"Now in my humble opinion, there are many differences between those scriptures preached by the Buddha during the first some forty years and the Lotus sutra, which was preached during the last eight years. However, what scholars consider to be most important, with which I certainly agree, are the concepts of nijo-sabutsu (obtaining Buddhahood by two categories of Hinayana sages called Two Vehicles: sravaka and pratyekabuddha) and kuon-jitsujo (the eternal life of the Buddha).First as for nijo-sabutsu, it is revealed in the Lotus sutra that Sariputra is the future Keko Buddha while Kasyapa will be Komyo Buddha in the future; Subhuti, Myoso Buddha; Katyayana, Embunadai-Konko Buddha; Maudgalyayana, Tamara-bassendan-ko Buddha; Purna, Homyo Buddha; Ananda, Senkaie-jizai-tsuo Buddha; Rahula, To-shippo-ke Buddha; two groups of arhats, 500 and 700 in number respectively, Fumyo Buddhahs; 2000 of those who have obtained arhatship and those who have not, Hoso Buddhas; and female disciples of Maha-Pajapati and Yasodhara will be Issai-shujo-kiken Buddha and Gusoku-semman-Koso Buddha respectively in the future.
These people of the Two Vehicles appear to be respected as future Buddhas in the Lotus Sutra, but are often disappointing in scriptures preached before it, where it is considered that they are unable to ever obtain Buddhahood. The Buddha is a man of true words, and that is the reason why He is called a sage or great man. Wise men sages, or hermits of Confucianism and Brahmanism must have been so named because they were men of true words. The Buddha is called a great man because He is superior to all these people. This great man, the Buddha declared in the Expedients Chapter of the Lotus Sutra that He had come to this world for the sole purpose of carrying out one one important task of preaching the Lotus sutra. He also declared in the Muryo-gi-kyo (Sutra of Infinite Meaning): "The true teaching has not been revealed for some forty years since His enlightenment; it will be revealed at long last; He will reveal it by casting aside all expedient means."
These words of the Buddha were attested to be true by Taho Buddha in the Appearance of a Stupa Chapter of the Lotus Sutra, and various Buddhas in manifestation (funjin) also stuchk out their tongues confirming the truth of these words in the Superhuman Power Chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Under the circumstances who could cast doubt on the words in the Lotus Sutra assuring that such Hinayana sages (Two Vehicles) as Sariputra and Kasyapa would be the future Keko Buddha and Komyo Buddha?
It is also true, however, that the scriptures preached prior to the Lotus Sutra are also the true words of the Buddha. Among those scriptures, (1) the Flower Garland Sutra states:
There are just two places where the Great-Medicine-
King tree, representing the wisdom of the Buddha,
is unable to grow: a large chasm where hinaya
sages of Two Vehicles (nijo) have falleninto
believing to have attained arhatship, and a great
body ofpoisonous water, contaminated with greed
and attachment, where those who do not listen to
Buddhism (issendai: icchantika) are drowned.
It means that in the Himalaya Mountains there is a huge tree named the "Limitless Root" or "Great-Medicine-King Tree;" it is the supreme king of all trees in the entire world, measuring 168,000 yojana in height; all trees and grasses in the whole world have roots in it, bearing flowers and fruits in accordance with the condition of the branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits of this giant tree. In this sutra the giant tree stands for the Buddha-nature while all the trees and grasses represent all the people. However, this giant tree cannot grow in a burning pit and in poisonous water. The state of mind of the people referred to in the Two Vehicles is likened to a burning pit, and the hearts of issendai (those who do not listen to Buddhism) are likened to this poisonous body of water. It means that these two kinds of people will never become Buddhas.
(2) The Dai-jikkyo (Sutra of Great Assembly) expresses:
Two categories of people, sravaka and pratyekkabuddha,
will never be able to repay what they owe to their parents
even if they appreciate them. they are like a man who has
fallen into a chasm, unable to help himself and others.
Having fallen into a pit of liberation from delusions and
evil passions, they are unable to help others as well as
This means that, according to these two sutras, the Flower Garland and the Sutra of the Great Assembly, the people of the Two Vehicles can never generate the empathy or compassion to save others. These people, not being able to experience the sufferings of life and death, they can't relate to the sufferings of others. The Lotus Sutra teaches the mutual possession of the ten worlds, so even people of the Two Vehicles can awaken the mind of compassion, help others, and truly help themselves, by obtaining Buddhahood.
Opening of the Eyes: Buddhahood for Men of Two Vehicles Chapter III cont.
Chapter III cont....
When Sakyamuni obtained the Buddahood under the bodhi tree and began preaching the Flower Garland Sutra, various Buddhas came from all over the universe to comfort Him. In addition, they sent great bodhisaatvas over to hear Him preach. At the time of preaching the Hannya (Wisdom) Sutra, the long tongue of Sakyamuni Buddha covered His entire domain consisting of one billion worlds, attesting to the truth, while 1000 Buddhas appeared from all directions. When the Konkomyo Sutra was preached. four Buddhas appeared in four directions. At the time of the Amitabha Sutra, Buddhas appeared in six directions, each covering its one-billion-world domain with its tongue to testify its truth. In case of the Dai-jikkyo various Buddhas and bodhisattvas gathered together in a courtyard called Dai-hobo.
Considering these testimonies of Buddhas and bodhisattvas in various sutras with that in the Lotus Sutra, they are like yellow rocks against gold nuggets, white clouds against white mountains, white pieces of ice against mirrors of silver, and black color against blue color. Even such a clear difference may not be distinguished by those poor-eyesighted, crooked-eyed, one-eyed, or evil-eyed.
As the Flower Garland Sutra was preached first, it had no preceding sutras to compare with; the words of the Buddha could not be contradictory. How could there be any serious doubt about the sutra? As for such sutras as the Dai-jikkyo, Hannya-kyo, Konkomyo-kyo, and Amithaba, it was for chastising the men of the Two Vehicles who attached themselves to the hinayana sutras, that the existence of the Pure Land in each of all the worlds in the universe was preached. It was to encourage the unenlightened and bodhisattvas to aspire to the Pure Land and men of the Two Vehicles to realize what was wrong with themselves.
Because these Mahayana sutras were a little different from the Hinayana sutras, such things were mentioned as Buddhas appearing all over in the universe, bodhisattvas dispatched from all over in the universe, the same Mahayana sutras preached in all the worlds in the universe, and Buddhas coming together from all over in the universe. It was also said that Sakyamuni covered His entire domain of one billion worlds with his huge tongue, or the various Buddhas did the same. This must have been just to tear apart what was preached in the hinayana sutras: the existence of the sole Buddha in the entire universe. It was not as serious a matter as it was with the Lotus. Sutra. The latter revealed the fundamental difference from other Mahayana sutras preached before it, causing sravaka men such as Sariputra, great bodhisattvas, and men and gods to wonder whether or not it was a devil pretending to be the Buddha who preached the sutra. Nevertheless,, those poor-sighted followers of the Kegon, Hosso, Sanron, Shingon, and Pure Land Schools saw no difference between their canons and the Lotus. Their eyes must have been poor indeed.
During the lifetime of Sakyamuni Buddha there might have been some who cast aside the sutras preached during the first some forty years of His preaching and sided, though with difficulty, with the Lotus Sutra. After His death, however, it must have been difficult to open, read and put faith in this sutra. For one, while those sutras preached before the Lotus Sutra consist of many words, the Lotus itself consists of just a few words. While the former consist of many sutras. the latter consists of just one. While the former are preachings of many years, the latter is of just eight years. To many, the Buddha is a great liar who cannot be trusted. If they believe in Him at all, they might believe in those sutras preached before the Lotus Sutra, never in the Lotus itself. Also, it appears today that everyone puts faith in the Lotus, but their faith is superficial, not with heart. They willingly put faith in those who do not see any difference between the Lotus Sutra on one hand and the Great Sun Buddha Sutra, the Flower Garland Sutra, or the Amitabha Sutra on the other, without believing in those who see the differences between them. Even if they believe in the latter, they do so reluctantly.
Nobody believes in me, Nichiren, who is saying it was Grand Master Dengyo alone who read the Lotus Sutra correctly some 700 years after the introduction of Buddhism to Japan. It is stated, however, in the Lotus Sutra: "It is not difficult to grab Mt. Sumeru, the highest peak in the world, and throw it over to any of those numerous Buddha-lands, but it is difficult to preach the Lotus Sutra in this decadent world after the death of the Buddha." My stubborn insistence is matched by the sutra.
It is said in the Nirvana Sutra, an amplification of the Lotus sutra: "The slanderers of true dharma in the latter age of decay are countless in number just as the soil of the entire worlds in the universe is immeasurable. Those who keep the true dharma are few in number just like a bit of soil on a fingernail." What should we think of this? Please think hard whether or not the people in Japan represent a bit of soil on a fingernail, and Nichiren represents the soil in the entire universe.
Reason wins under the rule of a wise king, and unreasonableness gets the upper hand under the rule of an unwise sovereign. So remember it is in the world of saintly people that the true teachings of the Lotus is revealed. Regarding this theology concerning whether or not it is possible for men of the Two Vehicles to become Buddhas, those sutras preached before the Lotus Sutra appear more powerful than the theological section shakumon) of the Lotus. If the former, which insist that it is impossible, win over the latter, which maintains that it is possible, such men of the Two Vehicles as Sariputra will never be able to attain Buddhahood. How regrettable it would be for them!
"The ease of believing and understanding in the one case (sutras taught before the Lotus Sutra) is due to the fact that the Buddha taught in accordance with the capacity of the people. And the difficulty of believing and understanding in the other case (case of the Lotus Sutra) is due to the fact that he taught in accordance with his own enlightenment."(A Comparison of the Lotus Sutra and other Sutras)
In the same writing he goes on to say, refering to the passage of the Sutra,
"the most difficult to believe and the most difficult to understand",
"I, Nichiren say that non-Buddhist scriptures are easier to believe and understand than Hinayana sutras, the Hinayana sutras are easier than the Dainichi and other (Hodo) sutras, the Dainichi and other (Hodo) sutras are easier than the Hannya sutras, the Hannya sutras are easier than the Kegon Sutra, the Kegon is easier than the Nirvana Sutra, the Nirvana is easier than the Lotus Sutra and the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra is easier than the essential teaching. Thus there are many levels of comparative ease and difficulty.
Question: What is the value of knowing them?
Answer: No other doctrine can surpass the Lotus Sutra, a great lantern that illuminates the long night of the sufferings of birth and death, a sharp sword that can sever the fundamental darkness inherent in life. The teachings of the Shingon, Kegon and other sects are categorized as those expounded in accordance with the people's capacity. They are, therefore, easy to believe and understand. The teachings expounded according to the peoples capacity are those sutras the Buddha preaches in response to the desires of the people of the nine worlds, just as a wise father instructs an ignorant son in a way suited to the child's understanding. On the other hand, the teaching expounded in accordance with the Buddha's enlightenment is the sutra which which the Buddha preaches directly from the world of Buddhahood, just as a saintly father guides his ignorant son to his own understanding.
In the light of this principle, I have carefully considered the Dainichi, Kegon, Nirvana, and other [provisional] sutras, only to find all of them are sutras expounded in accordance with the peoples capacity.
Question: Is there any evidence to support this contention?
Answer: The Shrimala Sutra says: "The Buddha brings to maturity those who have only practiced non-Buddhist teachings by enabling them to make good causes leading to the states of Humanity and Heaven. For those seeking the state of Learning, the Buddha imparts the vehicle which leads them to that state. To those seeking the state of Realization, the Buddha reveals the vehicle for that state. To those who seek the Mahayana teachings, the Buddha expounds them." This statement refers to those teachings which are easy to believe and easy to understand, such as the Kegon, Dainichi, Hannya, Nirvana and other sutras.
In contrast, the Lotus Sutra says, "At that time, through Bodhisattva Yakuo, the World-Honored One addressed the eighty thousand great seekers of the Law:
‘Yakuo, do you see—within this great multitude of uncountable gods, dragon kings, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, humans and non-humans, as well as monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen —those who seek the rank of shravaka, those who seek the rank of pratyekkabudha, and those who seek the path to Buddhahood? If any of them in the presence of the Buddha hears a single verse or phrase of the Lotus Sutra and experiences a single moment of rejoicing, then I hereby confer on him a prophecy that he shall attain supreme enlightenment.’"
In the provisional sutras, Shakyamuni taught five precepts for the beings of Humanity; ten good precepts for those of Heaven, the four infinite virtues for the god Bonten, a practice of impartial almsgiving for the Devil King; two hundred and fifty precepts for monks; five hundred precepts for nuns; the four noble truths for the people of learning; the twelve linked chain of causation for the people of Realization; and the six paramitas for bodhisattvas. This method of teaching is comparable to water that assumes the round or square shape of its container, or to an elephant which exerts just enough strength to subdue its enemy.
The Lotus Sutra is entirely different. It was preached equally for all, including the eight kinds of lowly beings and the four kinds of believers. (Monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen). This method of teaching is comparable to a measuring rod that is used to eliminate uneven places, or to the lion, king of beasts, which always exerts its full power in attack, regardless of the strength of its opponent.
When one examines all the various sutras in the clear mirror of the Lotus Sutra, it is evident that the three sutras of Dainichi Buddha and three Jodo or Pure Land Sutras are teachings expounded in accordance with the people’s capacity. Yet because the teachings of Kobo, Jikaku and Chisho have for some reason been widely accepted, this truth was obscured in Japan more than four hundred years ago. To uphold these men’s teachings instead of the Lotus Sutra is like exchanging a gem for a pebble or trading sandalwood for common lumber. Because Buddhism has by now become thoroughly confused, the secular world has also been plunged into corruption and chaos. Buddhism is like the body and society like the shadow. When the body is crooked, so is the shadow. How fortunate that all my disciples who follow the Buddha’s true intention will flow naturally into the ocean of all-encompassing wisdom! But the Buddhist scholars of our time put their faith in teachings expounded according to the people’s capacity and are therefore doomed to sink into the sea of suffering. I will explain in more detail on another occasion." (Ibid.)
And, regarding the men of the Two Vehicles, there is no doubt the Lotus Sutra was preached to comfort them:
"I address all sravakas And seekers after the vehicle of pratyekabuddhas"(Lotus Sutra Chapter 2)
"[if} sravakas or bodhisattvas
Hear the Law which I preach
Even be it one verse,
all, without doubt, become buddhas......(ibid, Ch. 2)
"Now again desiring to cause you to recollect the way which you originally
resolved to follow, I preach for all the sravakas this Great-Vehicle Sutra
called the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law."(ibid Ch. 3)
Again, refering to the men of the Two Vehicles, the Buddha states:
"These people though they conceive the idea of extinction and enter[what they call] nirvana, yet in those lands will seek after the Buddha-wisdom and succeed in hearing this sutra. Only by the Buddha-vehicle will they attain real extinction."(ibid. Ch. 7)
Opening of the Eyes: Buddhahood for Men of Two Vehicles Chapter III cont...
Chapter III cont....
"The 3000 scrolls of Confucian writings can be boiled down to two: filial devotion and loyalty to the ruler. Loyalty also stems from filial devotion. To be filial means to be high.; heaven is high but not at all higher than being filial. To be filial also means to be deep; the earth is deep but not any deeper than being filial. Both sages and wise men also come from filial devotion. How much more should students of Buddhism realize the favors they receive and repay them? Disciples of the Buddha should not fail to feel grateful for the Four Favors (received from parents, people, sovereign, and Buddhism) and repay them.
Moreover such men of the Two Vehicles as Sariputra and Kasyapa kept 250 Buddhist Commandments, lived a life of dignity in accordance with 3,000 rules, progressively mastered the three steps of meditation, completely studied the Agon Sutras (Hinayana Scriptures), and won liberty from all delusions and evil passions in the world of unenlightened people. They should be examples of people who know the Four Favors and repay them. In spite of all this, the Buddha condemned them for not realizing what they had owed. The reason for this is that it is for the purpose of saving parents that a man leaves his parents' house and takes a Buddhist vow, but those men of the two Vehicles, who free themselves from delusions and evil passions, do not save others. Even if they help others to a certain degree, they are still to be blamed for not repaying what they owe their parents so long as their parents are left wandering on the path with no possibility whatsoever of obtaining Buddhahood.
(3) It is said in the Yuima (Vimalakirti) Sutra:
Vimilikirti also asked ManjusriL "What is the seed of
Buddhahood?" Manjusri replied, "All the delusions
and evil passions of men are the seed of Buddhahood.
Even those who have committed the Five Rebellious
Sins such as murdering their own parents, and are bound
to go thebottom of hell can have an aspiration for
Buddhahood." He continued, 'Good men! just as the
beautiful and fragrant and blue lotus flowers bloom in
a muddy field and do not bloom on a dry plateau, the
seed of Buddhahood does not germinate in the heart
of the Two Vehicles.' Manjusri further stated, 'Those
who have already achieved complete freedom from all
cravings and obtained arhatship are unable to aspire for
Buddhahood and obtain it. It is just like those whose five
sensory organs are damaged, and cannot enjoy five
desires of form, sound, smell, taste, and touch.'
This means that even if the Three Poisons of greed, anger, and ignorance become the seed of Buddhahood; even if the Five Rebellious Sins such as murdering a father become the seed of Buddhahood; and even if the blue lotus plants would grow on a dry plateau, the men of the Two Vehicles will never become Buddhas. That is to say, in comparing good deeds by the men of the Two Vehicles with evil acts of the unenlightened, although the latter deserve to be Buddhas, the former do not. While Hinayana sutras chastise the evil and praise the virtuous, this Vimilikirti Sutra slanders the virtuous acts of the men of the Two Vehicles and praises the evil deeds of the unenlightened people. This sound like a heretic teaching rather than a Buddhist sutra. It must have been said, however, in order to stress the impossibility of ever obtaining the Buddhahood by the men of the Two Vehicles.
(4) Again it is stated in the Hodo-darani-kyo (Sutra of Mahayana Darani)
Bodhisattva Manjusri asked Sariputra: "Would you say
that dead trees would bloom, rivers would go back to
mountains, pieces of a broken rock would become whole,
and toasted would ever germinate?" Sariputra answered,
"No, that would be impossible." The Bodhisattva then
retorted, "If these cannot happen, why do you, a man
of the Two Vehicles, feel happy in asking about obtaining
Buddhahood in the future?"
This means that just as dead trees will not bloom, river water will never flow back to the original mountain, broken rocks will never become whole, and toasted seeds will never germinate, the men of the Two Vehicles like Sariputra will never obtain Buddhahood as their seed of Buddhahood has been burned.
(5) The Daibon-hannya-kyo (Larger Wisdom Sutra expresses:
Tose in the ralm of heaven, who have not yet aspired
to Buddhahood, should do so now. Having reached the
realm of sravaka, they will never have aspiration for
Buddhahood,. Why will they not? It is because it will
present an obstacle for a man of sravaka to terminate
the cycle of birth and death.
It means that we should not admire the men of the Two Vehicles because they will never aspire to Buddhahood. We should admire those in heaven because they will.
(6) Again in the shuryo-gon-gyo (Heroic Valor Sutra):
Even those who committed Five Rebellious Sins will be
able to obtain Buddhahood if they aspire it upon hearing
about this Heroic Valor Meditation. Oh, World Honored
One, those arhats who have gotten rid of all delusions
and evil passions are like a broken utensil. They will
never deserve this meditation and obtain Buddhahood.
(7) Finally it is stated again in the Yuima Sutra, "Those who give alms to you, men of the Two Vehicles, can not sow in a rich field, where seeds of the Buddhahood can grow. Those who give offerings to the Two Vehicles will plunge into the Three Evil Realms."
It means that those men and gods who support such saintly monks as Sariputra and Kasyapa will never fail to plunge into hell, the realm of hungry souls, or that of birds or beasts. With the exception of the Buddha Himself, these saintly monks had been considered nothing but the eyes for men and gods, and the leaders of all people. It was therefore hard to understand why it was repeatedly stated before a great crowd of men and gods that these saintly Hinayana men would never obtain Buddhahood. was the Buddha simply trying to punish His own disiples with death? In addition, the Buddha cited numerous parables such as "cow's milk and donkey's milk," "ceramics and golden utensils," and "fireflies under the sun," to compare bodhisattvas and men of Two Vehicles, harshly condemning the latter. Not in a few words, not for a few days or months or years, and not in a few scriptures, the Buddha relentlessly condemned them for more than forty years, in numerous scriptures, and before crowds of numerous great assemblies.
Everyone, you and I and heaven and earth, know that the Buddha is a man of truth. It is not one or two persons but hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of people who know this. Gods, dragons and asura demons in the world of unenlightened beings know it. All the people, gods, men of the Two Vehicles and great bodhisattvas who have gathered together from all over India, four continents of the world, six heavens in the world of desire, world of no desire, world of no form, and from all the worlds in the universe know this. They all heard the Buddha condemn men of the Two Vehicles. Upon returning to their own lands, they told everyone what they has heard from Him in the world of human beings. Therefore, everyone in the entire universe without exception knew that Kasyapa and Sariputra would never achieve Buddhahood. and that they therefore should not give offerings to them.
Nevertheless, the Buddha suddenly retracted His words and stated in the Lotus Sutra, preached in the last eight years, that the men of the Two Vehicles could obtain Buddhahood. How could a large assembly of men and gods believe in this? Not only did they find it hard to believe, they began finding contradictions between the Lotus and earlier sutras. As a result His preachings over fifty years were about to be judged false. Therefore, the Buddha had to declare that He had not revealed the truth during the first some forty years of His preaching. While they were wondering, however, whether or not it was a demon in the heaven appearing to be the Buddha who preached the Lotus Sutra in the last eight years, the Buddha seriously proceeded to define the times, places and names of those men of the Two Vehicles as future Buddhas. That is to say, the Buddha declared in which lands and when they would attain Buddhahood and what disciples they would have then.
The Lord Buddha in effect seemed to have contradicted Himself. It was not without reason Brahmins laughed at him as a big liar. Accused of contradiction in His own words by the dumbfounded crowd of men and gods, Lord Sakyamuni Buddha tried in vain to dispel their doubts by explaining them away one way or another. Just when the Buddha was having a difficult time to quiet them, Taho Buddha of the Hojo World to the east emerged from the earth in front of Him aboard the great stupa of the seven treasures, 500 yojana high and 250 yojana wide, and ascended up high in the sky. It was as though the full moon appeared over the mountain range in the midst of a pitch-dark night. From this great stupa of seven treasures hung in the sky without touching the earth or sky sounded the loud voice of Taho Buddha praising the Buddha and attesting that He spoke truly:
Excellent, excellent! You, Sakyamuni Buddha, have
preached to this large crowd the Sutra of the Lotus
Flower of the Wonderful Law, representing the great
wisdom of the Buddha. who perceives the absolute
truth in every phenomena and who makes no
distinction between ordinary people and themselves.
It teaches the way of bodhisattvas, and is recognized
and upheld by various Buddhas. You are right; You
are correct. What you, Sakyamuni Buddha have
preached is all true (Lotus Sutra, chapter 11,
"Appearance of a Stupa")
Then Lord Sakyamuni and other Buddhas too attested to the truth of the Lotus Sutra as it is stated in its twenty-first chapter on 'The Superhuman Power.':
At this point, Sakyamuni Buddha displayed a great
superhuman power in the presence of a large crowd,
including not only the countless bodhisattvas, such
as Manjusri, who had long lived in this human world,
but also other men and non-human beings. He stretched
out His broad long tongue upward until its tip reached the
world of Brahma, and emitted the rays of light from all
His pores to shine on the entire universe. All Buddhas
sitting on the lion-shaped thrones under the jeweled trees
in their respective worlds in the whole universe also
stretched out their broad and long tongues and emitted
countless rays of light.
"Then Sakyamuni Buddha," says the twenty second chapter (Transmission), of the Lotus Sutra, "sent back those funjin Buddhas who had come from all over the universe to their homelands, and said to Taho Buddha, 'May the stupa of the Taho Buddha be where it was.' "
The men of the Two Vehicles were denied the capacity to become a Buddha in the Hinayana sutras because Sakyamuni taught that there is only one Buddha throughout the universe. Then, in the pre-Lotus Sutra Mahayana sutras, these poor men of the Two Vehicles again are denied Buddhahood for having scorched Buddha seeds despite there being countless Buddhas throughout the universe. Finally, in the Lotus Sutra the Buddha reversed himself and taught that his sravaka and pratyekabuddha disciples too would become Buddhas.
The sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra states:
The sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra states:
"You good sons. If there are beings
who come to where I am,
I contemplate by means of the Buddha Eye
the sharpness or dullness
of their various faculties of faith and so on
and, in accordance with how they should be saved,
everywhere I preach my name to be different
and my age to be great or little,
and, furthermore, I also manifest myself and say
'I am going to enter Nirvana',
and, furthermore by various types of expedients
preaching the Subtle Dharma
I have been able to cause the mass of beings
to give rise to joyful minds. You good sons.
When the Tathagata sees that the masses of beings
are those who rejoice in the Lesser Dharma,
poor in virtues, heavy with defilement,
for these people I preach
that when I was young I went forth from the household life
and obtained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.
But the time since I really attained Buddhahood
is as long ago and distant as that.
It is just in converting the mass of beings by expedients
and causing them to enter the Buddha Way
that I create such a preaching as this. You good sons."
and further along in the same chapter:
... I ever know the masses of beings
Proceeding on the Way or not proceeding on the
Way; according to what will save them,
I preach for them all sorts of Dharmas.
I Myself ever form this thought:
'By what shall I cause the masses of beings
To be able to enter the Supreme Way
And rapidly achieve the Buddha Body?'"
The Buddha teaches what is appropriate, depending on the teachings (preached before), the capacity of the listeners, the country (location), and especially the time. The time was right to teach the Lotus Sutra.
As to Taho Buddha and the manifestation Buddhas coming to testify to the truth of the Lotus Sutra, Taho and the other Buddhas represents the objective reality of obtaining Buddhahood and Sakyamuni the subjective wisdom to perceive this reality. Others have argued more difficult to prove events, such as a being from another world coming in a great flying ship (flying stupa). The Rigvedas also discuss such events and beings.
Either way, later in this tract, the Object of Worship first glimpsed in chapter eleven of the Lotus Sutra is revealed. In chapter eleven, it is like the light of the sun just before sunrise or as St. Nichiren says later in the Opening of the Eyes, "But because this was the first time he had touched on the subject, it was only dimly apprehended, like the first note of the cuckoo heard by someone drowsy with sleep, or like the moon appearing over the rim of the hill but veiled in thin clouds."
The Object of Worship is more fully developed from chapters fifteen to twenty-two. The passage from chapter twenty one, cited above by Nichiren Shonin, reveals the Dharma Body of the Eternal Buddha illuminating all who hear or see it. This includes the sravakas and the pratyekabuddhas: Sariputra and Kasyapa are found on the Object of Worship, illuminated by the Law body of Sakyamuni, or Namu Myoho renge kyo