"Persons who do not fully understand this sutra, the Lotus, look at passages in the sutra that say that, if one reads the sutra, one will be reborn in the human or heavenly realms; they look at passages that speak of going to the Tushita heaven or the heaven of the thirty-three gods; or they look at passages that speak of rebirth in [Amida’s] land of Peace and Sustenance; and they suppose that though one may practice the teachings of the Lotus Sutra in this impure land of ours, and though its principles may be very admirable, one cannot hope thereby to reach the stage where there is no more regression in one’s progress to enlightenment. So they assert that one must continue to be reborn again and again for long ages in this impure land, hoping for the dawn of [Maitreya’s] appearance some 5,670 million years in the future; or they claim that, when one is reborn in the realm of animals or that of human beings, the process of rebirth blots out all memory of previous existences and hence one can never put an end to one’s sufferings. Still others object that the Lotus Sutra represents a type of self-empowered religious practice and hence is very difficult to carry out.
Errors of this kind in all likelihood come from a failure to distinguish between the two roads to salvation, that put forward in the sutras prior to the Lotus and that of the Lotus. Persons who propound such views not only lead themselves astray into the darkness of delusion, but they blind the Buddha eye of all living beings.
The idea that one should seek rebirth in the Tushita heaven is found frequently in the Hinayana sutras, and in a few cases in the Mahayana sutras as well. The idea that one should strive for rebirth in the Western Paradise is found in many Mahayana sutras. All these passages are examples of that which should be opened up and merged [with the Lotus Sutra].
But according to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, the Tushita heaven is to be counted among the lands of the Buddhas of the ten directions, the Western Paradise too is none other than one of the lands of the Buddhas of the ten directions, and the realms of human and heavenly beings are none other than such lands. When the Lotus Sutra addresses evil persons, it speaks of the evil that is a part of the Ten Worlds, and assures them that, since evil persons too are endowed with the five types of vision, even the most evil of all persons are capable of being saved. When it addresses women, it assures them that women are endowed with the Ten Worlds and that women in any of the Ten Worlds can attain Buddhahood. So long as one, through the Lotus Sutra, sets one’s mind on the attainment of perfect and true enlightenment, one can never be dragged back into the nine realms of unenlightened existence by the power of karma."