From Marcus’ Journal
Just as most people who grow up in the west become familiar with the stories and sayings of the Bible, whether or not they ever sit down to read it, so the tales and language of the Lotus Sutra infuse the culture and thinking of East Asia. And for anyone coming to Buddhism from outside, it doesn’t take long before they reach a level of familiarity with the Sutra’s stories and parables that they might not even initially be aware of.
Through countless conversations, Dharma talks, and book references, Buddhists will hear the stories of the father enticing his children out of a burning house, the Buddhist tale of the Prodigal Son, the parable of the hidden gem, and the simile of the phantom city long before one ever actually opens the pages of the Sutra. These teachings, first translated from Sanskrit to Chinese in 255 CE, are still very much alive for all Buddhists today.
It is also, of course, a central and essential text, an object of devotion itself in Tendai and Nichiren, and of huge importance in Zen, Pure Land and other schools. And chapter 25, often used independently of the rest of the Sutra, is the most important scriptural basis for popular and widespread devotion to the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. It was to this chapter that I first turned when looking at this new translation by Gene Reeves.