9. The King With One Grey Hair [Ordination]

9. The King With One Grey Hair [Ordination]

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

A very very long time ago, there were people who lived much longer than they do today. They lived many thousand years. At that time, the Enlightenment Being was born as a baby named Makhadeva. He lived 84,000 years as a child and crown prince. At the time of our story, he had been a young king for 80,000 years.

One day, Makhadeva told the royal barber, “If you see any grey hair on my head, you must tell me immediately!" Of course, the barber promised to do so.

Another 4,000 years passed, until Makhadeva had been a young king for 84,000 years. Then one day, while he was cutting the king’s hair, the royal barber saw just one little grey hair on all the king’s head. So he said, “Oh my lord, I see one grey hair on your head." The king said, “If this be so, pull it out and put it in my hand." The barber got his golden tweezers, plucked out the single little grey hair, and put it in the king’s hand.

At that time, the king still had at least another 84,000 years left to live as an old king! Looking at the one grey hair in his hand, he became very afraid of dying. He felt like death was closing in on him, as if he were trapped in a burning house. He was so afraid, that the sweat rolled down his back, and he shuddered.

King Makhadeva thought, “Oh foolish king, you have wasted all this long life and now you are near death. You have made no attempt to destroy your greed and envy, to live without hating, and to get rid of your ignorance by learning the truth and becoming wise."

As he thought this, his body burned and the sweat kept rolling down. Then he decided once and for all, “It is time to give up the kingship, be ordained as a monk, and practice meditation!" Thinking so, he granted the income of a whole town to the barber. It amounted to one-hundred-thousand gold coins per year.

Then the king called his oldest son to him and said, “My son, I have seen a grey hair. I have become old. I have enjoyed the worldly pleasures of great wealth and power. When I die, I want to be reborn in a heaven world, to enjoy the pleasures of the gods. So I will be ordained as a monk. You must now take the responsibility of ruling the country. I will live the life of a monk in the forest."

Hearing of this, the royal ministers and the rest of the court rushed to the king and said, “Our lord, why do you suddenly want to be ordained?"

The king held up the grey hair in his hand and said, “My ministers and subjects, I have realized that this grey hair shows that the three stages of life — youth, middle age and old age — are coming to an end. This first grey hair was the messenger of death sitting on my head. Grey hairs are like angels sent by the god of death. Therefore, this very day is the time for me to be ordained."

The people wept at the news of his departure. King Makhadeva gave up his royal life, went into the forest, and was ordained as a monk. There he practiced what holy men call the ‘Four Heavenly States of Mind’. First is loving-kindness, tender affection for all. Second is feeling sympathy and pity for all those who suffer. Third is feeling happiness for all those who are joyful. And the fourth state is balance and calm, even in the face of difficulties or troubles.

After 84,000 years of great effort meditating and practicing these states as a humble forest monk, the Bodhisatta died. He was reborn in a high heaven world, to live a life a million years long!

The moral is: Even a long life is too short to waste.

The King With One Grey Hair [Ordination]

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/11/23/the-king-with-one-grey-hair-ordination/

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

#Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka

8, 462 The One-hundredth Prince [Obedience to a Wise Teacher]

Story 8, 462

The One-hundredth Prince

 [Obedience to a Wise Teacher]

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

Once upon a time, there was a king who had one-hundred sons. The youngest, the one-hundredth, was Prince Gamani. He was very energetic, patient and kind.

All the princes were sent to be taught by teachers. Prince Gamani, even though he was the one-hundredth in line to the throne, was lucky enough to have the best teacher. He had the most learning and was the wisest of them of all. He was like a father to Prince Gamani, who liked, respected and obeyed him.

In those days, it was the custom to send each educated prince to a different province. There he was to develop the country and help the people. When Prince Gamani was old enough for this assignment, he went to his teacher and asked which province he should request. He said, “Do not select any province. Instead, tell your father the king that if he sends you, his one-hundredth son, out to a province, there will be no son remaining to serve him in his home city." Prince Gamani obeyed his teacher, and pleased his father with his kindness and loyalty.

Then the prince went again to his teacher and asked, “How best can I serve my father and the people, here in the capital city?" The wise teacher replied, “Ask the king to let you be the one to collect fees and taxes, and distribute benefits to the people. If he agrees, then carry out your duties honestly and fairly, with energy and kindness."

Again the prince followed his teacher’s advice. Trusting his one-hundredth son, the king was glad to assign these functions to him. When he went out to perform the difficult task of collecting fees and taxes, the young prince was always gentle, fair and lawful. When he distributed food to the hungry, and other necessary things to the needy, he was always generous, kind and sympathetic. Before long, the one-hundredth prince gained the respect and affection of all.

Eventually, the king came to be on his deathbed. His ministers asked him who should be the next king. He said that all his one-hundred sons had a right to succeed him. It should be left up to the citizens.

After he died, all the citizens agreed to make the one-hundredth prince their next ruler. Because of his goodness, they crowned him King Gamani the Righteous.

When the ninety-nine older brothers heard what had happened, they thought they had been insulted. Filled with envy and rage, they prepared for war. They sent a message to King Gamani, which said, “We are all your elders. Neighbour countries will laugh at us if we are ruled by the one-hundredth prince. Either you give up the kingdom or we will take it by war!"

After he received this message, King Gamani took it with him to his wise old teacher, and asked his advice.

It just so happened that this honorable gentle teacher was the reborn Enlightenment Being. He said, “Tell them you refuse to wage war against your brothers. Tell them you will not help them kill innocent people you have come to know and love. Tell them that, instead, you are dividing the king’s wealth among all one-hundred princes. Then send each one his portion." Again the king obeyed his teacher.

Meanwhile the ninety-nine older princes had brought their ninety-nine small armies to surround the royal capital. When they received the king’s message and their small portions of the royal treasure, they held a meeting. They decided that each portion was so small it was almost meaningless. Therefore, they would not accept them.

But then they realized that, in the same way, if they fought with King Gamani and then with each other, the kingdom itself would be divided into small worthless portions. Each small piece of the once-great kingdom would be weak in the face of any unfriendly country. So they sent back their portions of the royal treasure as offerings of peace, and accepted the rule of King Gamani.

The king was pleased, and invited his brothers to the palace to celebrate the peace and unity of the kingdom. He entertained them in the most perfect ways — with generosity, pleasant conversation, providing instruction for their benefit, and treating all with even-handed courtesy.

In this way the king and the ninety-nine princes became closer as friends than they had been as brothers. They were strong in their support of each other. This was known in all the surrounding countries, so no one threatened the kingdom or its people. After a few months, the ninety-nine brothers returned to their provinces.

King Gamani the Righteous invited his wise old teacher to live in the palace. He honored him with great wealth and many gifts. He held a celebration for his respected teacher, saying to the full court, “I, who was the one-hundredth prince, among one-hundred worthy princes, owe all my success to the wise advice of my generous and understanding teacher. Likewise, all who follow their wise teachers’ advice will earn prosperity and happiness. Even the unity and strength of the kingdom, we owe to my beloved teacher."

The kingdom prospered under the reign of the generous and just rule of King Gamani the Righteous.

The moral is: One is rewarded a hundred-fold for following the advice of a wise teacher.

The One-hundredth Prince

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/11/16/8-462-the-one-hundredth-prince-obedience-to-a-wise-teacher/

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

#KingGamani #theEnlightenmentBeing #Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka

7. Little Prince No-father [The Power of Truth]

Story 7

Little Prince No-father [The Power of Truth]

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

7. Little Prince No-father [The Power of Truth]

Once upon a time, the King of Benares went on a picnic in the forest. The beautiful flowers and trees and fruits made him very happy. As he was enjoying their beauty, he slowly went deeper and deeper into the forest. Before long, he became separated from his companions and realized that he was all alone.

Then he heard the sweet voice of a young woman. She was singing as she collected firewood. To keep from being afraid of being alone in the forest, the king followed the sound of the lovely voice. When he finally came upon the singer of the songs, he saw that she was a beautiful fair young woman, and immediately fell in love with her. They became very friendly, and the king became the father of the firewood woman’s child.

Later, he explained how he had gotten lost in the forest, and convinced her that he was indeed the King of Benares. She gave him directions for getting back to his palace. The king gave her his valuable signet ring, and said, “If you give birth to a baby girl, sell this ring and use the money to bring her up well. If our child turns out to be a baby boy, bring him to me along with this ring for recognition." So saying, he departed for Benares.

In the fullness of time, the firewood woman gave birth to a cute little baby boy. Being a simple shy woman, she was afraid to take him to the fancy court in Benares, but she saved the king’s signet ring.

In a few years, the baby grew into a little boy. When he played with the other children in the village, they teased him and mistreated him, and even started fights with him. It was because his mother was not married that the other children picked on him. They yelled at him, “No-father! No-father! Your name should be No-father!"

Of course this made the little boy feel ashamed and hurt and sad. He often ran home crying to his mother. One day, he told her how the other children called him, “No-father! No-father! Your name should be No-father!" Then his mother said, “Don’t be ashamed, my son. You are not just an ordinary little boy. Your father is the King of Benares!"

The little boy was very surprised. He asked his mother, “Do you have any proof of this?" So she told him about his father giving her the signet ring, and that if the baby was a boy she should bring him to Benares, along with the ring as proof. The little boy said, “Let’s go then." Because of what happened, she agreed, and the next day they set out for Benares.

When they arrived at the king’s palace, the gate keeper told the king the firewood woman and her little son wanted to see him. They went into the royal assembly hall, which was filled with the king’s ministers and advisers. The woman reminded the king of their time together in the forest. Finally she said, “Your majesty, here is your son."

The king was ashamed in front of all the ladies and gentlemen of his court. So, even though he knew the woman spoke the truth, he said, “He is not my son!" Then the lovely young mother showed the signet ring as proof.

Again the king was ashamed and denied the truth, saying, “It is not my ring!"

Then the poor woman thought to herself, “I have no witness and no evidence to prove what I say. I have only my faith in the power of truth." So she said to the king, “If I throw this little boy up into the air, if he truly is your son, may he remain in the air without falling. If he is not your son, may he fall to the floor and die!"

Suddenly, she grabbed the boy by his foot and threw him up into the air. Lo and behold, the boy sat in the cross-legged position, suspended in midair, without falling. Everyone was astonished, to say the least! Remaining in the air, the little boy spoke to the mighty king. “My lord, I am indeed a son born to you. You take care of many people who are not related to you. You even maintain countless elephants, horses and other animals. And yet, you do not think of looking after and raising me, your own son. Please do take care of me and my mother."

Hearing this, the king’s pride was overcome. He was humbled by the truth of the little boy’s powerful words. He held out his arms and said, “Come to me my son, and I will take good care of you."

Amazed by such a wonder, all the others in the court put out their arms. They too asked the floating little boy to come to them. But he went directly from midair into his father’s arms. With his son seated on his lap, the king announced that he would be the crown prince, and his mother would be the number one queen.

In this way, the king and all his court learned the power of truth. Benares became known as a place of honest justice. In time the king died. The grown up crown prince wanted to show the people that all deserve respect, regardless of birth. So he had himself crowned under the official name, “King No-father!" He went on to rule the kingdom in a generous and righteous way.

The moral is: The truth is always stronger than a lie.

Little Prince No-father [The Power of Truth]

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/10/31/7-little-prince-no-father-the-power-of-truth/

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

#Truth #Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka

6. Prince Goodspeaker and the Water Demon 

6. Prince Goodspeaker and the Water Demon

 [Chapter 1 / 2 – Rebirth of the Bodhisatta]

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

Once upon a time, there was a very righteous king. He had a lovely queen who gave birth to a beautiful baby. This made the king very happy. He decided to give his son a name that might help him in later life. So he called him Prince Goodspeaker.

It just so happened that the prince was no ordinary baby. This was not his first life or his first birth. Millions of years before, he had been a follower of a long-forgotten teaching ‘Buddha’ — a fully ‘Enlightened One’. He had wished with all his heart to become a Buddha just like his beloved master.

He was reborn in many lives — sometimes as poor animals, sometimes as long-living gods and sometimes as human beings. He always tried to learn from his mistakes and develop the ‘Ten Perfections’. This was so he could purify his mind and remove the three root causes of unwholesomeness — the poisons of craving, anger and the delusion of a separate self. By using the Perfections, he would someday be able to replace the poisons with the three purities — nonattachment, loving-kindness and wisdom.

This ‘Great Being’ had been a humble follower of the forgotten Buddha. His goal was to gain the same enlightenment of a Buddha — the experience of complete Truth. So people call him ‘Bodhisatta’, which means ‘Enlightenment Being’. No one really knows about the millions of lives lived by this great hero. But many stories have been told — including this one about a prince called Goodspeaker. After many more rebirths, he became the Buddha who is remembered and loved in all the world today.

Prince Goodspeaker and the Water Demon

 [Chapter 2/2 – The Teaching of the Gods]

In time, the queen gave birth to another son, who was named Prince Moon. Shortly after both children began walking about, their mother suddenly became very sick, and died.

To help him look after his playful children, the king found a princess to become his new queen. In a few years, this queen gave birth to a beautiful bright little boy. He was named Prince Sun. Since the king was so happy, he wanted to please his queen, and reward her for bringing up all three children. So he promised to grant her one wish. The queen considered, and said, “Thank you my lord, I will make my wish at some time in the future."

As time went on, the three princes grew into wonderful playful youngsters. The queen saw that Prince Goodspeaker was intelligent and understanding. She thought, “If these two older princes remain in the palace, my son, Prince Sun, will never get a chance to be king. Therefore, I must do something to make him the next king."

One day, when the king was in a good mood, the queen respectfully approached him and reminded him of the promised wish. He was very happy and said, “Ask whatever you want!" The queen said, “Oh my husband and king, grant that after the course of your life is over, my son, Prince Sun, will be the next king."

The king was shocked by this request. He became angry and said, “My first two children are like bright stars! How can I give the kingdom to my third son? All the people will blame me. That cannot be done!" The queen kept silent.

As happy as the king had been, he now became just as unhappy. He was afraid and filled with doubt. He suspected that the queen might destroy his first-born children by some wicked means. He decided that he must make sure his children were safe.

Secretly, the king called Prince Goodspeaker and Prince Moon to him. He told them of the queen’s dangerous desire. He sadly said that the only safe thing for them to do was to leave the kingdom. They should return only after their father’s death, and take their rightful places ruling the kingdom. The two obedient princes accepted their father’s order and prepared to leave.

In a few days they were ready. They said their sad good-byes to their father and friends, and left the palace. On their way through the royal gardens, they came upon Prince Sun. He had always been very affectionate and friendly towards his two older half-brothers. He was upset to hear that they were leaving for a very long time. So he decided that he too would leave the kingdom. The three friendly princes departed together.

For several months they travelled, until they reached the forest country of the mighty Himalayas. They were very tired and sat down under a tree. The oldest brother, Prince Goodspeaker, said to the youngest, Prince Sun, “Please go down to the nearby lake and fill some lotus leaves with water. Bring them back here so we can all drink."

They did not know that the beautiful dark blue lake was possessed by a water demon! He was permitted by his demon ruler to eat any beings that he could convince to go into the water. There was also one condition. He could not eat anyone who knew the answer to the question, ‘What is the teaching of the gods?"

When Prince Sun arrived at the shore of the lake, being dry and dirty and tired, he went directly into the water without any investigation. Suddenly the water demon rose up from under the water and captured him. He asked him, “What is the teaching of the gods?" Prince Sun said, “I know the answer to that! The sun and the moon are the teachings of the gods." “You don’t know the teaching of the gods, so you belong to me!" said the water demon. Then he pulled Prince Sun under the water and locked him up in a deep cave.

Since Prince Sun was delayed, Prince Goodspeaker asked the second brother, Prince Moon, to go down to the lake and bring back water in lotus leaves. When he got there, he too went directly into the water without examining. Again the water demon appeared, grabbed him, and asked, “What is the teaching of the gods?" Prince Moon said, “I know the answer to that! The four directions — North, East, South and West — these are the teachings of the gods." “You don’t know the teaching of the gods, so you belong to me!", replied the water demon. Then he locked up Prince Moon in the same underwater cave with Prince Sun.

When both his brothers did not return, Prince Goodspeaker began to worry that they might be in some danger. So he himself went down to the beautiful dark blue lake. As he was a wise and careful person, he did not go directly into the water. Instead, he investigated and saw that there were two sets of footprints leading into the lake – but not coming out again! To protect himself, he got his sword and bow and arrows ready. He began to walk around the lake.

Seeing that this prince did not go straight into the lake, the water demon appeared to him disguised as a humble villager. He said to him, “My dear friend, you look tired and dirty from much walking. Why don’t you get into the water and bathe, drink, and eat some lotus roots?"

Remembering the one-way footprints, Prince Goodspeaker said, “You must be some kind of demon disguised as a human! What have you done with my brothers?" Surprised at being recognized so quickly, the water demon returned to his true ferocious appearance. He replied to the wise prince, “By my rights, I have captured your brothers!"

The prince asked, “For what reason?" “So that soon I can gobble them up!", the demon answered, “I have permission from my demon ruler to eat all those who go into this lake who do not know the teaching of the gods. If anyone does know the teaching of the gods, I am not allowed to eat him."

The Prince asked, “Why do you need to know this? What is the advantage to a demon like you, to know the teaching of the gods?" The water demon replied, “I know there must be some advantage to me." “Then I will tell you what the gods teach," said Prince Goodspeaker, “but I have a problem. Look at me. I am covered with dust and dirt from travelling. I cannot speak about wise teachings in this condition."

By now, the water demon realized that this prince was especially wise. So he washed and refreshed him. He gave him water to drink from lotus leaves, and tender lotus roots to eat. He prepared a comfortable seat for him, decorated with pretty wildflowers. After laying aside his sword and bow and arrows, the Enlightenment Being sat on the adorned seat. The ferocious demon sat by his feet, just like a student listening to a respected teacher.

Prince Goodspeaker said, “This is the teaching of the gods:

You should be ashamed to do unwholesome deeds.
You should be afraid to do unwholesome deeds.
You should always do wholesome deeds –
that bring happiness to others, and help mankind.
Then you will shine with the inner light of calm and peacefulness."

The water demon was pleased with this answer, and said, “Worthy prince, you have completely satisfied my question. You have made me so happy that I will give you back one of your brothers. Which one do you choose?"

Prince Goodspeaker said, “Release my younger brother, Prince Sun." To this the demon replied, “My lord prince, wise one, you know the teaching of the gods but you do not practice it!" The prince asked, “Why do you say that?" The demon said, “Because you leave the older one to die, and save the younger. You do not respect
elders!"

The prince then said, “Oh demon, I know the teaching of the gods, and I do practise it. We three princes came to this forest because of the youngest brother. His mother requested our father’s kingdom for him. So it was for our protection that our father sent us here. The young Prince Sun joined us out of friendship. But if we return to the court without him, and say he was eaten by a water demon who wanted to know the teaching of the gods, who would believe us? They would think we killed him because he was the cause of our danger. This would bring shame to us and unhappiness to the kingdom. Fearing such unwholesome results, I tell you again to release the young Prince Sun."

The water demon was so pleased with this answer that he said, “Well done, well done, my lord. You know the true teaching of the gods, and you do practice that true teaching. I will gladly give back both your brothers!" So saying, he went down into the lake and brought both princes back to shore. They were wet, but unharmed.

Later on, the Bodhisatta gave further helpful advice to the demon. He said, “Oh water demon, my new friend, you must have done many unwholesome deeds in your previous lives, so that you were born as a flesh eating demon. And if you continue in this way, you will be trapped in a terrible state even in later lives. For unwholesome deeds lead to shame, fear and unpleasant rebirth. But wholesome deeds lead to self-respect, peace and pleasant rebirth. Therefore, it would be much better for you to do pure deeds, rather than impure deeds, from now on." This turned the demon from his past ways, and the princes lived together happily under his protection.

One day, word came that the king had died. So the three princes, as well as their friend the water demon, returned to the capital city. Prince Goodspeaker was crowned as king. Prince Moon became the chief minister, and Prince Sun became commander of the army. The water demon was awarded a safe place to live, where he was well fed, cared for and entertained for the rest of his life. In this way they all acquired wholesome meritorious thoughts, leading to rebirth in a heaven world.

The moral is: Unwholesome actions bring shame and fear. Wholesome actions bring self-respect and peace.

6. Prince Goodspeaker and the Water Demon

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/10/24/6-prince-goodspeaker-and-the-water-demon/

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

#PrinceGoodspeaker #TenPerfections #Buddha #Bodhisattva #Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka

5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

Story 5

5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

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

5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

Long ago and far away, there was a king who ruled in Benares, in northern India. One of his ministers was called the Royal Price Maker, and he was a very honest man. His job was to set a fair price for anything the king wanted to buy or sell.

On some occasions, the king did not like his price making. He did not get as big a profit as he wanted. He did not want to pay so much when he bought, or sell for what he thought was not enough. So he decided to change the price maker.

One day he saw a nice looking young man and he thought, “This fellow will be good for my price making position." So he dismissed his former honest price maker, and appointed this man to be the new one. The man thought, “I must make the king happy by buying at very low prices and selling at very high prices." So he made the prices ridiculous, without caring at all what anything was worth. This gained the greedy king a lot of money, and made him very happy. Meanwhile, all the others who dealt with the new price maker, including the king’s other ministers and ordinary people, became very unhappy.

Then one day a horse merchant arrived in Benares with 500 horses to sell. There were stallions, mares and colts. The king invited the merchant to the palace, and called upon his Royal Price Maker to set a price for all 500 horses. Thinking only of pleasing the king, he said, “The entire herd of horses is worth one cup of rice." So the king ordered that one cup of rice be paid to the horse dealer, and all the horses were taken to the royal stables.

Of course the merchant was very upset, but he could do nothing at the moment. Later he heard about the former price maker, who had a reputation for being very fair and honest. So he approached him and told him what had happened. He wanted to hear his opinion, in order to get a proper price from the king. The former price maker said, “If you do as I say, the king will be convinced of the true value of the horses. Go back to the price maker and satisfy him with a valuable gift. Ask him to tell the value of one cup of rice, in the presence of the king. If he agrees, come and tell me. I will go with you to the king."

Following this advice, the merchant went to the price maker and gave him a valuable gift. The gift made him very happy, so that he saw the value of pleasing the horse dealer. Then the merchant said to him, “I was very happy with your previous evaluation. Can you please convince the king of the value of one cup of rice?" The foolish price maker said, ‘Why not? I will explain the worth of one cup of rice, even in the presence of the king."

So the price maker thought the horse dealer was satisfied with his cup of rice. He arranged for another meeting with the king, as the merchant was departing for his own country. The merchant reported back to the old price maker, and they went together to see the king.

All the king’s ministers and his full court were in the royal meeting hall. The horse merchant said to the king, “My lord, I understand that in this your country, my whole herd of 500 horses is worth one cup of rice. Before I leave for home, I want to know the value of one cup of rice in your country." The king turned to his loyal price maker and said, “What is the value of one cup of rice?"

The foolish price maker, in order to please the king, had previously priced the herd of horses at one cup of rice. Now, after receiving a bribe from the horse dealer, he wanted to please him too. So he replied to the king, in his most dignified manner, “Your worship, one cup of rice is worth the city of Benares, including even your own harem, as well as all the suburbs of the city. In other words, it is worth the whole kingdom of Benares!"

On hearing this, the royal ministers and wise men in the assembly hall started to roar with laughter, slapping their sides with their hands. When they calmed down a little, they said, “Earlier we heard that the kingdom was priceless. Now we hear that all Benares, with its palaces and mansions, is worth only a cup of rice! The decision of the Royal Price Maker is so strange! Where did your highness find such a man? He is good only for pleasing a king such as you, not for making fair prices for a merchant who sells his horses from country to country."

Hearing the laughter of his whole court, and the words of his ministers and advisers, the king was ashamed. So he brought back his former price maker to his official position. He agreed to a new fair price for the herd of horses, as set by the honest price maker. Having learned a lesson, the king and his kingdom lived justly and prospered.

The moral is: A fool in high office can bring shame even to a king.

5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/10/17/5-the-price-maker-foolishness/

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

#Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka #foolishness #Banares #India

4. The Mouse Merchant [Diligence and Gratitude]

Story 4

4. The Mouse Merchant [Diligence and Gratitude]

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

Once upon a time, an important adviser to a certain king was on his way to a meeting with the king and other advisers. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a dead mouse by the roadside. He said to those who were with him. “Even from such small beginnings as this dead mouse, an energetic young fellow could build a fortune. If he worked hard and used his intelligence, he could start a business and support a wife and family."

A passerby heard the remark. He knew this was a famous adviser to the king, so he decided to follow his words. He picked up the dead mouse by the tail and went off with it. As luck would have it, before he had gone even a block, a shopkeeper stopped him. He said, “My cat has been pestering me all morning. I’ll give you two copper coins for that mouse." So it was done.

With the two copper coins, he bought sweet cakes, and waited by the side of the road with them and some water. As he expected, some people who picked flowers for making garlands were returning from work. Since they were all hungry and thirsty, they agreed to buy sweet cakes and water for the price of a bunch of flowers from each of them. In the evening, the man sold the flowers in the city. With some of the money he bought more sweet cakes and returned the next day to sell to the flower pickers.

This went on for a while, until one day there was a terrible storm, with heavy rains and high winds. While walking by the king’s pleasure garden, he saw that many branches had been blown off the trees and were lying all around. So he offered to the king’s gardener that he would clear it all away for him, if he could keep the branches. The lazy gardener quickly agreed.

The man found some children playing in a park across the street. They were glad to collect all the branches and brush at the entrance to the pleasure garden, for the price of just one sweet cake for each child.

Along came the king’s potter, who was always on the lookout for firewood for his glazing oven. When he saw the piles of wood the children had just collected, he paid the man a handsome price for it. He even threw into the bargain some of his pots.

With his profits from selling the flowers and the firewood, the man opened up a refreshment shop. One day all the local grass mowers, who were on their way into town, stopped in his shop. He gave them free sweet cakes and drinks. They were surprised at his generosity and asked, “What can we do for you?" He said there was nothing for them to do now, but he would let them know in the future.

A week later, he heard that a horse dealer was coming to the city with 500 horses to sell. So he got in touch with the grass mowers and told each of them to give him a bundle of grass. He told them not to sell any grass to the horse dealer until he had sold his. In this way he got a very good price.

Time passed until one day, in his refreshment shop, some customers told him that a new ship from a foreign country had just anchored in the port. He saw this to be the opportunity he had been waiting for. He thought and thought until he came up with a good business plan.

First, he went to a jeweler friend of his and paid a low price for a very valuable gold ring, with a beautiful red ruby in it. He knew that the foreign ship was from a country that had no rubies of its own, where gold too was expensive. So he gave the wonderful ring to the captain of the ship as an advance on his commission. To earn this commission, the captain agreed to send all his passengers to him as a broker. He would then lead them to the best shops in the city. In turn, the man got the merchants to pay him a commission for sending customers to them.

Acting as a middle man in this way, after several ships came into port, the man became very rich. Being pleased with his success, he also remembered that it had all started with the words of the king’s wise adviser. So he decided to give him a gift of 100,000 gold coins. This was half his entire wealth. After making the proper arrangements, he met with the king’s adviser and gave him the gift, along with his humble thanks.

The adviser was amazed, and he asked, “How did you earn so much wealth to afford such a generous gift?" The man told him it had all started with the adviser’s own words not so long ago. They had led him to a dead mouse, a hungry cat, sweet cakes, bunches of flowers, storm damaged tree branches, children in the park, the king’s potter, a refreshment shop, grass for 500 horses, a golden ruby ring, good business contacts, and finally a large fortune.

Hearing all this, the royal adviser thought to himself, “It would not be good to lose the talents of such an energetic man. I too have much wealth, as well as my beloved only daughter. As this man is single, he deserves to marry her. Then he can inherit my wealth in addition to his own, and my daughter will be well cared for."

This all came to pass, and after the wise adviser died, the one who had followed his advice became the richest man in the city. The king appointed him to the adviser’s position. Throughout his remaining life, he generously gave his money for the happiness and well being of many people.

The moral is: With energy and ability, great wealth comes even from small beginnings.

4. The Mouse Merchant [Diligence and Gratitude]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/10/09/4-the-mouse-merchant-diligence-and-gratitude/

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

#Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka #diligence #gratitude

3. The Golden Plate

Story 3

The Golden Plate

 [Greed and Honesty]

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

Once upon a time in a place called Seri, there were two salesmen of pots and pans and handmade trinkets. They agreed to divide the town between them. They also said that after one had gone through his area, it was all right for the other to try and sell where the first had already been.

One day, while one of them was coming down a street, a poor little girl saw him and asked her grandmother to buy her a bracelet. The old grandmother replied, “How can we poor people buy bracelets?" The little girl said, “Since we don’t have any money, we can give our black sooty old plate." The old woman agreed to give it a try, so she invited the dealer inside.

The salesman saw that these people were very poor and innocent, so he didn’t want to waste his time with them. Even though the old woman pleaded with him, he said he had no bracelet that she could afford to buy. Then she asked, “We have an old plate that is useless to us, can we trade it for a bracelet?" The man took it and, while examining it, happened to scratch the bottom of it. To his surprise, he saw that underneath the black soot, it was a golden plate! But he didn’t let on that he had noticed it. Instead he decided to deceive these poor people so he could get the plate for next to nothing. He said, “This is not worth even one bracelet. There’s no value in this. I don’t want it!" He left, thinking he would return later when they would accept even less for the plate.

Meanwhile the other salesman, after finishing in his part of town, followed after the first as they had agreed. He ended up at the same house. Again the poor little girl begged her grandmother to trade the old plate for a bracelet. The woman saw that this was a nice tender looking merchant and thought, “He’s a good man, not like the rough-talking first salesman." So she invited him in and offered to trade the same black sooty old plate for one bracelet. When he examined it, he too saw that it was pure gold under the grime. He said to the old woman, “All my goods and all my money together are not worth as much as this rich golden plate!"

Of course the woman was shocked at this discovery, but now she knew that he was indeed a good and honest fellow. So she said she would be glad to accept whatever he could trade for it. The salesman said, “I’ll give you all my pots and pans and trinkets, plus all my money, if you will let me keep just eight coins and my balancing scale, with its cover to put the golden plate in." They made the trade. He went down to the river, where he paid the eight coins to the ferry man to take him across.

By then the greedy salesman had returned, already adding up huge imaginary profits in his head. When he met the little girl and her grandmother again, he said he had changed his mind and was willing to offer a few cents, but not one of his bracelets, for the useless black sooty old plate. The old woman then calmly told him of the trade she had just made with the honest salesman, and said, “Sir, you lied to us."

The greedy salesman was not ashamed of his lies, but he was saddened as he thought, “I’ve lost the golden plate that must be worth a hundred thousand." So he asked the woman, “Which way did he go?" She told him the direction. He left all his things right there at her door and ran down to the river, thinking, “He robbed me! He robbed me! He won’t make a fool out of me!"

From the riverside he saw the honest salesman still crossing over on the ferry boat. He shouted to the ferry man, “Come back!" But the good merchant told him to keep on going to the other side, and that’s what he did.

Seeing that he could do nothing, the greedy salesman exploded with rage. He jumped up and down, beating his chest. He became so filled with hatred towards the honest man, who had won the golden plate, that he made himself cough up blood. He had a heart attack and died on the spot!

The moral is: “Honesty is the best policy."

The Golden Plate  [Greed and Honesty]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/10/01/3-the-golden-plate/

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

#Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka #greedandhonesty

2. Finding a New Spring [Perseverance]

Story 2

Finding a New Spring

 [Perseverance]

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

Once upon a time a certain tradesman was leading a caravan to another country to sell his goods. Along the way they came to the edge of a severe hot-sand desert. They asked about and found that during the day time the sun heats up the fine sand until it’s as hot as charcoal, so no one can walk on it — not even bullocks or camels! So the caravan leader hired a desert guide, one who could follow the stars, so that they could travel only at night when the sand cools down. They began the dangerous night time journey across the desert.

A couple of nights later, after eating their evening meal, and waiting for the sand to cool, they started out again. Later that night the desert guide, who was driving the first cart, saw from the stars that they were getting close to the other side of the desert. He had also overeaten, so that when he relaxed, he dozed off to sleep. Then the bullocks who, of course, couldn’t tell directions by reading the stars, gradually turned to the side and went in a big wide circle until they ended up at the same place they had started from!

By then it was morning, and the people realized they were back at the same spot they’d camped at the day before. They lost heart and began to cry about their condition. Since the desert crossing was supposed to be over by now, they had no more water and were afraid they would die of thirst. They even began to blame the caravan leader and the desert guide — “We can do nothing without water!", they complained.

Then the tradesman thought to himself, “If I lose courage now, in the middle of this disastrous situation, my leadership has no meaning. If I fall to weeping and regretting this misfortune, and do nothing, all these goods and bullocks and even the lives of the people, including myself, may be lost. I must be energetic and face the situation!" So he began walking back and forth, trying to think out a plan to save them all.

Remaining alert, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a small clump of grass. He thought, “Without water, no plant could live in this desert." So he called over the most energetic of his fellow travellers and asked them to dig up the ground on that very spot. They dug and dug, and after a while they got down to a large stone. Seeing it they stopped, and began to blame the leader again, saying “This effort is useless. We’re just wasting our time!" But the tradesman replied, “No no, my friends, if we give up the effort we will all be ruined and our poor animals will die — let us be encouraged!"

As he said this, he got down into the hole, put his ear to the stone, and heard the sound of flowing water. Immediately, he called over a boy who had been digging and said, “If you give up, we will all perish – so take this heavy hammer and strike the rock."

The boy lifted the hammer over his head and hit the rock as hard as he could — and he himself was the most surprised when the rock spilt in two and a mighty flow of water gushed out from under it! Suddenly, all the people were overjoyed. They drank and bathed and washed the animals and cooked their food and ate.

Before they left, they raised a high banner so that other travellers could see it from afar and come to the new spring in the middle of the hot-sand desert. Then they continued on safely to the end of their journey.

The moral is: Don’t give up too easily – keep on trying until you reach the goal

Finding a New Spring

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/09/20/2-finding-a-new-spring-perseverance/

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

#Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka #preserverance

1. Demons in the Desert [The Correct Way of Thinking]

Story 1

Demons in the Desert 

[The Correct Way of Thinking]

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

Once upon a time there were two merchants, who were friends. Both of them were getting ready for business trips to sell their merchandise, so they had to decide whether to travel together. They agreed that, since each had about 500 carts, and that they were both going to the same place along the same road, it would be too crowded to go at the same time.

One decided that it would be much better to go first. He thought, “The road will not be rutted by the carts, the bullocks will be able to choose the best of all the grass, we will find the best fruits and vegetables to eat, my people will appreciate my leadership and, in the end, I will be able to bargain for the best prices."

The other merchant considered carefully and realized there were advantages to going second. He thought, “My friend’s carts will level the ground so we won’t have to do any road work, his bullocks will eat the old rough grass and new tender shoots will spring up for mine to eat. In the same way, they will pick the old fruits and vegetables and fresh ones will grow for us to enjoy. I won’t have to waste my time bargaining when I can take the price already set and make my profit." So he agreed to let his friend go first. This friend was sure he’d fooled him and gotten the best of him – so he set out first on the journey.

The merchant who went first had a troublesome time of it. They came to a wilderness called the ‘Waterless Desert’, which the local people said was haunted by demons. When the caravan reached the middle of it, they met a large group coming from the opposite direction. They had carts that were mud smeared and dripping with water. They had lotuses and water lilies in their hands and in the carts. The head man, who had a know-it-all attitude, said to the merchant, “Why are you carrying these heavy loads of water? In a short time you will reach that oasis on the horizon with plenty of water to drink and dates to eat. Your bullocks are tired from pulling those heavy carts filled with extra water – so throw away the water and be kind to your overworked animals!"

Even though the local people had warned them, the merchant did not realize that these were not real people, but demons in disguise. They were even in danger of being eaten by them. Being confident that they were helpful people, he followed their advice and had all his water emptied onto the ground.

As they continued on their way they found no oasis or any water at all. Some realized they’d been fooled by beings that might have been demons, and started to grumble and accuse the merchant. At the end of the day, all the people were tired out. The bullocks were too weak from lack of water to pull their heavy carts. All the people and animals lay down in a haphazard manner and fell into a deep sleep. Lo and behold, during the night the demons came in their true frightening forms and gobbled up all the weak defenseless beings. When they were done there were only bones lying scattered around — not one human or animal was left alive.

After several months, the second merchant began his journey along the same way. When he arrived at the wilderness, he assembled all his people and advised them — “This is called the ‘Waterless Desert’ and I have heard that it is haunted by demons and ghosts. Therefore we should be careful. Since there may be poison plants and foul water, don’t drink any local water without asking me." In this way they started into the desert.

After getting about halfway through, in the same way as with the first caravan, they were met by the water soaked demons in disguise. They told them the oasis was near and they should throw away their water. But the wise merchant saw through them right away. He knew it didn’t make sense to have an oasis in a place called ‘Waterless Desert’. And besides, these people had bulging red eyes and an aggressive and pushy attitude, so he suspected they might be demons. He told them to leave them alone saying, “We are business men who don’t throw away good water before we know where the next is coming from."

Then seeing that his own people had doubts, the merchant said to them, “Don’t believe these people, who may be demons, until we actually find water. The oasis they point to may be just an illusion or a mirage. Have you ever heard of water in this ‘Waterless Desert’? Do you feel any rain-wind or see any storm clouds?" They all said, “No", and he continued, “If we believe these strangers and throw away our water, then later we may not have any to drink or cook with – then we will be weak and thirsty and it would be easy for demons to come and rob us, or even eat us up! Therefore, until we really find water, do not waste even a drop!"

The caravan continued on its way. That evening it reached the place where the first caravan’s people and bullocks had been killed and eaten by the demons. They found the carts and human and animal bones lying all around. They recognized that the fully loaded carts and the scattered bones belonged to the former caravan. The wise merchant told certain people to stand watch around the camp during the night.

The next morning the people ate breakfast, and fed their bullocks well. They added to their goods the most valuable things left from the first caravan. So they finished their journey very successfully, and returned home safely so that they and their families could enjoy their profits.

The moral is: One must always be wise enough not to be fooled by tricky talk and false appearances.

1. Demons in the Desert [The Correct Way of Thinking]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/09/12/1-demons-in-the-desert-the-correct-way-of-thinking/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-5

#Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka #thecorrectwayofthinking