43. Bamboo’s Father [Wasted Advice]

43. Bamboo’s Father [Wasted Advice]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, there was a teacher who meditated much and developed his mind. Gradually his fame spread. Those who wished to be guided by a wise man came to hear him. Considering what he said to be wise indeed, 500 decided to become his followers.

One of these 500, who considered his teachings to be wise, was a certain pet lover. In fact, he loved pets so much that there was no animal he did not wish to keep as a pet.

One day he came upon a cute little poisonous snake, who was searching for food. He decided he would make an excellent pet. So he made a little bamboo cage to keep him in when he had to leave him alone. The other followers called the little snake, ‘Bamboo’. Because he was so fond of his pet, they called the pet lover, ‘Bamboo’s Father’.

Before long, the teacher heard that one of his followers was keeping a poisonous snake as a pet. He called him to him and asked if this was true. Bamboo’s Father said, “Yes master, I love him like my own child!"

The wise teacher said, “It is not safe to live with a poisonous snake. Therefore, I advise you to let him go, for your own good."

But Bamboo’s Father thought he knew better. He replied, “This little one is my son. He wouldn’t bite me. I can’t give him up and live all alone!".

The teacher warned him, “Then surely, this little one will be the death of you!" But the follower did not heed his master’s warning.

Later on, all 500 of the teacher’s followers went on a trip to collect fresh fruits. Bamboo’s Father left his ‘son’ locked up in the bamboo cage.

Since there were many fruits to collect, it was several days before they returned. Bamboo’s Father realized that poor Bamboo had not eaten the whole time he was away. So he opened the cage to let him out to find food.

But when he reached inside, his ‘son’ bit his hand. Having been neglected for all that time, Bamboo was angry as well as hungry. Since he was only a snake, he didn’t know anything about poison!

But his ‘father’ should have known better. After all, he had been warned by the very teacher he himself considered wise.

Within minutes of being bitten, Bamboo’s Father dropped dead!

The moral is: There’s no benefit in following a teacher if you don’t listen to what he says.

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/11/29/bamboos-father-wasted-advice/

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42, 274, 375 The Pigeon and the Crow [The Danger of Greed]

42, 274, 375

The Pigeon and the Crow [The Danger of Greed]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, the people of Benares were fond of setting up bird houses. This was an act of generosity and kindness, done for the comfort of birds. It also made the people happy to hear the friendly birds singing.

The richest man in the city had a cook. He kept such a bird house near the kitchen. In it lived a gentle and careful pigeon. He was so gentle that he did not care to eat meat. And he was careful to keep his distance from the cook. For he knew the cook was in the habit of roasting and boiling dead animals, even including birds!

So the pigeon always left the bird house early in the morning. After spending the day finding and eating his food, he returned each night to sleep in the bird house. He was quite contented with his calm and harmless life.

Nearby there was a crow who was quite a different sort of character. For one thing, he would eat anything! And he was not known for being gentle and careful. Instead, he often became overly excited, and acted without considering the danger. And far from being contented, he often got himself into trouble.

One day the crow smelled the delicious food being cooked in the rich man’s kitchen. He was so attracted by the odour that he could not take his mind off it. He decided that he must have the rich man’s meat at any cost. So he began spying on the kitchen, trying to figure out a way to get some of the meat and fish.

As usual, that evening the pigeon returned with his little belly satisfied, and contentedly entered his little home for the night. Seeing this, the hungry crow thought, “Ah, wonderful! I can make use of this dull pigeon to grab a delicious feast from the kitchen."

The next morning, the crow followed the pigeon when he left for the day. The pigeon asked him, “Oh my friend, why are you following me?" The crow replied, “Sir, I like you very much, and I admire your calm and regular way of life. From now on, I would like to assist you and learn from you."

The pigeon said, “Friend crow, your life style is much more exciting than mine. You would get bored following me around. And you don’t even eat the same food I do. So how can you assist me?"

The crow said, “When you go each day to find your food, we will separate and I will find my food. In the evening, we will come back together. Being together, we will be able to help and protect each other." The pigeon said. “That sounds all right to me. Now go your own way and work hard finding food."

The pigeon spent his usual day eating grass seeds. It took some time patiently searching for a few little grass seeds, but he was satisfied and contented.

The crow spent the day turning over cow dung patties, so he could gobble up the worms and insects he found there. This was fairly easy work, but he kept thinking it would be even easier to steal from the rich man’s kitchen. And no doubt the food would be better too!

When he was full, he went to the pigeon and said, “Sir pigeon, you spend too much time searching for and eating food. It is no good wasting the whole day that way. Let us go home." But the pigeon kept on steadily eating grass seeds, one by one. He was quite happy that way.

At the end of the day, the impatient crow followed the pigeon back to his bird house. They slept in it together peacefully. They spent several days and nights in this way.

Then one day there was a delivery of many kinds of fresh meat and fish. The cook hung them on hooks in the kitchen for storage.

The crow saw this and was overwhelmed by the sight of so much food. His desire became greed, and he began plotting a way to get it all for himself. He decided to pretend to be sick. So he spent the entire night groaning and moaning.

The next morning, the pigeon was ready to go look for food as usual. The crow said, “Go without me, sir pigeon, I have been sick to my stomach all night long."

The pigeon replied, “My dear crow, that sounds so strange. I’ve never heard of a crow getting an upset stomach. But I have heard they sometimes faint from hunger. I suspect you want to gobble up as much as you can of the meat and fish in the kitchen. But it’s for people, not crows. People don’t eat pigeon food. Pigeons don’t eat crow food. And it would not be wise for you to eat people food. It might even be dangerous! So come with me as usual, and be satisfied with crow food, sir crow!"

The crow said, “I’m too sick, friend pigeon, I’m too sick. Go ahead without me."

“Very well," said the pigeon, “but your actions will speak louder than your words. I warn you, don’t risk safety for the sake of greed. Be patient until I return." Then the pigeon left for the day.

But the crow paid no attention. He thought only about grabbing a big piece of fish, and was glad to be rid of the pigeon. “Let him eat grass seeds!" he thought.

Meanwhile, the cook prepared the meat and fish in a big stew pot. While it was cooking, he kept the lid slightly off, to allow the steam to escape. The crow smelled the delicious fragrance in the rising steam. Watching from the bird house, he saw the cook go outside to rest from the heat.

The crow saw that this was the chance he’d been waiting for. So he flew into the kitchen and sat on the edge of the stew pot. First he looked for the biggest piece of fish he could find. Then he stuck his head inside and reached for it. But in so doing, he knocked the lid off! The clattering sound brought the cook into the kitchen at once.

He saw the crow standing on the edge of the pot with a fish bigger than he was, hanging from his beak! Immediately, he closed the door and window of the kitchen. He thought, “This food is for the rich man. I work for him, not for some mangy crow! I will teach him a lesson he’ll never forget!"

The poor crow could not have picked a worse enemy. This cook just happened to be rather ignorant, so he did not mind being cruel when he had the upper hand. He took no pity at all on the clever crow.

He grabbed him, and plucked out all his feathers. The poor crow looked ridiculous without his shining black feathers. Then the vengeful cook made a spicy paste from ginger, salt and chilli peppers. He rubbed it all over the crow’s pink sore skin. Then he put him on the floor of the bird house, and laughed.

The crow sweated and suffered from the terrible burning pain. He cried in agony all day long.

In the evening, the pigeon returned from a quiet day searching for and eating grass seeds. He was shocked to see the terrible state of his friend the crow. He said, “Obviously, you didn’t listen to me at all. Your greed has done you in. I’m so sad there’s nothing I can do to save you. And I’m afraid to stay in this bird house so close to that cruel cook. I must leave at once!"

So the careful pigeon flew away in search of a safer bird house. And the plucked and pasted crow died a painful death.

The moral is: Greed makes one deaf to sound advice.

The Pigeon and the Crow [The Danger of Greed]

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41. The Curse of Mittavinda [Chapter 3. Pleasure]

41. The Curse of Mittavinda [Chapter 3. Pleasure]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

After seven days on the Indian Ocean, all the winds and currents stopped completely. The ship was stuck! After being dead in the water for seven days, all on board were terrified they would die.

So they drew straws to find out who was the cause of their bad luck and frightening misfortune. Seven times the short straw was drawn by Mittavinda!

They forced him onto a tiny bamboo raft, and set him adrift on the open seas. They shouted, “Be gone forever! You are nothing but a curse!" And suddenly a strong wind sent the ship on its way.

But once again Mittavinda’s life was spared. This was a result of his wholesome actions as a monk, so many births ago. No matter how long it takes, actions cause results.

Sometimes an action causes more than one result, some pleasant and some unpleasant. It is said there are Asuras who live through such mixed results in an unusual way.

Asuras are unfortunate ugly gods. Some of them are lucky enough to change their form into beautiful young dancing girl goddesses. These are called Apsaras.

They enjoy the greatest pleasures for seven days. But then they must go to a hell world and suffer torments as hungry ghosts for seven days. Again they become Apsara goddesses – back and forth, back and forth – until both kinds of results are finished.

While floating on the tiny bamboo raft, it just so happened that Mittavinda came to a lovely Glass Palace. There he met four very pretty Apsaras. They enjoyed their time together, filled with heavenly pleasures, for seven days.

Then, when it was time for the goddesses to become hungry ghosts, they said to Mittavinda, “Wait for us just seven short days, and we will return and continue our pleasure."

The Glass Palace and the four Apsaras disappeared. But still Mittavinda had not regained the peace of mind thrown away by the village monk, so very long ago. Seven days of pleasure had not satisfied him. He could not wait for the lovely goddesses to return. He wanted more and more. So he continued on, in the little bamboo raft.

Lo and behold, he came to a shining Silver Palace, with eight Apsara goddesses living there. Again he enjoyed seven days of the greatest pleasure. These Apsaras also asked him to wait the next seven days, and disappeared into a hell world.

Amazing as it may seem, the greedy Mittavinda went on to seven days of pleasure in a sparkling Jewel Palace with 16 Apsaras. But they too disappeared. Then he spent seven days in a glowing Golden Palace with 32 of the most beautiful Apsaras of all.

But still he was not satisfied! When all 32 asked him to wait seven days, again he departed on the raft.

Before long he came to the entrance of a hell world filled with suffering tortured beings. They were living through the results of their own actions. But his desire for more pleasure was so strong that Mittavinda thought he saw a beautiful city surrounded by a wall with four fabulous gates. He thought, I will go inside and make myself king!

After he entered, he saw one of the victims of this hell world. He had a collar around his neck that spun like a wheel, with five sharp blades cutting into his face, head, chest and back. But Mittavinda was still so greedy for pleasure that he could not see the pain right before his eyes. Instead he saw the spinning collar of cutting blades as if it were a lovely lotus blossom. He saw the dripping blood as if it were the red powder of perfumed sandal wood. And the screams of pain from the poor victim sounded like the sweetest of songs!

He said to the poor man, “You’ve had that lovely lotus crown long enough! Give it to me, for I deserve to wear it now." The condemned man warned him, “This is a cutting collar, a wheel of blades." But Mittavinda said, “You only say that because you don’t want to give it up."

The victim thought, “At last the results of my past unwholesome deeds must be completed. Like me, this poor fool must be here for striking his mother. I will give him the wheel of pain." So he said, “Since you want it so badly, take the lotus crown!"

With these words the wheel of blades spun off the former victim’s neck and began spinning around the head of Mittavinda. And suddenly all his illusions disappeared; he knew this was no beautiful city, but a terrible hell world; he knew this was no lotus crown, but a cutting wheel of blades; and he knew he was not king, but prisoner. Groaning in pain he cried out desperately, “Take back your wheel! Take back your wheel!" But the other one had disappeared.

Just then the king of the gods arrived for a teaching visit to the hell world. Mittavinda asked him, “Oh king of gods, what have I done to deserve this torment?" The god replied, “Refusing to listen to the words of monks, you obtained no wisdom, but only money. A thousand gold coins did not satisfy you, nor even 120,000. Blinded by greed, you struck your mother on your way to grabbing greater wealth still.

“Then the pleasure of four Apsaras in their Glass Palace did not satisfy you. Neither eight Apsaras in a Silver Palace, nor 16 in a Jewel Palace. Not even the pleasure of 32 lovely goddesses in a Golden Palace was enough for you! Blinded by greed for pleasure you wished to be king. Now at last, you see your crown is only a wheel of torture, and your kingdom is a hell world.

“Learn this, Mittavinda – all who follow their greed wherever it leads are left unsatisfied. For it is in the nature of greed to be dissatisfied with what one has, whether a little or a lot. The more obtained, the more desired – until the circle of greed becomes the circle of pain."

Having said this, the god returned to his heaven world home. At the same time the wheel crashed down on Mittavinda. With his head spinning in pain, he found himself adrift on the tiny bamboo raft.

Soon he came to an island inhabited by a powerful she-devil. She happened to be disguised as a goat. Being hungry, Mittavinda thought nothing of grabbing the goat by a hind leg. And the she-devil hiding inside kicked him way up into the air. He finally landed in a thorn bush on the outskirts of Benares!

After he untangled himself from the thorns, he saw some goats grazing nearby. He wanted very badly to return to the palaces and the dancing girl Apsaras. Remembering that a goat had kicked him here, he grabbed the leg of one of these goats. He hoped it would kick him back to the island.

Instead, this goat only cried out. The shepherds came, and captured Mittavinda for trying to steal one of the king’s goats.

As he was being taken as a prisoner to the king, they passed by the world famous teacher of Benares. Immediately he recognized his student. He asked the shepherds, “Where are you taking this man?"

They said, “He is a goat thief! We are taking him to the king for punishment!" The teacher said, “Please don’t do so. He is one of my students. Release him to me, so he can be a servant in my school." They agreed and left him there.

The teacher asked Mittavinda, “What has happened to you since you left me?"

He told the story of being first respected, and then cursed, by the people of the remote village. He told of getting married and having two children, only to see them killed and eaten by demons in the haunted forest. He told of slapping his generous mother when he was crazy with greed for money. He told of being cursed by his shipmates and being cast adrift on a bamboo raft. He told of the four palaces with their beautiful goddesses, and how each time his pleasure ended he was left unsatisfied. He told of the cutting wheel of torture, the reward for the greedy in hell. And he told of his hunger for goat meat, that only got him kicked back to Benares without even a bite to eat!

The world famous teacher said, “It is clear that your past actions have caused both unpleasant and pleasant results, and that both are eventually completed. But you cannot understand that pleasures always come to an end. Instead, you let them feed your greed for more and more. You are left exhausted and unsatisfied, madly grasping at goat legs! Calm down, my friend. And know that trying to hold water in a tight fist, will always leave you thirsty!"

Hearing this, Mittavinda bowed respectfully to the great teacher. He begged to be allowed to follow him as a student. The Enlightenment Being welcomed him with open arms.

The moral is: In peace of mind, there is neither loss nor gain.

41. The Curse of Mittavinda [Chapter 3. Pleasure]

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/11/08/41-the-curse-of-mittavinda-chapter-3-pleasure/

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41. The Curse of Mittavinda [Chapter 2. Greed]

41. The Curse of Mittavinda [Chapter 2. Greed]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Domesticated hunting dog by The British Library is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

Little did poor Mittavinda know that his lives of constant hunger were about to come to an end. After wandering about, he eventually ended up in Benares.

At that time the Enlightenment Being was living the life of a world famous teacher in Benares. He had 500 students. As an act of charity, the people of the city supported these poor students with food. They also paid the teacher’s fees for teaching them.

Mittavinda was permitted to join them. He began studying under the great teacher. And at last, he began eating regularly.

But he paid no attention to the teachings of the wise master. He was disobedient and violent. During 500 lives as a hungry dog, quarrelling had become a habit. So he constantly got into fist fights with the other students.

It became so bad that many of the students quit. The income of the world famous teacher dwindled down to almost nothing. Because of all his fighting, Mittavinda was finally forced to run away from Benares.

He found his way to a small remote village. He lived there as a hard working labourer, married a very poor woman, and had two children.

It became known that he had studied under the world famous teacher of Benares. So the poor villagers selected him to give advice when questions arose. They provided a place for him to live near the entrance to the village. And they began following his advice.

But things did not go well. The village was fined seven times by the king. Seven times their houses were burned. And seven times the town pond dried up.

They realized that all their troubles began when they started taking Mittavinda’s advice. So they chased him and his family out of the village. They shouted, “Be gone forever! You are nothing but a curse!"

While they were fleeing, they went through a haunted forest. Demons came out of the shadows and killed and ate his wife and children. But Mittavinda escaped.

He made his way to a seaport city. He was lonely, miserable and penniless. It just so happened that there was a kind generous rich merchant living in the city. He heard the story of Mittavinda’s misfortunes. Since they had no children of their own, he and his wife adopted Mittavinda. For better or worse they treated him exactly as their own son.

His new mother and father were very religious. They always tried to do wholesome things. But Mittavinda still had not learned his lesson. He did not accept any religion, so he often did unwholesome things.

Some time after his father’s death, his mother decided to try and help him enter the religious life. She said, “There is this world and there is the one to come. If you do bad things, you will suffer painful results in both worlds."

But foolish Mittavinda replied, “I will do whatever I enjoy doing and become happier and happier. There is no point considering whether what I do is wholesome or unwholesome. I don’t care about such things!"

On the next full moon holy day, Mittavinda’s mother advised him to go to the temple and listen all night long to the wise words of the monks. He said, “I wouldn’t waste my time!" So she said, “When you return I will give you a thousand gold coins."

Mittavinda thought that with enough money he could enjoy himself constantly and be happy all the time. So he went to the temple. But he sat in a corner, paid no attention, and fell asleep for the night. Early the next morning he went home to collect his reward.

Meanwhile his mother thought he would appreciate wise teachings. Then he would bring the oldest monk home with him. So she prepared delicious food for the expected guest. When she saw him returning alone, she said, “Oh my son, why didn’t you ask the senior monk to come home with you for breakfast?"

He said, “I did not go to the temple to listen to a monk or to bring him home with me. I went only to get your thousand gold coins!" His disappointed mother said, “Never mind the money. Since there is so much delicious food prepared – only eat and sleep!" He replied, “Until you give me the money, I refuse to eat!" So she gave him the thousand gold coins. Only then did he gobble up the food until all he could do was fall asleep.

Mittavinda did not think a thousand gold coins were enough for him to constantly enjoy himself. So he used the money to start a business, and before long he became very rich. One day he came home and said, “Mother, I now have 120,000 gold coins. But I am not yet satisfied. Therefore I will go abroad on the next ship and make even more money!"

She replied, “Oh my son, why do you want to go abroad? The ocean is dangerous and it is very risky doing business in a strange land. I have 80,000 gold coins right here in the house. That is enough for you. Please don’t go, my only son!"

Then she held him to keep him from leaving. But Mittavinda was crazy with greed. So he pushed his mother’s hand away and slapped her face. She fell to the floor. She was so hurt and shocked that she yelled at him, “Be gone forever! You are nothing but a curse!"

Without looking back, Mittavinda rushed to the harbour and set sail on the first departing ship.

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41, 82,104,369,439 The Curse of Mittavinda [Chapter 1. Jealousy]

41, 82,104,369,439 The Curse of Mittavinda [Chapter 1. Jealousy]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, there was a monk who lived in a tiny monastery in a little village. He was very fortunate that the village rich man supported him in the monastery. He never had to worry about the cares of the world. His alms food was always provided automatically by the rich man.

So the monk was calm and peaceful in his mind. There was no fear of losing his comfort and his daily food. There was no desire for greater comforts and pleasures of the world. Instead, he was free to practice the correct conduct of a monk, always trying to eliminate his faults and do only wholesome deeds. But he didn’t know just how lucky he was!

One day an elder monk arrived in the little village. He had followed the path of Truth until he had become perfect and faultless.

When the village rich man saw this unknown monk, he was very pleased by his gentle manner and his calm attitude. So he invited him into his home. He gave him food to eat, and he thought himself very fortunate to hear a short teaching from him. He then invited him to take shelter at the village monastery. He said, “I will visit you there this evening, to make sure all is well."

When the perfect monk arrived at the monastery, he met the village monk. They greeted each other pleasantly. Then the village monk asked, “Have you had your lunch today?" The other replied, “Yes, I was given lunch by the supporter of this monastery. He also invited me to take shelter here."

The village monk took him to a room and left him there. The perfect monk passed his time in meditation.

Later that evening, the village rich man came. He brought fruit drinks, flowers and lamp oil, in honor of the visiting holy man. He asked the village monk, “Where is our guest?" He told him what room he had given him.

The man went to the room, bowed respectfully, and greeted the perfect monk. Again he appreciated hearing the way of Truth as taught by the rare faultless one.

Afterwards, as evening approached, he lit the lamps and offered the flowers at the monastery’s lovely temple shrine. He invited both monks to lunch at his home the next day. Then he left and returned home.

In the evening, a terrible thing happened. The village monk, who had been so contented, allowed the poison of jealousy to creep into his mind. He thought, “The village rich man has made it easy for me here. He provides shelter each night and fills my belly once a day.

“But I’m afraid this will change because he respects this new monk so highly. If he remains in this monastery, my supporter may stop caring for me. Therefore, I must make sure the new monk does not stay."

Thinking in this way, he lost his former mental calm. His mind became disturbed due to his jealousy – the fear of losing his comfort and his daily food. This led to the added mental pain of resentment against the perfect monk. He began plotting and scheming to get rid of him.

Late that night, as was the custom, the monks met together to end the day. The perfect monk spoke in his usual friendly way, but the village monk would not speak to him at all.

So the wise monk understood that he was jealous and resentful. He thought, “This monk does not understand my freedom from attachment to families, people and comforts. I am free of any desire to remain here. I am also free of any desire to leave here. It makes no difference. It is sad this other one cannot understand nonattachment. I pity him for the price he must pay for his ignorance."

He returned to his room, closed the door, and meditated in a high mental state throughout the night.

The next day, when it was time to go collect alms food from the supporter of the monastery, the village monk rang the temple gong. But he rang it by tapping it lightly with his finger nail. Even the birds in the temple courtyard could not hear the tiny sound.

Then he went to the visiting monk’s room and knocked on the door. But again he only tapped lightly with his finger nail. Even the little mice inside the walls could not hear the silent tapping.

Having done his courteous duty in such a tricky way, he went to the rich man’s home. The man bowed respectfully to the monk, took his alms bowl, and asked, “Where is the new monk, our visitor?"

The village monk replied, I have not seen him. I rang the gong. I knocked at his door, but he did not appear. Perhaps he was not used to such rich food as you gave him yesterday. Perhaps he is still asleep, busily digesting it, dreaming of his next feast! Perhaps this is the kind of monk who pleases you so much!"

Meanwhile, back at the monastery, the perfect monk awoke. He cleaned himself and put on his robe. Then he calmly departed to collect alms food wherever he happened to find it.

The rich man fed the village monk the richest of food. It was delicious and sweet, made from rice, milk, butter, sugar and honey. When the monk had eaten his fill, the man took his bowl, scrubbed it clean, and sweetened it with perfumed water. He filled it up again with the same wonderful food. He gave it back to the monk, saying, “Honourable monk, our holy visitor must be worn out from travelling. Please take my humble alms food to him." Saying nothing, he accepted the generous gift for the other.

By now the village monk’s mind was trapped by its own jealous scheming. He thought, “If that other monk eats this fantastic meal, even if I grabbed him by the throat and kicked him out, he still would never leave! I must secretly get rid of this alms food. But if I give it to a stranger, it will become known and talked about. If I throw it away in a pond, the butter will float on the surface and be discovered. If I throw it away on the ground, crows will come from miles around to feast on it, and that too would be noticed. So how can I get rid of it?"

Then he saw a field that had just been burned by farmers to enrich the soil. It was covered with hot glowing coals. So he threw the rich man’s generous gift on the coals. The alms food burned up without a trace. And with it went his peace of mind!

For when he got back to the monastery, he found the visitor gone. He thought, “This must have been a perfectly wise monk. He must have known I was jealous — afraid of losing my favoured position. He must have known I resented him and tried to trick him into leaving. I wasted alms food meant for him. And all for the sake of keeping my own belly full! I’m afraid something terrible will happen to me! What have I done?" So, afraid of losing his easy daily food, he had thrown away his peace of mind.

For the rest of his life the rich man continued to support him. But his mind was filled with torment and suffering. He felt doomed like a walking starving zombie, or a living hungry ghost.

When he died, his torment continued. For he was reborn in a hell world, where he suffered for hundreds of thousands of years.

Finally, there too he died, as all beings must. But the results of his past actions were only partly completed. So he was reborn as a demon, 500 times! In those 500 lives, there was only one day when he got enough to eat, and that was a meal of afterbirth dropped by a deer in the forest!

Then he was reborn as a starving stray dog another 500 times! For the sake of a full monk’s belly in a past life, all these 500 lives were also filled with hunger, and quarrelling over food. Only a single time did he get enough to eat, and that was a meal of vomit he found in a gutter!

Finally most of the results of his actions were finished. Only then was he so very fortunate enough to be reborn as a human being. He was born into the poorest of the poor beggar families of the city of Kasi, in northern India. He was given the name, Mittavinda.

From the moment of his birth, this poor family became even more poor and miserable. After a few years, the pain of hunger became so great, that his parents beat him and chased Mittavinda away for good. They shouted, “Be gone forever! You are nothing but a curse!"

______________________________________

Poor Mittavinda! So very long ago he had not known how lucky he was. He was contented as a humble village monk. But he allowed the poison of jealousy to enter his mind – the fear of losing his easy daily food. This led to the self-torture of resentment against a perfect monk, and to trickery in denying him one wholesome gift of alms food. And it took a thousand and one lives for the loss of his comfort and daily food to be completed. What he had feared, his own actions had brought to pass!

41, 82,104,369,439 The Curse of Mittavinda [Chapter 1. Jealousy]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/10/25/41-82104369439-the-curse-of-mittavinda-chapter-1-jealousy/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

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40. The Silent Buddha [Generosity]

40. The Silent Buddha [Generosity]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, there was a very rich man living in Benares, in northern India. When his father died, he inherited even more wealth. He thought, “Why should I use this treasure for myself alone? Let my fellow beings also benefit from these riches."

So he built dining halls at the four gates of the city — North, East, South and West. In these halls he gave food freely to all who wished it. He became famous for his generosity. It also became known that he and his followers were practicers of the Five Training Steps.

In those days, there was a Silent Buddha meditating in the forest near Benares. He was called Buddha because he was enlightened. This means that he no longer experienced himself, the one called ‘I’ or ‘me’, as being in any way different from all life living itself. So he was able to experience life as it really is, in every present moment.

Being one with all life, he was filled with compassion and sympathy for the unhappiness of all beings. So he wished to teach and help them to be enlightened just as he was. But the time of our story was a most unfortunate time, a very sad time. It was a time when no one else was able to understand the Truth, and experience life as it really is. And since this Buddha knew this, that was why he was Silent.

While meditating in the forest, the Silent Buddha entered into a very high mental state. His concentration was so great that he remained in one position for seven days and nights, without eating or drinking.

When he returned to the ordinary state, he was in danger of dying from starvation. At the usual time of day, he went to collect alms food at the mansion of the rich man of Benares.

When the rich man had just sat down to have lunch, he saw the Silent Buddha coming with his alms bowl. He rose from his seat respectfully. He told his servant to go and give alms to him.

Meanwhile, Mara, the god of death, had been watching. Mara is the one who is filled with greed for power over all beings. He can only have this power because of the fear of death.

Since a Buddha lives life fully in each moment, he has no desire for future life, and no fear of future death. Therefore, since Mara could have no power over the Silent Buddha, he wished to destroy him. When he saw that he was near death from starvation, he knew that he had a good chance of succeeding.

Before the servant could place the food in the Silent Buddha’s alms bowl, Mara caused a deep pit of red hot burning coals to appear between them. It seemed like the entrance to a hell world.

When he saw this, the servant was frightened to death. He ran back to his master. The rich man asked him why he returned without giving the alms food. He replied, “My lord, there is a deep pit full of red hot burning coals just in front of the Silent Buddha."

The rich man thought, “This man must be seeing things!" So he sent another servant with alms food. He also was frightened by the same pit of fiery coals. Several servants were sent, but all returned frightened to death.

Then the master thought, “There is no doubt that Mara, the god of death, must be trying to prevent my wholesome deed of giving alms food to the Silent Buddha. Because wholesome deeds are the beginning of the path to enlightenment, this Mara wishes to stop me at all costs. But he does not understand my confidence in the Silent Buddha and my determination to give."

So he himself took the alms food to the Silent Buddha. He too saw the flames rising from the fiery pit. Then he looked up and saw the terrible god of death, floating above in the sky. He asked, “Who are you.?" Mara replied, I am the god of death!"

“Did you create this pit of fire?" asked the man. “I did," said the god. “Why did you do so?" “To keep you from giving alms food, and in this way to cause the Silent Buddha to die! Also to prevent your wholesome deed from helping you on the path to enlightenment, so you will remain in my power!"

The rich man of Benares said, “Oh Mara, god of death, the evil one, you cannot kill the Silent Buddha, and you cannot prevent my wholesome giving! Let us see whose determination is stronger!"

Then he looked across the raging pit of fire, and said to the calm and gentle Enlightened One, “Oh Silent Buddha, let the light of Truth continue to shine as an example to us. Accept this gift of life!"

So saying, he forgot himself entirely, and in that moment there was no fear of death. As he stepped into the burning pit, he felt himself being lifted up by a beautiful cool lotus blossom. The pollen from this miraculous flower spread into the air, and covered him with the glowing colour of gold. While standing in the heart of the lotus, the Great Being poured the alms food into the bowl of the Silent Buddha. Mara, god of death, was defeated!

In appreciation for this wonderful gift, the Silent Buddha raised his hand in blessing. The rich man bowed in homage, joining his hands above his head. Then the Silent Buddha departed from Benares, and went to the Himalayan forests.

Still standing on the wonderful lotus, glowing with the color of gold, the generous master taught his followers. He told them that practising the Five Training Steps is necessary to purify the mind. He told them that with such a pure mind, there is great merit in giving alms — indeed it is truly the gift of life!

When he had finished teaching, the fiery pit and the lovely cool lotus completely disappeared.

The moral is: Have no fear when doing wholesome deeds.

40. The Silent Buddha [Generosity]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/10/18/40-the-silent-buddha-generosity/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

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39. Buried Treasure [The Arrogance of Power]

39. Buried Treasure [The Arrogance of Power]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, there was an old man who lived in Benares. He had a very good friend, who was known to be wise. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, he also had a beautiful young wife.

The old man and his young wife had a son. The man came to love his son very much. One day he thought, “I have learned that my beautiful young wife cannot always be trusted. When I die, I am sure she will marry another man, and together they will waste the wealth I have worked so hard for. Later on, there will be nothing left for my son to inherit from his mother. So I will do something to guarantee an inheritance for my deserving son. I will bury my wealth to protect it for him."

Then he called for his most faithful servant, Nanda. Together they took all the old man’s wealth deep into the forest and buried it. He said, “My dear Nanda, I know you are obedient and faithful. After I die, you must give this treasure to my son. Keep it a secret until then. When you give the treasure to him, advise him to use it wisely and generously."

Before long, the old man died. Several years later, his son completed his education. He returned home to take his place as the head of the family. His mother said, “My son, being a suspicious man, your father has hidden his wealth. I am sure that his faithful servant, Nanda, knows where it is. You should ask him to show you. Then you can get married and support the whole family."

So the son went to Nanda and asked him if he knew where his father had hidden his wealth. Nanda told him that the treasure was buried in the forest, and that he knew the exact spot.

Then the two of them took a basket and a shovel into the forest. When they arrived at the place the treasure was buried, all of a sudden Nanda became puffed up with how important he was. Although he was only a servant, he had the power of being the only one to know the secret. So he became conceited and thought he was better than the son. He said, “You son of a servant girl! Where would you inherit a treasure from?"

The patient son did not talk back to his father’s servant. He suffered his abuse, even though it puzzled him. After a short time, they returned home empty-handed.

This strange behavior was repeated two more times. The son thought, “At home, Nanda appears willing to reveal the secret of the treasure. But when we go into the forest carrying the basket and shovel, he is no longer willing. I wonder why he changes his mind each time."

He decided to take this puzzle to his father’s wise old friend. He went to him and described what had happened.

The wise old man said, “Go again with Nanda into the forest. Watch where he stands when he abuses you, which he surely will do. Then send him away saying. “You have no right to speak to me that way. Leave me."

“Dig up the ground on that very spot and you will find your inheritance. Nanda is a weak man. Therefore, when he comes closest to his little bit of power, he turns it into abuse."

The son followed this advice exactly. Sure enough, he found the buried treasure. As his father had hoped, he generously used the wealth for the benefit of many.

The moral is: A little power soon goes to the head of one not used to it.

39. Buried Treasure [The Arrogance of Power]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/10/11/39-buried-treasure-the-arrogance-of-power/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

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38. The Crane and the Crab [Trickery]

38. The Crane and the Crab [Trickery]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, there was a crane who lived near a small pond. Right next to the pond was a big tree with a fairy living in it. He learned by observing the various animals.

There were also many small fish living in the small pond. The crane was in the habit of picking up fish with his beak and eating them. Since there happened to be a drought in the area, the water level in the pond was becoming lower and lower. This made it easier for the crane to catch fish. In fact, he was even getting to be a little fat!

However, the crane discovered that no matter how easy it was to catch fish, and no matter how many he ate, he was never completely satisfied. But he did not learn from this. Instead, he decided that if he ate all the fish in the pond, then he would find true happiness. “The more the merrier!" he said to himself.

In order to catch all the fish in the pond, the crane thought up a clever plan. He would trick the fish, and deceive them into trusting him. Then when they trusted him the most, he would gobble them up. He was very pleased with himself for thinking up such a trick.

To begin with, the crane sat down on the shore. He remained quietly in one position, just like a holy man in the forest. This was intended to get the fish to trust him.

The fish came to him and asked. “Sir crane, what are you thinking?" The holy-looking crane answered, “Oh my dear fish, it makes me sad to think of your future. I am thinking about the coming miserable disaster."

They said, “My lord, what disaster is coming to us?" To which the crane replied, “Look around you! There is very little water left in this pond. You are also running out of food to eat. This severe drought is very dangerous for you poor little ones."

Then the fish asked, “Dear uncle crane, what can we do to save ourselves?" “My poor little children," said the crane, “you must trust me and do as I say. If you allow me to pick you up in my beak, I will take you, one at a time to another pond. That pond is much bigger than this one. It is filled with water and covered with lovely lotuses. It will be like a paradise for you!"

When they heard the part about the beak, the fish became a little suspicious. They said, “Mr. Crane, how can we believe you? Since the beginning of the world, there has never been a crane who wanted to help fish. Cranes have put fish in their beaks only to eat them. This must be a trick. Or else you must be joking!"

The crane then raised his head and made himself look as dignified as possible. He said, “Please don’t think such a thing. Can’t you see that I am a very special crane? You should trust me. But if you don’t believe me, send one fish with me and I will show him the beautiful pond. Then when I bring him back here, you will know I can be trusted."

The fish said to each other, “This crane looks so dignified. He sounds like an honest crane. But just in case it’s a trick, let us send with him a useless little troublemaker fish. This will be a test." Then they found a young fish who was known for playing hooky from school. They pushed him towards the shore.

The crane bent his head and picked up the little one in his beak. Then he spread his wings and flew to a big tree on the shore of a beautiful big pond. Just as he had said, it was covered with lovely lotuses. The fish was amazed to see such a wonderful place. Then the crane carried him back to his poor old pond, just as he had promised.

Arriving home, the little fish described the wonders of the beautiful big pond. Hearing this, all the other fish became very excited and rushed to be the first to go.

The first lucky passenger was that same useless little troublemaker. Again the crane picked him up in his beak and flew to the big tree on the shore of the beautiful new pond. The little one was sure the helpful crane was about to drop him into the wonderful pond. But instead, the crane suddenly killed him, gobbled up his flesh, and let the bones fall to the ground.

The crane returned to the old pond, brought the next little fish to the same tree, and ate him in the same way. Likewise, one by one, he gobbled up every last fish!

He became so stuffed with fish meat that he had trouble flying back to the little pond. He saw that there were no more fish left for him to trick and eat. Then he noticed a lonely crab crawling along the muddy shore. And he realized that he was still not completely satisfied!

So he walked over to the crab and said, “My dear crab, I have kindly carried all the fish to a wonderful big pond not far from here. Why do you wish to remain here alone? If you simply do as the fish have done, and let me pick you up in my beak, I will gladly take you there. For your own good, please trust me."

But the crab thought, “There is no doubt this over-stuffed crane has eaten all those fish. His belly is so full he can hardly stand up straight. He definitely cannot be trusted! If I can get him to carry me to a new pond and put me in it, so much the better. But if he tries to eat me, I will have to cut off his head with my sharp claws."

Then the crab said, “My friend crane, I am afraid I am much too heavy for you to carry in your beak. You would surely drop me along the way. Instead, I will grab onto your neck with my eight legs, and then you can safely carry me to my new home."

The crane was so used to playing tricks on others, that he did not imagine he would be in any danger — even though the crab would be grasping him by the throat. Instead he thought, “Excellent! This will give me a chance to eat the sweet meat of this foolish trusting crab."

So the crane permitted the crab to grab onto his neck with all eight legs. In addition, he grasped the crane’s neck with his sharp claws. He said, “Now kindly take me to the new pond."

The foolish crane, with his neck in the clutches of the crab, flew to the same big tree next to the new pond.

Then the crab said, “Hey you stupid crane, have you lost your way? You have not taken me to the pond. Why don’t you take me to the shore and put me in?"

The crane said, “Who are you calling stupid? I don’t have to take that from you. You’re not my relative. I suppose you thought you tricked me into giving you a free ride. But I’m the clever one. Just look at all those fish bones under this tree. I’ve eaten all the fish, and now I’m going to eat you too, you stupid crab!"

The crab replied, “Those fish were eaten because they were foolish enough to trust you. But no one would trust you now. Because you tricked the fish, you have become so conceited you think you can trick anyone. But you can’t fool me. I have you by the throat. So if one dies, we both die!"

Then the crane realized the danger he was in. He begged the crab, “Oh my lord crab, please release me. I have learned my lesson. You can trust me. I have no desire to eat such a handsome crab as you."

Then he flew down to the shore and continued, “Now please release me. For your own good, please trust me."

But this old crab had been around. He realized the crane could not be trusted no matter what he said. He knew that if he let go of the crane, he would be eaten for sure. So he cut through his neck with his claws, just like a knife through butter! And the crane’s head fell on the ground. Then the crab crawled safely into the wonderful pond.

Meanwhile, the inquisitive fairy had also come to the new pond and seen all that had happened. Sitting on the very top of the big tree, he said for all the gods to hear:

“The one who lived by tricks and lies,
No longer trusted now he dies."

The moral is: The trickster who can’t be trusted, has played his last trick.

38. The Crane and the Crab [Trickery]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/10/04/the-crane-and-the-crab-trickery/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

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37. The Birth of a Banyan Tree [Respect for Elders]

37. The Birth of a Banyan Tree [Respect for Elders]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, there was a big banyan tree in the forest beneath the mighty Himalayas. Living near this banyan tree were three very good friends. They were a quail, a monkey and an elephant. Each of them was quite smart.

Occasionally the three friends got into a disagreement. When this happened, they did not consider the opinion of any one of them to be more valuable. No matter how much experience each one had, his opinion was treated the same as the others. So it took them a long time to reach an agreement. Every time this happened, they had to start from the beginning to reach a solution.

After a while they realized that it would save time, and help their friendship, if they could shorten their disagreements. They decided that it would certainly help if they considered the most valuable opinion first. Then, if they could agree on that one, they would not have to waste time, and possibly even become less friendly, by arguing about the other two.

Fortunately, they all thought the most valuable opinion was the one based on the most experience. Therefore, they could live together even more peacefully if they gave higher respect to the oldest among them. Only if his opinion were clearly wrong, would they need to consider others.

Unfortunately, the elephant and the monkey and the quail had no idea which one was the oldest. Since this was a time before old age was respected, they had no reason to remember their birthdays or their ages.

Then one day, while they were relaxing in the shade of the big banyan tree, the quail and the monkey asked the elephant, “As far back as you can remember, what was the size of this banyan tree?"

The elephant replied, “I remember this tree for a very long time. When I was just a little baby, I used to scratch my belly by rubbing it over the tender shoots on top of this banyan tree."

Then the monkey said, “When I was a curious baby monkey, I used to sit and examine the little seedling banyan tree. Sometimes I used to bend over and nibble its top tender leaves."

The monkey and the elephant asked the quail, “As far back as you can remember, what was the size of this banyan tree?"

The quail said, “When I was young, I was looking for food in a nearby forest. In that forest, there was a big old banyan tree, which was full of ripe berries. I ate some of those berries, and the next day I was standing right here. This was where I let my droppings fall, and the seeds they contained grew up to be this very tree!"

The monkey and the elephant said, “Aha! Sir quail, you must be the oldest. You deserve our respect and honor. From now on we will pay close attention to your words. Based on your wisdom and experience, advise us when we make mistakes. When there are disagreements, we will give the highest place to your opinion. We ask only that you be honest and just."

The quail replied, “I thank you for your respect, and I promise to always do my best to deserve it." It just so happened that this wise little quail was the Bodhisatta the Enlightenment Being.

The moral is: Respect for the wisdom of elders leads to harmony.

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/09/27/the-birth-of-a-banyan-tree-respect-for-elders/

37. The Birth of a Banyan Tree [Respect for Elders]

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

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