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Archive for the ‘Buddhist morals’ Category

jataka

It has been some time since I last translated a story from Chinese to English to share with my readers. Today, I have done it again. It is a story with a good moral. Hope you have the patience to read it and benefit from it.

Once upon a time, there lived a young beggar. He used to beg from door to door for some grains. This beggar was very careful with the grains that were given to him. Half he would eat and half he would save for raining days. He would store the balance of the grains in an urn.

One day, he was hungry and took out the urn to retrieve some grains. To his utter dismay, he saw a rat inside the urn, eating away at his grains.

Angry, he scolded the rat, “Why are you stealing from a beggar? Why don’t you steal from the rich? They have far more grains than I.”

The rat replied, “Why don’t you go and ask Lord Buddha? Perhaps He could give you an answer as to why you are so poor and always so short of grains to eat!”

Of course Lord Buddha stays in Western Heaven, a place very far away and difficult to reach. But the poor beggar was very determined to find out why he was always so poor despite being so careful with what were given to him. The next day, he packed a few clothes and was on his way to Western Heaven to seek an answer from the Wise One.

On and on he walked until the sky became dark. He had reached the door of a large mansion. Tired and hungry, he knocked at its door.

“Who’re you and what are you doing here at this hour?” asked the owner of the large mansion who opened the door.

“I am a beggar and I am on my way to see Lord Buddha at Western Heaven. I want to ask Him why I am always so poor and have so little to eat,” the young man replied honestly.

“Come in, come in, have some food and drinks. Perhaps you can rest here for a night!” the owner of the large mansion offered kindly.

The beggar was very grateful and spent a night at the large mansion.

The next day, he was on his way again after thanking the owner of the large mansion for his hospitality.

“Since you’re going to see Lord Buddha, could you do me a small favor? Could you ask Lord Buddha, on my behalf, why my only child, a girl of sixteen, refused to talk since she was a baby?”

The young beggar readily agreed. “What do I have to lose, since I am going to see Lord Buddha anyway?” he thought to himself.

“Any man who could make my daughter talk again will have her hand in marriage, this I promise!” the owner of the large mansion said before seeing the young beggar to the door.

On and on he walked until he reached a monastery up the hills. Tired and hungry, he knocked at its door.

“Who’re you and what are you doing here at this hour?” asked an elderly monk who opened the door.

“I am a beggar and I am on my way to see Lord Buddha at Western Heaven. I want to ask Him why I am always so poor and have so little to eat,” the young man replied honestly.

“Come in, come in, have some food and drinks. Perhaps you can rest here for a night!” the elderly monk offered kindly.

The beggar was very grateful and spent the night at the monastery.

The next day, he was on his way again after thanking the elderly monk of the monastery for his hospitality.

“Since you’re going to see Lord Buddha, could you do me a small favor? Could you ask Lord Buddha, on my behalf, why after meditating for 500 years, I am still a monk and not an Arhat?”

The young beggar readily agreed. “What do I have to lose, since I am going to see Lord Buddha anyway?” he thought to himself.

On and on he walked until he reached a vast sea. There is no boat around and he could not swim.

Frustrated, hungry and exhausted, he broke down to cry bitterly.

“Why is life so unfair to me?” he thought miserably. “I’ve come this far and now it seems I could not cross the vast sea in order to reach Western Heaven! This means I could not get to see Lord Buddha after all.”

He was about to give up when suddenly an old tortoise rose up from the waves and spoke gently, “Who’re you and why are you crying here?”

Taken aback, the young beggar answered as honestly as he could, “I am a beggar and I am on the way to see Lord Buddha at Western Heaven. I want to ask Him why I am always so poor and have so little to eat.”

The old tortoise took a pity on the young beggar.

“The sea is so vast, there is no boat around and I could not swim!” he lamented pitifully.

“That should not be a problem. Just climb onto my back and I could take you across the sea,” the old tortoise offered kindly.

The beggar was very grateful and quickly got onto the back of the old tortoise.

Upon reaching the shore on the other side, the young beggar got down and thanked the old tortoise profusely.

“Since you’re going to see Lord Buddha, could you do me a small favor? Could you ask Lord Buddha, on my behalf, why after being a tortoise for a thousand years, I am still a tortoise and not a dragon?”

The young beggar readily agreed. “What do I have to lose, since I am going to see Lord Buddha anyway?” he thought to himself.

On and on he walked until he reached an old shady tree and decided to lay down to have a rest. Soon, he fell asleep and saw Lord Buddha in his dream.

Very excited, the young beggar asked the Wise One in that dream, “Oh Blessed One, I have come far to ask you some questions.”

Lord Buddha laughed and said, “Well, in that case, I will allowed only three questions and not more! So, just ask and I shall answer.”

The young beggar gave this deep thought before clearing his throat.

“First, I want to ask why the old tortoise which is more than a thousand years old is today, still a tortoise and has not evolved into a dragon?”

Lord Buddha roared with laughter before answering, “This is because the tortoise loves his shell too much. Beneath that shell were hidden twenty-four precious pearls. Tell him to shed off his shell first and then he shall rise up into the sky as a magnificent dragon!”

“My second question would be, why the 500 years old monk is today, still a monk and not an Arhat?”

Again, Lord Buddha roared with laughter before answering, “This is because the elderly monk loves his precious staff too much and relied on it too much. Therefore he will always be earth-bound and could not rise up into the heavens as an Arhat!”

The young beggar was astounded by the answers given by the Wise One.

“So, what’s your last question, young beggar?” Lord Buddha teased the young man.

Now, the beggar was in a dilemma. “Which should be the last and third question, my problem or the girl’s problem?”

Finally, he decided to put his own needs aside. “My third and last question would be, why is the sixteen years old girl refused to talk?”

Before the young beggar could get an answer, Lord Buddha gave out a loud roaring laugh and disappeared from the dream, and the young beggar woke up from his sleep. He quickly gathered his things and decided to go home.

At the sea, he saw the old tortoise again. He told the old tortoise what Lord Buddha had said in his dream. The old tortoise shed its shell and sure enough, rose magnificently into the sky as a dragon. In the young beggar’s hands, as a reward from the old tortoise, were the precious pearls hidden in the shell.

On and on the young beggar walked until he reached the monastery. The old monk rushed out to greet him. “Let go of your precious staff and you will rise up as an Arhat!” The old monk quickly threw off his precious staff and found himself rising slowly but surely into the clouds as an Arhat. As a reward, the young beggar got to keep the precious staff.

On and on the young beggar walked until he reached the large mansion. The sixteen years old girl saw him from the verandah and shouted excitedly, “Papa, papa, the young beggar who went to see Lord Buddha has come back!” and rushed down to give him a welcoming embrace.

The owner of the large mansion was so overjoyed to see his beloved daughter finally spoke and in his joy, kept his promise. The young girl was given to the young beggar as a wife and from that day onwards, he did not have to worry for his grains anymore.

The moral of the story is – be generous and blessings will return to you in manifold.

jataka tales

從前有一個叫化子每天出門乞討,他很想過正常人的生活,於是他總要乞討一些糧食積攢起來。可是他積攢了好多年,他的糧倉還是只有那麼一點米。他不明白是怎麼回事,於是他打算弄個明白。

一天夜裡,他悄悄的躲在一個角落看著他的糧食。結果,他看見一隻大老鼠來偷吃他的糧食。於是他很氣憤,就對老鼠喊道,富人家那麼多糧食你不去吃,為什麼偏偏偷吃我辛辛苦苦攢下的糧食?突然,老鼠說話了:你命裡只有八分米,走遍天下不滿升。乞丐問老鼠,這是為什麼?老鼠對他說,我也不知道,你去問佛祖好了。

於是,叫化子下了決心,要去西天向佛祖問個明白,看看到底是什麼原因才有此命運?

叫化子第二天就出發了。他一路乞討,走了好多路。有一天,他好不容易趕到天黑才見到一戶人家,便上前敲門,出來一個管家問他有什麼事,他說討點飯吃。正好員外出來看見了,就問叫化子為什麼這麼晚了還在趕路?叫化子就說了他的命運,說要去問佛祖一個明白。員外聽了趕緊把他請到屋裡坐下。給他拿了好多乾糧和一些銀子。叫化子問這是為什麼?員外說明緣由,他說他家女兒都16歲了還不會說話。拜託他去西天幫忙問問佛祖,是什麼原因?

員外曾經發過誓說誰能讓他的女兒說話,她就把他的女兒嫁給誰。叫化聽了覺得反正都是去西天,我就順便幫幫他去問一下佛祖也好,於是叫化答應了。

乞丐又走了許多山路。走到一座山上看見一個廟,就進去討水喝。看見一個老和尚拄著一根錫杖,很老的樣子,但很精神,老和尚給了他水喝並且叫他休息一會,遂問他要到哪裡去。叫化子說明去向,老和尚趕緊拉住叫化的手說,拜託你一定幫我去西天問問佛祖。我都修行了500多年了,按說早該升天了,為什麼還飛不起來?於是叫化也就答應了這個老和尚。

再往前走,又過了許多溝溝坎坎。叫化子來到一條大江邊上,江裡沒有一條船。叫化子著急了,這可怎麼辦?怎麼過去?叫化子哭了起來說,難道我的命就該這麼苦嗎?突然,江裡一個大老龜浮出水面。老龜說人話了,問叫化子在這裡哭什麼?叫化子把事情經過說了一遍。老龜對他說,我都修行了1000多年了,按說早該成龍飛走了,為什麼還是一個老龜?如果你去了西天能夠幫我問問佛祖,我就把你馱到對面。叫化子很高興的答應了。

叫化子又走了不知多少天,可是怎麼也見不到佛祖。叫化子納悶了,心裡想到,佛祖到底在哪裡?西天按說早該到了啊。叫化子很傷心,於是迷迷糊糊的就睡著了。突然佛祖出現了,叫化子很高興,佛祖問叫化子,你這麼大老遠來這裡一定是有什麼很重要的事來問吧?叫化子說,是的,我要問幾個問題,希望佛祖能夠給我說個明白。

佛祖說好啊,不過有個條件,你最多只能問三個問題。因為一直以來都沒有人問三個以上的問題。叫化子答應了,心裡想到,我問哪幾個問題?

叫化子覺得自己的問題太不重要了,老龜修行了一千多年了很不容易,它的問題應該問問。老和尚修行了500多年了也很辛苦,他的問題也應該問問。員外的女兒很可憐啊,不能說話怎麼嫁的出去?他的問題也應該問問。

於是叫化子毫不猶豫的問了第一個問題。

佛祖告訴他,老龜是因為捨不得它那背上的龜殼才變不成龍的,它的龜殼裡有二十四顆夜明珠在裡面。如果它把龜殼去了,就可以化成龍了。

第二個問題佛祖回答,老和尚整天都拿著他的寶貝錫杖,心裡整天記掛著,他的錫杖是個寶物,用它在地上一扎,地上就會有清泉出現,如果老和尚捨得扔掉那個錫杖,他就可以升天了。

叫化子很高興,又問了第三個問題。佛祖回答,如果啞巴女孩見到她的心上人來了就會說話了,突然佛祖不見了。

叫化子覺得自己的事也沒有什麼,還是乞討過日子吧,於是就趕緊往回趕路。叫化子來到那個江邊,老龜已經算到叫化子該回來了,就急著問佛祖是怎麼說的?叫化子說,你先把我度過江去我給你說。老龜把叫化度了過去,叫化子說了緣由,老龜一聽就明白了,於是就把龜殼脫了下來送給叫化子說,這裡面有24顆夜明珠,是無價之寶,對我已經是沒有用處了,我就把它送給你了。於是老龜馬上就變成龍飛走了。

叫化子拿著24顆夜明珠又往回趕路。來到山上見了老和尚,老和尚急著問佛祖怎麼回答的?叫化子說了緣由,老和尚一聽非常高興,於是就把那個寶貝錫杖送給了叫化。老和尚馬上就騰雲飛走了。

叫化子來到員外家門口,突然從裡面跑出一個大姑娘大聲喊道:那個問佛祖話的人回來了。員外也跑了出來,他很吃驚他的女兒怎麼突然會說話了。叫化子說了佛祖的話,員外非常高興就把女兒嫁給叫化了。

愛出者愛返,福往者福來。

為別人著想,一定就有人想著你,這就是因果,這就是規律。

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