Day 17 covers all of Chapter 12, Devadatta, and opens Chapter 13, Encouragement for Keeping this Sutra.
Having last month concluded today’s portion of Chapter 13, Encouragement for Keeping this Sutra, we return to Chapter 12, Devadatta.
Thereupon the Buddha said to the Bodhisattvas, gods, men and the four kinds of devotees:
“When I was a Bodhisattva] in my previous existence, I sought the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma for innumerable kalpas without indolence. I became a king [and continued to be so] for many kalpas. [Although I was a king,] r made a vow to attain unsurpassed Bodhi. I never faltered in seeking it. I practiced alms-giving in order to complete the six pāramitās. I never grudged elephants, horses, the seven treasures, countries, cities, wives, children, menservants, maidservants or attendants. I did not spare my head, eyes, marrow, brain, flesh, hands or feet. I did not spare even my life.
“In those days the lives of the people of the world were immeasurably long. [One day] I abdicated from the throne in order to seek the Dharma[, but retained the title of king]. I entrusted the crown prince with the administration of my country. l beat a drum and sought the Dharma in all directions, saying with a loud voice, ‘Who will expound the Great Vehicle to me? If there is anyone, I will make offerings to him, and run errands for him for the rest of my life.’