T HERE were two brothers named Chudapanthaka.1 When the name Chudapanthaka was called, either would answer. You three believers are like them. When any one of you comes, I feel as though all three of you were here with me.
The Nirvana Sutra teaches the principle of lessening ones karmic retribution. If ones heavy karma from the past is not expiated within this lifetime, one must undergo the sufferings of hell in the future, but if one experiences extreme hardship in this life [because of the Lotus Sutra], the sufferings of hell will vanish instantly. And when one dies, one will obtain the blessings of the human and heavenly worlds, as well as those of the three vehicles and the one vehicle. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging was not abused and vilified, stoned and beaten with staves without reason. He had probably slandered the correct teaching in the past. The phrase when his offenses had been wiped out2 indicates that, because Bodhisattva Never Disparaging met persecution, he was able to eradicate his offenses from previous lifetimes. (This concludes my first point.)
The twenty-five teachers who transmitted the Buddhist teachings,3 with the exception of Shakyamuni Buddha, were all temporary manifestations of Buddhas or great bodhisattvas whose
advent had been predicted by Shakyamuni. Of these, the fourteenth, Bodhisattva Aryadeva, was killed by a non-Buddhist, and the twenty-fifth, the Venerable Aryasimha, was beheaded by King Dammira. Buddhamitra and Bodhisattva Nagarjuna also suffered many persecutions. Yet others propagated Buddhism under the protection of devout kings, without encountering persecution. This would seem to be because good countries and evil countries exist in the world, and shoju and shakubuku exist as ways of propagation. It was like this even during the Former and Middle Days of the Law, as it was in India, the center of Buddhism. This country is far away from India, and this is the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law. I was certain beforehand that such things would happen; I have simply been waiting for the inevitable. (This concludes my second point.)
I expounded this principle a long time ago, so it should not be new to you. One of the six stages of practice in the perfect teaching is the stage of perception and action. At this stage one acts as one speaks and speaks as one acts.4 Those at the stage of being a Buddha in theory only and at the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth believe in the perfect teaching; but even though they praise it,