True Mahayana teaching
[実大乗教] (Jpn jitsu-daijo -kyo )
A reference to the Lotus Sutra. Contrasted with "provisional Mahayana," indicating the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings according to T'ient'ai's classification. T'ient'ai (538-597) classified Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings into five periods—the Flower Garland, Agama, Correct and Equal, Wisdom, and Lotus and Nirvana periods. He defined the teachings of the Flower Garland, Correct and Equal, and Wisdom periods as provisional Mahayana, describing them as teachings meant as temporary means to instruct people and elevate their understanding. In contrast, he described true Mahayana as a full and direct statement of Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment that the Buddha revealed irrespective of people's capacity. T'ient'ai identified it as the Lotus Sutra, the one vehicle teaching that expounds the possibility of the attainment of Buddhahood by all people.