"One Root many Branches"
Nichren on the other hand states:
"Immediately he vowed to do something about the situation, saying, “Because the people of Japan are all patrons of those who are slandering the correct teaching, the nation will surely fall into chaos.” He thereupon expressed his criticisms of the six schools, but when he did so, the great scholars of the six schools and the seven major temples of Nara rose up in anger and flocked to the capital, until the nation was in an uproar.
These men of the six schools and seven major temples were filled with the most intense animosity toward Saichō. But as it happened, on the nineteenth day of the first month in the twenty-first year of the Enryaku era (802), Emperor Kammu paid a visit to the temple called Takao-dera, and he summoned fourteen eminent priests—namely, Zengi, Shōyū, Hōki, Chōnin, Kengyoku, Ampuku, Gonsō, Shūen, Jikō, Gen’yō, Saikō, Dōshō, Kōshō, and Kambin—to come to the temple and debate with Saichō.
These various men of the Flower Garland, Three Treatises, Dharma Characteristics, and other schools expounded the teachings of the founders of their respective schools just as they had learned them. But the Honorable Saichō took notes on each point put forward by the men of the six schools and criticized it in the light of the Lotus Sutra, the works of T’ien-t’ai, or other sutras and treatises. His opponents were unable to say a word in reply, their mouths as incapable of speech as if they were noses.
The emperor was astounded and questioned Saichō in detail on various points. Thereafter he handed down an edict criticizing the fourteen men who had opposed Saichō.
They in turn submitted a memorial acknowledging their defeat and apologizing, in which they said, “We, students of the seven major temples and six schools, . . . have for the first time understood the ultimate truth.”
They also said, “In the two hundred or more years since Prince Shōtoku spread the Buddhist teachings in this country, a great many sutras and treatises have been lectured upon, and their principles have been widely argued, but until now, many doubts still remained to be settled. Moreover, the lofty and perfect doctrine of the Lotus Sutra had not yet been properly explained and made known.”
They also said, “Now at last the dispute that has continued so long between the Three Treatises and Dharma Characteristics schools has been resolved as dramatically as though ice had melted. The truth has been made abundantly clear, as though clouds and mist had parted toreveal the light of the sun, moon, and stars.”
The Reverend Saichō, in his appraisal of the teachings of his fourteen opponents, wrote as follows: “You each lecture upon the single scripture [of your own school], and though you sound the drums of the teachings within the deep valleys, both lecturers and hearers continue to go astray on the paths of the three vehicles. Though you fly the banners of doctrine from lofty peaks, and both teachers and disciples have broken free from the bonds of the threefold world, you still persist on the road of the enlightenment that takes countless kalpas to achieve, and confuse the three kinds of carts with the great white ox cart outside the gate.34 How could you possibly attain the first stage of security and reach perfect enlightenment in this world that is like a house on fire?”
The two court officials [Wake no] Hiroyo and Matsuna [the brothers who were present at the debate] commented as follows: “Through Nan-yüeh, the wonderful Law of Eagle Peak was made known, and through T’ien-t’ai, the wonderful enlightenment of Mount Ta-su was opened up. But one regrets that the single vehicle of the Lotus is impeded by provisional teachings, and one grieves that the unification of the three truths has yet to be made manifest.”
The fourteen priests commented as follows: “Zengi and the others of our group have met with great good fortune because of karmic bonds and have been privileged to hear these extraordinary words. Were it not for some profound karmic tie, how could we p.704have been born in this sacred age?”
These fourteen men had in the past transmitted the teachings of the various Chinese and Japanese patriarchs of their respective schools such as Fa-tsang and Shinjō of the Flower Garland school, Chia-hsiang andKanroku of the Three Treatises school, Tz’u-en and Dōshō of theDharma Characteristics school, or Tao-hsüan and Ganjin of the Precepts school. Thus, although the vessel in which the water of the doctrine was contained had changed from generation to generation, the water remained the same.
But now these fourteen men abandoned the erroneous doctrines that they had previously held, and embraced the teachings of the Lotus Sutra as expounded by Saichō, the Great Teacher Dengyō. Therefore, how could anyone in later times assert that the Flower Garland, Wisdom, or Profound Secrets Sutra surpasses the Lotus Sutra?"