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The arrogant bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇis, upāsakas and upāsikās, that is, the four kinds of devotees who had abused him and caused him to be called Never-Despising, saw that he had obtained great supernatural powers, the power of eloquence, and the great power of good tranquility. Having seen all this, and having heard the Dharma from him, they took faith in him, and followed him.

The Buddha tells this story of Never-Despising Bodhisattva in Chapter Twenty of the Lotus Sūtra. Earlier in the sūtra, when the Buddha came out of his meditation to teach the Wonderful Dharma, five thousand of those gathered to hear him stood up and walked away. The Buddha did not stop them, and described them as arrogant: believing they knew something they did not. The arrogance of those who abused Never-Despising Bodhisattva, whose practice was to declare his respect for all beings, was rooted in their not seeing the Buddha’s wisdom in him and believing that they were superior to him. We can only learn from those we respect, and create misery only for ourselves when we despise.


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