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Parable: The Three-Storied House

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Hundred Parables Sutra
Parable: The Three-Storied House




In the old days, there was a rich man who was stupid and ignorant. One day he went to another rich man’s home. The house was a three-stored structure. Being struck with admiration of the imposing, spacious, and well-lit building, he said to himself, “I am no less rich than he. Why don’t I immediately build a house like this one?”

Thereupon he sent for a carpenter and said, “Can you construct a house as imposing as that one?”

The carpenter replied, ”I built that one!”

The rich man said, “Now you may build a house like that for me.”

The carpenter first began to level the ground. Afterwards he began to lay foundation stones and then drive piles for walls. When the carpenter was laying the stones and building the wall supports, the stupid man asked, “What are you doing now?”

The carpenter replied, “I’m building a three-storied house.”

The stupid man went on, “I don’t want the two lower floors. Build me the third floor first.”

The carpenter answered, “There is no such thing. If I don’t start with the first floor, how can I build the second? If I don’t build the second, how can I build the third?”

The stupid man insisted, “I don’t need the two lower floors; build only the top floor.”

Hearing those words, people laughed sardonically. They all said, “How can one not build the lower floors, yet build the top floor?”

This is like some of the Buddha’s disciples who, being unable to practice earnestly or to revere the Triple Jewel, are lazy and lax in seeking the fruits of the Way and say, “We don’t seek the first three stages below, but seek only the fruit of Arhatship.” They become objects of ridicule just like that stupid man.

Source

cttbusa.org