Shakyamuni responds to the audience’s questions, explaining that this sutra comes “from the dwelling and abode of the Buddha. It’s aim is to lead all living beings to conceive the desire for enlightenment. And it abides in the practices carried out by bodhisattvas” (LSOC, p21) and then starts to explain the ten benefits of following the sutra.
This post focuses on the first of the ten benefits and is one of my favourite sections of the Lotus Sutra. This extensive list of benefits, all of which make up only the FIRST of the ten benefits, reveals human revolution in action, and explains how negative tendancies and fundamental darkness can be changed into positive traits through this practice.
“Good men, the first [great benefit] is that this sutra can cause bodhisattvas who have not yet conceived the desire for enlightenment to conceive such a desire.
It can cause those who are without compassion or benevolence to nurture compassionate minds.
It can cause those who delight in killing and slaughter to nurture minds of great pity.
It can cause those filled with envy and jealousy to nurture minds of joyful acceptance.
It can cause those who are begrudging and attached to things to nurture minds capable of relinquishing.
It can cause those who are close-fisted and greedy to nurture minds of almsgiving.
It can cause those of abundant arrogance and pride to nurture minds that uphold the precepts.
It can cause those much given to wrath and anger to nurture forbearing minds.
It can cause those who are indolent and lazy to nurture minds of diligence.
It can cause those who are scatterbrained and disordered to nurture minds devoted to meditation.
It can cause those with much ignorance and folly to nurture minds of wisdom.
It can cause those who are not yet capable of saving others to nurture minds set upon saving others.
It can cause those who delight too much in the conditioned to strive for minds fixed on the unconditioned.
It can cause those whose minds are given to regression to cultivate minds of non-regression.
It can cause those given to outflows to nurture minds free of outflows.
It can cause those with many earthly desires to nurture minds that cleanse and extinguish such desires.
Good men, this is called the first benefit and inconceivable power of this sutra” (LSOC, p21-22)