16 - Purgation through Suffering the Retribution for Past Sins
Furthermore, Subhūti, if it be good that men and good women who receive and retain this discourse are downtrodden, their evil destiny is the inevitable retributive result of sins committed in their past mortal lives. By virtue of their present misfortunes the reacting effects of their past will be thereby worked out, and they will be in a position to attain the consummation of incomparable enlightenment.
Subhūti, I remember the infinitely remote past before Dīpamkara Buddha. There were eighty-four thousand myriads of multimillions of buddhas, and to all these I made offerings; yes, all these I served without the least trace of fault. Nevertheless, if anyone is able to receive, retain, study, and recite this discourse at the end of the last [five-hundred-year] period he will gain such a merit that mine in service of all the buddhas could not be reckoned as one-hundredth part of it, not even one-thousandth part of it, not ever on thousand-myriad-multimillionth part of it -- indeed, no such comparison is possible.
Subhūti, if I fully detailed the merit gained by good men and good women coming to receive, retain, study, and recite this discourse in the last period, my hearers would be filled with doubt and might become disordered in mind, suspicious and unbelieving. You should know, Subhūti, that the significance of this discourse is beyond conception; likewise the fruit of its rewards is beyond conception.