In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha gives everyone an assurance of buddhahood.
He describes the conditions for becoming a buddha when he gives Shariputra his assurance of buddhahood, saying, “Shariputra, in an age to come after the passing of infinite, boundless, and inconceivable kalpas, after you have paid homage to thousands of ten thousands of millions of buddhas, honored and received the true Dharma, and completely attained the bodhisattva way, you will become a buddha named Radiant Blossom Tathagata.”
Because paying homage to “thousands of ten thousands of millions of buddhas” is the condition for attaining buddhahood, we may feel like we’re a long way from becoming buddhas.
However, Shakyamuni Buddha gives us a concrete model to follow: the Bodhisattva Never Unworthy of Respect’s practice of revering everyone’s buddha nature. Never Unworthy of Respect sincerely revered every single person he met, seeing even those who threatened or verbally abused him as buddhas.
We meet countless people in our families, at our jobs, and in society. The buddha resides in the hearts of each and every one of them.
Revering the buddha within all of them pays homage to the thousands of ten thousands of millions of buddhas.
Instead of being narrowly focused on looking after yourself, why not resolve to become the kind of person who brings joy to everyone you meet? To become a shining light for others? If you make this your New Year’s resolution, this will be a wonderful year for you.
Kaiso zuikan 10 (Kosei Publishing, 1997), pp. 108-109