We, the various beings who live in this world, have been the beloved children of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, since numberless major world system dust particle kalpas in the past. And though because of the offense of our unfilial behavior we are unaware of this to this day, we are nevertheless not the same as the beings of another realm.
A Buddha with whom one establishes a connection that leads to enlightenment, and the various beings who establish such a connection, may be compared to the moon in the sky as it is reflected in countless bodies of clear water. But in the case of a Buddha with whom no such connection can be established, the various beings are comparable to deaf persons straining to hear the sound of thunder or blind persons facing the sun or the moon.
And yet there are some teachers who deprecate Shakyamuni and pay reverence to the Thus Come One Mahāvairochana, or some teachers who declare that one cannot establish a connection leading to Buddhahood with Shakyamuni, but can establish such a connection with Amida. Other teachers support the Shakyamuni of the Hinayana teachings, the Shakyamuni of the Flower Garland Sutra, or the Shakyamuni of the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra. All these teachers and their supporters who forget [the] Shakyamuni [of the “Life Span” chapter] and choose some other Buddha instead are like Prince Ajātashatru, who killed his father, King Bimbisāra, and, turning against Shakyamuni, became a patron of Devadatta.
The fifteenth day of the second month is regarded as the date when Shakyamuni Buddha passed away, and the fifteenth day of each month also as the day of memorial service for this loving father of all the beings of the threefold world. And yet, led astray by such veritable Devadattas as Shan-tao, Hōnen, and Yōkan, people have now decided that that date is to be looked on as a day consecrated to Amida Buddha! The eighth day of the fourth month is the birthday of the World-Honored One Shakyamuni, and yet it has now been taken over as the birthday of Medicine Master Buddha! To take the anniversary of the death of your own loving father and turn it into the anniversary for some other Buddha—what kind of filial conduct is that!
The “Life Span” chapter says, “I am the father of this world because I cure my deranged sons.” The Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai says, “Originally one followed this Buddha and for the first time conceived the desire to seek the way. And by following this Buddha again, one will reach the stage where there is no retrogression. . . . Just as all the hundred rivers flow into the sea, so is one drawn by one’s connection with the Buddha and born in company with the Buddha.”