<<  22. A Rude Man  23. Words of Praise  24. Kindness to Animals   25. The power of Love   26. The return
The King and the Spirit Tree    28. Equal love to All   29. The Final days

Issued a Buddha poornima wallpaper Buddha & Sai Baba

A Rude Man

 Another day Buddha was walking through a village. A very angry and rude young man came up and began insulting him. "You have no right teaching others," he shouted. "You are as stupid as everyone else. You are nothing but a fake."

Buddha was not upset by these insults. Instead, he asked the young man, "tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong ?" The man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered, "it would belong to me because I bought the gift."

Buddha smiled and said " that is correct. And it is exactly the same with your anger. If you become angry with me and I do not get insulted, then the anger falls back on you. You are then the only one who becomes unhappy, not me. All you have done is hurt yourself. "If you want to stop hurting yourself, you must get rid of your anger and become loving instead. When you hate others, yourself become unhappy. But when you love others, everyone is happy."

The young man listened closely to these wise words of the Buddha. "You are right, O Blessed one," he said, "please teach me the path of love. I wish to become your follower." And Buddha answered, "Of course, I shall teach anyone who truly wants to learn. Come with me."

Words of Praise

Soon Buddha had a great number of followers, or disciples, who followed him from place to place. One day one of them came up to him and said, "O Blessed, one, you are certainly the greatest of all teachers who ever lived !"

Buddha was not flattered by this praise. Instead, he asked the disciple, "tell me, have you met all the great teachers who have appeared in the world?" "No, of course not," he answered. "And do you know all the teachers who are alive now or will be born in the future ?" "No, I do not," he answered again. And so the Buddha said, "then it is foolish to say that I am the greatest of all teachers. You have no way of knowing if this is true or not." "But I only wanted to praise you because your teachings are so excellent and helpful, " the disciple replied.

Then Buddha said, "If you find my teachings helpful, the best thing to do is practice them. Do not waste your energy praising me. The only reason I have come into the world is to teach others. If you want to please me, follow the teachings. This will please me much more than praise." At another time Buddha asked a disciple, "If you want to buy some precious gold, will you pay for it without testing it first ?"

"No, of course not," was the answer. "It might be fake, and then I would be wasting my money." "It is exactly the same way with my teachings," Buddha replied. "You should never accept what I say as true simply because I have said it . Rather, you should test the teachings yourself to see if they are true or not. If you find that they are true and helpful, then practice them. But do not do so merely out of respect for me. "Also, do not criticize the teachings of others and say they are no good. There are many other great teachers in the world and they all have their own way of helping people. So do not insult any of them. This is not your business. Your only business is to find happiness and help others find it, too."

In such ways, then, Buddha taught his followers to think for themselves, to be kind to others and to respect everyone.

Kindness to Animals

 In those days it was common in India for people to kill animals as a sacrifice, or offering, to their gods. This was supposed to make the gods happy. Then the gods would give the people what they prayed for, such as wealthy, or rain for their crops. Wherever he went, Buddha told people that it was wrong to sacrifice animals like this. Some people who heard him became angry with Buddha and said, "our holy books say that it is correct to kill animals and offer them to our gods. How dare you teach differently ?" And Buddha replied, "It is not right to make another unhappy so that you can be happy. Everyone wants to remain alive just as you do. Therefore, If you sacrifice an animal, you are just being selfish. And I have taught again and again that a selfish person finds nothing but unhappiness in life.

"Also, any god who demands the blood of an animal before he will help you is not a kind god. He is not worthy of being worshiped by anyone. But if you act with love and kindness towards everyone-animals and people alike - then the gods themselves should worship you !"

Many of the people who heard these words of wisdom saw that they were true. Immediately they gave up their custom of sacrificing animals. In this way a great deal of unhappiness was brought to an end.


The Power of Love

 Buddha never forgot the promise he make to king Bimbisara to return and give him teachings. So when the time was right, he journeyed to Rajagriha. Outside this royal city was a hill called Vulture's Peak, and Buddha and many his disciples went and lived in caves there.

King Bimbisara often went to Vulture's Peak to hear the words of the Buddha. The people of the city went also, and soon the number of Buddha's followers grew very large. After some time, the King and several other rich people gave Buddha and his followers parks where everyone could stay and listen to his teachings in comfort.

Buddha's cousin, Devadatta, became very jealous. "He has so many people following him, " he thought, "and everyone shows him so much respect. But they all ignore me, and I am as great as he is. I must destroy him !"

He knew that he would need help in killing the Buddha, so he went to King Billiards's son. "Don't you want to be King ?" he asked. " Why should your father have all the wealth and power ?" Come, if you help me kill the Buddha, I shall help you kill your father. Then you can become King in his place." The King's son listened to these wicked words and agreed. Then the two of them tried many ways to murder the Buddha. One day, while Buddha was sitting in meditation near Vulture's Peak, they rolled a very large boulder down the hill towards him. But just before it was going to crush him, the rock split in half, leaving Buddha unharmed.

Another time, Buddha was walking through the city with several of his closet disciples. The two men knew he was coming and were ready. They had bought an elephant and gave it lots of liquor to drink. When it was quite drunk, they beat it with sticks until it was crazy with anger. Then they released it in the direction of the Buddha, hoping the elephant would trample him to death.
When the disciples saw the enraged elephant charging towards them, they ran away in fear. All except Ananda, Buddha's closet companion, who stayed by his teacher's side, holding onto Buddha's robe. Buddha saw the elephant coming and , instead of being frightened or angry, felt great love and pity for the poor beast. Even though the elephant was drunk and crazed, it felt the power of Buddha's love. It stopped charging and walked over to the Buddha meekly, and then bowed down its large head at Buddha's feet.

Buddha patted the elephant gently an turned and said to Ananda, "the only way to destroy hatred is with love. Hatred can not be defeated with more hatred. This is a very important lesson to learn."

The return

 One day Buddha said to his followers, "it is time that I returned to Kapilavastu, the city of my father." And so they all began the long walk to Buddha's childhood home. News of Buddha's approach quickly reached the city and everyone became very excited and happy. "At long last our beloved Prince is returning !" they cried. "Now he is a great teacher with hundreds and hundreds of followers. How good it will be to see him again !"

King Shuddhodana was overjoyed to hear of his son's return. When he learned that the Buddha had many followers he became proud and thought, "My son has become a great leader after all. He has brought great honor to my name."

He could not wait for Buddha's arrival, but sent a servant ahead by horse to see what his son was like after so many years. By the next morning the servant had arrived where Buddha and his followers were staying. They were all carrying wooden bowls. They went from door to door in the village begging for their food. Then they returned to where they were staying and ate their simple meal together in silence.

The servant returned to Kapilavastu and reported all of this to the King. The King was furious. He shouted, "my son, a royal prince, has become a beggar ! I am disgraced. I must put a stop to this at once !"

Immediately he rode out of the palace and went to where his son was staying. When he saw his Siddhartha, now a radiant Buddha surrounded by hundreds of disciples, he was very impressed. They greeted each other lovingly. Then the King asked, "Is it true what I hear, that you beg for your food each morning ?"

"Yes," was the answer, "this is true. It is our custom to beg." At this the King became angrier than he was before. "Our custom ?" he shouted. "You come from a long line of Kings who never had to beg for anything in their lives. Our custom is to eat from silver and gold plates, not our of simple wooden bowls. What are you talking about, our custom ?"

The gentle answer came, "Father, you come from a long line of royal kings. This is true. But I come from a long line of teachers, the Buddhas of the past. These teachers have always been very humble. They received their food from the people they met. When I say it is our custom to beg, I mean it is the custom of Buddhas."

Then he took hold of his father's hand and walked alone with him for a long while. He taught him the Nobel Truths and the path leading to the end of all suffering. After listening to him for a long time the King said, "It is true, you are far more than just my son. As the holy man Asita predicted when you were just a baby, you have to become a great teacher. I bow before you, O Buddha. Please accept me, who once wanted you to be a king, as one of your disciples."

Soon afterwards Buddha's wife Yasodhara, his son Rahula, the ant who brought him up and many others from the palace also asked to become his followers. "We were so unhappy when you rode away from us so many years ago," they told him. "But now you have brought us so much happiness and peace of mind with your teachings of the truth. We are glad that you left us and have returned as a Buddha."


The King and the Spirit Tree

From the time he was thirty five years old, Buddha gave his teachings to everyone who was interested. For the next forty five years he traveled around India bringing people peace about love and kindness, he would tell them stories that would catch their imagination. Here is one of those of stories he told.

A long, long time ago there lived a proud King. He wanted to build a very large palace for himself, so he told his ministers, "Go out into the forest and find the tallest tree there. This I shall use for my palace.

Deep in the forest the ministers found such a tree. It was magnificent and stood surrounded by many other smaller trees. That night they reported back to the King and announced, "your Majesty, we have found just what you wanted. Tomorrow, we shall return to the woods and chop it down."

The King was very happy and went to sleep. That night he had a very strange dream. He dreamt that a spirit, which lived in the great tree, appeared before him. "Oh, King!" it said, "please do not cut down the home in which I live. If you do so, each cut will hurt me very much and I shall die." But the King answered, "yours is the finest tree in all the forest. I must use it for my palace." The spirits pleaded, but the King was very stubborn and insisted the tree would be cut down. Finally the tree spirit said to him, "Alright, you may cut it down. But please do it like this. Do not cut it down from the bottom, as people usually do. Instead, have your men climb to the top of the tree and cut it down little by little. First have them cut off one piece, then another, until they have cut down the whole tree."

The King was very surprised by this and said, "But if I have my men do as you say and cut through your tree many times, it will cause you much more pain than if they cut it down just once from the bottom."

The spirit answered, "yes, this is true. But it is better for the other creatures in the forest if you do as I suggest. You see, my tree is very large. If it falls down in one big piece, it will crash into the other smaller trees around it and kill many small animals. Many birds and insects will lose their homes and many smaller trees will be destroyed. But if you cut it down piece by piece, it will not do so much damage."

Then the King awoke. He thought, "that spirit would have let itself be cut a hundred times so that the small animals of the forest would not suffer. How brave and kind it is ! And how selfish of me to want to cut that tree down for my own pleasure and pride. Instead, of cutting it down, I should honor it ! This dream has taught me that I should also be kind and gentle to everyone."

And so the King went to the forest the next day and decorated the tree. And he was a kind and just ruler from that day onwards.

Equal love to all

One day Devadatta fell ill. Many doctors came to see him but no one could cure him. Buddha went to visit him. One of Buddha's followers asked him, "oh! Buddha, why are you going to help Devadatta ? He had tried to harm you many times. He has even tried to kill you !" And Buddha answered, "There is no reason to be friendly with some people and an enemy to others. All people are equal in that everyone wants happiness and no one likes to be sick and miserable. Therefore, we should have love for everyone." Then he approached Devadatta's bed and said, "if it is true that I love Devadatta, who is always trying to harm me, as much as I love Rahula, my only child, then let my cousin be cured of his sickness !" Immediately Devadatta recovered and was healthy once again.

Buddha turned to his followers and said, "remember a true Buddha helps all beings equally."


The final Days

 When Buddha was eighty years old he thought to himself, "I have done all I could to help others. I have taught them how to live with love and how not to fear anything in life. Now it is time to show them how to leave this world without fear."

So he called the faithfull Ananda to him and said "Ananda, it is time for us to return to Kapilavastu for the last time. I wish do die in the city where I grew up." Ananda was grief stricken. "Oh, Buddha," he cried, "please do not leave us ! For so many years you have been our guide. What shall we do without you ?" Then he began to sob bitterly.

Buddha answered, "do not cry, dear Ananda. I have always taught that the death is a natural part of life. It is nothing to fear. You must understand that. And when I am gone, let my teachings be your guide. If you have understood them in your heart, you have no more need of me. Come, let us go."

And so Buddha and his disciples traveled toward to the North. Kapilavastu was not so far from the place that they lived. Buddha and his followers started their strip. During the strip, they passed through the village of Kushinagar. Buddha asked his students to stop there and rest. Then he returned to Ananda and said, "this is a place where I shall pass away."

Although this was to be the last day of his life, Buddha did not stop helping others. An old man from the village asked to see him, and Buddha agreed. He listened to the man's problems and gave him kind words of advice. The man was put at ease and felt happy once again. Then Buddha went out into the garden and lay down between two trees. His students gathered around him. Some were crying, but others, their minds completely at peace, looked on silently.

Then Buddha spoke for the last time. "Remember ! what I have taught you. Craving and desire are the cause of all unhappiness. Everything sooner or later must change, so do not become attached to anything. Instead of this, you devote yourself to clearing your mind and finding true, lasting happiness."

Buddha then turned onto his right side and placed his right hand under his head. He closed his eyes and very peacefully passed away. It was the full moon day of the fourth month.


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