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The Prince Who Had a Plan 精心计划

(2007-04-21 17:38:27)
分类: 我的译文(佛教故事)
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[The Power of Superstition]

迷信的威力

Once upon a time, King Brahmadatta was ruling in Benares, in northern India. The Enlightenment Being was born as his son the prince. Being quite intelligent, he completed his entire education by the age of sixteen. So, at this early age, his father made him second in command.
很久以前,国王梵摩达(Brahmadatta)统治着印度北部的贝拿勒斯。佛陀降生为国王的儿子。他很聪明,在十六岁时就完成了学业,被父亲立为王储。

 
In those days, most people in Benares worshipped gods. They were very superstitious. They thought gods caused things to happen to them, rather than being results of their own actions. So they would pray to these gods and ask special favours. They would ask for a lucky marriage, or the birth of a child or riches or fame.
那时候,贝拿勒斯的大部分人都信神。他们非常迷信,认为是神让他们经历那些事,而不是他们自己的行为造成的后果。所以他们愿意向神祷告,求神给与特殊的眷顾。他们常为结婚、生孩子、财富和名利等事向神寻求帮助。
 
They would promise the gods that, if their prayers were answered, they would pay them by making offerings to them. In addition to flowers and perfumes, they imagined the gods desired the sacrifice of animals. So, when they thought the gods had helped them, they killed many animals — goats, lambs, chickens, pigs and others.
他们对神承诺如果他们的要求得以实现,他们就会为神提供祭品作为回报。他们认为神除了鲜花和香还渴望得到动物的献祭。因此,当他们认为神帮助了他们时,他们就会宰杀山羊、小羊羔、鸡、猪等许多动物。
The prince saw all this and thought, "These helpless animals are also subjects of the king, so I must protect them. The people commit these unwholesome acts due to ignorance and superstition. This cannot be true religion. For true religion offers life as it really is, not killing. True religion offers peace of mind, not cruelty.
王子目睹了这些事,心想:“这些无助的动物也是所属于国王,我必须得保护他们。人们犯下的过错皆因为无知和迷信。这并不是真正的宗教。真正的宗教是呈现生命的真实面目而不是杀戮;真正的宗教是让人内心平和,而不是残忍。”

"I fear these people believe in their superstitions too strongly to give them up. This is very sad. But perhaps their beliefs can at least be put to good use. Some day I will become king. So I must begin to make a plan to let their superstitions help them. If they must offer sacrifices, let them kill their own greed and hatred, instead of these helpless animals! Then the whole kingdom will benefit."
“恐怕那些人太过迷信而不愿放弃那些错误做法。这太令人悲伤了。至少得让他们的信仰起些好的作用。他日我会成为国王。我必须着手拟订一个计划能够让他们从迷信中得到帮助。如果他们一定供奉祭品,那就让他们摒弃自己的贪婪和仇恨,而不是祭祀那些无助的动物!那么整个王国都将受益。”

So the prince devised a clever long-term plan. Every so often, he rode in his grand chariot to a popular banyan tree just outside the city. This was a huge tree, where the people prayed and made offerings to a god they thought lived there. The prince came down from his chariot and made the same offerings as the others — incense, flowers, perfumes and water — but not animal sacrifices.
于是王子制定了一个长期有效的计划。他时不时的乘上他的那辆大马车来到城外那棵最受欢迎的菩提树下。那棵树很大,人们认为神住在那里,所以他们在那里祈祷并为神献祭。王子下了马车也跟其它人一样献上供品——熏香、鲜花、芳香的水和净水,却没有动物祭品。

In this way he made a great show, and the news spread about his offerings. Pretty soon, all the people thought he was a true believer in the great god of the banyan tree.
他以这样的方式广作宣传,有关他供奉祭品的消息便传开了。不久所有人都认为他真的信奉这棵菩提树大神。

In due time, King Brahmadatta died and his son became king. He ruled as a righteous king, and the people benefited. So all his subjects came to trust and respect him as a just and honourable king.
这时,国王梵摩达去逝了,王子成为了国王。他公正地治理着国家,人民因此而受益。作为一个正直而可敬的国王,所有的臣民都信任和尊敬他。

Then one day, he decided it was the right time to carry out the rest of his plan. So he called all the leading citizens of Benares to the royal assembly hall. He asked them, "Worthy ministers and loyal subjects, do you know how I was able to make sure that I would become king?" No one could answer.
有一天,他决定在一个合适的时间去执行计划里余下的部分。他把贝拿勒斯城所有的大人物都召到皇家议事厅。他问:“尊敬的大臣和忠诚的臣民啊,你们知道我是怎么确保自己当上国王的么?”没有人能回答这个问题。

He said, "Do you remember that I often gave wonderful sweet offerings to the great god of the banyan tree?" "Yes, our lord," they said.
他说:“你们记得我给那个菩提树大神献上的那些美好芳香的祭品吗?”“记得,陛下。”他们回答。

The king continued, "At each of those times, I made a promise to the powerful god of the tree. I prayed, 'Oh mighty one, if you make me King of Benares, I will offer a special sacrifice to you, far greater than flowers and perfumes.'
国王继续说:“那时,每一次我都向树神许下一个诺言。我祈祷‘伟大的神啊,如果你让我成为贝拿勒斯的国王,我就会给你一份特别的祭品,它远胜于那些鲜花和香火’。”

"Since I am now the king, you all can see for yourselves that the god has answered my prayers. So now I must keep my promise and offer the special sacrifice."
“既然我成为了国王,你们也就知道了神已经回应了我的祈祷。那么现在我必须实现我的诺言去供奉特别的祭品。”

All those in the assembly hall agreed. They said, "We must prepare this sacrifice at once. What animals do you wish to kill?"
议事厅里所有的人都同意。他们说:“我们必须立刻准备这份祭品。您要宰杀那些动物呢?”

The king said, "My dear subjects, I am glad you are so willing to cooperate. I promised the great god of the banyan tree that I would sacrifice anyone who fails to practice the Five Training Steps. That is, anyone who destroys life, takes what is not given, does wrong in sexual ways, speaks falsely, or loses his mind from alcohol. I promised that, if any do these things, I will offer their guts, and their flesh and blood on the great god's altar!"
国王说:“亲爱的臣民,你们愿意协助我,我很高兴。我向菩提大树神许诺说我会献祭那些不修习五学处的人——也就是那些杀生,偷盗(不与而取),邪淫,妄语,或者酗酒的人。我发愿说不管什么人只要没有做到,我都会在那位大神的祭坛上献出他们的内脏和血肉。”

Being so superstitious, all those in the hall agreed that this must be done, or the god would surely punish the king and the kingdom.
大厅内的臣民是如此迷信,他们都赞成必须照国王的话去做,否则神一定会惩罚国王和整个王国。

The king thought, "Ah, such is the power of superstition that these people have lost all common sense! They cannot see that, since the first training step is to give up killing, if I sacrificed one of my subjects, I would be next on the altar! And such is the power of superstition that I could make such a promise, and never have to carry it out!"
国王心想:“噢,迷信具有如此的威力以致于让这些人失去了常识!他们没能明白,既然修习五学处的第一步就是戒杀生,如果我献祭了我的臣民就等是将我自己献上祭坛啊!迷信的威力如此之大让我许下了一个自己永远都不可能实现的誓言!”

So, with full confidence in the power of superstition, the king said to the leading citizens, "Go into all the kingdom and announce the promise I made to the god. Then proclaim that the first one-thousand who break any of the training steps will have the honour of being sacrificed, to keep the king's promise."
就这样,国王对迷信的威力充满信心,他对那些大人物说:“去全国下达通告,讲明我对神的承誓言。然后宣布为了遵守国王的承诺,前一千名违反五学处中任何一个戒条的人都会被献祭。”

Lo and behold, the people of Benares became famous for carefully practising the Five Training Steps. And the good king, who knew his subjects so well, sacrificed no one.
瞧吧,贝拿勒斯的人民因为如实地修习五学处而闻名世界。那位非常了解自己臣民的仁慈国王也没有献祭任何一个人。

The moral is: Sacrifice your own wrong doing, not some helpless animal.
这个故事告诉我们:要献祭的是自己的错误行为,而不是孤立无助的动物。

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