In all the Buddha-lands in the ten directions,
There is only the Dharma of the single vehicle,
Not a second or a third,
Except what Buddhas teach by skillful means.
Buddhas use provisional expressions
To lead and guide sentient beings;
They all appear in this world
To teach their Buddha’s wisdom.
Only this is real,
The other two are not;
Buddhas do not ultimately liberate sentient beings Through a lesser vehicle.
Buddhas themselves abide in the Great Vehicle,
In accordance with the Dharma they have attained.
Adorned with concentration, wisdom, and powers They liberate sentient beings with the Great Vehicle.
Buddhas have self-realized the unsurpassed path,
The impartial Dharma of the Great Vehicle;
If I used a lesser vehicle to liberate
Even one person,
Thus would I begrudge—
And this could never happen.
The Lotus Sutra
Translation of the scriptural passage referenced Gene Reeves’The Lotus Sutra: A Contemporary Translation of A Buddhist Classic (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2008), 88-89.
These verses state clearly that the essence of the Buddha-lands in the ten directions is the one and only Great Vehicle—the Buddha Vehicle.Given that it is named the Buddha Vehicle, it is certainly not the Hearer Vehicle or the Solitary-Realizer Vehicle, and it certainly would not lead only to the fruition of arhatship or pratyekabuddhahood.In the same vein, when we talk about the “Buddha Dharma,” we are not talking about the Dharma for the hearers or solitary-realizers.If it is the Buddha Dharma that we are cultivating, this Dharma understandably leads to the attainment of Buddhahood,as it is the Dharma realized by all Buddhas.If the Dharma we cultivate can only bring us to attain the fruition and wisdom of hearers or solitary-realizers, this Dharma cannot be called “Buddha Dharma.” It can only be called the ?rāvaka Dharma or Pratyekabuddha Dharma.
A Discourse on the Lotus Sutra, vol.3, 59