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‘The Bequeathed’ As Empty Refuge

Not all forms of inheritance are as welcomed as they seem. The larger the inherited, the greater the problems inherited could be. Thus, not every inheritance is a windfall; perhaps leading to a downfall instead. Some say the way to know a person’s true character is to give the person power… and to take it away. Likewise, this applies to money, wealth, properties… Will a sudden inheritance spur personal greed? What about others’ jealousy? What hidden ugly sides will show? In ‘The Bequeathed’, even what appears to be a bare burial ground inherited connects to serial murders and dark conspiracies. If there is such strife over empty land, which surely offers no safe refuge, what more even more substantial ‘things’? The plot on the plot (of land) reminds us of the following ‘poignant’ teachings by Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛) in the Immeasurable Life Sūtra《无量寿经》on fields in the Thirty-First Chapter On Five Evils And Five Goodnesses (五恶五善第卅一).

‘Regardless of the honoured or lowly, poor or rich, young or old, male or female, together worrying about wealth and properties. Those who have and have not are alike thus, with worried thoughts matching equally. With fear and trepidation, anxiety and distress, accumulating such thoughts and amassing worries. By their minds ordered to rush about, not having peaceful moments. Those who have fields worry about fields, with residences worry about residences. Those who have cows, horses, the six domesticated animals, slave servants, wealth, properties, clothing, food and miscellaneous things, are again together worried about them. With repeated considering and wearied breathing, with worried thoughts of anxiety and fear. (无尊无卑、无贫无富,少长男女,共忧钱财。有无同然,忧思适等。屏营愁苦,累念积虑。为心走使,无有安时。有田忧田,有宅忧宅。牛马六畜、奴婢钱财、衣食什物,复共忧之。重思累息,忧念愁怖。)

They are unexpectedly by unusual waters and fires, robbers and thieves, enemies and creditors, burnt, drifted away, seized by force, dissipated, scattered and obliterated. With worries’ poison terrified and uneasy, not having relieved moments. Forming resentment within their minds, not departing from worries and afflictions. With minds firm and thoughts obstinate, following without releasing and abandoning them. Perhaps staying destroyed and broken, when their bodies die as life ends, throwing them away, there is none whatsoever that can follow. Those with honour, power and wealth, likewise have such suffering. With worries and apprehensions of ten thousand kinds, with toilsome suffering like these, forming all colds and fevers, with pains together dwelling. (横为非常水火盗贼怨家债主,焚漂劫夺,消散磨灭。忧毒忪忪,无有解时。结愤心中,不离忧恼。心坚意固,适无纵捨。或坐摧碎,身亡命终,弃捐之去,莫谁随者。尊贵豪富,亦有斯患。忧惧万端,勤苦若此,结众寒热,与痛共居。)

The poor and lowly, with difficulties of that lacking, are often without them. Those without fields likewise worry with desires to have fields. Those without residences likewise worry with desires to have residences. Those without cows, horses, the six domesticated animals, slave servants, wealth, properties, clothing, food and miscellaneous things, likewise worry with desires to have them. Just having one, again lacking another one, having this, lacking that, considering having the same equally. Just with the desired possessed, then again with it broken and lost. Thus with worries and suffering, they will again seek them. Not able to often obtain them, with thinking without benefit. With body and mind together toiling, with sitting and standing not peaceful. With worried thoughts following one another, with toilsome suffering like this, likewise forming all colds and fevers, with pains together dwelling. (贫穷下劣,困乏常无。无田亦忧欲有田,无宅亦忧欲有宅。无牛马六畜、奴婢钱财、衣食什物,亦忧欲有之。适有一,复少一,有是少是,思有齐等。适欲具有,便复糜散。如是忧苦,当复求索。不能时得,思想无益。身心俱劳,坐起不安。忧念相随,勤苦若此,亦结众寒热,与痛共居。)

Sometimes staying like this to the end of their bodies with shortened lives, not willing to do good, and practise the path to advance in virtue. When life ends and their bodies die, they will alone go far away. Having those inclined towards, of their paths of good and evil, not able to have those known. The world’s people, fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, wives, family members, internal and external relatives, should have respect and love for one another, without hatred and jealousy of one another. Those who have and have not should connect with one another, and must not have greed and miserliness. With speech and expression constantly harmonious, not going against one another.’ (或时坐之终身夭命,不肯为善,行道进德。寿终身死,当独远去。有所趣向,善恶之道,莫能知者。世间人民,父子兄弟、夫妇家室、中外亲属,当相敬爱,无相憎嫉。有无相通,无得贪惜。言色常和,莫相违戾。)

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