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The Story of a Monk's Two Pieces of Clot

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The Story of a Monk's Two Pieces of Cloth

和尚的两块布

(Originally in English)

There was a monk in India who devoted himself to God, like all monks are supposed to do. So he had only one piece of cloth with which to cover his body. And he had only one pot, in which he would put water and also cook and put milk and so on.

有一个印度和尚,他本着出家人的精神,将自己完全奉献给上帝,因此,他全部财产只有一块用来遮盖身体的布,以及一个兼具取水、煮东西、装牛奶等等用途的锅子。

And it so happened that the lid of the pot broke. But the monk didn't buy a new one; he just used one corner of his cloth to cover the pot. Anytime he sat, he would sit near the pot. So a man came along and said, "Why don't you buy a new lid for your pot?" And he said, "I've already sworn that whatever I have here, I'll never get more, and just use what I have."

后来锅盖不小心弄破了,不过他并没有再买新的锅盖,只是用他身上那块布的一角来盖住锅子,所以每当他坐下时,都会靠近锅子而坐。于是就有人跟他说:「你为什么不买个新的锅盖呢?」那个和尚说:「我已经发过誓,不管我现在有什么,绝不再多要了,我只用那些我已经拥有的。」

And then the man said, "But why are you so stubborn? One lid is no problem; how about buying a new pot?" The monk said, "No, no. You increase this, and tomorrow it's that and the other. Just like one monk..." He then told the story of another monk. It was a true story, and went like this:

然后问的人说:「你何必那么固执?一个盖子不算什么啊,要不要考虑干脆买个新锅子?」那个和尚说:「不!不!现在增加了这个,明天就会再增加别的,就像有一个和尚…」然后他便讲述了另一个和尚的故事,那是个真实的故事,故事是这样的:

There was a monk in India. who used to go out begging for things. He had a loincloth that covered where he thought he was supposed to cover. (Laughter) But it was no problem; he was content. Every day he went out and got alms from people; he would beg and get enough to eat, and then he would go and meditate. It was very beautiful. And he had a small hut.

在印度有个和尚,他经常出去托钵一些东西,他有一条腰巾,用来盖住他认为应该遮住的地方(大众笑),这没什么问题,他很满足。他每天出去托钵,得到足够的食物饱腹后,就回去他的小茅屋打坐,日子过得很惬意。

The problem was that he had only two cloths: one that he washed and one that he wore. So, sometimes when he went out, he put his cloth on the roof to dry. And then came a mouse that always tore his cloth into ribbons. And then he would have to go out and beg for another piece of cloth. It happened many times like this.

问题是他只有两块布,当其中一块换洗时,他就用另一块围在身上,有时他出门时,会把洗好的布晾在屋顶上。结果经常有老鼠跑来将他的布咬成碎片,于是他就得再出去托钵另一块布。

So the monk was at a loss as to what to do. Then the neighbors advised him, saying, "You can't go on forever begging for cloth. Why don't you just keep a cat, and the cat will take care of the mouse. Then you'll have no problem. Otherwise, who's going to keep donating cloth to you all the time like this?"

这种事一再地发生,让那个和尚不知如何是好。邻居就建议他说:「你不能这样老是去托钵布啊,为何不养只猫呢?猫自然会处理老鼠,这样一来你就可以高枕无忧了。否则,有谁能够像这样一直供养布给你呢?」

So the monk, after many times begging, said, "OK, that's not bad." So he kept a cat. Someone came along and gave him a cat. And then now the cat was there. But he had more trouble. He had to go out and beg for milk for the cat. And then some good-hearted person came along and told him, "You can't go on forever, going out begging for milk and food for the cat. Just keep a cow. Because we don't mind giving you milk, but if we have to give milk for the cat as well, it's a little bit too much. It's OK that we give, but everyone else is not the same. They won't give it to you every day. Then you'll even have to sacrifice your own milk for the cat. So keep a cow. We have a cow; we can donate it to you. It can be very convenient for you to have milk for yourself. And the cow will also give you some whey that you can use for cooking; everything will be convenient."

经过了多次托钵布的经验以后,他想:「也好,这个主意还不错!」于是就决定养只猫。然后,就有人送给他一只猫。现在他养了猫,不过,麻烦更大了,因为他必须出去托钵牛奶给那只猫喝。于是又有一些好心人来告诉他:「你不能这样为了这只猫而得经常出去托钵牛奶和食物啊,只要养一头牛就好了我们是不会介意供养牛奶给你啦,不过,如果还要供养你的猫的话,那就太多了一点。我们当然会给你牛奶,不过其它人就不见得如此,他们不会每天都供养你,到时候你甚至必须将你自己那份牛奶给这只猫了。不如养头牛吧!我们有一头牛可以供养你,这样一来你要获取牛奶就很方便了,而且牛奶中的乳清也可以拿来煮菜,一切都会很方便的。」

So they also had a cow ready for him. But in India, you can get a cow at any cost. They just walk around, and maybe you can just take one; some of them are ownerless, homeless cows.

他们正好有一头牛可以送给他。在印度,很容易就可以得到一头牛,那些牛到处游荡,也许你就刚好捉到一只,有些是没有主人的牛、无家可归的牛。

Anyhow, after much consideration, the monk accepted the cow. But now he had to milk the cow and all that. And now he had to go out and beg for straw for the cow. Because he was a monk, he didn't know what else to do. And he lived in the part of the Himalayas with not much grass. He had to beg for straw and build a shelter for the cow.

经过再三考虑之后,这个和尚终于接受了这头牛。不过,现在他必须亲自挤牛奶,还得出去托钵一些草给牛吃。因为他是个和尚,除了托钵以外,不知道还能怎么做,再加上他住在喜马拉雅山区,附近没有那么多牧草,所以他必须为他的牛托钵一些草,还得盖一间牛舍给它住。

Now, so far, so good. But then someone else came along and advised him by saying, "You can't go on begging forever for straw. Who's going to give you straw all the time for the cow? We'll feed you, but we're not obliged to feed your cow and your cat and all that. So, keep a housemate. Or marry a wife; get married."

到目前为止,一切还好。可是后来有人建议他说:「你不能老是去托钵牧草啊,谁会一直供养牧草给你的牛呢?我们会供养你,不过,我们没有义务也要供养你的猫、牛等等,所以,找个农夫当伙伴或是娶个太太吧!」

So now the monk was having serious problems. Because he didn't know how to cultivate land. Therefore, a good adviser said to him, "You can keep a housemate, like a male farmer. Or, marry a farmer so that you can cultivate the land. There's so much land around here, all over; you can cultivate it, and have enough straw for your cow. And also you will have enough corn, wheat and so on for you to eat."

现在这个和尚面临了严重的问题,因为他不知道如何种植牧草,因此有个好心人建议他说:「你可以找个农夫当伙伴,或娶个农家女,那么你就可以进行耕种了。这附近有这么一大片宽阔的土地可以供你耕作,这样就有足够的牧草给你的牛吃,也会有足够的玉米、小麦等食粮让你食用。」

Now the monk was getting more and more serious. So he married. And afterwards, he and his wife cultivated a farm. Then they had children and they had to take care of the children, and then they had to get a teacher for the children and so on. And it was getting to be a bigger and bigger business.

这个和尚的问题愈来愈严重,他只好结婚了,然后他们开垦了一个农场,接着就有小孩了,然后他们必须照顾小孩,还要为小孩找个老师等等,因此,他们的「事业」就愈做愈大。

So one day, his Master came back. And he kept asking for the so-and-so monk that was supposed to have been living in a thatched hut next to the river three years ago. But no one knew if there was such a monk at all. So he kept asking his way up to the farm of the monk.

有一天,这个和尚的师父回来了,他不断地打听三年前住在河边茅屋里的那个和尚的下落,然而,根本没有人知道有过这么一位和尚。经过一番访查后,他终于找到和尚的农场。

And then he realized what had happened all because of a piece of loincloth, one extra piece more. If he had had only one, and wore it, there would have been no problem. But he had two - one to wear and one to wash - and that's why there was a problem. So that's what happened, and that's a true story.

最后他了解整个事情的经过,全都只为了一块多出来的布!如果当时他只有一块布围在身上就一切都没事了,但因为他有两块:一块围在身上、一块拿去洗,所以才衍生出后续的一大堆状况。这是个真实的故事。

The monk had much regret after his Master came back. But the Master didn't want to stay. He said, "I told you to practice spirituality. I didn't tell you to keep cows, dogs, cats, a wife and children." And then he had a whole farm. He had to hire many farmers, because so many things grew, and they kept expanding. It had become a farm.

这个和尚在他师父回来后感到后悔不已,但他师父已不愿再留下来,他告诫和尚:「我嘱咐过你要好好修行,我没叫你去养牛、狗、猫、太太和小孩!」那时候那个和尚已经经营一整个农场,他必须雇用很多农夫,因为有太多农事要做,而且他们一直在扩充、发展,农场已颇具规模了。

He left everything in the world to become a monk, to be detached from the world and to have the minimum necessities for his life. And then he ended up wealthy: a big farmer, with many cattle and a wife and children and many workers. It was getting bigger and bigger all the time. And he was so busy counting money and checking the harvest that he had no time for meditation anymore. It was all finished. The monk's job was finished; he had gotten another job.

他放下世俗一切去当和尚,为了摆脱尘世的束缚,过着最简单的生活,然而,最后却变成个富翁,成为一个大地主,拥有许多牲口和工人,妻子和小孩!农场愈来愈兴隆,于是他整天忙着数钞票、巡视收成,再也没时间打坐了,修行的方面便到此为止,「和尚的工作」结束了,他得到另一种工作。
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