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In chapter 10 of the Lotus Sutra, "Teachers of the Dharma," the Buddha Shakyamuni promises, "If there is anyone who hears even a single verse or a single phrase of the Wonderful Dharma Flower Sutra, and responds in joy for even a single moment, I assure that one also of Supreme Awakening."

Faith is an amazing thing. A person who learns just the tiniest bit of the Buddha's teaching but responds with words of gratitude can receive meritorious blessings one after another.

However, a person who quibbles over this or that point just doesn't get any merit from the teaching, even if the person has seemingly learned every detail by heart. If you want to know why this happens, it's because people who are interested in the Buddha's teaching only as a theory are not deeply moved by it, and this changes the way they immerse themselves in it.

People who are inspired by even a single passage of the teaching will devote themselves to practicing it with passion, and they can also impassion the people around them. Everyone in their vicinity is replete with merit and overwhelmed with gratitude.

When people study the Dharma, whether they experience a moment's inspiration through an open and sincere heart, or engage in an intellectual exercise and neglect the practice of the teaching, makes all the difference in the world.

Nikkyo Niwano

From Kaisozuikan 9 (Kosei Publishing Co.), pp. 56-57

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