50. The Prince Who Had a Plan [The Power of Superstition]

50. The Prince Who Had a Plan [The Power of Superstition]

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

nce upon a time, King Brahmadatta was ruling in Benares, in northern India. The Enlightenment Being was born as his son the prince. Being quite intelligent, he completed his entire education by the age of sixteen. So, at this early age, his father made him second in command.

In those days, most people in Benares worshipped gods. They were very superstitious. They thought gods caused things to happen to them, rather than being results of their own actions. So they would pray to these gods and ask special favours. They would ask for a lucky marriage, or the birth of a child or riches or fame.

They would promise the gods that, if their prayers were answered, they would pay them by making offerings to them. In addition to flowers and perfumes, they imagined the gods desired the sacrifice of animals. So, when they thought the gods had helped them, they killed many animals — goats, lambs, chickens, pigs and others.

The prince saw all this and thought, “These helpless animals are also subjects of the king, so I must protect them. The people commit these unwholesome acts due to ignorance and superstition. This cannot be true religion. For true religion offers life as it really is, not killing. True religion offers peace of mind, not cruelty.

“I fear these people believe in their superstitions too strongly to give them up. This is very sad. But perhaps their beliefs can at least be put to good use. Some day I will become king. So I must begin to make a plan to let their superstitions help them. If they must offer sacrifices, let them kill their own greed and hatred, instead of these helpless animals! Then the whole kingdom will benefit."

So the prince devised a clever long term plan. Every so often, he rode in his grand chariot to a popular banyan tree just outside the city. This was a huge tree, where the people prayed and made offerings to a god they thought lived there. The prince came down from his chariot and made the same offerings as the others — incense, flowers, perfumes and water — but not animal sacrifices.

In this way he made a great show, and the news spread about his offerings. Pretty soon, all the people thought he was a true believer in the great god of the banyan tree.

In due time, King Brahmadatta died and his son became king. He ruled as a righteous king, and the people benefited. So all his subjects came to trust and respect him as a just and honourable king.

Then one day, he decided it was the right time to carry out the rest of his plan. So he called all the leading citizens of Benares to the royal assembly hall. He asked them, “Worthy ministers and loyal subjects, do you know how I was able to make sure that I would become king?" No one could answer.

He said, “Do you remember that I often gave wonderful sweet offerings to the great god of the banyan tree?" “Yes, our lord," they said.

The king continued, “At each of those times, I made a promise to the powerful god of the tree. I prayed, ‘Oh mighty one, if you make me King of Benares, I will offer a special sacrifice to you, far greater than flowers and perfumes.’

“Since I am now the king, you all can see for yourselves that the god has answered my prayers. So now I must keep my promise and offer the special sacrifice."

All those in the assembly hall agreed. They said, “We must prepare this sacrifice at once. What animals do you wish to kill?"

The king said, “My dear subjects, I am glad you are so willing to cooperate. I promised the great god of the banyan tree that I would sacrifice anyone who fails to practice the Five Training Steps. That is, anyone who destroys life, takes what is not given, does wrong in sexual ways, speaks falsely, or loses his mind from alcohol. I promised that, if any do these things, I will offer their guts, and their flesh and blood on the great god’s altar!"

Being so superstitious, all those in the hall agreed that this must be done, or the god would surely punish the king and the kingdom.

The king thought, “Ah, such is the power of superstition that these people have lost all common sense! They cannot see that, since the first training step is to give up killing, if I sacrificed one of my subjects, I would be next on the altar! And such is the power of superstition that I could make such a promise, and never have to carry it out!"

So, with full confidence in the power of superstition, the king said to the leading citizens, “Go into all the kingdom and announce the promise I made to the god. Then proclaim that the first one-thousand who break any of the training steps will have the honour of being sacrificed, to keep the king’s promise."

Lo and behold, the people of Benares became famous for carefully practising the Five Training Steps. And the good king, who knew his subjects so well, sacrificed no one.

The moral is: Sacrifice your own wrong doing, not some helpless animal.

50. The Prince Who Had a Plan [The Power of Superstition]



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49. The Groom Who Lost His Bride to the Stars [Astrology]

49. The Groom Who Lost His Bride to the Stars [Astrology]

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

Once upon a time, there was a rich family living in Benares, in northern India. They arranged for their son to marry a good and honest girl from a nearby village. Being very pretty as well, they were sure they could not find a better wife for their son.

The groom’s family decided on a date for the wedding. The bride’s family agreed to meet them in the village on the wedding day.

Meanwhile, the rich family also had their own special astrological priest. When he found out they had picked the wedding day, without paying him to consult the stars, he became angry. He decided to get even with them.

When the wedding day arrived, the astrological priest dressed up in his finest robes, and called the family together. He bowed to them all, and then looked at his star charts very seriously. He told them that this star was too close to the horizon, and that planet was in the middle of an unlucky constellation, and the moon was in a very dangerous phase for having a wedding. He told them that, not seeking his advice, they had picked the worst day of the year for a wedding. This could only lead to a terrible marriage.

The frightened family forgot all about the wonderful qualities of the intended bride, and remained home in Benares.

Meanwhile the bride’s family had arranged everything for the village wedding ceremony. When the agreed upon hour arrived, they waited and waited for the future husband and his family. Finally they realized they were not coming. So they thought, “Those city people picked the date and time, and now they didn’t show up. This is insulting! Why should we wait any longer? Let our daughter marry an honourable and hard working village man." So they quickly arranged a new marriage and celebrated the wedding.

The next day, the astrological priest said that, suddenly, the stars and planets and moon were in perfect positions for a wedding! So the Benares family went to the village and asked for the wedding to take place. But the village people said, “You picked the date and time. Then you disgraced us by not showing up!"

The city people replied, “Our family priest told us that yesterday the stars and planets and moon were in terrible positions. It was a very unlucky day for a wedding. But he has assured us that today is a most lucky day. So please send us the bride at once!"

The village family said, “You have no honour. You have made the choice of the day more important than the choice of the bride. It’s too late now! Our daughter has married another." Then the two families began to quarrel heatedly.

A wise man happened to come along. Seeing the two families quarrelling he tried to settle the dispute.

The city people told him that they had respected the warnings of their astrological priest. It was because of the unlucky positions of the stars and planets and moon, that they had not come to the wedding.

The wise man said, “The good fortune was in the bride, not in the stars. You fools have followed the stars and lost the bride. Without your foolishness, those far off stars can do nothing!"

The moral is: Luck comes from actions, not from stars.

49. The Groom Who Lost His Bride to the Stars [Astrology]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2023/02/07/49-the-groom-who-lost-his-bride-to-the-stars-astrology/


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48. The Magic Priest and the Kidnapper Gang [Power and Greed]

48. The Magic Priest and the Kidnapper Gang [Power and Greed]

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

Once upon a time in Bane’s, there was a king named Brahmadatta. In one of the kingdom’s remote villages, there was a priest who had magical power. He knew a special magic spell which was a secret given to him by his teacher.

This spell could be used only once a year, when the planets were lined up in a certain way. Only then, the priest could say the secret magic words into his open palms. Then he looked up into the sky, clapped his hands, and a shower of precious jewels came down on him.

The magic priest was also a teacher. He had a very good student, who was intelligent and able to understand the most difficult ideas. He was obedient and faithful, always wishing to honour and protect his master.

One day, the priest had to go on a trip to a faraway village, in order to perform an animal sacrifice. Since he had to take a dangerous road, the good student went with him.

Along this road there happened to be a gang of 500 bandits. They were known as the ‘Kidnapper Gang’. They captured people and demanded ransom money in return for letting them live.

Lo and behold, the magic priest and his good student were captured by the Kidnapper Gang. They set the ransom at 5,000 gold coins, and sent the student to go get it, in order to save his master’s life.

Before leaving, the student knelt before his teacher and bowed respectfully. He said to him quietly, so the bandits could not hear, “Oh master, tonight is the one night of the year when the planets will be lined up perfectly. Only then can your magic spell be used to shower you with jewels from the sky. However, I must warn you, my beloved and respected teacher, that to use such a power to save yourself from such greedy men as these would be extremely dangerous. Obtaining great wealth so easily must lead to disaster for men like them. And if you think only of your own safety, bringing such harm to them will cause danger to you as well.

“Therefore, I warn you, do not give in to the desire to make the spell of jewels. Let the lucky night pass by for this year. Even if these bandits harm you, trust your faithful student to save you, without adding to your danger." So saying, he took his leave.

That evening, the kidnappers tied up the magic priest tightly, and left him outside their cave for the night. They gave him nothing to eat or drink.

After the moon came out, the priest saw the planets lining up so his spell could work. He thought, “Why should I suffer like this? I can magically pay my own ransom. Why should I care if harm comes to these 500 kidnappers? I am a magic priest. My life is worth much more than theirs. I care only for my own life. And besides, this lucky night only comes but once a year. I cannot waste the chance to use my great power!"

Having decided to ignore the advice of the good student, he called the kidnappers and said, “Oh brave and mighty ones, why do you want to tie me up and make me suffer?"

They replied, “Oh holy priest, we need money. We have many mouths to feed. We must have money, and lots of it!"

The magic priest said, “Ah, you did this for money? Is that all there is to it? In that case, I will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams! For I am great and powerful. As a holy priest, you can trust me. You must untie me, wash my head and face, dress me in new clothes, and cover me with flowers. Then, after so honouring me properly, leave me alone to do my magic."

The kidnappers followed his instructions. But, not trusting him completely, they hid in the bushes and secretly watched him.

This is what they saw. The washed and flower-covered priest looked up into the sky. Seeing that the planets were lined up in the special lucky pattern, he lowered his head and muttered the magic spell into his hands. They were sounds that no one could understand, something like this: “Nah Wah Shed-nath. Eel Neeah Med-rak. Goh Bah Mil-neeay."

Then he gazed into the sky and clapped his hands. Suddenly he was showered with the most beautiful jewels!

The Kidnapper Gang came out from hiding and grabbed all the precious stones. They wrapped them up in bundles and went off down the road, with the magic priest following behind.

On the way, they were stopped by another gang of 500 robbers. They asked them, “Why are you stopping us?" “Give us all your wealth!" the others demanded.

The kidnappers said, “Leave us alone. You can get all the riches you want from this magic priest, just as we have done. He says magic words, looks up into the sky, claps his hands, and the most fabulous jewels come down!"

So they let the Kidnapper Gang go, and surrounded the priest. They demanded that he make a shower of precious stones for them as well.

He said, “Of course I can give you all the jewels you want. But you must be patient and wait for one year. The lucky time, when the planets are lined up properly, has already come this year. It will not happen again until next year. Come see me then, and I will be happy to make you rich!"

Robbers are not exactly known for their patience. They became angry at once. They shouted at him, “Ah, you tricky lying priest! You made the Kidnapper Gang wealthy, but now you refuse to do the same for us. We’ll teach you to take us so lightly!" Then they cut him in two with a sharp sword, and left both halves of his body in the middle of the road.

The robbers chased after the Kidnapper Gang. There was a terrible bloody battle. After hours of fighting, they killed all 500 kidnappers and stole the wonderful jewels.

As soon as they left the battleground, the 500 robbers began quarrelling over the wealth. They divided into two rival groups of 250 each. These fought another bloody battle, until only two were left alive one from each side.

These two collected all the valuable jewels and hid them in the forest. They were very hungry. So one guarded the treasure, while the other started cooking rice.

The one doing the guarding thought, “When the other is finished cooking, I will kill him and keep all this loot for myself?"

Meanwhile, the one doing the cooking thought, “If we divide these jewels in two, I will get less. Therefore, I will add poison to this rice, kill the other, and keep all the jewels for myself. Why share, when I can have it all!"

So he ate some of the rice, since he was so hungry, and poisoned the rest. He took the rice pot to the other and offered it to him. But he immediately swung his sword and chopped off the cook’s head!

Then the hungry killer began gobbling up the poisoned rice. Within minutes, he dropped dead on the spot!

A few days later, the good student returned with the ransom money. He could not find his teacher or the Kidnapper Gang. Instead, he found only the worthless possessions they had left behind after getting the jewels.

Continuing down the road, he came to the two halves of his teacher’s dead body. Realizing that the magic priest must have ignored his warning, he mourned his cruel death. Then he built a funeral pyre, covered it with wildflowers, and burned the body of his respected teacher.

A little further down the road, the good student came upon the 500 dead bodies of the Kidnapper Gang. Further still, he started seeing the dead robbers, until he counted 498.

Then he saw the footprints of the last two going into the forest. He realized that they too must fight over the treasure, so he followed them. Finally, he came to the dead body slumped over the rice pot, the other one with his head chopped off, and the bundles of valuable jewels. He could tell immediately what had happened.

He thought, “It is so sad. My teacher had great knowledge, but not enough common sense. He could not resist using his magical power, regardless of the results. By causing the deaths of the one-thousand greedy gangsters, he doomed himself as well."

The good student took the treasure back to the village, and used it generously for the benefit of many.

The moral is: When power has no conscience, and greed has no limit – the killing has no end.

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2023/01/31/48-the-magic-priest-and-the-kidnapper-gang-power-and-greed/


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46, 268 Watering the Garden [Foolishness]

46, 268 Watering the Garden [Foolishness]

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

It was just before New Year’s in Benares, in northern India. Everyone in the city was getting ready for the three day celebration, including the gardener of the king’s pleasure garden.

There was a large troop of monkeys living in this pleasure garden. So they wouldn’t have to think too much, they always followed the advice of their leader, the monkey king.

The royal gardener wanted to celebrate the New Year’s holiday, just like everybody else. So he decided to hand over his duties to the monkeys.

He went to the monkey king and said, “Oh king of monkeys, my honourable friend, would you do a little favour for me? New Years is coming. I too wish to celebrate. So I must be away for three full days. Here in this lovely garden, there are plenty of fruits and berries and nuts to eat. You and your subjects may be my guests, and eat as much as you wish. In return, please water the young trees and plants while I’m gone."

The monkey king replied, “Don’t worry about a thing, my friend! We will do a terrific job! Have a good time!"

The gardener showed the monkeys where the watering buckets were kept. Feeling confident, he left to celebrate the holiday. The monkeys called after him, “Happy New Year!"

The next day, the monkeys filled up the buckets, and began watering the young trees and plants. Then the king of the monkeys addressed them: “My subjects, it is not good to waste water. Therefore, pull up each young tree or plant before watering. Inspect it to see how long the roots are. Then give more water to the ones with long roots, and less water to the ones with short roots. That way we will not waste water, and the gardener will be pleased!"

Without giving it any further thought, the obedient subjects followed their king’s orders.

Meanwhile, a wise man was walking by outside the entrance to the garden. He saw the monkeys uprooting all the lovely young trees and plants, measuring their roots, and carefully pouring water into the holes in the ground. He asked, “Oh foolish monkeys, what do you think you’re doing to the king’s beautiful garden?"

They answered, “We are watering the trees and plants, without wasting water! We were commanded to do so by our lord king."

The man said, “If this is the wisdom of the wisest among you – the king – what are the rest of you like? Intending to do a worthwhile deed, your foolishness turns it into disaster!"

The moral is: Only fools can make good deeds into bad ones.

46, 268 Watering the Garden [Foolishness]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/12/21/46-268-watering-the-garden-foolishness/


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44, 45 Two Stupid Children [Foolishness]

44, 45 Two Stupid Children [Foolishness]

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

Once upon a time, there was an old carpenter with a shiny bald head. On sunny days, his head shined so brightly that people shaded their eyes when talking to him!

On just such a sunny day, a hungry mosquito was attracted to the old carpenter’s bright bald head. He landed on it and started biting into it.

The carpenter was busy smoothing a piece of wood with a plane. When he felt the mosquito biting him, he tried to chase him away. But the hungry mosquito would not leave such a good looking meal. So the man called over his son and asked him to get rid of the stubborn pest.

Unlike his father’s shiny head, the son was not so bright. But he was hard working and obedient. He said, ‘Don’t worry Dad, be patient. I’ll kill that bug with just one blow!"

Then he picked up a very sharp ax, and took careful aim at the mosquito. Without thinking, he came down with the ax and split the mosquito in two! Unfortunately, after slicing through the mosquito, the ax also split the old carpenter’s shiny bald head in two.

Meanwhile, an adviser to the king happened to be passing by with his followers. They saw what had just happened, and were quite shocked that anyone could be so stupid!

The king’s adviser said, “Don’t be so surprised by human stupidity! This reminds me of a similar event that occurred just yesterday.

“In a village not far from here, a woman was cleaning rice. She was pounding it in a mortar with a pestle, to separate the husks. As she worked up a sweat, a swarm of flies began buzzing around her head. She tried to chase them away, but, the thirsty flies would not leave.

“Then she called over her daughter and asked her to shoo away the bothersome bugs. Although she was a rather foolish girl, the daughter always tried her best to please her mother.

“So she stood up from her own mortar, raised her pestle, and took careful aim at the biggest and boldest of the flies. Without thinking, she pounded the fly to death! But of course, the same blow that killed the fly, also ended her mother’s life.

“You all know what they say," said the adviser, finishing his story, “‘With friends like these, who needs enemies!"‘

The moral is: A wise enemy is less dangerous than a foolish friend.

44, 45 Two Stupid Children [Foolishness]



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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.



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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]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/11/15/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]



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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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