DN23.2.12. The Simile of the Dung-Carrier

Pāyāsi Sutta ("With Pāyāsi")

“Well then, chieftain, I shall give you a simile. For by means of a simile some sensible people understand the meaning of what is said.

Once upon a time, a certain swineherd went from his own village to another village. There he saw a large pile of dry dung abandoned. He thought, ‘This pile of dry dung can serve as food for my pigs. Why don’t I carry it off?’ So he spread out his upper robe, shoveled the dry dung onto it, tied it up into a bundle, lifted it on to his head, and went on his way. While on his way a large sudden storm poured down. Smeared with leaking, oozing dung down to his fingernails, he kept on carrying the load of dung.

When people saw him they said, ‘Have you gone mad, sir? Have you lost your mind? For how can you, smeared with leaking, oozing dung down to your fingernails, keep on carrying that load of dung?’

‘You’re the mad ones, sirs! You’re the ones who’ve lost your minds! For this will serve as food for my pigs.’

In the same way, chieftain, you seem like the dung carrier in the simile. Let go of this harmful misconception, chieftain, let go of it! Don’t create lasting harm and suffering for yourself!”

“Even though Master Kassapa says this, still I’m not able to let go of that harmful misconception. King Pasenadi of Kosala knows my views, and so do foreign kings. I shall carry on with this view out of anger, contempt, and spite!”

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