A S for false teachings that gouge out the eyes and delude the minds of the entire Japanese populace, in the final analysis, there is none more mistaken than that upheld by the teachers of the True Word school. But let us set this matter aside for now.
Although the ten similes1 seem to illustrate the relative merit of the Lotus Sutra and all the other sutras, this was not the Buddhas true intention in expounding them. His aim was to compare the votaries of all other sutras with the votary of the Lotus Sutra and to show that the votary of the Lotus Sutra is like the sun and moon, while the votaries of the other sutras are like stars or lanterns.
How do we know this? The eighth simile2 is followed by a most vital passage. It reads, A person who can accept and uphold this sutra is likewise foremost among all living beings. This twenty-two-character passage is the heart of the entire sutra, the eye of all living beings. Its meaning is that, while the votary of the Lotus Sutra is like the sun and moon, the great king Brahma, or the Buddha, the votaries of the Mahavairochana Sutra are like the stars, the streams and rivers, or like ordinary people.
For this reason, the Buddha surely considers anyone in this world who embraces the Lotus Sutra, whether lay
man or woman, monk or nun, to be the lord of all living beings, and Brahma and Shakra most certainly hold that person in reverence. When I think in this way, my joy is beyond expression.
Moreover, in pondering this sutra passage day and night and reading it morning and evening, I realize that the votary it refers to is not just any practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. Since a person in the phrase a person who can accept and uphold this sutra literally means any human being, I had thought that it must indicate anyone among the monks, nuns, laymen, or laywomen in this world who believe in the Lotus Sutra. This, however, is not so. For, in a subsequent passage where the Buddha again refers to this person, he says, If there is a woman . . .
When I, Nichiren, read the sutras other than the Lotus Sutra, I have not the slightest wish to become a woman. One sutra condemns women as messengers of hell. Another describes them as great serpents. Still another likens them to bent and twisted trees. And there is even a sutra that describes them as people who have scorched the seeds of Buddhahood.
Buddhist scriptures are not alone in this regard; non-Buddhist writings also disdain women. Jung Chi-chi,3 for example, sings in praise of three pleasures, one of which is the pleasure of