"With regard to the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, it is persons who in the past have already encountered a hundred thousand million living Buddhas and obtained blessing [by offering alms to them] who are thereafter able at last to hear the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo and for the first time take faith in them. When we compare the names of the non-Buddhist deities, the heavenly gods, persons of the two vehicles, or bodhisattvas, with the names of the various Buddhas, then the former are mere shards and rubble, while the latter are comparable to the wish-granting jewel. But in comparison to the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddhas’ names are all mere shards and rubble, while the daimoku is comparable to the wish-granting jewel.
For scholars of the present time to suppose that one may gain the same blessings by reciting the names of the various Buddhas as one gains by reciting the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, and that the two actions are equal, is to suppose that shards and rubble are the same as the wish-granting jewel, that the two are equal.
Volume five of Great Concentration and Insight states: “Even those who turn their backs on the world amuse themselves with an inferior vehicle, clinging to mere branches and leaves. They are like dogs that tag after the servants [forgetting their master]. They pay honor to apes and monkeys, considering them like the god Shakra; they revere shards and rubble, looking on them as bright gems. With such ignorant and benighted persons, how can one discuss the way?”
The gist of this passage is that, though people may become weary of the world and quit the household life, retiring to the mountains and forests, giving up all thought of fame and gain, and praying only for their next existence, if they do not practice the great vehicle set forth in the Lotus Sutra but recite the names of the Buddhas who are described in the inferior vehicles of the provisional teachings, they can only be compared to perverse persons who suppose that shards and rubble are in fact bright jewels, persons who are destined to fall into a dark and evil path.
In the first volume of his Annotations on “Great Concentration and Insight,” the Great Teacher Miao-lo, citing the Sutra of the Heavenly Son Abiding Goodness,6 makes clear the heart of the Lotus Sutra when he says, “Those who hear the Law, speak slanderously of it, and fall into hellas a result, are still superior to those who offer alms to Buddhas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges.” He means that even one who, on hearing the name of the Lotus Sutra, commits the offense of slandering it, is superior to a person who gives alms to Amida Buddha, ShakyamuniBuddha, Medicine Master Buddha, and other Buddhas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges and recites their names. Since this is so, the Nembutsu followers of our age, though they may recite the Nembutsusixty thousand or up to one hundred thousand times, can never gain release from the sufferings of birth and death.
If one sees others listening to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, one may declare that “not even one person in a thousand” can be saved by such teachings, that they represent a “sundry practice,” and that “not a single person has ever attained Buddhahood” through them, and then thereby urge them to “abandon” and to “close” the door to the Lotus Sutra. But even if one speaks slanderously of the sutra and as a result falls into the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering, in the end one is certain to gain release from the sufferings of birth and death [because of the connection one has formed with the Lotus Sutra]. And since that is the case, how much better it would be if now, in one’s present existence, one were to take faith in its teachings!"