Hokke Shichiyu (The Seven Parables of the Lotus Sutra) (法華七喩)
Hokke Shichiyu means the seven parables of Hoke-kyo Sutra (the Lotus Sutra). It is also called Hokke Shichihi (The Seven Parables of the Lotus Sutra).
Seven stories were taught in parables. This was based on the manner Sakya-muni Buddha enlightened Shujo (all living things) in plain language using parables, and this manner was used in the sections of the Hoke-kyo Sutra in which the teachings were plainly expounded,.
Sanshakataku (the parable of the three carts and the burning house) (Hiyuhon)
Once upon a time, a fire broke out in the residence of Choja (man of high position). Children in the house were so absorbed in playing that they did not become aware of fire and did not try to get out of the house despite the Choja's persuasion. Then the Choja said to the children, "Sansha (the three carts) of Yosha (sheep cart), Rokusha (deer cart) and Gosha (bull cart) are outside the gate," which the children had wanted to have, and lead the children to the outside. Afterwards, he additionally gave the children a fine-looking Daibyakugosha (big white bull cart). In this story, the Choja is Buddha, the burning house was Sangai (three realms) full of earthly desires, the children were all Shujo in the Sangai, Sansha of Yosha, Rokusha and Gosha were the three divisions of the teachings of Buddha for Shomon (vehicle of the hearers), Engaku (solitary-Buddha vehicle) and Bosatsu (enlightenment-bound vehicle) (Sanjo [the Three Vehicles carrying sentient beings to the world of enlightenment]). This story indicated that the people's Kikon (grounding and capability to understand the teachings of Buddha) was adjusted by Sanjo, then Ichijo (One Vehicle teaching) which was Daibyakugosha was given. The title of Kazuo DAN's novel, "Person in burning house" came from this Sanshakataku.
Chojaguji (the parable of the wealthy man and the poor son) (Shingehon)
A child of one Choja ran away from home at an early age. After he wandered abroad for 50 years and suffered from dire poverty, he, without knowing it, came to the front of the gate of his father's residence. The father felt certain that the poor man he saw by chance was his son and ordered a servant to bring him in, however, his son who knew nothing went away not to be caught. The Choja worked out a plan for a servant to dress shabbily and lure his son proposing, "As there is a rewarding job, why don't you join me to work?" and finally brought him into the residence. Then, he employed the poor man as a cleaner and initially assigned the dirtiest work to him. The Choja himself dressed modestly abandoning his fine clothes and worked hard with the poor man. The poor man, actually his son also worked hard. In due course, 20 years had passed and the Choja in his last moments entrust the management of his property to his son and disclosed their real parent-child relationship. This story in which the Choja was Buddha and the poor man was Shujo indicated that all Shujo could realize their being children of Buddha and became a Buddha by Buddha's enlightenment of all kinds.
Sansonimoku (the parable of medicinal herbs) (Yakusoyuhon)
Kusaki (vegetation) growing on the earth are different from each other in their kinds and sizes, however, if a huge cloud rises and the rain pours down, then Kusaki equally get a good soaking. In this story, huge cloud was Buddha, the rain was teachings, short grass was human beings and heavenly gods, middle grass was Nijo (two vehicles) of Shomon and Engaku, high grass was Bosatsu who has gone through the Nijo teachings, short tree was Bosatsu who had understood the Daijo (Mahayana Buddhism) teachings and tall tree was Bosatsu who had understood the esoteric point of Daijo teachings. This story indicated that Buddha, with great pity and compassion, had given Shujo teachings of the true nature of Ichimi (another name of Ichijo) to confer benefits upon Shujo although these Shujo understood Ichijo teachings twofold or threefold based on their Kikon.
Kejohosho (the parable of the gem and the magic city) (Kejoyuhon [chapter of the Lotus Sutra])
There were many people who traveled a long distance of 500 Yojana (an ancient Indian scale: seven miles or nine miles) to the place where treasure is kept. The road was so steep and harsh all the way, they were tired and stopped walking. There was a Doshi (guru) among these people, who incarnated a visionary castle by Hobenriki just after they passed 300 Yojana point and made them take a rest there to relieve their fatigue. Seeing the people satisfied there, the Doshi (guru) disclosed that the castle was a visionary image and let them leave for the treasure spot leading them finally to the real treasure spot. In this story, the Doshi (guru) was Buddha, the travelling people were Issai Shujo (all creatures), 500 Yojana road was harshness and difficulty of Buddhism ascetic practice, Kejo was Nijo enlightenment and the treasure spot was Ichijo enlightenment. This story taught that Nijo persons dissatisfied at their enlightenment continued their Buddhism ascetic practice and reached the border with Ichijo by Buddha's kedo (enlightenment). Hoke-kyo Sutra (the Lotus Sutra) indicated that people who had not been able to believe Buddhism and had intended to stop believing when Daitsuchi-sho-butu had been born a long time ago, had been reborn in the era of Sakya-muni Buddha, who for 40-odd years had expounded his various teachings showing tentative enlightenment to make them understand the teachings and train themselves and had lead them to the real treasure, Ichijo teachings.
Erikeishu (the parable of the gem in the jacket) (Gohyakudeshijukihon)
A poor man became drunk and fell asleep in the house of his wealthy best friend. His best friend happened to have to leave the house due to an urgent word from a distant place and tried to wake up the sleeping man in vain. Then, he sewed a valuable gem into the inside of the clothes of the sleeping man and left the house. After the man woke up without knowing anything about what had happened and realized his friend was not there, he returned to his poor life, wandering abroad and being satisfied with small amount of income. The man met his best friend again after a lapse of time and was told about the gem from his best friend, where he realized it for the first time and finally obtained the gem. In this story, the wealthy best friend was Buddha and the poor man was Shomon. This story indicated that Shomon who had been satisfied with his enlightenment by the Nijo teachings had met again with Buddha and had come to know for the first time the teachings of true Ichijo, the gem.
Keichumyosha (the parable of a brilliant gem in a king's top-knot (Anrakugyohon)
Tenrinjoo (universal ruler) (ideal king who reigns over the world not by armed force but by Buddhism) gave soldiers castles, clothes, treasures and so on according to feats they achieved. However, he did not recklessly grant gem he held in his Mage/Motodori (hair bundled up on the top of the head) not to cause all people to be surprised and be suspicious. This story indicated that Tenrinjoo was Buddha, soldiers were disciples, treasures given according to various feats were Nizenkyo (various teachings before Hoke-kyo Sutra) and a brilliant gem in the king's top-knot was Hoke-kyo Sutra.
Roibyoshi (the parable of the excellent physician) (Nyoraijuryo-hon)
There was an excellent physician with fine skill, who had 100-odd children. One time, his children took poison and were suffering while the excellent physician was away. The excellent physician returned home, compounded a medicine, which was given to the children, and half of the children, due probably to low toxicity, took without reservation the medicine their father prepared and recovered their conscience. However, the remaining children did not intend to take the medicine, which they thought was also poison. Then, the excellent physician worked out a plan for him to leave home and make a messenger inform them that their father died on his trip. The children who heard about their father's death felt very sad and took the good medicine their father had left, which made them recover. This story indicated the excellent physician was Buddha, the children suffering from poisoning were Shujo, the excellent physician's return and rescue of suffering children was Buddha's rescue of Issai Shujo and the death of the excellent physician was death as a Hoben (means).