"Historically there have been times during the history, when people pervert the teachings by stressing that the texts themselves are enough to transmit Buddhism." -- Dave Cole
No one stressed the texts more than Nichiren. Both texts and people coexist. Only in Zen and the Nichiren Shoshu is there asserted a mythical world existing without texts. The root is the text. The text has existed since the infinite past. The text is both the teacher and the relic of the Buddha. The text is the Dharma itself. Both an excellent doctrine and an excellent believer is necessary for the transmission of the Buddha's teachings. The Eternal Buddha lives today. The Gohonzon is the Eternal Buddha. The Gohonzon is a text.
Zen teachings have lead to the belief that the Sutras and texts are not important, only self-attained Buddhahood or "Mind to Mind transmission" which occurs "apart from the Texts."
More so, the Nichiren Shoshu and Soka Gakkai stress secret transmissions and personal epiphanies while Zen, as Nichiren teaches in The Conversation Between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man, in reality, bases itself on texts. The Fuji schools are more Zen than Zen itself.
Dave Cole asserts from the Fuji School perspective:
"From the viewpoint of the Daishonin and the Patriarchs of the Tien-t’ai Sects, people confuse the Specific with the General and General with Specific. They confuse Specific, "Face to Face transmission" from Patriarch to Patriarch, or High Priest to High Priest, with General "Mind to Mind" Transmission based on texts, or "Mind to Mind transmission," "apart from texts" and based on particular peoples capacity in the realm of Self-Realization. Chih-i repeats over and over, and so do Chang-an and Miao-lo, that the Middle Way is correct, but people fail to grasp what this means and continue to be hung up on certain points."
I disagree. Nichiren Shoshu is not even Buddhism. How much less so the Middle Way?
“Good men, the Thus Come One observes how among living beings there are those who delight in inferior teachings, meager in virtue and heavy with defilement. . . . Because living beings have [different natures, . . . I preach different doctrines. . . . This, the Buddha’s work], I have never for a moment neglected.” -- The Lifespan Chapter
Nichiren writes, referring to this passage of the Lotus Sutra:
"With respect to this doctrine: After the passing of the Thus Come One, in India for more than fifteen hundred years, the Buddha’s twenty-four successors, such as Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu, knew of it but did not reveal it. In China for more than a thousand years, others did not know of it; only T’ien-t’ai and Miao-lo gave a rough account of it. However, it seems that they did not explain its true significance. And the same was true of the Great Teacher Dengyo. Now when I, Nichiren, consider the matter, I find that in addition to the above passage of the Lotus Sutra, the Nirvana Sutra states, "If there are those who conceive differing ideas concerning the three treasures, then truly you should know that these people can no longer hope to take refuge in or rely upon these three pure treasures."(The Third Doctrine).
Dave Cole goes on:
>>>>>A Priest named Ganjin, who was the founder of the Japanese Ritsu sect, had brought Chih-i’s writings to Japan and Saicho (Dengyo) first studied these texts of Tien-t’ai Buddhism, and began to teach them in Japan, founding a small temple called, Hiei-sanji, at Mt. Hiei. In 804, he went to China and studied under the disciples of the High Priest Miao-lo, Tao-sui and Hsing-man, and received the transmission of Tien-t’ai Buddhism. He returned in 805, to Japan, to officially found the Tendai Sect. Dengyo’s original temple at Mt. Hiei was renamed Enryakuji Temple by the Emperor in 723. With the principles of the Tien-t’ai sect as the true Buddhist teaching for the Middle Day of the Law, Dengyo had begun petitioning the Government for the establishment of the National Sanctuary of Mahayana Buddhism at Mt. Hiei. For his remaining, 17 years, against much criticism and antagonism from other sects, Dengyo continued his resolve. The government did finally approve this project one week after Dengyo passed away, and finally, five year later, Dengyo’s successor, Gishin, had officially founded the National Sanctuary of the Mahayana Ordination center at Enryakuji temple. This temple was the place where the Daishonin did his most intensive study of Buddhism. The meditation which Chih-i taught was very widespread. The Ch’an Sect, which was the ancestor of Japanese Zen, used Tien-t’ai meditation, even calling him a founder of Ch’an. Ch’an (Zen) taught a number of contradictory teachings. They first teach of a "mind to mind" transmission directly from Shakyamuni to the "28 Successors" of Ch’an (Zen), which is said to be passed down apart from the Sutras. Jumping from a slightly different variation of the "24 Successors of Shakyamuni," including Nagarjuna, on to Arya-Simha, the Succession then jumps to three additional Priests, and then to Bodhidharma, called the fourth patriarch of Ch’an (Zen), but is usually considered the founder.
Scholars of Buddhism generally believe that the first "4 Patriarchs of Zen," even including Bodhidharma were quite possibly fictitious. There is no firm evidence for their actual existence. Bodhidharma’s life was veiled in myth and any knowledge of his actual history is questionable. In the few works attributed to Bodhidharma, the practice of meditation was set forth, but there were no in- depth teachings about actual meditation technique. Instead, the Shikan meditation which had become very widespread through the Buddhist sects in China, was stolen by most of the other sects and appropriated for their own purposes. This was because the Maka Shikan was so complete a teaching, that other explanations of meditation practice, paled by comparison. The Ch’an (Zen) sect, also used mystical riddles, called Koans as a central part of their meditation, thus causing Beings to forget the importance of the Meditation on the Sutras of Buddhism, and instead having them focus on short poems and riddles, equating emptiness as the sum total of the Buddhist teaching. From the standpoint of Tien-t’ai Buddhism Ch’an (Zen) was like going backwards, away from the most profound Sutra of Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra, which refutes the previous views of emptiness only. Prior to and after the death of Miao-lo, the Ch’an Sect was rising in prominence, denying the texts of Buddhism in favor of the "Transmission apart from the Sutras." At the same time within the body of followers of the Tien-t’ai sect in later times, there was discord as to the principles of Specific and General and the issues of "Texts" versus, "Face to Face Transmission." Miao-lo had taught that the "Face to Face transmission" and the Texts of Chih-I were identical,...but in no way did he support the idea that either the "Face to Face Transmission" or the "Texts" were to be discarded.>>>>>
Actually, Dave is mistaken. Not even Tientai, is to be followed in Mappo, let alone Miao-le. Only Nichiren the Supreme Votary is to be followed in Mappo. Why the Nichiren Shoshu adopted the Zen teachings on Patriarchal transmission, one can only guess but Nikken erected a tombstone in a Zen cemetary.
The Nichiren Shoshu teaches
"Because the true existence of the Tetsugi Masters passes through all the Buddhas of the Three Existences (of the past, present and future), and has passed through our Great Founder, through the successive generations of High Priests, shedding each in turn, you must be very, very careful to believe this with all your being, and my disciples must believe in me in exactly the same way." -- 9th Nichiren Shoshu High Priest, Nichiu Shonin [believed to have died a leper after fabricating the DaiGohonzon]
"Kuden transmission was a common practice of the Tendai Sect and derived from the false belief that the enlightenment of various teachers, "Shikan" or personal insight, trumped the wisdom of the scriptures. This is a dangerous teaching according to Nichiren because it destroys faith in the Scripture of the Fine Dharma of the Lotus Flower Sutra. Embracing such a false doctrine, one comes to the mistaken belief that personal insight may reveal things that contradict or superscede the teachings of the Buddha. It relies on the notion that there are "Kuden" (secret teachings) that can be passed by hand [or mouth] and in the case of the Nichiren Shoshu teachings that Buddhahood itself can be "passed" from one "Tetsugi Master" to another.
The origin of secret transmission doctrines within the Tendai Sect was largely a response to the gentrification of the Priesthood as more and more nobles entered the priesthood and some means had to be found to short circuit the years of training and demonstrated mastery otherwise required in order to qualify a priest for the Chief Priesthood of a Temple. It also was based on the incorrect notion that since enlightenment is found within all beings there is no need for cultivation of enlightenment or use of Buddhist logic. Masters could awaken and pass on hidden meanings. The extreme extension of the logic is the Zen Sect. Nichiren Shoshu's use of it is no less poisonous. Such a "transmission" is useful to quell not only dissent but legitimate questions.
Nichiren attacked this entire approach to his teachings so it is odd that Nichiu should have relied on such an approach to establish the legitimacy of his school. It is no wonder that Nichiren Shoshu had such a hard time of it among the other schools and that it wasn't until very recently that they established their own University but they still send their monks to the University established by the Minobu School [Rissho University] for advanced education." -- author unknown
As far a Miao-le is concerned, the Zen sect was already thoroughly censured by Tientai. Regardless of what he taught, be it a face to face transmission [which you haven't supported with the actual words of Miao-le] or a textual transmission: 1). What he taught was ostensibly for the people of his day, the Middle Day of the Law, and not for the Bodhisattvas of the Earth; 2). In the Latter Day, Nichiren taught only a textual transmission:
"In actuality, however, the essential teaching bears no resemblance whatsoever to the theoretical teaching. The preparation, revelation, and transmission of the essential teaching are intended entirely for the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law. The essential teaching of Shakyamuni’s lifetime and that revealed at the beginning of the Latter Day are both pure and perfect [in that both lead directly to Buddhahood]. Shakyamuni’s, however, is the Buddhism of the harvest, and this is the Buddhism of sowing. The core of his teaching is one chapter and two halves, and the core of mine is the five characters of the daimoku alone.
Question: On what authority do you say [that the essential teaching is meant for the generations of the Latter Day of the Law]?
Answer: The “Emerging from the Earth” chapter states: “At that time the bodhisattvas mahāsattva who had gathered from the lands of the other directions, greater in number than the sands of eight Ganges Rivers, stood up in the midst of the great assembly, pressed their palms together, bowed in obeisance, and said to the Buddha: ‘World-Honored One, if you will permit us in the age after the Buddha has entered extinction to diligently and earnestly protect, embrace, read, recite, copy, and offer alms to this sutra in the sahā world, we will preach it widely throughout this land!’ At that time the Buddha said to the bodhisattvasmahāsattva: ‘Leave off, good men! There is no need for you to protect and embrace this sutra.’” This statement totally contradicts the Buddha’s exhortations in the preceding five chapters from the “Teacher of theLaw” [to the “Peaceful Practices”]. In the latter part of the “Treasure Tower” chapter is the passage: “In a loud voice he [Shakyamuni Buddha] addressed all the four kinds of believers, saying, ‘Who is capable of broadly preaching the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law in this sahā world?’” Medicine King and the other great bodhisattvas, Brahmā,Shakra, the gods of the sun and moon, and the four heavenly kingswould have followed Shakyamuni’s command before anything else even if no other Buddha had supported his exhortations, but Many TreasuresBuddha and the Buddhas from throughout the ten directions came tothis world to exhort them to propagate the sutra after Shakyamuni’s passing. Thus, hearing the Buddha’s solemn appeal, the bodhisattvas all pledged, saying, “We care nothing for our bodies or lives,” for they desired solely to fulfill the Buddha’s will.
[In the “Emerging from the Earth” chapter,] however, the Buddha suddenly reversed himself and forbade all the bodhisattvas, more numerous than the sands of eight Ganges Rivers, from propagating the sutra in this world. We therefore face what appears to be an insoluble contradiction, one that is beyond ordinary understanding.
The Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai Chih-che gave three reasons for Shakyamuni’s stopping the bodhisattvas, and three more for his summoning the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Essentially, the great bodhisattvas taught by the Buddha in his transient status and the great bodhisattvas who gathered from the other worlds were not qualified toinherit the “Life Span” chapter that reveals the eternal Buddha’s inner truth. At the dawn of the Latter Day evil people who slander the correct teaching would fill the land, so Shakyamuni Buddha p.371rejected the pledge of these bodhisattvas and instead summoned the multitude of great bodhisattvas from beneath the earth. He entrusted them with the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, the heart of the “Life Span” chapter, for the enlightenment of all beings in the land of Jambudvīpa. The bodhisattvas taught by the Buddha in his transient status were also unqualified because they had not been the disciples of ShakyamuniBuddha since the time he had first set his mind on and attained enlightenment in the remote past. The Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai states, “[The Buddha said of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth,] ‘These are my disciples, destined to propagate my Law.’” Miao-lo says, “The children propagate the Law of the father, and this benefits the world.” The Supplement to “The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra” states, “TheLaw embodied therein [in the Lotus Sutra] is the Law that was realized countless kalpas in the past, and therefore it was entrusted to persons who had been the Buddha’s disciples from countless kalpas in the past.”
[In the “Emerging from the Earth” chapter] Bodhisattva Maitreyaquestioned Shakyamuni Buddha as follows: “We ourselves have faith in the Buddha, believing that he preaches in accordance with what is appropriate, that the words spoken by the Buddha are never false, and that the Buddha’s knowledge is in all cases penetrating and comprehensive. Nevertheless, in the period after the Buddha has entered extinction, if bodhisattvas who have just begun to aspire toenlightenment should hear these words, they will perhaps not believe or accept them but will be led to commit the crime of rejecting the Law. Therefore, World-Honored One, we beg you to explain so we may put aside our doubts, and so that, in future ages when good men hear of this matter, they will not entertain doubts!” Here Bodhisattva Maitreya was imploring the Buddha to preach the “Life Span” chapter for those tocome after his passing.
The “Life Span” chapter states: “Some are completely out of their minds, while others are not. . . . Those children who have not lost their senses can see that this is good medicine, outstanding in both color and fragrance, so they take it immediately and are completely cured of their sickness.” The sutra explains that all bodhisattvas, persons of the two vehicles, and human and heavenly beings received the seeds ofBuddhahood numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago. The seeds were nurtured by the preaching of the sixteenth son of the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence as well as by ShakyamuniBuddha’s four flavors of teachings and the theoretical teaching of theLotus Sutra. Then they finally gained the way when they heard theessential teaching of the Lotus Sutra.
The “Life Span” chapter continues: “Those who are out of their minds are equally delighted to see their father return and beg him tocure their sickness, but when they are given the medicine, they refuse totake it. Why? Because the poison has penetrated deeply and their minds no longer function as before. So although the medicine is of excellent color and fragrance, they do not perceive it as good. The father thinks tohimself, ‘I must now resort to some expedient means to induce them totake the medicine.’ So he says to them: ‘I will leave this good medicine here. You should take it and not worry that it will not cure you.’ Having given these instructions, he then goes off to another land, where he sends a messenger home to announce . . .” According to the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter, [the good medicine of the “Life Span” chapter is left for those] “in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law.”
Question: Who is the messenger mentioned in the passage, “he sends a messenger home to announce”?
Answer: It means the four ranks of sages. They fall into four categories. [First,] most of the four ranks of sages of Hinayana appeared in the first five hundred years of the Former Day of the Law, and [second,] most of those of [provisional] Mahayana came in the second five hundred years. Third, those of the theoretical teaching appeared mainly in the next thousand years, the Middle Day of the Law, and the rest, in the beginning of the Latter Day. Fourth, the four ranks of sages of the essential teaching are the bodhisattvas emerging from the earth, numerous as the dust particles of a thousand worlds, who are certain toappear in the beginning of the Latter Day. When the sutra says, “he sends a messenger home to announce,” it refers to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. “This good medicine” is the heart of the “Life Span” chapter, orNam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is endowed with name, entity, quality, function, and teaching. Since the Buddha would not entrust this good medicine even to the bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching, how much less could he have done so to the bodhisattvas of other worlds?
The “Supernatural Powers” chapter states: “At that time the bodhisattvas mahāsattva who had emerged from the earth, numerous as the dust particles of a thousand worlds, all in the presence of the Buddha single-mindedly pressed their palms together, gazed up in reverence at the face of the Honored One, and said to the Buddha: ‘World-Honored One, after the Buddha has entered extinction, in the lands where the emanations of the World-Honored One are present, and in the place where the Buddha has passed into extinction, we will preach this sutra far and wide.’” T’ien-t’ai says, “The great assembly witnessed theBodhisattvas of the Earth alone making this pledge.” Tao-hsienremarks: “As far as transmission goes, this sutra was entrusted solely tothe bodhisattvas who had welled up out of the earth. The reason for this is that the Law embodied therein is the Law that was realized countless kalpas in the past, and therefore it was entrusted to persons who had been the Buddha’s disciples from countless kalpas in the past.” -- True Object of Worship
Nichiren teaches that Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo is that which is transmitted. Myoho reng kyo is the Lotus Sutra:
"The jewels of this jeweled vehicle are the seven precious substances which adorn the great cart. The seven jewels are precisely the seven orifices in one's head, and these seven orifices are precisely the [seven characters] na-mu-myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo, the essential Dharma for the Final Dharma Age. For us, living beings, the five characters of the daimoku will become a boat at the river of the three crossings ; they will remove the cold in the crimson-lotus hell. In the hell of burning heat, they will become a cool breeze, and on the mountains of death, they will become lotus blossoms. When we are thirsty, they will become water, and when we are hungry, they will become food. When we are naked, they will become a robe. They will become a wife, a child, retainers, a clan--benefitting all living beings by conferring their inexhaustible responsive workings. This is the meaning of "directly arriving at the place of enlightenment." Accordingly, the fact that one dwells nowhere else but in the Land of Tranquil Light is called "directly arriving at the place of enlightenment." You should fix your mind on the word "directly" and ponder it." [STN3:2563-64]
“Are persons who receive instruction orally from their teacher invariably free from error, while those who appear in later ages and who seek and investigate to be regarded as worthless? If so, then should we throw away the sutras and instead follow traditions handed down from the four ranks of bodhisattvas? Should a man throw away the deed of transfer received from his father and mother and instead rely upon oral transmissions? Are the written commentaries of the Great Teacher Dengyo so much trash, and the oral traditions handed down from the Great Teacher Jikaku the only guide to truth?” (Gosho Zenshu, p.1258)
"Question: When it comes to those who maintain that the Lotus Sutra is superior to the True Word teachings, should they try to make use of these commentaries by Jikaku, or should they reject them?
Answer: Shakyamuni Buddha laid down a rule for future conduct when he said that we should "rely on the Law and not upon persons." Bodhisattva Nagarjuna says that one should rely on treatises that are faithful to the sutras, but not rely on those that distort the sutras. T'ien-t'ai states, "That which accords with the sutras is to be written down and made available. But put no faith in anything that in word or meaning fails to do so." And the Great Teacher Dengyo says, "Depend upon the preachings of the Buddha, and do not put faith in traditions handed down orally." -- The Selection of the Time
"Our teacher said: "Last age" means the fifth five hundred years that begin the Final Dharma age. The "transfer document" is Namu-myoho-renge-kyo, a document that is handed down as proof of inheritance. There are two meanings in this transfer. One is the designation of successorship; the other is the bestowal of wealth. The designation of successorship means that Sakyamuni named as his heirs the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra. The passage of proof states, "[..desiring to make all beings] equal to me, without difference." (67) As for the transfer of wea1th, Sakyamuni also passed on to the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra his wisdom and the virtues he had obtained by observing the precepts. The passage of proof states, "We have obtained for ourselves the supreme jewel cluster without seeking it." (68) Thus the five characters of the daimoku constitute a transfer document." -- Ongi Kikigaki
"The Maka Shikan says: "If one lacks faith in the Lotus sutra he will object that it pertains to the lofty realm of the sages, something far beyond the capacity of his own wisdom to comprehend. If one lacks wisdom, he will become puffed up with his own arrogance and will claim to be the equal of the Buddha." - The Opening of the Eyes
Nichiren on the General Transmission:
"Answer: In this passage, Shakyamuni Buddha explains that he is entrusting to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, his original disciples, the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, which is the essence of the Lotus Sutra. Shakyamuni, who attained enlightenment countless kalpas in the past, says elsewhere, "By now the original vows that I made have already been fulfilled. I have converted all living beings and caused them all to enter the Buddha way." Thus, he has already fulfilled his earlier vow. Then, intending to charge his disciples with the task of accomplishing widespread propagation in the fifth five hundred years after his death, he called forth the Bodhisattvas of the Earth and entrusted them with the heart of the sutra, the lotus of the entity of the essential teaching. This passage represents the ultimate purpose for which Shakyamuni Buddha appeared in the world, the secret Law that he attained in the place of meditation. It is this passage that gives proof of the lotus of the entity that, for those of us who live in the Latter Day of the Law, assures the attainment of Buddhahood in both the present and future."
"It is the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo that constitute the Great Pure Law that will be spread widely in the Latter Day of the Law. And it is the great bodhisattvas who sprang up from, the earth in numbers equal to the dust particles of a thousand worlds who were entrusted with the task of spreading it abroad. Therefore Nan-yueh, T’ien-t’ai and Dengyo, though in their hearts they understood the truth, left it to the leader and teacher of the Latter Day to spread it widely, while they themselves refrained from doing so."
Nichiju interprets the General Transmission:
"Among the disciples of the school of Nichiju, nobody should be chosen, directly or indirectly as an heir disciple. However, anybody among the priests or the laymen of my congregation that spreads the teaching in Kyoto and swears that other sects are the root of all evils and that only the Hokke Sect makes us enter Nirvana can be my disciple. And if candidates are equally gifted, they should propagate during the summer, practicing in turn. You should consider a person who spreads the teaching like this as the true disciple of Nichiju and Nichiren Shonin. So in the days to come, this shall be my will."
Nichiren on the Specific Transmission:
"Accordingly, at the present time in the Latter Day of the Law, other than the envoy of the Thus Come One, there can be no one who understands and produces this passage as proof of the lotus of the entity. Truly it is a passage of secret meaning. Truly it is a matter of great concern. Truly it is to be honored and admired. Namu-myoho-renge-kyo, Namu-myoho-renge-kyo!"
"Bodhisattva Superior Practices received the water of the wisdom of the Mystic Law from the Thus Come One Shakyamuni and causes it to flow into the wasteland of the people’s lives in the evil world of the latter age. This is the function of wisdom. Shakyamuni Buddha transferred this teaching to Bodhisattva Superior Practices, and now Nichiren propagates it in Japan. With regard to the transfer of teachings, it is divided into two categories: general and specific. If you confuse the general with the specific even in the slightest, you will never be able to attain Buddhahood and will wander in suffering through endless transmigrations of births and deaths."
"The leader and teacher of the Latter Day" is specific to one man, Nichiren Daishonin (Bodhisattva Jogyo). "Bodhisattvas of the Earth" is general to all those who follow Nichiren. There are not superior and inferior Bodhisattvas of the Earth. The responsibilities of laymen and priests are blurred in Mappo and there is only one High Priest and one leader, Nichiren Daishonin.
Question: The Lotus Sutra states that there are many leaders of his own great assembly with various large and small retinues of followers. Wouldn't that mean Daisaku Ikeda, the High Priest of the Nichiren Shoshu, the Chief Bishop of Minobu. Nikkyo Niwano, and others?
Answer: At this time, there is only Nichiren Daishonin and his followers. Those who follow Nichiren Daishonin and are of the same mind as he ["The bodhisattvas, as numerous as the dust particles of a thousand worlds, who emerged from beneath the earth and (who are) the followers of Shakyamuni Buddha present in our lives"] are indeed leaders of his own great assembly with various large and small retinues.
Daisaku Ikeda, the High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu, the Chief Bishop of Minobu, Nikkyo Niwano, and Nissen however, are not of the same mind as Nichiren. Nikkyo Niwano, despite chanting the daimoku, failed to even acknowledge Nichiren Daishonin as the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Daisaku Ikeda and the High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu throw out Shakyamuni Buddha. The Bishop of Minobu allows all sorts of sundry practices and a false transmission between priests and lay believers [not to mention interfaith] and Nissen proclaimed his joy to have been born in a Buddha-less world.
Since they are not of the same mind as Nichiren, they are not his followers and they are not Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Since they are not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they are not even inheritors of the general transmission.
You should also read The Entity of the Mystic Law. It too is very clear that the Transmission in the Latter Day is a textual transmission.