On the nature and message of the Lotus Sūtra in the light of early Buddhism and Buddhist scholarship (towards the beginnings of Mahāyāna)

Asian Philosophy 14 (3):209-221 (2004)
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to compare the contents of the Lotus S?tra and the style of presentation of its message with the thrust of the Buddha's teachings as they are preserved in the early Buddhist sources, particularly the Sutta Pi aka of the P?li Canon, and also in the P?li commentarial literature. In the process it attempts to identify in the early sources the precedents of some of the bold statements in the Lotus S?tra which appear as complete innovations, but may be elaborations of elements contained in P?li sources in germinal form. Despite the difference in style, language and mythological imagery, the conclusion is that both the Sutta Pi aka and the Lotus S?tra express in their respective manners the true spirit of the Buddhist message. Attention is drawn also to the striking parallels between the Buddhist picture of the multiple universe and modern cosmological theories
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