Phoney Holy Man [Hypocrisy]
a time there was a man who looked and acted just like a holy man.
He wore nothing but rags, had long matted hair, and relied on a
little village to support him. But he was sneaky and tricky. He
only pretended to give up attachment to the everyday world. He was
a phoney holy man.
wealthy man living in the village wanted to earn merit by doing
good deeds. So he had a simple little temple built in the nearby
forest for the holy man to live in. He also fed him the finest foods
from his own home.
thought this holy man with matted hair was sincere and good, one
who would not do anything unwholesome. Since he was afraid of bandits,
he took his family fortune of 100 gold coins to the little temple.
He buried it under the ground and said to the holy man, "Venerable
one, please look after this my family fortune."
holy man replied, "There's no need to worry about such things
with people like me. We holy ones have given up attachment to the
ordinary world. We have no greed or desire to obtain the possessions
well, venerable one," said the man. He left thinking himself
very wise indeed, to trust such a good holy man.
the wicked holy man thought, "Aha! This treasure of 100 gold
coins is enough for me to live on for the rest of my life! I will
never have to work or beg again!" So a few days later he dug
up the gold and secretly buried it near the roadside.
next day he went to the wealthy villager's home for lunch as usual.
After eating his fill he said, "Most honourable gentleman,
I have lived here supported by you for a long time. But holy ones
who have given up the world are not supposed to become too attached
to one village or supporter. It would make a holy man like me impure!
Therefore, kindly permit me to humbly go on my way."
man pleaded with him again and again not to go, but it was useless.
"Go then, venerable sir," he agreed at last. He went with
him as far as the boundary of the village and left him there.
going on a short way himself, the phoney holy man thought, "I
must make absolutely sure that stupid villager does not suspect
me. He trusts me so much that he will believe anything. So I will
deceive him with a clever trick!" He stuck a blade of dry grass
in his matted hair and went back.
he saw him returning, the wealthy villager asked, "Venerable
one, why have you come back?" He replied, "Dear friend,
this blade of grass from the thatched roof of your house has stuck
in my hair. It is most unwholesome and impure for a holy one such
as myself to 'take what is not given'."
amazed villager said, "Think nothing of it, your reverence.
Please put it down and continue on your way. Venerable ones such
as you do not even take a blade of grass that belongs to another.
How marvellous! How exalted you are, the purest of the holy. How
lucky I was to be able to support you!" More trusting than
ever, he bowed respectfully and sent him on his way again.
just so happened that the Enlightenment Being was living the life
of a trader at that time. He was in the midst of a trading trip
when he stopped overnight at the village. He had overheard the entire
conversation between the villager and the 'purest of the holy'.
He thought, "That sounds ridiculous! This man must have stolen
something far more valuable than the blade of dry grass he has made
such a big show of returning to its rightful owner."
trader asked the wealthy villager, "Friend, did you perhaps
give anything to this holy looking man for safekeeping?" "Yes
friend," he replied, "I trusted him to guard my family
fortune of 100 gold coins." "I advise you to go see if
they are where you left them," said the trader.
worried, he ran to the forest temple, dug up the ground, and found
his treasure gone. He ran back to the trader and said, "It
has been stolen!" "Friend," he replied, "No
one but that so-called holy man could have taken it. Let's catch
him and get your treasure back."
both chased after him as fast as they could. When they caught up
with him they made him tell where he had hidden the money. They
went to the hiding place by the roadside and dug up the buried treasure.
at the gleaming gold the Bodhisatta said, "You hypocritical
holy man. You spoke well those beautiful words, admired by all,
that one is not to 'take what is not given'. You hesitated to leave
with even a blade of grass that didn't belong to you. But it was
so easy for you to steal a hundred gold coins!" After ridiculing
the way he had acted in this way, he advised him to change his ways
for his own good.
moral is: Be careful of a holy man who puts
on a big show.