One Hundred Fables Sutra
by Tetcheng Liao
Aesop's fables enjoy worldly fame, while
almost unknown are Sakyamuni's fables. Obviously there is a difference between
them as far as the nature of the two books are concerned. the former tells stories
to teach moral principles, whereas the latter illustrates a religious precept
to reflect the nature of human being. Therefore, the latter is strictly a religious
The title of this sutra "Sakyamuni's one Hundred Fables"
is not entirely accurate. Actually, it is short by two fables. One way to explain
this is that it is expedient to speak in round figures. Another way to explain
it is that the prologue and epilogue add up to the figure of one hundred.
terms of the writing, the light phrasing does not seem adequate in light of the
solemnity of sutras sometimes. This may be easily explained by saying that the
Buddhist doctrines are so profound that most people, especially beginners, are
not capable of grasping them in abstract arguments. Like children, they like stories
with relaxed and joking expressions. Therefore, Sakyamuni, the Buddha, speaks
to them in their own language through fables, so that they may easily understand
the truth. The Enlightened One helps them to penetrate further into the spirit
This Sutra is nearly fifteen hundred years old up to now. It was
originally compiled in Sanskrit from Sakyamuni Buddha's teachings by the Reverend
Sangha Suna and translated into Chinese in a concise, archaic and profound style
by the famous monk Gunavrddhi, of India. Now it is rather difficult, if not impossible,
to understand the purport of phrases. It is all the more difficult to be translated
into English. Consequently, any comment or correction on the translation will
be greatly appreciated.
Deep gratitude is due to Mr. Mou Wen Kai, an old colleague
of mine, who has first encouraged me to undertake the task, and who has then been
kind and patient enough to give me a detailed exposition of the ancient text to
make the task much easier. Without his invaluable help, I would not have been
able to finish the work.
I should also like to record my personal indebtness
to Mr. Ben Wang, M. A. for his careful editing of my original translation. Despite
her busy life, Miss Chiu-ying Chang has spared time to make a fair copy of this
entire work. Thus I feel bound to express here my sincere thanks for her kind
Chih Yuan New
Republic of China
have I heard. Once upon a time Sakyamuni, The Enlightened One, was staying in
a park called Karanda Bamboo Grove, near Rajagriha City. He held a meeting with
thirty six thousand men including great monks, Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas and the
eight groups of supernatural beings. On that occasion, there were five hundred
Brahmans in the assembly. One of them rose from his seat and said to Sakyamuni,
"We have learned that Buddhism is so profound that there is
no parallel to it. So we have come to ask you to explain it to us."
well," The Enlightened One said.
"Is the universe existent or non-existent?"
The Brahman asked.
"It is both existent and non-existent," the Enlightened
The Brahman said, "How can you say non-existent of what is
now existent? How can you say existent of what is now non-existent?"
Enlightened One replied, "The living say it is existent, but the dead say
it is non-existent. Consequently, I say it is both existent and non-existent."
asked, "What does man live on?"
The Enlightened One replied, "Man
lives on cereals."
He asked, "Where do the five cereals come from?"
come from the four elements, fire, wind, water and earth," The Enlightened
"Where do the four elements come from?" the Brahman
"They come from void." The Enlightened One replied.
does the void come from?" He asked.
"It comes from nothingness."
The Enlightened One replied.
"Where does nothingness come from?"
"From the nature." The Enlightened One replied.
does nature come from?" He asked.
"From Nirvana." The Enlightened
"Where does Nirvana come from?" He asked.
do you ask about such profound things. Nirvana is the law of non-birth and immortality."
The Enlightened One replied.
"Have you attained Nirvana?" He asked.
haven't reached Nirvana yet." The Enlightened One replied.
haven't reached Nirvana yet, how do you know Nirvana is an eternal bliss?"
"Now let me ask you whether the life of the sentient beings
in the world is happy or miserable," the Enlightened One said.
view it as very miserable." He replied.
"What do you mean by miserable?"
The Enlightened One said.
"After seeing all the dying men whose pains
are unbearable. I know death is miserable." He replied.
are not dead, nevertheless, you know death is miserable. I have seen all Buddhas
of the ten directions in space having neither rebirth nor death. I know, therefore,
Nirvana is an eternal bliss." The Enlightened One said.
Those five hundred
Brahmans were satisfied and thus understood what the Enlightened One had said.
They were then willing to accept the five commandments and asked to be disciples
of Gauthama Buddha. Finally, they obtained enlightenment of the Sotapanna's degree.
They sat down as before. The Enlightened One said, "You all listen carefully
to me. I'll give you an extensive talk of fables."
(1) THE STUPID
MAN TAKES SALT
Once upon a time there was a stupid man who went to another
man's home. The host gave him something to eat. After he complained that the food
was insipid, the host added a little salt to it. The stupid guest tried again,
found it better, and thought that it was tasteful, because of the salt. To his
thinking, the food would be so much better, if he took a great deal of salt. Then
this stupid and ignorant man ate it on an empty stomach. Afterwards, he had his
palate out of order and fell ill.
The heretics, having learned that abstaining
from food and drink might lead to the path of Enlightenment, immediately fasted
for seven or fifteen days. They merely got fatigued and famished, accomplishing
nothing in terms of Enlightenment. Those heretics are just like that stupid man,
who, on account of the pleasant flavor that the salt enhanced, ate salt on an
empty stomach only to lose all tastes (and get sick afterwards).
STUPID MAN STORES UP MILK
Once upon a time there was a stupid man who was about
to give a party. He wanted to store up milk for his guests.
"If I milk
the cow beforehand every day, he thought, little by little, there will be too
much of milk and will not be enough space to store it and it may even spoil. It
would be better to let it remain inside of the cow. I'll milk the cow right away
at the time of the party."
He then separated the cow from the calf and
tied them up apart. A month later, he actually gave the reception. He tried to
milk the cow, but the milk had run dry. Some guests got annoyed and others laughed
So are the idiotic fellows who want to give alms at once but prefer
to wait until they possess great wealth. It usually happens that, before they
can scrape together enough money, it is seized by the country officers or taken
away by robbers and thieves or by fire and flood. It also happens that, due to
their sudden demise, they are not in time for giving alms.
This is just like
the story of the stupid man who stored up milk.
(3) THE HEAD IS BROKEN
Once upon a time there was a bald-headed man who was bit in his
head by a few pears thrown at him. He forbore taking the blows without knowing
that he should have tried to dodge them. A bystander asked the man, "Why
didn't you dodge the blows that wounded your head?"
The man answered,
"Proudly relying upon doing violence to others and being short of intelligence,
he, the attacker, took my baldhead for a stone. That's why he struck me with pears
and broke my head like that."
The bystander retorted, "It's you who
are indeed short of intelligence. How can you call him stupid? Haven't you been
stupid enough to get injured without the sense to run away?"
So is the
monk who, unable to abide discipline, meditation and wisdom, keeps only a good
appearance to expect support. He is just like that stupid man who got as far as
wounded on the head without knowing to run away and called the attacker stupid
into the bargain.
(4) THE WIFE PRETENDS TO BE DEAD
Once upon a time
there was a stupid man who loved very much his beautiful wife. However, she had
no true love for him. In the meantime, she associated herself surreptitiously
with another man. Burning with lecherous passions, she wanted to leave her husband
to be with her lover. She secretly told an old woman, "After my departure,
I would like you to place a woman's corpse in my house. You then tell my husband
that I'm dead."
The old woman did what she was told. She told the husband
shortly after his return that his wife passed away. He went to see the corpse
and believed it was that of his own wife. He grieved and wept bitterly. He gathered
a great deal of wood and oil together for the cremation. Then he put the ashes
into a bag and had it with him day and night.
Shortly after, the wife got tired
of her lover. She came back and told her husband, "I'm your wife."
husband answered, "My wife died a long time ago. Who are you to lie to me
that you are my wife?"
The husband refused to believe her, in spite of
her repeated explanations.
So are the heretics who, having learned the heretical
doctrine, confusedly stick to it with all their soul and take the doctrine to
be the right one without altering their mind forever. Thus they will be unable
to believe, accept or keep any other creed even it is an orthodox one.
GETTING THIRSTY ON SEEING WATER
Once there was a fellow desperately in need
of water for his thirst. On seeing the blazing fog, he mistook it for water. He
pursued it until he reached the Indus River. But he only looked at it without
drinking. A bystander asked, "You are suffering from thirst. How that you
have found water, why don't you drink it?"
The fellow answered, "If
I could drink up all that water, I would do it. Since there is more water than
I can finish, I would rather not drink it at all."
As soon as people heard
this, they laughed aloud at him. The heretics, acting against all senses and reasons,
think since they are unable to keep all the Buddhist commandments, they refuse
to accept any of them. They will never attain the path of Enlightenment and thus
subject to transmigration in time to come. They are just like that stupid thirsty
fellow who gets laughed at by his contemporaries.
(6) THE DEAD SON IS
ABOUT TO REMAIN IN THE HOUSE
Once upon a time there was a man who brought up
seven boys, one of whom died. Finding the son dead, he intended to leave the body
in the house and moved out himself. A bystander said to him, "You know the
living and the dead go separate ways. Since your son is dead, he should be quickly
buried in a far away place with all due solemnity. Now why do you want to leave
your house and let your dead son remain here?"
When the man heard this,
he decided to bury his son and not let the corpse lie at home. He then thought
he would have to kill another son to hang one body on each end of the pole to
keep in equilibrium and carry them for burial in a long way off the forest. That
seemed the only thing possible for him to do and he did it. His contemporaries
laughed aloud at his unprecedented eccentricities.
A monk, who secretly broke
one commandment, felt afraid to confess it. He would pretend that he had scrupulously
kept all commandments and led a life free from evil and defilement.
men might then tell him, "A monk should keep the commandments just like brilliant
pearls should be protected from being damaged. How can you break what you have
accepted? Now you are reluctant to confess them."
The offender would answer,
"Now that I have to confess, I might as well do more breakings. Then I'll
confess all my sins at once."
Consequently, he broke more commandments
by doing many evil things before his confession. This monk is just like that stupid
man who kills another son when one dies.
(7) ONE RECKONS ANOTHER MAN TO
BE ONE'S ELDER BROTHER
Once upon a time, there was a man endowed with a respectable
appearance and intelligence as well as wealth. All these evoked feelings of admiration
and praise from the people around him. Another man then claimed this man to be
his elder brother. He did so, because of the man's wealth. When he needed money,
he called the man elder brother. After the rich man paying his debt, he stopped
calling him elder brother. A bystander asked, "You are a strange man. When
you are in need of money, you call him elder brother. When he is in debt, you
will not. Why?"
The man answered, "When I want to get at his money,
I'll call him elder brother. As a matter of fact, he isn't my own elder brother.
When he is in debt, I will not call him elder brother."
words, people laughed at him.
The heretics, who have heard the good words of
Buddhism, purloin and make use of them as their own. When people try to teach
them how to practice the goods words, they do not want to listen. They declared
that they use the good words of Buddhism to instruct the other people in order
to earn a living. There is no need that they should bother to know how to practice
Those heretics are just like the stupid man who calls the rich man elder
brother for his money.
(8) A RUSTIC STEALS CLOTHES FROM THE PALACE TREASURY
upon a time there was a rustic who stole garments from the palace and then escaped
to a remote place. The king sent men to search for him in all directions. Finally,
he was arrested and taken to the king who accused him of theft and asked him where
he had got the clothes. The rustic answered that they belonged to his grandfather.
The king then ordered him to put them on. He did not know how to wear them. He
put on his arms what should be worn on his legs. What he ought to have on his
waist, he put on his head. Seeing this, the king summoned his ministers for consultation
on the matter.
"If the clothes belonged to your grandfather, you should
know how to wear them. How can you wear them in all wrong ways? It's certain that
they are not your old clothes. You have stolen them," said the king.
speaking, here the king is like Buddha; the valuable clothes, the Buddhist teachings;
the stupid rustic, the heretic.
A heretic, who has eavesdropped on Buddhism,
makes it for his own. He then misinterprets it, because he does not know the real
meaning of its teachings.
This heretic is like the rustic who stole the king's
valuable clothes without knowing how to wear them properly and put them on in
all the wrong ways.
(9) THE FATHER'S VIRTUES ARE PRAISED
a time there was a man who praised his father's virtues before everybody.
father is compassionate. He neither kills nor steals. He speaks earnestly and
gives alms," said the man.
At the time, it so happened that a stupid man
heard those words and declared, "My father is more virtuous than yours."
others asked, "In what way he is more virtuous'! Please tell us about him."
man answered, "Undefiled as my father was, he gave up completely his sexual
desires when he was young".
The others said, "If your father had
done so, how could he have brought you into the world?"
This aroused the
sardonical laugh from all those around him.
There are those ignorant people
in the world who want to extol the merits of others without knowing how to be
realistic and get ridiculed instead. These people are just like that stupid man
who wanted to praise his father but turned out to speak fatuously.
THREE - STORIED HOUSE
Once there was an ignorant rich man who, one day, went
to another rich man's three-storied house. Struck with admiration by the imposing,
spacious, airy and well - lighted building, he said to himself, "I'm no less
rich than he. Why don't I have the same house built as this one?"
he sent for a carpenter and said, "Can you construct an imposing house exactly
like that one?"
That carpenter replied, "It's I who built that one."
went on, "Now you may build a house like that one for me."
began first to level the ground, afterward laid the foundation stones and then
drove in piles for walls. The stupid man could not make it out when he saw the
worker doing all these. He asked,"What are you doing now?"
replied, "I'm building three floors."
The stupid man went on, "I
don't want the two floors below. You had better start building from the third
floor for me."
The carpenter answered, "It's impossible. If I don't
begin with the ground floor, how can I build the second? If I don't build the
two below, how can I build the third floor?"
The stupid man persisted
saying, "But I don't need the two floors below, only the top."
those words, his contemporaries sardonically laughed at him. They all said how
could one have the top floor done without building the lower floors?
four degrees of disciples who are unable to practice earnestly Buddhism and respect
the Three Precious Ones, wanted to attain the path of deliverance by leading an
idle life. They said, "We don't need the first three degrees below, but seek
only that of Arahant's."
There was no difference between the stupid rich
man and those disciples who were also laughed at by their contemporaries.
(11) THE BRAHMAN KILLS HIS SON
Once upon a time, there was a Brahman who
prided himself on his erudite knowledge of astrology and various arts. He was
such a conceited man that he claimed to be learned in everything. To show his
ability, he went abroad carrying his son in his arms and cried. The Brahman was
asked, "Why are you crying?"
He replied, "This baby is going
to die within seven days. I'm grieved at his inevitable death. That's why I can't
The contemporaries said, "It's difficult to know a
man's life. It's easy to make a miscalculation. He may not die seven days. Why
should you weep in advance?"
The Brahman said, "The sun and the moon
may set and the stars may fall, but I have never had a miscalculation on my record."
prove his self-claimed knowledge, he killed his son on the seventh day, for the
sake of fame and gain. The contemporaries heard the news of his son's death at
the foretold time. They marvelled that he was indeed an erudite man who could
prove true of what he had said. They all came to pay him homage, and were heartily
convinced that he deserved respect (as a prophet).
This is also true with those
of Sakyamuni's four degrees of disciples who claim to have attained the path of
Enlightenment for the sake of the material offerings from others. They would try
to fool people by killing an innocent man in order to deceitfully show the virtue
of compassion. Such disciples would be certainly doomed to limitless suffering
in time to come, just like the Brahman who wanted to prove the accuracy of his
prophecy by killing his son and thus deceived people.
(12) THE BOILED
BLACK ROCK - HONEY SYRUP
Once upon a time, a man was boiling black rock-honey
syrup, when a rich man came to his house. He thought he would give the syrup to
the rich man. He poured a little water into it and put it on a slow fire. He then
fanned it with a fan in the hope of cooling it.
A bystander addressed to him,
"If you don't put out the fire below, how can you cool it even though you
keep on fanning?"
People began to laugh at him.
This is like the heretics
who will practice a little mortification by sleeping on thorny brambles without
putting out the flames of annoyance. As the five passions are still blazing within
them, there is no way for such people to become cool and quiet. As a result, they
sardonically laughed at by the wise. Moreover, they will suffer affliction in
their present lives and transmigration in the future.
ON SOMEONE'S QUICK TEMPER
Once a group of people sat in a house commenting
on someone as being of good virtue except for two faults:
First, he was quick-
tempered. Second, he was impulsive.
At the time, this man happened to pass
by the door and heard the comment. He entered the house, grabbed the man who had
criticized him, and started to beat him.
Thereupon one bystander asked why
he beat the man.
He replied, "When did I ever lose my temper or act impulsively?
This man said: I often did so. That's why I have beaten him."
pointed out, "Your action at once demonstrates that you have often lost your
temper and acted impulsively. Why do you still want to conceal your character
This man who resents to having his faults exposed, often
leads people to lay all the blame for the stupidity and foolishness on him.
who are addicted to drinking and other debaucheries, when scolded by others, strongly
hate their critics in turn. Moreover, they try desperately to justify themselves
by bringing forward all sorts of excuses. Those men are just like that stupid
man who disliked hearing about his faults discussed.
(14) OFFERING THE
GUIDE UP AS SACRIFICE TO GOD
Once upon a time there was a group of merchants
who wanted to go to the sea. A guide was required. They set out in quest of such
a man. After finding such a man, they started the trip and saw a temple when they
reached a land of wilderness. A man had to be immolated to cross it.
consultation, the group of merchants said that they could not choose anyone in
the company to be killed, for they were all related. The only one fit to be sacrificed
was the guide. So they killed him. After performing the rites, they soon lost
their way and knew not which direction to go. They then died one after another.
are the people in general.
Those who seek to fish for treasure in the sea of
Dharma should keep the commandments of doing good deeds as their guide. If they
break them, they will end their lives in the wilderness and can never be rescued.
Furthermore, they will have to go through the Three Evil Paths of Transmigration
and suffer forever and ever.
Such men are just like the group of merchants
who killed the guide and died in a body as a result.
(15) THE PHYSICIAN
GIVES MEDICINE TO THE PRINCESS TO MADE HER GROW UP FAST
Once upon a time there
was a king who brought a daughter into the world. He sent for the doctor and asked
him, "Could you prescribe some drugs for my daughter in order to make her
grow up faster?"
The physician replied, "I have a good prescription
for her. However, I don't have the medicine on hand. I should look for it. Your
Majesty must not see her at the time of my searching for the medicine. I'll present
her to your Majesty after she has taken it."
Then the physician went to
a remote region in search of the medicine. He found it and came back twelve years
later. Having taken the medicine, the daughter was led to the king who was happy
to see her. Then he said to himself, "He's a good physician. My daughter
has indeed grown after taking his medicine."
The king then ordered his
attendants to reward the doctor lavishly with gems. All the courtiers derided
the king for his ignorance to such an extent that he did not know to think of
the year in which his daughter was born. The king believed that her growing was
due to the effect of the medicine.
So are the people in general. They will
visit a wise man and say, "We should like to attain the path of Enlightenment.
Please instruct us that we may immediately receive the transcendent wisdom."
means of expediency, the master will guide them to practice meditation and contemplate
the Twelve Links connected with the causation of rebirth. After gradually accumulating
all kinds of merits, they reach the Arahant's degree. TheN they will jump with
joy and exclaim, "How fast it is! Our great master, you have made us obtain
so quickly the quintessential truth."
(16) WATER THE SUGAR - CANE
upon a time two men who cultivated sugar-cane, pledged that the one who had a
good harvest would win prizes, while the one with a bad harvest would be heavily
penalized. One of them thought, "The sugar-cane itself is very sweet. It
will be more delicious if I water it with its compressed juice. Then I will get
the upper hand over him."
Immediately, he began to press the juice from
the sugar-cane. He watered the plant with the juice in the hope of making it more
delicious. Instead, he destroyed the seedling and lost his entire plantation.
are people at large. Those who wish for the comforts of life use their high positions
and great influence to oppress the mass. They steal others' possessions as their
own wealth to do good works with a view to enjoy better life afterwards. However,
they are unaware of the calamities, which are to come upon them. Those people
are just like the man who, pressing the sugar - cane, lost everything.
A DEBT OF HALF A CENT
Once a merchant lent half a cent to a man who then took
a long time repaying him. The merchant went to the man to ask him to clear the
debt sooner. To go there, he had to pay two cents as ferry fare to cross a wide
river. The debtor was not at home when he arrived there. On his trip back, he
had to pay as much again. It amounted to four cents in total.
For a debt of
half a cent, the merchant lost four cents. Moreover, he got very tired from his
journey. He lost a great more than what he stood to gain. As a result, he was
sardonically laughed at.
So are the people at large.
To seek a little fame
and gain, people will spare no pains to bring ruin upon what should be their greater
concern. They seek self-preservation at the expense of morality. Consequently,
they will earn a bad name in this life and suffer retribution in the hereafter.
(18) GRIND A KNIFE UPSTAIRS
Once upon a time there was a poor man who had
to work very hard in the king's service. As time went on, he became emaciated.
Out of pity, the king gave him a dead camel. Having received it, the poor man
began to flay it. His knife being very blunt, he looked for a whetstone to grind
it. At last, he found one upstairs where he sharpened the knife.
He then went
back downstairs to skin the camel. He ran up and down the stairs doing the sharpening
and skinning frantically for a while and finally he felt so tired that he could
not go on any longer. Then he had to hang the camel upstairs to be closer to the
whetstone. People guffawed at him.
A stupid man who, by breaking the strict
commandments gathers plenty of money and uses it on offering in the hope that
he will be born in Heaven. This stupid man is just like the poor man who worked
hard for little gain in hanging his camel upstairs and sharpening his knife.
(19) LOSS OF A SILVER BOWL BY BOAT
Once upon a time there was a man who
dropped a silver bowl into the sea while crossing it. He pondered, "I'm going
to make a mark on the water. I'm carrying on my journey now. But I'll come back
for it later."
After two months' travel during which he visited Ceylon
and many other countries. On seeing a river, he jumped into the water looking
for the bowl he had lost before.
"What are you doing there?" people
He replied, "I have lost my bowl. Now I would like to get it back."
went on, "When did you lose it?"
He answered, "I lost it crossing
Again people asked, "How long ago did you lose it?"
answered, "I lost it two months ago."
People asked, "Since you
lost it two months ago in the sea, why are you looking for it here in the river?"
answered, "I made a mark on the water where I lost the bowl. This water looks
the same as the other. There seems no difference. That's why I'm doing this."
went on, "Though all waters are identical, the place that you have lost it
is there. How can you find it here?"
Everybody jeered at him.
who do not practice the right religious belief, but a fallacious one, suffer from
their useless mortification in seeking deliverance. Those men are just like the
stupid man who has lost his bowl in the sea and looked for it in the river.
(20) THE KING WAS SAID TO HAVE GIVEN REIN TO CRUELTY
Once upon a time a
man pronouncing his king's crimes, said, "Very cruel is the king. He is incapable
On hearing this, the king lost his temper without making
sure who it was that had said it. He took his deceitful attendant's advice by
holding an eminent minister under arrest. He ordered to have his backbone flayed
and have his body cut to one hundred ounces of flesh for punishment.
a man testified the minister's innocence to the king. To his regret, the king
ordered one thousand ounces of flesh is given to the minister to make up for what
was cut off from his body.
Later, when the minister gave a groan with pain
at night, the king asked, "What's wrong with you? I have given you back ten
times more than I had taken from you. Are you not satisfied with it? Why are you
A bystander replied, "Oh! My great king! If anyone
cut your Majesty's head and gave back one thousand other heads, could you Majesty
keep out of the way of death? How could getting ten times of the flesh the minister
relieve himself the pain?"
So is the stupid man who is greedy for the
present pleasure but not afraid of the consequences for the hereafter. He makes
people around him miserable and puts them into requisition trying to make a fortune.
On the other hand, he hopes to redeem his sins and obtain blessedness.
stupid man is just like the king who first flayed and punished someone and then
tried to give him back the flesh. It is impossible that the pain can be eased.
(21) A WOMAN LONGS FOR A SECOND CHILD
Once there was a woman who longed
for a second child. He asked other women, "Who could bring me another child?"
old lady told her, "I can find a way for you to give birth to another child,
on one condition that you should offer a sacrifice to God."
"What have I to offer as a sacrifice?"
Thereupon, the old lady replied,
"Kill your son and use his blood as a sacrifice to God. Thus you'll certainly
get many other children."
Subsequently, she tried to follow the old lady's
instructions. A wise man nearby heard the story first jeered and then scolded
the woman, "How so stupid and ignorant you are! To kill your son that you
have now! Are you sure that you'll have another one whose birth is unknown?"
is the stupid man who in order to get uncertain happiness, plunges into the burning
pit and does all, sorts of wrong-doings in the hope of entering Heaven after death.
(22) GET LIGNALOES FROM UNDER THE SEA
Once upon a time there was a merchant
who was getting lignaloes from under the sea. He did not gather enough of them
to fill up a cart to bring back home until several years later. He then transported
them into the market. However, there were no buyers, due to their high price.
Unable to sell them after several days, he got bored and tired.
While he saw
some other dealers selling out quickly their charcoal, he said to himself that
it is better to burn the lignaloes into charcoal in order to get them sold quickly.
he burnt them, he went to the market again, but the value of the burnt lignaloes
was less than half of that of the charcoal.
So are the stupid in the world.
To attain Buddhahood, it requires them to practice diligently and zealously through
various methods. However, they draw back from encountering difficulties. They
would resolve reaching Sravaka stage by destroying quickly the Karma of reincarnation
in their hope of becoming Arahant.
(23) THE THIEF STEALS EMBROIDERED SATIN
TO WRAP UP WORN CLOTHES AND RAGS
Once upon a time there was a thief who sneaked
into a rich man's house to steal a piece of embroidered satin. He used it to wrap
up such objects as worn clothes, rags and sundry effects. He was laughed at by
So are the stupid in the world who have faith in Buddhism, who practice
good teachings and who do meritorious works. Because of their basic greed for
gain, however, they break the pure commandments and lose their various merits.
They are also laughed at by the people at large.
(24) TO CULTIVATE THE
Once upon a time, a stupid man who, after eating the raw sesame,
found it not as tasty as the boiled kind. He said to himself, "I would boil
the sesame before cultivating it. This way I could produce better sesame."
then boiled and cultivated it as he had planned. However, the attempt failed altogether.
are the people at large who consider it difficult to follow Bodhisattva's practice,
due to the strict requirement of eternities of the strenuous efforts. Finding
no pleasure, they think that it will be easier for them to become Arahant's by
cutting quickly off the transmigration, without realizing that they would never
attain Buddhahood that way, just as the boiled seed that would never grow.
is just like the story of the stupid who tried to cultivate boiled sesame.
(25) THE FIRE AND THE WATER
Once upon a time, there was a man who needed
fire and cold water in caring out his household duties. He built a fire in his
room. He filled a kettle with water and put it on the fire. Afterwards, the fire
went out and the cold water turned hot. He got neither fire nor cold water.
are the people at large who, devoted to the attainment of Buddhism, seek the enlightened
way by becoming monks. But afterwards, they still keep ties to their wives, children
and relatives; maintain their concern with the worldly affairs and their enjoyment
of the five desires as well. For these reasons, they lose their meritorious blessings
like the fire. They also break their commandments like the cold water.
is held to be true with greedy men.
(26) THE KING'S BLINKING HABIT IS
Once upon a time, there was a man who wanted to please the king. He
asked the others how to do it and was told, "If you want to please the king,
you should imitate him."
He then went to the palace where he saw the king
blinking. Thereupon, he imitated and the king asked him, "Do you have sore
eyes? Is the wind disturbing your eyes? Why are you blinking?"
"Not at all on seeing your Majesty, I want to be just like you to please
Upon hearing those words, the king got very angry. The
man was punished by hard blows and sent into exile.
So are the people at large.
They wish to approach Buddha, king of the Law, to achieve advancement. Once there,
Buddha reveals to them his human weaknesses for the welfare of all mankind. When
they sometimes hear of using incorrect phrases in his teachings, they may be unable
to understand Buddha and they start to ridicule and defame him. They imitate all
his weaknesses. For this reason, they lose the benefit they have got from Buddhism
forever and fall into Three Evil Paths of Transmigration accordingly.
is just like the story of the man imitating the king's blinking habit.
DRESS WHIP WOUNDS
Once upon a time, there was a man who was punished by the
king by whipping and was wounded from it. He applied on the wounds horse excrement
for quick recovery. A stupid man nearby was pleased to see it. He said to himself,
"I have just discovered the method to cure a wound faster."
as he got home, he told his son, "You are going to whip me until I'm wounded.
I have got a good method to cure wounds. I should like to try it."
he was flogged by his son who dressed his wounds with horse excrement, believing
it was a good method.
So are the people at large who hear that the practice
of meditation on impurities could remove the evil corruption of the body. They
say to themselves in these words, "We are going to meditate on venery and
the five desires."
They did not see the impurities of the body, but rather
got deceitful and wrong ideas from the pursuit of sexual pleasure. Furthermore,
they suffer from Transmigration and descend into Hell.
This is held to be true
with the stupid at large dressing their wounds with horse excrement.
CHANGE THE WIFE'S NOSE
Once upon a time, there was a man whose wife was graceful
except for her ugly nose. When he was out, he saw another graceful looking woman
with a pretty nose. It came into his mind that "I would cut her nose and
transplant it on my wife's face. Wouldn't that be nice?"
He then cut the
nose off this other woman. Caring it home he hurriedly called out to his wife,
"Come quickly! I got a pretty nose for you."
Once she came out, he
cut off her nose and replaced it with the one he had cut off first. It did not
fit; also the wife suffered a great pain.
So are the stupid in the world. They
hear that aged monks and Brahmans with great fame and merit are respected and
much supported. They say to themselves in these words, "There is no difference
between them and us."
They falsely pretend to be virtuous. Not only do
they gain nothing, they get a bad name for their misbehavior as well. Those people
are just like the stupid man cutting other's nose only to injure his own wife.
(29) THE POOR MAN BURNS HIS COARSE WOOLLEN CLOTHING
Once upon a time, there
was a poor and weary man who wore a coarse woolen garment, which he had made for
his customer. He was seen by a stranger who said to him, "Coming from an
honorable family clan, you are the son of a man of high position. Why do you wear
such coarse woolen clothing? Now let me teach you how to get some fine clothes.
You should follow my instructions. I won't cheat you."
The poor man follows
his instructions happily. The stranger immediately lit a fire before him and said
in these words, "Now you may take off your coarse woolen garment and put
it into the fire. You'll get some beautiful clothes out of the flame instead."
poor man did as he was told. After his old clothes were burnt, nothing was left
So are the people at large.
Our being born as human beings must
be attributed to the practice of a good religion from former lives. We should
take good care of our beings and improve our virtue and do good deeds. We are
sometimes cheated by the heretics, vicious men and seductive women, who said,
"You should believe us that you will be reborn, after this life, in the Brahman
Heaven and enjoy longevity and happiness, if you practice ascetics by jumping
into the fire or rocks now."
This is just like the story of the poor man
burning his clothing.
(30) THE SHEEP - FARMER
Once upon a time, there
was a shepherd who was skillful in raising as many as thousands of sheep. However,
he was so stingy that he would not spend a penny.
At the time, a swindler found
means to make friends with him and said, "Since you and I have become intimate
friends united as one man, there should be no gap of any kind between us now.
I know a pretty girl from a certain family. I should like you to ask her to be
The sheep-farmer was glad to hear those words. He gave him
a flock of sheep and other precious things.
The swindler then said, "Now
your wife has brought a child into the world."
The sheep-farmer was very
delighted to learn about this, in spite of the fact that he had not met her yet.
Again he gave him more things.
Then one day the swindler said, "Your child
is dead shortly after birth."
On hearing those words, the sheep-farmer
cried bitterly and sighed ceaselessly.
So are the people at large.
are people who, acquiring much knowledge, put their creed into practice only for
fame and gain. They keep secret its teachings, unwilling to preach or to teach
the others. Indulging in mundane pleasures, they are cheated by the transience
of their bodies like the poor man cheated by the illusion of getting a wife and
a child. Consequently, they lose first their good faith, then their lives and
finally their precious possessions. They can then only shed bitter tears by getting
depressed and melancholy just like the sheep-farmer.
(31) MASON WANTED
Once upon a time, a Brahman master indented to give a big party. He told his
disciple, "I need earthenware for the party. Go to the market and fetch for
me a mason."
On his way to the mason's home, the disciple came across
a man whose donkey was loaded with earthenware for sale in the market. Yet all
pottery was broken by the animal in the twinkling of an eye. On his return home,
the man was crying and getting quite distraught. On seeing this, the disciple
asked: "Why are you so sad and disappointed?"
The man replied, "I
have been making earthenware with all my expedient means after toiling and moiling
for many years. I was on my way to the market intending to sell them. But this
dumb animal has broken all I had in no time. That's why I'm so distraught."
The disciple was glad to see and hear all this and said, "It's a good
donkey. I should like to buy it."
The mason was delighted to sell it.
When the disciple rode it back, the master asked, "Why didn't you come back
with a mason? What's the idea of bringing a donkey here?"
replied, "This donkey is better than a mason, for it can break things in
a split second what a mason has made over a long time."
The master said,
"You are stupid and ignorant indeed. Although the donkey can break things
in a second, it can't even make one pottery in a hundred years."
the people at large. Those who sometimes receive offerings from their benefactors
for a hundred years, give nothing in return. On the contrary, they always do more
harm than good.
This is held to be true with someone who shows ingratitude.
(32) A TRADER STEALS GOLD
Once upon a time, two traders ran some business
together. One was a seller of genuine gold, while the other, Tula cotton. A buyer
of gold came along and asked for a fire test before buying it. The cotton trader
stole the burnt gold and wrapped it with his Tula cotton, which got all burnt
up by the red-hot gold.
Thus the stealing was revealed. Consequently, he lost
both gold and Tula cotton.
Like them are the heretics, who steal from Buddhism
and write in their own religion. They wrongfully claim Buddhism to be their own
teaching and deny copying from it. For this reason, they burn and destroy their
heretic scripture, which is disappeared from the world.
This is just like the
story of the disclosure of the stealing of gold.
(33) HACKING A TREE DOWN
Once upon a time, there was a king who had a tremendously gigantic
and beautiful tree. It always produced excellent fruit with fragrance and sweetness.
One day the king told a guest who was visiting his palace, "Wouldn't you
like to pluck some of the fruits?"
The man replied, "I wish to have
some, but how Call I get them, the tree is so tall and large."
then ordered to have the tree hacked down to get the fruit. In this context, all
hard efforts were made in vain. The king still tried to revive the tree, which
had withered and died.
So are the people at large.
Buddha, the king of the
Law, possesses a "tree of keeping commandments" which bears wonderful
fruit. It gives people happiness and makes their wishes come true. To get the
fruit, one has to observe all commandments.
Those who do not know how to do
good deeds by expedient means, do wrong things in breaking commandments instead.
This is just like the king who ordered to have the tree hacked down and the unable
to make it grow again. Those who break commandments are just like that.
TO SEND PURE SPRING WATER
Once upon a time, there was a village, which was
located five Yojanas away from the city and supplied pure spring water. The king
ordered the water to be sent to him in the palace every day by the villagers.
Becoming utterly weary of the irksome task, they all wanted to move away to some
To them, the village chief said,"Don't go away. I'll talk
with the king for you to alter the distance between here and the palace from five
Yojanas into three Yojanas. It would be closer for coming and going without much
The chief hastened to report to the king who changed the mileage.
People were delighted at knowing this. Some of them said that there was no difference
whatsoever. Most still stayed on, because of their newly reassured confidence
in the king.
So are the people in various walks of life.
Those who devote
themselves to the right religion for crossing the Five Paths toward the Nirvana
City, intend to abandon their faith when they are weary and exhausted. Traveling
by the transmigration boat, they are unable to make their way toward the shore.
Buddha, the king of the Law, has many expedient means from the One Vehicle to
the Three Vehicles. Those who follow the Hinayana sect are glad to hear those
words and find it easier to practice. Therefore, they spare no effort to do good
deeds and improve themselves spiritually so as to make their way of transmigration
toward the other shores. Afterwards, they realize that there is no Three Vehicles
but ones. Because of the confidence in Buddha's words, they do not want to abandon
their faith by then.
This is just like the story of the villagers ending pure
(35) THE MIRROR IN A VALUABLE CASE
Once upon a time there
was a poor and weary man who was always in debt. Insolvent, he hid himself in
the wilderness where he found a valuable case full of precious things. A crystal
mirror covered them. The poor man was most delighted to see them. He did not hesitate
to take them. But he was frightened when he discovered a man's image in the mirror.
Twisting his hands, he said, "I thought it was nothing more than on empty
case. I wasn't aware of your being in the case. Don't get angry with me!"
then gave up the whole case. So are the people from all walks of life.
who are weary of countless annoyances in life and persecuted by the creditors
of the Transmigration Devil, want to avoid them and free from them through their
belief in Buddhism. They begin to practice their faith and do good deeds just
as the valuable case to the poor man. Troubled by the man's image- in the mirror,
they wrongly cling to the ego taken as the real. They fall decadent and lose all
their merits acquired previously from meditation, monastic grade and good deeds.
Furthermore, they fail in their attainment of the Nirvana from the Three Vehicles,
just like the stupid man sticking to the prejudice of the ego and abandoning their
precious findings in the case.
(36) TO BLIND AN IMMORTAL
a time, there was a man who went to the mountains to learn Buddhist Priesthood.
He succeeded in becoming an Immortal possessing five supernatural powers. His
divine vision could perceive all hidden sundry treasures. Upon hearing it, the
king said to one of his ministers excitedly:
"In order to add more valuable
things to my treasury, could you make this man live permanently in our country?"
stupid minister went to his man soon afterwards and took his eyes. He then went
back to the king and said, "I have gouged out his eyes so he couldn't go
away but stay in this country forever."
The king exclaimed, "What
is important for his staying in this country is that he could perceive all hidden
treasures. Now that you have gouged out his eyes, he is useless to me."
are the people at large. Upon seeing a monk making strenuous efforts to meditate
on the Fourfold stage of Mindfulness and the impurities or the human body on mountain
groves, among tombs, in the wilderness or under a tree, a layman invited him home
to practice by making various offerings. But in so doing, he destroys the monk's
good works done before and his chance of attaining Nirvana. Therefore, he makes
him lose the benefit of the eyes of Enlightenment without obtaining anything.
is just like the fatuous minister blinding the man with no avail. .
TO KILL A HERD OF CATTLE
Once upon a time, there was a man who owned two hundred
fifty cows. He often took them to the pastureland for grazing. By accident, one
day a cow was killed by a tiger. The cattle owner said to himself, "Now that
a cow is lost, it's no longer an even number. What's the use of having them at
He then drove the cattle to a high cliff and killed them all by
pushing them down the cliff.
So are the vulgar people in the world.
who observes all of Buddha's commandments breaks one commandment without any sense
of shame or repentance. On the contrary, he says to himself: "Now that one
commandment is broken, I'm no longer perfect. What's the use of keeping any of
All commandments are broken as a result of his ill logic.
He is just like the stupid man killing all his cattle.
(38) YELLING AT
Once upon a time, there was a man who was tired and thirsty from traveling.
He drank some fresh running water from the wooden bucket. After he had had enough,
he raised his hands in front of the water and said, "I have had enough to
drink. Stop flowing!"
The water went on. Losing his temper, he yelled,
"I told you to stop. Why don't you listen?"
On seeing this, an onlooker
said, "You are so ignorant. Why don't you just leave?"
the onlooker drew him away.
So are the people at large.
One who immerges
himself in transmigrations and the thirst of desire drinks salty water of the
five desires. After getting tired of them, he says in those words, "Disappear,
thou Five Desires. Don't let me see you again, I've told you. Why are you still
A wise man tells him, "You can keep the Five Desires away
by controlling your six organs of senses2 or by closing your mind and thought
to them. Then illusions will not arise and consequently Enlightenment may be attained.
Why do you need to tell "Desires" to be out of your sight and to disappear?"
is just like the story of the man yelling at the water.
(39) HOUSE PAINTING
upon a time, there was a man who went to another man's house, which had just been
painted, and the floor made even. It was nice and clean. He asked the host, "With
what paint did you make the wall so white and beautiful?"
The host replied,
"I mixed rice bran with water and day. The beauty is the result."
himself, the guest said, "It would be better if he had used rice grain instead
of bran. The wall would be more smooth and more beautiful."
He then used
his own formula on his own house. The walls turned out to be concave and convex
with cracks on them.
The stupid man thus wasted all his rice grain. It had
better have done alms-giving to obtain any merits.
So are the common people.
Those who have heard the Saints preaching that people who do good deeds may go
to Heaven after death and consequently get deliverance, commit suicide to get
there. They merely 1ose their lives in vain without getting anywhere just like
that stupid man with his paint.
(40) TO CURE BALDNESS
Once upon a time,
there was a man who was completely bald. He felt very cold in winter and hot in
summer. He was stung by gadflies and mosquitoes. He suffered from his baldness
day and night. One day, he went to see a specialist well known for his medical
and surgical practice and said, "Great Master! Would you cure my baldness?"
off his hat, the doctor revealed to him that he too was bald and said, "I
have the same trouble as you. If I could cure it, I would have done so with myself
long time ago."
So are the people at large. Suffering from the agonies
of birth, old age, sickness and death, people seek for immortality. They hear
Sramanas, Brahmans etc, are the best doctors in the world who know now to cure
all kinds of diseases. They go to a Brahman and say, "Would you release us
from the pain of impenitence and transmigration and help us live in happiness
The Brahman tells them, "I also suffer from those
agonies that you feel. So I'm looking for immortality, which I can't find. If
I was able to make you get it, I would get it first for myself and then for you
The Brahman is just like the bald man getting weary in vain for
(41) PISACAH DEVILS
Once upon a time, there were two Pisacah
devils who conjointly owned a suitcase, a stick and a pair of wooden shoes about
which they fought for their monopoly. They were quarreling all day long without
reaching a settlement.
An onlooker came over and asked, "What are the
particularities of those three things that you have been fighting for so angrily?"
two devils replied, "This suitcase of ours turns out all sorts of things
such as clothes, food, bed articles used on a bed, and other living necessities.
One who takes the stick can conquer his hateful enemies without encountering resistance.
One who puts on these shoes will be able to fly without a hitch."
hearing it, the onlooker said to the devils, "Would you please stand further
away! Let me equally apportion them to you both."
The two devils moved
away. Immediately the onlooker flew off snatching their suitcase and stick with
the shoes on. The two devils were startled at the loss of their share. To them
he said, "I got what you have been fighting for. Now you need not are any
Here Pisacah refers to devils and heretics.
to the suitcase that turns out all the essential things to the needs of the Five
Ways of Existence such as human beings, Devas, etc.
Meditation symbolizes the
stick, which can disperse or submit devils, enemies and afflictions as thieves.
observing is like the shoes that ensure rebirth in the world of Devas and men.
for the divils and heretics, coveting the suitcase, it signifies that they labor
themselves to the seeking for the reward of Enlightenment in the imperfect way,
which result in nothing to be obtained.
If one can perform acts of merit together
with almsgiving, commandments observing and meditation practice, he will be rid
of all suffering and in turn obtain Nirvana.
(42) THE TRADER AND THE DEAD
Once there was a trader who was traveling on business. It so happened
that the camel suddenly died on the way. The animal was loaded with valuable things
such as jewels, clothes, carpet of first quality and sundries. The trader then
skinned the camel. He went away leaving it to his two apprentices and said, "Watch
the camel's skin. Don't let it get damp."
Later, when it started to rain,
the two dull men covered the skin with all the fine carpet, which became entirely
ruined. Obviously the skin and carpet differed much in price. They put the carpet
to cover the skin out of ignorance.
So are the people at large.
from killing refers to the fine carpet, the camel's skin, and wealth. To let the
carpet get damp when it is raining means to undermine recklessly good merits.
abstention from killing is the supreme motive to attain Buddhahood. Unfortunately,
people do not effectively practice it. They merely adhere to build pagodas or
temples and give alms to support monks. This is giving up the essential and pursuing
the non-essential. In other words, people are not conscious of seeking the fundamental.
Unable to go out of the vicious cycle, they lead their lives, through the Five
Ways of existence. Therefore, the commandment of the abstention from killing should
be earnestly observed by the followers.
(43) TO GRIND A BIG STONE
there was a man who ground a big stone with great effort. He made a small toy
bull out of it after days and months of labor. The effort being made was strenuous,
yet the gain expected was trivial.
So are the people from all walks of life.
a stone refers to learning seriously and diligently.
To make a small toy bull
applies 'to the illusive fame and the inducement of the mutual criticism.
scholar should endeavor himself to serious studying to get wide and extensive
knowledge. Furthermore, he has to put his learning into practice so as to obtain
some fulfillment. The goal must not be the illusive fame, complacence and arrogance,
which breed only sins and calamities.
(44) EATING HALF A PANCAKE
there was a man who felt hungry and longed to eat seven pancakes. He was already
full when he had eaten six pancakes and a half. He was so sorry for having ordered
seven of them that he slapped his own face and said, "Half a pancake has
filled me up. The other six are wasted. If only I had known that, I should have
ordered only half a cake."
So are the people at large.
There is actually
no pleasure in life. There are only illusions, just like the stupid man getting
full illusion with half a cake.
Being ignorant, people view wealth and honor
as pleasure. It is sometimes a painful process to get them. It is also sometimes
hard to keep them. It is all the more painful when they have lost them. Therefore,
they give no pleasure to people at all times.
It is just like people taken
in by clothes and food as pleasure. They also bear illusions of the word "pleasure"
when they are toiling and moiling. All Buddhas have it that the Three Worlds1
has no peace but great suffering. Ignorant man with wrong views still clings desperately
(45) THE SLAVE GUARDS THE DOOR
Once there was a man who
was about to take a long trip. He gave orders to his slave and said, "Keep
a close watch over the door as well as the donkey and the rope".
his departure, the neighbor was playing music with drew attention of the slave.
He put the rope and the door on the ass' back and went to the neighbor to listen
to the music. The house was then ransacked by a thief after he had left it. On
his return, the master asked the alive what had happened to his house.
slave replied, "You told me to take care of the door, the ass and the rope.
I know nothing about the rest."
Again the master said, "The whole
idea of watching the door is for you to watch the house. Now that the house has
been robbed, what's the use in having the door?"
Stupid men in the world
cling to birth and death (or transmigration) by their lust for life like the slave
to the door.
Buddha preaches to control the six sense organs (the door) without
attaching to the six objective fields. In addition, he advises to keep watch on
human folly (the ass) as well as all desires (the rope). However, most monks do
not follow the teachings of Buddhism seeking enviously material offerings from
others. Even when practicing meditation, they give an appearance to being pure
and clean. But their minds are still unsettled by their attachment to the five
desires and deluded by sight, sound, smell, taste etc. When ignorance takes over
the mind and attachment to desires comes into being, all lost will be the right
thought, the enlightened mind and the monastic grades (Just as the robbed house
of the told story).
(46) TO STEAL THE YAK
Once there was a village
whose people jointly participated in stealing a yak for food. The man who lost
the yak followed their trail to the village. He called out to the villagers, "Do
you all live in this village?"
The villagers replied, "We live in
Again the man asked, "There is a pond in your village.
Have you eaten the yak together on the side of the pond?"
people: "We know of no pond."
Again he asked, "Is there any
tree near the pond?"
They answered, "We know of no tree."
he asked, "Were you on the east side of your village when you stole my yak?"
answered, "We know of no east direction."
Again he asked, "Wasn't
it at noon when you stole my yak?"
They answered, "We know of no
Again he asked, "Although it is possibly true of your
first three answers, how can you say there is no direction and no time in all
the world. Now I know you are lying. So I don't believe you at all. Sure enough,
you have stolen my yak. Haven't you?"
Thereupon, the stealer could not
but admit it.
So are those who break commandments. People who hide their sins
are reluctant to disclose them. They will, however, go to hell after their death.
Since Devas and good gods possess supernatural eyes, people should not even try
to deceive them just like the villagers should not refuse to admit stealing a
yak for food
(47) THE POOR MAN CROWS LIKE A DUCK
It happened once that
a foreign country was celebrating its Religious Day for festivities. All women
wore blue lotus flowers as ornament in their hair.
To her husband, a woman
said, "If you can get blue lotus flowers for me, I shall remain as your wife.
Otherwise. I'll walk out on you."
Her husband was capable of crowing like
a duck. He then entered the king's pond to steal blue lotus flowers. He crowed
when he was caught by the palace guard. The guard asked: "Who are you?"
a slip of the tongue, the poor man replied: "I'm a duck."
arrested and was taken to the king. On the way, he crowed again. Thereupon, the
guard said, "You didn't crow properly before, what's the use of doing so
So are the stupid in the world.
One who in his lifetime does
all kinds of evil deeds to the others, is reluctant to repent and subdue his mind.
Only at the time of his demise, he says, "From now on, I shall start to do
The guard will nevertheless send him to the King of Hell.
It is too late for him to want to do good deeds, just as the stupid man who could
crow like duck.
(48) THE FOX WAS HIT BY A SNAP TO TWIG
Once a fox who
stood under a tree was hit by a twig fallen on his back. He then closed his eyes
for he did not like to see the tree. Soon after, he went to an open space. He
would not return even when night fell.
Later, however, when he saw the branches
and the leaves of a big tree wavering up and down in the wind, he said to himself,
"The tree must be calling me." He then went back under the tree where
he had got hit earlier.
So is a stupid disciple.
In his attempt of becoming
a monk, he has chances to approach a tutor from who he runs away at his first
slight rebuke. Afterwards, he gets into a lot of trouble when he meets friends
who have adverse influence over him. Only then does he begin to think of returning
to his tutor. It is indeed stupid of him to go and come like that.
BOYS' ARGUMENT ON THE SUBJECT OF HAIR
There were once two boys who dived in
a river where they found at its bottom a bundle of feathers. One said that it
was the beard of some spirit, whereas the other said it was the bear's hair. They
argued without a right answer. A supernatural being nearby was then approached
by the two and was asked to settle the argument. He put rice and sesame seeds
into his mouth and chewed for a while, then he spat them into his hand and said,
"What I have got here seems to me a peacock's excrement."
It is known
his answer was beyond the question, which was put to him. So are the stupid in
During the time of preaching, those who facetiously discuss the
teachings of Buddhism do not give the answer to the right doctrine, just like
the supernatural being not answering the question. People from all walks of life
are made a laughing stock. So is the frivolous and empty gossip.
TO CURE A HUNCHBACK
Once there was a man who suddenly became a hunchback. He
went to a physician who treated him first with ointment smeared on his back, and
who then squeezed the hunchback between two pieces of woodblock. The doctor pressed
the woodblock so hard that the hunchback's eyes popped out.
So are the stupid
in the world.
In seeking for wealth, people try their hands in every possible
trade. What they don't realize is that even if they commit crimes most furtively,
they will make more injuries than profits, just like the doctor made the hunchback's
eyes popped. They will one day go to Hell.
(51) A MAID AND HER FIVE MASTERS
there were five men who together bought a maid to whom one of them said, "Get
my clothes washed."
Another man also told her to do the same thing. But
the maid said he would wash for whoever gave her clothes first. Angrily the second
man said, "Since I have bought you with others, how can you wash only for
the first one who gave the elder?"
Then he beat her ten strokes with a
whip. Thus she was whipped as much by each of the five masters.
So are the
five components of human bodies, which are the sources of annoyances. They whip
the sentient beings with birth giving, old age, sickness, death and numerous other
(52) THE MUSICIAN
Once a musician played in the presence
of the king who had promised him a thousand coins. Later, he asked the king for
the money. The king refused to give it to him and said, "The music you played
doesn't make me merry for a long time. Therefore, the money that I intent to give
you is also to please you just for a while."
So is the wordy retribution.
there is little pleasure in human lives and in Heaven, there is also little substance
in them. Owing to impermanence and destruction, the pleasure does not last for
long just like the music giving only a transient rejoicing.
(53) THE MASTER'S
Once a master told two of his disciples to take care of his aching
legs. Each one had to massage continuously each of his two legs. The two disciples
bear strong dislike of each other. When one left for a break, the other broke
with a stone the leg that the first one had massaged out of spite. The first one,
angry at his doings, broke the other leg that the second one had massaged.
are the Buddhist disciples. The scholars of Mahayana criticize the Hinayana, and
vice-versa. Therefore, these two schools' scriptures of the Great Saint, run the
risk to be both vanishing.
(54) THE SNAKE'S ARGUMENT
Once there was
a snake whose tail told its head, "I should lead the way."
head said, "I'm used to leading, why do you want to change positions so suddenly?"
the head led the way, the tail knotted himself around a tree and was unwilling
to move. And when the tail led, the snake fell into a burning pit and was burnt
to its death.
This is also true with teachers and disciples.
have a fancy that the young should lead the way, as they think teachers are too
old to lead. Due to their youthful immaturity, they often break commandments without
being aware of it. They end up dragging each other down to Hell.
TO BE A KING'S BARBER
Once upon a time, a king's personal attendant risked
his life to save the king at the battlefield. The king was so grateful that he
gave his lifesaver whatever he wanted. The king asked, "What do you want?
Your wishes shall be granted."
The man replied, "Allow me to shave
you when you need a shave."
The king said, "If that is what you wish
to do, I'll grant it to you."
Such a stupid man is laughed at by the people
at large. It would be so much better for the barber to ask for half a country
or to become prime minister or minister of State rather than to practice the mean
profession. Only a stupid man would do so.
To attain Buddhadhood, all Buddhas
cultivate themselves with hardship during a long and painful period of time. What
people do not realize is that Buddha Sakyamuni's bequeathed teachings are scarce
to be heard and our human bodies are hard to be acquired as well. It is like a
blind turtle's trouble in finding a log hole floating at the surface of the water.
enough, once these two difficulties are overcome, people are self-complacent with
their shallow mind and few commandments are observed without any ambition of ever
attaining Nirvana, the perfect Enlightenment. They find themselves contented with
no further improvement and instead end up doing evil deeds.
(56) TO ASK
Once upon a time, two men walking together saw another fellow trying
in vain to pull a chariot loaded with sesame out of a hole on the road.
the two men, the fellow said, "Please give me a hand."
The two men
replied, "What are our, rewards?"
The fellow said, "Nothing."
spite of the answer, the two men helped to get the chariot out of the hole. They
demanded, "Now give us something."
The fellow replied, "I'll
give you nothing!"
Again the men said, "Give us "Nothing"
Half smiling, one of them said, "He doesn't want to give us
anything. No use getting upset."
The other one replied, "He said
he'd give us 'nothing'. We'll settle for that 'nothing'."
When one of
them says 'nothing', that 'nothing' is composed of two words, which constitute
an unreal name. If the vulgar and common people cling to 'nothing', they will
be born is Space World of Formlessness.
Whereas the other says 'nothing' to
signify no form, no vows and no Karma.
(57) TREADING ON THE ELLDERS MOUTH
upon a time there was an extremely wealthy elder whose attendants were eager to
please him by paying him all due deference. When he spat, the attendants rubbed
it with their feet. Among them J was this stupid man who said to himself, "When
he spits on the ground, others rub it with their feet, Now I'm going to be the
first one to render the service of rubbing it when he spits next time."
when the Elder was about to cough and spit out, the man kicked up his foot and
trod on the elder's mouth. He broke the old man's lips and teeth. To the stupid
man, the elderly man said, "What did you do that for?"
man replied, "Though I would like to serve you, I have always fallen behind
others. So I thought by kicking up my foot when you were about to spit out from
your mouth, I would be the first to please you."
People have to pick the
right time to do the right thing. They will get into trouble otherwise, even using
every possible means to achieve a purpose. Therefore, they should know when it
is right or wrong time.
(58) THE TWO BROTHERS AND THEIR INHERITANCE
upon a time, there was a Ksatriya of the Makara Kingdom who fell seriously ill,
and was aware of the fatal hour. To his two sons he ordered, "After my death,
divide between the two of you evenly my effects and money."
death, the two sons followed their father's will. But the elder brother complained
against the younger of unfairness in their shares. An old man nearby said, "Let
me teach you how to divide equally your father's fortune."
The old man replied, "Cut all the valuable garments into two
parts. Then break everything else into two equal parts, such as tray, bottle,
bowl, dish, money and so forth."
People laughed at his suggestion. Such
folly is just like those heretics who use one-sided method of separate answer
to all questions.
There are four ways to answer questions as follows:
For instance: All human beings are mortal
For instance: The dead will be reborn.
This should be answered separately.
Those who have no desires at all will not be reborn. Those who have desires will
3. Reversal question and answer.
For example, someone asks: Are
all human beings supreme ones?" This can be questioned reversely as follows:
"Are you referring to the Three Paths of Transmigration or to the host of
If you are referring to the former, I should say human beings are supreme.
If the latter, I should say human beings are not equals to Devas.
4. No answers
If you ask the fourteen difficult questions, such as whether the
world has limit or whether human beings have any beginnings or ends.
to be wise, the ignorant heretics divide the four ways of answering questions
by only using the separate answer, just like the stupid man giving advice to the
two sons to divide all effects and money into two parts.
Once two men went to a potter's field where they watched a tread-wheel
making earns. They were delighted at seeing the work without satiety. One then
left for the great assembly where he was well received with excellent food and
got precious teachings as well. The other stayed on at the plant and said, "I'll
get a good look at how urns are made."
Thus he stayed till the sun set
without realizing how hungry he really was or how chilly it had gotten.
are the stupid who engage themselves in their housework without being aware that
all things are subject to change.
People are inclined to be very fickle nowadays.
of Buddhas and Great Dragons thunders all over the world.
The rain of Buddhist
teachings fertilizes all beings, except for those who stick to trifles.
unconscious of death that could come any time, people miss the opportunity to
attend to Buddhist assemblies.
They are unable to be inspired by the precious
teachings as a treasure and always remain in misery.
Those who are abandoning
the right doctrine and looking endlessly at the trifles of urn making lose the
benefit of learning and will never get deliverance.
(60) SEEING THE SHADOW
OF GOLD AT THE BOTTOM OF A POND
Once upon a time, there was a man who went
to a large pond where he thought he had seen the shadow of pure gold at the bottom
of water. He gave a cry of joy and jumped into the water to feel about the mud
and search for it.
A few moments later, he began to feel very tired. He could
not find any gold and he then got out of the pond. But as soon as he was out of
the water that became clear in no time, the golden shadow turned up again. Then
he dived once again to do more searching. Still he found nothing. At this point,
his father came looking for him. Seeing the state he was in, his father asked,
"What have you been doing to get so tired?"
The son replied, "There
is pure gold under water. I searched for it, but could find nothing."
father could also see the shadow of pure gold in the water. But he soon realized
that it was in the trees. So he knew what was in the water was mere reflection.
Then he told his son that it was held by the bird's beak and brought it in the
trees. Following his father's instructions, the son immediately got the gold from
So are the ignorant in the world. They hold on to tile thought of
ego in the shadow of non-ego, just like the stupid man looking desperately for
the gold without success.
(61) BRAHMA'S DISCIPLE CAN CREATE ALL THINGS
say that the Great Brahma was both father of the world and creator of all things.
One of the Great Brahma's disciples once said he also had the power to create
things. He was too stupid to be wise.
To the great Brahma, he said, "I
can create everything."
The Great Brahrna replied, "Don't talk like
that. You can't. Since you don't listen to me, I wonder how you do it."
seeing what his disciple had creased, the Great Brahma said, "The man's head
that you have made is too big and the neck too thin. The hands are too long and
the arms too bony. The feet are too small and the legs too fat. It looks like
a Pisacah devil."
Through the Great Brahma's words, we should realize
that human beings are created by their own deeds resulting from Karma and not
by the power of the Great Brahma.
Buddha's preaching is not ambiguous. As they
preach the Eightfold Noble Path, they cling neither to the view of total annihilation
nor that of permanence. On the contrary, the heretics do cling to the view of
annihilation and permanence. They cheat the world by performing ceremonies and
creating images. What they preach really is not Buddhism.
(62) THE PATIENT
EATS THE PHEASANT MEAT
Once upon a time, there was a man who was seriously
ill. A skillful physician prescribed that he could be cured by eating some pheasant
meat. After he finished eating one, the patient did not eat it again. Afterwards,
the doctor came to him and asked, "How do you feel now?"
replied, "You have told me to eat some pheasants. Now that I have eaten it,
I dare not eat it again."
The physician said, "But why not? How can
you expect to be cured with only one pheasant?"
This is also true with
all the heretics. They should understand what the mind means on hearing such wise
and skillful doctors as Buddha's and Bodhisattva's preaching. However, they cling
to the view of permanence thinking that there is only one mind from the past,
present through future, which does not undergo any change. This is just like the
patient eating only one pheasant that his illness of ignorance and worries cannot
All Omniscient Buddhas teach the heretics to abandon their prejudiced
view of permanence. For all phenomena are subject to change at the time of thought.
How can the mind remain unchanged! This is just like the physician's telling the
patient to eat more pheasants.
So is Sakyamuni Buddha's preaching to all men
to understand all his teachings. Sakyamuni has it that things which can be ruined
or destroyed are called impenitence.
Things which can be lasted are called
Once the context is understood, people will eradicate the wrong
view of permanence.
(63) AN ACTOR WEARING A DEMON'S GARMENT
a time, there was a troupe of actors from Cadhara Kingdom, rambling in different
parts of the country giving performances due to a famine. They passed the Pala
New Mountain where evil demons and men-eater Raksas had been found. The troupe
had to lodge in the mountain where it was windy and cold. They slept with the
fire on. One of them who were chilly wore Raksa demon's costume and sat near the
fire when another actor awoke and saw him. He ran away without looking closely
at him. In general panic, the whole troupe got up and ran away. The one who wore
the Raksa garment, not realizing what was happening, followed them.
he was behind them, all the actors got more frightened to do them harm. They crossed
rivers and mountains, and jumped into ditches and gullies. All got wounded in
addition to the great fear they suffered. They did not realize that he was not
a demon until daybreak. So are all the common people. Those who happen to be in
the midst of the misfortune of famine, do not spare themselves trouble to go far
away to seek for the sublime teaching of the Four Transcendental Realities of
Nirvana, namely eternity, bliss, personality and purity. However, they cling to
their egos which are nothing more than five components of a human being. Because
of this, they are flowing back again and again through transmigration. Pursued
by temptation, they are out of sorts in falling into the ditch of the Three Evil
Paths. Only when the night of transmigration is ended, does the wisdom appear
once again. Also only at this moment can one perceive the five components of a
human being have no real ego.
(64) AN EVIL DEMON IN THE OLD HOUSE
upon a time, there was an old house where the rumors had it that an evil demon
often appeared. People were so frightened that no one would dare to be in it.
A man claiming himself dauntless said: "I would like to spend a night in
this house." So he did.
Upon hearing from the bystander that the house
was frequently haunted by an evil demon, another man also wanted to do the same
proving himself to be more intrepid than the first one. He tried to enter by pushing
The one who had got into the house first thought the second one to
be the demon and blocked the door to his entrance. The second, unable to open
the door, thought the first one to be the demon. They first argued and then began
to fight until dawn. When finally coming face to face, they realized that they
were both mistaken.
So are the people at large.
Our ego is subject to the
law of impermanence and cause-effect, and therefore there is no mastering power
in our body. Considering and analyzing all in all, one can only ask who the ego
is. However, human beings indulge in ill-natured gossip everywhere, and fight
each other like those men in this told story.
(65) FIVE HUNDRED HAPPY
Once upon a time, there was a woman who led a promiscuous life. She hated
her husband when she was burning with lascivious desires. However, there was no
opportunity for her to carry out any of her schemes to kill him. It so happened
that her husband was sent on an official mission to a neighboring state, the woman
secretly prepared some poisonous pills. To the husband she said with a faked tenderness,
"Now that you have been sent far away on this official mission, I have prepared
for you five hundred pills both as food supplies and as something to cheer you
up. You will take them when you are hungry, when you reach the border."
husband did not take them when he crossed the frontier. It was dark then and he
decided to rest in the forest. Afraid of wild animals, he climbed up a tree to
spend the night. He left his pills under the tree.
On that same night, a group
of five hundred thieves stopped at the same spot with five hundred horses and
precious things stolen from their king. They were all hungry and thirsty from
their narrow escape. Finding those pills under the tree, the thieves took them
and, on account of the strong poisonous effect, died one after another in no time.
daybreak, the man hiding in the tree saw the dead thieves. Then he deceitfully
made as if he slew and shot the corpses with swords and arrows. Afterward, he
got all the horses as well as the stolen goods together and rode towards the foreign
Meanwhile, the king was on his way with his guards trying to apprehend
the thieves. They carne across the man and asked, "Who are you? Where did
you get these horses?"
The man replied, "I have come on a special
mission. On the way, 1 encountered this band of thieves. I fought them and killed
them all. Their corpses are under a tree over there. That's how 1 got these horses
and precious things. If your Majesty doesn't believe it, you can inspect the casualties
on the spot where we fought."
Immediately, the king sent his guards to
inspect the spot. They found out what he had said was true. The king was overwhelmed
with admiration for his unusual bravery. Later, when the man was sent back to
his own country, the king bestowed him both a knighthood and treasures as well
as a piece of land.
The king's old officials said with jealousy, "Why
does your Majesty bestow him such rewards to a but stranger? Besides, the grant
of his title of honors goes above the old officials."
Hearing those words
the stranger said, "Who is intrepid enough to challenge me? Let's have a
The old officials were startled and none would venture to accept
the challenge. At the time, there was a ferocious lion in the wilderness of the
country, which often disturbed the royal passages. The lion killed many travelers.
The old officials conferred on the matter.
"The way this stranger brags
so much about his fighting spirit, it will be wonderful if he is made to kill
the lion for the sake of the country."
They then asked the king to give
him a sword and spear, and sent him off to kill the lion. The lion attacked him
with a roar as soon as it saw him. In great fear, the man climbed up the tree.
The lion lifted its head towards him and roared. The man got so frightened that
he dropped his sword right into the lion's mouth. The king of the forest died
The stranger, delirious with happiness over his new conquest,
came to report the news to the king who, in turn, multiplied his rewards. Furthermore,
he got respect and praises from the whole court as well as the country.
view of this story:
" The pills are referred to as an unclean almsgiving;
The king's guards are referred to as good friends;
" The arrival at a
foreign country is referred to as all Devas;
" Killing the band of thieves
is referred to as obtaining the Sotapanna's degree resolving to cut the Five Desires
together with other worries;
" Meeting the king is referred to as coming
across the Sage and Saint;
" Other officials jealousy is referred to as
the heretics who utter slander against the wise by saying there is no way that
the wise are capable to cut off the Five Desires and other worries;
The stranger's bragging is referred to as the heretics who can not resist him;
Killing the lion is referred to as destroying all evil demons and thus obtaining
the title of honors for the unattached way of Nirvana;
" The man's fear
is referred to as the weak bringing the strong into Subjection.
earnestly do almsgiving out of kindness or compassion. They would gain so much
more in reward considering how the man in this story gained out of an ill almsgiving,
which later on turned into a good one, thanks to the good friends he met.
(66) READING THE SAILING METHODS
Once upon a time, there was a young man
from a respectable family who went to the sea with some merchants to look for
pearls. He had read all about sailing such as to know how to steer the boat, how
to take the right direction and how to hold in good position when they had to
face whirlpools, countercurrents, or rocks during the, journey.
aboard, he said, "I know all about sailing."
Everyone believed him.
It was not long before the captain of the boat fell ill and died soon after. He
then took charge of the boat. When they came to whirlpools and rapid currents,
he recited what he had read without knowing how to put those instructions into
practice. The boat that was strolling and going round could not advance to the
pearls place. Then they all drowned.
So are the common people. They have little
knowledge of quiet sitting, of counting the breathings and of contemplating on
the uncleanness of human body for the practice of meditation. Although they can
read the scriptures, they do not grasp the meaning. In fact, they know really
nothing about all the methods of meditation. They preach the wrong ways, pretending
to be well acquainted with the right ways. Bewildered and diffident, the followers
turn the characteristics of things upside down, getting nothing in return over
the whole year or a number of years. They are just like those who drowned at sea
by the stupid man in this story.
(67) A BET OVER A CAKE
Once upon a
time, there were a man and his wife who shared three cakes. On the third, they
made a bet, "whoever talks first loses his share of the cake." After
this, they stopped talking.
In no time, a thief forced his way into the house
to rob valuable things. The couple saw that everything fell into the thief's hand
without uttering a sound, due to the bet they had made previously Seeing that
they said nothing, the thief started to attack the wife in the presence of her
husband who still would not utter a word. Then she shouted to her husband, "How
stupid you are! You wouldn't shout only because of a cake."
hand in joy, the husband said, "Oh! My girl. I'll get the cake. I won't give
you any of it."
Upon hearing the story, everyone nearby laughed at them.
are the common people.
For a little fame and gain, people deceptively appear
to be quiet and silent. When they are disturbed with their false worries and all
other evil thoughts, they are not afraid of losing their good teachings and falling
into the Three Evil Paths of Transmigration. They do not try to seek to leave
this world. When they have their five desires fulfilled, they do not think of
the ensuing suffering. Therefore, they are in no way different from that stupid
(68) BEARING A GRUDGE AGAINST ONE ANOTHER
Once upon a time,
there was an unhappy man who bore grudges against another man. He was asked: "Why
are you so unhappy?"
He replied: "Somebody speaks ill of me. I don't
know how to do it. That's why I'm so upset."
He was told, "Only with
the Vetala incantation can you hurt him. However, there will be a drawback. That
is to say, instead of your hurting him, you will suffer from your boom rang."
hearing these words, he cheered up and said, "Please show me the way. Even
though I'll hurt myself, I still would like to hurt him."
So are the people
Out of revenge, people seek the Vatala incantation to hurt others
without realizing that to feel anger and hatred is to get hurt themselves and
fall into the Three Evil Paths of hells, beasts and hungry ghosts. They are in
no way different from the stupid man in this story.
(69) THE MAN EATS
Once upon a time, there was a man who went from North India to the
South where he lived for a long time, got married and settled down. One day the
wife prepared some food. The husband ate it in one mouthful while it was piping
hot. She asked in shock, "There is no one here trying to take the food away
from you. What made you eat so fast?"
The husband said, "That's a
great secret that I have been keeping from you."
Upon hearing these words,
the wife insisted on knowing the secret, thinking there might have some special
reason for it. After a pause, the husband replied, "My ancestors made it
a rule to eat quickly, I'm doing it nothing more than an act of observing the
tradition. This is the reason of my eating in a hurry.
The same also holds
true with the common people. People who are doing evil things have no sense of
shame, because they do not know what is right or how to distinguish truth from
falsehood. They say they observe the tradition. They accept and follow it to death,
just like that stupid man making it a rule to eat quickly.
(70) TO TASTE
Once upon a time, there was an elderly man who sent a servant to buy
him some apples. He gave him orders as follows, "You'll buy some good and
sweet apples for me."
The servant then went on an errand with money. The
owner of the apple orchard said to him, "All my apples are good and sweet:
There is not a single bad one. You'll know it when you taste one."
servant said, "I'll buy some after I taste every single one of them. How
do I know about the rest. If I only taste one?"
After tasting them one
by one, he bought the apples. The master did not like the sight of all these half-eaten
apples and he threw them all out.
This is also held to be true with the people
Seeing that all those who keep almsgiving commandment, can acquire
great wealth and happiness, physically at ease and mentally stable. People still
remark in disbelief, "We'll believe it if we can get them for ourselves."
see for yourself in noble and base, rich and poor of this World, you would attribute
those people to retribution of the previous lives. But they hardly know to deduce
the Law of Cause and Effect, which they are reluctant to draw a general rule from
particular instances. It is to be regretted for their disbelief. For once death
approaches them, they have to leave their worldly possessions just like the elderly
man throwing out all the half-eaten apples.
(71) THE MAN WHO TURNED BLIND
upon a time, there was a man who had two wives. Whenever he was with one of them,
the other got very angry. Faced with such a dilemma, he decided one night to lie
flat on the back between the two. It happened that it was raining so heavily that
their house began to have a leak. Water and mud fell into his eyes, but he dared
not get up and run away, due to the decision he had taken before. Finally he became
This is also held to be true with the common people of the
By keeping bad company and doing unlawful deeds, people create Karmas
and fall into the Three Evil Paths of Transmigration. Not only will they remain
in the round of existences forever, but also lose their eyes of wisdom, just like
the stupid man who turned blind.
(72) AN OPERATION ON THE MOUTH
upon a time, there was a man who went to his wife's home where he saw people removing
the husk from rice. He stole some rice and hid it in his mouth. When the wife
came to talk to him, he could not answer her with his mouth full. He disliked
to leave it lest he would put her to shame. So he stood speechless. That aroused
her curiosity all the more.
Looking at him and feeling him with her hands,
she found his mouth swollen. Thereupon she said to her father, "On his way
over, my husband suddenly got a swollen mouth and is unable to speak."
her father sent for a doctor who said, "Very serious is your illness. It
will be cured by an operation."
Then an operation on his mouth was done
and his act of theft was exposed.
This is also held to be true with the people
In doing evil deeds to break the pure commandments and hiding sins,
people descend to the Three Evil Ways of hells, beats and hungry ghosts. This
is just like the stupid man, being reluctant to let out rice, on account of a
trifling shame matter, and undergoing an operation on his mouth to reveal his
(73) THE HORSE WAS DEAD
Once upon a time, there was a man who
rode on a black horse to a battle. Out of fear, he was incapable to combat. He
daubed his face and eyes with blood and dirt. Pretending to be dead, he laid down
in the midst of corpses. The horse on which he had rode was taken away. After
the battle was through, he went home bringing with him the cut-off tail of a white
horse that belonged to another soldier. Back at home, he was asked, "Where
is your old horse?"
The man replied, "My horse is dead. I have brought
back with me its tail."
People said, "But your old horse was black.
How did its tail turn white?"
Speechless, the man was laughed at.
are the people at large. Despite of their pretending to be good, pious, compassionate
and restraining themselves to eat meat and drink wine, people indulge themselves
in killing and injuring other sentient beings and thus raising to pain and cruelty.
Furthermore, they boast that they do good deeds, but there is nothing they will
not do to commit sins, just like the stupid man and his horse.
A COMMON MONK
Once upon a time, there was a kingdom which had a law that all
Brahmans in the country should keep their bodies clean and those who do not would
be subject to all kinds of hard works.
There was a Brahman who was always holding
an empty pot pretending that he was a clean man. When someone poured water info
his pot, he spilled it and said in these words, "I don't want to wash myself.
Let the king do it himself. I have been lying to shun hard labor, because of the
This is also held to be true with the common monks.
monk, who has shaved his head and worn dyed gannets, could break commandments
while pretending to be following them outwardly. Thus he wants to receive gain
and offerings and avoids labor work, superficially he looks like a monk, but in
reality, he cheats, just like the Brahman holding an empty pot and keeping up
(75) THE CAME AND THE JAR ARE BOTH LOST
Once upon a time,
there was a man who had a jar used to hold grain. A camel put its head into it
to eat the grain, but it could not get its head out. The man became angry and
worried. An old man came up to him and said, "Don't be upset. I'll tell you
how to get him out. It'll get its head out in no time if you listen to me. You
should cut off its head and he'll be out."
The man followed his words.
He killed the camel and also broke the jar. Such an idiot was jeered by the people
This is also held to be true with the common stupid men. Those who
hope for Enlightened minds through the Three Vehicles, must keep commandments
and avoid doing evil deeds. However, they indulge themselves in the Five Desires,
which will destroy them. Not only do they end up breaking commandments, but also
giving up the Three Vehicles. In addition, they follow their own inclination and
yield to their whims at the same time. There is nothing evil they will not do.
Thus they abandon both the Three Vehicles and the pure commandments like that
stupid man losing both the camel and the jar.
(76) THE FARMER LONGED FOR
Once upon a time, there was a farmer who went to the city and
saw the princess who was very graceful. He found she was quite a rare beauty.
Afterwards he thought of nothing else but the princess day and night. Since he
could not find a way to have a talk with liar, he became yellow and fell very
ill from his love-sickness. His parents and relatives asked him what had happened
to him. He replied, "Yesterday I saw the graceful princess with whom I would
like to get acquainted. But I've been unable to think of a way. This is why I
have fallen ill. I'll die soon!"
The parents and relatives said, "We'll
find a way. Don't be so upset."
Two days later, they said to him, "We
have found away. Unfortunately, she didn't like it at all."
these words the farmer got very happy and said with a big smile to other people
that she would come to him if he sent for her.
This is also held to be true
with the stupid men of the world.
A stupid man knows of no seasons of spring,
summer, autumn and winter. He sows the land with seeds in winter hoping that they
will grow. He gains nothing except wasting his energy in vain. All are lost as
buds, stalks branches and leaves.
Getting a little merit, the stupid of the
world are satisfied with what they think are the attainment of Enlightenment,
like the farmer who longed for the princess.
(77) TO MILK A DONKEY
upon a time, there was a group of frontiersmen who had never seen a monkey before.
Thus they could not identify it. They were told that its milk was delicious. It
happened that they found a male donkey and they tried to milk it. They began their
wrangling about apprehending it.
One seized its head: another, its ears; the
third, its tail; the fourth, its feet; and finally the fifth, its penis. All wanted
to be the first to drink its milk. The one who grasped the donkey's penis called
out that he could get milk there from. Then he began to extract. Finally, this
group of people felt tired and bored, for they could not get what they had wanted.
They got nothing in return, despite of their effort. They were all laughed at
by the people at large.
This is also held to be true with the common heretics.
heretics who learn their religious faith from some inadequate sources, might lead
to illusions giving rise to all kinds of heterodox views such as to go naked,
to fast, to jump into precipice or go through fire. With all these kinds of heterodox
views, they fall to the evil paths, like those stupid men seeking in vain for
milk from a male donkey.
(78) THE SON'S TRIPS
Once upon a time, there
was a man who told his son one night, "Tomorrow I'll go with you to another
tribe for some errands."
The son hastened to go there by himself at dawn
without telling his father. On his arrival, he was so tired that he did nothing.
Furthermore, he could not find food. He got very hungry and thirsty. After he
came back, his father scolded him and said, "You are very stupid indeed.
Why didn't you wait for me? You ran back and forth for nothing, only to suffer
He was laughed at by the people at large.
This is also held
to be true with the common people.
Those who have the opportunity to become
monks and who shave off their mustache and have their hair cut, and who wear the
monk's three robes, do not ask for guidance to obtain Nirvana from an imminent
teacher. They will in the end, lose not only the meditation training, but also
the merits of monastic grades. Finally, they will lose altogether the supreme
results from the practices of monks, under the cloak of whom they virtually gain
nothing. This is just like that stupid man casting his trip in vain, only to get
tired and weary.
(79) CARRYING CHAIRS FOR THE KING
Once upon a time,
there was a king who wished to go to the garden named "Free From Care"
for a good time. He ordered one of his ministers, "You'll drag a lounge chair
to that garden for me to sit and take rest on."
The minister considered
it a demeaning job for a minister to drag a chair. So he refused to do it and
replied, "I would rather carry it on my back with a pole than dragging it."
the king put thirty-six chairs on his back and asked him to carry them to the
garden. Such a stupid man was laughed by the people at large.
This is also
held to be true with the common people.
Seeing hair fallen from a woman's head
on the ground, people are reluctant to pick it up, in the name of keeping the
commandments. However once disturbed by ignorance and desire, they do not mind
picking up thirty-six unclean things at a time such as hair, capillary, nail,
tooth, excrement, urine etc, without feeling shameful and even keep them as long
as they live. This is just like that stupid man bearing chairs on his back.
(80) TO TAKE AN ENEMA
Once upon a time, there was a man who had a pain
in his rear. The doctor said it would be healed by giving an enema. He immediately
went to fetch the instruments for that purpose. The patient took the drug before
the physician came back. His belly became inflated beyond description. After his
return, the doctor wondered what had happened to the patient and asked him the
cause of it. To the physician, he replied, "I've just taken the drug for
enema. That's why I'm dying."
After hearing these words, the doctor scolded
him in following words, "You are the most stupid man I've ever met. You are
acting against all senses."
Then he gave him other drugs. The patient
vomited and was cured. Such a stupid man was laughed at by the people at large.
is also held to be true with the common people.
The contemplation in meditation
comprises many methods. Those who practice meditating on the uncleanness of the
human bodies are not appropriate to practice on the counting of the breathings,
whereas those who practice the counting of the breathings should not practice
the meditating on the six parts of a human body. To turn it upside down without
following a fundamental principle will cause life itself. Those who bluntly practice
the contemplation in meditation without consulting a good master are just like
that stupid man taking the wrong thing for his illness.
(81) GETTING BITTEN
BY A BEAR
Once upon a time, there were a man and his son traveling together.
The son got into the woods and was bitten by a bear. Scratches were all over his
body. Being in a difficult situation, he fled to his father. Seeing his son's
wounds, the father was astonished and asked, "How did you get wounded?"
son replied, "There was a long-haired monster that bit me."
grasped bows and arrows and went to the woods where he saw a longhaired supernatural
being. When he was about to shoot at him, a bystander said, "Why do you want
to shoot at this, since he is innocent? You should punish the guilty."
is also held to be true with the stupid of the world.
People offended by an
immoral monk in his religious robe, are apt to do the worst harm to all good and
virtuous monks. This is just like the father wanting to be revenged on the supernatural
man for his son's bites by a bear.
(82) THE CULTIVATION OF THE LAND
upon a time, there was a peasant who went to another farmer's property to examine
his wheat plants. He asked the owner, "How do you make the wheat grow so
The owner replied, "First, you have to flatten the field.
Then you pour some liquid manure. That's why it has turned out so nicely."
peasant then did what the other farmer had told him. He poured liquid manure to
blend with the soil and scattered seed in land. Treading the field with his feet,
he was afraid that the land would become too hard to be fruitful.
He said to
himself, "I should sow sitting on a bed carried by others. That'll do."
then ordered each of the four men to hold a leg of the bed to scatter seed in
land which became all the harder. Initially he was afraid that his own two feet
might be too heavy for the land. Then he added still eight of others to do the
job. He was laughed at by others.
This is also held to be true with the common
To cultivate the field of commandments and wait the good yield of shoots,
people, should consult a master to practice the Buddhist teachings, however, they
break the commandments and do evil deeds. Thus the shoots of commandments do not
grow, just like the peasant who was afraid of his won two feet and added still
eight of others.
(83) A FEMALE MONKEY
Once upon a time, a female monkey
was beaten by a full-grown person. The animal had no other alternative than gave
vent to its anger later on a small boy.
This is also held to be true with the
common stupid men.
One who is offended by another person takes out his anger
sometimes on a third person. Human affairs are always in a state of transition
without discontinuity. For things born in the past are bygone. What come after
are different things. Thus the one wrongfully gets into a temper only gets deeper
and deeper into hatred.
This is just like the monkey that has been beaten by
a grown person vents its anger on a small boy.
(84) DOGS WERE BEATEN WHEN
THE LUNAR ECLIPSE HAPPENED
Once upon a time, there was a king of Asuras who
covered the moon with his hands when he thought it too bright. However, the stupid
men laid the blame on innocent dogs, which were sometimes unjustly beaten.
is also held to be true with the people at large. They often suffer from the desires,
anger and ignorance. But they want to destroy them by sleeping on thorns and their
bodies are burning with the five pains just like the dogs were beaten when the
lunar eclipse happened.
(85) THE WOMAN WHO HAD SORE EYES
a time, there was a woman who had a bad case of sore eyes. Another woman told
her, "Where there are eyes, there are some times pains. Although my eyes
do not ache now, I want to gouge them out so that they will not ache later."
bystander said, "Though it's true that when you have your eyes, they may
sometimes ache to disturb you, yet when you don't have them, you'll be sure to
suffer for lifetime."
This is also held to be true with the common stupid
men. People have heard that wealth and fame are the sources of decadence. They
are afraid of retribution in the hereafter for not doing almsgiving in their present
lives. The more wealth they have, the more troubles they sometimes suffer afterwards.
It is said that if you do almsgiving, you may be happy, or you may be not. But
if you don't do it, you will surely be the most unhappy man.
This is just like
that woman who could not bear the thought of having sore eyes, wanted to gouge
them out to suffer forever.
(86) THE FATHER AND HIS SON'S EARRINGS
upon a time, there were a man and his son taking a business trip together. On
their way, they came across robbers trying to rob the valuable things off them.
The son had a pair of pure gold earrings on. When the father saw the robbers approaching,
he tried to pull the rings off to hide them. As he did not succeed in doing that
in a hurry, he cut his son's head off. When the robbers went away, he tried to
put the son's head back on where it had been. No success came out of it.
a stupid was laughed at by the people at large.
For fame and gain, people argue
with a joking expression on the following subjects:
(1) There is the present
life and the hereafter and there is not.
(2) There is the intermediate existence
between death and reincarnation and there is not.
(3) There are several qualities
of the mind and there are not.
Such foolish arguments are not real Buddhist
teachings. According to the Law of Buddhism, there are no such sayings in the
Buddhist doctrine, others refute.
Stupid men who tell stories in order to win
a little fame and gain, lose the profit resulted from the practices of monks.
Furthermore, they will fall into the Three Evil Paths of Transmigration after
the decay of their bodies or at their death's door.
This is just like that
stupid man who cut his son's head off for a pair of gold earrings.
THE ROBBER'S JOY
Once upon a time, there was a band of robbers who divided
their boot according to their different ranks. Among the belongings, there was
a Benares Kambala, the color of which left much to be desired. It was considered
as an inferior part to be given to one of the robbers of the lowest rank. The
robber got angry and made a strong protest to the rest.
Afterwards, he brought
it to the city for sale. An honorable elderly man paid him a high price. He ended
up getting more money than any other robber in the band. He then leaped for joy.
is held to be true with the almsgiving. People who are doing almsgiving, are usually
not aware whether there will be a retribution. Be it ever so little they are doing
it, they, after death, go to Heaven to enjoy an unlimited amount of happiness.
The less they do, the more they get. They will then regret for not having done
This is just like the robber who was happy after he had got a top price
for his Kambala.
(88) THE FEMALE MONKEY AND A HANDFUL OF BEANS
upon a time, there was a female monkey holding a handful of beans. After dropping
to the ground a grain of bean, she dropped all the beans in her hands by looking
for the first one. All beans were then eaten by chicken and ducks before long.
is held to be true with the common monks. Those who break one commandment usually
do not like to confess. Later, they break other commandments to such an extent
that they end up breaking all of them.
This is just like the female monkey
who loses all beans by looking for a grain of bean.
(89) THE GOLD WEASEL
upon a time, there was a man who found a gold weasel while traveling. He put it
inside of his shirt as he leaped for joy. Traveling on, he reached a river where
he took off his clothes for crossing.
Subsequently, the gold weasel changed
into a poisonous snake. Nevertheless, the man did not throw it out and kept it
in the shirt. Deeply grateful, the snake changed back into pure gold.
man nearby who saw it with his own eyes, took it for granted that it should always
turned out that way. He then put a poisonous snake inside of his shirt. He got
bitten and died soon after.
This is also held to be true with the stupid of
the world. On seeing those who have done good works and in turn have obtained
benefit, people start to attach themselves to Buddhism. They are not motivated
by faith but greed. They will finally fall into evil paths after death, like that
man died of snakebites.
(90) PICKING UP MONEY
Once upon a time, there
was a poor man who picked up a sack of money in the streets. He was overwhelmed
with happiness. Then he began to count the money. Suddenly, the real owner of
the money showed up. He had to give back the whole sack. He regretted for not
having gone off to a far away place sooner. He felt great pain for his loss.
is also held to be true with people who come into contact with Buddhism.
people have the opportunity to meet the Three Precious One's Blessings, if they
are not going earnestly good work's in time, they will fall into the Three Evil
Paths of Transmigration after their deaths. His is just like that stupid man who
gave back the money that he had found. As the Stanza has it:
People, who are
managing this business today, will plan another tomorrow.
Only thinking of
enjoyment without contemplation sorrow.
Can make a man unaware of the impermanence
However, busily occupied in their worldly affairs.
people always retard to get deliverance like that man counting the money.
(91) THE POOR WANT TO HAVE AS MUCH AS THE RICH
Once upon a time, there
was a poor man who had but few possessions. After meeting some rich men, he wanted
to be like one of them. Unable to do so, he was about to throw the little he had
into the water. Some bystander said, "What you possess may be little, but
you can live on it for a while. Why do you want to throw it into the water?"
is similar to what is done by the stupid of the world.
People who happen to
be ordained men get offerings, which come way below their expectations. What they
have cannot equal that received by the high and virtuous ones. They see that those
old and virtuous ordained men are supported by the mass of famous people. They
want to be on an equal footing with them. Unable to get equality, they feel sorrowful
and painful to such a degree as to break their faith.
This is just like the
stupid man who, wanting to be equal with the rich, casts out the precious possessions
of his own.
(92) THE CHILD GETS HAPPY PILLS
Once upon a time, a wet
nurse was walking along the road with a child in her arms. She became also weary
that she fell asleep on the way. Then a man appeared and gave the child some happy
pills. Being gluttonous, the child was lured by the good taste and knew nothing
about his intentions. The man forthwith stripped the child of his necklace, brooches
This is also held to be true with the monks.
Intent upon worldly
interests and noisy places, those who are greedy for a little gain and support
are drawn to temptation while a thief steals their spiritual credit and treasured
commandments. They are just like that greedy child whose belongings are taken
away by the thief, due to the enticement of some tasteful pills.
THE OLD WOMAN CAUGHT A BEAR
Once upon a time, there was an old woman who was
resting under a tree when a bear came to attack her. She ran around the tree trying
to get away, while the bear held the tree with one hand and tried to grasp her
with the other. Thus hard pressed, the woman quickly hugged the tree and held
fast the bear's two claws so that the bear could not move. Then a stranger came
up to the spot. The old woman called out, "Let's catch and kill the bear
together. We'll share its meat."
The stranger believed the old woman's
words and began to help capture the bear. After seizing it, the old woman gave
it up and ran away. Then he was leaving in the lurch and got injured by its claws.
is also held to be true with the common people.
People progress heresy whose
theories are far from good and whose phrases are tangled, complicated and full
of errors. The successors want to continue and give an interpretation to them.
However, they are unable to grasp the meaning. There for they are enmeshed in
trouble just like that stupid man catching the bear for another person and getting
(94) THE MANI AND THE SEWER
Once upon a time, there was
a man who was having an affair with a married woman. They were together when her
husband came back. He found out their affair and stopped outside the door waiting
for the man to come out to kill him. To the lover the woman said: "My husband
knows what is going on. There is no way out but the mani."
the man to escape by means of the sewer. The man misunderstood her to mean looking
for the mani pearls. He looked everywhere but in vain. He said to himself: "I'll
not leave here, if can't find the mani pearls."
He was then killed by
This is also held to be true with the common people.
said, between birth and death, we live a life of impermanence, suffering, emptiness
and unreality of ego. We have to reject the two extremes of annihilation and permanence
by holding fast to the golden mean in order to get deliverance. However, the common
people, misunderstand the two extremes to refer to the universe being finite and
infinite and the human beings having ego and having no ego. Therefore, they are
unable to grasp the meaning of the middle way to avoid extremes. After being stricken
with sudden death, they will be killed out of impermanence and falling into the
Three Evil Paths of Transmigration.
This is just like the stupid man getting
killed looking for man pearls.
(95) A DOVE
Once upon a time, there
were two doves, male and female, which lived together in a nest. They filled their
nest with fruit seed that grew up during the fall. Later, the fruit dried and
shrank to fill but half of the nest. The male was in a temper and said to the
female, "We have been working hard together for the fruit. Now you have eaten
it alone. It's half of what it was.
The female replied, "I haven't eaten
it alone. For the fruit has shrunk by itself."
Incredulous, the male angrily
said, "If it has not been you alone who had eaten, how could it grow so much
Then he pecked the female to death. A few days later, it happened
to rain heavily. The fruit got moist and grew to its former size. On seeing it,
the male regretfully realized that she really had not eaten and that he had wrongly
killed her. He then cried bitterly and called out to her: "Where have you
This is also held to be true with the common people. Leading a
disorderly life, people indulge in wild pleasures. They think nothing of impermanence
when breaking major commandments. It will be too late for them to repent afterwards.
It only remains for them to give vent to their sadness with sighs like the stupid
(96) PRETENDING TO BE BLIND
Once upon a time, there was a trained
craftsman who worked for the king. He could not bear the hardship and deceitfully
said he was blind in order to release himself from the hard work.
it, another craftsman wanted to gouge out his own eyes so as to avoid the tiresome
drudgery. Someone then asked him, "Why do you want to gouge out your eyes
only to make yourself suffer more in another way?"
Such a stupid man was
laughed at by the people at large.
This is also held to be true with the common
people. For the sake of a little fame and gain, people are prone to tell wild
stories and destroy their pure commandments. They will fall into the Three Evil
Paths of Transmigration after their death, like that stupid man destroying his
own eyes for a little benefit.
(97) THE WOOLLEN COAT WAS ROBBED BY THE
Once upon a time, two friends were walking in the wilderness.
On the way, one of them wearing a woolen coat was robbed of it by a thief. The
other successfully escaped into a thicket. The loser of the coat had a piece of
gold concealed in the collar. To the thief, he said, "This coat is worth
one piece of gold. Now I beg you to let me redeem it at that value."
thief asked, "Where's the gold?"
Opening up the collar, the man showed
it to him and said, "Here's the pure gold. If you don't trust my words, you
can go and ask a goldsmith who is hiding in the thicket now?"
the second man, the thief also took his clothing from him. Such a stupid man thus
lost his woolen coat, gold and everything. Not only had he lost his own belongings,
he also made his friend lose them.
This is also held to be true with the common
Pious, having monastic grades and possessing other merits, people are
robbed by the thief of temptation. They lose their good teachings and their merit
as well. They lose not only the gain of their own, but also make others lose their
Karma leading to Buddhahood. They will fall into the Three Evil Paths of Transmigration
on the dissolution of the body after death, like the two losing everything they
(98) A BOY CAUGHT A BIG TURTLE
Once upon a time, there was a boy
who was playing on dry land and caught a big turtle. He intended to kill it, but
he did not know how to do so. Therefore, he asked someone and he was told, "You
just throw it into the water and he'll be killed at once."
The boy believed
the words and cast it into the water. Once in water, the turtle swam away.
is also held to be true with the common people.
Hoping to protect their six
sense organs and consecrating themselves to meritorious works, people do not know
how to do so. Accordingly, they begin to ask others how to bring about deliverance.
To them, the heretics, Maras, the evil ones and the wicked friends say in their
words, "You just have to be fond of the six sense organs and indulge in the
Five Desires. As I'm telling you, you'll get deliverance."
men follow these words without deep thinking and fall into the Three Evil Paths
of Transmigration on the dissolution of the body after death.
This is just
like that boy throwing the turtle into the water.
BY THE REVEREND
I have compiled this sutra with joking words that may spoil the
The question here is whether they are in accord with the Truth.
like the bitter medicine that blends with rock honey can cure the most severe
So also may this sutra.
As with strong medicine, the humorous
joking words are used in the correct doctrine of the Buddha.
The correct doctrine
of Buddhism and its deep meditation illuminate the world, like someone taking
a purgative to cleanse the body.
The inspiration that I have developed is derived
from my deep meditation.
Agada medicine is wrapped in tree leaves. The leaves
should be dropped after the medicine is taken or smeared over the wound.
humorous joking words are like the wrappings while the truth is inside.
wise men will take the Truth, but discard the humorous joking words.