Day 23 covers all of Chapter 18, The Merits of a Person Who Rejoices at Hearing This Sutra, and opens Chapter 19, The Merits of the Teacher of the Dharma.
Having last month considered the 50th person’s reward for rejoicing at hearing the Sūtra, we consider rewards for other acts.
“Ajita! The merits of the fiftieth person who rejoices at hearing this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma are immeasurable, limitless, asaṃkhya. Needless to say, so are the merits of the first person who rejoices at hearing [this sūtra] in the congregation. His merits are immeasurable, limitless, asaṃkhya and incomparable.
“Furthermore, Ajita! Anyone who goes to a monastery in order to hear this sūtra and hears it even for a moment while he is sitting or standing, in his next life will be able to go up to the palace of heaven, riding in a beautiful and wonderful elephant-cart or horse-cart or in a palanquin of wonderful treasure by his merits. Anyone who, while sitting in the place of the expounding of the Dharma, persuades another per on to it down or shares his seat with him to hear [the Dharma] when he sees him coming to the place, in his next life by his merits, will be able to obtain the seal of King Sakra, of the Brahman Heavenly-King or of a wheel-turning-holy-king.
“Ajita! Anyone who[, while he is staying outside the place of the expounding of the Dharma,] says to another person, ‘Let us go and hear the sūtra called the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma which is being expounded [in that place],’ and cause him to hear it even for a moment, in his next life by his merit , will be able to live with the Bodhisattvas who obtain dharanis. He will be clever and wise. He will not be dumb throughout thousands of millions of his future existences. His breath will not be foul. He will have no disease of the tongue or the mouth. His teeth will not be defiled, black, yell w, few, fallen out, uneven or crooked. His lips will not be pendulous, shrunk, chapped, cracked, broken, distorted, thick, large, yellow-black or loathsome. His nose will not be flat or awry. His face will not be black, long, distorted or displeasing. His lips, tongue and teeth will be well-shaped; his nose, long, high and straight. His face will be full; his eyebrows, thick and long; and his forehead, broad and even. In a word, he will have all the good features of a man. He will be able to see the Buddhas, hear the Dharma from them, and receive their teachings by faith throughout his future existences.
“Ajita, look! The merits of the person who causes even a single man to go and hear the Dharma are so many. It is needless to speak of the merits of the person who hears [this sūtra] with all his heart, reads it, recites it, expounds it to the great multitude, and acts according to its teachings.