There is a
wonderful little story about two monks who lived together in a monastery
for many years; they were great friends. Then they died within a few
months of one another. One of them got reborn in the heaven realms, the
other monk got reborn as a worm in a dung pile. The one up in the heaven
realms was having a wonderful time, enjoying all the heavenly pleasures.
But he started thinking about his friend, "I wonder where my old mate
has gone?" So he scanned all of the heaven realms, but could not find a
trace of his friend. Then he scanned the realm of human beings, but he
could not see any trace of his friend there, so he looked in the realm
of animals and then of insects. Finally he found him, reborn as a worm
in a dung pile... Wow! He thought: "I am going to help my friend. I am
going to go down there to that dung pile and take him up to the heavenly
realm so he too can enjoy the heavenly pleasures and bliss of living in
these wonderful realms."
'The 12th century
master Geshe Ben was renowned for his goodness and integrity.
THE LOST SON
"A young widower,
who loved his five year old son very much, was away on business when
bandits came who burned down the whole village and took his son away.
When the man returned, he saw the ruins and panicked. They took the
burnt corpse of an infant to be his son and cried uncontrollably. He
organized a cremation ceremony, collected the ashes and put them in a
beautiful little bag which he always kept with him.
Two monks were
returning to the monastery in the evening. It had rained and there were
puddles of water on the road sides. At one place a beautiful young woman
was standing unable to walk across because of a puddle of water. The
elder of the two monks went up to a her lifted her in his alms and left
her on the other side of the road, and continued his way to the
THE OTHER SIDE
One day a young
Buddhist on his journey home, came to the banks of a wide river. Staring
hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours
on just how to cross such a wide barrier. Just as he was about to give
up his pursuit to continue his journey he saw a great teacher on the
other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher,
"Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this
THE ELEPHANT AND HIS OLD BLIND MOTHER
Long ago, in the hills of the Himalayas near a lotus pool, the Buddha was once born as a baby elephant. He was a magnificent elephant, pure white with feet and face the color of coral. His trunk gleamed like a silver rope and his ivory tusks curled up in a long arc. He followed his mother everywhere. She plucked the tenderest leaves and sweetest mangoes from the tall trees and gave them to him. "First you, then me," she said. She bathed him in the cool lotus pool among the fragrant flowers. Drawing the sparkling water up in her trunk, she sprayed him over the top of his head and back until he shone. Then filling his trunk with water, he took careful aim and squirted a perfect geyser right between his mother's eyes. Without blinking, she squirted him back. And back and forth, they gleefully squirted and splashed each other. Splish! Splash! Then they rested in the soft muck with their trunks curled together. In the deep shadows of afternoon, the mother elephant rested in the shade of a rose-apple tree and watched her son romp and frolic with the other baby elephants.
The little elephant grew and grew until he was the tallest and strongest young bull in the herd. And while he grew taller and stronger, his mother grew older and older. Her tusks were yellow and broken and in time she became blind. The young elephant plucked the tenderest leaves and sweetest mangoes from the tall trees and gave them to his dear old blind mother. "First you, then me," he said.
He bathed her in the cool lotus pool among the fragrant flowers. Drawing the sparkling water up in his trunk, he sprayed her over the top of her head and back until she shone. Then they rested in the soft muck with their trunks curled together. In the deep shadows of afternoon, the young elephant guided his mother to the shade of a rose-apple tree. Then he went roaming with the other elephants. One day a king was hunting and spied the beautiful white elephant. "What a splendid animal! I must have him to ride upon!" So the king captured the elephant and put him in the royal stable. He adorned him with silk and jewels and garlands of lotus flowers. He gave him sweet grass and juicy plums and filled his trough with pure water.
But the young elephant would not eat or drink. He wept and wept, growing thinner each day. "Noble elephant," said the king, "I adorn you with silk and jewels. I give you the finest food and the purest water, yet you do not eat or drink. What will please you?" The young elephant said, "Silk and jewels, food and drink do not make me happy. My blind old mother is alone in the forest with no one to care for her. Though I may die, I will take no food or water until I give some to her first."
The king said, "Never have I seen such kindness, not even among humans. It is not right to keep this young elephant in chains." Free, the young elephant raced through the hills looking for his mother. He found her by the lotus pool. There she lay in the mud, too weak to move. With tears in his eyes, he filled his trunk with water and sprayed the top of her head and back until she shone. "Is it raining?" she asked. "Or has my son returned to me?" "It is your very own son!" he cried. "The king has set me free!" As he washed her eyes, a miracle happened. Her sight returned. "May the king rejoice today as I rejoice at seeing my son again!" she said.
The young elephant then plucked the tenderest leaves and sweetest mangoes from a tree and gave them to her. "First you, then me."
There is a story about a princess who had a small eye problem that she felt was really bad. Being the king's daughter, she was rather spoiled and kept crying all the time. When the doctors wanted to apply medicine, she would invariably refuse any medical treatment and kept touching the sore spot on her eye. In this way it became worse and worse, until finally the king proclaimed a large reward for whoever could cure his daughter. After some time, a man arrived who claimed to be a famous physician, but actually was not even a doctor.
He declared that he could definitely cure the princess and was admitted to her chamber. After he had examined her, he exclaimed, "Oh, I'm so sorry!" "What is it?" the princess inquired. The doctor said, "There is nothing much wrong with your eye, but there is something else that is really serious." The princess was alarmed and asked, "What on earth is so serious?" He hesitated and said, "It is really bad. I shouldn't tell you about it." No matter how much she insisted, he refused to tell her, saying that he could not speak without the king's permission.
When the king arrived, the doctor was still reluctant to reveal his findings. Finally the king commanded, "Tell us what is wrong. Whatever it is, you have to tell us!" At last the doctor said, "Well, the eye will get better within a few days - that is no problem. The big problem is that the princess will grow a tail, which will become at least nine fathoms long. It may start growing very soon. If she can detect the first moment it appears, I might be able to prevent it from growing." At this news everyone was deeply concerned. And the princess, what did she do? She stayed in bed, day and night, directing all her attention to detecting when the tail might appear. Thus, after a few days, her eye got well.
This shows how we usually react. We focus on our little problem and it becomes the center around which everything else revolves. So far, we have done this repeatedly, life after life. We think, "My wishes, my interests, my likes and dislikes come first!" As long as we function on this basis, we will remain unchanged. Driven by impulses of desire and rejection, we will travel the roads of samsara without finding a way out. As long as attachment and aversion are our sources of living and drive us onward, we cannot rest.
From Daring Steps toward Fearlessness: The Three Vehicles of Buddhism, by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche