Children Know

baijuyiBai Juyi (772-846 CE) was an important poet and government officer during the Tang Dynasty in China. In his eightieth decade, he became interested in Buddhist teachings, and asked a Buddhist monk for the most essential Dharma instruction.

The monk replied by quoting the Buddha’s summary teaching, “Avoid harm. Do good. Purify the mind.”

Bai Juyi was not impressed, “Every child of three years knows these words. What I want to know is the most profound and fundamental teaching of the Buddha.”

The monk replied, “Every child of three years knows these words, but white-haired men of eighty still fail to put them into practice.”

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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3 Responses to Children Know

  1. Vox Populi says:

    It appears that the poet died at the age of 74, so how did this conversation happen when he was in his eighties?

    • Tashi Nyima says:

      People speak differently of their age in various cultures. For example, most people will say that they “are 25” after having completed 25 years of life. In other cultures, those same persons would say they “are 26”, because that is the year of life they are now living. In such cultures, a person who turns 70 has already completed seven decades of life, and is now considered to be living his 80s.

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