Sixteen: Be Not Afraid
The Lord Buddha, continuing, addressed Subhuti, saying: “If a good disciple, whether man or woman, devoted to the observance and study of this Scripture, is thereby despised, or lightly esteemed, it is because that in a previous life there had been committed some grievous transgression, followed now by inexorable retribution. But, although in this life despised or lightly esteemed, the compensating merit thus acquired will cause the transgression of a former life to be fully expiated, and the disciple adequately recompensed by the attainment of supreme spiritual wisdom.”
“Furthermore, Subhuti, numberless ages ago, I recollect that before the advent of Dipankara Buddha, there were myriad Buddhas before whom I served and received religious instruction, my conduct being entirely blameless and without reproach. But, in the ages to come, if a disciple be enabled to rigorously observe and to study the text of this Scripture, the merit thus acquired will so far exceed the measure of my merit in the service of those myriad Buddhas, that it cannot be stated in terms of proportion, nor comprehended by means of any ‘analogy.’”
“Again, Subhuti, in future ages, if a good disciple, whether man or woman, be enabled to rigorously observe and to study consecutively the texts of this Scripture, were I to elaborate either the nature or extent of this merit, those who heard it might become delirious, or entirely doubt its credibility. Subhuti, it is necessary to realise, that as the meaning of this Scripture is beyond ordinary comprehension, the scope of its fruitful rewards is equally incomprehensible.”
it is because that in a previous life there had been committed some grievous transgression: this section is a lesson on “Be Not Afraid” of the consequences of past karma; all sentient reality is afflicted by stinging kleśas from former existences, but if one holds steadfast to the Wisdom contained in the Diamond Sutra, then even if at first one is duly recompensed for any past wrongs, they will be expiated and the recipient will receive immeasurable spiritual blessings.
that before the advent of Dipankara Buddha: a wonderful indicator that highlights the Cosmic-Timelessness of the Buddhadharma; it didn’t begin with Buddha Gautama but has an origin that is as countless as a trillion + kalpas. Buddha Siddhartha conveys that he was in service (through countless past incarnations) to myriad of Buddhas even before the advent of Dipankara; during those encounters he was greatly blessed, but as the Sutra states, how more so will be those who will (through their study of the Diamond) exceed even his own accumulated merits.
the meaning of this Scripture is beyond ordinary comprehension, the scope of its fruitful rewards is equally incomprehensible: the full import of the Diamond Sutra’s meaning will never, ever be able to be adequately conveyed. It is indeed wordless and imageless in its Luminous Actuosity. The full scope of its “Spiritual Blessings” upon those who revere it will also never be known by any limited sentient means.