My disagreement with SGI's perspective is soteriological (pertaining to the doctrine of salvation) and I will attempt to prove that homage and reverence of the Original Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni and not another "archetype", is a fundamental component of the doctrine of salvation of the Lotus Sutra. To reject this Buddha for an impersonal Buddha-nature or another archetype [such as Daisaku Ikeda] and thus to take this particular Buddha out of the Law, is a serious mistake and a cause for descending into the Lower Worlds.
"The Lotus Sutra states, "I alone can save them" (Chapter 3) and "I likewise am the Father of the World, The One who saves from the various sufferings and travails." (Chapter 16)
Nichiren says, "Bear in mind that the twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra contain only a few passages elucidating the truth, but a great many words of praise." In the same work, Nichiren writes:
"Only the Lotus Sutra represents the wonderful teaching preached directly from the golden mouth of Shakyamuni Buddha, who is perfectly endowed with the three bodies. Therefore, even Universal Worthy and Manjushri were hardly able to expound so much as a single phrase or verse of it. How much more difficult then must it be for us, who are no more than ordinary people living in this latter age, to embrace even one or two words of this sutra! (The Blessings of the Lotus Sutra)
Is it possible that salvation will take place in one who lacks gratitude for Shakyamuni Buddha? Can one possible obtain the fruit of Supreme Perfect Enlightenment by rejecting or failing to recognize one's loving father while praising and acknowledging a stranger? Is gratitude not an essential component of the LS doctrine of salvation?
Nichiren states over and over, "Shakyamuni is the only Buddha endowed with all three virtues and to whom we owe a profound debt of gratitude." (Encouragement to a Sick Person) and again, referring to Shakyamuni Buddha, "The debt of gratitude we owe him is deeper than the ocean, weightier than the earth, vaster than the sky." The vertical gratitude for Shakyamuni Buddha is fundamental to the horizontal transmission of the Dharma in gratitude for all people?
Those Buddhists who lack gratitude for their father Shakyamuni Buddha are no better than birds or beasts according to Nichiren Daishonin and therefore, their attainments can not possibly go beyond the World of Animality. Can we believe in the sincerity of those who fail to have gratitude for their father while they claim gratitude for you, a complete stranger?
Nichiren, warns of the effect of embracing an archetype other than Shakyamuni Buddha in On Establishing the Correct Teachings for the Peace of the Land:
“All the four directions will be afflicted by drought, and evil omens will appear again and again. The ten evil acts will increase greatly, particularly greed, anger, and foolishness, and people will think no more of their fathers and mothers than does the roe deer. Living beings will decline in numbers, in longevity, physical strength, dignity, and enjoyment. They will become estranged from the delights of the human and heavenly realms, and all will fall into the paths of evil. The wicked rulers and monks who perform these ten evil acts will curse and destroy my correct teaching and make it difficult for those in the human and heavenly realms to stay there. At that time the benevolent deities and heavenly kings, who would ordinarily take pity on living beings, will abandon this impure and evil nation, and all will make their way to other regions.”