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

9. The King With One Grey Hair [Ordination]

9. The King With One Grey Hair [Ordination]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The King With One Grey Hair [Ordination]

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

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

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

2. Finding a New Spring [Perseverance]

Story 2

Finding a New Spring

 [Perseverance]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding a New Spring

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

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

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