Week 9 – Filial Piety Sutra (1/3)
Filial piety is defined as showing respect, love and reverence for parents, elders and ancestors. In ancient Chinese ethics, filial piety is considered as the prime virtue and the basis of all right human relations, and it is even considered as the most important moral to ensure a peaceful and happy family and society.
I found this free distribution book in Singapore at the Buddha Tooth Relics Temple. The content is so touching and true. Two friends of mine love it so much and shed tears after reading the whole book. That’s why I would love to share it with you here. Hoping it could touch your heart as well.
The Buddha’s Teaching On The Difficulty In Repaying The Deep Kindness of Parents (Filial Piety Sutra)
At one time, the Buddha was at the Jeta Grove in Sravasti, together with two thousand and five hundred Bhikshus and thirty-eight thousand Bodhisattvas Mahasatvas. One day, the Buddha, together with His disciples, walked to the southern part of the city. Suddenly, they came upon a pile of bones by the roadside. Immediately, the World Honoured One bowed down to make obeisance to the bones respectfully. When His disciples saw that, they were puzzled, “Why did The World Honoured One bow to the bones?” Venerable Ananda put his palms together and asked the Buddha, “World Honoured One! You are the Great Teacher of the Three Realms. You are the kind Father of all sentient beings. You are greatly revered by the people in the world and you are held in high esteem by us!” “Please tell us the reason for making obeisance to this piles of bones. What are the causes and conditions behind it?” The Buddha told Ananda compassionately, “Good question indeed, Ananda! All of you are my foremost disciples and have been cultivating for a long time but there are things which you may not understand yet.” “This pile of bones could have been the bones of our ancestors, or they might have been the bones of our parents from many past lives. How can a man not pay respect to his parents?” “That is why I bowed respectfully to them.” The Buddha continued to say, “Ananda, now you can divide the bones into two parts. If the bones belonged to a man, they would be white and heavy. But, if they belonged to a woman, they would be dark and weigh less.” Venerable Ananda then asked the Buddha, “World Honoured One! This is what I cannot understand. In this world, a man is dressed differently from a woman. He adorns himself with robes, belts, shoes, hats and other fine attire so that we can identify him as a male at a glance.” “A woman will adorn her body with powder, cosmetics and perfume. Just by looking at her dressing, we know that she is a lady!” “But when they are dead, only the bones remain. There is not much difference in those bones. How can we differentiate them?” The Buddha said seriously, “If a man always goes to the temple to listen to explanations of the Sutras and Precepts, makes obeisance respectfully to the Triple Gem – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and recites the Buddha’s name diligently, upon his death, he will have bones which are as white as jade and are heavy.” “As for a woman, if she were to be immersed in love and emotions while she was alive, did not listen to the Sutras or make obeisance respectfully to the Buddha, and felt that her sole duty was to give birth, nurtures children, and breast-feed them…” “…how could she not get weak, thin and haggard because the milk was transformed from her blood? Besides, every child needs more than eight stones of milk for his growth.” “That is why after her death, her bones are darker and lighter.” “When Ananda heard that, he felt such great pain in his heart, just as though he was being stabbed with a knife. He cried sorrowfully and asked, “World Honoured One! How can I repay the virtuous kindness of my mother?” The Buddha told Ananda, “Listen carefully! A pregnant woman has to endure ten months of suffering.” “During the first month of pregnancy, the life of a foetus is as precarious as a dew drop on the grass, which has condensed at dawn and might disappear by mid-day.” “During the second month, the embryo congeals like a piece of curd.” “During the third month, it is like a piece of coagulated blood. During the fourth month, the foetus gradually assumes a slightly human form.” “During the fifth month, the vital organs such as the head, two hands and two legs are formed.” “During the sixth month, the essence of the six senses are developed. They are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind.” “During the seventh month, the three hundred and sixty bones and joints are formed.” “Besides, the eighty-four thousand hair pores are formed. During the eight month, the brain is almost fully formed and is endowed with mind-consciousness and knowing faculty.” “After that, the nine apertures on the body are opened. They are the two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, a mouth, the anus and the urethra.” “When the foetus is nine months old, it often kicks and struggles in the womb, just like the vibration of Mount Sumeru. The mother can seldom get a good sleep, neither can she eat properly.” “From the first moment when the foetus comes into being until the moment it is born into the world, it gets its nutrients by feeding on its mother’s blood.” “On reaching the tenth month, all the vital organs are fully developed. The foetus is ready to be born.” “After carrying the foetus for then months, the mother has undergone immense suffering. In order to ease the birth of her baby, the mother’s blood flows out like a river!” “In a smooth delivery, the baby will flow along with the blood and emerge with the four limbs curling inwards and its head facing downwards, without causing any injury to its mother.” “But in a difficult delivery, the baby will kick and struggle its way out, and hence causing great pain to its mother.” “It is as if the mother’s body is cut by a thousand knives and the heart is pierced by ten thousand arrows. The mother’s agony is really appalling.” “As children, we should never forget the suffering our mother went through when she gave birth to us. Otherwise, we will be worse than animals.” “Our kind mother had endured immense suffering during the process of delivery. If we were to go into details, there were at least ten types of deep kindness which were bestowed upon us by her.” “The first type is the kindness of caring for and protecting the foetus in the womb in every possible way. The second type is the kindness of enduring extreme pain during the delivery.” “The third type is the kindness of forgetting all her sufferings and worries after the delivery.” “The fourth type is the kindness of feeding her child with all delicacies.” “The fifth type is the kindness of letting her child sleep well in dry and warm conditions while she endures wet and cold conditions.” “The sixth type is the kindness of breast-feeding her child to ensure that he is healthy without thinking of her own well-being.” “The seventh type is the kindness of washing away the filth of the child without a care for her hands which get dirty or for her skin and flesh which get split by contact with the cold water.” “The eight type is the kindness of always thinking of her child who has to travel afar. She is always looking forward anxiously to the homecoming of the child and always thinking of the child tearfully.” “The ninth type is the kindness of being willing to undergo suffering on behalf of her child as she loves him dearly.” “The tenth type of kindness is her everlasting love and affection for her child.”
…(to be continued)
You can download the apps “IDharmaBook” to get the ebook in Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/idharmabook/id390054391
Book Title: The Buddha’s Teaching On The Difficulty In Repaying The Deep Kindness of Parents (Filial Piety Sutra)
Published by: Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, Awaken Publishing & Design