It is like [the case of] a poor man
Who goes to the house of a friend.
That friend, being very rich,
Sets much fine food before him.
A priceless precious pearl
He ties in his inner garment,
Secretly giving it and departing
While he sleeps on unaware.
The man when he arises
Travels on to another country
In search of food and clothes to keep alive,
Suffering great hardships for his living,
Contented with ever so little,
Wishing for nothing better,
Never perceiving that in his inner garment
There is a priceless jewel.
The friend who gave him the jewel
Afterward sees this poor man
And, bitterly rebuking him,
Shows where the jewel is bound.
The poor man, seeing this jewel,
Is filled with a great joy;
Rich, in possession of wealth,
He can satisfy his five senses.
The hidden pearl is Buddha-nature, our innate potential for enlightenment. The rich man is the Buddha, whose teachings and practices reveal to us who we really are.