The Lotus Sūtra as an apologetic work

Autores: Carmen Dragonetti y Fernando Tola

In the present paper we want to refer to an aspect which offers the Lotus Sūtra: this Sūtra may be considered as an apologetic work that exposes a defense that the Mahāyānists made of the new form of Buddhism they propounded, in face of the charges or accusations they received from the Hīnayānists. The apologetic function has, according to us, a capital importance in the Lotus Sūtra specially in Chapters I-XIII dedicated to the historical Buddha. Many episodes in these chapters have to do directly or indirectly with the problem of the authenticity of the Mahāyānist Sūtras, with the well-known thesis of the Hīnayāna that these Sūtras were not the Buddha’s word because they contain doctrines different from those of the Hīnayāna or even contrary to them, or with the argument by means of which the Sūtra refutes the thesis of the Hīnayāna. On this matter we have published an article in Hokke Bunka Kenkyū, Tokyo, 1998: “The Conflict of Change in the Lotus Sūtra: the Hīnayānist Reaction”.


Tola, F. & Dragonetti, C. (2003), “The Lotus Sūtra as an apologetic work”, Indologica Taurinensia, XXIX: 317-326.