[34] The Parable Of Delivering Sweet Water From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之送美水喻


In the past, there was a village, from the King’s city five yojanas away, with the village within having good and sweet water. The King ordered the villagers, constantly making them, to every day deliver that sweet water to him. As the villagers became tired with suffering, they all desired to move, to far away avoid this village.


Then, that village’s chief said to all the people, saying, ‘You should not go! I will for you speak to the King, to change the five yojanas to be three yojanas, to make you get nearer to him, with coming and going that is not tiring.’


He then went to the King, and the King for him changed that to be three yojanas, with all the people hearing this already, then having great joy.


There was a person who said, ‘This thus is originally five yojanas, again without having differences.’ Although hearing these words, believing the King’s words thus, in the end, they were not willing to abandon them.


People of the world are likewise thus, cultivating practice of the Right Dharma to be delivered from the five paths, going towards [Ultimate] Nirvāṇa‘s city [i.e. Buddhahood], with their minds giving rise to weariness, then desiring to abandon this, hoping to suddenly transcend the cycle of birth and death, not able to again advance.

[Note 1: 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).]


The Thus Come One, the Dharma King has great skilful means, with the One Vehicle’s Dharma teachings [i.e. for Buddhahood] differentiated, spoke of the Three Vehicles [of Voice-Hearers (声闻), Those By Conditions Awakened (缘觉) and Bodhisattvas (菩萨)]. People of the Small Vehicle who hear about it are joyful, assuming it is easy to practise, cultivate good and advance virtues to seek deliverance from the cycle of birth and death. Later hearing people saying that there are no Three Vehicles, that they thus are one path, with faith in the Buddha’s words [first heard], in the end, not willing to abandon them, like those villagers, they are likewise thus.

[Note 2: The Small Vehicle’s (小乘) teachings for Voice-Hearers’ (声闻) self-liberation (自了) are a smaller subset of the Great Vehicle’s (大乘) teachings, meant to lead eventually to Buddhahood, for the liberation of one and all (自了了他). Thus is there actually One Vehicle (一乘) with one path only.]

[Note 3: This parable has parallels with the Parable Of The Manifested City (化城喻) in the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sūtra《妙法莲华经》, in which it is revealed that the Small Vehicle’s teachings were originally taught by the Buddha, for those not ready to receive the Great Vehicle’s teachings directly, as a nearer stepping stone, that leads towards the Great Vehicle’s teachings later. However, some spiritually shortsightedly only cling to the Small Vehicle’s teachings, which they might not even learn, practise and realise fully, what more to advance from them.]

[Note 4: The actual Easy Practice Path (易行道), that is even easier to practise than the path to self-liberation is the Pure Land Dharma Door (净土法门). This is so because it connects to the immeasurably great supportive powers of Āmítuófó (阿弥陀佛). The Pure Land path is thus the swiftest and most skilful means of the Great Vehicle as it leads to self-liberation in the Pure Land, where skilful means for guiding one and all to Buddhahood will be mastered.]

[Note 5: The Small Vehicle is also called the Two Vehicles (二乘), of Voice-Hearers (声闻) and Those By Conditions Awakened (缘觉), with the first having heard the Buddha’s teachings by voice or reading, and the latter being sharp enough to realise liberation by themselves from mindfulness of their minds and nature. The Great Vehicle is also called the Bodhisattva Vehicle (菩萨乘) and the Buddha Vehicle (佛乘), as the Bodhisattva path leads to Buddhahood.]

All Hundred Parables:


Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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