The Fables Of Buddha

Post sayings or stories from Buddhist traditions which you find interesting, inspiring or useful. (Your own stories are welcome on DW, but in the Creative Writing or Personal Experience forums rather than here.)
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The Fables Of Buddha 37.

Post by antropolis » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:06 pm

Once there was a king who loved his people and his country and ruled them with wisdom and kindness and, because of it his country was prosperous and peaceful. He was always seeking for greater wisdom and enlightenment; he even offered rewards to anyone who could lead him to worthy teachings.

His devotion and wisdom finally came to the attention of the gods, but they determined to test him. A god in disguise as a demon appeared before the gates of the king's palace and asked to be brought before the king as he had a holy teaching for him.

The king who was pleased to hear the message courteously received him and asked for instruction. The demon took on a dreadful form and demanded food, saying that he could not teach until he had the food he liked. Choice food was offered the demon, but he insisted that he must have warm human flesh and blood. The crown-prince gave his body and the queen also gave her body, but still the demon was unsatisfied and so demanded the body of the king.

The king expressed his willingness to give his body, but asked that he might first hear the teaching before he would offer his body.

The god uttered the following wise teaching: "Misery rises from lust and fear rises from lust. Those who remove lust have no misery or fear." Suddenly the god resumed his true form and the prince and the queen also reappeared in their original bodies.

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The Fables Of Buddha 38.

Post by antropolis » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:58 pm

Once there was a person who sought the True Path in the Himalayas. He cared nothing for all the treasures of the earth or even for all the delights of heaven, but he sought the teaching that would remove all mental delusions.

The gods were impressed by the man's earnestness and sincerity and decided to test his mind. So one of the gods disguised himself as a demon and appeared in the Himalayas, singing: "Everything changes, everything appears and disappears."

The seeker heard this song which pleased him very much. He was as delighted as if he had found a spring of cool water for his thirst or as if a slave had been unexpectedly set free. He said to himself, "At last I have found the true teaching that I have sought for so long." He followed the voice and at last came upon the frightful demon. With an uneasy mind he approached the demon and said: "Was it you who sang the holy song that I have just heard? If it was you, please sing more of it."

The demon replied: "Yes, it was my song, but I can not sing more of it until I have had something to eat; I am starving."

The man begged him very earnestly to sing more of it, saying: "It has a sacred meaning to me and I have sought its teaching for a long time. I have only heard a part of it; please let me hear more."

The demon said again: "I am starving, but if I can taste the warm flesh and blood of a man, I will finish the song."

The man, in his eagerness to hear the teaching, promised the demon that he could have his body after he had heard the teaching. Then the demon sang the complete song.

Everything changes,
Everything appears and disappears,
There is perfect tranquility
When one transcends both life and extinction.

Hearing this, the man, after he wrote the poem on rocks and trees around, quietly climbed a tree and hurled himself to the feet of the demon, but the demon had disappeared and, instead, a radiant god received the body of the man unharmed.

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The Fables Of Buddha 39.

Post by antropolis » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:03 am

Once upon a time there was an earnest seeker of the true path named Sadaprarudita. He cast aside every temptation for profit or honor and sought the path at the risk of his life. One day a voice from heaven came to him, saying, "Sadaprarudita! Go straight toward the east. Do not think of either heat or cold, pay no attention to worldly praise or scorn, do not be bothered by discriminations of good or evil, but just keep on going east. In the far east you will find a true teacher and will gain Enlightenment."

Sadaprarudita was very pleased to get this definite instruction and immediately started on his journey eastward. Sometimes he slept where night found him in a lonely field or in the wild mountains.

Being a stranger in foreign lands, he suffering many humiliations; once he sold himself into slavery, selling his own flesh out of hunger, but at last he found the true teacher and asked for his instruction.

There is a saying, "Good things are costly," and Sadaprarudita found it true in his case, for he had many difficulties on his journey in search of the path. He had no money to buy some flowers and incense to offer the teacher. He tried to sell his services but could find no one to hire him. There seemed to be an evil spirit hindering him every way he turned. The path to Enlightenment is a hard one and it may cost a man his life.

At last Sadaprarudita reached the presence of the teacher himself and then he had a new difficulty. He had no paper on which to take notes and no brush or ink to write with. Then he pricked his wrist with a dagger and took notes in his own blood. In this way he secured the precious Truth.

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The Fables Of Buddha 40.

Post by antropolis » Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:50 am

Once there was a boy named Sudhana who also wished for Enlightenment and earnestly sought the way. From a fisherman he learned the lore of the sea. From a doctor he learned compassion toward sick people in their suffering. From a wealthy man he learned that saving pennies was the secret of his fortune and thought how necessary it was to conserve every trifling gained on the path to Enlightenment.

From a meditating monk he learned that the pure and peaceful mind had a miraculous power to purify and tranquilize other minds. Once he met a woman of exceptional personality and was impressed by her benevolent spirit, and from her he learned a lesson that charity was the fruit of wisdom. Once he met an aged wanderer who told him that to reach a certain place he had to scale a mountain of swords and pass through a valley of fire. Thus Sudhana learned from his experiences that there was true teaching to be gained from everything he saw or heard.

He learned patience from a poor, crippled woman; he learned a lesson of simple happiness from watching children playing in the streets; and from some gentle and humble people, who never thought of wanting anything that anybody else wanted, he learned the secret of being at peace with all the world.

He learned a lesson of harmony from watching the blending of the elements of incense, and a lesson of thanksgiving from the arrangement of flowers. One day, passing through a forest, he took a rest under a noble tree and noticed a tiny seedling growing near by out of a fallen and decaying tree and it taught him a lesson of the uncertainty of life.

Sunlight by day and the twinkling stars by night constantly refreshed his spirit. Thus Sudhana profited by the experiences of his long journey.

Indeed, those who seek for Enlightenment must think of their minds as castles and decorate them. They must open wide the gates of their minds for Buddha, and respectfully and humbly invite Him to enter the inmost chamber, there to offer Him the fragrant incense of faith and the flowers of gratitude and gladness.

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The Fables Of Buddha 41.

Post by antropolis » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:14 am

Once there was a prince named Sattva. One day he and his two elder brothers want to a forest to play. There they saw a famished tigress which was evidently tempted to devour her own seven cubs to satisfy her hunger.

The elder brothers ran way in fear but Sattva climbed up a cliff and threw himself over it to the tigress in order to save the lives of the baby tigers.

Prince Sattva did this charitable act spontaneously but within his mind he was thinking: "This body is changing and impermanent; I have loved this body with no thought of throwing it away, but now I make it an offering to this tigress so that I may gain Enlightenment." This thought of Prince Sattva shows the true determination to gain Enlightenment.

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The Fables Of Buddha 42.

Post by antropolis » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:44 am

There was a young man named Srona who was born in a wealthy family but was of delicate health. He was very earnest to gain Enlightenment and became a disciple of the Blessed One. On the path to Enlightenment, he tried so hard that finally his feet bled.

The Blessed One pitied him and said, "Srona my boy, did you ever study the harp at your home? You know that a harp does not make music if the strings are stretched too tight or too loose. It makes music only when the strings are stretched just right.

"The training for Enlightenment is just like adjusting the harp strings. You can not attain Enlightenment if you stretch the strings of your mind too loosely or too tightly. You must be considerate and act wisely."

Srona found these words very profitable and finally gained what he sought.

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The Fables Of Buddha 43.

Post by antropolis » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:45 am

Once there was a prince who was skillful in the use of the five weapons. One day he was returning home from his practice and met a monster whose skin was invulnerable.

The monster started for him but nothing daunted the prince. He shot an arrow at him which fell harmless. Then he threw his spear which failed to penetrate the thick skin. Then he threw a bar and a javelin but they failed to hurt the monster. Then he used his sword but the sword broke. The prince attacked the monster with his fists and feet but to no purpose, for the monster clutched him in his giant arms and held him fast. Then the prince tried to use his head as a weapon but in vain.

The monster said, "It is useless for you to resist; I am going to devour you." But the prince answered, "You may think that I have used all my weapons and am helpless, but I still have one weapon left. If you devour me, I will destroy you from the inside of your stomach."

The courage of the prince disturbed the monster and he asked, "How can you do that?" The prince replied, "By the power of Truth."

Then the monster released him and begged for his instruction in the Truth.

The teaching of this fable is to encourage disciples to persevere in their efforts and to be undaunted in the face of many set backs.

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The Fables Of Buddha 44.

Post by antropolis » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:46 am

In training for Enlightenment, some my succeed quicker than others. Therefore, one should not be discouraged to see others becoming enlightened first.

When a man is practicing archery, he does not expect quick success but knows that if he practices patiently, he will become more and more accurate. A river begins as a brook but grows ever larger until it flows into the great ocean.

Like these examples, if a man trains with patience and perseverance, he will surely gain Enlightenment.

As already explained, if one keeps his eyes open, he will see the teaching everywhere, and so his opportunities for Enlightenment are endless.

Once there was a man who was burning incense. He noticed that the fragrance was neither coming nor going; it neither appeared nor disappeared. This trifle incident led him to gain Enlightenment.

Once there was a man who got a thorn stuck in his foot. He felt the sharp pain and a thought came to him, that pain was only a reaction of the mind. From this incident a deeper thought followed that the mind may get out of hand if one fails to control it, or it may become pure if one succeeds. From these thoughts, a little later, Enlightenment came to him.

There was another man who was very avaricious. One day he was thinking of his greedy mind when he realized that greedy thoughts were but shavings and kindlings that wisdom could burn and consume. That was the beginning of his Enlightenment.

There is an old saying: "Keep your mind level. If the mind is level, the whole world will be level." Consider these words. Realize that all the distinctions of the world are caused by the discriminating views of the mind. There is a path to Enlightenment in those very words. Indeed, the ways to Enlightenment are unlimited.

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The Fables Of Buddha 45.

Post by antropolis » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:03 am

Once there was a man of deep faith. His father died when he was young; he lived happily with his mother, and then he took a wife.

At first, they lived happily together and then, because of a small misunderstanding, the wife and her mother-in-law came to dislike each other. This dislike grew until finally the mother left the young couple to live by herself.

After the mother-in-law left, a song was born to the young couple. A rumor reached the mother-in-law that the young wife had said, "My mother-in-law was always annoying me and as long as she lived with us nothing pleasant ever happened; but as soon as she went we had this happy event."

This rumor angered the mother-in-law who exclaimed, "If the husband's mother is chased away from the house and a happy event takes place, then things have come to a pretty pass. Righteousness must have disappeared from the world."

Then the mother shouted, "Now, we must have a funeral of this 'righteousness'." Like a mad woman she went to the cemetery to hold a funeral service.

A god, hearing of this incident, appeared in front of the woman and tried to reason with her, but in vain.

The god then said to her, "If so, I must burn the child and his mother to death. Will that satisfy you?"

Hearing this, the mother-in-law realized her mistake, apologized for her anger, and begged the god to save the lives of the child and his mother. At the same time, the young wife and her husband realized their injustice to the old woman and went to the cemetery to seek her. The god reconciled them and thereafter they lived together as a happy family.

Righteousness is never lost forever unless one casts it away oneself. Righteousness occasionally may seem to disappear but, in fact, it never disappears. When it seems to be disappearing, it is because one is losing the righteousness of one's own mind.

Discordant minds often bring disaster. A trifling misunderstanding may be followed by great misfortune. This is especially to be guarded against in family life.

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The Fables Of Buddha 46.

Post by antropolis » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:05 am

When Syamavati, the queen-consort of King Udayana, offered Ananda five hundred garments, Ananda received them with great satisfaction.

The King, hearing of it, suspected Ananda of dishonesty, so he went to Ananda and asked what he was going to do with these five hundred garments.

Ananda replied: "Oh, King, many of the brothers are in rags; I am going to distribute the garments among the brothers."

"What will you do with the old garments?"

"We will make bed-covers out of them."

"What will you do with the old bed-covers?

"We will make pillow-cases."

"What will you do with the old pillow-cases?"

"We will make floor-covers out of them."

"What will you do with the old floor-covers?"

"We will use them for foot-towels."

"What will you do with the old foot-towels?"

"We will use them for floor-mops."

"What will you do with the old mops?"

"Your Highness, we will tear them into pieces, mix them with mud and use the mud to plaster the housewalls."

Every article entrusted to them must be used with good care in some useful way, because it is not "ours" but is only entrusted to them temporarily.

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The Fables Of Buddha 47.

Post by antropolis » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:06 am

The relation of husband and wife was not designed merely for their convenience. It has a deeper significance than the mere association of two physical bodies in one house. Husband and wife should take advantage of the intimacies of their association to help each other in training their minds in the holy teaching.

An old couple, an "ideal couple" as they were called, once came to Buddha and said, "Lord, we were married after we had been acquainted in childhood and there has never been a cloud in our happiness. Please tell us if we can be remarried in the next life."

The Buddha gave them this wise answer:--"If you both have exactly the same faith, if you both received the teaching in exactly the same way, if you perform charity in the same way and if you have the same wisdom, then you will have the same mind in the next birth."

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The Fables Of Buddha 48.

Post by antropolis » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:07 am

Amrapali was a wealthy and famous courtesan of Vaisali and kept many young and beautiful prostitutes with her. She called upon the Blessed One and asked Him to give her some good teaching.

The Blessed One said, "Amrapali, the mind of a woman is easily disturbed and misled. She yields to her desires and surrenders to jealousy more easily than a man.

"Therefore, it is more difficult for a woman to follow the Noble Path. This is especially true for a young and beautiful woman. You must step forth toward the Noble Path by overcoming lust and temptation.

"Amrapali, you must remember that youth and beauty do not last but are followed by sickness, old age and suffering. Desires for wealth and love are women's besetting temptations, but, Amrapali, they are not the eternal treasures. Enlightenment is the only treasure that maintains its value. Strength is followed by illness; youth must yield to old age; life gives way to death. One may have to go away from a loved one to live with a hatred one; one may not obtain what one wishes for very long. This is the law of life.

"The only thing that protects and brings one to lasting peace is Enlightenment. Amrapali, you should seek Enlightenment at once."

She listened to Him, became His disciple and, as an offering, donated to the Brotherhood her beautiful garden park.

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The Fables Of Buddha 49.

Post by antropolis » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:11 am

Once there was a King who was notably successful in ruling his kingdom. Because of his wisdom he was called King Great-Light. He explained the principles of his administration as follows:

The best way for a ruler to reign over his country is first of all rule himself. A ruler should come before his people with a heart of compassion, and should teach and lead them to remove all impurities from their minds. The happiness that comes from good teachings far exceeds any enjoyment that the material things of the world can offer. Therefore, he could give his people good teaching and keep their minds and bodies tranquil.

When poor people come to him he should open his store-house and let them take what they want, and then he will take advantage of the opportunity to teach them the wisdom of ridding themselves of all greed and evil.

Each man has a different view of things according to the state of his mind. Some people see the city where they live as fine and beautiful, others see it as dirty and dilapidated, It all depends on the state of their minds.

Those who hold good teachings in respect, can see in common trees and stones all the beautiful lights and colors of lapis lazuli, while greedy people, who do not know enough to control their own minds, are blind even to the splendors of a golden palace.

Everything in the nation's daily life is like that. The mind is the source of everything, and, therefore, the ruler should first seek to have his people train their minds.

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The Fables Of Buddha 50.

Post by antropolis » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:12 am

Once there was a king named Calamity, whose country was conquered by a neighboring warlike king named Brahmadatta. King Calamity, after hiding with his wife and son for a time, was captured but fortunately his son, the prince, could escape.

The prince tried to find some way of saving his father in vain. On the day of his father's execution, the prince in disguise made his way into the execution ground where he could do nothing but watch in mortification the death of his ill-fated father.

The father noticed his son in the crowd and muttered as if talking to himself, "Do not search for a long time; do not act hastily; resentment can be calmed only by forgetting it."

Afterward, the prince sought after some way of revenge for a long time. At last he was employed as an attendant in the Brahmadatta's palace and came to win the king's favors.

On a day when the king went hunting, the prince sought some opportunity for revenge. The prince was able to lead his master into a lonely place, and the king, being very weary, fell asleep with his head on the lap of the prince, so fully had he come to trust the prince.

The prince drew the dagger and placed it at the king's throat but then hesitated. The words his father had expressed at the moment of his execution flashed into his mind and although he tried again he could not kill the king. Suddenly the king awoke and told he prince that he had had a bad dream in which the son of King Calamity was trying to kill him.

The prince, flourished the dagger in his hand, hastily grasped the king and, identifying himself as the son of King Calamity, declared that the time had finally come for him to avenge his father. Yet he could not do so, and suddenly he cast the dagger down and fell on his knees in front of the king.

When the king heard the prince's story and the final words of his father, he was very impressed and apologized to the prince. Later, he restored the former kingdom to the prince and their two countries came to live in friendship for a long time.

The dying words of King Calamity, "Do not search for a long time," mean that resentment should not be cherished for long, and "Do not act hastily" mean that friendship should not be broken hastily.

Resentment can not be satisfied by resentment; it can only be removed by forgetting it.

In the fellowship of a Brotherhood that is based on the harmony of right teaching, every member should always appreciate the spirit of this story.

Not only the members of the Brotherhood but also people in general should appreciate and practice this spirit in their daily lives.

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The Fables Of Buddha 51.

Post by antropolis » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:14 am

Syamavati, the consort of King Udayana, was deeply devoted to Buddha.

She lived in the innermost courts of the palace and did not go out, but her maid, Uttara, who had an excellent memory, used to go out and attend the Buddha's preachings.

On her return, the maid would repeat to the Queen the teachings of the Blessed One, and thus the Queen deepened her wisdom and faith.

The second wife of the King was jealous of the first wife and sought to kill her. She slandered her to the King until finally he believed her and sought to kill his first wife, Syamavati.

Queen Syamavati stood in front of the King so calmly that he had no heart to kill her. Regaining control of himself he apologized to her for his distrust.

The jealousy of the second wife increased and she sent wicked men to set fire to the innermost courts of the palace during the King's absence from home. Syamavati remained calm, quieted and encouraged the bewildered maids, and then, without fear, died peacefully in the spirit she had learned from the Blessed One, Uttara died with her in the fire.

Among the many women disciples of Buddha, these two were most highly honored: Queen Syamavati as a compassionate spirit and her maid, Uttara, as a good listener.

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The Fables Of Buddha 52.

Post by antropolis » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:15 am

Prince Mahanama, of the Shakya clan and a cousin of Buddha, had great faith in the teachings of Buddha and was one of his most faithful followers.

At that time a violent king named Virudaka of Kosala conquered the Shakya clan. Prince Mahanama went to the King and sought the lives of his people, but the King would not listen to him. He then proposed that the King would let as many prisoners escape as could run away while he himself remained underwater in a near-by pond.

To this the King assented, thinking that the time would be very short for him to be able to stay underwater.

The gate of the castle was opened as Mahanama dived into the water and the people rushed for safety. But Mahanama did not come up, sacrificing his life for the lives of his people by tying his hair to the underwater root of a willow tree.

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The Fables Of Buddha 53.

Post by antropolis » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:42 am

Utpalavarna was a famous nun whose wisdom was compared with that of Maudgalyayana, a great disciple of Buddha. She was, indeed, the nun of all nuns and was always their leader, never tiring of teaching them.

Devadatta was a very wicked and cruel man who poisoned the mind of King Ajatasatru and persuaded him to turn against the teachings of Buddha. But later, King Ajatasatru repented, broke off his friendship with Devadatta, and became a humble disciple of Buddha.

At one time when Devadatta was repulsed from the castle gate in an attempt to see the King, he met Utpalavarna coming out. It made him very angry, so he struck and seriously wounded her.

She returned to her convent in great pain and when the other nuns tried to console her she said to them: "Sisters, human life is the unforeseen, everything is transient and egoless. Only the world of Enlightenment is tranquil and peaceful. You must keep on with your training." Then she passed away quietly.

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The Fables Of Buddha 54.

Post by antropolis » Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:36 pm

Angulimalya, once a terrible bandit who had killed many people, was saved by the Blessed One, and he became one of His disciples.

One day he went begging in a town and endured much hardship and suffering for his past evil deeds.

The villagers fell upon him and beat him severely, but he went back to the Blessed One with his body still bleeding, falling at His feet and thanking Him for the opportunity that had come to him to suffer for his former cruel deeds.

He said, "Blessed One, my name originally was 'No Harming,' but because of my ignorance, I took many precious lives, and from each I took a finger; because of that, I came to be called Angulimalya, the collector of fingers!

"Then, through your compassion, I learned wisdom and became devoted to the three treasures of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Samgha. When a man drives a horse or a cow he has to use a whip or a rope, but you, the Blessed One, purified my mind without the use of whip or rope or hook.

"Today, Blessed One, I have suffering only what was my due. I do not wish to live, I do not wish to die. I only wait for my time to come."

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The Fables Of Buddha 55.

Post by antropolis » Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:38 pm

Maudgalyayana, together with the venerable Sariputra, was one of the Buddha's two greatest disciples. When the teachers of other religions saw that the pure water of the Buddha's teachings was spreading among the people and found the people eagerly drinking it, they became jealous and applied various hindrances to his preaching.

But none of his hindrances could stop or prevent his teaching from spreading widely. The followers of the other religions attempted to kill Maudgalyayana.

Twice he escaped but the third time he was surrounded by many heathens and fell under their blows.

Sustained by Enlightenment, he calmly received their blows, and though his flesh was torn and his bones crushed, he died peacefully.

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