31. The Heaven of 33 [Chapter 1. Co-operation]

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

31. The Heaven of 33 [Chapter 1. Co-operation]

Once upon a time, when King Magadha was ruling in the land, there was a young noble called, ‘Magha the Good’. He lived in a remote village of just 30 families. When he was young, his parents married him to a girl who had qualities of character similar to his own. They were very happy together, and she gave birth to several children.

The villagers came to respect Magha the Good because he always tried to help improve the village, for the good of all. Because they respected him, he was able to teach the five steps of training, to purify their thoughts, words and deeds.

Magha’s way of teaching was by doing. An example of this happened one day when the villagers gathered to do handicraft work. Magha the Good cleaned a place for himself to sit. Before he could sit down though, someone else sat there. So he patiently cleaned another place. Again a neighbor sat in his place. This happened over and over again, until he had patiently cleaned sitting places for all those present. Only then could he himself sit in the last place.

By using such examples of patience, Magha the Good taught his fellow villagers how to cooperate with each other, without quarrelling. Working together in this way, they constructed several buildings and made other improvements that benefitted the whole village.

Seeing the worthwhile results of patience and cooperation, based on following the gentle ways of the Five Training Steps, all in the village became calmer and more peaceful. A natural side effect was that former crimes and wrongdoing completely disappeared!

You would think this would make everybody happier. However, there was one man who did not like the new situation at all. He was the head of the village, the politician who cared only about his own position.

Formerly, when there were murders and thefts, he handed out punishments. This increased his position of authority, and caused the villagers to fear him. When husbands or wives had affairs with others, the head man collected fines. In the same way, when reputations were damaged by lies, or contracts were not lived up to, he also collected fines. He even got tax money from the profits of selling strong liquor. He did not mind that drunkenness led to many of the crimes.

It is easy to see why the head man was upset to lose so much respect and power and money, due to the people living peacefully together. So he went to the king and said, “My lord, some of the remote villages are being robbed and looted by bandits. We need your help."

The king said, “Bring all these criminals to me."

The dishonest politician rounded up the heads of all 30 families and brought them as prisoners to the king. Without questioning them, the king ordered that they all be trampled to death by elephants.

All 30 were ordered to lie down in the palace courtyard and the elephants were brought in. They realized they were about to be trampled to death. Magha the Good said to them, “Remember and concentrate on the peacefulness and purity that come from following the Five Training Steps, so you may feel loving-kindness towards all. In this way, do not get angry at the unjust king, the lying head man, or the unfortunate elephants."

The first elephant was brought in by his mahout. But when he tried to force him to trample the innocent villagers, the elephant refused. He trumpeted as he went away. Amazingly, this was repeated with each of the king’s elephants. None would step on them.

The mahouts complained to the king that this was not their fault. “It must be," they said, “that these men have some drug that is confusing the elephants."

The king had the villagers searched, but they found nothing. Then his advisers said, “These men must be magicians who have cast an evil spell on your mighty elephants!"

The villagers were asked, “Do you have such a spell?" Magha the Good said, “Yes we do." This made the king very curious. So he himself asked Magha, “What is this spell and how does it work?"

Magha the Good replied, “My lord king, we do not cast the same kinds of spells that others cast. We cast the spell of loving-kindness with minds made pure by following the Five Training Steps."

“What are these Five Training Steps?" asked the king. Magha the Good said, “All of us have given up the five unwholesome actions, which are: destroying life, taking what is not given, doing wrong in sexual ways, speaking falsely, and losing one’s mind from alcohol."

“In this way we have become harmless, so that we can give the gift of fearlessness to all. Therefore, the elephants lost their fear of the mahouts, and did not wish to harm us. They departed, trumpeting triumphantly. This was our protection, which you have called a ‘spell’."

Finally seeing the wholesomeness and wisdom of these people, the king questioned them and learned the truth. He decided to confiscate all the property of the dishonest village head man and divide it among them.

The villagers were then free to do even more good works for the benefit of the whole village. Soon they began to build a big roadside inn, right next to the highway crossroads.

This was the biggest project they had yet undertaken. The men were confident because they had learned so well how to cooperate with each other for a common goal. But they had not yet learned how to cooperate in this work with the women of the village. They seemed to think it was ‘man’s work’.

By this time Magha the Good had four wives. Their names were Good-doer, Beauty, Happy and Well-born. Of these, the first wife, Good-doer, was the wisest. She wanted to pave the way for the women to benefit from cooperating in doing good work. So she gradually became friendly with the boss in charge of the roadside inn project.

Because she wanted to contribute by helping in a big way, she gave a present to the boss. She asked him, “Can you think of a way that I may become the most important contributor to this good work?"

The boss replied, “I know just such a way!" Then he secretly constructed the most important part of the building, the roof beam that would hold the roof together. He wrapped it up and hid it with Good-doer, so it could dry for the time necessary to become rigid and strong.

Meanwhile, the men of the village continued happily in the building project. At last they got to the point of installing the roof beam. They began to make one, but the boss interrupted them. He said, “My friends, we cannot use fresh green wood to make the roof beam. It will bend and sag. We must have an aged dry roof beam. Go find one!"

When they searched in the village, they found that Good-doer just happened to have a perfect roof beam. It was even the right size! When they asked if they could buy it from her, she said, “It is not for sale at any price. I wish to contribute the roof beam for free, but only if you let me participate in building the inn."

The men were afraid to change their successful ways. So they said, “Women have never been part of this project. This is impossible."

Then they returned to the construction boss and told him what had happened. He said, “Why do you keep the women away? Women are part of everything in this world. Let us be generous and share the harmony and wholesomeness of this work with the women. Then the project and our village will be even more successful."

So they accepted the roof beam from Good-doer, and she helped to finish the building of the inn. Then Beauty had a wonderful garden built next to the inn, which she donated. It had all kinds of flowers and fruit trees. So, too, Happy had a lovely pond dug, and planted beautiful lotuses in it. But Well-born, being the youngest and a little spoiled, did nothing for the inn.

In the evenings, Magha the Good held meetings in the roadside inn. He taught the people to assist their parents and elders, and to give up harsh words, accusing others behind their backs, and being stingy.

It is said that the lowest heaven world contains the gods of the four directions, North, East, South and West. Because he followed his own teachings, Magha the Good died with happiness in his heart. He was reborn as Sakka, king of the second lowest heaven world.

In time, the heads of all the other families of the village, as well as Good-doer, Beauty and Happy, also died. They were reborn as gods under King Sakka. This was known as the “Heaven of 33″.

The Heaven of 33 [Chapter 1. Co-operation]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/07/05/the-heaven-of-33-chapter-1-co-operation/

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