唵米决口喻 - An Operation on the Mouth

Ancient Chinese Fable (for Advanced Learners)


昔有一人,至妇家舍,见其捣米,便往其所,偷米唵之。妇来见夫,欲共其语,满口中米,都不应和。羞其妇故,不肯弃之,是以不语。

Once upon a time, there was a man who went to his wife’s home where he saw people removing the husk from rice. He stole some rice and hid it in his mouth. When the wife came to talk to him, he could not answer her with his mouth full. He disliked to leave it lest he would put her to shame. So he stood speechless.


妇怪不语,以手摸看,谓其口肿,语其父言:“我夫始来,卒得口肿,都不能语。”

That aroused her curiosity all the more. Looking at him and feeling him with her hands, she found his mouth swollen. Thereupon she said to her father, „On his way over, my husband suddenly got a swollen mouth and is unable to speak.“


其父即便唤医治之。时医言曰:“此病最重,以刀决之,可得差耳!”

Immediately her father sent for a doctor who said, „Very serious is your illness. It will be cured by an operation.“


即便以刀决破其口,米从口出,其事彰露。

Then an operation on his mouth was done and his act of theft was exposed.


世间之人,亦复如是。作诸恶行,犯于净戒,覆藏其过,不肯发露,堕于地狱、畜生、饿鬼。如彼愚人,以小羞故,不肯吐米,以刀决口,乃显其过。

This is also held to be true with the people at large. In doing evil deeds to break the pure commandments and hiding sins, people descend to the Three Evil Ways of hells, beats and hungry ghosts. This is just like the stupid man, being reluctant to let out rice, on account of a trifling shame matter, and undergoing an operation on his mouth to reveal his sins.


Modern Chinese Translation - 白话:


曾有一人到丈母娘家去,见她在家捣米,就去那儿偷了一把米含在嘴里。妻子来见丈夫,想跟他说话,而他满 口含着米,唔唔地不应答,因为在妻子面前怕难为情,不肯吐弃出来,也就不说话了。妻子见他不说话,奇怪了,抬手摸看,以为他口肿了,便对父亲说:「我丈夫 刚来,忽然患了口肿,都不能说话了。」她父亲随即叫来医生替他治疗。医生说:「这病极重,开了刀,方可治好。」就用刀决破了他的口,米从中泻了出来,事情 败露了。

世上的人也是这样,做了种种恶行,毁犯了清净的戒律,就把过错覆藏起来,不肯发露,堕入于地狱、畜生、饿鬼这类恶道中。就好比那个愚人,出于小小的难为情,不肯吐出米来,以刀决口,方显露出他的过失来。


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