[38] The Parable Of Drinking The Wooden Bucket’s Water From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之饮木筩水喻

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[The] Sūtra [Of A] Hundred Parables

(38) Parable [Of] Drinking [The] Wooden Bucket’s Water


[In the] past, [there] was a person, [with] walking coming [to be] thirsty [and] exhausted. Seeing [a] wooden bucket, within having pure flowing water, [he] right away then drank it. [Having] drunk [the] water already, [he] immediately raised [his] hand [and] spoke [to the] wooden bucket, saying, ‘[As] I [have] already drunk completely, [may the] water not come again.’


Although [having] made this statement, [the] water flowed as before. [He] then angrily said, ‘[As] I [have] already drunk completely, [and have] told you not [to] come, why [are you] still coming?’


[There] was [a] person, seeing him, saying, ‘You [have] great ignorance, without having [any] wisdom! Why [do] you not leave, [instead of] speaking words [about] not coming?’ [He was] then by [him] driven away, pulled [to] another place.


People of [the] world [are] likewise thus, for [the cycle of] birth [and] death thirsting [with] attachment, [having] drunk [the] five desires’ salty water, already by [the] five desires as those wearied, [they are] like that [person, having] drunk enough, then making this statement, ‘You, sights, sounds, smells [and] tastes, [do] not come again, [to] make me see [you].’

[Note 1: With craving for pleasures from the five desires (五欲) (for wealth, sex, fame, food and sleep [财色名食睡]), they do not give rise to lasting satisfaction. They lead to more craving, just as drinking salty water cannot quench thirst, only worsening it. Yet, too much of them does become sickening, then with craving for them to ‘end’. However, when the sickening feeling has dissipated and is forgotten, there is craving for them again.]


However, [with] these five desires [in] continuous succession uninterrupted, since seeing them already, then again [becoming] angry, ‘[Having] told you [to] quickly cease [and] not again arise, why [are you] still coming, making me see you?’


Then, [there] was [a] wise person, [who] then said these words, ‘[If] you desire [to] get those cut off, [you] should gather your six passions, [to] close your mind’s thoughts, [and] false thoughts [will] not arise, then attaining liberation. Why must [there be those] not seen, [and the] desire [to] make [them] not arise?’ Like that foolish person drinking water equally, without having differences.

[Note 2: Although abstaining from the five desires when needed is wise, the way to overcome the five desires is not to physically rid the objects of desire, but by gathering all six roots (都摄六根) (of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and thought [眼耳鼻舌身意]) for purification, to prevent the six passions (六情) or forms of attachment from arising. The easiest way to do so is to be mindful of Āmítuófó’s (阿弥陀佛) name with pure mindfulness in continuous succession (净念相继). Thus will craving for these desires fade away and eventually cease.]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Previous Parable:

[37] The Parable Of Killing A Herd Of Cows

Next Parable:

[39] The Parable Of Seeing Another Person Applying On His House

All Hundred Parables:

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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