[2] The Parable Of The Foolish Person Collecting Cow Milk From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之愚人集牛乳喻

[The] Sūtra [Of A] Hundred Parables

(2) Parable [Of The] Foolish Person Collecting Cow Milk


[In the] past, [there] was [a] foolish person, [who] will [be] meeting guests, desiring [to] collect cow milk, with [it] planning [for] setting up [and] giving [a feast. He] then had this thought, ‘I now, if beforehand, within every day squeeze [to] obtain cow milk, [the] cow milk [will] gradually [be] much, [in the] end without [a] place [to put it], perhaps then souring [to be] spoilt. [This is] not as good as then just [letting the] cow’s belly contain it, waiting [for], when approaching [the] feast, then immediately squeezing [to] obtain [the milk].’


Having this thought already, [he] then caught [the] cow mother [and] child, [with] each fastened [at] different places.


Afterwards, one month [later], thereupon setting up [a] feast [to] welcome [and] receive guests, then leading [the] cow [to] come, desiring [to] squeeze [to] obtain milk, yet this cow’s udders [are] then dry without having [any]. Then, are all guests perhaps angry or laughing.


[The] foolish person [is] likewise thus, desiring [to] cultivate giving, then saying [to] wait [for] when I have much, after that immediately giving.


Yet [to] have time [to] gather [much], in a short while, perhaps by those of county officials, floods, fires [and] thieves plundered, perhaps suddenly [at] life’s end [with] not enough time [to] give, those [are] likewise thus.

[Note: With the shortness, impermanence and unpredictability of this life, there should not be procrastination when practising generosity (布施), with the giving of cash and kind (财施) (and efforts), fearlessness (无畏施) and the Dharma (法施). Thus, there should be regular giving of what we can in a sustainable way now. Likewise, all other key aspects of the Dharma should be practised now.]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Previous Parable:

[1] The Parable Of The Foolish Person Eating Salt

Next Parable:

[3] The Parable Of With Pears Hitting Breaking The Head

All Hundred Parables:

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How Should All Aspiring For Buddhahood Eat And Drink?

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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