1. Story of the Buddha

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    Buddha3

    Siddhartha liked to watch what was happening and think about different things. One afternoon his father took him to the annual Ploughing Festival. The king started the ceremony by driving the first pair of beautifully decorated bullocks. Siddhartha sat down under a rose-apple tree and watched everyone. He noticed that while people were happily enjoying themselves, the bullocks had to work terribly hard and plough the field. They did not look happy at all.

    Then Siddhartha noticed various other creatures around him. He saw a lizard eating ants. But soon a snake came, caught the lizard, and ate it. Then, suddenly a bird came down from the sky, picked up the snake and so it was eaten also. Siddhartha realised that all these creatures might think that they were happy for a while, but that they ended up suffering.

    The king did not want his son to think about deep things in life too much, because he remembered that the wise men had predicted that his son might one day want to leave the palace and become a monk. So, in order to distract him, the king built Siddhartha a beautiful palace with a lovely garden to play in. But this did not stop the prince from thinking about the suffering and unhappiness that he noticed around him.

    Buddha and sonSiddhartha grew up to be a handsome young man of great strength. He was now of an age to get married. To stop Siddhartha from thinking of leaving home, King Suddhodana arranged for him to be married to his own beautiful cousin, Princess Yasodhara.

    Following the ancient tradition, Siddhartha had to prove how brave he was to be worthy of Yasodhara. In the presence of her parents he was asked to tame a wild horse. Siddhartha tamed the horse not by beating it, as some suitors might, but by talking to the horse to calm it and stroking it gently. Yasodhara wanted to marry the prince, and no one else. They were married in a great ceremony. Both were only sixteen years old.

    To stop the prince from thinking about unhappiness or leaving home, King Suddhodana built a pleasure palace for Siddhartha and Yasodhara. Dancers and singers were asked to entertain them, and only healthy and young people were allowed into the palace and the palace garden. The king did not want Siddhartha to know that everybody gets sick, grows old and will die. But in spite of the king’s efforts, the prince was not happy. He wanted to know what life was like for people who lived outside the palace walls.

    Finally, the king allowed Siddhartha to go on short visits to the nearby towns. He went with his attendant, Channa. On his first visit Siddhartha saw a white haired, wrinkled man dressed in rags. Such a sight surprised him, as he had never seen anyone old before. Channa explained to him that this man was old and that everyone will be old one day. Siddhartha felt frightened by that and asked Channa to take him back home. At night, he could not sleep and he kept on thinking about old age.

    Although Siddhartha felt frightened by the vision of getting old, he wanted to see more of the world outside. On his next visit, he saw a man lying on the ground and moaning. Out of compassion, he rushed over to the man. Channa warned him that the man was sick and that everyone, even noble people like Siddhartha or the king could get sick.

    On the third visit, Siddhartha and Channa saw four men carrying another man on a stretcher. Channa told Siddhartha that the man was dead and was going to be cremated. He also said that no one can escape death, and told the prince that everyone will die one day. When they returned to the palace, Siddhartha kept on thinking about what he had seen. Finally, he made a strong decision to find a way out of the suffering of old age, sickness and death.

    Buddha

    Some time later, while the prince was riding in the garden, he saw a man in a yellow robe. He noticed that the man looked very peaceful and happy. Channa explained to him that the man was a monk. The monk had left his family and given up his desire for pleasures to search for freedom from worldly suffering. The prince felt inspired by the sight of the monk and began to want to leave home to search for freedom in the same way. That day, his wife gave birth to a lovely baby boy. Although he loved the boy, Siddhartha could not rejoice because he wanted to become a monk. He realised that now it would be more difficult for him to leave home.

    From the day when he decided that he wanted to leave the palace the prince lost all interest in watching the dancing girls and other such pleasures. He kept on thinking instead about how to free himself and others from sickness, ageing and death. Finally, he decided he had to leave the palace and his family and become a homeless monk, in order to understand life and what caused suffering.

    One night, when everyone in the palace was asleep, Siddhartha asked Channa to prepare his horse, Kanthaka. In the meantime he went into the room where Yasodhara and their newborn boy Rahula slept. He was filled with loving-kindness towards them and promised himself that he would come back to see them. But first he had to understand why all creatures suffer, and find out how they could escape from suffering.

    In the silence of the night, Prince Siddhartha mounted Kanthaka. Accompanied by Channa, he left the palace and the city of Kapilavatthu. They stopped at a river some distance from the city and the prince took off his expensive dress and put on the robes of a monk. Then he told Channa to take the horse back to the palace. At first, both Channa and Kanthaka refused to go back, but Siddhartha insisted that he had to go on alone. With tears rolling down his face, Kanthaka watched as the prince walked out of sight.

    So, at the age of 29, Siddhartha began the homeless life of a monk. From Kapilavatthu, he walked south to the city of Rajagaha, the capital of the Magadha country. The king of this country was named Bimbisara. The morning after Siddhartha arrived, he went to the city and obtained his meal for the day by begging.

    Source: BuddhaNet
    Link to this article

  2. Prince Siddhartha was kind to everyone

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    Prince Siddhartha was kind to everyone. He was gentle with his horse and other animals. Because he was a prince his life was very easy, and he could have chosen to ignore the problems of others. But he felt sympathy for others. He knew that all creatures, including people, animals and all other living beings, like to be happy and don’t like suffering and pain.

    Siddhartha always took care not to do anything harmful to any creature. He liked to help others. For example, one day the prince saw one of the town boys beating a snake with a stick. He immediately stopped the boy, and told him not to hurt the snake.

    One day, Siddhartha was playing with his friends in the palace garden. One of the boys was his cousin, Prince Devadatta. While Siddhartha was gentle and kind, Devadatta was by nature cruel and liked to kill other creatures. While they were playing, Devadatta shot a swan with his bow and arrow. It was badly wounded. But Siddhartha took care of the swan until its wounds healed. When the swan was well again, he let it go free. Source: BuddhaNet

    From left: Prince Siddhartha and his cousin [Buddha’s enemy], Devadatta.

    From left: Prince Siddhartha and his cousin [Buddha’s enemy], Devadatta.

  3. The case of the hollow canes

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    Photo credit: Randy Neufeldt

    Photo credit: Randy Neufeldt

    Buddha told this story while journeying through Kosala. When he came to the village of Nalakapana (Cane-drink Village), he stayed near the Nalakapana Lake. One day, after bathing in the pool, the monks asked the novices to fetch them some canes for needle-cases. After getting the canes, however, the monks discovered that, rather than having joints like common canes, the canes were completely hollow.

    Surprised, they went to Buddha and said, “Venerable Sir, we wanted to make needle-cases out of these canes, but from top to bottom they are quite hollow. How can that be?”

    “Monks,” said Buddha, “this was my doing in days gone by.” Then he told this story of the past.

    Long, long ago, on this spot there was a lake, surrounded by a thick forest. In those days the Bodhisatta was born as the king of the monkeys. As large as the fawn of a red deer, he was the wise leader of eighty thousand monkeys that lived in that forest.

    He carefully counseled his followers: “My friends, in this forest there are trees that are poisonous and lakes that are haunted by ogres. Remember always to ask me first before eating any fruit you have not eaten before or drinking any water from a source you have not drunk from before.”

    “Certainly,” the monkeys agreed.

    One day while roaming the jungle, the monkey troop came to an area they had never before visited. Thirsty after their day’s wanderings, they searched for water and found this beautiful lake. Remembering their master’s warning, the monkeys refrained from drinking. They sat and waited for their leader. When he joined them he asked, ” Well, my friends, why don’t you drink?”

    “We waited for you to come.” Continue reading

  4. The turtle who saved lives

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    The Jatakas

    A story that is often depicted in Buddhist art is the one where the Buddha in a previous life is a Bodhisattva-turtle (that is: a turtle who has vowed to save all sentient beings).

    A group of merchants were sailing, when a storm hit. The giant Bodhisattva-turtle saw the ship wrek and saved the merchants by letting them climb on his back. He brought them safely to land. Tired from the long swim and heavy load he fell asleep on the sand.

    The merchants were hungryand thirsty and after the ordeal were still not sure of their lives. They discussed amongst themselves how to find food. One of them said that they should kill and eat the turtle.

    The Bodhisattva-turtle heard this and out of compassion for the merchants, decided to stay put and be eaten.

    Jatakas are stories of previous lifetimes of the Buddha.

    Source: katinkahesselink.net

    buddha and turtle

  5. How the Buddha handled insults

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    BuddhawithRahula

    The Buddha was an absolute master in debate.

    People from all over India would come to the Buddha to ask him questions and sometimes, to try to defeat him in debate. And it’s a great to see how the Buddha actually handled himself against these people – because sometimes, he would come up with the coolest answers!

    The Story of Akkosa

    In the Akkosa Sutta, a man named Akkosa found out that one of his clansmen had just become a disciple of the Buddha. Outraged, Akkosa went to the Buddha to give the Buddha a piece of his mind – he hurled abuse and insults at the Buddha, telling the Buddha what he thought of him in no uncertain terms.

    The Buddha was unmoved in the slightest by this barrage of insults and just asked a question in return:

    “Do you sometimes receive visitors as guests?”

    “Yes I do” replied Akkosa.

    “And when they come, do you offer them food and drink and courtesies?” asked the Buddha.

    “Yes, sometimes I do” Akkosa said.

    “So what if your guests don’t accept what you offer to them – where do the food, drink and courtesies return to?”

    “They return to me of course!” Akkosa answered.

    “Akkosa, you came here today, hurling insults and abuse at me. I do not accept what you have offered. So where do these insults and abuse return?”

    Akkosa got the picture.

    Isn’t that so funny! Akkosa was even won over by how calm the Buddha was in the face of insult – how the Buddha didn’t retaliate with anger against his angry attacks. Akkosa was also won over by wisdom.

    Source: Essence of Buddhism

     

  6. Ananda — The Man Whom Everybody Liked

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    AnandaThe Buddha was always accompanied by an attendant whose job it was to run messages for him, prepare his seat and to attend to his personal needs. For the first twenty years of his ministry, he had several attendants, Nagasamala, Upavana, Nagita, Cunda, Radha and others, but none of them proved to be suitable. One day, when he decided to replace his present attendant, he called all the monks together and addressed them: “I am now getting old and wish to have someone as a permanent attendant who will obey my wishes in every way. Which of you would like to be my attendant?” All the monks enthusiastically offered their services, except Ananda, who modestly sat at the back in silence. Later, when asked why he had not volunteered he replied that the Buddha knew best who to pick. When the Buddha indicated that he would like Ananda to be his personal attendant, Ananda said he would accept the position, but only on several conditions. The first four conditions were that the Buddha should never give him any of the food that he received, nor any of the robes, that he should not be given any special accommodation, and that he would not have to accompany the Buddha when he accepted invitations to people’s homes. Ananda insisted on these four conditions because he did not want people to think that he was serving the Buddha out of desire for material gain. The last four conditions were related to Ananda’s desire to help in the promotion of the Dharma. These conditions were: that if he was invited to a meal, he could transfer the invitation to the Buddha; that if people came from outlying areas to see the Buddha, he would have the privilege of introducing them; that if he had any doubts about the Dharma, he should be able to talk to the Buddha about them at any time and that if the Buddha gave a discourse in his absence, he would later repeat it in his presence. The Buddha smilingly accepted these conditions and thus began a relationship between the two men that was to last for the next twenty-five years.

    Ananda was born in Kapilavatthu and was the Buddha’s cousin, being the son of Amitodana, the brother of the Buddha’s father, Suddhodana. It was during the Buddha’s first trip back to Kapilavatthu after his enlightenment that Ananda, along with his brother Anuruddha and his cousin Devadatta, became a monk. He proved to be a willing and diligent student and within a year he became a Stream-Winner. The monk’s life gave Ananda great happiness and his quiet, unassuming nature meant that he was little noticed by the others until he was selected to be the Buddha’s personal attendant. While some people develop the qualities that lead to enlightenment through meditation or study, Ananda did it through the love and concern he had for others. Just before the Buddha attained final Nirvana, Ananda began to cry, saying to himself: “Alas, I am still a learner with much still to do. And the teacher is passing away, he who was so compassionate to me.” The Buddha called Ananda into his presence and reassured him that he had developed his mind to a very high degree through his selflessness and love and that if he made just a bit more effort he too would attain enlightenment.

    Sick monk with Buddha and Ananda

    “Enough, Ananda, do not weep and cry. Have I not already told that all things that are pleasant and delightful are also changeable, subject to separateness and impermanence? So how could they not pass away? Ananda, for a long time you have been in my presence, showing loving-kindness with body, speech and mind, helpfully, blessedly, whole-heartedly, and unstingily. You have made much merit, Ananda. Make an effort and very soon you will be free from the defilements.”

    Ananda’s selflessness expressed itself in three ways – through his service to the Buddha, through his unstinting kindness to his fellow disciples, both ordained and lay, and also to future generations through the crucial role he had to play in the preservation and transmission of the Dharma.

    As the Buddha’s personal attendant Ananda strived to free the Buddha from as many mundane activities as possible so he could concentrate on teaching the Dharma and helping people. To that end, he washed and mended the Buddha’s robe, tidied his living quarters, washed his feet, massaged his back and when he was meditating or talking, stood behind him keeping him cool with a fan. He slept near the Buddha so as to always be at hand and accompanied him when he did his round of the monasteries. He would call monks whom the Buddha wished to see and kept people away when the Buddha wished to rest or to be alone. In his role as servant, secretary, go-between and confidant, Ananda was always patient, tireless and unobtrusive, usually anticipating the Buddha’s needs.

    Ananda-bodhi_treeAlthough Ananda’s main job was to take care of the Buddha’s needs, he always had time to be of service to others as well. He would often give talks on Dharma and indeed such a skilful teacher was he that sometimes the Buddha would ask him to give a talk in his place, or finish a talk that he had begun.[ N2 ] We are told that when the Buddha would have his afternoon rests, Ananda would take advantage of the spare time to go and visit those who were sick, to talk to them, cheer them up or try to get medicine for them. Once he heard of a very poor family struggling to bring up two young sons. Knowing that the boys faced a very grim future and feeling that something had to be done to help them, Ananda got permission from the Buddha to ordain them, thus giving them a chance in life.[ N3 ]

    Life in the Sangha was not always easy for nuns. Most monks kept away from them, not wanting to be tempted. Some even discriminated against them. Ananda, on the other hand, was always ready to help them. It was he who encouraged the Buddha to ordain the first nuns, he was always ready to give Dharma talks to nuns and laywomen and encourage them in their practice, and they in turn often sought him out because of his sympathy for them.[ N4 ]

    The Buddha once said that of all his disciples, Ananda was pre-eminent of those who had heard much Dharma, who had a good memory, who had mastered the sequential order of what he had remembered and who was energetic.[ N5 ] The Buddha could not write, indeed, although writing was known at the time, it was little used. Both during his life and for several centuries after his final Nirvana, his words were committed to memory and transmitted from one person to another. Ananda’s highly developed memory, plus the fact that he was constantly at the Buddha’s side, meant that he, more than any other person, was responsible for preserving and transmitting the Buddha’s teachings. By this, it is not meant that Ananda remembered the Buddha’s words verbatim – this would have been neither possible nor necessary, as understanding the Dharma is not dependent on the arrangement of words and sentences but on the comprehension of the meaning of the words. Rather, Ananda remembered the gist of what the Buddha had said, to whom he said it, particularly important or prominent phrases, similes or parables that were used and also the sequence in which all the ideas were presented. Ananda would repeat what he had heard and remembered to others and gradually a large body of oral teachings developed. This meant that people far from the Buddha’s presence could hear his teachings without the aid of books or the necessity of having to travel long distances.

    Buddha3After the Buddha’s final Nirvana five hundred enlightened monks convened a Council at Rajagaha for the purpose of collecting all the Buddha’s teachings and committing them to memory so they could be handed down to future generations. Because he knew so much Dharma it was essential that Ananda be present, but he was not yet enlightened. Now that he no longer had to look after the Buddha’s needs, he had more time to meditate and so he began to practise with exceptional diligence, hoping that he could attain enlightenment before the Council started. As the time for the Council’s commencement got closer, he practised harder and harder. During the evening before the Council he sat meditating, convinced that he would not be able to attain enlightenment by the next morning. So he gave up and decided to lie down and sleep. As his head touched the pillow he became enlightened. Ananda was warmly welcomed at the Council the next day and over the following months he recited thousands of discourses that he had heard, commencing each recitation with the words: ‘Thus have I heard’ (Evam me sutam). Because of his enormous contributions to the preservation of the Dharma, Ananda was sometimes known as: ‘The Keeper of the Dharma Store’ (Dharmabhandagarika). Because of his qualities of kindness, patience and helpfulness, Ananda was one of those rare people who seemed to be able to get along with everybody and whom everybody liked. Just before his final Nirvana, the Buddha praised Ananda in the company of the monks by thanking him for his years of loyal and loving friendship and service. “Monks, all those who were fully enlightened Buddhas in the past had a chief attendant like Ananda, as will all those who will be fully enlightened Buddhas in the future. Ananda is wise. He knows when it is the right time for monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, kings, ministers, the leaders of other sects or their pupils to come and see me. Ananda has four remarkable and wonderful qualities. What four? If a company of monks comes to see Ananda, they are pleased at the sight of him, and when he teaches Dharma to them they are pleased, and when he finishes they are disappointed. And it is the same for nuns, laymen and laywomen.”[ N6 ]

    It is not known when or where Ananda passed away but, according to tradition, he lived to a ripe old age. When Fa Hien, the famous Chinese pilgrim, visited India in the 5th century CE, he reported seeing a stupa containing Ananda’s ashes, and that nuns in particular had high regard for his memory.

    Source: BuddhaNet

     

  7. The Golden Bowl

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    Buddha and Sujata

    Buddha and Sujata

    Now at the time, in a nearby village called Senani, there lived a young, very beautiful and rich girl called Sujata, who wanted a husband of equal rank and a son. She had waited for many years and she was not successful. The people told her that she must go to certain banyan tree near the Neranjara river and pray to the tree-god to give her a husband and son. She did as the people told her and later on she got married to a young man and they had a lovely son. She was extremely happy and decided to fulfil her vow to the tree-god for giving her all that she had asked for.

    Sujata had a thousand cows, and she fed them with sweet creepers called valmee so that the cow’s milk was sweet. She milked these thousand cows and fed that milk to five hundred cows, and then fed their milk to two hundred and fifty cows and so on until she fed only eight cows. She did this to get the sweetest and most nourishing milk, to make delicious milk-rice as an offering to the tree-god.

    As she was doing this she was surprised to see her servant running back from cleaning and preparing the area at the foot of the banyan tree. Very happy and excited, the servant said, “My lady Sujata! The banyan god is meditating at the foot of the tree. How lucky you must be to have the god in person to accept your food.”

    Sujata too was happy and excited and danced with joy with the servant. They then took even more pains to prepare the milk-rice, pouring it into a golden bowl.

    Taking the delicious milk-rice both of them went to the banyan tree and Sujata saw what she perceived to be a holy man. He was handsome and golden looking and sat serenely in meditation. She did not know that he was in fact Ascetic Gotama. She bowed with respect and said, “Lord, accept my donation of milk-rice. May you be successful in obtaining your wishes as I have been.”

    Ascetic Gotama ate the sweet thick milk-rice and then bathed in the river Neranjara. This was the last food and bath he would have for seven weeks. When he finished he took the golden bowl and threw it in the river, saying, “If I am to succeed in becoming a Buddha today, let this bowl go upstream, but if not, let it go downstream.” The golden bowl went upstream, all the while keeping in the middle of the river.

    Life of the Buddha
    Source: BuddhaNat
    Link to this story

  8. Educating Compassion

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    Anathapindikaby Thanissaro Bhikkhu

    If you have any friends or family members who are sick or dying, I know of no one who would tell you to treat them in a hardhearted way. Everyone would agree that you should be as compassionate as you can. The problem is that there’s little agreement on how compassion translates into specific actions. For some people, compassion means extending life as long as possible; for others it means terminating life — through assisted suicide or euthanasia — when quality of life falls below a certain level. And neither of these two groups sees the other as compassionate at all. The first sees the second as criminal; the second sees the first as heartless and cruel.

    For those of us trying to negotiate the murky territory between these two extremes, there’s not much reliable guidance. Ours is a culture that doesn’t like to think about illness and death, and as a result, when faced with someone who’s sick or dying, we’re at a loss as to what to do. Some people will advise you simply to do what feels right, but feelings have a way of turning slippery and devious. Some things feel right simply because they make you feel good, regardless of whether they’re genuinely right for the other person. A desire to extend life may mask a deeper fear of your own death; a desire to terminate a miserable illness may rationalize your distress at having to witness suffering. Even if you’re told to act from a place of mindful presence, you may find that what seem to be your spontaneous inspirations are actually conditioned by hidden, unexamined assumptions about what life and death are all about.

    This is why the simple injunction to be compassionate or mindful in the presence of a sick or dying person isn’t enough. We need help in educating our compassion: specific advice on how to think through the implications of our actions in the face of life and death, and specific examples of how people who have contemplated these issues thoroughly have actually acted in the past.

    With this thought in mind, I searched through the Pali canon — the oldest extant record of the Buddha’s teachings — to see what lessons could be drawn from the Buddha’s example. After all, the Buddha often referred to himself as a doctor, and to his Dharma as medicine for the sufferings of the world. From his point of view, we’re all sick and dying on a subtle level, so we all deserve continual compassion. But what sort of advice did this doctor give when face-to-face with the flesh and blood suffering of illness and death? How did he treat people who were physically sick or dying? Continue reading

  9. The Buddha

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    This documentary by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin and narrated by Richard Gere, tells the story of the Buddha’s life, a journey especially relevant to our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion. It features the work of some of the world’s greatest artists and sculptors, who across two millenia, have depicted the Buddha’s life in art rich in beauty and complexity.

    Hear insights into the ancient narrative by contemporary Buddhists, including Pulitzer Prize winning poet W.S. Merwin and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Join the conversation and learn more about meditation, the history of Buddhism, and how to incorporate the Buddha’s teachings on compassion and mindfulness into daily life.

  10. Queen Maha Maya’s Dream

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    Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice… No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out. ~Thich Nhat Hạnh

    Queen Siri Mahamaya Devi

    The Dream of Queen Siri Mahamaya Devi

    More than 2,500 years ago, there was a king called Suddhodana. He married a beautiful Koliyan princess named Maha Maya. The couple ruled over the Sakyas, a warrior tribe living next to the Koliya tribe, in the north of India, in what is now known as Nepal. The capital of the Sakya country was laid out across the foothills of the Himalayas and called Kapilavatthu.

    Queen Maha Maya was the daughter of King Anjana of the Koliyas. Such was her beauty that the name Maya, meaning “vision” was given to her. But it was Maya’s virtues and talents that were her most wonderful qualities, for she was endowed with the highest gifts of intelligence and piety. King Suddhodana was indeed worthy of his lovely wife. He himself was called “King of the Law” because he ruled according to the law. There was no other man among the Sakyas more honored and respected. The king was admired by his nobles and courtiers, as well as by the householders and merchants. Such was the noble family from which the Buddha was to arise.

    One full moon night, sleeping in the palace, the queen had a vivid dream. She felt herself being carried away by four devas (spirits) to Lake Anotatta in the Himalayas. After bathing her in the lake, the devas clothed her in heavenly cloths, anointed her with perfumes, and bedecked her with divine flowers. Soon after a white elephant, holding a white lotus flower in its trunk, appeared and went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side. Finally the elephant disappeared and the queen awoke, knowing she had been delivered an important message, as the elephant is a symbol of greatness in Nepal. The next day, early in the morning, the queen told the king about the dream. The king was puzzled and sent for some wise men to discover the meaning of the dream.

    The wise men said, “Your Majesty, you are very lucky. The devas have chosen our queen as the mother of the Purest-One and the child will become a very great being.” The king and queen were very happy when they heard this.

    They were so pleased that they invited many of the noblemen in the country to the palace to a feast to tell them the good news. Even the needy were not forgotten. Food and clothes were given to the poor people in celebration. The whole kingdom waited eagerly for the birth of the new prince, and Queen Maya enjoyed a happy and healthy pregnancy, living a pure life for herself and her unborn child.

    Life of the Buddha
    Source: BuddhaNet

  11. The tale of the two parrots

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    Buddha's MotherThis is a story of two parrots, who loved to travel far and wide in search of food and visit new places. These two beautiful birds were brothers named Radha and Potthapada. Once, they entered the palace gardens and were caught in a trap laid for birds. Both Radha and Potthapada were brought before the king, who just could not keep his eyes off the stunning birds. The king ordered his men that the birds be kept in a special cage made of gold. They were fed the choicest foods everyday.

    Radha and Potthapada were the toast of the king’s palace. Royal guests would stand by the golden cage and admire the birds. Life was very comfortable for them until the day a huge ape was brought to the palace. The ugly ape was named Kalabahu. Soon, all attention that was reserved for the parrots was now Kalabahu’s. People had not seen such a huge ape before. Kalabahu became the center of attraction of all the royal guests and palace officials. They would pour in to have a good look at the ape and his antics that made everyone roar with laughter. As a result, both the parrots started feeling neglected. Nobody cared whether they were fed on time or not.

    Potthapada, the younger of the two parrots, was deeply hurt. He confided in his elder brother, “Let us leave here and go elsewhere. Nobody cares for us anymore.” Radha, wiser of the two, replied, “Potthapada, my brother, do not feel so sad. Attention, praise and blame, and honor and dishonor are temporary facets of life. Soon, people will get tired of the ape’s antics and know your true worth.”

    And, sure enough, people started disliking the ape, as he began misbehaving and fooling around a bit too much. The king also found his acts offensive, and ordered Kalabahu to be sent back to the forest. People started paying all their attention to the well-behaved and beautiful parrots once again. And, did you know who the intelligent Radha was? He was Buddha in one of his earlier births.

    Moral: True worth and ability are always given their due ultimately.

    Source: http://www.jatakkatha.com

  12. Mara and the Buddha – Embracing our Suffering

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    Buddha and Mara

    Mara’s three daughters were stripping in front of Buddha; but failed to entice the Buddha.

     

    by Thich Nhat Hanh, August 4, 2013

    I would like to tell you a story that took place a number of years ago. One day I saw the Venerable Ananda—you know who he is? Ananda is a cousin of the Buddha, a very handsome man with a very good memory. He memorized everything the Buddha said, and after the Buddha passed away, he repeated exactly what the Buddha said during his life. Then other monks tried to learn and memorize also. Later on, all this was put down into writing and that is why we have the Sutras today. “Sutras” means the teaching of the Buddha in written form. They exist in Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, and in Vietnamese, but originally it was in a kind of Bengali, very close to Pali and Sanskrit.

    One day I saw the Venerable Ananda practicing walking meditation in front of the hut of the Buddha. You know, Ananda became a monk, a student of the Buddha. He was the attendant of the Buddha during many years. He took very good care of the Buddha. Of course, the Buddha loved him and there were people who were jealous of him. Sometimes Ananda was so concerned about the happiness of the Buddha that he forgot about himself. Sometimes he did not enjoy what was there in the present moment, being much younger than the Buddha.

    One day standing on the hill looking down, the Buddha saw beautiful rice fields. The rice was ripe, about to be harvested. But because Ananda was only thinking of how to make the Buddha comfortable, he didn’t see it. So the Buddha pointed to the rice fields below and said, “Ananda can you see it’s beautiful?” It was like a bell of mindfulness—suddenly Ananda saw that the rice fields down there were so beautiful. The Buddha smiled and said, “Ananda, I want the robes of the monks and the nuns to be designed in the form of rice fields—golden colors like the rice that is already ripe, small portions of the rice fields like that.” Ananda said, “Yes, that is possible, I will go tell my brothers and from now on we will make the sanghati, the robes of the monks and nuns, in the form of rice fields.”

    Another time when Ananda was with the Buddha, north of the Gangha River in the city of Vaisali, the Buddha pointed to the city, the trees, and the hills, and said to Ananda “Don’t you see Vaisali is beautiful?” Then Ananda took the time to look at the beauty of the city. Continue reading

  13. Bodhisattva – The Elephant

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    elephant

     

    A Tale of Self Sacrifice.

    At one time, the Bodhisattva took birth as a large Elephant. He lived in a forest far from civilization. The forest contained a lake that was both deep and wide and the entire wilderness was surrounded on all sides by an expansive desert. This beautiful oasis was well suited for the elephant as well as other smaller creatures. Delicious fruit grew on the trees, young shrubs carpeted the earth, and the whole area was bordered with high mountains. The Elephant lived alone as an ascetic and sustained his large body only on leaves and lotus roots, dedicating his time to contemplation on the virtues of contentment and tranquility.

    One day while wandering along the forests edge, the Bodhisattva Elephant heard the cries of humans coming from the desert. Their cries began to get louder; surely they were approaching the oasis.

    Urged by compassion, he ran towards them swiftly and when they came into sight he saw that it was a large group of men, women, and children, all nearly dead from starvation and thirst. Noticing that they were fearful of him, he called out in a human voice and stated that they need not be frightened. Upon hearing such peaceful and comforting words the people regained their composure and humbly greeted him.

    The elders explained that they had been banished by an angry king and that many of them had already died in the desert. The kind Elephant realized that all the fruit in the forest would not be enough to feed them for even a day. He resolved that he must offer his own flesh as food and his organs and intestines as bags to carry water on their journey. He then instructed the people on how to find the great lake and said that just beyond it they would find the corpse of an elephant that had fallen from a mountaintop, not telling them that it would be his own corpse. As the group set out towards the water, he quickly, by another route, started to ascend the mountain. Upon reaching the top he then, feeling great joy and oblivious of the impending painful death below, hurled himself over the edge of the precipice. The impact sounded like an earthquake throughout the entire forest. Continue reading

  14. The Buddha, in one of his former lives, was in Hell

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    JendhamuniholdingcameraJendhamuni: Even in Hell there was Compassion… This is a beautiful and powerful dhamma talk given by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh. The story I will remember till my last breath.

    Today I would like to speak a little bit about Heaven, or Paradise, and Hell. I have been in Paradise, and I have been in Hell also, so I have some experience to share with you. I think if you remember well, you know that you have also been in Paradise, and you have also been in Hell. Hell is hot, and it is difficult.

    The Buddha, in one of his former lives, was in Hell. Before he became a Buddha he had suffered a lot in many lives. He made a lot of mistakes, like all of us. He made himself suffer, and he made people around him suffer. Sometimes he made very big mistakes, and that is why in one of his previous lives he was in Hell. There is a collection of stories about the lives of the Buddha, and there are many hundreds of stories like that. These stories are collected under the title Jataka Tales. Among these hundreds of stories, I remember one very vividly. I was seven years old, very young, and I read that story about the Buddha, and I was very shocked. But I did not fully understand that story.

    The Buddha was in Hell because he had done something wrong, extremely wrong, that caused a lot of suffering to himself and to others. That is why he found himself in Hell. In that life of his, he hit the bottom of suffering, because that Hell was the worst of all Hells. With him there was another man, and together they had to work very hard, under the direction of a soldier who was in charge of Hell. It was dark, it was cold, and at the same time it was very hot. The guard did not seem to have a heart. It did not seem that he knew anything about suffering. He did not know anything about the feelings of other people, so he just beat up the two men in Hell. He was in charge of the two men, and his task was to make them suffer as much as possible.

    I think that guard also suffered a lot. It looked like he didn’t have any compassion within him. It looked like he didn’t have any love in his heart. It looked like he did not have a heart. He behaved like a robber. When looking at him, when listening to him, it did not seem that one could contact a human being, because he was so brutal. He was not sensitive to people’s suffering and pain. That is why he was beating the two men in Hell, and making them suffer a lot. And the Buddha was one of these two men in one of his previous lives. Continue reading

  15. History of Magha Puja

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    History of Magha Puja
    Compiled by Ven. Munindathero Maha Nhor Tepmony
    Read by Jendhamuni Sos

    இڿڰۣ-ڰۣ¬~♥

     

    Magha Puja Day: The Day of Four Marvelous Events

    Magha Puja Day is one of the most important Buddhist holy day. It is also called as “The Day of Four Marvelous Events.” Why is it so important?

    Magha Puja Day has been announced to be one of the most important holy days in Buddhism because there were four marvelous events happening over 2,500 years ago. This day is an important Buddhist holy day because of Dhamma. The Lord Buddha taught the Dhamma Principles and his teachings for the assembled arahants in that day to disseminate and save the beings from sin.

    Magha Puja Day is the special holy day which usually falls on the full moon day of the 3rd lunar month, sometimes the Buddhists call “the day which the moon is occupying the Magha auspicious time”. The Buddhists usually do the activities and ceremonies on Magha Puja Day in the middle of the 3rd lunar month, but if there is 2 times of the 8th lunar month, the activities will delay to do in the middle of the 4th lunar month. The Magha Day is important because it is the meeting anniversary of the arahants who assembled without any schedule. This day is also called to be “The Day of Four Marvelous Events” which occurred at the Veluvana Maha Vihara after the Lord Buddha had enlightened for 9 months.

    meakbuchea855a Continue reading

Khmer Tipitaka 1 – 110

Khmer Tipitaka 1 – 110

The Tipitaka or Pali canon, is the collection of primary Pali language texts which form the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism. The three divisions of the Tipitaka are: Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Abhidhamma Pitaka. ព្រះត្រៃបិដក ប្រែថា កញ្រ្ចែង ឬ ល្អី​ ៣ សម្រាប់ដាក់ផ្ទុកពាក្យពេចន៍នៃព្រះសម្មាសម្ពុទ្ធ

Listen to Khmer literature and Dhamma talk by His Holiness Jotannano Chuon Nath, Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia Buddhism.

Jendhamuni

As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, so the wise are not shaken by blame and praise. As a deep lake is clear and calm, so the wise become tranquil after they listened to the truth... Good people walk on regardless of what happens to them. Good people do not babble on about their desires. Whether touched by happiness or by sorrow, the wise never appear elated or depressed… ~The Dhammapada

Should anyone wish to ridicule me and make me an object of jest and scorn why should I possibly care if I have dedicated myself to others?

Let them do as they wish with me so long as it does not harm them. May no one who encounters me ever have an insignificant contact.

Regardless whether those whom I meet respond towards me with anger or faith, may the mere fact of our meeting contribute to the fulfilment of their wishes.

May the slander, harm and all forms of abuse that anyone should direct towards me act as a cause of their enlightenment.

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