Reciting Sutras

A Tendai priest was asked to recite sutras for a farmer's wife who had died. The farmer asked, "Do you really think my wife will benefit from all of this?" The priest replied, "Not only your wife, but all sentient beings will benefit." The farmer protested, "You say all sentient beings, but my wife may be weak and others will take advantage and receive more benefit. Please recite the sutra just for her."

The priest explained that it was Buddha's wish to offer blessings to all living beings. The farmer agreed that that was a fine teaching. "But," he said, "I have a neighbour who is rough and has been mean to me. Couldn't you just exclude him from all those sentient beings?"

Laugh as we will at the farmer, are we much different? Man is the most selfish being as long as he identifies himself as "I."


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