Thereupon the Buddha said to Śāriputra:
“Did I not tell you, ‘The Buddhas, the World-Honored Ones, expound the Dharma with expedients, that is, with various stories of previous lives, with various parables, with various similes, and with various discourses only for the purpose of causing all living beings to attain Anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi’? All these teachings of the Buddhas are for the purpose of teaching Bodhisattvas. Śāriputra! Now I will explain this with a parable. Those who have wisdom will be able to understand the reason if they hear the following parable.
“Śāriputra! Suppose there lived a very rich man in a certain country, in a certain village, in a certain town. He was old. His wealth was immeasurable. He had many paddy fields, houses, and servants. His manor house was large, but had only one gate. In that house lived many people, numbering a hundred or two hundred or five hundred. The buildings were in decay, the fences and walls corrupt, the bases of the pillars rotten, and the beams and ridgepoles tilting and slanted.
“All of a sudden fires broke out at the same time from all sides of the house, and it began to burn. In this house lived children of the rich man, numbering ten or twenty or thirty. The rich man was very frightened at the great fires breaking out from the four sides of the house. He thought, ‘I am able to get out of the gate of the burning house safely, but my children are still inside. They are engrossed in playing. They do not know that the fires are coming towards them. They are not frightened or afraid. They are about to suffer, but do not mind. They do not wish to get out.’ Śāriputra! He also thought, ‘I am strong-muscled. I will put them in a flower-plate or on a table and bring them out.’
“But he thought again, ‘This house has only one gate. Worse still, the gate is narrow and small. My children are too young to know this. They are attached to the place where they are playing. They may fall [out of the plate or table] and get burned. I had better tell them of the danger. This house is already burning. They must come out quickly so as not to be burned to death.’
“Having thought this, he said to his children as he had thought, ‘Come out quickly!’ He warned them with these good words out of his compassion towards them, but they were too much engrossed in playing to hear the words of their father. They were not frightened or afraid. They did not wish to come out. They did not know what a fire was, what a house was, and what they would lo e. They ran about happily. They only glanced at their father occasionally.
“Thereupon the rich man thought, ‘This house will be burned down soon by this great fire. If they and I do not get out at once, we shall be burned. I will save them from this danger with an expedient.
“An idea came to his mind that his children would be attracted by the various toys which they wished to have. He said to them, ‘The toys you wish to have are rare and difficult to obtain. You will be sorry if you do not get them now. There are sheep-carts, deer carts, and bullock-carts outside the gate. You can play with them. Come out of this burning house quickly! I will give you any of them according to your wishes.’
“Hearing of the toys from their father, the children rushed quickly out of the burning house, pushing one another, and striving to be first, because they thought that they could get what they each wished to have. The rich man, who saw them having come out safely and sitting in the open on the crossroad with no more hindrance, felt relieved and danced with joy. They said to their father, ‘Father! Give us the toys! Give us the sheep-carts, deer-cart and bullock-carts you promised us!’
“Śāriputra! Then the rich man gave each of them a large cart of the same size. The cart was tall, wide and deep, adorned with many treasures, surrounded by railings, and having bells hanging on the four sides. A canopy adorned with rare treasures was fixed on the top of it. Garlands of flowers, tied with jeweled ropes, were hanging from the canopy. In the cart were quilts spread one on another, and a red pillow. The cart was yoked with white bullocks. The color of the skin of the white bullocks was bright; their build, beautiful and stout; and their pace, regular. They could run as swift as the wind. The cart was guarded by many attendants. [This great rich man gave one of these carts to each of his children] because his wealth was so immeasurable that his various storehouses were full [of treasures]. He thought, ‘My treasures are limitless. I should not give inferior, smaller carts to them. They are all my children. Therefore, I love them without partiality. I have a countless number of these large carts of the seven treasures. I gave one of these to each of my children equally. There should be no discrimination. The large carts are numerous enough to be given to all the people of this country. Needless to say, I can give them to my sons. [Therefore, I did.]’
I’ll be reconsidering both Day 6 and Day 7, which do not appear at natural breaks.