Skip to main content


The Jewel in the Robe

Illustration by Rob Koo.

In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni tells this story: There was once a very poor man who had to search for food every day to survive. One day, his friend invited him to dinner, where he ate his fill. After staying up talking, laughing and drinking with his friend, he fell asleep. 

The friend had to leave early the next day. Concerned for the poor man but not wanting to disturb him, the friend sewed a precious jewel into the lining of the poor man’s robe and left. When the poor man awoke, he did not know he possessed a priceless treasure. For a long time, he continued making do with the food and clothing he could find. 

After a while, they reunited, and the friend was shocked to see the poor man barely making ends meet. 

“How absurd, old fellow!” he said. “In the past, I wanted to make sure you could live comfortably and sewed a precious jewel into the lining of your robe. It must still be there now.”

Illustration by Rob Koo

Sure enough, the poor man found the jewel in the lining of his robe! With this jewel, he didn’t have to worry about being poor anymore and was filled with joy.[1]

Shakyamuni tells this parable to show that we all possess the most precious jewel of Buddhahood inside. Often unaware of it, we are buffeted about by life’s challenges. But once we awaken to our inherent Buddhahood, we can transform our circumstances and become absolutely happy. 

Ikeda Sensei says: 

This parable shows, in simple terms, the principle that every human is endowed with the Buddha nature of infinite potential and inestimable worth. It teaches us that the key to overcoming the constraints of our present reality, whatever they may be, lies within ourselves. (America Will Be!, pp. 137–38)

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff

April 21, 2023, World Tribune, p. 11


  1. See The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 190. ↩︎

Orlando Buddhist Center Opens

Singapore Botanic Gardens