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Dr Shen Hongxun 08:08:1939 – 26:10:2011

November 8th, 2011 · No Comments

The Parable of the Skilled Physician and His Sick Children

There once was a very wise and skilled doctor. He could make a special kind of medicine that could cure any illness imaginable.

The doctor had many children. One day, he travelled to a distant land. While he was away, his children, through their innocent folly, mistakenly drank poison. They became very sick. Some were cringing in pain and writhing on the ground, some had completely lost their minds. Some were close to death. While others, however, because they took only a little sip, were only slightly ill.

When the doctor returned from his long trip, he saw that his children were very sick and needed help.  The children, even though ill with poison, were very happy to see their father return. “Welcome home, father!” they said. “We’re so happy to see that you have returned home safely. While you were away we were very foolish. We all mistakenly drank some poison. Please save us from this suffering!”

The doctor quickly set to work diligently grinding, sifting, and mixing various herbs. He made a powerful medicine that had a beautiful colour, an excellent fragrance and a wonderful taste. This medicine was perfect.

Bringing the medicine to his children, he encouraged them to drink it saying: “My children, here is a medicine of excellent colour, fragrance and taste. Drink this and your illness will be gone and you will be well.”

Those children who were only slightly ill saw that it was good and immediately took the medicine and were quickly cured. The children who had lost their minds however, refused the medicine. They had become so befuddled and confused because the poison had penetrated deep into their minds. They refused to believe that their father’s medicine would help them.

“My poor children,” the father said, “because you have consumed poison, your thoughts have become twisted. When you saw me return home, you begged me to cure you. But when I offered you this medicine, you refused it. If you won’t take this good medicine, how can you be cured?”

Even though the children’s minds were confused, their father still loved them very much. He had to think of a way to get them to take the medicine.

Finally, the doctor said: “My beloved children, hear me well! I am old and weak, and may die at any time. I will leave this medicine here for you. Even if I should die, your sickness can still be cured with this excellent medicine.

Please don’t doubt that!

I must leave now on another trip, so please remember what I have told you.”

The doctor then travelled to another land and he sent a messenger home to tell his children of his death. The children were stunned. They had never expected him to really die! They said with grief stricken hearts: “Our father is dead! Now we have no one to rely on, who will protect and pity us, we have been abandoned!”

Then, the children remembered the medicine that their father had left for them and his words before leaving. In tears, they each took some of the medicine and were immediately cured of their illness.

Then, to their amazement, their father returned home and for the first time they realised how great his love and mercy was for them.

An extract of chapter 16 ‘The Life Span of the Thus Come One’, Lotus Sutra

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