In what does this part [treating] of the benefits consist?
Such as above presented is the spiritual significance of the Mahayana, and I have finished elucidating it.
Those who, desiring to produce pure and spotless faith in, and knowledge of, the deepest spiritual condition
and the greatest Dharma of the Tathâgata, so that they have no hindrances in entering upon the Mahayana path (mârga), will diligently pursue this brief discourse, contemplate it, discipline themselves in it, and thus they can surely and unhesitatingly attain to the knowledge of all forms and manifestations (sarvâkârajñâna).
And if they do not awake a feeling of fear in hearing this Doctrine, they will surely be qualified to inherit the Buddha-seeds and immediately receive the prophecy (vijâkarana) 1 from the Buddha. Even if there be a person who could convert all beings in three thousand great chiliocosms (trisâhasramahâsâhasra), 2 and could induce them to observe the ten precepts of morality (daçakuçalamârga), his merits will not be superior
to those of the person who will truthfully comprehend this Doctrine even for a second; because the merits of the latter immeasurably and infinitely surpass those of the former.
If one practise this doctrine as it is instructed for one whole day and night, the merits thereby produced will be so immeasurable, infinite, inconceivable that all Buddhas in the ten quarters could not exhaust them, even if each of them continued to praise them for innumerable asamkheyakalpas. 1 As the merits of suchness have no limits, so the merits of the discipline are also without limit.
Those who slander this doctrine, on the other hand, commit immeasurable faults and suffer great sufferings for asamkheyakalpas. Accordingly all beings should cherish a firm faith in the Doctrine and never slander it, for this will lead to the destruction of oneself as well as others, nay, even to the destruction of the seeds of the Triple Treasure (triratna).
By practising this Doctrine all Buddhas have attained the most excellent knowledge (anuttarajñânâ). By practising this Doctrine all Bodhisattvas have obtained an insight into the Dharmakâya of the Tathâgata.
By practising this Doctrine Bodhisattvas in the past consummated, Bodhisattvas in the future will consummate, pure and spotless faith (çraddhâ) in the Mahâyâna. Therefore those who desire to practise
those excellent virtues that are beneficial at once to themselves and others should diligently study this Discourse.
147:1 This is not a mere prophecy of one's destiny, but Buddha's assurance for those Bodhisattvas who, having accumulated sufficient amount of merits, are qualified to attain in the future the most excellent, perfect knowledge and to achieve final salvation both for themselves and for all other beings. See how five hundred disciples received this assurance from Buddha in the Saddharmapundarîka Sûtra, Chap. VIII.
147:2 Our earth which was supposed by ancient Indians to be flat, infinitely extending in space, is not the only region inhabited by sentient beings; but there are innumerable worlds outside of this Manushyalokadhâtu, which exist above as well as below us. Now according to the Abhidharmakoça-çâstra by Vasubandhu, a small chiliocosm (sâhasralokadhâtu) consists of one thousand of Rûpalokas and of the first Dhyâna heavens, and one thousand of small chiliocosms make a middling chiliocosm, a thousand of which in turn making a great chiliocosm. So we may take the great chiliocosm (mahâsâhasralokadhâtu) as including all possible heavenly bodies which fill up this boundless space.
148:1 For an explanation see the footnote to kalpa, p. 87.