The True Object of Worship
- Kanjin no Honzon Sho -
Lord Toki I have received the summer kimono,
three sumi inksticks, and five writing brushes. I have written
down some of my thoughts concerning the true object of worship
and I am sending the treatise to you, Ota, Soya and the others.
It concerns a very important matter, the purpose of my advent.
Only those who are strong in faith and open-minded should
be allowed to read it. The treatise contains much criticism
and few answers. What it reveals, however , has never been
heard of before, and is bound to startle those who read or
hear of it. Even if you show it to others, never let three
or four persons read it together at a time. In the twenty-two
hundred and twenty odd years since the Buddha's passing, the
ideas contained in the heart of this treatise have never been
revealed before. Despite all the official persecutions befalling
me, I expound it now at the beginning of the fifth half-millennium,
when the time is ripe for its propagation. I hope those who
read it will remain firm in their faith so that both master
and disciples can climb Eagle Peak together to pay their respects
to Shakyamuni, Taho, and all the other Buddhas in the universe.
With my deep respect,
The twenty-sixth day of the fourth month in
the tenth year of Bun'ei (1273).
Nichiren, the Shramana of Japan
Volume Five of the Maka Shikan states: "A
single entity of life is endowed with the Ten Worlds. At the
same time, each of the Ten Worlds is endowed with all the
others, so that an entity of life actually possesses one hundred
worlds. Each of these worlds in turn possesses thirty realms,1
which means that in the one hundred worlds there are three
thousand realms. The three thousand realms of existence are
all possessed by a single entity of life. If there is no life,
that is the end of the matter. But if there is the slightest
bit of life, it contains all the three thousand realms....
This is what we mean when we speak of the 'region of the unfathomable.'"
Note: "Three thousand realms" Might also read "three
thousand factors," But the number is the same. The only
difference lies in the method of expansion.2
Another text of the Maka Shikan states: "One world possesses
the three realms of existence."3
Question: Is the principle
of ichinen sanzen [the three thousand realms in a single entity
of life] explained in the Hokke Gengi?
Answer: Miao-lo states that it is not.
Question: Then is it explained
in the Hokke Mongu?
Answer: Miao-lo states that it is not.
Question: What are his exact
Answer: He says, "Neither of the two
mentions ichinen sanzen."
Question: Is it explained
in any of the first four volumes of the Maka Shikan?
Answer: No, it is not.
Question: What proof is there
Answer: Miao-lo says, "When at last
he revealed in the Maka Shikan how to perceive the true nature
of life, he at the same time employed the 'three thousand
realms' as a way to understand."4
Question: Volume Two of the
Hokke Gengi states: "Each of the Ten Worlds contains
the other nine, and in those one hundred worlds are one thousand
factors." Volume One of the Hokke Mongu states: "Each
cognitive faculty5 possesses
the Ten Worlds, each of which again includes all of the ten
within itself. Since each of those hundred worlds possesses
the ten factors, the total becomes one thousand." In
the Kannon Gengi6 appears
this statement: "The Ten Worlds are all mutually inclusive,
thus making one hundred worlds. One thousand factors are inherent
within life. Even though they are not visible, all life by
its nature possesses all of them."
Is ichinen sanzen mentioned in the first four
volumes of the Maka Shikan?
Answer: Miao-lo says not.
Question: What does he say
Answer: Volume Five of the Guketsu reads:
"In comparison with Chapter Seven,7
the preceding chapters do not perfectly describe practice
in its totality. But they contain the twenty-five preparatory
exercises8 which lead
to understanding, and thus, they provide the way to full practice.
The first six chapters, then, are all meant to bring understanding."
Also in the same volume: "When at last he revealed in
the Maka Shikan how to perceive the true nature of life, he
at the same time employed the 'three thousand realms' as a
way to understand. This is the ultimate truth of his teachings.
That is why Chang-an stated in his introduction: 'The Maka
Shikan reveals the teaching that T'ien-t'ai himself practiced
in the depths of his being.' He had good reason for saying
this. I hope that those who read the Maka Shikan and seek
to understand it must not let their minds be distracted by
The Great Sage9
propagated his teachings for thirty years. During the first
twenty- nine years he expounded the doctrines contained in
the Hokke Gengi, Hokke Mongu, and other works. Through them
he explained the five periods and the eight teachings as well
as the one hundred worlds and the one thousand factors. He
not only refuted the erroneous doctrines of the preceding
five centuries, but at the same time clarified matters that
had not been fully explained by Buddhist scholars of India.
Chang-an states: "Even the great masters of India were
not in a class with him, and the Chinese scholars -- well,
one need hardly mention them. This is no idle boast -- the
doctrine he taught was indeed of such excellence."10
How pitiful that T'ien-t'ai's successors allowed those thieves,
the founders of the Kegon and Shingon sects, to steal the
priceless gem of ichinen sanzen and then, ironically, became
their followers! Chang-an was fully aware this would happen
when he remarked in sorrow, "If this principle should
become lost, it would be a tragedy for the future."11
Question: What is the difference
between the principle of the one hundred worlds of the one
thousand factors, and that of ichinen sanzen, the three thousand
realms of life?
Answer: The former concerns only sentient
beings, the latter applies to both sentient and insentient
Question: If insentient beings
possess the ten factors, is it correct to assume that plants
and trees have minds and can attain Buddhahood like sentient
Answer: This is a matter that is difficult
to believe and difficult to understand. T'ien-t'ai defined
two points that are "difficult to believe" And "difficult
to understand." One lies in the realm of the Buddha's
teachings and the other in the realm of his enlightenment.
In the sutras preached before the Lotus Sutra we read that
adherents of the doctrines of the two vehicles and people
of incorrigible disbelief are forever barred from attaining
Buddhahood, and that Shakyamuni for the first time attained
enlightenment in this world. However, we find that the first
and second halves of the Lotus Sutra repudiate both these
statements. One Buddha who says two things as opposite as
fire and water -- who could believe him? This is the point
"difficult to believe" And "difficult to understand"
In the realm of the Buddha's teachings. The point "difficult
to believe" And "difficult to understand" In
the realm of his enlightenment concerns the principle of ichinen
sanzen, which explains that even insentient beings possess
the ten factors of life, and that they possess both material
and spiritual aspects of life.
Both the Buddhist and non-Buddhist scriptures
permit wooden or painted images to be used as objects of worship,
but T'ien-t'ai and his followers were the first to explain
the principle behind this act. If a piece of wood or paper
did not have both material and spiritual aspects, or lacked
the inherent cause to manifest a spiritual nature, then it
would be futile to rely upon it as an object of worship.
Question: What authority
do you have for stating that a plant, a tree or a land manifests
cause and effect, or the ten factors?
Answer: Volume Five of the Maka Shikan says:
"A land of this world also has the ten factors. Thus
an evil land has appearance, nature, entity, power and so
on." Volume Five of the Shakusen states: "Appearance
exists only in what is material, nature exists only in what
is spiritual. Entity, power, influence, and relation in principle
combine both the material and the spiritual. Inherent cause
and latent effect are purely spiritual; manifest effect exists
only in what is material." The Kongobei-ron12
states: A plant, a tree, a pebble, a speck of dust -- each
has the innate Buddha nature, along with the other causes
and conditions needed to attain Buddhahood."
Question: You have told us
about the sources of this doctrine. Now what is meant by kanjin?
Answer: Kanjin means to observe one's own
mind and to find the Ten Worlds within it. This is what is
called kanjin ("observing the mind"). For example,
though one can see the six sense organs of other people, he
cannot see the six sense organs on his own face. Only when
he looks into a clear mirror for the first time does he see
that he is equipped with all six sense organs. Similarly,
various sutras make reference here and there to the six paths
and the four noble worlds [that constitute the Ten Worlds],
but only in the clear mirror of the Lotus Sutra and T'ien-t'ai's
Maka Shikan can one see his own three thousand conditions
-- the Ten Worlds, their mutual possession, and the thousand
Question: What part of the
Lotus Sutra do you refer to, and what section of the Maka
Answer: Chapter Two, Hoben-bon, of the Lotus
Sutra states that the Buddhas appear in this world "to
open the door of Buddha-wisdom to all beings." This refers
to the fact that all the nine worlds possess the realm of
Buddhahood. Chapter Sixteen, Juryo-hon, states: "Since
I attained Buddhahood, an unimaginably long period has passed.
The length of my life is infinite aeons. My life has always
existed and shall never end. Men of devout faith, once I also
practiced the bodhisattva austerities and the life which I
then acquired has yet to be exhausted. My life will last yet
twice as many aeons from now." Here the sutra refers
to the realm of Buddhahood which includes all of the other
The sutra states: "Devadatta shall become
a Buddha called Devaraja."13
This indicates that the world of Hell also contains the world
of Buddhahood. In the sutra it is stated: "There are
ten female demons, the first named Lamba.... [The Buddha says
to them:] 'You will receive immeasurable good fortune if only
you will protect those who embrace the title of the Lotus
the world of Hunger contains all the Ten Worlds. When the
sutra says: "The Dragon King's daughter...attained enlightenment,"15
it indicates that the world of Animality has the Ten Worlds.
The sutra says that Balin ashura and the other ashura kings
will attain enlightenment upon hearing even a single verse
or phrase of the sutra.16
The sutra says: "all people who [erect statues to] honor
the Buddha...have attained Buddhahood,"17
meaning that the world of Humanity contains the Ten Worlds.
The sutra states that the heavenly gods, led by Mahabrahman,
declared: "We shall attain enlightenment."18
Thus the world of heaven contains the Ten Worlds.
The sutra says: "Shariputra, in one of
your lives to come...you will become a Buddha called Padmaprabha."19
Thus the world of Learning contains the Ten Worlds. The sutra
says: "Those who seek to become a pratyekabuddha,20
monks and nuns,...join their hands in reverence, wishing to
hear the way to attain the perfect truth."21
Thus the world of the Pratyekabuddha has the
Ten Worlds. The sutra describes the multitude of Bodhisattvas
who appeared from the earth and declared, "We also yearn
to receive the pure great law."22
Thus the world of the Bodhisattva contains the Ten Worlds.
The sutra says: "[Men of devout faith, the sutras which
the Tathagata expounded are all for the purpose of saving
people from their sufferings.] Sometimes I speak of myself,
sometimes of others."23
Thus the world of Buddhahood contains the Ten Worlds.
Question: Although I can
see both my own sensory organs and those of others, I cannot
see the ten worlds in myself or others. How can I believe
Answer: Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sutra says:
"[The Lotus Sutra is] the most difficult to believe and
the most difficult to understand." [In describing how
difficult it will be to fulfill the teachings of the Lotus
Sutra after the Buddha's passing,] Chapter Eleven speaks of
the "six difficult and nine easy acts." The great
Teacher T'ien-t'ai states: "Because the theoretical and
essential teachings [of the Lotus Sutra] contradict all the
earlier sutras, they are extremely difficult to believe and
difficult to understand."24
The Great Teacher Chang-an comments: "The Buddha intended
these as his ultimate teachings. How could they ever be so
easy to understand?"25
The Great Teacher Dengyo says: "The Lotus
Sutra is the most difficult to believe and to understand because
in it the Buddha directly revealed what he had attained."26
Those who were born in the days of Shakyamuni Buddha and heard
his teachings in person had received the seed of enlightenment
from him in the distant past. In addition, Shakyamuni, as
well as Taho Buddha, the Buddhas in the ten directions of
the universe, the countless Bodhisattvas of the Earth, and
the other bodhisattvas such as Monju and Miroku, aided them
and encouraged them to have understanding, but even then there
were those who failed to believe.
Five thousand people left the assembly, [arrogantly
thinking that they had understood what they had not]. All
gods and men [other than those already present in the assembly]
were moved to other worlds [because they were incapable of
understanding the Buddha's teachings]. How much more difficult
it is to believe in the Lotus Sutra after the Buddha's passing
-- in the Former and Middle Day of the Law -- and even more
difficult now at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law!
If it were easy for you to believe in, it would not be the
Buddha's true teaching.
Question: The passages from
the Lotus Sutra and the explanations by T'ien- t'ai, Chang-an
and others which you have cited are free from obscurities
and doubtful points. But you seem to be saying that fire is
water, or that black is white. Although they may be the teachings
of the Buddha, I find it difficult to accept them. Now I look
repeatedly at people's faces, but I see only the world of
Humanity. I do not see the other worlds. And the same is true
when I look at my own face. How am I to believe in the Ten
Answer: When we look from time to time at
a person's face, we find him sometimes joyful, sometimes enraged,
and sometimes calm. At times greed appears in the person's
face, at times foolishness, and at times perversity. Rage
is the world of Hell, greed is that of Hunger, foolishness
is that of Animality, perversity is that of Anger, joy is
that of Rapture, and calmness is that of Humanity. These worlds,
the six paths, are present in the physical appearance of the
person's face. The remaining four noble worlds are hidden
and dormant and do not appear in the face, but if we search
carefully, we can tell that they are there.
Question: Although I am not
entirely certain about the six paths, it would appear from
what you have said that we possess them. But what about the
four noble worlds which cannot be seen at all?
Answer: Earlier you doubted that the six
lower worlds exist within Humanity, but when I illustrated
the point through an analogy, you understood. Perhaps it will
be the same with the four noble worlds. I will try to employ
reasoning to explain a little bit about the matter. The fact
that all things in this world are transient is perfectly clear
to us. Is this not because the worlds of the two vehicles
are present in the world of Humanity? Even a heartless villain
loves his wife and children. He too has a portion of the Bodhisattva
world within him. Buddhahood is the most difficult to demonstrate.
But since you possess the other nine worlds, you should believe
that you have Buddhahood as well. Do not permit yourself to
have doubts. The Lotus Sutra, explaining the world of Humanity,
says that "[the Buddhas appear in this world] to open
the door of Buddha-wisdom to all beings."27
The Nirvana Sutra states: "Those who study the Mahayana
teachings, though they have the eyes of ordinary mortals,
are said to have 'the eyes of a Buddha.'" That common
mortals born in the Latter Day of the Law can believe in the
Lotus Sutra is due to the fact that the world of Buddhahood
is present in the world of Humanity.
Question: The Buddha clearly
explained that each of the Ten Worlds has the same Ten Worlds
within itself. Nonetheless, I find it difficult to believe
that our base hearts could possess the world of Buddhahood.
If I cannot believe it, I will become a person of incorrigible
disbelief. With your great compassion, please help me to believe
and save me from the torture of the hell of incessant suffering.
Answer: You have already seen and heard the
sutra passages concerning "the one great reason"
[why the Buddhas appear in this world]. If you still do not
believe, then how can anyone, from Shakyamuni on down to the
four ranks of bodhisattvas or we common mortals who have yet
to attain Buddhahood, save you from disbelief? Nevertheless,
I will try to explain. After all, there were some who could
not attain enlightenment through the direct teachings of the
Buddha, but were able to do so later through the preaching
of Ananda and the other disciples.
People can attain Buddhahood in two ways:
By meeting the Buddha and hearing the Lotus Sutra, or by believing
in the sutra even though they do not meet the Buddha. Even
before the advent of the Buddha some Brahmans in India came
to the correct view of life through the Vedas. In China before
the arrival of Buddhism, some had attained the correct view
through Taoism and Confucianism. Many wise bodhisattvas and
common mortals perceived that the Buddha had planted the seed
of Buddhahood within them in the remote past [of sanzen-jintengo
before they heard the Lotus Sutra]. They understood this by
hearing the provisional Mahayana sutras of the Kegon, Hodo,
and Hannya periods. They are like pratyekabuddhas [who could
perceive the impermanence of life in the sight of] scattering
blossoms or falling leaves. These, then, are the type of people
who came to understand the truth through teachings other than
the Lotus Sutra.
But many did not receive the seed of Buddhahood
in their past existences and cling to Hinayana or provisional
Mahayana teachings, and even if they are fortunate enough
to encounter the Lotus Sutra, they cannot advance beyond their
Hinayana or provisional Mahayana views. They are convinced
that their own views are correct, and as a result they place
the Lotus Sutra on the same level with the Hinayana sutras
or provisional Mahayana sutras such as the Kegon and Dainichi.
Some even regard the Lotus Sutra as subordinate to these.
Such teachers are inferior to the sages of Confucianism and
But let us put this question aside for the
moment. The mutual possession of the Ten Worlds is as difficult
to believe as fire existing in a stone or flowers within a
tree. Yet under the right conditions such phenomena actually
occur and can be believed. To believe that Buddhahood exists
within Humanity is the most difficult thing of all -- as difficult
as believing that fire exists in water or water in fire. Nevertheless,
the dragon is said to produce fire from water and water from
fire, and although people do not understand why, they believe
it when they see it occur. Since you now believe that Humanity
contains the other eight worlds from Hell to Bodhisattva,
why are you still unable to include Buddhahood? The Chinese
sage-kings Yao and Shun were impartial toward all people.
They perceived one aspect of Buddhahood within Humanity. Bodhisattva
Fukyo saw the Buddha in everyone he met, and Prince Siddhartha28
was a man who became a Buddha. These examples should help
you to believe.
Note: The teaching that follows must be kept
in strictest secrecy.
Question: Shakyamuni, the
lord of doctrine, is the Buddha who has destroyed all the
three illusions. He is the sovereign of all sentient beings
in the entire universe -- kings, bodhisattvas, people of the
two vehicles, common mortals and heavenly beings. Whenever
the Buddha moves, Bonten attends him on the left and Taishaku
on the right. Priests and nuns, laymen and laywomen, as well
as the eight kinds of lowly beings who protect Buddhism, follow
behind, while the Kongo gods29
march in the vanguard. With his eighty thousand teachings30
he leads all people to enlightenment. How could such a great
Buddha dwell in the hearts of us common mortals?
Both the teachings before the Lotus Sutra
and the first half of the Lotus Sutra itself tell us that
Lord Shakyamuni attained his enlightenment for the first time
in this world. Searching into those passages for the cause
of his enlightenment, we find that he practiced bodhisattva
austerities in past existences as Prince Nose, Bodhisattva
Judo, King Shibi, and Prince Satta. The Buddha practiced the
bodhisattva austerities for the unimaginably long period [described
in the teachings of zokyo, tsugyo, bekkyo and engyo. The first
half of the Lotus Sutra, for example, states that] he continued
practicing for as long as sanzen- jintengo. During that long
period the Buddha served as many as seventy-five, seventy-six
or seventy-seven thousand Buddhas31
and finishing his practice, he became Shakyamuni Buddha
in this life. Are you saying that each of us has a world of
Bodhisattva within, which is endowed with all the blessings
Shakyamuni attained as a result of his practice?
Again, looking into these teachings to find
the results of his practice, we see that Shakyamuni Buddha's
original enlightenment occurred in this life. For more than
forty years the Buddha revealed himself in four different
ways in four kinds of teachings, and with them he was able
to give benefit to all people by expounding the provisional
and theoretical teachings.
When he preached the Kegon Sutra, the Buddha
appeared as Vairochana Buddha seated in the center of a lotus
flower with one thousand petals. When he expounded the Agon
sutras, he appeared as a Buddha who had eliminated all illusions
by practicing thirty-four kinds of spiritual purification.
When he preached the Hodo sutras, he was accompanied by a
great multitude of Buddhas. Ten thousand Buddhas joined him
when he expounded the Hannya sutras. In the Dainichi and Kongocho
sutras, he made a dignified appearance as five hundred and
seven hundred Buddhas and bodhisattvas respectively. In Chapter
Eleven of the Lotus Sutra the Buddha manifested himself in
four different ways as he transformed the land three times.32
When the Buddha expounded the Nirvana Sutra, those assembled
saw him variously as the Buddha of the zokyo, tsugyo, bekkyo
or engyo teachings. When the Buddha entered nirvana at the
age of eighty, he left his relics and teachings to benefit
people in the Former, Middle, and Latter Days of the Law.33
Now, the essential teaching says that Shakyamuni
Buddha attained Buddhahood in the remote past of gohyaku-jintengo,
and it describes the various austerities that made this possible.
Since then he has the various austerities that made this possible.
Since then he has manifested himself in many different ways
throughout the universe and preached all the teachings of
Buddhism to lead infinite numbers to enlightenment. Incomparably
more people have been enlightened through the essential teaching
than through the theoretical one. The former is like the ocean
and the latter, a drop of water, the one great mountain and
the other a speck of dust.
What is more, a bodhisattva of the essential
teaching is far superior to any bodhisattva of the theoretical,
including Monju, Kannon or any other in the universe. The
difference between them is even greater than that between
Taishaku and a monkey.
Are you saying that besides these bodhisattvas,
all beings and all things in the universe are inherent in
the Ten Worlds and the three thousand realms of our own lives?
Do the people of the two vehicles who became arhats by destroying
their illusions, Bonten, Taishaku, the gods of the sun and
moon, the Four Heavenly Kings, the Four Wheel-Rolling Kings,
the great flames of the hell of incessant suffering all exist
within us? Even if you say this is what the Buddha taught,
I still cannot believe it.
When we consider it, the teachings that came
before the Lotus Sutra must be genuine in both substance and
wording. The Kegon Sutra describes the Buddha as "perfect
and free from all falsehood and defilement like the empty
sky." A passage of the Ninno Sutra reads: "One can
penetrate the ultimate source of delusion and extirpate his
benighted nature until nothing but perfect wisdom remains."
In the Kongo Hannya Sutra it says: "[When one attains
enlightenment,] nothing but pure goodness will remain within
him."Bodhisattva Ashvaghosha states in the Daijo Kishin-ron
(Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana): "Only pure blessings
exist within his Buddha nature. Bodhisattva Vasubandhu remarks
in his Yuishiki-ron (The Consciousness-Only Doctrine): "When
a bodhisattva advances to the final stage of practice, with
adamantine meditation he extinguishes all remaining seeds
of desire and casts away imperfect wisdom, thereby developing
the ultimate consciousness of total purity and perfection."
The Lotus Sutra is only one, while the sutras
taught before it are innumerable. And the older ones have
been taught over a longer period than the Lotus Sutra. Therefore,
if they contradict the Lotus Sutra, you should accept the
older sutras. Bodhisattva Ashvaghosha was the Buddha's eleventh
successor, whose appearance had been foretold in the sutras.
Bodhisattva Vasubandhu was one of the greatest bodhisattvas
who ever lived and the author of one-thousand treaties. How
then can you believe the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai, a lowly
priest living far away from the birthplace of Buddhism who
interpreted the sutras but did not write a single treatise?
Still, I might be able to disregard the pre-Lotus
Sutra teachings and accept the Lotus Sutra if it said anything
to prove this point. But where in the sutra can you find any
passages that definitely verify the mutual possession of the
Ten Worlds, one thousand factors and the three thousand realms
of life? Even in Chapter Two of the Lotus Sutra we find the
following passage: "The Buddha has eliminated all evils
of life." Neither Vasubandhu's Hokke-ron (Treatise on
the Lotus Sutra) nor Bodhisattva Sthiramati's Hosho-ron (On
the Treasure Vehicle of Buddhahood) makes any mention of the
mutual possession of the Ten Worlds.
Nor are there any writings by the great Buddhists
of northern and southern China, or by the priests of the seven
temples of Japan, that expound this principle. It is simply
T'ien-t'ai's own biased view, and Dengyo made the mistake
of transmitting it. That is what the National Teacher Ch'ing-liang34
meant when he said, "T'ien-t'ai's theory is wrong."
Priest Hui- yuan35 said,
"By defining Hinayana doctrines as zokyo teachings, T'ien-t'ai
has confused Hinayana and Mahayana." Ryoko36
criticized him, saying: "T'ien-t'ai is the only one who
did not understand the true meaning of the Kegon Sutra."
Tokuichi 37 reproached
him, saying: "See here, Chih-i, whose disciple are you!
With a tongue less than three inches long you slander the
teachings that come from the Buddha's long broad tongue!"38
Kobo Daishi commented: "Chinese priests of various sects
vied with one another to steal the ghee of the Kegon Sutra,
calling it their own doctrine." Thus, the doctrine of
ichinen sanzen is not mentioned in either the provisional
or the true teachings. It did not appear in the writings of
any of the great Indian scholars, and no Chinese or Japanese
priest has ever espoused it. How then do you dare to believe
Answer: Your criticisms are harsh. The difference
between the Lotus Sutra and the other sutras must be determined
by what the sutras themselves say. In them we find statements
that the Buddha did not reveal the truth in the first forty-two
years of his teaching and that the would reveal it in the
Taho and all the other Buddhas throughout
the universe presented themselves to testify to the truth
of the Lotus Sutra, testimony that they did not give for any
other sutra. With the Lotus Sutra Shakyamuni enabled the people
of the two vehicles to attain Buddhahood, whereas with the
earlier sutras he did not. In the earlier sutras he stated
that he attained enlightenment for the first time in this
world, but in the Lotus Sutra he revealed that his enlightenment
was actually in the remote past of gohyaku-jintengo.39
I will now explore the problem posed by the
scholars you mentioned above. The Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai
comments: "Vasubandhu and Nagarjuna clearly perceived
the truth in their hearts, but they did not teach it. Instead,
they preached the provisional Mahayana teachings, which were
suited to their times. However, the Buddhist teachers who
came later were biased in their understanding, and the scholars
obstinately clung to their own views, until in the end they
began to battle with one another. Each defended one small
corner of the teachings and thereby completely departed from
the true way of the Buddha."40
The Great Teacher Chang-an says of T'ien-t'ai, "Even
the great masters of India were not in a class with him, and
the Chinese scholars -- well, one need hardly mention them.
This is no idle boast -- the doctrine he taught was indeed
of such excellence."
In their hearts Vasubandhu, Nagarjuna, Ashvaghosha,
Sthiramati and other Buddhist scholars knew [the truth of
ichinen sanzen], but they did not reveal it to others because
the time for it to be expounded had not yet come. As for the
Buddhist teachers in China who preceded T'ien-t'ai, some kept
this treasure in their hearts and others knew nothing about
it. Among those who followed him, some accepted [ichinen sanzen]
only after first trying to disprove it, and others never accepted
it at all.
As regards the passage in the Hoben chapter
that you quoted, "The Buddha has eliminated all evils
of life," Here the Buddha is referring to a teaching
from one of the earlier sutras. But when you take a closer
look at the sutra, it becomes clear that the mutual possession
of the Ten Worlds is being explained. For in the same chapter,
this passage occurs: "The Buddhas appear in this world
to open the door of Buddha-wisdom to all beings."T'ien-t'ai
comments on this passage as follows: "If people do not
possess innate Buddha-wisdom within them, how could the Buddha
say he wanted to develop it? One must understand that the
Buddha-wisdom is latent in all human beings."41
Chang-an [cites a parable to illustrate this and] concludes:
"How could people realize their Buddha-wisdom if it did
not exist within them? How could the poor widow discover her
treasure if it had not been in the storehouse?"42
It is, however, extremely difficult to convince
you that the Lord Buddha exists within us, as do the nine
worlds from Hell to Bodhisattva. In Chapter Ten of the Lotus
Sutra he gives us this admonishment: "Among all the sutras
I have preached, now preach, and will preach, this Lotus Sutra
is the most difficult to believe and the most difficult to
understand." The "six difficult and nine easy acts"
He expounded in the next chapter emphasize the difficulty.
Hence T'ien-t'ai states: "Because the theoretical and
essential teachings [of the Lotus Sutra] contradict all the
earlier sutras, they are extremely difficult to believe and
difficult to understand -- no less difficult than facing an
enemy who is armed with a spear."Chang-an comments: "The
Buddha intended these as his ultimate teachings. How could
they ever be easy to understand?" The Great Teacher Dengyo
remarks: "The Lotus Sutra is the most difficult to believe
and to understand because in it the Buddha directly revealed
what he had attained."
In the first eighteen hundred years after
the Buddha's entry into nirvana, only three persons perceived
the True Law. They are Shakyamuni of India, the Great teacher
T'ien-t'ai of China, and the Great Teacher Dengyo of Japan.
These three men are all Buddhist sages.
Question: What about Nagarjuna
Answer: Those sages knew, but did not expound
it. They expounded part of the theoretical teaching, but did
not teach either the essential teaching or the truth of the
Buddha's enlightenment it contains. Perhaps the people in
their age were capable of believing it, but the time was not
ripe to expound it. Or perhaps neither the people nor the
time was appropriate.
After the advent of T'ien-t'ai and Dengyo,
many Buddhists learned of ichinen sanzen through the wisdom
of these two sages. They included Chia-hsiang of the Sanron
sect; more than one hundred priests of the southern and northern
sects of China; Fa- ts'ang and Ch'ing-liang of the Kegon sect;
Hsuan-tsang and Tz'u-en of the Hosso sect; Shan-wu-wei, Chin-kang-chih
and Pu-k'ung of the Shingon sect; and Tao-hsuan of the Ritsu
sect. At first they all opposed T'ien-t'ai, but later totally
accepted his teachings.
Now, to dispel the grave doubts you have about
the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, I refer you to the
Muryogi Sutra, which states: "Suppose a baby is born
to a king and queen. He may be only a day, two days or seven
days old; a month, two months or seven months old; a year,
two years or seven years old. He cannot yet administer the
affairs of state, but already he is honored and respected
by all the nation's subjects and ministers and has as his
companions the sons of other rulers. The royal parents love
him without reserve and always talk with him, for he is still
"Men of devout faith, one who embraces
this sutra is like the young prince. The various Buddhas can
be likened to the king and this sutra to the queen. They give
birth to a bodhisattva, their child. Suppose the bodhisattva
listens to and accepts the sutra. If he recites even one phrase
or a verse, or reads even a few lines of it or preaches it
one, two, ten, a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, or countless
times, though he cannot yet grasp the full truth of it, already
he will be revered by the four kinds of believers and the
eight kinds of other lowly beings, he will be attended by
great bodhisattvas, and continually receive the unreserved
protection and compassion of all Buddhas. This is because
he is still new to the faith."
The Fugen Sutra says: "This Mahayana
sutra is the treasure, the eye and the seed of life for all
Buddhas in the universe throughout the past, present and future...
You should exert yourself in practice and never let the seed
of Buddhahood die out." It also declares: "This
all-embracing sutra is the eye of all Buddhas because through
its teachings they become endowed with the five types of vision.
Since the three enlightened properties of the Buddha's life
arise from the sutra, it is the seal of ultimate truth which
assures entry into the ocean of nirvana. A Buddha's three
pure properties come from this vast ocean and become the fertile
field of good fortune for all human and heavenly beings."
Now we should go on to survey the entire range
of the Buddha's teaching, the exoteric and esoteric, as well
as Hinayana and Mahayana, specifically the sutras upon which
each denomination, Kegon, Shingon, etc., depends for its doctrine.
For example, the Kegon Sutra describes Vairochana Buddha seated
in the center of a thousand-petaled lotus flower; the Daijuku
Sutra, a cloud of Buddhas who gathered from all over the universe;
the Hannya Sutra, the emergence of one thousand Buddhas; and
the Dainichi and Kongocho sutras depict more than twelve hundred
Buddhas and bodhisattvas. All these Buddhas are but temporary
manifestations of the original Buddha. These sutras all reveal
the practices of Shakyamuni Buddha and the Buddhahood he attained
in this life, but they do not reveal the original cause for
his enlightenment in the remote past of gohyaku-jintengo.
It is true that the immediate attainment of
Buddhahood is revealed in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings, but
they do not mention Shakyamuni Buddha teaching his disciples
in the remote past of sanzen-jintengo and gohyaku-jintengo.
Therefore, there is no revelation of when the Buddha started
teaching or when he finished.43
The Kegon Sutra seems to belong to the higher two and the
Dainichi Sutra to all of the four teachings -- zokyo, tsugyo,
bekkyo and engyo -- but these sutras actually fall into the
category of zokyo and tsugyo, the two lower teachings, because
they do not expound the three requisites for Buddhahood: Innate
Buddha nature, the potential to realize it, and the cause
that makes the Buddha nature develop. Then how can we define
these sutras as the seed of enlightenment?
The translators of the new versions of the
sutras learned about T'ien-t'ai's teaching of ichinen sanzen
when they returned to China. When they translated Sanskrit
sutras into Chinese, some put T'ien-t'ai's principle into
their translations, and others claimed that the originals
they had brought back from India already contained it. Some
of the scholars of the T'ien-t'ai sect were simply pleased
that other sects expounded the same doctrine as theirs, while
others praised the Buddhism of India and slighted that of
China, or discarded their original doctrines and adopted new
ones. These scholars yielded to their devilish nature and
stupidity. However, without ichinen sanzen, the seed of enlightenment,
sentient beings cannot attain enlightenment, and any statue
or image would be an object of worship in name alone.
Question: You have not yet
fully answered my question about the mutual possession of
the Ten Worlds.
Answer: The Muryogi Sutra states: "[If
you embrace this sutra,] you will naturally receive the benefits
of the six paramitas without having to practice them."
The Hoben chapter of the Lotus Sutra says: "They wish
to hear the teaching of perfect endowment."The Nirvana
Sutra states: "Sad indicates perfect endowment."Bodhisattva
Nagarjuna comments: "Sad signifies 'six.'" The Daijo
Shiron Gengi Ki (Annotation of the Four Mahayana Theses) states:
"Sad connotes six. In India the number six implies perfect
endowment."In his annotation of the Lotus Sutra, Chia-hsiang
writes, "Sad means perfect endowment." The Great
Teacher T'ien-t'ai remarks: "Sad is a Sanskrit word,
which is translated as myo."44
An arbitrary interpretation of these quotations may distort
their meaning, but in essence they mean that Shakyamuni's
practices and the virtues he consequently attained are all
contained within the single phrase, Myoho-renge-kyo. If we
believe in that phrase, we shall naturally be granted the
same benefits as he was.
With full understanding of Shakyamuni's teachings,
the four great men of Learning said: "We have gained
the supreme cluster of jewels when we least expected it."
They represent the world of Learning that is within ourselves.
The Hoben chapter states: "At the start I pledged to
make all people perfectly equal to me, without any distinction
between us. By now the original vows that I made have already
been fulfilled. I have led all the people on the path of Buddhahood."
The enlightened life of Shakyamuni Buddha is our own flesh
and blood. His practices and resulting virtues are our bones
and marrow. Chapter Eleven of the Lotus Sutra says: "Those
who choose to protect this sutra serve Taho Buddha and me.....
They also serve all other Buddhas present who dignify and
glorify all the worlds." Shakyamuni, Taho, and all the
other Buddhas in the ten directions represent the world of
Buddhahood within ourselves. By searching them out within
us, we can receive the benefits of Shakyamuni, Taho, and all
the other Buddhas. This is what is meant by the following
passage in Chapter Ten: "If one hears the Law for even
a single moment, he will be able to attain perfect enlightenment."
The Juryo chapter reads: "The time is
limitless and boundless -- a hundred, thousand, ten thousand,
hundred thousand nayuta aeons -- since I in fact attained
Buddhahood." Present within our lives is the Lord Shakyamuni
who obtained the three enlightened properties of life before
gohyaku-jintengo, the original Buddha since time without beginning.
The Juryo chapter states: "Once I also practiced the
bodhisattva austerities and the life which I then acquired
has yet to be exhausted. My life will last yet twice as many
aeons from now." He was speaking of the world of Bodhisattva
within ourselves. The Bodhisattvas of the Earth are the followers
of Lord Shakyamuni in our lives. They follow the Buddha just
as T'ai-kung45 and Tan,
the Duke of Chou served as ministers to King Wu of the Chou
dynasty and later assisted his son,46
and successor, the infant King Ch'eng; or just as Takeshiuchi47
served Empress Jingu and later her grandson Crown Prince Nintoku
as a highly valued minister. Bodhisattvas Jogyo, Muhengyo,
Jyogyo and Anryugyo represent the world of Bodhisattva within
our lives. The Great Teacher Miao-lo declares: "You should
realize that our life and its environment are the entity of
ichinen sanzen. When we attain Buddhahood, according to this
principle, our life pervades the entire universe both physically
Shakyamuni revealed in the Kegon Sutra the
world within the lotus flower at Buddh Gaya where he attained
enlightenment. In the more than fifty years until he died
in the Sala grove, Shakyamuni Buddha preached the Pure Land
of Dainichi Buddha in the Mitsugon Sutra, three times purified
countless lands in the universe when he preached the theoretical
teaching of the Lotus Sutra, and expounded four kinds of lands49
in the Nirvana Sutra -- the Land of Enlightened and Unenlightened
Beings as well as the Land of Transition, Actual Reward, and
Eternal Light. All these lands as well as the Pure Land of
Amida Buddha and the Emerald Land of Yakushi Buddha are in
constant flux - - growth, stability, decline and ku. When
the Lord Buddha, Shakyamuni, enters nirvana, all the other
Buddhas and their lands also pass away with him.
The saha world Shakyamuni revealed in the
Juryo chapter is the eternal pure land, impervious to the
three calamities and the four cycles of change. In this world
the Buddha is eternal, transcending birth and death, and his
disciples are also eternal. That is why the three thousand
worlds or the three realms of existence are within our own
lives. The Buddha did not reveal this truth in the first fourteen
chapters of the Lotus Sutra because the time was not right
and he found his disciples not yet able to grasp the truth.
Shakyamuni Buddha did not transmit Nam-myoho-
renge-kyo, the heart of the essential teaching of the Lotus
Sutra, even to Bodhisattvas Monju and Yakuo, let alone to
any lesser bodhisattva. He transferred it only to the Bodhisattvas
of the Earth, summoning them and preaching the eight core
chapters -- from the fifteenth to the twenty-second chapter
-- of the Lotus Sutra.
The true object of worship is described in
the ceremony of the transmission as follows:
In the air above the saha world [which the
Buddha of the essential teaching identified as the pure and
eternal land], Nam-myoho-renge-kyo appears in the center of
the Treasure Tower with Shakyamuni and Taho Buddhas seated
to the right and left, and the Four Bodhisattvas of the Earth,
led by Jogyo, flank them. Around them are Monju, Miroku and
the other followers of the Four Bodhisattvas. All the other
bodhisattvas, whether they are disciples of the Buddha of
the theoretical teaching or of the Buddhas of the other worlds,
take their seats further below, like commoners kneeling on
the ground in the presence of nobles and high ministers. The
Buddhas who gathered from the other worlds in the ten directions
of the universe all remain on the ground, showing that they
are only manifestations of the eternal Buddha and that their
lands are transient, not eternal and unchanging.
During the entire fifty years of Shakyamuni's
teaching, only in the last eight years did he preach the twenty-eight
chapters of the Lotus Sutra. Again, of all these chapters,
only in the eight vital chapters did he reveal and transfer
the object of worship to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.50
During the two millennia of the Former and Middle Days of
the Law, statues were made showing Mahakashyapa and Ananda
flanking Shakyamuni Buddha as he preached Hinayana, and Monju
and Fugen flanking Shakyamuni Buddha as he preached the provisional
Mahayana, the Nirvana Sutra and the theoretical teachings
of the Lotus Sutra.
Even though statues and images were made of
Shakyamuni Buddha during the two millennia, no image or statue
was made of the Buddha of the Juryo chapter.51
Only in the Latter Day of the Law shall the representation
of that Buddha appear.
Question: During the two
millennia of the Former and Middle Days of the Law the great
Bodhisattvas and teachers constructed images of Shakyamuni
Buddha preaching Hinayana, provisional Mahayana or the theoretical
teaching of the Lotus Sutra and built temples for them. However,
no one in India, China and Japan, neither their kings nor
subjects, revered the object of worship revealed in the Juryo
chapter of the essential teaching. Although I think I understand
in general what you are saying, I have never heard such a
thing before and I therefore find it startling to my ears
and perplexing to my mind. Will you explain it to me in greater
Answer: All the teachings Shakyamuni expounded
-- the provisional teachings in the first four of the five
periods and the Lotus Sutra and the Nirvana Sutra in the last
period -- make an unbroken series of teachings like one perfect
sutra. [These can be divided into three parts -- preparation,
revelation and transmission.52]
Preparation covers the part from the Kegon Sutra, his first
preaching at Buddh Gaya, to the Hannya sutras; revelation
includes the Muryogi Sutra, the Lotus Sutra and the Fugen
Sutra (ten volumes in all); and transmission indicates the
Nirvana Sutra. The second part can also be classified into
three. The Muryogi Sutra and the first chapter of the Lotus
Sutra are preparation. Revelation begins with the Hoben (second)
chapter and ends with the nineteen line verse of the Funbetsu
Kudoku (seventeenth) chapter. Transmission includes the rest
of the Lotus Sutra -- from the section clarifying the four
stages of faith -- and the Fugen Sutra.
We can divide the ten volumes of the Muryogi
Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, and the Fugen Sutra into two parts:
Theoretical and essential.53
In the theoretical teaching, preparation indicates the Muryogi
Sutra and the first chapter of the Lotus Sutra, revelation
is the Hoben (second) chapter through the Ninki (ninth) chapter,
and transmission includes the tenth to the fourteenth chapters.
The Buddha of the theoretical teaching declared that he first
attained Buddhahood in this life. He revealed the hundred
worlds and the thousand factors inherent in life, though he
did not go on to expound their eternal nature. Since the theoretical
teaching of the Lotus Sutra thus reveals a part of the Buddha's
own enlightenment, it excels all the other sutras and is difficult
to believe and difficult to understand.
Herein the first relationship between Shakyamuni
Buddha and his disciples can be traced back to the time when
he was the sixteenth son of Daitsu Buddha. At that time he
first planted the seed of Buddhahood in their lives. In Shakyamuni's
lifetime only a few of them could discover the seed when they
heard the Kegon Sutra and the other teachings of the first
four periods. This was not, however, the Buddha's true intention.
Their discovery through these teachings was as rare as curing
an illness with poison. Common mortals and the people of the
two vehicles were led gradually to the Lotus Sutra through
the teachings of the first four periods. They then discovered
the seed of Buddhahood within themselves and were able to
obtain the fruit of enlightenment.
There were people of Humanity and Heaven who
took faith in the eight chapters for the first time in Shakyamuni's
days. Some took the seed into their lives by listening to
a single phrase or verse from among the eight chapters. Others
nurtured and harvested the seed they received, and still others
obtained the fruit of enlightenment when they came to the
Fugen and Nirvana sutras. There were also some who obtained
the same fruit through Hinayana and provisional Mahayana teachings
when they appeared later in the Former, Middle and Latter
Days of the Law. These last are like the disciples in Shakyamuni's
lifetime who discovered the seed of Buddhahood through the
teachings of the first four periods.
Preparation, revelation and transmission are
also represented in the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra,
especially in the latter fourteen chapters. Preparation is
the first half of the Yujutsu (fifteenth) chapter. Revelation
includes the latter half of this chapter, the Juryo chapter,
and the first half of the Funbetsu Kudoku (seventeenth) chapter
-- one chapter and two halves. Transmission includes the rest.
The Buddha of the essential teaching denied that he first
attained Buddhahood in this life. The difference between the
theoretical and essential teachings is as great as that between
heaven and earth.
The latter revealed the eternity of the Ten
Worlds and, further, the True Land. The theoretical teaching,
the teachings of the first four periods, the Muryogi Sutra
and the Nirvana Sutra were all preached according to the capacities
of the people. They are, therefore, easy to believe and easy
to understand. In contrast, the essential teaching reveals
the Buddha's own enlightenment, and therefore, is difficult
to believe and difficult to understand. However, even the
difference between ichinen sanzen of the theoretical and of
the essential teachings pales into insignificance before the
ultimate principle hidden within the Lotus Sutra.
True Buddhism also has its preparation, revelation,
and transmission. Shakyamuni Buddha preached the Lotus Sutra
in his life as the sixteenth son of Daitsu Buddha. When he
appeared as Shakyamuni he also expounded teachings for fifty
years, including the Kegon Sutra, the theoretical teaching
of the Lotus Sutra and the Nirvana Sutra. All these sutras
as well as the innumerable teachings of all the other Buddhas
in the universe are preparation for revealing the heart of
the Juryo chapter.
All the teachings other than "one chapter
and two halves" Of true Buddhism are Hinayana in nature
and heretical. Not only do they fail to lead to enlightenment,
but they also lack the truth. Those who believe in them are
of slight virtue, bound by illusion, ignorant, unfortunate,
solitary and like birds and beasts which do not appreciate
their parents' love.
The first half of the Lotus Sutra and the
sutras preceding it teach that one can attain Buddhahood,
but even they are not the true cause for Buddhahood. Much
less so are teachings of a Hinayana nature such as the Dainichi
Sutra. It is out of the question to think that the scholars
and priests of the seven sects, including Kegon and Shingon,
preach the true cause for attaining Buddhahood.
These inferior sutras seem to fall within
the zokyo, tsugyo, and bekkyo teachings, but actually they
are no better than the lowest two. They maintain that their
doctrines are incomparably profound, although nowhere do they
clarify when the Buddha planted the seed of Buddhahood, or
when he nurtured and reaped it. These doctrines are no different
from Hinayana which demands that one reduce his body to ashes
and annihilate his consciousness, for they do not reveal when
the Buddha started teaching and when he finished. If a queen
should conceive by a slave, her baby would be nothing but
The second through the ninth chapters of the
theoretical teaching seem to have been expounded for the sake
of the people of the two vehicles rather than for the common
people and bodhisattvas in Shakyamuni's lifetime. From a more
profound viewpoint, they are intended for the common people
after the Buddha's passing -- in the Former, Middle and Latter
Days of the Law -- and in particular, for the common people
in the beginning of the Latter Day.
Question: On what authority
do you say so?
Answer: Chapter Ten of the Lotus Sutra states:
"Since hatred and jealously abound even during the lifetime
of the Buddha, how much worse will it be in the world after
his passing?" Chapter Eleven states: "The Buddha
wishes his true teachings to be maintained eternally....All
the other Buddhas assembled should realize that this is the
Buddha's will." Examine what the thirteenth and fourteenth
chapters state about the future. The theoretical teaching
was preached for the people after the Buddha's passing.
As regards the essential teaching, it was
addressed exclusively to the people early in the Latter Day
of the Law. On the surface the Buddha seems to have preached
this teaching for the salvation of the people of his day;
he planted the seed of Buddhahood in their lives in the remote
past of gohyaku-jintengo and nurtured it through his preaching
as the sixteenth son of Daitsu Buddha in sanzen-jintengo and
through the teachings of the first four periods and the theoretical
teaching in this life. Then he finally brought his followers
to full enlightenment, from togaku to myokaku,54
with the essential teaching.
In actuality, however, the essential teaching
bears no resemblance whatsoever to the theoretical teaching.
Preparation, revelation, and transmission of the essential
teaching are intended entirely for the beginning of the Latter
Day of the Law. The essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra
and true Buddhism are both pure teachings that lead directly
to Buddhahood. However, Shakyamuni's is the Buddhism of harvest,
and this is the Buddhism of sowing. The core of his teaching
is one chapter and two halves, and for me it is Myoho-renge-kyo
Question: On what authority
do you say that the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra
was meant for the generation of the Latter Day of the Law?
Answer: The Yujutsu (fifteenth) chapter states:
"More numerous than the sands of eight Ganges Rivers,
bodhisattvas from other worlds arose in the great assembly.
Palms pressed together in deep reverence, they bowed and said
to the Buddha, 'Lord Buddha! Allow us to protect, read, recite,
transcribe, and worship this sutra with diligence in the saha
world after your passing. We vow to preach this sutra widely
throughout the land.' Thereupon the Buddha said, 'Desist,
men of devout faith! There is no need for you to protect this
sutra.'" This statement totally contradicts the Buddha's
exhortations in the preceding five chapters.55
In Chapter Eleven is the passage: "The Buddha addressed
the four groups of believers56
in a loud voice, saying, 'Who among you will propagate the
Lotus Sutra throughout the saha world?'"Bodhisattva Yakuo,
Bonten, Taishaku, the gods of the sun and moon, and the Four
Heavenly Kings would have followed Shakyamuni's command before
anything else even if no other Buddha had supported his exhortations,
but Taho and other Buddhas came to this world to exhort them
to propagate the sutra after Shakyamuni's passing. Deeply
encouraged, the bodhisattvas all pledged, saying, "We
will not begrudge our lives,"57
for their first and last wish was only to fulfill the Buddha's
However, in the Yujutsu chapter the Buddha
suddenly seemed to reverse himself and forbade all the countless
bodhisattvas from propagating the sutra in this world. We
therefore face what appears to be an insoluble contradiction,
one that is beyond ordinary understanding.
T'ien-t'ai gave three reasons for Shakyamuni's
action in stopping the bodhisattvas and three more for the
summoning of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Essentially, the
bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching and the bodhisattvas
of the other worlds were not qualified to inherit Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,
the heart of the Juryo chapter, which only Nichiren has realized.
At the dawn of the Latter Day evil people who slander the
Law would fill the land, and so the Buddha rejected their
pledge and instead summoned the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
He entrusted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to them for the salvation
of all mankind. The bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching
were also unqualified because they were not the original disciples
of the Buddha. The Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai states in his
Hokke Mongu: "The Buddha said to the Bodhisattvas of
the Earth, 'You are my true disciples, destined to propagate
the law of my enlightenment.'" Miao-lo declares in the
Hokke Mongu Ki: "When the sons disseminate the teachings
of their father, they can save all people." Tao-hsien58
comments in his Fusho Ki: "Because the Law was expounded
by the original Buddha, it was entrusted to his true disciples."
In the Yujutsu chapter Bodhisattva Miroku
asked Shakyamuni Buddha: "We believe that none of the
Buddha's teachings, no matter to whom they are directed, is
false, and that his wisdom penetrates all. When bodhisattvas
still immature in faith hear after your passing that the Bodhisattvas
of the Earth are the Buddha's original disciples, they will
refuse to believe it and will eventually commit the grave
sin of slandering the Buddha's law. Lord Buddha! We sincerely
implore you to explain this and remove our doubt, so that
men of devout faith who appear after the Buddha's passing
will not lose themselves in doubt." Here Bodhisattva
Miroku was imploring the Buddha to preach the Juryo chapter
for those to come after his passing.
The Juryo chapter states: "Some are out
of their minds, while others are not.... Those children who
have not lost their senses can see that the beneficial medicine
is good in both color and fragrance, so they take it immediately
and are completely cured of their sickness."The sutra
explains that all bodhisattvas, people of the two vehicles,
and people of Humanity and Heaven received the seed of enlightenment
at gohyaku-jintengo. It was nurtured by the preaching of the
sixteenth son of Daitsu Buddha as well as by Shakyamuni Buddha's
provisional sutras and the theoretical teaching of the Lotus
Sutra. Then they finally attained Buddhahood when they heard
the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra.
The Juryo chapter continues: "Those who
are out of their minds are equally delighted to see their
father return and beg him to cure their sickness, but when
they are given the medicine, they refuse to take it. This
is because the poison has penetrated deeply, causing them
to lose their true minds. Therefore they think that the medicine
will not taste good in spite of its fine color and fragrance.
Then father thinks, '..Now I must use some means to get them
to take it.' So instructing them, he again goes off to another
land, where he sends a messenger home to announce,..."
According to the Funbetsu Kudoku (seventeenth) chapter, "the
good medicine" Of the Juryo chapter is left for "those
of the evil-filled Latter Day of the Law."
Question: Who is the messenger
mentioned in the text?
Answer: It means the bearers of Buddhism.
They fall into four categories. Most of the leaders of Hinayana
appeared in the first five hundred years after the Buddha's
passing, and most of those who taught provisional Mahayana
came in the second five hundred years. The bearers of the
theoretical teaching appeared mainly in the next thousand
years, and the rest in the beginning of the Latter Day. The
"messenger" In our times refers to the Bodhisattvas
of the Earth who will appear in the beginning of the Latter
Day. "This good medicine" Is the heart of the Juryo
chapter, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo -- its name, entity, quality,
function and influence. The Buddha would not entrust this
medicine even to the bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching,
much less to the bodhisattvas of other worlds.
The Jinriki (twenty-first) chapter states:
"Thereupon in the presence of the Buddha the bodhisattvas
equal in number to the dust particles of a thousand worlds
who had sprung up from the earth, all with a single mind,
pressed their palms together, gazed up reverently at his solemn
countenance, and said to the Buddha, 'Honored One! After your
passing we pledge to propagate this sutra throughout every
land where your manifestations appear or where you pass into
nirvana.'"T'ien-t'ai says: "The great assembly witnessed
the Bodhisattvas of the Earth alone making this pledge."59
Tao-hsien remarks: "The Buddha transmitted this sutra
solely to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Because the Law was
expounded by the original Buddha, it was intrusted to his
Bodhisattva Monju is a disciple of Fudo Buddha,61
who dwells in Amida Buddha in the west. Bodhisattva Kannon
is a disciple of Nichigatsu Jomyotoku Buddha.62
Bodhisattva Fugen is a disciple of Hoi Buddha.63
They were not entrusted with the supreme law, so they could
not possibly appear and propagate it in the Latter Day.
The Jinriki chapter states: "Shakyamuni
Buddha demonstrated his great mystic powers to the entire
assembly, extending his long broad tongue till it reached
upward to the Brahma-heaven. All the other Buddhas seated
on lion king thrones64
under jewel trees throughout the universe did the same, extending
their long broad tongues." In no other sutra, whether
Hinayana or Mahayana, exoteric or esoteric, is there a passage
that describes Shakyamuni Buddha and all the other Buddhas
extending their tongues to the Brahma-heaven. The Amida Sutra
states that Buddhas covered a major world system with their
tongues, but this is a mere assertion with no truth behind
it. The Hannya Sutra tells how the Buddha's tongue covered
the major world system and radiated infinite light when he
expounded the Hannya. Yet this cannot compare with the proof
given in the Jinriki chapter. Since these two sutras are mere
provisional teachings, they obscured the Buddha's enlightenment
in the remotest past.
After the Buddha displayed his ten great mystic
powers described in the Jinriki chapter, he transferred the
Mystic Law to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth: "At that
time the Buddha addressed Jogyo and the host of other bodhisattvas,
saying, 'The mystic powers of a Buddha are boundless, beyond
imagination. Even if I were to exert all these powers for
infinite aeons in explaining the great benefit of this sutra
to ensure its propagation, I could never explain them fully.
I have briefly described in this sutra all the laws of the
Buddha, all the invincible mystic powers of the Buddha, all
the secret storehouses of the Buddha and all the profound
practices of the Buddha.'"T'ien-t'ai says: "This
paragraph begins the third stage of the chapter, where the
Buddha transfers the essence of his teachings to the Bodhisattvas
of the Earth."65
Dengyo states: "The Jinriki chapter says, 'I have briefly
described in this sutra all the laws of the Buddha...' In
the Lotus Sutra the Buddha revealed all the laws, invincible
mystic powers, secret storehouses and profound practices of
Demonstrating ten great mystic powers, the Buddha transferred
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Four Great Bodhisattvas, Jogyo,
Anryugyo, Jyogyo and Muhengyo.
[T'ien-t'ai states that] the first five of
the ten great mystic powers are meant for those living in
Shakyamuni's lifetime, and the last five for the generations
after his passing. But in a deeper sense all are intended
for future generations. The Buddha confirms this later in
the same chapter: "Because they [the Bodhisattvas of
the Earth] will faithfully uphold this sutra after the Buddha's
passing, all the Buddhas rejoice and display their limitless
The Zokurui (twenty-second) chapter states:
"At this time Shakyamuni Buddha rose from his place of
preaching, and displaying his great mystic powers, put his
right hand on the heads of the infinite numbers of bodhisattvas,
saying, 'I now transfer the supreme law of enlightenment to
you.'"The Buddha passed the Law to the Bodhisattvas of
the Earth, the bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching, bodhisattvas
of other worlds, Bonten, Taishaku, and the Four Heavenly Kings.
Then "all the Buddhas, who had gathered from the ten
directions of the universe, returned to their respective lands...
And the Buddha ordered that the Treasure Tower of Taho Buddha
return to its original place."67
After the Bodhisattvas of the Earth had departed, the Buddha
urged all the remaining bodhisattvas to keep the teachings
after his passing as he preached the last six chapters of
the Lotus Sutra, the Fugen Sutra, and the Nirvana Sutra.
Question: Did the Bodhisattvas
of the Earth then appear in this world during the two millennia
of the Former and Middle Days of the Law to spread the Lotus
Answer: No, they did not.
Question: Your answer comes
as a surprise. If both the theoretical and the essential teachings
of the Lotus Sutra are intended for those people living after
the Buddha's demise, and the Buddha entrusted the sutra to
the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, why did they not appear during
the first two millennia to spread the sutra?
Answer: I will not say.
Question: I am asking you
again, what was the reason?
Answer: I will not disclose it.
Question: Once more, what
is the reason?
Answer: If I disclose it, all will refuse
to believe and, what is worse, will slander me, as in the
Latter Day of Ionno Buddha.68
Even my own disciples would slander me if I tried to explain,
so I can only keep silent.
Question: Nonetheless, I
urge you to answer. Unless you do, you will be violating the
Buddha's precept against concealing the truth.
Answer: Then since I have no choice, I will
try to give you a brief explanation. The Hosshi (tenth) chapter
states: "Since hatred and jealousy abound even during
the lifetime of the Buddha, how much worse will it be in the
world after his passing?" The Juryo chapter states: "I
leave this good medicine here for you now." The Funbetsu
Kudoku chapter speaks of "the evil-filled Latter Day
of the Law."The Yakuo chapter says: "During the
last half-millennium after my death the Lotus Sutra will spread
widely throughout the world." In the Nirvana Sutra occurs
a passage which reads: "Suppose that a couple has seven
children, one of whom falls ill. Although the parents love
all their children equally, they worry most about the sick
These passages are a crystal mirror of the
Buddha's will. They show that the Buddha did not appear for
the sake of those present during the eight years when he revealed
the Lotus Sutra at Eagle Peak, but for people like us, those
living in the beginning of the Latter Day, not for those who
lived in the Former or Middle Day of the Law. "The sick
child" mentioned in the Nirvana Sutra represents the
slanderers of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day. The Buddha
will now "leave this good medicine here" especially
for those who "think that the medicine will not taste
good in spite of its fine color and fragrance."
The Bodhisattvas of the Earth did not appear
in the Former and Middle Days of the Law for good reason.
Hinayana and provisional Mahayana were spread
in the first millennium because the time was not ripe for
the true teaching and the people were not ready to embrace
it. The great bodhisattvas in the Former Day led those who
had taken faith in the Lotus Sutra during Shakyamuni's lifetime
to attain enlightenment through Hinayana and provisional Mahayana
teachings. If the Bodhisattvas of the Earth had spread the
Lotus Sutra at that time instead of later, the people would
have reviled it and thereby destroyed all the good fortune
they had accumulated in Shakyamuni's lifetime. Therefore the
bodhisattvas did not emerge then. People of the first millennium
are like those in the Buddha's lifetime who gradually matured
and attained enlightenment through his provisional teachings.
Late in the second millennium, Bodhisattva
Kannon was reborn as Nan-yueh and Bodhisattva Yakuo as T'ien-t'ai.
They openly preached the theoretical teaching and kept the
essential teaching to themselves. T'ien-t'ai fully revealed
the hundred worlds, the thousand factors, and the three thousand
realms of life. They expounded the theoretical principles,
but they did not put Nam-myoho-renge-kyo into actual practice
or establish the true object of worship. The time was not
right for propagation, although even then it was possible
to attain Buddhahood through the Law.
Now, in the beginning of the Latter Day of
the Law, Hinayana adherents attack the doctrines of Mahayana,
and provisional Mahayana believers denounce the true Mahayana
teachings. East is mistaken for west, and heaven and earth
are turned upside down. The great bodhisattvas of the theoretical
teaching are gone, and all the gods have deserted the country
and no longer lend it protection.
At this very time the Bodhisattvas of the
Earth appear in the world to give the medicine of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
to the ignorant people of the Latter Day. This is what Miao-lo
means when he states: "Even if they revile the true teaching
and fall into the evil paths, they create the causes for eventual
attainment of Buddhahood."69
You who are my disciples, take this to heart!
The Bodhisattvas of the Earth were the first disciples of
Lord Shakyamuni when he attained enlightenment in the remotest
past, yet they were not faithful to him in India. They did
not come to Buddh Gaya after he attained enlightenment, nor
did they come to the Sala grove when he entered nirvana. They
also failed to appear when the Buddha preached the first fourteen
chapters of the Lotus Sutra, and they left the assembly when
he preached the last six chapters. They only attended the
Buddha when he expounded the first eight chapters of the essential
teaching. Since such noble bodhisattvas received the Mystic
Law and made a solemn oath to Shakyamuni Buddha, Taho Buddha,
and all the other Buddhas, is it possible that they will not
appear now at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law?
Know this: In the time for shakubuku the Four Bodhisattvas
appear as wise kings who rebuke and convert evil kings, and
in the time for shoju they appear as priests to protect and
spread true Buddhism.
Question: Does the Buddha
predict their coming in the Latter Day?
Answer: The Yakuo chapter of the Lotus Sutra
states that during the last half- millennium after the Buddha's
death the Lotus Sutra will spread widely throughout the world.
T'ien-t'ai predicts: "In the fifth five hundred years,
the Mystic Way shall spread and benefit mankind far into the
states: "In the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law
the Mystic Law will benefit mankind."71
The Great Teacher Dengyo declares, "The Former and Middle
Days are almost over, and the Latter Day is near at hand."72
This declaration conveys his regret that he
was not born in the right time for propagation. Born in Japan,
he foresaw the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, saying,
"The propagation of the true teaching will begin in the
age when the Middle Day of the Law ends and the Latter Day
opens, in a land to the east of T'ang and to the west of Katsu,73
among people stained by the five impurities who live in a
time of conflict. The sutra says: 'Since hatred and jealousy
abound even during the lifetime of the Buddha, how much worse
will it be in the world after his passing?' There is good
reason for this statement."74
"Conflict" refers to the present
internal strife and imminent invasion from the western sea.
Now is when the Bodhisattvas of the Earth will appear in this
country and establish the supreme object of worship on the
earth which depicts Shakyamuni Buddha of the essential teaching
attending the true Buddha. This object of worship has never
appeared in India or China. Its time had not come when Prince
Shotoku75 in Japan constructed
Shitenno-ji temple, so he could only make a statue of Amida,
a Buddha in another world, as the object of worship. When
Emperor Shomu76 erected
Todai-ji temple, he made a statue of Vairochana Buddha as
the object of worship but could not manifest the true meaning
of the Lotus Sutra. The Great Teacher Dengyo almost revealed
the truth of the sutra, but because the time had not yet come,
he constructed a statue of Yakushi Buddha who dwells in an
eastern realm of the universe, but he did not represent the
Four Bodhisattvas of the Earth in any form.
Thus, the revelation of the true object of
worship has been entrusted only to the Bodhisattvas of the
Earth. They have been waiting for the right time to emerge
from the earth and carry out the Lord Buddha's command. They
did not appear in the Former or Middle Day. But if they did
not appear in the Latter Day of the Law, their vows would
be outright lies, and the prophecies of Shakyamuni, Taho,
and the other Buddhas would be no more than froth on the waters.
We have recently experienced earthquakes,
comets and other calamities such as never occurred in the
Former or Middle Day. These signs could not be caused by garudas,
ashuras or dragons; they must foretell the appearance of the
Four Great Bodhisattvas. T'ien-t'ai states: "By observing
the fury of the rain we can tell the greatness of the dragon
that caused it, and by observing the flourishing of the lotus
flowers we can tell the depth of the pond they grow in."77
Miao-lo says: "Wise men can see omens and what they foretell,
as snakes know the way of snakes."78
When the skies are clear, the ground is illuminated. Similarly,
when one knows the Lotus Sutra, he understands the meaning
of all worldly affairs.
Showing profound compassion for those ignorant
of the gem of ichinen sanzen, the True Buddha wrapped it within
the single phrase Nam- myoho-renge-kyo, with which he then
adorned the necks of those living in the Latter Day. The four
Great Bodhisattvas will protect anyone who embraces the Mystic
Law as faithfully as T'ai-kung and the Duke of Chou protected
King Wen, and as devotedly as the four white-haired elders
served Emperor Hui.79
The twenty-fifth day of the fourth month in
the tenthyear of Bun'ei (1273)
- Each of these worlds in turn possesses
thirty realms: Each one of the Ten Worlds has the ten
factors of life, each of which possesses the three realms
of existence. Multiplied together these yield thirty
realms of existence
- "Three thousand realms" Might
also read "three thousand factors," But the
number is the same...: T'ien-t'ai's Maka Shikan shows
two ways to derive sanzen (three thousand) of ichinen
sanzen. One starts with the hundred worlds, multiplies
them by the three realms of existence, and then by the
ten factors of life to arrive at three thousand factors
of life, The other method starts with the hundred worlds,
multiplies them by the ten factors of life, and then
by the three realms of existence to form three thousand
realms of existence. Although explained differently,
the principle is the same.
- Another text of the Maka Shikan states...:
This note refers to the preceding sentence, "Each
of these worlds in turn possesses thirty realms,"
And shows yet a third method of expansion. These various
methods show that in essence, whichever angle life is
viewed from, it is always the entity of ichinen sanzen.
- Guketsu, vol. 5.
- Cognitive faculty: One of the six sense
organs and their objects. Cognition comes from the stimulation
of a sense organ by an object.
- Kannon Gengi: T'ien-t'ai's annotations
on the Fumon (25th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
- Chapter Seven: This chapter is found
in the fifth volume of the Maka Shikan. Its title is
Shokan Sho, which means correct perception of life.
- Twenty-five preparatory exercises:
These exercises develop one's capability to realize
the true nature of life.
- Great Sage: Refers to the Great Teacher
- Hokke Gengi, vol. 2.
- Introduction to the Hokke Gengi.
- Kongobei-ron: Miao-lo wrote this treatise
maintaining that even insentient beings possess Buddhahood
and refuting the Kegon sect's assertion that the realm
of Buddhahood was limited to sentient beings alone.
- Lotus Sutra, chap. 12.
- Ibid., chap. 26
- Ibid., chap. 12.
- Ibid., chap. 10.
- Ibid., chap. 2.
- Ibid., chap. 3.
- Pratyekabuddha: Man of realization.
See also Realization in the Glossary.
- Lotus Sutra, chap. 2.
- Ibid., chap. 21.
- Ibid., chap. 16.
- Hokke Mongu, vol. 8
- Kanjin-ron Jo.
- Hokke Shuku.
- Lotus Sutra, chap. 2.
- Siddhartha: Shakyamuni's given name.
- Kongo gods: A generic name in Buddhism
for protective deities who wield weapons with which
can destroy anything.
- Eighty thousand teachings: All of Shakyamuni's
teachings. Not an accurate count of sutras, this number
is used to indicate totality.
- Seventy-five, seventy-six or seventy-seven
thousand Buddhas: In Hinayana Buddhism a bodhisattva
is supposed to serve seventy-five thousand Buddhas for
one million aeons, seventy-six thousand Buddhas for
the next million aeons, and seventy-seven thousand Buddhas
for a third million aeons.
- He transformed the land three times:
The eleventh chapter of the Lotus Sutra states that
Shakyamuni first purified the saha, or mundane world,
the innumerable surrounding lands in space, and finally
innumerable other lands even farther away in space.
He changed all three into Buddha's lands before opening
the door of the Treasure Tower. The saha world is where
common mortals and saints live. The first set of innumerable
lands are where people of the two vehicles live, and
the second set of innumerable lands are where bodhisattvas
live. Shakyamuni Buddha changed these three kinds of
lands into one -- the Buddha's land.
- The wording of the original has been
considerably expanded and modified to make this passage
- Ch'ing-liang (738-839): The fourth
high priest of the Chinese Hua-yen (Kegon) sect.
- Hui-yuan: A T'ang dynasty priest who
studied Kegon under Fa-ts'ang (643- 712), the third
high priest and systematizer of the Hua-yen (Kegon)
- Ryoko: No documents about him remain
today, but he is thought to have been a Japanese Kegon
- Tokuichi: A priest of the Hosso sect
in the early period of Heian (794-1185). It is said
that he had frequent debates with the Great Teacher
- Buddha's long broad tongue: One of
the thirty-two excellent characteristics of the Buddha.
This is symbolic of the Buddha's honesty.
- The technical terms in the original
have been expanded in translation for the purpose of
- Maka Shikan, Vol. 5.
- Hokke Gengi, vol. 2.
- Kanjin-ron Jo.
- The language of the original is highly
condensed and technical and has been expanded considerably
- Hokke Gengi, vol. 8.
- T'ai-kung: When Emperor Wu of the Chou
dynasty battled with Emperor Chou of the Yin dynasty,
T'ai-kung, as a supreme commander, defeated the army
- Tan, the Duke of Chou: The younger
brother of Emperor Wu. After Wu's death, Ch'eng, Emperor
Wu's son, was still a child, so Tan administered the
affairs of state for him as a regent.
- Takeshiuchi: A general and statesman
of the Yamato era (300-710) who appears in the ancient
chronicles of Japan. He is said to have served five
emperors, but a lack of documents makes it difficult
to distinguish fact from legends.
- Guketsu, vol. 5.
- Four kinds of lands: 1) The land where
common mortals of the six lower worlds (from Hell to
Rapture) live together with the people of the four noble
worlds (from Learning to Buddhahood). 2) The land where
men of Learning and Realization live. 3) The land where
bodhisattvas live. 4) The Buddha's land. Respectively,
these are called the Land of Enlightened and Unenlightened
Beings, the Land of Transition, the Land of Actual Reward,
and the Land of Eternal Light.
- The wording of the original has been
expanded for clarity.
- Buddha of the Juryo chapter: In this
case, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in the depths of the Juryo
Chapter is indicated. Accordingly, the Buddha of the
Juryo chapter means the true Buddha.
- Preparation, revelation and transmission:
Preparation indicates the teaching which prepares the
way for revelation of the truth. The second, revelation,
is the main part -- the truth itself. The last, transmission,
is the part which urges that the truth be transmitted
to the future.
- Theoretical and essential: The terms,
"theoretical teaching" And "essential
teaching," Are generally used to mean respectively
the first and second halves of the twenty-eight chapters
of the Lotus Sutra. In order to clarify the true purpose
of the Buddha's advent, however, the Daishonin here
analyzes the threefold Lotus Sutra which includes the
Muryogi Sutra, the Lotus Sutra and the Fugen Sutra.
Therefore, the "theoretical teachings" Are
the first half of the threefold Lotus Sutra (up to the
fourteenth chapter) and the "essential teachings"
Are the latter half.
- Togaku and myokaku: T'ien-t'ai classified
the bodhisattva practice into fifty-two stages. Togaku
corresponds to the fifty-first stage that is, the highest
state of a bodhisattva. Myokaku is the last stage --
- The preceding five chapters: The Hosshi
(10th), Hoto (11th), Devadatta (12th), Kanji (13th)
and Anrakugyo (14th) chapters.
- Four groups of believers: Priests,
nuns, laymen and laywomen.
- Lotus Sutra, chap. 13.
- Tao-hsien: Little is known of him other
than that he was a priest of the T'ien- t'ai sect in
China during the T'ang dynasty. His Fusho Ki is a ten
volume annotation of Miao-lo's Hokke Mongu Ki.
- Hokke Mongu, vol. 10.
- Fusho Ki, vol. 6
- Fudo Buddha: Fudo literally means immobile.
This Buddha is described in the Kegon Sutra.
- Nichigatsu Jomyotoku Buddha: A Buddha
described in the Yakuo (23rd) chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
When Bodhisattva Yakuo practiced austerities in a previous
existence, this Buddha expounded the Lotus Sutra.
- Hoi Buddha: A Buddha described in the
Fugen (28th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. According to
the sutra, Bodhisattva Fugen came to the ceremony of
the Lotus Sutra from Hoi Buddha's land in the eastern
part of the universe .
- Lion king thrones: A Buddha is compared
to the lion king. Therefore, a Buddha's place of preaching
is called a lion king throne.
- Hokke Mongu, vol. 10.
- Hokke Shuku.
- The Buddha ordered that the Treasure
Tower of Taho Buddha return to its original place: This
describes the conclusion of the Ceremony in the Air
which started in the Hoto (11th) chapter.
- Slander me, as in the Latter Day of
Ionno Buddha: Ionno Buddha is described in the Fukyo
(20th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. See also Fukyo in
- Hokke Mongu Ki, vol. 10.
- Hokke Mongu, vol. I.
- Hokke Mongu Ki, vol. I.
- Shugo Kokkai Sho.
- T'ang and Katsu: "T'ang dynasty"
(618-907) was often shortened and used as a name for
China. Katsu was an ancient kingdom extending from Siberia
to Kamchatka. "East of T'ang and west of Katsu"
Indicates Japan according to old maps.
- Hokke Shuku.
- Shotoku (574-622): The second son of
the thirty-first emperor, Yomei, famous for his application
of the spirit of Buddhism to government.
- Shomu (701-622): The forty-fifth emperor
of Japan. He embraced Buddhism in order to safeguard
the country, and built national temples (Kokubun-ji)
in each province of Japan as well as Todai-ji temple
in Nara, the head temple of all these national temples.
- Hokke Mongu, vol. 9.
- Hokke Mongu Ki, vol. 9.
- Four white-haired elders served Emperor
Hui: When Emperor Liu Pang (256- 195 B.C.) tried to
disown Hui, the latter asked for elder citizens to become
his advisors. On seeing these four elders, Emperor Liu
Pang was so impressed by their dignity that he finally
accepted Hui as his successor.
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol.
I. pp. 45-83.