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

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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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5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

Story 5

5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

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

5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

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

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

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3. The Golden Plate

Story 3

The Golden Plate

 [Greed and Honesty]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Plate  [Greed and Honesty]

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

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

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

Story 1

Demons in the Desert 

[The Correct Way of Thinking]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Storyteller to the Listeners

from the storyteller to the listeners

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

When you read or listen to these very old stories, if you wonder how much is really true, the Buddha gave some advice that might help. He said that when you listen to what a monk says you should test the meaning, weigh or consider it, and depend on your own insights to know the truth of it. Then follow and practice what you know to be true.

Let us praise

the Exalted, Worthy, Fully Self-Enlightened One

 and follow the Truth.

from the storyteller to the listeners

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/09/12/from-the-storyteller-to-the-listeners/

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