[10] The Parable Of The Three-Layered Storeyed Building From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之三重楼喻

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[The] Sūtra [Of A] Hundred Parables

(10) Parable [Of The] Three-Layered Storeyed Building


[In a] period of [the] past, [there] was [a] rich [and] foolish person, ignorant without that known, [who] reached another rich [person’s] home, [and] saw [his] three-layered storeyed building, [which was] tall [and] vast, majestic [and] beautiful, spacious [and] bright. [His] mind gave rise [to] reverence [as he] looked up, then having this thought, ‘[As] I have wealth [and] money not less than that [person], why [did I], all along then, not build such [a] storeyed building?’


[He] immediately called [the] carpenter, then asking, saying, ‘Can [you] make that upright abode [or] not?’


[The] carpenter replied, saying, ‘[This] is [by] me, that made.’


[He] immediately spoke, saying, ‘Now, [you] can for me build [a] storeyed building like that.’


[At] this moment, [the] carpenter then measured [the] ground, piled [at the] base [and] laid bricks [to] make [the] storeyed building.


[The] foolish person, seeing him piling [at the] base [and] laying bricks [to] make [the] abode, yet having doubts [and] confusion in mind, not able [to] understand [this] clearly, then asked him, saying, ‘What kind [of building do you] desire [to] make?’


[The] carpenter replied, saying, ‘[I am] making [a] three-layered house.’


[The] foolish person again said, ‘[As] I [do] not desire [a] house that [has] two lower layers, [you] can first for me make [the] most high [layer of the] house.’


[The] carpenter replied, saying, ‘[It is] without this matter. How [can there] be not making [the] most low layer [of the] house, then getting [to] build that second [layer] of [the] house? Not building [the] second [layer], how [can you] get [to] build [that] third layer [of the] house?’


[The] foolish person stubbornly said, ‘[As] I now [have] no need [for the] two lower layers [of the] house, [you] must for me make that most high [layer of the] house.’


[The] people [at that] time, [having] heard [this] already, then gave rise [to] sneering [at him], all making this statement, ‘How [can there] be not building [the] lowest first [layer of the] house, then attaining that highest [one]?’


For example, [the] World-Honoured [One’s] four groups [of] disciples [i.e. monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen], [who are] not able [to be with] concentrated diligence cultivating reverence [of the] Triple Gem, idly [and] lazily desiring [to] seek [the] path’s fruit, then make this statement, ‘I now [have] no need [for the] other lower three [Srotāpanna (须陀洹), Sakṛdāgāmi (斯陀含果) and Anāgāmin (阿那含)] fruits, only seeking [to] attain that Arhat fruit.’


Likewise by [the] people [of] that time sneered [at, they are] like that foolish person equally, without having differences.

[Note: It is with having a solid spiritual foundation by learning the Dharma first, that there can be step by step further practising and realising of it. As another analogy, the three storeys can stand for the Three Wisdoms (三慧) of Hearing’s Wisdom (闻慧), Contemplating’s Wisdom (思慧) and Cultivating’s Wisdom (修慧) too, as sequential steps for ‘inputting’, ‘digesting’ (i.e. internalising) and ‘outputting’ of the Dharma.]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Previous Parable:

[9] The Parable Of Praising The Father’s Virtuous Practices

Next Parable:

[11] The Parable Of The Brahmin Who Killed His Son

All Hundred Parables:

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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