three exhortations and four entreaties ［三誡四請］ ( sankai-shishō): A ritual that takes place at the beginning of the “Life Span” (sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra before Shakyamuni Buddha reveals his original enlightenment in the remote past. Three times the Buddha exhorts the assembly: “You must believe and understand the truthful words of the Thus Come One,” and the assembly, led by Bodhisattva Maitreya, each time replies: “World-Honored One, we beg you to explain. We will believe and accept the Buddha’s words.” In the style of the sutras, three rounds of exhortation and entreaty in this fashion indicate that an important teaching is about to be revealed. The assembly then entreats the Buddha to preach yet a fourth time. This extraordinary exchange highlights the importance of the teaching to be revealed. These exchanges constitute the three exhortations and four entreaties. Shakyamuni then says, “You must listen carefully and hear of the Thus Come One’s secret and his transcendental powers,” and proceeds to reveal his original attainment of enlightenment numberless major world system dust particle kalpas in the past.