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(30) THE SHEEP-FARMER

Once upon a time, there was a shepherd who was skilful in raising as many as thousands of sheep. However, he was so stingy that he would not spend a penny.

At the time, a swindler found means to make friends with him and said, "Since you and I have become intimate friends united as one man, there should be no gap of any kind between us now. I know a pretty girl from a certain family. I should like you to ask her to be your wife."

The sheep-farmer was glad to hear those words. He gave him a flock of sheep and other precious things.

The swindler then said, "Now your wife has brought a child into the world."

The sheep-farmer was very delighted to learn about this, in spite of the fact that he had not met her yet. Again he gave him more things.

Then one day the swindler said, "Your child is dead shortly after birth."

On hearing those words, the sheep-farmer cried bitterly and sighed ceaselessly.
So are the people at large.

There are people who, acquiring much knowledge, put their creed into practice only for fame and gain. They keep secret its teachings, unwilling to preach or to teach the others. Indulging in mundane pleasures, they are cheated by the transience of their bodies like the poor man cheated by the illusion of getting a wife and a child. Consequently, they lose first their good faith, then their lives and finally their precious possessions. They can then only shed bitter tears by getting depressed and melancholy just like the sheep-farmer.

30牧羊人喻

昔有一人,巧于牧羊,其羊滋多,乃有千万。极大悭贪,不肯外用。时有一人,善于巧诈,便作方便,往共亲友,而语之言:「我今共汝极成亲爱,便为一体,更无有异。我知彼家有一好女,当为汝求,可用为妇。」牧羊之人,闻之欢喜,便大与羊及诸财物。其人复言:「汝妇今日已生一子。」牧羊之人,未见于妇,闻其已生,心大欢喜,重与彼物。其人后复而与之言:「汝儿已生,今死矣!」牧羊之人,闻此人语,便大啼泣,嘘欷不已。

世间之人,亦复如是,既修多闻,为其名利,秘惜其法,不肯为人教化演说,为此漏身之所诳惑,妄期世乐,如己妻息,为其所欺,丧失善法。后失身命并及财物,便大悲泣,生其忧苦。如彼牧羊人,亦复如是。

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