[18] The Parable Of Accommodating Stairs To Sharpen A Knife From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之就楼磨刀喻

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In the past, there was a person, who was poor, with hardship and suffering, for the King doing work. With days and months long passing, his body became thin and weak. The King, seeing this and empathising, bestowed him with a dead camel.


The poor person, having gotten it already, immediately peeled the skin. Disliking the knife for being blunt thus, he sought a stone, desiring to sharpen it. Thus at upstairs, he got to a grindstone, with which he sharpened the knife, enabling it to be sharp, before coming down to then peel.


Thus repeatedly going and coming to sharpen the knife, as this later transformed to be toiling with suffering, dreading that he might not be able to go upstairs, hanging the camel upstairs to accommodate the grindstone to sharpen the knife, he was deeply by all people as that sneered at.


Similar to the foolish person, those who destroy and break the prohibitive precepts, are with much obtained money and wealth, with them used for cultivating blessings, hoping to attain birth in the heavens. They are like that person hanging the camel upstairs to sharpen the knife, using efforts extremely much, with that attained extremely little.

[Note: If the strife for a better rebirth is with breaking of the precepts, this is not possible, as doing so will karmically lead to a worse rebirth. Even if without breaking of precepts, there should not be shortsighted repeated toiling for just little short-lived benefits – be it in this one life, the next life, or from life to life.

Even if born in a heaven, the joys there will be neither permanent nor substantial, with one likely to fall later upon depletion of one’s blessings. This contrasts with birth in Āmítuófó’s (阿弥陀佛) Pure Land (净土), where there will only be swift and non-retrogressive progress towards Buddhahood, with no possibility of depleting blessings, as ensured by one’s naturally motivated continual spiritual cultivation, with the Buddha’s additional blessings.]

All Hundred Parables:


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