A farmer requested a Tendai priest to recite sutras for his wife, who
had died. After the recitation was over the farmer asked: "Do you think
my wife will gain merit from this?"
"Not only your wife, but all sentient beings will benefit from the
recitation of sutras," answered the priest.
"If you say all sentient beings will benefit," said the farmer, "my
wife may be very weak and others will take advantage of her, getting the
benefit she should have. So please recite sutras just for her."
The priest explained that it was the desire of a Buddhist to offer
blessings and wish merit for every living being.
"That is a fine teaching," concluded the farmer, "but please make one
exception. I have a neighbor who is rough and mean to me. Just exclude him
from all those sentient beings."