Day 9 covers Chapter 5, The Simile of Herbs, and introduces Chapter 6, Assurance of Future Buddhahood.
We begin today’s reading with a declaration of the merits of the Buddha. Don’t underestimate the Buddha:
Kasyapa, know this! I, the Tathagata, am the King of the Dharma. Nothing I say is false. I expound all teachings with expedients by my wisdom in order to lead all living beings to the stage of knowing all things. I know what region a living being will be taken to by what teaching, and what a living being has deep in his mind. I am not hindered by anything in knowing all this. I know all things clearly, and show my knowledge of all things to all living beings.
Imagine the loud voice of the Buddha proclaiming:
I am the Tathagata, the Deserver of Offerings, the Perfectly Enlightened One, the Man of Wisdom and Practice, the Well-Gone, the Knower of the World, the Unsurpassed Man, the Controller of Men, the Teacher of Gods and Men, the Buddha, the World-Honored One. I will cause all living beings to cross [the ocean of birth and death] if they have not yet done so. I will cause them to emancipate themselves [from suffering] if they have not yet done so. I will cause them to have peace of mind if they have not yet done so. I will cause them to attain Nirvana if they have not yet done so. I know their present lives as they are, and also their future lives as they will be. I know all. I see all. I know the Way. I have opened the Way. I will expound the Way. Gods, men and asuras! Come and hear the Dharma!
And when “thousands of billions of people” responded:
I knew which were clever, which were dull, which were diligent, and which were lazy. Therefore, I expounded to them an innumerable variety of teachings according to their capacities in order to cause them to rejoice and receive benefits with pleasure.
But this does not mean the content was different:
The various teachings I expound are of the same content, of the same taste. Those who emancipate themselves [from the bonds of existence,] from illusions, and from birth and death, will finally obtain the knowledge of the equality and differences of all things
And in gathas:
I see all living beings equally.
I have no partiality for them.
There is not ‘this one’ or ‘that one’ to me.
I transcend love and hatred.
I am attached to nothing.
I am hindered by nothing.
I always expound the Dharma
To all living beings equally.
I expound the Dharma to many
In the same way as to one.
I always expound the Dharma.
I do nothing else.
I am not tired of expounding the Dharma
While I go or come or sit or stand.
I expound the Dharma to all living beings
Just as the rain waters all the earth.
I am not tired of giving
The rain of the Dharma to all living beings.
I have no partiality for them,
Whether they are noble or mean,
Whether they observe or violate the precepts,
Whether they live a monastic life or not,
Whether they have right or wrong views,
Whether they are clever or dull.
Those who hear the Dharma from me
Will reach various stages
According to their capacities.
The bottom line:
Although my teachings are of the same content to anyone
Just as the rain is of the same taste,
The hearers receive my teachings differently
According to their capacities
Just as the plants receive
Different amounts of the rain water.
In the next chapter, Assurance of Future Buddhahood, Maha-Kasyapa is assured of his future Buddhahood and in response Great Maudgalyayana, Subhuti and Maha-Katyayana imagine what it would be like to have the Buddha predict their future Buddhahood:
Suppose a man came
From a country suffering from famine.
Now he saw the meal of a great king.
He did not partake of it in doubts and fears.
After he was told to take it by the king,
He took it at once.
We are like that man.
We know the defects of the Lesser Vehicle.
But we do not know how to obtain
The unsurpassed wisdom of the Buddha.
Although we hear you say [to us],
“You will become Buddhas,”
We are still in doubts and fears about it,
Just as that man was about the meal.
If you assure us of our future Buddhahood,
We shall be happy and peaceful.
You, the Great Hero, the World-Honored One,
Wish to give peace to all the people of the world.
If you assure us of our future Buddhahood, we shall be
Like the man who was permitted to take the meal.