the hundred parables sutra

*this sutra was literally translated. therefore, stupid means ignorant or unaware.

Once upon a time there was a stupid man who was about to give a party. He wanted to store up milk for his guests.

"If I milk the cow beforehand every day, he thought, little by little, there will be too much of milk and will not be enough space to store it and it may even spoil. It would be better to let it remain inside of the cow. I’ll milk the cow right away at the time of the party."

He then separated the cow from the calf and tied them up apart. A month later, he actually gave the reception. He tried to milk the cow, but the milk had run dry. Some guests got annoyed and others laughed at him.

So are the idiotic fellows who want to give alms at once but prefer to wait until they possess great wealth. It usually happens that, before they can scrape together enough money, it is seized by the country officers or taken away by robbers and thieves or by fire and flood. It also happens that, due to their sudden demise, they are not in time for giving alms.

This is just like the story of the stupid man who stored up milk.



Once upon a time there was a rustic who stole garments from the palace and then escaped to a remote place. The king sent men to search for him in all directions. Finally, he was arrested and taken to the king who accused him of theft and asked him where he had got the clothes. The rustic answered that they belonged to his grandfather. The king then ordered him to put them on. He did not know how to wear them. He put on his arms what should be worn on his legs. What he ought to have on his waist, he put on his head. Seeing this, the king summoned his ministers for consultation on the matter.

"If the clothes belonged to your grandfather, you should know how to wear them. How can you wear them in all wrong ways? It’s certain that they are not your old clothes. You have stolen them," said the king.

Figuratively speaking, here the king is like Buddha; the valuable clothes, the Buddhist teachings; the stupid rustic, the heretic.

A heretic, who has eavesdropped on Buddhism, makes it for his own. He then misinterprets it, because he does not know the real meaning of its teachings.

This heretic is like the rustic who stole the king’s valuable clothes without knowing how to wear them properly and put them on in all the wrong ways.


Once a group of people sat in a house commenting on someone as being of good virtue except for two faults:

First, he was quick- tempered. Second, he was impulsive.

At the time, this man happened to pass by the door and heard the comment. He entered the house, grabbed the man who had criticized him, and started to beat him.

Thereupon one bystander asked why he beat the man.

He replied, "When did I ever lose my temper or act impulsively? This man said: I often did so. That’s why I have beaten him."

The bystander pointed out, "Your action at once demonstrates that you have often lost your temper and acted impulsively. Why do you still want to conceal your character from others?"

This man who resents to having his faults exposed, often leads people to lay all the blame for the stupidity and foolishness on him.

People, who are addicted to drinking and other debaucheries, when scolded by others, strongly hate their critics in turn. Moreover, they try desperately to justify themselves by bringing forward all sorts of excuses. Those men are just like that stupid man who disliked hearing about his faults discussed.



Once there were five men who together bought a maid to whom one of them said, "Get my clothes washed."

Another man also told her to do the same thing. But the maid said he would wash for whoever gave her clothes first. Angrily the second man said, "Since I have bought you with others, how can you wash only for the first one who gave the elder?"

Then he beat her ten strokes with a whip. Thus she was whipped as much by each of the five masters.

So are the five components of human bodies, which are the sources of annoyances. They whip the sentient beings with birth giving, old age, sickness, death and numerous other miseries.



Once upon a time, there was a Ksatriya of the Makara Kingdom who fell seriously ill, and was aware of the fatal hour. To his two sons he ordered, "After my death, divide between the two of you evenly my effects and money."

After his death, the two sons followed their father’s will. But the elder brother complained against the younger of unfairness in their shares. An old man nearby said, "Let me teach you how to divide equally your father’s fortune."

"How!" they asked.

The old man replied, "Cut all the valuable garments into two parts. Then break everything else into two equal parts, such as tray, bottle, bowl, dish, money and so forth."

People laughed at his suggestion. Such folly is just like those heretics who use one-sided method of separate answer to all questions.

There are four ways to answer questions as follows:

  1. Affirmative answer.
    For instance: All human beings are mortal
  2. Separate answer
    For instance: The dead will be reborn.
    This should be answered separately. Those who have no desires at all will not be reborn. Those who have desires will be reborn.
  3. Reversal question and answer.
    For example, someone asks: Are all human beings supreme ones?" This can be questioned reversely as follows: "Are you referring to the Three Paths of Transmigration or to the host of Devas?
    If you are referring to the former, I should say human beings are supreme. If the latter, I should say human beings are not equals to Devas.
  4. No answers to questions
    If you ask the fourteen difficult questions, such as whether the world has limit or whether human beings have any beginnings or ends.

Pretending to be wise, the ignorant heretics divide the four ways of answering questions by only using the separate answer, just like the stupid man giving advice to the two sons to divide all effects and money into two parts.



Brahmans say that the Great Brahma was both father of the world and creator of all things. One of the Great Brahma’s disciples once said he also had the power to create things. He was too stupid to be wise.

To the great Brahma, he said, "I can create everything."

The Great Brahrna replied, "Don’t talk like that. You can’t. Since you don’t listen to me, I wonder how you do it."

After seeing what his disciple had creased, the Great Brahma said, "The man’s head that you have made is too big and the neck too thin. The hands are too long and the arms too bony. The feet are too small and the legs too fat. It looks like a Pisacah devil."

Through the Great Brahma’s words, we should realize that human beings are created by their own deeds resulting from Karma and not by the power of the Great Brahma.

Buddha’s preaching is not ambiguous. As they preach the Eightfold Noble Path, they cling neither to the view of total annihilation nor that of permanence. On the contrary, the heretics do cling to the view of annihilation and permanence. They cheat the world by performing ceremonies and creating images. What they preach really is not Buddhism.



Once upon a time, there was a troupe of actors from Cadhara Kingdom, rambling in different parts of the country giving performances due to a famine. They passed the Pala New Mountain where evil demons and men-eater Raksas had been found. The troupe had to lodge in the mountain where it was windy and cold. They slept with the fire on. One of them who were chilly wore Raksa demon’s costume and sat near the fire when another actor awoke and saw him. He ran away without looking closely at him. In general panic, the whole troupe got up and ran away. The one who wore the Raksa garment, not realizing what was happening, followed them.

Seeing he was behind them, all the actors got more frightened to do them harm. They crossed rivers and mountains, and jumped into ditches and gullies. All got wounded in addition to the great fear they suffered. They did not realize that he was not a demon until daybreak. So are all the common people. Those who happen to be in the midst of the misfortune of famine, do not spare themselves trouble to go far away to seek for the sublime teaching of the Four Transcendental Realities of Nirvana, namely eternity, bliss, personality and purity. However, they cling to their egos which are nothing more than five components of a human being. Because of this, they are flowing back again and again through transmigration. Pursued by temptation, they are out of sorts in falling into the ditch of the Three Evil Paths. Only when the night of transmigration is ended, does the wisdom appear once again. Also only at this moment can one perceive the five components of a human being have no real ego.



Once upon a time, there was a group of frontiersmen who had never seen a donkey before. Thus they could not identify it. They were told that its milk was delicious. It happened that they found a male donkey and they tried to milk it. They began their wrangling about apprehending it.

One seized its head: another, its ears; the third, its tail; the fourth, its feet; and finally the fifth, its penis. All wanted to be the first to drink its milk. The one who grasped the donkey’s penis called out that he could get milk there from. Then he began to extract. Finally, this group of people felt tired and bored, for they could not get what they had wanted. They got nothing in return, despite of their effort. They were all laughed at by the people at large.

This is also held to be true with the common heretics.

The heretics who learn their religious faith from some inadequate sources, might lead to illusions giving rise to all kinds of heterodox views such as to go naked, to fast, to jump into precipice or go through fire. With all these kinds of heterodox views, they fall to the evil paths, like those stupid men seeking in vain for milk from a male donkey.



Once upon a time, there were a man and his son traveling together. The son got into the woods and was bitten by a bear. Scratches were all over his body. Being in a difficult situation, he fled to his father. Seeing his son’s wounds, the father was astonished and asked, "How did you get wounded?"

The son replied, "There was a long-haired monster that bit me."

The father grasped bows and arrows and went to the woods where he saw a longhaired supernatural being. When he was about to shoot at him, a bystander said, "Why do you want to shoot at this, since he is innocent? You should punish the guilty."

This is also held to be true with the stupid of the world.

People offended by an immoral monk in his religious robe, are apt to do the worst harm to all good and virtuous monks. This is just like the father wanting to be revenged on the supernatural man for his son’s bites by a bear.



Once upon a time, there were two doves, male and female, which lived together in a nest. They filled their nest with fruit seed that grew up during the fall. Later, the fruit dried and shrank to fill but half of the nest. The male was in a temper and said to the female, "We have been working hard together for the fruit. Now you have eaten it alone. It’s half of what it was.

The female replied, "I haven’t eaten it alone. For the fruit has shrunk by itself."

Incredulous, the male angrily said, "If it has not been you alone who had eaten, how could it grow so much less now?"

Then he pecked the female to death. A few days later, it happened to rain heavily. The fruit got moist and grew to its former size. On seeing it, the male regretfully realized that she really had not eaten and that he had wrongly killed her. He then cried bitterly and called out to her: "Where have you gone?"

This is also held to be true with the common people. Leading a disorderly life, people indulge in wild pleasures. They think nothing of impermanence when breaking major commandments. It will be too late for them to repent afterwards. It only remains for them to give vent to their sadness with sighs like the stupid dove.




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