[44] The Parable Of Desiring To Eat Half A Pancake From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之欲食半饼喻

pancakes on plate
Photo by Monserrat Soldú on

[The] Sūtra [Of A] Hundred Parables

(44) Parable [Of] Desiring [To] Eat Half [A] Pancake


For example, there [is a] person, because [of] his hunger thus, eating seven pieces [of] pancakes. [After] eating six [and a] half pieces already, then getting [to be] full, this person [was] angry [and] regretful. With [his] hands hitting himself, [he] then made this statement, ‘[As] I now [am] full due [to] this half [a] pancake, thus [were the] earlier six pancakes in vain wasted. If knowing that half [a] pancake [is] able [to be] filling, [I] should [have] first eaten it.’


People of [the] world [are] likewise thus, from originally since, constantly without [that] having joy, however, their delusions invertedly [and] chaotically give rise [to] joy’s thoughts.


Like that deluded person with half [a] pancake giving rise to fullness’ thought, [the] world’s people [who are] ignorant [are] with wealth [and] honour as joy.


Those [for] that [of] wealth [and] honour, when seeking [them, are with] extreme suffering. Thereupon, [having] obtained [them] already, guarding [and] protecting [them is] also [with] suffering. Later also losing them, worried [and] again [with] suffering. Within [the] three periods, all [are] without [those] having joy.

[Note 1: The Three Periods (三世) are the (i) past period (过去世), (ii) present period (现在世) and (iii) future period (未来世).]


Similar to clothing [and] food covering [the body and dispelling hunger, with] thus named [as] joy, within hardship [and] suffering chaotically giving rise [to] joy’s thoughts, all Buddhas say, ‘[The] three realms [are] without peace, [and] all are [with] great suffering, [with] ordinary beings inverted [and] confused, chaotically giving rise [to] joy’s thoughts.’

[Note 2: There is no substantial and lasting joy in the first place for ordinary beings, even if with much wealth and honour, clothing and food. This is so as these false ‘refuges’ are neither substantial nor lasting, while the unenlightened are still subject to to the Eight Sufferings (see Note 3). Thus, seeking, protecting and missing these ‘refuges’ is ultimately pointless.]

[Note 3: The Eight Sufferings (八苦) are the Physical Sufferings (身苦) of (i) birth (生), (ii) ageing (老), (iii) sickness (病) and (iv) death (死), and the Mental Sufferings (心苦) of (v) separation from the beloved (爱别离), (vi) meeting the hated (怨憎会), (vii) not attaining the sought (求不得) and (viii) blazing of the Five Aggregates (五蕴炽盛) (of forms [色], feelings [受], perceptions [想], mental formations [行] and consciousness [识]).]

[Note 4: As the three realms (三界) of the (i) Desire Realm (欲界), (ii) Form Realm (色界) and (iii) Formless Realm (无色界) arise from the three poisons (三毒) of (i) greed (贪), (ii) anger (嗔) and (iii) delusion (痴), which also give rise to the Eight Sufferings, the three realms are without peace. To seek substantial and lasting joy within is thus inverted and confused.]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Previous Parable:

[43] The Parable Of Polishing A Big Rock

Next Parable:

[45] The Parable Of The Servant Guarding The Door

All Hundred Parables:

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Alert: Content is protected !!