criticized the work, saying, There are slanders in it how can it be regarded as sincere praise?78
Chia-hsiang was in fact an offender against the Lotus Sutra. Thus, when he was defeated by Tien-tai and served him, he no longer lectured on the Lotus Sutra. If I were to lecture on it, he said, I could not avoid falling back into the paths of evil. And for seven years, he made his own body a bridge [for Tien-tai to walk on].
Similarly, the Great Teacher Tzu-en wrote a work in ten volumes entitled Praising the Profundity of the Lotus Sutra in which he praised the Lotus Sutra, but the Great Teacher Dengyo criticized it, saying, Though he praises the Lotus Sutra, he destroys its heart.79
If we consider these examples carefully, we will realize that, among those who read the Lotus Sutra and sing its praises, there are many who are destined for the hell of incessant suffering. Even men like Chia-hsiang and Tzuen were actually slanderers of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra. And if such can be said of them, it applies even more to men like Kobo, Jikaku, and Chisho, who displayed open contempt for the Lotus Sutra.
There are those like the Great Teacher Chia-hsiang, who ceased giving lectures, dispersed the group of disciples that had gathered around him, and even made his body into a bridge for Tien-tai. But in spite of these actions, the offense of his earlier slanders of the Lotus Sutra was not, I expect, so easily wiped out. The crowd of people who despised and abused Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, although they later came to believe in his teachings and became his followers, still carried the burden of their former actions and had to spend a thousand kalpas in the Avichi hell as a result.
Accordingly, if men like Kobo, Jikaku, and Chisho had lectured on the Lotus Sutra, even if they had repented
of their errors, they would still have had difficulty making up for their former grave offenses. And of course, as we know, they never had any such change of heart. On the contrary, they completely ignored the Lotus Sutra and spent day and night carrying out the True Word practices and morning and evening preaching the True Word doctrines.
The bodhisattvas Vasubandhu and Ashvaghosha were both on the point of cutting out their tongues because of the offense they had committed by adhering to Hinayana doctrines and criticizing Mahayana. Vasubandhu declared that, although the Agama sutras of the Hinayana were the words of the Buddha, he would not let his tongue utter them even in jest. And Ashvaghosha, as an act of penance, wrote Awakening of Faith in which he refuted the Hinayana teachings.
The Great Teacher Chia-hsiang in time went to the Great Teacher Tientai and begged for his lectures. In the presence of a hundred or more distinguished Buddhists, he threw himself on the ground, and, with sweat pouring from every part of his body and tears of blood streaming from his eyes, he declared that from then on he would not see his disciples any more and would no longer lecture on the Lotus Sutra. For, as he said, If I were to go on facing my disciples and lecturing on the Lotus Sutra, they might suppose that I have the ability to understand the sutra correctly, when in fact I do not.
Chia-hsiang was both older and more eminent than Tien-tai, and yet, in the presence of others, he deliberately put Tien-tai on his back and carried him across a river. Whenever Tien-tai was about to ascend the lecture platform, Chia-hsiang would take him on his back and carry him up to the platform. After Tien-tais death, when Chia-hsiang was summoned into the presence of the emperor of the Sui