So are the latencies of Ven Zhiyi, such as the latent fire "inside" of bamboo at all times, is this fire still considered "fire" despite not manifesting, and functionally not existing for all intensive purposes until it is brought out? Are these latencies understood as manifestations?
According to Ven Zhiyi evil dwells in the Buddha like the latent fire inside of a stalk of bamboo, if the fire is caused to "come out" of the bamboo, then the causes and conditions for fire have come together.
A fully awakened Buddha has only latencies, no manifestations. Like a stalk of bamboo whose internal fires are never "brought out".
How does this interact with the "normal" Nichiren view presented earlier?
To contextualize my earlier quotation, which is one of my "pet" quotations that I post frequently, I will admit:
Furthermore, a single moment of thought in the mind of a common being possesses the ten realms. They completely possess the nature and characteristics of evil karma, yet the nature and characteristics of evil are the nature and characteristics of virtue. It is due to evil that there is virtue. Apart from evil there is no virtue. Turning over evils, there is virtue supporting them, like inside bamboo there being the nature of fire. It is not yet the object of fire, which is why it exists but does not burn. When meeting with conditions the phenomenon comes to exist, and then it can burn things. Evil as the nature of virtue is not yet an existent phenomenon. When it meets with conditions it become an existent phenomenon, and then there can be a turn to evil. It is like bamboo. Fire is emitted and returns, burning the bamboo. In evil there is virtue. When virtue comes to exist it returns, destroying the evil. This is why that which are the nature and characteristics of evil are the nature and characteristics of virtue. A single moment of thought of an ordinary being always possesses the consciousnesses, names and forms of the ten realms. The nature and characteristics of the path of suffering – they misunderstand this path of suffering, and saṃsāra remains expansive. This is misunderstanding the dharmakāya as the path of suffering. There is no separate dharmakāya apart from the path of suffering, like mistaking south as north, there is no separate south. If one realizes saṃsāra, then it is the dharmakāya. Thus it is said the nature and characteristics of the path of suffering are the nature and characteristics of the dharmakāya.
(Ven Zhìyǐ, 法华玄义 [The Dharma Flower's Profound Meaning], CBETA, T 33 no 1716)
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.
夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmāḥ. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmāḥ. The conventional truth establishes all dharmāḥ.