derful Law that is beyond the minds power to comprehend.
To ignore the supremacy of the Lotus Sutra and assert that other sutras stand on a par with it is to commit the worst possible slander of the Law, a major offense of the utmost gravity. No analogy could suffice to illustrate it. The Buddhas, for all their powers of magical transformation, could never finish describing its consequences, and the bodhisattvas, with all the wisdom at their command, could not fathom its immensity. Thus, the Simile and Parable chapter of the Lotus Sutra says, If I were to describe the punishments [that fall on persons who slander this sutra], I could exhaust a kalpa and never come to the end. This passage means that not even a whole kalpa would be time enough to explain the full gravity of the offense of a person who acts even once against the Lotus Sutra.
For this reason, a person who commits this offense will never be able to hear the preaching of the Buddhas of the three existences, and will be cut off from the doctrines of the Thus Come Ones, who are as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. Such a person will move from darkness into greater darkness. How could he escape the pains and sufferings of the great citadel of the Avichi hell? Could a thoughtful person fail to dread the prospect of lengthy kalpas of misery?
Thus the sutra states, If this person . . . on seeing those who read, recite, copy, and uphold this sutra, should despise, hate, envy, or bear grudges against them . . . When his life comes to an end he will enter the Avichi hell. This passage means that a person who despises, looks down on, hates, envies, or holds a grudge against those who read and embrace the Lotus Sutra will fall into the great citadel of the Avichi hell after he dies.27 Who could help but fear these golden words of the great sage? And who could doubt the
clear-cut pronouncement of the Buddha when he said, Honestly discarding expedient means, [I will preach only the unsurpassed way]?28
However, people all turn their backs on these sutra passages, and the world as a whole is completely confused with regard to the principles of Buddhism. Why do you persist in following the teachings of evil friends? Tien-tai said that to accept and put faith in the doctrines of evil teachers is the same as drinking poison.29 You should deeply consider this and beware!
Taking a careful look at the world today, we see that, although people declare that the Law is worthy of respect, they all express hatred for the person who upholds it. You yourself seem to be very much confused as to the source from which the Law springs. Just as all the different kinds of plants and trees come forth from the earth, so all the various teachings of the Buddha are spread by persons. As Tien-tai said: Even during the Buddhas lifetime, the Law was revealed by people. How, then, in the latter age, can one say that the Law is worthy of respect, but that the person who upholds it is to be despised?30
Hence, if the Law that one embraces is supreme, then the person who embraces it must accordingly be foremost among all others. And if that is so, then to speak ill of that person is to speak ill of the Law, just as to show contempt for the child is to show contempt for the parents.
You should realize from this that the people of today speak words that in no way match what is in their hearts. It is as though they were to beat their parents with a copy of The Classic of Filial Piety. When they know that, unseen by others, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas are observing them, how can they fail to be ashamed of such actions! The pains of hell are frightful indeed. Beware of them! Beware of them!