THE LOTUS SUTRA
CHAPTER 4 - BELIEF AND UNDERSTANDING
AT THAT TIME, when the men of lifelong wisdom Subhuti, Mahakatyayana, Mahakashyapa, and Mahamaudgalyayana heard from the Buddha a Law that they had never known before, and heard the world-honored one prophesy that Shariputra would attain supreme perfect enlightenment, their minds were moved as seldom before and danced for joy. At once they rose from their seats, arranged their robes, bared their right shoulders, and bowed their right knees to the ground. Pressing their palms together with a single mind, they bent their bodies in a gesture of respect and, gazing up in reverence at the face of the honored one, said to the Buddha: “We stand at the head of the monks and are all of us old and decrepit. We believed that we had already attained nirvana and that we were incapable of doing more, and so we never sought to attain supreme perfect enlightenment.
“It has been a long time since the world-honored one first began to expound the Law. During that time we have sat in our seats, our bodies weary and inert, meditating solely on the doctrines of emptiness, non-form, and non-action. But as to the bodhisattva practice of freely playing with transcendental powers to purify buddha lands and save living beings — this our minds took no joy in. Why is this? Because the world-honored one had made it possible for us to transcend the threefold world and to attain the enlightenment of nirvana...