32. The Dancing Peacock [Pride and Modesty]

32. The Dancing Peacock [Pride and Modesty]

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, the four-footed animals made the lion their king. There was a gigantic fish that roamed the oceans, and the fish made him their king. The birds were attracted to beauty, so they chose the Golden Swan as their king.

King Golden Swan had a beautiful golden daughter. While she was still young, he granted her one wish. She wished that, when she was old enough, she could pick her own husband.

When his daughter was old enough, King Golden Swan called all the birds living in the vast Himalayan Mountains of central Asia to a gathering. The purpose was to find a worthy husband for his golden daughter. Birds came from far away, even from high Tibet. There were geese, swans, eagles, sparrows, humming birds, cuckoos, owls and many other kinds of birds.

The gathering was held on a high rock slab, in the beautiful green land of Nepal. King Golden Swan told his lovely daughter to select whichever husband she wished.

She looked over the many birds. Her eye was attracted by a shining emerald-green long-necked peacock, with gorgeous flowing tail feathers. She told her father, “This bird, the peacock, will be my husband."

Hearing that he was the lucky one, all the other birds crowded around the peacock to congratulate him. They said, “Even among so many beautiful birds, the golden swan princess has chosen you. We congratulate you on your good fortune."

The peacock became so puffed up with pride, that he began to show off his colorful feathers in a fantastic strutting dance. He fanned out his spectacular tail feathers and danced in a circle to show off his beautiful tail. Being so conceited, he pointed his head at the sky and forgot all modesty, so that he also, showed his most private parts for all to see!

The other birds, especially the young ones, giggled. But King Golden Swan was not amused. He was embarrassed to see his daughter’s choice behave in this way. He thought, “This peacock has no inner shame to give him proper modesty. Nor does he have the outer fear to prevent indecent behavior. So why should my daughter be shamed by such a mindless mate?"

Standing in the midst of the great assembly of birds, the king said, “Sir peacock, your voice is sweet, your feathers are beautiful, your neck shines like an emerald, and your tail is like a splendid fan. But you have danced here like one who has no proper shame or fear. I will not permit my innocent daughter to marry such an ignorant fool!"

Then King Golden Swan married his golden daughter to a royal nephew. The silly strutting peacock flew away, having lost a beautiful wife.

The moral is: If you let pride go to your head, you’ll wind up acting like a fool.

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/08/23/32-the-dancing-peacock-pride-and-modesty/

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

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14. The Wind-deer and the Honey-grass [The Craving for Taste]

14. The Wind-deer and the Honey-gras [The Craving for Taste]

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

Once upon a time, the King of Benares had a gardener who looked after his pleasure garden. Animals sometimes came into the garden from the nearby forest. The gardener complained about this to the king, who said, “If you see any strange animal, tell me at once."

One day, he saw a strange kind of deer at the far end of the garden. When he saw the man, he ran like the wind. That is why they are called ‘wind-deer’. They are a rare breed, that are extremely timid. They are very easily frightened by human beings.

The gardener told the king about the wind-deer. He asked the gardener if he could catch the rare animal. He replied, “My lord, if you give me some bee’s honey, I could even bring him into the palace!" So the king ordered that he be given as much bee’s honey as he wanted.

This particular wind-deer loved to eat the flowers and fruits in the king’s pleasure garden. The gardener let himself be seen by him little by little, so he would be less frightened. Then he began to smear honey on the grass where the wind-deer usually came to eat. Sure enough, the deer began eating the honey-smeared grass. Soon he developed a craving for the taste of this ‘honey-grass’. The craving made him come to the garden every day. Before long, he would eat nothing else!

Little by little, the gardener came closer and closer to the wind-deer. At first, he would run away. But later, he lost his fear and came to think the man was harmless. As the gardener became more and more friendly, eventually he got the deer to eat the honey-grass right out of his hand. He continued doing this for some time, in order to build up his confidence and trust.

Meanwhile, the gardener had rows of curtains set up, making a wide pathway from the far end of the pleasure garden to the king’s palace. From inside this pathway, the curtains would keep the wind-deer from seeing any people that might scare him.

When all was prepared, the gardener took a bag of grass and a container of honey with him. Again he began hand-feeding the wind-deer when he appeared. Gradually, he led the wind-deer into the curtained-off pathway. Slowly, he continued to lead him with the honey-grass, until finally the deer followed him right into the palace. Once inside, the palace guards closed the doors, and the wind-deer was trapped. Seeing the people of the court, he suddenly became very frightened and began running around, madly trying to escape.

The king came down to the hall and saw the panic-stricken wind-deer. He said, “What a wind-deer! How could he have gotten into such a state? A wind-deer is an animal who will not return to a place where he has so much as seen a human, for seven full days. Ordinarily, if a wind-deer is at all frightened in a particular place, he will not return for the whole rest of his life! But look! Even such a shy wild creature can be enslaved by his craving for the taste of something sweet. Then he can be lured into the center of the city and even inside the palace itself.

“My friends, the teachers warn us not to be too attached to the place we live, for all things pass away. They say that being too attached to a small circle of friends is confining and restricts a broad outlook. But see how much more dangerous is the simple craving for a sweet flavour, or any other taste sensation. See how this beautiful shy animal was trapped by my gardener, by taking advantage of his craving for taste."

Not wishing to harm the gentle wind-deer, the king had him released into the forest. He never returned to the royal pleasure garden, and he never missed the taste of honey-grass.

The moral is: “It is better to eat to live, than to live to eat."

14. The Wind-deer and the Honey-gras [The Craving for Taste]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/01/17/14-the-wind-deer-and-the-honey-grass-the-craving-for-taste/

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

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13. Mountain Buck and Village Doe [Infatuation]

13. Mountain Buck and Village Doe [Infatuation]

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

Once upon a time, in northern India, there was a herd of village deer. They were used to being near villages; they were born there and grew up there. They knew they had to be very careful around people. This was especially true at harvest time, when the crops were tall, and the farmers trapped and killed any deer who came near.

At harvest time, the village deer stayed in the forest all day long. They only came near the village during the dark of the night. One of these was a beautiful young doe. She had soft reddish-brown fur, a fluffy white tail and big wide bright eyes.

During this particular season, there was a young mountain buck who had strayed into the same low forest. One day, he saw the beautiful young doe, and immediately became infatuated with her. He didn’t know anything about her. But he imagined himself to be deeply in love with her, just because of her reddish-brown fur and her fluffy white tail and her big wide bright eyes. He even dreamed about her, although she did not know he existed!

After a few days, the young mountain buck decided to introduce himself. As he was walking out into the clearing where she was grazing, he was entranced by her appearance and could not take his eyes off her. He began speaking: “Oh my sweet beauty, as lovely as the stars and as bright as the moon, I confess to you that I am deeply" — Just then the young buck’s hoof got caught in a root, he tripped and fell, and his face splashed in a mud puddle! The pretty village doe was flattered, so she smiled. But inside, she thought this mountain buck was really rather silly!

Meanwhile, unknown to the deer, there was a clan of tree fairies living in that part of the forest. They had been watching the mountain buck, while he secretly watched the village doe. When he walked out into the clearing, began his speech, and fell in the mud puddle – the fairies laughed and laughed. “What fools these dumb animals are!" they cried. But one fairy did not laugh. He said,"I fear this is a warning of danger to this young fool!"

The young buck was a little embarrassed, but he did not see it as any kind of warning. From then on, he followed the doe wherever she went. He kept telling her how beautiful she was and how much he loved her. She didn’t pay much attention.

Then night came, and it was time for the doe to go down to the village. The people who lived along the way knew the deer passed by at night. So they set traps to catch them. That night a hunter waited, hiding behind a bush.

Carefully, the village doe set out. The mountain buck, who was still singing her praises, went right along with her. She stopped and said to him, “My dear buck, you are not experienced with being around villages. You don’t know how dangerous human beings are. The village, and the way to it, can bring death to a deer even at night. Since you are so young and inexperienced (and she thought to herself, ‘and foolish’), you should not come down to the village with me. You should remain in the safety of the forest."

At this, the tree fairies applauded. But of course, the deer could not hear them.

The young buck paid no attention to the doe’s warning. He just said, “Your eyes look so lovely in the moonlight!" and kept walking with her. She said, “If you won’t listen to me, at least be quiet!" He was so infatuated with her, that he could not control his mind. But he did finally shut his mouth!

After a while, they approached the place where the hunter was hiding behind a bush. The fairies saw him, and became agitated and frightened for the deer’s safety. They flew nervously around the tree, branches, but they could only watch.

The doe could smell the hiding man. She was afraid of a trap. So, thinking to save her own life, she let the buck go first. She followed a little way behind.

When the hunter saw the unsuspecting mountain buck, he shot his arrow and killed him instantly. Seeing this, the terrified doe turned tail and ran back to the forest clearing as fast as she could.

The hunter claimed his kill. He started a fire, skinned the deer, cooked some of the venison and ate his fill. Then he threw the carcass over his shoulder and carried it back home to feed his family.

When the fairies saw what happened, some of them cried. As they watched the hunter cut up the once noble looking buck, some of them felt sick. Others blamed the careful doe for leading him to the slaughter.

But the wise fairy, who had given the first warning, said, “It was the excitement of infatuation that killed this foolish deer. Such blind desire brings false happiness at first, but ends in pain and suffering."

The moral is: Infatuation leads to destruction.

13. Mountain Buck and Village Doe [Infatuation]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/01/11/13-mountain-buck-and-village-doe-infatuation/

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

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12. King Banyan Deer [Chapter 2. Teaching]

12. King Banyan Deer [Chapter 2. Teaching]

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

Out of compassion and gratitude, King Banyan Deer the Enlightenment Being, taught the King of Benares. He advised him to climb the five steps of training, in order to purify his mind. He described them by saying, “It will benefit you, if you give up the five unwholesome actions. These are:

  • Destroying life, for this is not compassion;
  • Taking what is not given, for this is not generosity;
  • Doing wrong in sexual ways, for this is not loving-kindness;
  • Speaking falsely, for this is not Truth;
  • Losing your mind from alcohol, for this leads to falling down the first four steps."

He further advised him to do wholesome actions, that would bring happiness in this life and beyond. Then King Banyan Deer, and both herds, returned to the forest.

In the fullness of time, the pregnant doe, who had stayed with Banyan’s herd, gave birth to a fawn. He was as beautiful as a lotus blossom given as an offering to the gods.

When the fawn had grown into a young buck deer, he began playing with Branch Deer’s herd. Seeing this, his mother said to him, “Better to die after a short life with the great compassionate one, than to live a long life with an ordinary one." Afterwards, her son lived happily in the herd of King Banyan Deer.

The only ones left unhappy were the farmers and villagers of the kingdom. For, given total immunity by the king, the deer began to fearlessly eat the people’s crops. They even grazed in the vegetable gardens inside the villages and the city of Benares itself!

So the people complained to the king, and asked permission to kill at least some of the deer as a warning. But the king said, “I myself promised complete immunity to King Banyan Deer. I would give up the kingship before I would break my word to him. No one may harm a deer!"

When King Banyan Deer heard of this, he said to all the deer, “You should not eat the crops that belong to others." And he sent a message to the people. Instead of making fences, he asked them to tie up bunches of leaves as boundaries around their fields. This began the Indian custom of marking fields with tied up leaves, which have protected them from deer to this very day.

Both King Banyan Deer and the King of Benares lived out their lives in peace, died, and were reborn as they deserved.

The moral is: Wherever it is found, compassion is a sign of greatness.

12. King Banyan Deer [Chapter 2. Teaching]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/01/03/12-king-banyan-deer-chapter-2-teaching/

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

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12. King Banyan Deer [Chapter 1. Compassion]

12. King Banyan Deer [Chapter 1. Compassion]

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

Once upon a time, an unusual and beautiful deer was born in the forests near Benares, in northern India. Although he was as big as a young colt, it was easy for his mother to give birth to him. When he opened his eyes, they were as bright as sparkling jewels. His mouth was as red as the reddest forest berries. His hoofs were as black as polished coal. His little horns glistened like silver. And his color was golden, like a perfect summer’s dawn. As he grew up, a herd of 500 deer gathered around him, and he became known as King Banyan Deer.

Meanwhile, not far away, another beautiful buck deer was born, just as splendidly golden in color. In time, a separate herd of 500 deer came to follow him, and he was known as Branch Deer.

The King of Benares, at that time, was very fond of eating venison. So he regularly hunted and killed deer. Each time he hunted, he went to a different village and ordered the people to serve him. They had to stop what they were doing, whether plowing or harvesting or whatever, and work in the king’s hunting party.

The people’s lives were upset by these interruptions. They grew fewer crops, and other businesses also had less income. So they came together and decided to build a large deer park for the king, at Benares. There he could hunt by himself, with no need to command the services of the villagers.

So the people built a deer park. They made ponds where the deer could drink, and added trees and grasses for them to eat from. When it was ready, they opened the gate and went out into the nearby forests. They surrounded the entire herds of Banyan and Branch deer. Then, with sticks and weapons and noise makers, they drove them all into the deer park trap, and locked the gate behind them.

After the deer had settled down, the people went to the king and said, “Our crops and income have suffered because of your hunting requirements. Now we have made you a pleasant safe deer park, where you can hunt by yourself as you like. With no need of our aid, you can enjoy both the hunting and the eating of deer."

The king went to the new deer park. There he was pleased to see the vast herds. While watching them, his eye was caught by the two magnificent golden deer, with large fully grown antlers. Because he admired their unusual beauty, the king granted immunity to these two alone. He ordered that they should be completely safe. No one could harm or kill them.

Once a day the king would come and kill a deer for his dinner table. Sometimes, when he was too busy, the royal cook would do this. The body would then be brought to the chopping block to be butchered for the oven.

Whenever the deer saw the bow and arrows, they went into a panic, trembling for their lives. They ran around wildly, some being injured and some wounded, many suffering great pain.

One day, King Banyan Deer’s herd gathered around him. He called Branch Deer, and the two herds joined for a meeting. King Banyan Deer addressed them. “Although in the end, there is no escape from death, this needless suffering due to injuries and wounds can be prevented. Since the king only wishes the meat of one deer per day, let one be chosen by us each day to submit himself to the chopping block. One day from my herd, and the next day from Branch Deer’s herd, the victim’s lot will fall to one deer at a time."

Branch Deer agreed. From then on, the one whose turn it was, meekly surrendered himself and laid his neck on the block. The cook came each day, simply killed the waiting victim, and prepared the king’s venison.

One day, the turn fell by chance to a pregnant doe in Branch Deer’s herd. Caring for the others as well as herself and the unborn one, she went to Branch Deer and said, “My lord, I am pregnant. Grant that I may live until I have delivered my fawn. Then we will fill two turns rather than just one. This will save a turn, and thereby a single life for one long day."

Branch Deer replied, “No, no, I cannot change the rules in midstream and put your turn upon another. The pregnancy is yours, the babe is your responsibility. Now leave me."

Having failed with Branch Deer, the poor mother doe went to King Banyan Deer and explained her plight. He replied gently, “Go in peace. I will change the rules in midstream and put your turn upon another."

And the deer king went to the executioner’s block, and laid down his own golden neck upon it.

A silence fell in the deer park. And some who tell this story even say that silence also fell in other worlds not seen from here.

Soon the royal cook came to kill the willing victim on the block. But when he saw it was one of the two golden deer the king had ordered spared, he was afraid to kill him. So he went and told the King of Benares.

The king was surprised, so he went to the park. He said to the golden deer, still lying on the block, “Oh king of deer, did I not promise to spare your life? What is the reason you come here like the others?"

King Banyan Deer replied, “Oh king of men, this time a pregnant doe was unlucky enough to be the one to die. She pleaded for me to spare her, for the sake of others as well as her unborn baby and herself. I could not help but feel myself in her place, and feel her suffering. I could not help but weep, to think the little one would never see the dawn, would never taste the dew. And yet, I could not force the pain of death on another, relieved to think it was not his turn today. So, mighty king, I offer my life for the sake of the doe and her unborn fawn. Be assured there is no other reason."

The King of Benares was overwhelmed. Powerful as he was, a tear rolled down his cheek. Then he said, “Oh great lord, the golden king of deer, even among human beings, I have not seen any such as you! Such great compassion, to share in the suffering of others! Such great generosity, to give your life for others! Such great kindness and tender love for all your fellow deer! Arise."

“I decree that you will never be killed by me or anyone else in my kingdom. And, so too, the doe and her babe."

Without yet raising his head, the golden one said, “Are only we to be saved? What of the other deer in the park, our friends and kin?" The king said, “My lord, I cannot refuse you, I grant safety and freedom to all the deer in the park." “And what of the deer outside the park, will they be killed?" asked Banyan. “No my lord, I spare all the deer in my whole kingdom."

Still the golden deer did not raise up his head. He pleaded, “So the deer will be safe, but what will the other four-footed animals do?" “My lord, from now on they too are safe in my land." “And what of the birds? They too want to live." “Yes, my lord, the birds too will be safe from death at the hands of men." “And what of the fish, who live in the water?" “Even the fish will be free to live, my lord." So saying, the King of Benares granted immunity from hunting and killing to all the animals in his land.

Having pleaded for the lives of all creatures, the Great Being arose.

12. King Banyan Deer [Chapter 1. Compassion]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/01/03/12-king-banyan-deer-chapter-1-compassion/

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

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

11. Beauty and Grey [A Wise Leader]

11. Beauty and Grey [A Wise Leader]

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

Once upon a time, there was a deer who was the leader of a herd of a thousand. He had two sons. One was very slim and tall, with bright alert eyes, and smooth reddish fur. He was called Beauty. The other was Grey in color, also slim and tall, and was called Grey.

One day, after they were fully grown, their father called Beauty and Grey to him. He said, “I am now very old, so I cannot do all that is necessary to look after this big herd of deer. I want you, my two grown-up children, to be the leaders, while I retire from looking after them all the time. We will divide the herd, and each of you will lead 500 deer." So it was done.

In India, when the harvest time comes, the deer are always in danger. The rice is at its tallest, and the deer cannot help but go into the paddies and eat it. To avoid the destruction of their crops, the human beings dig pits, set sharp stakes in the ground, and build stone traps — all to capture and kill the deer.

Knowing this was the season, the wise old deer called the two new leaders to him. He advised them to take the herds up into the mountain forest, far from the dangerous farm lands. This was how he had always saved the deer from being wounded or killed. Then he would bring them back to the low lands after the harvest was over.

Since he was too old and weak for the trip, he would remain behind in hiding. He warned them to be careful and have a safe journey. Beauty set out with his herd for the mountain forest, and so did Grey with his.

The villagers all along the way knew that this was the time the deer moved from the low lying farm lands to the high countryside. So they hid along the way and killed the deer as they passed by.

Grey did not pay attention to his father’s wise advice. Instead of being careful and traveling safely, he was in a hurry to get to the lush mountain forest. So he moved his herd constantly, during the night, at dawn and dusk, and even in broad daylight. This made it easy for the people to shoot the deer in Grey’s herd with bows and arrows. Many were killed, and many were wounded, only to die in pain later on. Grey reached the forest with only a few deer remaining alive.

The tall sleek red-furred Beauty was wise enough to understand the danger to his moving herd. So he was very careful. He knew it was safer to stay away from the villages, and from all humans. He knew it was not safe in the daytime, or even at dawn or dusk. So he led his herd wide around the villages, and moved only in the middle of the night. Beauty’s herd arrived in the mountain forest safe and sound, with no one killed or injured.

The two herds found each other, and remained in the mountains until well after the harvest season was over. Then they began the return to the farmland country.

Grey had learned nothing from the first trip. As it was getting cold in the mountains, he was in a hurry to get to the warmer low lands. So he was just as careless as before. Again the people hid along the way and attacked and killed the deer. All Grey’s herd were killed, later to be eaten or sold by the villagers. Grey himself was the only one who survived the journey.

Beauty led his herd in the same careful way as before. He brought back all 500 deer, completely safe. While the deer were still in the distance, the old chief said to his doe, “Look at the deer coming back to us. Beauty has all his followers with him. Grey comes limping back alone, without his whole herd of 500. Those who follow a wise leader, with good qualities, will always be safe. Those who follow a foolish leader, who is careless and thinks only of himself, will fall into troubles and be destroyed."

After some time, the old deer died and was reborn as he deserved. Beauty became chief of the herd and lived a long life, loved and admired by all.

The moral is: A wise leader puts the safety of his followers first.

11. Beauty and Grey [A Wise Leader]

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/12/25/11-beauty-and-grey-a-wise-leader/

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

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10. The Happy Monk [Joys of the Spiritual Life]

10. The Happy Monk [Joys of the Spiritual Life]

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

Once upon a time, there was a high class rich man. As he became older, he realized that the suffering of old age was about the same for rich and poor alike. So he gave up his wealth and class position, and went into the forest to live as a poor monk. He practiced meditation, and developed his mind. He freed himself from unwholesome thoughts, and became contented and happy. His peacefulness and friendliness gradually drew 500 followers to his side.

At that time, long ago, most monks usually looked pretty serious. But there was one monk who, even though he was quite dignified, always wore at least a little smile. No matter what happened, he never lost this glimmer of inner happiness. And on happy occasions, he had the broadest smile, and the warmest laughter of all.

Sometimes monks, as well as others, would ask him why he was so happy that he always wore a smile. He chuckled and said, “If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me! And if you thought I spoke a lie, it would be a dishonor to my master." The wise old master knew the source of the happiness that could not be wiped from his face. He made this happiest monk his number one assistant.

One year, after the rainy season, the old monk and his 500 followers went to the city. The king permitted them to live in his pleasure garden for the springtime.

This king was a good man, who took his responsibilities as ruler seriously. He tried to protect the people from danger, and to increase their prosperity and welfare. He always had to worry about neighbouring kings, some of whom were unfriendly and threatening. He often had to make peace between his own rival ministers of state.

Sometimes his wives fought for his attention, and for the advancement of their sons. Occasionally, a dissatisfied subject even threatened the life of the king himself! And, of course, he had to worry constantly about the finances of the kingdom. In fact, he had so much to worry about, that he never had time to be happy!

As summer approached, he learned that the monks were preparing to return to the forest. Considering the health and welfare of the old leader, the king went to him and said, “Your reverence, you are now very old and weak. What good does it do to go back to the forest? You can send your followers back, while you remain here."

The chief monk then called his number one assistant to him and said, “You are now to be the leader of the other monks, while you all live in the forest. As I am too old and weak. I will remain here as offered by the king." So the 500 returned to the forest and the old one remained.

The number one assistant continued practicing meditation in the forest. He gained so much wisdom and peace that he became even happier than before. He missed the master, and wanted to share his happiness with him. So he returned to the city for a visit.

When he arrived, he sat on a rug at the feet of the old monk. They didn’t speak very much, but every so often the number one assistant would say, “What happiness! Oh what happiness!"

Then the king came to visit. He paid his respects to the chief monk. However, the one from the forest just kept saying, “What happiness! Oh what happiness!" He did not even stop to greet the king and show proper respect. This disturbed him, and he thought, “With all my worries, as busy as I am looking after the kingdom, I take time out for a visit and this monk does not respect me enough to even recognize me. “How insulting!" He said to the senior of the two monks, “Venerable sir, this monk must be stupid from overeating. That must be why he is so full of happiness. Does he lie around here so lazy all the time?"

The head monk replied, “Oh king, have patience and I will tell you the source of his happiness. Not many know it. He was once a king, just as rich and mighty as you! Then he was ordained a monk and gave up his kingly life. Now he thinks his old happiness was nothing compared to his present joy!"

He used to be surrounded by armed men, who guarded and protected him. Now, sitting alone in the forest with nothing to fear, he has no need for armed guards. He has given up the burden of worrying about wealth that has to be protected. Instead, free of the worry of wealth and the fear of power, his wisdom protects himself and others. He advances in meditation to such inner peace, that he cannot keep from saying, “What happiness! Oh what happiness!"

The king understood at once. Hearing the story of the happy monk made him feel at peace. He stayed for a while and received advice from both of them. Then he honoured them, and returned to the palace.

Later the happy monk, who once had been a king, paid his respects to his master and returned to the lovely forest. The old chief monk lived out the remainder of his life, died, and was reborn in a high heaven world.

The moral is: Unattached to wealth and power, happiness increases.

10. The Happy Monk [Joys of the Spiritual Life]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/12/21/10-the-happy-monk-joys-of-the-spiritual-life/

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

#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