Chapter One, “Introduction”, sets the scene on Vulture Peak wherein the Buddha having just taught another sutra to a great assembly is now sitting in silent meditation. While they are waiting for him to speak again, he emits a great light illuminating lands far and wide and from the highest heavens to the lowest hells. This light reveals innumerable beings in all these places following all the many Buddha practices and teachings, foreshadowing what will be revealed throughout the text. The members of the assembly, bewildered by this visionary miracle, ask Manjushri what this is all about. He tells the story of previous Buddhas in earlier times who have done the same thing shortly before their death and that in each case they were about to teach The Lotus Sutra, advising the assembly:
“The Buddha has now emitted this ray of light
In order to reveal
The essential character of phenomena.
Now it should be clear to everyone.
Wait attentively with palms pressed together!
Having rained the Dharma [teachings],
The Buddha will satisfy those seeking the path.
If there is anyone seeking the three vehicles
Who still has any doubts,
The Buddha will completely remove them,
Extinguishing them with none left over.”