[30] The Parable Of The Person Tending Sheep From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之牧羊人喻

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[The] Sūtra [Of A] Hundred Parables

(30) Parable [Of The] Person Tending Sheep


[In the] past, [there] was a person, skilful in tending sheep, [with] his sheep increasing [in] number, thus having ten million [of them. With] extremely great greed, [he was] not willing [to be with them for] external use.


Then, [there] was a person good at [being] deceitful, then creating ‘skilful’ means, going together [to be with his] family [and] friends, then speaking [to] him, saying, ‘I now together [with] you [have] become extremely close [and] beloved, then as one body, also without having differences. I know that family [which] has a good woman, [and] will [for] you seek [her, whom you] can [be] with as [your] wife.’


[The] person tending sheep, hearing this, [was] joyful, then greatly gave [him] sheep, much wealth [and] goods.


That person again said, ‘Your wife today, already gave birth [to] a son.’


[The] person tending sheep, yet [to be with] seeing of [his] wife, hearing she already gave birth, [was with his] mind greatly joyful, [and] again gave that [person] goods.


That person later again then said [to] him, saying, ‘Your son, born already, [is] now dead.’


[The] person tending sheep, hearing this person’s words, then greatly wept aloud endlessly.


People of [the] world [are] likewise thus, already [having] cultivated much hearing [of the Dharma], for their fame [and] benefits, [are] secretly begrudging [with] those Dharma [teachings], not willing [to be] for people teaching, transforming [and] expounding [them], for this body [with] outflows, [by] that deceived [and] confused, [with] false hope [for] worldly joys.


Like [with] one’s wife’s news by that cheated, losing good Dharma [teachings], later losing [their] bodies [and] lives, and also wealth [and] goods, then [with] great grief crying, giving rise [to] their worries [and] suffering, [they are] like that person tending sheep, likewise thus.

[Note: There should be careful acceptance of information (including news), especially in terms of spiritual teachings, which might or might not be true. There must be mindful investigation and enquiry to know if that heard is valid or not. If not, not only might we be cheated spiritually, we might be cheated materially too, repeatedly. Upon discovery of being cheated later, there will be grief for having given (or ‘donated’) for nothing true, getting nothing real in turn too.

Having much good resources (that are not against the precepts) is useless if they are not shared or given generously to benefit more. If already knowing the precious Right Dharma (正法), it should be shared selflessly, as giving of the Dharma (法施), with no sense of miserliness, not for personal gain. If there is reluctance to do so, we might not truly know the Right Dharma after all, much less practising it. If there is spiritual stinginess, there is usually physical greed for material (but fleeting) pleasures too.]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Previous Parable:

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

Next Parable:

[31] The Parable Of Hiring An Earthenware Master

All Hundred Parables:

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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