Stories for young Adults

Dhammapada Stories and stories for young learners | download free pdf
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Published Date:04-07-2017
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S ' T B E O O N K A L - Dhammapada D D Dhammapada Dhammapada hammap pada S Stories tories Stories by Gambhiro Bikkhu e e E-mail: bdeabuddhanet.net Web site: www.buddhanet.net Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc. I H B R D A R D Y U BSelected verses from the Dhammapāda and the stories behind them, all depicted in thirty-two beautiful illustrations.Contents Introduction ............................................................................................. iii Acknowledgement .................................................................................. v Th e Lady and the Ogress ................................................................ 1 e C Th ruel Butcher ................................................................................. 5 e S Th cholar Monk and the Arahat ....................................... 9 Mindfulness Means Life ............................................................. 13 e W Th andering Mind ...................................................................... 17 e F Th ickle-Minded Monk ........................................................... 21 e M Th onk Whose Body Stunk ............................................. 25 A Father who became a Mother ........................................... 29 e C Th ure for Death .......................................................................... 33 Bilalapadaka, The Selfish Rich Man ............................... 37 e W Th ise Merchant ........................................................................... 41 e In Th nocent Monk ......................................................................... 45 e U Th nfortunate Hunter ............................................................. 49 iKam ma is Inescapable ................................................................... 53 e Se Th lf-Pampered Monk ........................................................... 57 Bhikkhu or Brahmana? ................................................................. 61 Not Even for Free ............................................................................... 65 e I Th mpermanence of Beauty ................................................. 69 Practise What You Preach ......................................................... 73 e P Th regnant Bhikkhuni ............................................................. 77 e N Th ecklace of Fingers ................................................................ 81 e C Th loth Baby ..................................................................................... 85 e P Th ower of Loving Kindness .............................................. 89 e D Th iligent Do Not Sleep ....................................................... 93 e G Th reat Pretenders ....................................................................... 97 e U Th ngrateful Sons ...................................................................... 101 Sainthood on Top of a Pole ................................................... 105 Almsfood is Almsfood ................................................................ 109 e A Th busive Bro thers ................................................................... 113 iiIntroduction HE BUDDHIST CANON, otherwise known as the Tipitaka, is the T collection of the entire teachings of the Buddha. From out of this vast collection, inspirational verses which touch the essence of what the Buddha taught were compiled and recorded in a book called DHAMMAPĀDA . e Th se verses, arranged under twenty-six chapters with such headings as The Wise, Mindfulness, and Happiness are part of the earliest extant records of words uttered by the Buddha himself. e Th re are 423 verses in the Dhammapāda, and behind each one of them is a story which bears a lesson of great moral value whether they concern such human flaws as pride and greed, or such virtues as compassion and generosity. It is primarily for this reason that for centuries throughout Southeast Asia, the Dhammapāda stories have been used by parents to instruct and entertain their children and have been recounted by monks to inspire and enlighten those who came to seek their guidance. As to whether the stories are really based on historical fact or merely the products of vividly imaginative minds, discussion still goes on, but it is evident that the stories may not be entirely precise in detail nor free from exaggeration. One is nevertheless advised to keep an open mind in order to be able to appreciate the moral les- sons the stories are trying to convey. In any case, even those who do doubt their authenticity would have to agree that the lessons they teach provide food for reflection which may consequently give a whole new direction to the way one thinks and lives. Moreover, because the Buddha always suited his teachings to the age, temper- ament, character, and mental state of his listeners, one may just be able to identify with any of the characters that are depicted in the Dhammapāda stories and benefit from that identification. In addition, the Dhammapāda stories are a valuable source of iiiinformation regarding the personality of the Buddha himself: his temperament—the Buddha was always calm, patient and com- passionate (no instance can be cited where the Buddha ever dis - played any anger or spoke harshly); his great humility—he accepted food even from lowly servants and slaves, sometimes food that had already been partially eaten; his wisdom and skill in teaching—he was able to uproot the deep-seated unwholesome attitudes of even his most abusive and stubborn accusers and bring them to accept Right View. For our collection, we have selected thirty-two Dhammapāda stories that we felt were particularly interesting and meaningful, and at the same time, representative of the different kinds of stories that the Dhammapāda contains, whether it be a humorous one as in the story of the fickle-minded monk who kept shuttling between the religious life and the home life so many times that his head was lik- ened to a “whetting stone”; a poignant one as in the story of Gisa Kotami who, having lost her only son, went from house to house des - perately seeking a remedy for his death; or a macabre one as in the story of Angulimala who kept tab of the number of victims he had murdered by wearing a necklace of their fingers around his neck. We have afforded ourselves the liberty to dispense with parts of some of the original stories that we considered rather long or dull, and embellished others in an attempt to make them more palatable to the modern reader. This we have done, however, taking care to retain the original meaning of each story. o Th se who would like to see the unedited versions of our stories can refer to The Dhammapāda, Verses and Stories, translated from Pali by Daw Mya Tin and published by the Myanmar Pitaka Association, Rangoon, 1986. This edition may not be readily available outside of Myanmar. A more accessible publication is The Dhammapāda by Ven. Sri Dhammananda which was published by the Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardhana Society, Malaysia, 1992, and which, with ivfew exceptions, reproduces the texts of the stories in the Myanmar edition almost verbatim. We have relied on these two publications as our main sources of reference in compiling our book. In the introduction to his book, Ven. Sri Dhammananda makes the following remark about the Dhammapāda: “It is impossible to estimate how many human beings have refrained from telling a lie, killing an insect, spreading a rumor, or taking what is not given, by calling to mind a story from the Dhammapāda at the right moment. If the world has experienced moments of compassion and wisdom in the face of greed, hatred, and delusion, the Dhammapāda must be given its due share of credit for it.” No doubt the Dhammapāda will continue to be a source of inspiration and edification to all who seek spiritual upliftment within its pages. THE EDITOR Acknowledgement E WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE our appreciation to the W following bhikkhunis: Rev. Jen Du, Rev. Shing Ing, Rev. Jian Jih, and Rev. Shiou Ding, as well as to Ms Hsu Mei Jr and Mr. Hsu Te Wei for their assistance in the translation of the English texts into Chinese; to Ms Aye Sabai Win for proofreading the English manuscript and making constructive suggestions; and especially to Rev. Dau Soon for enriching our stories with her vivid illustra - tions. Her drawings were inspired by the beautiful art work of Mr. U. G. de Silva that appeared in the Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardana Society’s edition of The Dhammapāda, 1988. vHatred in the world is indeed never appeased by hatred. It is appeased by loving kindness. This is an ancient law. Verse 5The Lady and the Ogress NCE THERE WAS A MAN who was becoming impatient O with his wife for not being able to bear him any chil- dren. At the same time, his wife was becoming increasingly anxious because she was not able to give him the children he longed for. Fearing that her husband would one day aban- don her, she coaxed him into taking another wife. But each time she learned that the new wife was pregnant, she caused her to miscarry by putting some drugs into her food. e Th second wife eventually figured out what was going on, but it was too late to do anything about it, for she was already near death’s door from being poisoned so often. Before she finally died, however, she swore that she would pay the first wife back for all the suffering she was caused should their paths cross again in future lives. And indeed their paths did cross again. Once they were reborn as a cat and a hen, and another time as a leopardess and a doe, and each time they were after each other’s off- springs, creating more and more hatred between themselves. Finally, they were reborn as the daughter of a nobleman and an ogress. One day, the ogress in all her fury was chasing after the nobleman’s daughter and her baby. e Th mother, in desper - ation, fled to the monastery where the Buddha was staying and begged the Buddha to save her child from the hungry ogress. 1e Th Buddha, instead, admonished her, as well as the ogress, for the folly of their unabated vengeance. He then related to them how their mutual hatred began and how, because of that hatred, they had been killing off each oth- er’s babies in their successive lifetimes. He made them real - ize that hatred only caused more hatred, and that hatred ceased only through goodwill and compassion. e Th lady and the ogress then felt great remorse for their past actions and asked each other for forgiveness. In that way, after many lifetimes of unbroken rivalry filled with hatred, they finally made peace with each other. Hatred in the world is indeed never appeased by hatred. It is appeased only by loving kind- ness. This is an ancient law. 3 Verse 5 2Here he grieves, hereafter he grieves. The evil-doer grieves in both existences. He grieves and he suffers anguish when he remembers his impure deeds. Verse 15 The Cruel Butcher HERE WAS ONCE A BUTCHER who was a very mean and T wicked man. Never in his life had he ever done any meri- torious deeds. His job was slaughtering pigs and he loved it, often torturing them mercilessly before putting them to death. One day he got very sick and finally died, but before he died he suffered such agony that he crawled around on his hands and knees for days, squealing and grunting like a pig being slaughtered. It so happened that the butcher’s home was within ear’s reach of the monastery where the Buddha and his monks were staying. When the bhikkhus heard the desperate squeals coming from his house, they assumed that the miserable butcher was at his cruel work again and shook their heads in great disapproval. e Th squeals and grunts went on for sev - eral days until, one day, they stopped just as suddenly as they had begun. e Th monks could not help but remark to each other how wicked and hard-hearted the butcher was for hav- ing caused his poor animals so much pain and suffering. e Th Buddha overheard what they were saying and said, “Bhikkhus, the butcher was not slaughtering his pigs. He was very ill and in such great pain that he was acting like the pigs he used to enjoy inflicting pain upon. His bad kamma had finally caught up with him. Today he died and was reborn in a woeful state of existence.” 5e Th Buddha then exhorted his disciples to be alert at doing good, for anyone who did evil deeds would have to suffer for them. e Th re was no way to escape from one’s evil deeds, he warned his disciples. Here he grieves, hereafter he grieves. The evil- doer grieves in both existences. He grieves and he suffers anguish when he remembers his impure deeds. 3 Verse 15 6Though a person recites much of the sacred texts, but is negligent and does not practise according to the Dhamma, he cannot share the blessings of the holy life, just as a cowherd, counting other people’s cows, cannot taste the milk that comes from them. Verse 19 Though a person recites only a little of the sacred texts, but practises according to the Dhamma and becomes truly wise, thus forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion, and no longer clinging to anything of this or any other world, he indeed shares the benefits of the holy life. Verse 20The Scholar Monk and the Arahat NCE THERE WERE TWO MEN who entered the monkhood at O the same time but who followed different aspirations. One studied the sacred doctrines until he attained such a proficiency in them that quite a number of admiring students gathered around him to hear him teach. e Th other practised very hard and eventually became an arahat with great spiritual insights. One day, the two bhikkhus happened to meet each other for they had gone to see the Buddha at the same time. e Th proud master of the sacred texts, however, had no idea that the monk he just met was already one of high spiritual attainments. Treating him with disdain, as he did most monks, the scholar wanted to embarrass the arahat in front of everyone by ask- ing him questions from the texts which he was sure the arahat would not be able to answer. What the scholar did not know, however, was that whoever brought harm in any form upon an arahat would end up being reborn in a lower world. To prevent that from happening, the Buddha decided to choose and ask the questions himself. He put questions con - cerning the higher states of meditation to the scholar monk who, of course, could not answer them because he had not practised what he had recited and preached. On the other hand, the sec - ond bhikkhu had no problem with the questions, answering them humbly but yet with evident authority. When the ques - tioning session was over, the Buddha praised the arahat gener- ously, but made no mention of the learned scholar. e Th other bhikkhus wondered why the Buddha praised the arahat and not the illustrous teacher. e Th Buddha explained to them that although the first bhikkhu was well versed in and 9