Nikko Shonin declared Niko’s tolerance of slander to be the “workings of the devil king,” a “betrayal of the late mentor” and an “[offense equal in gravity to committing] the seven cardinal sins.” If someone who is charged with responsibility for protecting and spreading the Daishonin’s teaching willfully distorts and arbitrarily alters the teaching, then the actions of such a person certainly represent the workings of the devil. They are the actions of a priest of the greatest evil, who is guilty of betraying the mentor and committing the seven cardinal sins. This is what Nikko Shonin taught.
These historical facts contain an important lesson. First of all, those who betrayed the mentor [Nichiren Daishonin] after his death all sought to justify themselves by making reference to some “more profound meaning” contained in his teaching, despite all documentary proof to the contrary.
In Buddhism, the offense of betraying the mentor is extremely grave. It amounts to destroying the very life of Buddhism. People who do so try to win acceptance for their false views by saying, “You should listen to what I say, irrespective of what my mentor wrote.” And if someone presents them with written proof that shows their words or actions to be wrong, they try to gloss over the contradiction by saying: “That is a superficial level of interpretation. The true meaning is found elsewhere.” President Ikeda (My Dear Friends In America, p. 177)