"Benefits of Responding with Joy" chapter
随喜功徳品 ( Jpn Zuiki-kudoku-hon )
Abbreviated as the "Responding with Joy" chapter. The eighteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, which describes the benefits of rejoicing upon hearing Shakyamuni Buddha reveal his original attainment of Enlightenment in the "Life Span" (sixteenth) chapter. The "Distinctions in Benefits" (seventeenth) chapter deals with the four stages of Faith and the five stages of practice. The "Responding with Joy" chapter further explains the first of the five stages of practice, i.e., rejoicing on hearing the Lotus Sutra. This chapter begins with Bodhisattva Maitreya's question to Shakyamuni Buddha: "After the World-Honored One has passed into extinction, if those who hear this Sutra are able to respond with Joy, what amount of Blessings will they acquire?" To reply, The Buddha relates the principle of continual propagation to the fiftieth person. Suppose, he says, a person responds with Joy upon hearing the Lotus Sutra after Shakyamuni's Death and preaches it to a second person, who in turn preaches it to a third, and so on, until a fiftieth person hears the Sutra. Shakyamuni explains that the benefit this fiftieth person receives by rejoicing upon hearing the Sutra is immeasurable; all the more so is that obtained by the first to hear it.