[7] The Parable Of Recognising A Person As One’s Brother From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之认人为兄喻

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[The] Sūtra [Of A] Hundred Parables

(7) Parable [Of] Recognising [A] Person As [One’s] Brother


[In the] past, [there] was a person [with] appearance upright, [and] wisdom complete, also [with] much money [and] wealth, [whom] people throughout the world, [when] hearing [of him, are] without [those] not praising [and] admiring.


Then, [there] was [a] foolish person, seeing him like this, then saying, ‘[He is] my brother.’ Why [is] that thus? [When] that [person] has money [and] wealth, [when] needing that, then [able to] use it, therefore is [he his] brother. [When] seeing him [to be] returning debts, [then] saying, ‘[He is] not my brother.’


[A] bystander spoke [these] words, ‘You are [a] foolish person! Why [are you when] needing wealth naming him as [your] brother? And [when] he [is returning] debts, again saying [he is] not [your] brother?’


[The] foolish person replied, saying, ‘I, with [the] desire [to] attain [the] money [and] wealth of that [person, then] recognise him as [my] brother, [although] truly, [he] is not [my] brother. If, when he [is returning] debts, then calling [him to] not [be my] brother.’


People [who] heard these words [are] without [those] not laughing [at] him.


Like those [of] external paths, [when] hearing [the] Buddha’s good words, greedily stealing [them], then using [them], with [them] as [their] own existing [ones], as much as [until] bystanders tell [them to accordingly] cultivate practice, [yet] not willing [to] cultivate practice, then making this statement, ‘For benefits [and] gain thus, [we] obtained those Buddha’s words [to] transform [and] guide sentient beings, yet without [such] true matters, how [can we] cultivate practice?’


[They are] like [the] former foolish person, for attaining wealth thus, saying ‘[He] is my brother’, and when he [is returning] debts, again saying ‘[He is] not [my] brother’, this [is] likewise thus.

[Note: The ‘person with appearance upright and wisdom complete’ is a metaphor for the Buddha, with the ‘much money and wealth’ being metaphors for his immeasurable meritorious virtues (功德). The foolish person represents those of external paths, who wish to ride upon the Buddha’s popular teachings by regurgitating them for worldly benefits, such as gathering followers and offerings, while not spiritually benefitting by practising them personally.

However, when the Buddha is criticised unfairly, instead of correcting to stand up for him, they then dissociate from him and his teachings. This is because they have yet to truly appreciate, accept and actualise the Buddha’s teachings. They are thus neither true to the teachings they are supposed to espouse, nor to the Buddha’s teachings, neither true to their followers, nor to the Buddha’s followers. Most of all, they are not true to themselves.]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Previous Parable:

[6] The Parable Of Having A Son Dead, Desiring To Leave And Put Him At Home

Next Parable:

[8] The Parable Of The Qiāng Mountain Person Who Stole From An Official Storehouse

All Hundred Parables:

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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