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Path to Wisdom
Best bedtime stories collection by Buddha.
Part - 4
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This is the volume - 2 of Buddha Says series. Worm and overwhelm response worldwide made me extend to second part. Review says it’s a best stories for children to tell at sleep time. So this is for you.
Again These stories are not written by me. It’s compilation of story told by Buddha to his disciples and other peoples for better character building. But I don’t think these stories are just as religious stories. Among these, some stories are told by Buddha to his followers for various teaching. These stories doesn’t just give us entertainment, But also sow core values like Truth, love, compassion, honesty, ordination, unity, association, Infatuation, friendship, cleanliness, courage etc.
Today we are forgetting telling stories to our children. Using these stories we can develop human value and good qualities like unity, patience, self control, tolerance, compassion, love and truth. Major purpose of stories is to create moral and ethical values through entertainment, because children only enjoy which gives them entertainment. They are not obvious, so they enjoy little little things. They are curious to know the things. We can easily sow good values in their souls. So parents please take one step for your children. My friend adults read these stories and try to implement and use it in your life, because I have also used these principles of Buddha in my life, and I am very happy.
Buddha is a core motivation behind this effort. Without Buddha’s inspiration I could never be able to compile this book. So Many many thanks to Buddha.
I thank to my parents who give me birth in this beautiful world, and I could able to see these various colors of life.
I thank to Mr. Ven Kurunegoda Piyatissa, because most of these stories are interpreted by him. He is the major contributor to converting pali script’s stories into modern English.
Thanks a lot. Thanks to all who helped me, inspired me directly or indirectly.
App Dipo Bhavah !
1. The Goat Who Saved The Priest
Once upon a time, there was a very famous priest in a very old religion. He decided it was the right day to perform the ritual sacrificing of a goat. In his ignorance, he thought this was an offering demanded by his god.
He obtained an appropriate goat for the sacrifice. He ordered his servants to take the goat to the holy river and wash him and decorate him with flower garlands. Then they were to wash themselves, as part of the purification practice. Down at the river bank, the goat suddenly understood that today he would definitely be killed. He also became aware of his past births and deaths and rebirths. He realized that the results of his past unwholesome deeds were about to finally be completed. So he laughed an uproarious goat-laugh, like the clanging of cymbals. In the midst of his laughter, he realized another truth - that the priest, by sacrificing him, would suffer the same terrible results, due to his ignorance . So he began to cry as loudly as he had just been laughing! The servants, who were bathing in the holy river, heard first the laughing and then the crying. They were amazed. So they asked the goat, “Why did you loudly laugh and then just as loudly cry? What is the reason for this? “He replied, I will tell you the reason. But it must be in the presence of your master, the priest.”
Since they were very curious, they immediately took the sacrificial goat to the priest. They explained all that had happened. The priest too, became very curious. He respectfully asked the goat, “sir, why did you laugh so loudly, and then just as loudly cry?”
The goat, remembering his past lives, said, “A long time ago, I too was a priest who, like you, was well educated in the sacred religious rites. I thought that to sacrifice a goat was a necessary offering to my god, who would benefit others, as well as myself in future rebirths. However, the true result of my action was that in my next 499 lives I myself have been beheaded!
“While being prepared for the sacrifice, I realized that today I will definitely lose my head for the 5ooth time. Then I will finally be free of all the results of my unwholesome deed of so long ago. The joy of this made me laugh uncontrollably. Then I suddenly realized that you, the priest, were about to repeat the same unwholesome action, and would be doomed to the same result of having your head chopped off in your next 5oo lives! So, out of compassion and sympathy, my laughter turned to tears.”
The priest was afraid this goat might be right, so he said, “Well, sir goat, I will not kill you.” The goat replied, “Reverend priest, even if you do not kill me, I know that today I will lose my head and finally be released from the results of my past unwholesome action.”
The priest said, “Don’t be afraid, my fine goat. I will provide the very best protection and personally guarantee that no harm will come to you. “ But the goat said, “oh priest, your protection is very weak, compared to the power of my unwholesome deed to cause its necessary results.” so the priest cancelled the sacrifice, and began to have doubts about killing innocent animals. He released the goat and, along with his servants, followed him in order to protect him from any danger.
The goat wandered into a rocky place. He saw some tender leaves on a branch and stretched out his neck to reach them. All of a sudden a thunderstorm appeared out of nowhere. A lightning bolt struck an over-hanging rock, and cut off a sharp slab, which fell and chopped off the goat’s head! He died instantly, and the thunderstorm disappeared. Hearing of this very strange event, hundreds of local people came to the place. No one could understand how it had happened.
There was also a fairy who lived in a nearby tree. He had seen all that had occurred. He appeared, gently fluttering in the air overhead. He began to teach the curious people, saying, “Look at what happened to this poor goat. This was the result of killing animals! All beings are born, and suffer through sickness, old age and death. But all wish to live, and not to die. Not seeing that all have this in common, some kill other living beings. This causes suffering also to those who kill, both now and in countless future rebirths. “Being ignorant that all deeds must cause results to the doer, some continue to kill and heap up more suffering on them in the future. Each time they kill, a part of themselves must also die in this present life. And the suffering continues even by rebirth in hell worlds!” Those who heard the fairy speak felt that they were very lucky indeed. They gave up their ignorant killing, and were far better off, both in this life, and in pleasant rebirths.
The moral is: Even religion can be a source of ignorance.
2. The God in the Banyan Tree
[A Bad Promise]
In the past, and even in some places today, people have had superstitions. One such is that a large or unusual tree is inhabited by a tree god, or some kind of spirit. People think that they can make a promise to this tree god, so he will help them in some way. When they think the god has helped them, then they must keep their promise. Once upon a time, in the city of Kasi in northern India, a man came upon a large banyan tree. He immediately thought there must be a god living there. So he made a promise to this tree god that he would perform an animal sacrifice, in return for a wish being granted.
It just so happened that his wish was fulfilled, but whether by a god or a demon or by some other means - no one knows. The man was sure the tree god had answered his prayer, so he wanted to keep his promise.
Since it was a big wish, it called for a big sacrifice. He brought many goats, mules, chickens and sheep. He collected firewood and prepared to burn the helpless animals as a sacrifice.
The spirit living in the banyan tree appeared and said, “Oh friend, you made a promise. You are now bound by that promise. You think you must keep the promise in order to be released from the bondage to it. But if you commit such terrible unwholesome acts, even though promised, the unpleasant results will put you in much greater bondage. For you will be forced to suffer those results in this life, and even by rebirths in hell worlds! The way to release yourself into future deliverance is to give up unwholesome actions, no matter what!And furthermore, since you think I’m a true god, what makes you think I eat meat? Haven’t you heard that we gods eat better things, like ‘ambrosia’ or stardust or sunbeams? I have no need of meat or any other food offerings”. Then he disappeared.
The foolish man understood the mistake he had made. Instead of doing unwholesome deeds that would force unhappy results on him in the future, he began to do only wholesome deeds that would benefit himself and others.
The moral is: Keeping a bad promise is worse than making it.
3. The Monkey King And The Water Demon
Once upon a time, far away in a deep forest, there was a nation of 8o,ooo monkeys. They had a king who was unusually large, as big as a fawn. He was not only big in body, he was also ‘large in mind.’ After all, he was the Bodhisatta - the Enlightenment Being.
One day, he advised his monkey nation by saying, “My subjects, there are poisonous fruits in this deep forest, and ponds possessed by demons. So if you see any unusual fruit or unknown pond, do not eat or drink until you ask me first. “Paying close attention to their wise king, all the monkeys agreed to follow his advice.
Later on, they came to an unknown pond. Even though they were all tired out and thirsty from searching for food, no one would drink without first asking the monkey king. So they sat in the trees and on the ground around the pond. When he arrived, the monkey king asked them, “Did anyone drink the water?” They replied, “No, your majesty, we followed your instructions.” He said, “well done.”Then he walked along the bank, around the pond. He examined the footprints of the animals that had gone into the water, and saw that none came out again! So he realized this pond must be possessed by a water demon. He said to the 8o,ooo monkeys, “This pond is possessed by a water demon. Do not anybody go into it.”
After a little while, the water demon saw that none of the monkeys went into the water to drink. So he rose out of the middle of the pond, taking the shape, of a frightening monster. He had a big blue belly, a white face with bulging green eyes, and red claws and feet. He said, “Why are you just sitting around? Come into the pond and drink at once!”
The monkey king said to the horrible monster, “Are you the water demon who owns this pond?” “Yes, I am,” said he. “Do you eat whoever goes into the water?” asked the king. “Yes, I do,” he answered, “including even birds. I eat them all. And when you are forced by your thirst to come into the pond and drink, I will enjoy eating you, the biggest monkey, most of all! “He grinned, and saliva dripped down his hairy chin. But the monkey king with the well trained mind remained calm. He said, “I will not let you eat me or a single one of my followers. And yet, we will drink all the water we want!” The water demon grunted, “Impossible! How will you do that?” The monkey king replied, “Each one of the 8o,ooo of us will drink using bamboo shoots as straws. And you will not be able to touch us!” of course, anyone who has seen bamboo knows there is a difficulty. Bamboo grows in sections, one after another, with a knot between each one. Any one section is too small, so the demon could grab the monkey, pull him under and gobble him up. But the knots make it impossible to sip through more than one section.
The monkey king was very special, and that is why so many followed him. In the past, he had practiced goodness and trained his mind with such effort and attention, that he had developed very fine qualities of mind. This is why he was said to be “large in mind”, not because he simply had a “big brain”.
The Enlightenment Being was able to keep these fine qualities in his mind, and produce a very unlikely event - a miracle. First, he took a young bamboo shoot, blew through it to make the knots disappear, and used it to sip water from the pond. Then, amazing as it may sound, he waved his hand and all the bamboo growing around that. One pond lost their knots. They became a new kind of bamboo.
Then, all his 8o,ooo followers picked bamboo shoots and easily drank their fill from the pond. The water demon could not believe his green eyes. Grumbling to himself, he slid back under the surface, leaving only gurgling bubbles behind.
The moral is: “Test the water before jumping in.”
4. The Tree That Acted Like A Hunter
Once upon a time, there was an antelope who lived in the deep forest. He ate the fruits that fell from the trees. There was one tree that had become his favourite.In the same area there was a hunter who captured and killed antelopes and deer. He put down fruit as bait under a tree. Then he waited, hiding in the branches above. He held a rope noose hanging down to the ground around the fruits. When an animal ate the fruit, the hunter tightened the noose and caught him.
Early one morning the antelope came to his favourite tree in search of fruits to eat. He did not see that the hunter was hiding in it, with his noose-trap ready. Even though he was hungry, the antelope was very careful. He was on the lookout for any possible danger. He saw the delicious looking ripe fruits at the foot of his favourite tree. He wondered why no animal had yet eaten any, and so he was afraid something was wrong. The hiding hunter saw the antelope approaching from a distance. Seeing him stop and take great care, he was afraid he would not be able to trap him. He was so anxious that he began throwing fruits in the direction of the antelope, trying to lure him into coming closer.
But this was a pretty smart antelope. He knew that fruits only fall straight down when they fall from trees. Since these fruits were flying towards him, he knew there was danger. So he examined the tree itself very carefully, and saw the hunter in the branches. However, he pretended not to see him.
He spoke in the direction of the tree. “Oh my dear fruit tree, you used to give me your fruits by letting them fall straight down to the ground. Now, throwing them towards me, you do not act at all like a tree! Since you have changed your habits, I too will change mine. I will get my fruits from a different tree from now on, one that still acts like a tree!”
The hunter realized his mistake and saw that the antelope had outsmarted him. This angered him and he yelled out, “You may escape me this time, you clever antelope, but I’ll get you next time for sure!”
The antelope realized that, by getting so angry, the hunter had given himself away a second time. So he spoke in the direction of the tree again. “Not only don’t you act like a tree, but you act like a hunter! You foolish humans, who live by killing animals. You do not understand that killing the innocent brings harm also to you, both in this life and by rebirth in a hell world. It is clear that we antelopes are far wiser than you. We eat fruits, we remain innocent of killing others, and we avoid the harmful results.”
So saying, the careful antelope leaped into the thick forest and was gone.
The moral is: The wise remain innocent.
5. The Dog King Silver
Once upon a time, the King of Benares went to his pleasure garden in his fancy decorated chariot. He loved this chariot, mostly because of the rich hand-worked leather belts and straps. On this occasion, he stayed in his pleasure garden all day long and into the evening. It was late when he finally got back to the palace. So the chariot was left outside in the compound all night, instead of being locked up properly.
During the night it rained heavily, and the leather got wet, swelled up, became soft, and gave off an odour. The pampered palace dogs smelled the delicious leather scent and came down into the compound. They chewed off and devoured the soft wet chariot straps. Before daybreak, they returned unseen to their places in the palace. When the king woke up and came down, he saw that the leather had been chewed off and eaten by dogs. He called the servants and demanded to know how this happened. Since they were supposed to watch the palace dogs, the servants were afraid to blame them. Instead, they made up a story that stray dogs, the mutts and mongrels of the city, had come into the grounds through sewers and storm drains. They were the ones who had eaten the fancy leather. The king flew into a terrible rage. He was so overcome by anger that he decided to take vengeance against all dogs. So he decreed that whenever anyone in the city saw a dog, he was to kill him or her at once!
The people began killing dogs. The dogs could not understand why suddenly they were being killed. Later that day, they learned of the king’s decree. They became very frightened and retreated to the cemetery just outside the city. This was where their leader lived, the Dog King silver. Silver was king not because he was the biggest or strongest or toughest. He was average in size, with sleek silver fur, sparkling black eyes and alert pointed ears. He walked with great dignity that brought admiration and respect from men as well as dogs. In his long life he had learned much, and was able to concentrate his mind on what is most important. So he became the wisest of all the dogs, as well as the one who cared most for the others. Those were the reasons he was king of the dogs.
In the cemetery, the dogs were in a panic. They were frightened to death. The Dog King silver asked them why this was. They told him all about the chariot straps and the king’s decree, and the people killing them whenever they saw them. King silver knew there was no way to get into the well guarded palace grounds. So he understood that the leather must have been eaten by the dogs living inside the palace.
He thought, “We dogs know that, no matter how different we may appear, somehow we are all related. So now I must make my greatest effort to save the lives of all these poor dogs, my relatives. There is no one to save them but me.”
He comforted them by saying, “Do not be afraid. I will save you all. Stay here in the cemetery and don’t go into the city. I will tell the King of Benares who are the thieves and who are the innocent. The truth will save us all.”
Before setting out, he went to a different part of the cemetery to be alone. Having practiced goodness all his life, and trained his mind, he now concentrated very hard and filled his mind with feelings of loving-kindness. He thought, “May all dogs be well and happy, and may all dogs be safe. I go to the palace for the sake of dogs and men alike. No one shall attack or harm me.”
Then the Dog King silver began walking slowly through the streets of Benares. Because his mind was focused, he had no fear. Because of his long life of goodness, he walked with a calm dignity that demanded respect. And because of the warm glow of loving-kindness that all the people sensed, no one felt the rising of anger or any intention to harm him. Instead, they marvelled as the Great Being passed, and wondered how it could be so!
It was as if the whole city were entranced. With no obstruction, the Dog King silver walked right past the palace guards, into the royal hall of justice, and sat down calmly underneath the king’s throne itself! The King of Benares was impressed by such courage and dignity. So when servants came to remove the dog, he ordered them to let him remain.
Then the Dog King silver came out from under the throne and faced the mighty King of Benares. He bowed respectfully and asked, “Your majesty, was it you who ordered that all the dogs of the city should be killed?” “It was I,” replied the king.
“What crime did the dogs commit?” asked the dog king. “Dogs ate my rich beautiful chariot leather and straps.” “Do you know which dogs did this?” asked King silver.
“No one knows,” said the King of Benares.
“My lord,” said the dog, “for a king such as you, who wishes to be righteous, is it right to have all dogs killed in the place of the few guilty ones? Does this do justice to the innocent ones?” The king replied, as if it made perfect sense to him, “since I do not know which dogs destroyed my leather, only by ordering the killing of all dogs can I be sure of punishing the guilty. The king must have justice!”
The Dog King silver paused for a moment, before challenging the king with the crucial question - “My lord king, is it a fact that you have ordered all dogs to be killed, or are there some who are not to be killed?” The king suddenly became a little uneasy as he was forced to admit, before his whole court, “It is true that most dogs are to be killed, but not all. The fine pure-breeds of my palace are to be spared.”
Then the dog king said, “My lord, before you said that all dogs were to be killed, in order to insure that the guilty would be punished. Now you say that your own palace dogs are to be spared. This shows that you have gone wrong in the way of prejudice. For a king who wishes to be righteous, it is wrong to favour some over others. The king’s justice must be unbiased, like an honest scale. Although you have decreed an impartial death to all dogs, in fact this is only the slaughter of poor dogs. Your rich palace dogs are unjustly saved, while the poor are wrongly killed! “Recognizing the truth of the dog king’s words, the King of Benares asked.” Are you wise enough to know which dogs ate my leather straps and belts?” “Yes my lord, I do know,” said he, “it could only be your own favourite palace dogs, and I can prove it.” “Do so,” said the king.
The dog king asked to have the palace pets brought into the hall of justice. He asked for a mixture of buttermilk and grass, and for the dogs to be made to eat it. When this was done they vomited up partly digested pieces of the king’s leather straps!
Then the Dog King silver said, “My lord, no poor dogs from the city can enter the well guarded palace compound. You were blinded by prejudice. It is your dogs who are the guilty ones. Nevertheless, to kill any living being is an unwholesome thing to do. This is because of what we dogs know, but men do not seem to know - that somehow all life is related, so all living beings deserve the same respect as relatives.” The whole court was amazed by what had just taken place. The King of Benares was suddenly overcome by a rare feeling of humility. He bowed before the dog king and said, “oh great king of dogs, I have never seen anyone such as you, one who combines perfect wisdom with great compassion. Truly, your justice is supreme. I offer my throne and the kingdom of Benares to you!” The Enlightenment Being replied, “Arise my lord, I have no desire for a human crown. If you wish to show your respect for me, you should be a just and merciful ruler. It would help if you begin to purify your mind by practicing the ‘Five Training steps’. These are to give up entirely the five unwholesome actions: destroying life, taking what is not given, sexual wrong-doing, speaking falsely, and drunkenness.”
The king followed the teachings of the wise dog king. He ruled with great respect for all living beings. He ordered that whenever he ate, all dogs, those of the palace and those of the city, were to be fed as well. This was the beginning of the faithfulness between dogs and men that has lasted to this day.
The moral is: Prejudice leads to injustice, wisdom leads to justice.
Hiren Kavad is an Indian Fiction and non-fiction writer. He has completed is Bachelor of engineering in information technology from Gujarat Technological university, Gujarat, India. He is currently in art field. Active in theater, arts and literature. Currently he is working on couple of books. He is passionate about innovative writings. His fiction work does not have any narrow minded walls of thoughts. He has wide thinking about creating world with peace and love. He is a dynamic person.
With all this he believes in Truth, Love and Compassion.
With Writing he is also involved in active and creative internet app development. His first book is “Chanchal Hriday” written in his regional language Gujarati, is a short love story collection. You can contact him on following internet websites.
Facebook : www.facebook.com/Ihirenkavad
Google Plus : www.google.com/+hirenkavad
Twitter : www.twitter.com/hirenkavad
Blog : hirenkavad.wordpress.com
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Hiren Kavad Books
English Spiritual Stories
Total Episodes : 4
by Hiren Kavad
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