The foremost among the Buddha’s thirty-two features is his pure and far- reaching voice.22 Lesser kings, great kings, and wheel-turning kings all possess this feature in some degree. Therefore, a single word from one of these kings can destroy the kingdom or insure order within it. The edicts handed down by rulers represent a type of pure and far-reaching voice. Ten thousand words spoken by ten thousand ordinary subjects cannot equal one word spoken by a king. The works known as the Three Records and the Five Canons represent the words of lesser kings.
What brings order to this small kingdom of Japan, what enables the heavenly king Brahma to command the inhabitants of the threefold world, and what enables the Buddha to command Brahma, Shakra, and the other deities, is none other than this pure and far-reaching voice. The Buddha’s utterances have become the works that compose the entire body of sutras and bring benefit to all living beings. And among the sutras, the Lotus Sutra is a manifestation in writing of the Thus Come One Shakyamuni’s intent; it is his voice set down in written words. Thus the Buddha’s heart is embodied in these written words. To illustrate, it is like seeds that sprout, grow into plants, and produce rice. Though the form of the rice changes, its essence remains the same.
Shakyamuni Buddha and the written words of the Lotus Sutra are two different things, but their heart is one.