THEIR views were widely accepted as authoritative. And since then, though countless numbers of wise persons have appeared, for four hundred years down to the present everyone has gone along with those views. As a result, now the more than ten thousand temples and the more than three thousand shrines of Japan, and the 4,994,828 inhabitants of this country have all become followers of these three great teachers [Kōbō, Jikaku, and Chishō]. They take the Lotus Sutra, which is described as the foremost of all the Buddhist sutras, and demote it to second or third place.1
At first this did not seem to be any great error. But drops of dew accumulate until they form a great ocean; particles of dust pile up into a great mountain.
This fragment of a letter, whose date and recipient are unknown, records a criticism of the “three great teachers,” Jikaku and Chishō, the patriarchs of True Word esotericism within the Tendai school, and Kōbō, the founder of the True Word school. Nichiren Daishonin suggests that though their errors were unknown for more than four hundred years, those errors are now becoming apparent. In other writings, the Daishonin points out the doctrinal errors of these teachers, as well as the failure of the prayers of their latter-day followers.