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The Gospel of Buddha:Chapter 63: The Widow's Two Mites and the Parable of the Three Merchants

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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There was once a lone widow who was very destitute,
and having gone to the mountain
she beheld hermits holding a religious assembly.
Then the woman was filled with joy, and uttering praises, said,
"It is well, holy priests!
but while others give precious things
such as the ocean caves produce,
I have nothing to offer."
Having spoken thus
and having searched herself in vain for something to give,
she recollected that some time before
she had found in a dungheap two coppers,
so taking these she offered them forthwith
as a gift to the priesthood in charity. [1]

The superior of the priests,
a saint who could read the hearts of men,
disregarding the rich gifts of others
and beholding the deep faith dwelling in the heart of this poor widow,
and wishing the priesthood to esteem rightly her religious merit,
burst forth with full voice in a canto.
He raised his right hand and said,
"Reverend priests attend!" and then he proceeded: [2]

"The coppers of this poor widow
To all purpose are more worth
Than all the treasures of the oceans
And the wealth of the broad earth. [3]


"As an act of pure devotion
She has done a pious deed;
She has attained salvation,
Being free from selfish greed." [4]


The woman was mightily strengthened
in her mind by this thought, and said,
"It is even as the Teacher says:
what I have done is as much
as if a rich man were to give up all his wealth." [5]

And the Teacher said:
"Doing good deeds is like hoarding up treasures,"
and he expounded this truth in a parable: [6]

"Three merchants set out on their travels, each with his capital;
one of them gained much, the second returned with his capital,
and the third one came home after having lost his capital.
What is true in common life applies also to religion. [7]

"The capital is the state a man has reached, the gain is heaven;
the loss of his capital means that a man will be born in a lower state,
as a denizen of hell or as an animal.
These are the courses that are upon to the sinner. [8]

"He who brings back his capital, is like unto one who is born again as a man.
Those who through the exercise of various virtues become pious householders
will be born again as men, for all beings will reap the fruit of their actions.
But he who increases his capital is like unto one who practises eminent virtues.
The virtuous, excellent man attains in heaven to the glorious state of the gods." [9]

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Source

mountainman.com.au