Sutras

[37] The Parable Of Killing A Herd Of Cows From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之杀群牛喻

herd of cattle in daytime
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《百喻经》
[The] Sūtra [Of A] Hundred Parables

(三七):杀群牛喻
[37] Parable [Of] Killing [A] Herd [Of] Cows

昔有一人,有二百五十头牛,常驱逐水草随时餧食。

[In the] past, [there] was a person, [who] had two hundred and fifty count [of] cows, constantly driving [them to] lands [with] water [and] grass, at all times [for] feeding food and drink.

时有一虎啖食一牛,尔时牛主即作念言:「已失一牛俱不全足,用是牛为?」

Then, [there] was a tiger, [who] devoured a cow. At that time, [the] owner [of the] cows had [this] thought [and] said, ‘[As I have] already lost one cow, [they are] together not complete [and] enough [now]. Because [of] this, [what are the other] cows for?’

即便驱至深坑高岸,排着坑底尽皆杀之。

[He] immediately then drove [them] to [a] deep pit [over a] high bank, lining [them] up [for the] pit’s bottom, completely killing them all.

凡夫愚人亦复如是,受持如来具足之戒,若犯一戒,不生惭愧清净忏悔,便作念言:「我已破一戒,既不具足,何用持为?」

Ordinary foolish persons [are] likewise thus, [having] received [to] uphold [the] Thus Come [One’s] Complete Precepts [i.e. Full Monastic Precepts, if [having] violated one precept, not giving rise [to] shame [for] pure repentance, then have [this] thought [and] say, ‘[As] I [have] already broken one precept, since [they are] not complete [now], for what [should I] uphold [the others] for?’

[Note 1: The two hundred and fifty precepts represent the Bhikṣu Precepts (比丘戒). For laypersons, they should contemplate this in the context of any other set of precepts committed to, such as the Five Precepts (五戒), Eight Precepts (八戒) and the Bodhisattva Precepts (菩萨戒).]

一切都破无一在者,如彼愚人尽杀群牛无一在者。

Those [with] all [precepts] broken without one existing, [are] like that foolish person, [who] completely killed [his] herd [of] cows, [to be] without one existing.

[Note 2: When there is a precept broken, there should immediately be the 3R‘s – sincere Repentance (忏悔) for the precept broken, Resolution to not break it again, and ‘Revival’ of the precept, by not letting remain ‘dead’, and by not ‘killing’ the other precepts. Instead, there should be better observation of all precepts after. (True Repentance should already include Resolution and Revival as above, but they are at times forgotten.)]

[Note 3: As an example, if one has committed to observing the Eight Precepts for one day, just because there is breaking of one precept, or difficulty to observe one precept, such as being too hungry, thus ‘needing’ to take an extra meal, there should not be thinking that since this is so, all other seven precepts should immediately be renounced for the day too.

After renouncing only that one precept, if ‘needed’, there should still be observing of the other precepts best one can, not thinking that, ‘Since I am not “pure” enough already, I will give up further purification practice today.’

If giving up all Eight Precepts due to such misguided ‘perfectionism’, this would be a case of ‘self-wrecking and self-abandoning’ (自暴自弃), not doing what is right. It is exactly through practice best we can each time, that perfection is eventually attained. Perfection is not attained by giving up easily each time.]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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Previous Parable:

破五通仙眼喻
[36] The Parable Of Destroying Eyes Of The Sage With Five Supernormal Powers
https://purelanders.com/2023/08/24/36-the-parable-of-destroying-eyes-of-the-sage-with-five-supernormal-powers-from-the-sutra-of-a-hundred-parables

下个喻
Next Parable:

饮木筩水喻
[38] The Parable Of Drinking The Wooden Bucket’s Water
https://purelanders.com/2023/08/24/38-the-parable-of-drinking-the-wooden-buckets-water-from-the-sutra-of-a-hundred-parables

全百喻
All Hundred Parables:

https://purelanders.com/baiyu

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