widely throughout Jambudvipa and never allow it to be cut off.
You also mentioned in your letter that the people connected with Ota Jomyo are apparently saying that the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra can in no way lead to enlightenment. They are making a serious mistake. Remember this about the theoretical and essential teachings of the Lotus Sutra: Which is shallow and which profound, which superior and which inferior, which lenient and which severe, and which subordinate and which primary must be judged in accordance with the time and the peoples capacity. There are three periods7 in which the sacred teachings of the Buddhas lifetime should be propagated; the peoples capacity should be thought of in the same way.
In the first five hundred years of the Former Day of the Law following the Buddhas passing, only Hinayana teachings spread, while in the next five hundred years, provisional Mahayana teachings spread. The thousand years of the Middle Day of the Law saw the rise of the theoretical teaching. In the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, only the essential teaching spreads, but even so, the theoretical teaching should not be discarded. Nowhere in the entire Lotus Sutra do we find a passage suggesting that we should discard the first fourteen chapters, which comprise the theoretical teaching. When we distinguish between the theoretical and the essential teachings on the basis of the threefold classification of the entire body of the Buddhas teachings, the pre- Lotus Sutra teachings were to be spread in the Former Day, and the theoretical teaching, in the Middle Day, but the Latter Day is the time to propagate the essential teaching. In the present period the essential teaching is primary, while
the theoretical teaching is subordinate. But those who therefore discard the latter, saying it is not the way to enlightenment, and believe only in the former, have not yet understood the doctrine of Nichirens true intention. Theirs is a completely distorted view.
This doctrine concerning the theoretical and essential teachings is not my own [but was expounded by the Buddha]. Those who would distort it can only be possessed by the heavenly devil, or Papiyas, and will topple others along with themselves into the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering. How foolish they are! Teach this doctrine to others clearly as I have taught you these many years. Those who call themselves my disciples and practice the Lotus Sutra should all practice as I do. If they do, Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, Shakyamunis emanations throughout the ten directions, and the ten demon daughters will protect them. Yet, for all that, [some people associated with Ota Jomyo distort the teaching]. I cannot fathom what could be in their minds.
The priest Nichigyos death8 was indeed pitiful. I recited the Lotus Sutra and chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for him here in Minobu, sincerely praying to Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions to receive him on Eagle Peak. I have not yet recovered from my illness, so I have written only briefly. I will write to you again.
With my deep respect,
The seventeenth day of the fifth month in the second year of Koan (1279)