The Pebbles and the Ghee


One day a young man came to the Buddha crying and crying; he could not stop. The Buddha asked him, “What is wrong, young man?”

“Sir, yesterday my old father died.”

“Well, what can be done? If he has died, crying will not bring him back.”

“Yes, sir, that I understand; crying will not bring back my father. But I have come to you, sir, with a special request: please do something for my dead father!”

“Eh? What can I do for your dead father?”

“Sir, please do something. You are such a powerful person, certainly you can do it. Look, these priestlings, pardoners, and almsgatherers perform all sorts of rites and rituals to help the dead. And as soon as the ritual is performed here, the gateway of the kingdom of heaven is breached and the dead person receives entry there; he gets an entry visa. You, sir, are so powerful! If you perform a ritual for my dead father, he will not just receive an entry visa, he’ll be granted a permanent stay, a Green Card! Please sir, do something for him!”

The poor fellow was so overwhelmed by grief that he could not follow any rational argument . The Buddha had to use another way to help him understand. So he said to him, “All right. Go to the market and buy two earthen pots.” The young man was very happy, thinking that the Buddha had agreed to perform a ritual for his father. He ran to the market and returned with two pots. “All right,” the Buddha said, “fill one pot with ghee, with butter.” The young man did it. “Fill the other with pebbles.” He did that too. “Now close their mouths; seal them properly.” He did it. “Now place them in the pond over there.” The young man did so, and both of the pots sank to the bottom. “Now,” said the Buddha, “bring a big stick; strike and break open the pots.” The young man was very happy, thinking that the Buddha was performing a wonderful ritual for his father.

According to ancient Indian custom, when a man dies, his son takes the dead body to the cremation ground, puts it on the funeral pyre, and burns it. When the body is half burned, the son takes a thick stick and cracks open the skull. And according to the old belief, as soon as the skull is opened in this world, the gateway of the kingdom of heaven is opened above. So now the young man thought to himself, “The body of my father was burned to ashes yesterday. As a symbol, the Buddha now wants me to break open these pots!” He was very happy with the ritual.

Taking a stick as the Buddha said, the young man struck hard and broke open both the pots. At once the butter contained in one pot came up and started floating on the surface of the water. The pebbles in the other pot spilled out and remained at the bottom. Then the Buddha said, “Well, young man, this much I have done. Now call all your priestlings and miracle workers and tell them to start chanting and praying: ‘Oh pebbles, come up, come up! Oh butter, go down, go down!’ Let me see how it happens.”

“Oh sir, you have started joking! How is it possible, sir? The pebbles are heavier than water, they are bound to stay at the bottom. They can’t come up, sir; this is the law of nature! The butter is lighter than water, it is bound to remain on the surface. It can’t go down, sir: this is the law of nature!”

“Young man, you know so much about the law of nature, but you have not understood this natural law: if all his life your father performed deeds that were heavy like pebbles, he is bound to go down; who can bring him up? And if all his actions were light like this butter, he is bound to go up; who can pull him down?”

The earlier we understand the law of nature and start living in accordance with the law, the earlier we come out of our misery.

Bài viết này được trích từ cuốn sách The Art Of Living – Thiền Sư S.N.Goenka và William Hart.

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Dhamma Nanda

Tổng hợp và chia sẻ các bài viết về Dhamma, đặc biệt là những lợi ích phương pháp thiền Vipassana, phương pháp thiền cổ xưa được Đức Phật Gotama tái phát hiện cách đây hơn 2600 năm, và được Ngài giảng dạy như một liều thuốc chung chữa trị những bệnh chung của nhân loại. Phương pháp không tông phái này nhằm tới việc diệt trừ những bất tịnh tinh thần và đưa đến hạnh phúc cao cả nhất của việc hoàn toàn giải thoát..

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