Day 30 covers all of Chapter 26, Dhāraṇīs
Having last month introduced the rākṣasas and the Mother of Devils, we conclude the chapter with their vow to protect the teacher of the Dharma and Śākyamuni’s response.
[They said to the Buddha:]
“Anyone may step on our heads, but shall not trouble this teacher of the Dharma. Neither shall any yakṣa, rākṣasa, hungry spirit, pūtana, kṛtya, vetāda, kumbhāṇḍa, umāraka, apasmāraka, yakṣa-kṛtya or human kṛtya. Neither shall anyone who causes others to suffer from a fever for a day, two days, three days, four days, seven days or forever. Neither shall anyone who takes the shape of a man, a woman, a boy or a girl and appears in his dream.”
Then they sang in gāthās before the Buddha:
Anyone who does not keep our spells
But troubles the expounder of the Dharma
Shall have his head split into seven pieces
Just as the branches of the arjaka-tree [ are split].
Anyone who attacks this teacher of the Dharma
Will receive the same retribution
As to be received by the person who kills his parents,
Or who makes [sesame] oil without taking out worms [from the sesame],
Or who deceives others by using wrong measures and scales,
Or by Devadatta who split the Saṃgha.
Having sung these gāthās, the rākṣasas said to the Buddha:
“World-Honored One! We also will protect the person who keeps, reads and recites this sūtra, and acts according to it so that he may be peaceful, that he may have no trouble, and that poison taken by him may be neutralized.”
The Buddha said to the rākṣasas:
“Excellent, excellent! Your merits will be immeasurable even when you protect the person who keeps only the name of the Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma. Needless to say, so will be your merits when you protect the person who keeps the sūtra itself, and makes to a copy of this sūtra hundreds of thousands of offerings such as flowers, incense, necklaces, powdered incense, incense applicable to the skin, incense to burn, streamers, canopies, music, and various lamps like lamps of butter oil, oil lamps, lamps of perfumed oil, lamps of sumanas-flower oil, lamps of campaka flower oil, lamps of vārṣika-flower oil, and lamps of utpala-flower oil. Kunti! You [rākṣasas] and your attendants should protect this teacher of the Dharma.”
When the Buddha expounded this chapter of Dhārānis, sixty-eight thousand people obtained the truth of birthlessness.
Among the many ponderables in the Lotus Sūtra – ideas worth considering without fretting; just mulling without expecting an answer – is the list of comparisons the rākṣasas use to illustrate degrees of retribution for attacking the teacher of the dharma. No question on the first item, killing parents, or even the last, Devadatta’s treason. But ponder those middle crimes: failing to take out worms from sesame oil or using deceptive measures and scales. Incompetence and deception.