Awesome Sound King ［威音王仏］ ( Bhīshma-garjita-svara-rāja; Ionnō-butsu): A Buddha mentioned in the “Never Disparaging” (twentieth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. According to this chapter, in the remote past a Buddha named Awesome Sound King appeared and expounded the four noble truths for persons seeking to become voice-hearers, the teaching of the twelve-linked chain of causation for persons seeking to become pratyekabuddhas, and the teaching of the six pāramitās for bodhisattvas, so that they could gain their respective benefits. After the death of this Buddha, Buddhas bearing the same name, Awesome Sound King, appeared one after the other, numbering “twenty thousand million” in all.
Bodhisattva Never Disparaging appeared during the Middle Day of the Law after the death of the original Awesome Sound King Buddha. He bowed to any and all people he happened to meet, showing respect for their inherent Buddha nature. Arrogant and conceited, however, they ridiculed, vilified, stoned, and beat the bodhisattva with staves. This Buddha also expounded a Lotus Sutra. The chapter reads: “When this monk [Never Disparaging] was on the point of death, he heard up in the sky fully twenty thousand, ten thousand, a million verses of the Lotus Sutra that had previously been preached by the Buddha Awesome Sound King, and he was able to accept and uphold them all. Immediately he gained . . . purity of the faculties . . . Having gained this purity of the six faculties [eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind], his life span was increased by two hundred ten thousand million nayutas of years, and he went about widely preaching the Lotus Sutra for people.”