Friday, December 29, 2006

The Monkey King

There was once a king, a monkey king in fact, he has his kingdom in the deep deep forest and he was crowned king because of his size, kindness and being the wisest monkey in the forest. One sunny day, the monkey king was strolling by the riverside and he noticed a few huge mango trees. The king ordered the little follower monkeys to remove every single mango from the tree and said that, it would lead to disaster if it is not removed. The monkeys did remove all the mango as told and wondering what’s in the king’s mind. All mangos are removed except 1 which the monkeys failed to notice.

This mango grew big and the ripen and was ready to eat, one day the mango being too ripe, fell off the tree and washed away down stream as the river flows. It had flowed so far, until it reaches the front of the kingdom where the human king happens to pass through and notice it. The human king noticed that the delicious taste of the mango is seductive enough to crave for more.

On the next day, the human king together with all his troops and body guards, went all the way upstream in search for these delicious mango. The king then trespassed the monkey king’s kingdom and being the selfish him, he asked his troops to kill the monkeys in order not to share the mango with anyone.

Thousands monkeys killed and chased away to the edge of the forest, where there has a deep cliff that the monkeys need to pass in order to reach the other side. The monkey king noted that it is impossible for his little monkey to cross the cliff except for him of course due to his size.
By using his huge body, he used it to form a bridge for the little monkeys to cross over and thousands of monkeys stepped on him in order to crossover the cliff. One monkey who wanted to be on the throne of the king, saw this opportunity to step up the throne, as the monkey is crossing and stepping over the monkey king's body, he took a spear and pierced it through the monkey king's heart. The pain created was totally unbearable, just imagine the pain it cost, the monkey king screamed and screamed in pain but he had to endure all the pain until every single of all his subjects were on the safe side of the cliff before he collapsed.

The human king being shocked by witnessed the whole process of how the king sacrifice himself to help his subjects. He felt so touched and he ordered his troops to save the monkey king. When the Monkey King later recovered, the human king was so touched, from that day onwards he decided from to be a good and ordered the monkeys across the cliff to be protected from harm from that day onwards.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Relying on Joy - As told by Sogyal Rinpoche - The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

At the time of Buddha, there lived an old beggar woman called "Relying on Joy". She used to watch the kings, princes, and people making offerings to Buddha and his disciples, and there was nothing she would have liked more than to be able to do the same. So she went out begging, but at the end of a whole day all she had was one small coin. She took it to the oil-merchant to try to buy some oil. He told her that she could not possibly buy anything with so little. But when he heard that she wanted it to make an offering to Buddha, he took pity on her and gave her the oil she wanted. She took it to the monastery, where she lit a lamp. She placed it before Buddha, and made this wish:"I have nothing to offer but this tiny lamp. But through this offering, in the future may I be blessed with the lamp of wisdom. May I free all beings from their darkness. May I purify all their obstructions, and lead them to enlightenment."

That night the oil in all the other lamps went out. But the beggar woman's lamp was still burning at dawn, when Buddha's disciple Maudgalyayana came to collect all the lamps. When he saw that one was still alight, full of oil and with a new wick, he thought,"There's no reason why this lamp should still be burning in the day time," and he tried to blow it out. But it kept on burning. He tried to snuff it out with his fingers, but it stayed alight. He tried to smother it with his robe, but still it burned on. The Buddha had been watching all along, and said,"Maudgalyayana, do you want to put out that lamp? You cannot. You cannot even move it, let alone put it out. If you were to pour the water from all ocean over this lamp, it still wouldn't go out. The water in all the rivers and the lakes of the world could not extinguish it. Why not? Because this lamp was offered with devotion and with purity of heart and mind. And that motivation has made it of tremendous benefit." When Buddha had said this, the beggar woman approached him, and he made a prophesy that in the future she would become a perfect buddha, call "Light of the Lamp."

So it is our motivation, good or bad, that determines the fruit of our actions.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Urn with Butter and The Urn with Stones

Many years back, at one time, there was this priests that were charging money for ritual prayers and he promised that all the rituals that he performed will release the soul of a dead relative from hell and would be able to reach the stairs to heaven.

In the ritual, the priests are supposed to strike an urn filled with stones with a hammer and if the urn broke, the stones will fell out and it was suppose to be a sign that these soul was released from the hell realm, according to the priests. Frankly speaking, how can a clay urn withstand the blow of a heavy metal hammer?

A young Buddhist, sad over his uncle's recent death, went to Lord Buddha and asked him for similar ritual which can release his poor uncle's soul from hell. Lord Buddha asked him to get two ritual urns from the priests, one to be filled with butter and the other urn with stones.
The young Buddhist believed that he was getting a far more powerful ritual, was very happy and excited and did as Lord Buddha requested.

He then returned with the two urns from the priests, Lord Buddha asked him to carefully place both the urns in the river, and the rim of both the urn has to be just below the surface. Lord Buddha also instructed him to recite the prayer that the priests recite during rituals, and strike both the urns under the water with a metal hammer, at the usual point in the ritual and the young man must go back and describe to Lord Buddha on what happen.

The young Buddhist being tremendously excited as he will be the first person to be taught this powerful new ritual, did exactly as he instructed by Lord Buddha. After the ritual, on his return, Lord Buddha asked him to describe what happened and what did he saw.

The young man replied, “Nothing unusual, when I struck the urns with the metal hammer, the stones fell out from the broken urn and sank to the bottom of the river and when I hit the urn filled butter, the butter floated on the surface of the river and was washed away."

Lord Buddha said, you must ask the priests to come and pray so that the butter will sink to the bottom of the river and the stones shall float to the surface! The young man, was shocked by ridiculousness of the request answered, "But Lord, no matter how good the priests is, it is impossible for the stones to float and the butter to sink."

Lord Buddha replied, "Exactly! And will be the same with your uncle.” Whatever good deeds and loving actions that he did during his lifetime will ensure him to rise to heaven, and whatever bad and selfish actions he has made this lifetime will make him sank towards hell realm.

There is no such prayer or rituals of anyone can do to alter even small a tiny part of the results of his actions on this lifetime!

The Thief and the Master ....From: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones; Paul Reps; 1961 Doubleday Anchor Books, New York

One evening, Zen master Shichiri Kojun was reciting sutras when a thief entered his house with a sharp sword, demanding "money or life".

Without any fear, Shichiri said, "Don't disturb me! Help yourself with the money, it's in that drawer". And he resumed his recitation. The thief was startled by this unexpected reaction, but he proceeded with his business anyway. While he was helping himself with the money, the master stopped and called, "Don't take all of it. Leave some for me to pay my taxes tomorrow".
The thief left some money behind and prepared to leave. Just before he left, the master suddenly shouted at him, "You took my money and you didn't even thank me?! That's not polite!". This time, the thief was really shocked at such fearlessness. He thanked the master and ran away. The thief later told his friends that he had never been so frightened in his life.

A few days later, the thief was caught and confessed, among many others, his theft at Shichiri's house. When the master was called as a witness, he said, "No, this man did not steal anything from me. I gave him the money. He even thanked me for it." The thief was so touched that he decided to repent.

Upon his release from prison, he became a disciple of the master and many years later, he attained Enlightenment.

The River Bank

Once there were two monks who went on a pilgrimage across the country together. One fine day while they were walking , they came across a river bank and the monks saw very a beautiful lady who was unable to cross the river herself.

Knowing that it is difficult for a lady like her to cross the river, the elder monk volunteered himself to carry the lady across the river on his back.

Later when the sun went down, the monks came upon a cave and they decided to stay there for the night. The elder monk fell asleep while the younger monk is unable to calm his mind. Finally the young monk, woke up the elder monk and request for an explanation on what happened during the day, The Young Monk said, as a holy monks, we are supposed to keep ourselves away from women. I am really ashamed and troubled by what you did today!"

The elder monk looked at the younger monk and a smile broke up on his face, "Oh... so that has been bothering you whole day! I have left the girl behind by the river bank, why are you still carrying her around?"

ANGRY BUDDHA From "Being Peace" by Thitch Nhat Hahn

"A woman who practices reciting Buddha Amitabha's name, is very tough and recites "NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA" three times daily. Although she is doing this practice for over 10 years, she is still quite mean, shouting at people all the time. She starts her practice lighting incense and hitting a little bell.

A friend wanted to teach her a lesson, and just as she began her recitation, he came to her door and called out: "miss Nuyen, miss Nuyen!". As this was the time for her practice she got annoyed, but she said to herself: "I have to struggle against my anger, so I will just ignore it." And she continued: "NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA, NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA..." But the man continued to shout her name, and she became more and more oppressive. She struggled against it and wondered if she should stop the recitation to give the man a piece of her mind, but she continued reciting: "NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA, NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA..." The man outside heard it and continued: "Miss Nuyen, miss Nuyen..." Then she could not stand it anymore, jumped up, slammed the door and went to the gate and shouted: "Why do you have to behave like that? I am doing my practice and you keep on shouting my name over and over!"

The gentleman smiled at her and said: "I just called your name for ten minutes and you are so angry. You have been calling Amitabha Buddha's name for more then ten years now; just imagine how angry he must be by now!"

The Lost Son

There was once a young widower, who truely loved his five year old son very much. One Day when he is out on business the bandits came and burned down the entire village and kidnapped his son.

When the man returned from his trip, he saw the ruins and started to panic. He took one of the burnt corpse of an infant and taught to be his son and he cried uncontrollably. He then organised a cremation ceremony for his belovered chils, he also collected the ashes and put them in a beautiful little bag which he always kept it with him.

Soon after that, his real son escaped from the bandits and ran back to his home. He then arrived at his father's newly built cottage at midnight and knocked at the door. The father who is , still in his mysery asked: "Who it it?" The child then answered, it is me daddy, please open the door! please!

But in his mind, he convinced that his own son was dead, so father thought that there might be some young boy trying to make fun of him. He shouted loudly: GET LOST and then continue with his crying.

After some time of knocking , the child left. Both the Father and son never met each other again."

Moral of the Story: Sometime we mistakenly took something as the truth. If we cling to it so much, even when the truth comes in person and knocks on your door, you will not open it.