The Fables Of Buddha

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The Fables Of Buddha

Postby antropolis » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:41 am

It is very difficult for the words spoken by Buddha from the far bank of Enlightenment to reach the people still struggling in the world of delusion; therefore Buddha returns to this world Himself and uses His methods of salvation.

"Now I will tell you a parable," Buddha said. "Once there lived a wealthy man whose house caught on fire. The man was away from home and when he came back, he found that his children were so absorbed in play, had not noticed the fire and were still inside the house. The father screamed, 'Get out, children! Come out of the house! Hurry!' But the children did not heed him.

"The anxious father shouted again, 'Children, I have some wonderful toys here; come out of the house and get them!' Heeding his cry this time, the children ran out of the burning house."

This world is a burning house. The people, unaware that the house is on fire, are in danger of being burned to death so Buddha in compassion devises ways of saving them.
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The Fables Of Buddha 2.

Postby antropolis » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:47 am

Buddha said: "I will tell you another parable. Once upon a time the only son of a wealthy man left his home and fell into extreme poverty.

"When the father traveled far from home in search of his son, he lost track of him. He did everything he could to find his son, but in vain.

"Decades later, his son, now reduced to wretchedness, wandered near where his father was living.

"The father quickly recognized his son and sent his servants to bring the wanderer home; who was overcome by the majestic appearance of the mansion. He feared that they were deceiving him and would not go with them. He did not realize it was his own father.

"The father again sent his servants to offer him some money to become a servant in their rich master's household. The son accepted the offer and returned with them to his father's house and became a servant.

"The father gradually advanced him until he was put in charge of all the property and treasures, but still the son did not recognize his own father.

"The father was pleased with his son's faithfulness, and as the end of his life drew near, he called together his relatives and friends and told them: 'Friends, this is my only son, the son I sought for many years. From now on, all my property and treasures belong to him.'

"The son was surprised at his father's confession and said: 'Not only have I found my father but all this property and treasure is now mine.'"

The wealthy man in this parable represents Buddha, and the wandering son, all people. Buddha's compassion embraces all people with the love of a father for his only son. In that love he conceives the wisest methods to lead, teach and enrich them with the treasure of Enlightenment.
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The Fables Of Buddha 3.

Postby antropolis » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:12 am

Buddha teaches not only through words, but also through His life. Although His life is endless, in order to awaken greedy people, He uses the expedience of death.

"While a certain physician was away from home, his children accidentally took some poison. When the physician returned, he noticed their sickness and prepared an antidote. Some of the children who were not seriously poisoned accepted the medicine and were cured, but others were so seriously affected that they refused to take the medicine.

"The physician, prompted by his paternal love for his children, decided on an extreme method to press the cure upon them. He said to the children: 'I must go off on a long journey. I am old and may pass away any day. If I am with you I can care for you, but if I should pass away, you will become worse and worse. If you hear of my death, I implore you to take the antidote and be cured of this subtle poisoning.' Then he went on the long journey. After a time, he sent a messenger to his children to inform them of his death.

"The children, receiving the message, were deeply affected by the thought of their father's death and by the realization that they would no longer have the benefit of his benevolent care. Recalling his parting request, in a feeling of sorrow and helplessness, they took the medicine and recovered."

People must not condemn the deception of this father-physician. Buddha is like that father. He, too, employs the fiction of life and death to save people who are entangled in the bondage of desires.
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The Fables Of Buddha 4.

Postby antropolis » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:04 pm

Buddha is both father and mother to the people of the world. For sixteen months after a child is born the father and mother have to speak to him in babyish words; then gradually they teach him to speak as an adult. Like earthly parents, Buddha first takes care of the people and then leaves them to care for themselves. He first brings things to pass according to their desires and then He brings them to a peaceful and safe shelter.

What Buddha preaches in His language, people receive and assimilate in their own language as if it were intended exclusively for them.

Buddha's state of mind surpasses human thought; it can not be made clear by words; it can only be hinted at in parables.

The Ganges River is stirred up by the tramping of horses and elephants and disturbed by the movements of fish and turtles; but the river flows on, pure and undisturbed by such trifles. Buddha is like the great river. The fish and turtle of other teachings swim about in its depths and push against its current, but in vain. Buddha's Dharma flows on, pure and undisturbed.
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The Fables of Buddha 5.

Postby antropolis » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:07 pm

People grasp at things for their own imagined convenience and comfort; they grasp at wealth and treasure and honors; they cling desperately to mortal life.

They make arbitrary distinctions between existence and non-existence, good and bad, right and wrong. For people, life is a succession of graspings and attachments, and then, because of this, they must assume the illusions of pain and suffering.

Once there was a man on a long journey who came to a river. He said to himself: "This side of the river is very difficult and dangerous to walk on, and the other side seems easier and safer, but how shall I get across?" So he built a raft out of branches and reeds and safely crossed the river. Then he thought to himself: "This raft has been very useful to me in crossing the river; I will not abandon it to rot on the bank, but will carry it along with me." And thus he voluntarily assumed an unnecessary burden. Can this man be called a wise man?

This parable teaches that even a good thing, when it becomes an unnecessary burden, should be thrown away; much more so if it is a bad thing. Buddha made it the rule of his life to avoid useless and unnecessary discussions.
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The Fables Of Buddha 6.

Postby antropolis » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:16 pm

Just as the pure and fragrant lotus flower grows out of the mud of a swamp rather than out of the clean loam of an upland field, so from the muck of worldly passions springs the pure Enlightenment of Buddhahood. Even the mistaken views of heretics and the delusions of worldly passions may be the seeds for Buddhahood.

If a diver is to secure pearls he must descend to the bottom of the sea, braving all dangers of jagged coral and vicious sharks. So man must face the perils of worldly passion if he is to secure the precious pearl of Enlightenment. He must first be lost among the mountainous crags of egoism and selfishness, before there will awaken in him the desire to find a path that will lead him to Enlightenment.

There is a legend of a hermit who had such a great desire to find the true path that he climbed a mountain of swords and threw himself into fire, enduring them because of his hope. He who is willing to risk the perils of the path will find a cool breeze blowing on the sword-bristling mountains of selfishness and among the fires of hatred and, in the end, will come to realize that the selfishness and worldly passions against which he has struggled and suffered are Enlightenment itself.
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The Fables Of Buddha 7.

Postby antropolis » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:18 pm

In the practice of the way to Enlightenment, people see the Buddha with their own eyes and believe in Buddha with their own minds. The eyes that see Buddha and the mind that believes in Buddha are the same eyes and the same mind that, until that day, had wandered about in the world of birth and death.

If a king is plagued by bandits, he must find out where their camp is before he can attack them. So, when a man is beset by worldly passions, he should first ascertain their origins.

When a man is in a house and opens his eyes he will first notice the interior of the room and only later will he see the view outside the windows. In like manner they can not have the eye notice external things before there is recognition by the eye of the things in the house.

If there is a mind within the body, it ought first to know the things inside the body; but generally people are interested in external things and seem to know or care little for the things within the body.

If the mind is located outside the body, it should not be in contact with the needs of the body. But, in fact, the body feels what the mind knows, and the mind knows what the body feels. Therefore, it can not be said that the human mind is outside of the body. Where, then, does the substance of the mind exist?
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The Fables Of Buddha 8.

Postby antropolis » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:19 pm

Let them think of a lecture hall that is bright while the sun is shining but is dark after the sun goes down.

They can think of the light departing with the sun and the dark coming with the night, but they cannot so think of the mind that perceives lightness and darkness. The mind that is susceptible to lightness and darkness can not be given back to anybody; it can only revert to a truer nature which is its fundamental nature.

It is only a "temporary" mind that momentarily notes changes of lightness and darkness as the sun rises and sets.

It is only a "temporary" mind that has different feelings from moment to moment with the changing circumstances of life; it is not the real and true mind. The fundamental and true mind which realizes the lightness and the darkness is the true nature of man.

The temporary feelings of good and evil, love and hatred, that have been aroused by surroundings and changing external conditions, are only momentary reactions that have their cause in the defilement accumulated by the human mind.

Behind the desires and worldly passions which the mind entertains, there abides, clear and undefiled, the fundamental and true essence of mind.

Water is round in a round receptacle and square in a square one, but water itself has no particular shape. People often forget this fact.

People see this good and that bad, they like this and dislike that, and they discriminate existence from non-existence; and then, being caught in these entanglements and becoming attached to them, they suffer.

If people would only give up their attachments to these imaginary and false discriminations, and restore the purity of their original minds, then both their mind and their body would be free from defilement and suffering; they would know the peacefulness that comes with that freedom.
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The Fables Of Buddha 9.

Postby antropolis » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:20 pm

Often people disregard the affinity of their own minds for Buddha's enlightened wisdom, and, because of it, are caught by the entanglement of worldly passions, becoming attached to the discrimination of good and evil, and then lament over their bondage and suffering.

Why is it that people, possessing this fundamental and pure mind, should still cling to illusions and doom themselves to wander about in a world of delusions and suffering, covering their own Buddha-nature while all about them is the light of Buddha's Wisdom?

Once upon a time a man looked into the reverse side of a mirror and, not seeing his face and head, he became insane. How unnecessary it is for a man to become insane because he carelessly looks into the reverse side of a mirror!

It is just as foolish and unnecessary for a person to go on suffering because he does not attain Enlightenment where he expects to find it. There is no failure in Enlightenment; the failure lies in those people who, for a long time, have sought Enlightenment in their discriminating minds, not realizing that theirs are not true minds but are imaginary minds that have been caused by the accumulation of greed and illusion covering and hiding their true mind.

If the accumulation of false beliefs is cleared away, Enlightenment will appear. But, strange enough, when people attain Enlightenment, they will realize that without false beliefs there could be no Enlightenment.
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The Fables Of Buddha 10.

Postby antropolis » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:22 pm

There is an old story told of a man who fell into a drunken sleep. His friend stayed by him as long as he could but, being compelled to go and fearing that he might be in want, the friend hid a jewel in the drunken man's garment. When the drunken man recovered, not knowing that his friend had hid a jewel in his garment, he wandered about in poverty and hunger. A long time afterwards the two men met again and the friend told the poor man about the jewel and advised him to look for it.

Like the drunken man of the story, people wander about suffering in this life of birth and death, unconscious of what is hidden away in their inner nature, pure and untarnished, the priceless treasure of Buddha-nature.

However, unconscious people may be of the fact that everyone has within his possession this supreme nature, and however degraded and ignorant they may be, Buddha never loses faith in them because He knows that even in the least of them there are, potentially, all the virtues of Buddhahood.

So Buddha awakens faith in them who are deceived by ignorance and cannot see their own Buddha-nature, leads them away from their illusions and teaches them that originally there is no difference between themselves and Buddhahood.
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The Fables Of Buddha 11.

Postby antropolis » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:59 am

Once upon a time a king gathered some blind men about an elephant and asked them to tell him what an elephant was like. The first man felt a tusk and said an elephant was like a giant carrot; another happened to touch an ear and said it was like a big fan; another touched its trunk and said it was like a pestle; still another, who happened to feel its leg, said it was like a mortar; and another, who grasped its tail said it was like a rope. Not one of them was able to tell the king the elephant's real form.

In like manner, one might partially describe the nature of man but would not be able to describe the true nature of a human being, the Buddha-nature.

There is only one possible way by which the everlasting nature of man, his Buddha-nature, that can not be disturbed by worldly desires or destroyed by death, can be realized, and that is by the Buddha and the Buddha's noble teaching.
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The Fables Of Buddha 12.

Postby antropolis » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:02 am

They have been speaking of Buddha-nature as though it were something that could be described, as though it were similar to the "soul" of other teachings, but it is not.

The concept of an "ego-personality" is something that has been imagined by a discriminating mind which first grasped it and ten become attached to it, but which must abandon it. On the contrary, Buddha-nature is something indescribable that must first be discovered. In one sense, it resembles an "ego-personality" but it is not the "ego" in the sense of "I am" or "mine."

To believe in the existence of an ego is an erroneous belief that supposes the existence of non-existence; to deny Buddha-nature is wrong, for it supposes that existence is non-existence.

This can be explained in a parable. A mother took her sick child to a doctor. The doctor gave the child medicine and instructed the mother not to nurse the child until the medicine was digested.

The mother anointed her breast with something bitter so that the child would keep away from her of his own volition. After the medicine had time enough to be digested, the mother cleansed her breast and let the child suck her. The mother took this method of saving her child out of kindness because she loved the child.

Like the mother in the parable, Buddha, in order to remove misunderstanding and to break up attachments to an ego-personality, denies the existence of an ego; and when the misunderstanding and attachments are done away with, then He explains the reality of the true mind that is the Buddha-nature.

Attachment to an ego-personality leads people into delusions, but faith leads people into delusions, but faith in their Buddha-nature leads them to Enlightenment.

It is like the woman in a story to whom a chest was bequeathed. Not knowing that the chest contained gold, she continued to live in poverty until another person opened it and showed her the gold. Buddha opens the minds of people and shows them the purity of their Buddha-nature.
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Re: The Fables Of Buddha 12.

Postby Aemilius » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:48 am

Where is the story from ? I remember having heard or read it, but can't remember where it is from, is it from Great Parinirvana sutra or Tathagatagarbha sutra ?
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Re: The Fables Of Buddha 12.

Postby antropolis » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:59 am

Mahaparinirvana-sutta. ~Scott
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The Fables Of Buddha 13.

Postby antropolis » Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:02 am

If everyone has this Buddha-nature, why is there so much suffering from people cheating one another or killing one another? And why are there so many distinctions of rank and wealth, rich and poor?

There is a story of a wrestler who used to wear an ornament on his forehead of a precious stone. One time when he was wrestling the stone was crushed into the flesh of his forehead. He thought he had lost the gem and went to a surgeon to have the wound dressed. When the surgeon came to dress the wound he found the gem embedded in the flesh and covered over with blood and dirt. He held up a mirror and showed the stone to the wrestler.

Buddha-nature is like the precious stone of this story: it becomes covered over by the dirt and dust of other interests and people think that they have lost it, but a good teacher recovers it again for them.

Buddha-nature exists in everyone no matter how deeply it may be covered over by greed, anger and foolishness, or buried by his own deeds and retribution. Buddha-nature can not be lost or destroyed; and when all defilements are removed, sooner or later it will reappear.

Like the wrestler in the story who was shown the gem buried in his flesh and blood by means of a mirror, so people are shown their Buddha-nature, buried beneath their worldly desires and passions, by means of the light of Buddha.
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The Fables Of Buddha 14.

Postby antropolis » Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:04 am

Buddha-nature is always pure and tranquil no matter how varied the conditions and surroundings of people may be. Just as milk is always white regardless of the color of the cow's hide, either red, white, or black, so it does not matter how differently their deeds may condition people's life or what different effects may follow their acts and thoughts.

There is a fable told in India of a mysterious medical herb that was hidden under the tall grasses of the Himalayas. For a long time men sought for it in vain, but at last a wise man located it by its sweetness. As long as the wise man lived he collected this medical herb in a tub, but after his death, the sweet elixir remained hidden in some far-off spring in the mountains, and the water in the tub turned sour and harmful and of a different taste.

In like manner Buddha-nature is hidden away beneath the wild growth of worldly passions and can rarely be discovered, but Buddha found it and revealed it to the people, and as they receive it by their varying faculties it tastes differently to each person.
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The Fables Of Buddha 15.

Postby antropolis » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:48 pm

There is an allegory that depicts human life. Once there was a man rowing a boat down a river. Someone on the shore warned him, "Stop rowing so gaily down the swift current; there are rapids ahead and a dangerous whirlpool, and there are crocodiles and demons lying in wait in rocky caverns. You will perish if you continue."

In this allegory, "the swift current" is a life of lust; "rowing gaily" is giving rein to one's passion; "rapids ahead" means the ensuing suffering and pain; "whirlpool" means pleasure, "crocodiles and demons" refers to the decay and death that follows a life of lust and indulgence; "Someone on the shore," who calls out, is Buddha.

Here is another allegory. A man who has committed a crime is running away: some guards are following him, so he tries to hide himself by descending into a well by means of some vines growing down the sides. As he descends he sees vipers at the bottom of the well, so he decides to cling to the vine for safety. After a time when his arms are getting tired, he notices two mice, one white and the other black, gnawing at the vine.

If the vine breaks, he will fall to the vipers and perish. Suddenly, on looking upward, he notices just above his face a bee-hive from which occasionally falls a drop of honey. The man, forgetting all his danger, tastes the honey with delight.

"A man" means the one who is born to suffer and to die alone. "Guards" and "vipers" refer to the body with all its desires. "Vines" means the continuity of the human life. "Two mice, one white and the other black" refers to the duration of time, days and nights, and the passing years. "Honey" indicates the physical pleasures that beguiles the suffering of the passing years.
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The Fables Of Buddha 16.

Postby antropolis » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:50 pm

Here is still another allegory. A king places four vipers in a box and gives the box into the safekeeping of a servant. He commands the servant to take good care of them and warns that if he angers even one of them he will be punished with death. The servant, in fear, decides to throw away the box and escape.

The king sends five guards to capture the servant. At first they approach the servant in a friendly manner, intending to take him back safely, but the servant does not trust their friendliness and escapes to another village.

Then, in a vision, a voice tells him that in this village there is no safe shelter, and that there are six bandits who will attack him, so the servant runs away in a fright until he comes to a wild river that blocks his way. Thinking of the dangers that are following him, he makes a raft and succeeds in crossing the turbulent current, beyond which he finally finds safety and peace.

"Four vipers in a box" indicates the four elements of earth, water, fire and air that make up the body of flesh. The body is given into the charge of lust and is an enemy of the mind. Therefore, he tries to run away from the body.

"Five guards who approach in friendly manner" mean the five aggregates--form, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness--which frame body and mind.

"The safe shelter" is the six senses, which are no safe shelter after all, and "the six bandits" are the six objects of the six senses. Thus, seeing the dangers within the six senses, he runs away once more and comes to the wild current of worldly desires.

Then he makes himself a raft of the Buddha's good teachings and crosses the wild current safely.
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Re: The Fables Of Buddha 3.

Postby Aemilius » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:02 pm

The story is from Lotus Sutra, chapter 16, and it is noteworthy because it says that Shakyamuni appeared again as a new Nirmanakaya after His parinirvana, though He had declared that " This is may last birth, and so on..." (in the hinayana sutras). The theme in the chapter 16 of Lotus Sutra is deceptiveness of Parinirvana and Shakyamuni's continuing appearance in the world to save beings who are wandering aimlessly in Samsara. To my knowledge chinese and japanese buddhists have not been looking for new incarnations of Bhagavan Shakyamuni basing themselves on chapter 16 of the Lotus Sutra?? Tibetans on the other hand, especially the Nyingma, do believe that Shakyamuni has apppeared after His seeming Parinirvana as different Nirmanakayas, among them the eight manifestations of Guru Rimpoche. Because the Lotus sutra existed in India for a long time it is evident that the indians new in fact of Shakyamuni's new appearance and of His new activities after the Parinirvana!
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The Fables Of Buddha 17.

Postby antropolis » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:25 pm

Once Yama, the legendary King of Hell, asked a man who had fallen into hell about his evil deeds in life, whether, during his life, he had ever met the three heavenly messengers. The man replied: "No, my Lord, I never met any such persons."

Yama asked him if he had ever met an old person bent with age and walking with a cane. The man replied: "Yes, my Lord, I have met such persons frequently." Then Yama said to him: "You are suffering this present punishment because you did not recognize in that old man a heavenly messenger sent to warn you that you must quickly change your ways before you, too, become an old man."

Yama asked him again if he had ever seen a poor, sick and friendless man. The man replied: "Yes, my Lord, I have seen many such men." Then, Yama said to him: "You have come into these sick men the messengers from heaven sent to warn you of your own sickness."

Then, Yama asked him once more if he had ever seen a dead man. The man replied: "Yes, my Lord, I have been in the presence of death many times." Yama said to him: "It is because you did not recognize in these men the heavenly messengers sent to warn you that you are brought to this. If you had recognized these messengers and taken their warnings you would have changed your course, and would not have come to this place of suffering."
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