The Unanimous Declaration by the Buddhas of the Three Existences regarding the Classification of the Teachings and Which Are to Be Abandoned and Which Upheld(originating from post 1657; continued on post 1686)
WNDII / pg. 835
Written by Nichiren
Therefore The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra says, “The nine worlds represent the provisional, the world of Buddhahood represents the true.”(3)
The nine worlds that are provisional are the teachings set forth in the first forty-two years. The world of Buddhahood that is true is that which was preached in the last eight years, namely, the Lotus Sutra. Therefore the Lotus Sutra is called the Buddha vehicle.
The births and deaths occurring in the nine worlds exemplify the principles underlying a realm of dreams, and hence they are called provisional teachings. The eternally abiding nature of the world of Buddhahood exemplifies the principles of the waking state, and hence it is called the true teaching.
Therefore we may say that the teachings set forth over a period of fifty years, the sacred teachings of the Buddha’s lifetime, or all the various scriptures, are made up of the provisional teachings preached in the first forty-two years, which are designed for the instruction and conversion of others, and the true teaching set forth in the last eight years, which pertains to the Buddha’s enlightenment. Together the two make up a period of fifty years. These two terms, provisional and true, thus provide a mirror in which one may perceive the real nature of the teachings without doubt or misunderstanding.
Therefore, if one practices the Tripitaka teaching, thinking that after three asamkhyas and a hundred major kalpas, one may in the end become a Buddha, then one must generate fire from one’s body, “reducing the body to ashes and entering extinction,” and thus destroy oneself. If one practices the connecting teaching, thinking to become a Buddha after seven asamkhyas and a hundred major kalpas, then likewise, as in the previous case, one must reduce the body to ashes and enter extinction, and thus destroy oneself, leaving no trace or form behind.
And if one practices the specific teaching, thinking to become a Buddha after twenty-two great asamkhyas and a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand kalpas, this is to become a Buddha of the provisional teachings in the dream realm of birth and death. Seen in the light of the waking state of the original enlightenment of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddhahood of the specific teaching is not true Buddhahood but a goal achieved in a realm of dreams. Thus the path outlined in the specific teaching can never lead to true Buddhahood.
In the path to enlightenment set forth in the specific teaching, when one reaches the first of the ten stages of development, one for the first time to a certain degree cuts off ignorance and begins to gain understanding to a certain degree into the principle of the Middle Way. But when one does so, one realizes that the specific teaching presents the three truths as separate entities not fused together. One thereupon shifts to the perfect teaching, becoming a believer in the perfect teaching, and thus no longer remains in the category of those who embrace the specific teaching.
"So what does the above say? It clearly states that the Nine Worlds of Hell, Hunger, Animals, Asuras, Human Beings, Heavenly Beings, Voice-Hearers, Cause-Awakened Ones, and Bodhisattvas are provisional states of being. They are not what they appear or are generally perceived to be. They are not a state that can be regarded as true." -- Thomas Pass the Doobie
Nichiren says nothing of the sort. The Nine Worlds are always mutually possessed and the Three Bodies of the Buddha, including the Manifestation Body, are all eternal. The Nine Worlds as taught in the Lotus Sutra are also absolutely true.
Were it true what Thomas Pass the Doobie asserts, then we who are a collection of the "Skandas" or "Aggregates" [body and mind], would be unable to realize Buddhahood in this very body and in this very life. If the temporary collection of aggregates too are not true and manifested eternally [recurrently] the Lotus Sutra teaching of eternal Buddhahood would be false. In other words, the truth of the Lotus Sutra, the truth that separates the Lotus Sutra from all the Buddha's other teachings, would be false [that the Buddha possesses all Ten Worlds, without having to eradicate the Worlds of Hell, Hunger, Animality and Anger]. It is precisely because the Buddha eats, sleeps, smiles, cries, and thinks [be a human being] that he is able to save the masses of beings. The State of Buddhahood can only be realized through faith in the Lotus Sutra. The beings of the Nine Worlds possess the World of Buddhahood but they only become Buddhas when they have absolute faith in the Lotus Sutra.