Why did Nichiren says so that " am sovereign, teacher, and father and mother...." which that he is the Buddha who posses that 3 virtues. Well, let me explain, a Buddha is any being who has become awakened to the ultimate truth of life, one who perceives the true entity of all phenomena, and who leads others to attain the same enlightenment. In India the word buddha was originally a common noun meaning "awakened one," but in Buddhism it is used to mean one who has become awakened to the ultimate truth of life. In Hinayana the word means one who has entered the state of nirvana, in which both body and mind are extinguished. Provisional or pre-Lotus sutra Mahayana teachings generally teaches that one becomes a Buddha after eradicating illusions through aeons of austere and meritorious practices, gradually acquiring the thirty-two features of a Buddha. IN the perfect teaching of the Lotus Sutra views the Buddha as one endowed with the three virtues of sovereign, teacher and parent, who is enlightened to the truth of all phenomena and who teaches it to the people in order to save them from suffering. In Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law( this age) is the original Buddha eternally endowed with the three properties and the three virtues, who appears in the form of a common mortal and expounds the Mystic Law- the esence of the Lotus sutra.And Nichiren Daishonin who appears in the form of a common mortal broadly expounding the Mystic Law to the poeple of the Latter Day who teaches it to the people in order to save them from suffering without begrudging throughout his life, amidst persecutions and hardships, for the sake of this Law.
It was The near execution at Tatsunokuchi amounted to a rebirth for Nichiren Daishonin. In other words reveals his true indentity as the original Buddha or one who percieves in life that eternally one with the Mystic Law. He later said in his biography in "The Opening of the Eyes" that... "this person named Nichiren was beheaded" (MW-2). As his post-Tatsunokuchi writings testify, the man who emerged after his brush with the executioner's sword was decidedly transformed. This is not to say that the Daishonin underwent a change of heart but that the time had come for him to reveal his true identity.
The Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai of China had interpreted the Lotus Sutra by dividing it into two parts. The first fourteen of the twenty-eight chapters he called shakumon or the theoretical teaching, and the second fourteen hommon or the essential teaching. The Japanese word hon (hom is a phonetic change of hon) means substance and shaku means shadow. Thus the theoretical teaching is like a shadow of the essential, or substantial, teaching. The same comparison can be used with Nichiren Daishonin. Before the event at Tatsunokuchi persecution, he carried out the role of being a "Bodhisattva Jogyo", the votary whose appearance in an age after Shakyamuni's death was predicted in the Lotus Sutra. He thus spent all his time spreading the teachings of the sutra and propagating the faith in it. After the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, he revealed himself as the Buddha from time without beginning who is one with the supreme Law, which he express,of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. In other words, his former role was but a reflection of the true mission to which he had been born.
T'ien-t'ai had drawn the same distinction between the Shakyamuni depicted in the first fourteen chapters of the Lotus Sutra and the Shakyamuni in its second fourteen chapters. In the first half, T'ien-t'ai had said, Shakyamuni was merely a person who had attained enlightenment in India. In the second half, he was a Buddha who had attained his enlightenment in the unimaginably distant past and whose Buddhahood continued from that point to exist for all eternity.
This process of a Buddha casting off his transient provisional nature and revealing his true nature has come to be known in Buddhism as hosshaku kempon (literally, to cast off the transient and reveal the true). Nichiren Daishonin's hosshaku kempon came at Tatsunokuchi. That is why he could say that a man named Nichiren died at Tatsunokuchi. The individual who emerged after the execution attempt was the Buddha of time without beginning. In his earliest writings after the Tatsunokuchi persecution, Nichiren Daishonin began referring, albeit in an abstract manner, to the real nature of his existence. This was particularly evident in "The True Object of Worship," in which he identified himself as the original Buddha coexistent with the eternal Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
The contemporary Western mind often recoils at the mention of anything that could be construed as suggesting the existence of a superior being. In equating Nichiren Daishonin with the original Buddha since time without beginning, there is always the possibility that the mind will react in just this way What the reader should bear in mind is that Nichiren Daishonin consistently stated throughout his writings that "the true Buddha is a common mortal, a common mortal the true Buddha." In other words, in each being there dwells the Buddha nature. However, if people are to attain Buddhahood, someone must show them how to manifest that nature. It was Nichiren Daishonin's unique mission, so to speak, to reveal the way for all people to manifest their latent Buddhahood. In him, the state of Buddha, manifested to open the way to enlightenment for all, while in others, the state of Buddhahood must be established perfected through constant practice. In other words, Nichiren Daishonin opened the way for the attainment of enlightenment by all humanity. Nichiren Daishonin was born into this world to lead a spiritual revolution that would irrevocably transform human beings and their surroundings. As he once wrote, when a person sits in worship of the true entity of life, the common mortal faces the original Buddha. In the process, he becomes a Buddha, too.
"..Why Japanese. Sanskrit would seem more appropriate. That is the language of the Lotus Sutra. Right?
No, the Lotus Sutra is not only the twenty-eight-chapter Lotus Sutra of Shakyamuni that we know and read today. We find in the text of the Lotus sutra that both the ultimate teaching that was preached by the Buddha Sun Moon Bright and the teaching that Shakyamuni about to preach were the Lotus Sutra.
In the first chapter, Manjushri goes on to say that in addition to the Buddha Sun Moon Bright, whom he had encountered in a past lifetime, there were twenty thousand Buddhas named Sun Moon Bright before that, implying that the ultimate great teaching that all of those Buddhas taught was the Lotus Sutra. Nor does it not stop there.
In the "Parable of the Phantom City" (seventh) chapter, the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence preached the Lotus Sutra, as did the Buddha Awesome Sound King, who appears in "The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging" (twentieth) chapter.
After the death of the Buddha Sun Moon Bright, his disciple Bodhisattva Wonderfully Bright preached the Lotus Sutra. After the passing of the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, his sixteen bodhisattva disciples, too, preached the Lotus Sutra. After the passing of the Buddha Awesome Sound King, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging recited the so-called "twenty-four-character Lotus Sutra." 7 The Lotus Sutra is always a teaching for the time after the Buddha's passing.
The sutra also relates that the various Lotus Sutras preached by these Buddhas of the past were of enormous length. The Lotus Sutra of the Buddha Sun Moon Bright was preached over the incredibly long period of sixty small kalpas. 8 The Lotus Sutra of the Buddha Awesome Sound King was composed of "twenty thousand, ten thousand, a million verses" . While the Lotus Sutra of the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence was preached for over eight thousand kalpas and was made up of verses as numerous as the grains of sand of the Ganges River.
What all this means is that the Lotus Sutra is not only the twenty-eight-chapter Lotus Sutra of Shakyamuni that we know and read today. Though the forms in which they were preached are different, all of them are the Lotus Sutra.That would lead us to conclude that there is a "universal" Lotus Sutra.
Mr. Toda, who had grasped its very essence, offers a noteworthy perspective on the Lotus Sutra:
The same Lotus Sutra is expressed in different ways, depending on the Buddha who preaches it, the time it is preached, and the capacity of the people to understand it. Though the ultimate truth of the Lotus Sutra is identical in all cases, there will be differences in its presentation according to whether the living beings of a particular time have a strong or a weak connection to Buddhism.
The average person with a slight knowledge of Buddhism will think that only Shakyamuni has preached the Lotus Sutra. But in fact the Lotus Sutra tells us that Bodhisattva Never Disparaging and the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence also taught the Lotus Sutra. And the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai also taught it.
The ultimate truth is one, but it is expressed in many forms. Yet all of them are the Lotus Sutra. The universal Lotus Sutra is the teaching in which the Buddha reveals and makes accessible to all people the Law that he himself has become enlightened to, the Law for attaining Buddhahood, so that all may achieve true happiness and ease.
Nichiren Daishonin spoke of the Lotus Sutra in terms of its comprehensive, abbreviated and essential forms. The essential form of the Lotus Sutra was his own Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. And the practice most appropriate for today is that of this essential Lotus Sutra.
The Daishonin doesn't specifically identify what the comprehensive and abbreviated forms of the Lotus Sutra are, but if we think of the enormous and lengthy versions of the Lotus Sutra preached by the past Buddhas as the comprehensive form, then the twenty-eight chapter version would be the abbreviated form. Or, if we regard the twenty-eight chapter version as the comprehensive form, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging's twenty-four-character Lotus Sutra would be the abbreviat-ed form.
Mr. Toda also spoke of three kinds of Lotus Sutras: (1) the twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra, (2) T'ien-t'ai's Maka Shikan (Profound Concentration and Insight), and (3) Nichiren Daishonin's Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.