[29] The Parable Of The Poor Person Burning Coarse Hemp Clothes From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之贫人烧粗褐衣喻

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[The] Sūtra [Of A] Hundred Parables

(29) Parable [Of The] Poor Person Burning Coarse Hemp Clothes


[In the] past, [there] was a person poor [with] difficulties [and] lacking, for another [as a] servant working, got coarse hemp clothes and wore them.


[There] was [a] person, seeing this, then speaking [to] him, saying, ‘[As] you [are the] son of [an] upright [and] noble caste’s person, why [are you] wearing these coarse hemp clothes? [As] I [will] now teach you, [and] will cause you [to] get [the] most wonderful clothes, [you] should follow my words. After all, [I will] not cheat you.’


[The] poor person [with] joyful respect followed those words, [as] that person immediately before [a] burning fire, said [to the] poor person, saying, ‘Now, [you] can take off these coarse hemp clothes [and] burn [them] within [the] fire. From this burning place, [I] will cause you [to] get [the] most wonderful [and] admirable clothes.’


[The] poor person immediately took [them] off [and] burnt [them] within [the] fire. Already burning [them] after, from this fire’s place seeking admirable clothes, all without those gotten.


People of [the] world [are] likewise thus, from past bodies’ cultivation [of] many good Dharma [teachings] attaining these human bodies, [they] should protect [them and] progress virtuously [by] cultivating [their] karmas. Then by external paths’ evil [and] beautiful women, [by] those cheated [and] deceived, ‘You now should believe my words [to] cultivate all ascetic practices. [After] throwing [yourself off] cliffs, [and] rushing [into] fires [to] relinquish this body already, [you] will [be] born [in] Brahma’s heaven [to] long receive happiness [and] bliss.’


Then using their words, immediately relinquishing [their] bodies [and] lives, [with their] bodies’ deaths after, falling into [the] hells [to] fully receive all [kinds of] suffering, both losing [their] human bodies, [also] empty without that obtained, like that poor person, [they are] likewise thus.

[Note: With whatever little or many blessings we have now, having worked our way to attain them, we should treasure them, and only use them to further cultivate good and pure karmas, so as to advance towards Buddhahood (佛果).

If without this clear direction, we might be tempted and deceived to practise pointless extreme asceticism and other wrong practices that do not lead to the ‘heavenly’ promised, much less Buddhahood. Practices that lead to suicide can lead to a hellish rebirth instead due to taking of a human life. Such are useless sacrifices.]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Previous Parable:

[28] The Parable Of For The Wife Changing Her Nose

Next Parable:

[30] The Parable Of The Person Tending Sheep

All Hundred Parables:

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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