[22] The Parable Of Entering The Ocean To Take Water-Sunken Incense From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之入海取沉水喻

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[The] Sūtra [Of A] Hundred Parables

Second Scroll

(22) Parable [Of] Entering [The] Ocean [To] Take Water-Sunken [Incense]


[In the] past, [there] was [an] elder’s son, [who] entered [the] ocean [to] take water-sunken [incense] [i.e. agarwood] [that was] accumulated for years, then getting a carriage [to] hold [them], returning home.


Arriving [at the] market [to] sell it, with it expensive thus, [in the] end without buyers, [having] experienced many days [of] not [being] able [to] get [it] sold, [his] mind gave rise [to] weariness, with [it] as suffering [with] afflictions. When seeing people selling coal getting [to] quickly sell [it, he] then gave rise [to the] thought, saying, ‘It would be better [to] burn it [to] become coal, [so that I] can get [to] quickly sell [it].’


Immediately, [he] burnt [it] for coal. Arriving [at the] market [to] sell it, [he could] not get [the] price of half [of the] carriage’s coal.


[The] world’s foolish people [are] likewise thus, [with] immeasurable skilful means, then [with] diligent practices, diligently hoping [for and] seeking [the] Buddha fruit, with it ‘difficult’ [to] attain, then giving rise [to] retrogression’s mind, [thinking] it would be better [to] give rise [to the] mind [to] seek [the] Voice-Hearer’s fruit, [to] quickly sever [from the cycle of] birth [and] death [by] becoming Arhats.

[Note: With invertedness, the foolish, despite having encountered Right Dharma (正法), do not know how to fully appreciate and practise it. For what is truly precious, even if others lack understanding of it, its value does not decrease. However, the very foolish might even desecrate and ‘cheapen’ the precious, thus not benefitting much from it personally.

There are also the less wise, who originally aspired for Buddhahood, but with inadequate understanding of the immeasurable value of Buddhahood for one and all, decide to ‘lower’ their aspiration, for the self-liberation of Arhathood only. They lack awareness of the Pure Land Dharma Door (净土法门), which offers the Easy Practice Path (易行道) for Buddhahood. With the ultimate expedition, it also guarantees non-retrogression of spiritual progress upon reaching of Pure Land. This is thus the swiftest and most skilful path to Buddhahood.]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Previous Parable:

[21] The Parable Of The Woman Desiring Again To Seek A Child

Next Parable:

[23] The Parable Of The Thief Stealing Brocade To Use For Wrapping Felt And Coarse Hemp Cloth

All Hundred Parables:

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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