The Seller of Pears

An Abbot of the Buddha-Heart sect was preaching in the open air to a large crowd. The Abbot spoke of making life harmonious by mutual aid and concession, but added that the aim of life is to realize the Buddha-Heart within man, without which life has no real meaning.

A seller of pears,` pushing his cart by its two long wooden handles, drew near and interrupted: `What will it bring us? These are only words!’

The Abbot explained that realization would bring an end of all sufferings and a new life beyond life-and-death, but the pearseller shouted:
`Big talk! Big talk! But you have to show us something!’
The Abbot said that gains in the world of dreams were themselves illusory; they were no true gains but had to be paid for somehow.
The pear-seller only shouted again and again: `Show us something! You have to show us something!’ Others took it up.

The Abbot walked forward and the crowd fell silent. He stretched out his sleeve over the earth and muttered some words, and a pear-tree sprang out of the ground` its branches laden with fruit. The Abbot with some effort broke off two of the branches and distributed their fruit to the crowd. Then he went away and the people dispersed` munching the fruit.    

The fruit-seller stood in a stupor of amazement for a time; then he recovered and turned back to his cart, to find that the two wooden handles had been broken off and all the fruit had vanished.

Translated by T. L.

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