“Bestowal of Prophecy” chapter ［授記品］ ( Juki-hon): The sixth chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The “prophecy” in the title means that made by Shakyamuni Buddha as to when, where, and under what names his disciples will become Buddhas. In this chapter, Shakyamuni prophesies that the four great voice-hearers—Mahākāshyapa, Maudgalyāyana, Subhūti, and Kātyāyana—will all attain enlightenment. In the theoretical teaching (first half) of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni declares that the goal of Buddhist practice is the one vehicle of Buddhahood, not any of the three vehicles, i.e., voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, and bodhisattvas. This principle is called “replacement of the three vehicles with the one vehicle.” Shakyamuni explains this principle in three ways: (1) with the doctrine of the true aspect of all phenomena in the “Expedient Means” (second) chapter; (2) with the parable of the three carts and the burning house in the “Simile and Parable” (third) chapter; and (3) by clarifying his past relationship with his disciples in the “Parable of the Phantom City” (seventh) chapter. He employs these three explanations to enable the three groups of voice-hearer disciples—those of superior capacity, intermediate capacity, and inferior capacity, respectively—to understand the principle of the one vehicle teaching.
The “Bestowal of Prophecy” chapter predicts the enlightenment of those of intermediate capacity who realized the Buddha’s true intention through the parable of the three carts and the burning house. In it, Shakyamuni first prophesies that Mahākāshyapa will attain Buddhahood in the future as Light Bright Buddha. Then he predicts that Subhūti, Kātyāyana, and Maudgalyāyana will also attain enlightenment and bear the names Rare Form Buddha, Jāmbūnada Gold Light Buddha, and Tamālapattra Sandalwood Fragrance Buddha, respectively. He concludes this chapter by proclaiming that he will next reveal the relationship between himself and his disciples in a previous existence.