Now I will tell you clearly. The merits of the person who gave all those pleasing things to the living beings of the six regions of four hundred billion asaṃkhya worlds, and caused them to attain Arhatship are less than the merits of the fiftieth person who rejoices at hearing even a gāthā of this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma.
The Buddha gives this explanation to Maitreya (whom he calls Ajita – Invincible) in Chapter Eighteen of the Lotus Sūtra. He compares the benefit created by someone who teaches innumerable beings and makes exorbitant offerings through following the pre-Lotus sūtras to the benefits of finding joy in the Buddha’s Highest teaching. This joy is not the same as just getting what we want, or being relieved from what we do not want. It is the joy of seeing the world for what it is, and our place in it as Bodhisattvas who exist for the benefit of all beings.
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