The seeds of one kind of plant are all the same; they are different from the seeds of other plants. If all of you nurture the same seeds of Myoho-renge- kyo in your hearts, then you all will be reborn together in the same land of Myoho-renge-kyo. When the three of you are reunited there face to face, how great your joy will be!
Now when we open the Lotus Sutra and read what it says, we find these words “The Thus Come One will cover them with his robe, and they will also be protected and kept in mind by the Buddhas who are now present in other regions.”8
The meaning of this passage is that the Buddhas of the ten directions will all assemble in throngs and fill in the lands to the east, west, north, and south, in the eight directions, the major world system, and all the four hundred ten thousand million nayutas of lands. They will be seated side by side like the stars in the heavens, or the rows of rice and hemp plants on the earth, and will guard and protect the votaries of the Lotus Sutra just as the various ministers and subjects guard and protect the heir of a great ruler.
To be guarded by the four heavenly kings and their retainers is a great honor. But with the protection of all the four heavenly kings, all the stars and constellations, all the deities of the sun and moon, all the Shakras and Brahmas, one can be completely confident. Moreover, all the persons of the two vehicles, all the bodhisattvas, Bodhisattva Maitreya in the inner court of the Tushita heaven, Bodhisattva Earth Repository on Mount Kharadiya, Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds on Mount Potalaka, and Bodhisattva Manjushri on Mount Clear and Cool, each together with all their followers, will guard and protect the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, so one may indeed rest assured. And furthermore, Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions will come of their own accord and watch over one through all the hours of the day and night, which is an honor beyond the power of words to express.
It was this splendid sutra that the late Shichiro Goro put his faith in and through which he attained Buddhahood. And today, on the forty-ninth day following his passing, all the Buddhas have surely gathered about him in the pure land of Eagle Peak, seating him on their palms, patting his head, embracing him, and rejoicing, welcoming him with affection as one would welcome a moon that has just risen, or blossoms that have just burst into bloom.
When we consider why the Buddhas of the ten directions throughout the three existences should so firmly protect the Lotus Sutra, we come to understand that it is only natural. For the Lotus Sutra is the father and mother of the Buddhas of the three existences and the ten directions; it is their wet nurse and their lord.
Frogs feed on the sound of their mother’s voice, and if they cannot hear their mother’s voice, they will not grow. The insect called kalakula feeds on wind, and if the wind does not blow, it will not grow. Fish must have water, and birds depend upon trees to build their nests in. In the same way, for the Buddhas, the Lotus Sutra is their source of life, their sustenance, and their dwelling. As fish live in water, so the Buddhas live in this sutra. As birds dwell in trees, so the Buddhas dwell in this sutra. As the moon’s reflection lodges in the water, so the Buddhas lodge in this sutra. You shouldunderstand that, in a land where this sutra does not exist, there can be no Buddhas.
In ancient times there lived a sovereign named King Rinda who ruled over the southern continent of Jambudvipa. What was it that this king required for sustenance? He listened to the neighing of white horses, and this became his food. As long as the white horses neighed, he grew more youthful, his complexion glowed, his spirit was vigorous, his physical strength remained undiminished, and he was able to conduct the affairs of state justly. Therefore, a great many white horses were gathered and cared for in his country. In this respect, he was like the ruler of Wei,9 who gathered a great many cranes, or Emperor Te-tsung, who loved fireflies. The white horses would neigh only if there were white swans who were singing, and accordingly, a number of white swans had also been gathered.
One time for some reason all the white swans disappeared, and as a result, the white horses no longer neighed. So the king’s sustenance came to an end, and he was like full-blown blossoms that wilt under the dew, or a round moon that becomes shrouded in clouds. When it became apparent that the king was about to expire, his consort, his heir, the high ministers, and all the people throughout the kingdom turned pale, like a child who has just been separated from its mother, and wet their sleeves with tears, crying, “What shall we do? What shall we do?”