Brief Introduction To The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》简介

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Brief Introduction To The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables

After studying the Sūtra Treasury (经藏), having selected those deemed as the most important parables, the Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》was compiled by the Elder Saṅghasena (尊者僧伽斯那) in Central India, with them later translated to Chinese by Xiāoqí Dynasty’s Indian Tripiṭaka Dharma Master Guṇavṛddhī (萧齐天竺三藏求那毗地) in 492 C.E. This unique sūtra is thus a colourful collection of significant parables from many other sutras. Below lists some special ‘paradoxical’ features of these parables.

[1] They are seemingly simple, yet with complex morals.
[2] They are about common situations, yet with unique details.
[3] They are with many lighthearted scenarios, yet with serious implications.
[4] They are as if for children, yet applicable to grown-ups too.

[5] They are comedic and satirical, yet also tragic and ironical.
[6] They are concise, yet incisive.
[7] They are entertaining, yet enlightening.
[8] They are as if exaggerated for effect, yet with the equivalent in real life.

[9] They are plain, yet vivid.
[10] They are for quick lessons, yet with lasting effects.
[11] They are with emotional appeal, yet with philosophical impact.
[12] They are about others, yet also about ourselves.

Although originally meant for instructing those new to the Buddha’s teachings, they also serve as reminders for long-time practitioners on the classic spiritual pitfalls to avoid. Containing perhaps the greatest concentration of Buddhist humour, the parables are easily digested because they seem to be about the foolish ‘others.’

Yet, they are exactly laughable because we can relate to them to some extent too, seeing facets of ourselves in them. These stories are not mere tales and fables after all — they are about you and me, for you and me. May the foolish illuminate us, by reminding us how to not be like them; to be wiser instead!

Related Sūtra:

The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables

Related Article:

Three Explanations With Two Recommendations On The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables

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