THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
11 The Brahman Kills His Own Son
Once there was a Brahman who thought himself very knowledgeable, understanding all the skills. Presumptuous and wishing to display his abilities, he went abroad, carrying his son and crying. Someone asked the Brahman, “Why are you crying?”
He replied, “This baby is going to die within seven days. I’m crying because he shall die so young.”
The people said, “It’s difficult t know a person’s fate. Perhaps you calculated wrongly. He may not die at the end of seven days. Why weep in advance?”
The Brahman said, “The sun and moon may grow dark and the stars may fall, but my calculations are never wrong.”
For the sake of fame and gain, and to prove the truth of his saying, he killed his own son when the seven days were up.
When people heard the news of his son’s death after seven days, all praised him saying he was indeed wise and not mistaken. Thus they trusted him and admired him.
This is like Shakamuni Buddha’s four levels of disciples who for the sake of material offerings, pretended to have attained the Path. But some people will undergo limitless sufferings in the future, just like the Brahman who deluded people by killing his own son in order to prove the accuracy of his prediction.
12 Speaking About a Person’s Tendency to Get Angry
In the past, a group of people sat in a house discussing and praising the conduct of a certain foreigner. However, this person had two faults: he liked to get angry, and he acted impulsively.
Right at that time, the man being discussed happened to be passing by the house where the group of people was discussing his qualities. He knew immediately that those inside the house were talking about him. In a rage, he rushed into the house, grabbed the man who was talking about him, and proceeded to rain down blows on him.
Another person asked the foreigner, “For what reason are you beating on him?”
The foreigner replied, “When do I ever lose my temper and act impulsively? This man claims that I often get angry and act impulsively. That’s why I’m hitting him.”
The bystander pointed out, “Your behavior right now reveals your tendency to get angry and to act impulsively. How could you hide it away and act as you are?”
Those who become resentful when their faults are brought out reveal their own foolishness. This is just like an alcoholic who sinks into dissipation from his wild indulgences. When others reprimand him, he grows antagonistic and tries his best to justify himself. Such a person is like the stupid man who dislikes it when others bring up his faults. Such a person will only react with violence.
13 Slaying Their Guide and Offering Him Up as a Sacrifice
Once there was a group of merchants who wanted to go to the sea. To this end they needed a guide, and so they set out in quest for one. After they had found one, they started out on their journey. During their travels, they came upon a temple in the wilderness, where it was required that they sacrifice a person’s life before they were allowed to pass through. The group of merchants talked it over among themselves: “We are all relatives—how could we possibly kill any one of us?” And so they killed the guide and offered him up as a sacrifice. After they had made their sacrifice, they also lost their way. Not knowing their own whereabouts, the entire group endured great anguish and eventually perished.
People of the world are this group of merchants. If they wish to obtain treasures from the depth of the Dharma ocean, they should take the practice of wholesome dharmas as their guide. If they destroy such wholesome practices, they will lost their guide and never be able to find their way out of the wilderness of birth and death. They will undergo prolonged and extensive suffering in the three evil paths. Such people are like the merchants, who, they wished to go to the sea. Once they killed their guide, they lost their way, and eventually became impoverished and died.
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Taking a Boat and Losing a Silver Bowl
Once upon a time a man took a boat across the ocean. During the trip, his silver bowl fell into the water. The man had this thought, “I shall now make a mark on the water and leave it as it is. Later on I will come back and retrieve the bowl.”
After traveling for two months, he arrived in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and then continued on to other countries. Whenever he saw a river, he dove into it and started to look around for his missing bowl. People asked him, "What are you doing? He replied, “I lost my bowl sometime ago. Now I am looking for it.
They asked him, ”Where did you lose it?”
He answered, “I lost it when I first set out at sea.”
They asked him further, “How long ago did you lose it?”
He said, “About two months ago.”
They said, “If you lost it two months ago, why are you looking for the bowl here?”
He said, “At the moment when I lost my bowl, I made a mark on the water. The water which I marked is no different from the water here.”
These people continued questioning him saying, “Although the water here is no different from the water which you marked; nonetheless, you lost your bowl somewhere else. How could you expect to find it here?”
Then the crowd all broke out in laughter.
This man is like those of heterodox sects who do not cultivate proper practices. They undergo extreme toil and deprivation due to their mistaken postulation that their “good practices” will bring them liberation. They are just like the foolish man who lost his silver bowl somewhere and tried to retrieve it at another place.
15 The Physician Prescribes A Drug For The Princess
Once there was a king who had a newborn daughter. He called in a physician and said, “Can you prescribe some drug for the baby so she can grow up immediately?”
The physician said, “Yes, I can administer a fine drug which will make her grow up instantly, but I don’t have the formula right now. I will have to go search for it. However, during the period of search, Your Majesty must not lay eyes on your daughter. After I give her the drug, then I will bring her before Your Majesty.”
Then the physician went to a faraway place to look for the drug. After twelve years had passed he found the drug. He administered it to the princess and brought her before the King. The King took a look at his daughter and was overjoyed. He thought to himself, “What a fine physician! He gave my daughter a drug and caused her to grow up immediately!” Then the King ordered his attendants to reward the physician with treasures and gems.
People laughed at the king for his lack of wisdom. It never occurred to him to add up the number of months and years that had passed since his daughter’s date of birth. On seeing her grown up, he attributed her maturity to be power of the drug.
People of the world are like this king. They come to a Good Knowing Advisor and say, “I wish to seek the Way. I wish to meet someone who can teach me to gain transcendent wisdom in meditation.” The teacher uses skill-in-means to instruct his followers to sit in meditation and contemplate the twelve causes and conditions, and to accumulate myriad myriad virtues, until they eventually realize the fruit of Arhatship. At that point, the people are doubly pleased. They exclaim, “How fast this has been! This great teacher has quickly led us to the certification to the most wonderful Dharma!”