Once the Buddhist faith becomes second nature to people, there is a tendency for their practice to turn into a formality that, while outwardly impressive, no longer comes from their hearts abd minds.
Though placing one’s palms together is a gesture that expresses reverence for others, if you do so while harboring negative thoughts about them, for instance thinking, “This person is a pain in the neck who contradicts everything they are told!” then that person will never open their hearts to you.
The Lotus Sutra tells the story of Bodhisattva Never Unworthy of Respect.
Bodhisattva Never Unworthy of Respect continually practiced reverence towards whatever sort of person he would meet, with nothing in mind but an absolute faith in the thought, “This person possesses buddha nature, and they will certainly become a buddha!”
This is why even when people pelted him with rocks and struck him with their staff, Never Unworthy of Respect continued showing reverence, saying, “No matter what you may do to me, I will continue to have faith in your potential without any doubt, because you are a person destined to become a buddha!” He was never bothered by whatever nonsense people would say to him. Just as his name implies, he revered them with every fiber of his being.
When people meet someone like Bodhisattva Never Unworthy of Respect, they cannot help but be disarmed and won over, because the encounter causes an outpouring of the unblemished, pure mind that lies dormant in the deepest recesses of their hearts.
From Kaisozuikan 8 (Kosei Publishing Co.) pp 132-33