The Sadāparibhūta (Never Disparaging) Bodhisattva, famous for his worship practices and prophecy on the Buddhahood for everyone, is widely known as a figure who symbolizes the practice of the idea of the One Vehicle of the Lotus Sūtra. However, some recent studies have argued that this Bodhisattva’s worship practices and prophecy have nothing to do with the Lotus Sūtra, based on the fact that there is no textual support that the Buddha, who reigned during his time, preached the Lotus Sūtra. Therefore, I reviewed this issue in this paper.
My points are as follows: First, in the Lotus Sūtra, the typicality of Buddha’s edification is repeatedly stated. Its typicality can be summarized as the appearance of Buddha → edification by means of the expedient → preaching of the One Vehicle → entering final nirvāna. It is reasonable to view this typicality as consistent throughout the Lotus Sūtra. Second, the similarity between the narrative method and the sermons of the two past Buddhas in chapter 1 and chapter 19 shows that the Lotus Sūtra has a consistent structure. Third, the behavioral patterns of this Bodhisattva are very similar to that of a person who joyfully accepted this Sūtra, and his prophecy, in which he preached that all sentient beings can attain the Buddhahood (even in the period when the Buddha did not exist), coincides in content with the phrase in chapter.10 “The Preacher”.
Based on the above points, I revealed that the story of the Sadāparibhūta is not one of a person unrelated to the Lotus Sūtra, but rather shows the process of a practitioner, who accepts the Lotus Sūtra with a joyful mind, and grows into a great preacher through the merits of his practices. This understanding is consistent with the composition of the Lotus Sūtra reflected in chapter.17 “The Merits of Joyful Acceptance”, chapter.18 “The Advantages of a Religious Preacher”, and chapter.19 “The Sadāparibhūta.”