The Mogao Caves

Draw a teaching the Lotus sutra

Draw the Lotus sutra

In the desert great picture gallery, Dunhuang has prospered as an international trade oasis city where many people live and travel as an important relay point of the ancient Silk Road. In this Dunhuang Mogao, Buddhist teachings are depicted in countless murals.

The Ceremony in the Air

The Emergence of the Treasure Tower
At that time in the Buddha’s presence there was a tower adorned with the seven treasures, five hundred yojanas in height and two hundred and fifty yojanas in width and depth, that rose up out of the earth and stood suspended in the air. Various kinds of precious objects adorned it. It had five thousand railings, a thousand, ten thousand rooms. . . (LSOC–209)

This wall painting illustrates the glorious Ceremony in the Air. When Shakyamuni preaches, a magnificent tower adorned with the seven treasures such as gold, silver, pearl and agate emerges from beneath the earth and hangs suspended in midair.

1
Shakyamuni opens the door of the tower. Shakyamuni and Many Treasures Buddha are seated alongside each other,
2
surrounded by all the buddhas from ten directions, bodhisattvas and heavenly deities in an oval-shaped procession.
3
Other buddhas and bodhisattvas gather aboard vessel-shaped clouds to join the Ceremony in the Air.

In the treasure tower, Many Treasures Buddha testifies to the authenticity of Shakyamuni’s preaching, saying, “All that you have expounded is the truth.” This demonstrates that what the Lotus Sutra teaches is the correct teaching for the past, present and future.