The Parable Of A Drunkard





Now the question arises, If all human beings are endowed with

Buddha-nature, why have they not come naturally to be Enlightened?

To answer this question, the Indian Mahayanists[FN#171] told the

parable of a drunkard who forgets the precious gems put in his own

pocket by one of his friends. The man is drunk with the poisonous

liquor of selfishness, led astray by the alluring sight of the

sensual objects, and goes mad with anger, lust, and folly. Thus he

is in a state of moral poverty, entirely forgetting the precious gem

of Buddha-nature within him. To be in an honourable position in

society as the owner of that valuable property, he must first get rid

himself of the influence of the liquor of self, and detach himself

from sensual objects, gain control over his passion, restore peace

and sincerity to his mind, and illumine his whole existence by his

inborn divine light. Otherwise he has to remain in the same plight

to all eternity.





[FN#171] Mahaparinirvana-sutra.





Lot us avail ourselves of another figure to explain more clearly the

point at issue. Universal Spirit may fitly be likened to the

universal water, or water circulating through the whole earth. This

universal water exists everywhere. It exists in the tree. It exists

in the grass. It exists in the mountain. It exists in the river.

It exists in the sea. It exists in the air. It exists in the cloud.

Thus man is not only surrounded by water on all sides, but it

penetrates his very body. But be can never appease his thirst

without drinking water. In like manner Universal Spirit exists

everywhere. It exists in the tree. It exists in the grass. It

exists in the ground. It exists in the mountain. It exists in the

river. It exists in the sea. It exists in the bird. It exists in

the beast. Thus man is not merely surrounded by Spirit on all sides,

but it permeates through his whole existence. But he can never be

Enlightened unless he awakens it within him by means of Meditation.

To drink water is to drink the universal water; to awaken

Buddha-nature is to be conscious of Universal Spirit.



Therefore, to get Enlightened we have to believe that all beings are

Buddha-natured--that is, absolutely good-natured in the sense that

transcends the duality of good and bad. One day, to cite an

example, Pan Shan (Ban-zan) happened to pass by a meat-shop. He

heard a customer saying: 'Give me a pound of fresh meat.' To which

the shopkeeper, putting down his knife, replied: Certainly, sir.

Could there be any meat that is not fresh in my shop?' Pan Shan,

hearing these remarks, was Enlightened at once.





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