anyone, his followers would have been shocked.
Finally, one day, the Wheel-Rolling
King saw an especially brave soldier and gave him that precious gem.
“I, the Buddha, have kept
the Lotus Sutra carefully in my heart and have told no one about it. In
this way, I am like the Wheel-Rolling King -- who gave many treasures to
his soldiers, but kept the most valuable gem. I, like the king, have fought
many battles and defeated many devils. Many of my disciples also fought
along side me. I gave them many treasures of the Law and have brought them
closer to enlightenment, but I did not teach them the Lotus Sutra. Why?
Because the people were not ready and the time was not right.
“I did not tell my followers
about the Lotus Sutra earlier because they would not have understood. In
a world that is evil and ignorant, people cannot understand such a profound
“That’s why it was necessary
to wage wars and destroy evil. That way, people can learn more and more
about the true state of life. Once their mistaken ideas had been changed,
they became more open to understanding the great teaching of the Lotus
“One day the Wheel-Rolling
King saw an especially brave soldier and gave him that precious gem. I
am like that king. The Lotus Sutra is the most excellent teaching. Therefore
I am teaching it last -- just as the king finally gave the brilliant gem
to the one who was his most worthy follower.”
Stories from the Lotus Sutra:
of the Three Carts and the Burning House
Parable of the Impoverished Son
Parable of the Medicinal Herbs
of the Phantom City
in the Robe
of the Jewel in the King’s Topknot
Excellent Physician and His Sick Children