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Chapter Five -- The Fool

  1. Long is the night to the sleepless; long is
    the league to the weary; long is worldly existence
    to fools who know not the Sublime Truth.
  2. Should a seeker not find a companion who
    is one's better or equal, let one resolutely pursue a
    solitary course; there is no fellowship with a fool.
  3. The fool worries, thinking, "I have sons,
    I have wealth." Indeed, when he himself is not
    his own, whence are sons, whence is wealth?
  4. A fool knows his foolishness is wise
    at least to that extent, but a fool who thinks
    himself wise is called a fool indeed.
  5. Though all his life a fool associate with a
    wise person, he no more comprehends the Truth
    than a spoon tastes the flavour of the soup.
  6. Though only for a moment a discerning
    person associate with a wise person, quickly
    he comprehends the Truth, just as the tongue
    tastes the flavour of the soup.
  7. Fools of little wit are enemies unto themselves
    as they move about doing evil deeds, the
    fruits of which are bitter.
  8. Ill done is that action doing which one
    repents later, and the fruits of which one reaps,
    weeping with tearful face.
  9. Well done is that action doing which one
    repents not later, and the fruits of which one reaps
    with delight and happiness.
  10. So long as an evil deed has not ripened,
    the fool thinks it as sweet as honey. But when the
    evil deed ripens, the fool comes to grief.
  11. Month after month a fool may eat his
    food with the tip of a blade of grass, but he still
    is not worth a sixteenth part of those who have
    comprehended the Truth.
  12. Truly, an evil deed committed does not
    immediately bear fruit, like milk that does not
    turn sour all at once. But smouldering, it follows
    the fool like fire covered by ashes.
  13. To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for
    it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness.
  14. The fool seeks undeserved reputation,
    precedence among renunciates, authority over monasteries,
    and honour among householders.
  15. "Let both laypersons and renunciates think that
    it was done by me. In every work, great and
    small, let them follow me"--such is the ambition
    of the fool; thus his desire and pride increases.
  16. One is the quest for worldly gain, and quite
    another is the path to Nibbana. Clearly
    understanding this, let not the renunciate, the disciple
    of the Buddha, be carried away by worldly acclaim,
    but develop detachment instead.