Jan 8, 2021

The Illuminated Lotus Sutra Chapter 3 Extract 5

The Buddha explains to Sariputra the full meaning of the parable of the burning house.


Roberta Mansell

Sâriputra answered: By no means, Lord; by no means, Sugata. That is not sufficient, O Lord,

to qualify the man as a speaker of falsehood, since it only was a skilful device to persuade his

children to go out of the burning house and save their lives. Nay, besides recovering their

very body, O Lord, they have received all those toys. If that man, O Lord, had given no single

cart, even then he would not have been a speaker of falsehood, for he had previously been

meditating on saving the little boys from a great mass of pain by some able device. Even in

this case, O Lord, the man would not have been guilty of falsehood, and far less now that he,

considering his having plenty of treasures and prompted by no other motive but the love of

his children, gives to all, to coax them, vehicles of one kind, and those the greatest vehicles.

That man, Lord, is not guilty of falsehood.

The venerable Sâriputra having thus spoken, the Lord said to him: Very well, very well,

Sâriputra, quite so; it is even as thou sayest. So, too, Sâriputra, the Tathâgata is free

from all dangers, wholly exempt from all misfortune, despondency, calamity, pain, grief, the

thick enveloping dark mists of ignorance. He, the Tathâgata, endowed with Buddha-

knowledge, forces, absence of hesitation, uncommon properties, and mighty by magical

power, is the father of the world, who has reached the highest perfection in the knowledge

of skilful means, who is most merciful, long-suffering, benevolent, compassionate. He

appears in this triple world, which is like a house the roof and shelter whereof are decayed,

(a house) burning by a mass of misery, in order to deliver from affection, hatred, and

delusion the beings subject to birth, old age, disease, death, grief, wailing, pain, melancholy,

despondency, the dark enveloping mists of ignorance, in order to rouse them to supreme and

perfect enlightenment.

Text based on the translation by J H c Kern


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