[41] The Parable Of Piśāca Ghosts From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之毗舍闍鬼喻

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[The] Sūtra [Of A] Hundred Parables

(41) Parable [Of] Piśāca Ghosts


[In the] past, [there] were two piśāca ghosts, together having one trunk, one cane [and] one [pair of] clogs. [With the] two ghosts together disputing, [with] each one desiring [to] get [them, the] two ghosts [had] many confusions, [to the] end [of the] day, not able [to have] equal [division].

[Note 1: Piśāca ghosts (毗舍闍鬼) are flesh-eating and shape-shifting demons.]


Then, [there] was a person, coming [and] seeing them already, then asking them, saying, ‘This trunk, cane [and] clogs have what [that is] unusual, [for] you together, [to be] disputing like this?’


[The] two ghosts replied, saying, ‘Our this trunk, [is] that able [to] produce all objects of clothing, drinks, food, mattresses [and] bedding, completely from within producing [them]. Those holding this cane, [will have] enemies surrendering [and] paying allegiance, without [those] daring [to be] with [them] disputing. Those wearing these clogs, [are] able [to] cause [these] persons [to] fly without hindrances.’


This person, hearing [this] already, immediately said [to the] ghosts, saying, ‘[If] you [stand a] slight distance [away], I will for thus equally divide them.’


[The] ghosts, hearing his words, immediately [kept] far away. This person immediately embraced [the] trunk, clutched [the] cane, treaded onto [the] clogs and flew, [with the] two ghosts stunned completely, without that gotten.


[The] person said [to the] ghosts, saying, ‘[Of] those you disputed [over], I [have] already taken away, now causing you [to] again [be] without that [to] dispute.’


Those piśācas [are] analogous to many demons and external paths.


Generosity [is] like [the] trunk, [with] instruments of [the] human, heavenly [and the] five paths available [for] use, all from within produced.

[Note 2: The five paths (五道) are essentially the same as the six paths (六道) of rebirth, with the (i) hell path (地狱道), (ii) hungry ghost path (饿鬼道), (iii) animal path (畜生道), (iv) human path (人道), (v) asura path (阿修罗道) and (vi) heavenly path (天道), but without (v), as this path can also arise within any of the other five paths (五道).]


Meditative concentration [is] like [the] cane, [for] eliminating [and] subduing [the] thieves of Māra’s afflictions.

[Note 3: Māra (魔怨/魔罗) is the Desire Realm’s (欲界) Sixth Heaven’s (第六天) lord, the embodiment of death (死亡) and greedy desires (贪欲) that distract from liberation (解脱) from rebirth (轮回). He is the outer Māra, while the inner Māra (i.e. inner or mental demon/s [心魔]) refers to one’s Three Poisons (三毒) of greed (贪), anger (嗔) and delusion (痴), from which afflictions (烦恼) arise. One who has conquered one’s inner Māra is equivalent to one who has conquered all outer Māras.]


Upholding [of] precepts [is] like [the] clogs, definitely [able to] ascend [to] human [and] heavenly [rebirths].


All those demons [and] external paths disputing [over the] trunk, [are] analogous to [those from what] having outflows within forcibly seeking fruits [of] rewards, empty without that attained.

[Note 4: What having outflows (有漏) refers to impure practices, thus still with the Three Poisons (三毒) flowing outwards from their practitioners, to defile their experiences and the worlds dwelled in.]


If able [to] cultivate practice [with] good actions, and [have] generosity, upholding precepts [and] meditative concentration, [this] then attains departure [from] suffering, [to] obtain [the] path’s fruit.

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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[40] The Parable Of Curing Baldness

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[42] The Parable Of The Merchant With His Camel’s Death

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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