The Essential Scripture...

Dictionary

The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

Sūtra in Forty-Two Sections

Section 38

The Buddha asked the śramaṇas, “In what spans of time should human life be measured?” They answered, “In spans of several days.” The Buddha said, “Your understanding of the way is not quite there yet.” He again asked a śramaṇa, “In what spans of time should human life be measured?” He answered, “In spans the length of a meal.” The Buddha said, “Your understanding of the way is not quite there yet.” He again asked another śramaṇa, “In what spans of time should human life be measured?” He answered, “In spans the length of an inhalation and an exhalation.” The Buddha said, “Excellent! You have indeed understood the way.”