Asvaghosha's Discourse on the Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

(Taisho Tripitaka 1666)

V. Benefits

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 Tathagata, so that they have no hindrances in entering upon the Mahayana path (marga), 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 (sarvakarajnana).

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 (vijakarana) from the Buddha. Even if there be a person who could convert all beings in three thousand great chiliocosms (trisahasramahasahasra), and could induce them to observe the ten precepts of morality, 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. 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 (anuttarajnana). By practising this Doctrine all Bodhisattvas have obtained an insight into the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata.

By practising this Doctrine Bodhisattvas in the past consummated, Bodhisattvas in the future will consummate, pure and spotless faith in the Mahayana. Therefore those who desire to practise those excellent virtues that are beneficial at once to themselves and others should diligently study this Discourse.

  I have now finished elucidating
  The deepest and greatest significance [of the Dharma].
  May its merit be distributed among all creatures,
  And make them understand the Doctrine of Suchness.

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