Parable of the Jewel in the Robe
(Chapter 8 – Prophecy of Buddhahood for the Five Hundred Disciples)
A poor man visited a good friend. He was soon drunk and fell asleep. Before leaving for business trips, his good friend left a priceless jewel by sewing it into the lining of the poor man’s robe.
When the poor man woke up, he resumed his life as a vagrant, completely ignorant of his priceless jewel in his robe. Over the years, he became increasingly destitute.
One day, he bumped into his good friend again. His good friend was surprised to know that his poor man remained impoverish. The good friend then showed him the jewel which had been sewn in the poor man’s robe. When the poor man discovered the jewel in his robe, he was in seventh heaven! With the given jewel, the poor man was liberated from poverty.
The good friend is the Buddha while the poor man is the common people. The jewel represents the Law of Supreme Perfect Enlightenment.
Contrary to most people’s understanding, the jewel is NOT the Buddha-nature. The Buddha-nature is akin to a fertile land which is inherent in all living beings, and the Law of Buddhahood is akin to a seed (the jewel) that has to be given and planted in order for Buddhahood to grow and flourish. The analogy is simple: if you plant an apple seed in a fertile land, you reap apples. If you plant the Buddha’s seed within your soul, you become a Buddha. Simply put, you are the Buddha-nature and it is just a matter of choice to receive the seed of Buddhahood in order to attain Supreme Perfect Enlightenment.