The Refutation of the Three Great Teachers Chapter2

The Refutation of the Three Great Teachers Chapter2


With regard to the words “he will enter the Avīchi hell” in the quotation above, volume nineteen of the Nirvana Sutra says: “If one should fall into this hell when one is alone, one’s body will become eighty thousand yojanas in size so that one fills up the entire area of hell with no space left over, and the entire surface of one’s body will be subjected to various types of affliction. And if a number of persons should fall into hell together, their bodies will likewise fill up the entire area without impeding one another.” And the thirty-sixth volume of the same sutra states, “He will sink down into the Avīchi hell, where the size of his body will become eighty-four thousand yojanas in total length and breadth.”

The Universal Worthy Sutra says, “Suppose one should slander the correct and equal sutras . . . As recompense for such acts of great evil, one is certain to fall into the evil paths more swiftly than a torrent of rain falling down. Inevitably one will fall into the Avīchi hell.”6 These passages clearly mean that such a person is destined for the Avīchi hell.

And I, Nichiren, say: The country of Japan consists of seven marches, 68 provinces,7 604 districts, and over 10,000 villages. It measures 3,587 ri in length, and has a population of 4,589,659 persons or, by another reckoning, 4,994,828 persons. Its temples number 11,037, and its shrines number 3,132. And when the Lotus Sutra speaks of persons entering the Avīchi hell, it is referring to these very persons.



6. The Daishonin cites this passage as a general statement, though the text refers to “a ruler, a high minister . . . an official, or some other person of this sort.”

7. The “68 provinces” refers to the entire country of Japan in the Daishonin’s time. This division of the country was in force from 813 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

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