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

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

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

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.

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

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2023/01/17/the-magic-priest-and-the-kidnapper-gang-power-and-greed/

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

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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/

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

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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]

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/12/12/44-45-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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/10/31/41-the-curse-of-mittavinda-chapter-2-greed/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

______________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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36. Wise Birds and Foolish Birds [Good Advice]

36. Wise Birds and Foolish Birds [Good Advice]

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

Once upon a time, there was a giant tree in the forest. Many many birds lived in this tree. And the wisest of them was their leader.

One day the leader bird saw two branches rubbing against each other. They were making wood powder come falling down. Then he noticed a tiny wisp of smoke rising from the rubbing branches. He thought, “There is no doubt a fire is starting that may burn down the whole forest."

Lo and behold, in a little while the wise leader’s warning came true. The rubbing branches made sparks that fell in the dry leaves under the tree. Those sparks became flames that grew and grew. Soon the giant tree itself caught fire. The foolish birds who still lived there were blinded and choked by the smoke. Many, who could not escape, were trapped and burned to death.

So the wise old leader called a meeting of all the birds living in the great tree. He told them, “My dear friends, the tree we are living in is beginning to make a fire. This fire may destroy the whole forest. Therefore it is dangerous to stay here. Let us leave this forest at once!"

The wise birds agreed to follow his advice. So they flew away to another forest in a different land. But the birds who were not so wise said, “That old leader panics so easily. He imagines crocodiles in a drop of water! Why should we leave our comfortable homes that have always been safe? Let the scared ones go. We will be brave and trust in our trees!"

The moral is: Those who ignore the advice of the wise, do so at their own risk.

Wise Birds and Foolish Birds [Good Advice]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/09/20/wise-birds-and-foolish-birds-good-advice/

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

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