Every day you give a child candy. You do it very often and happily. That child would have also loved you. Every day he sees you, he smiles and runs to get candy.
But then one day, you pat it on the head and say, “The candy is out.” Suddenly you find it very different. It screams that you are stingy, you are evil. Or it went around to slander you.
This story teaches us that: When you give someone something so much that it becomes habitual, they won’t see it as a gift but as your responsibility. And when you don’t give them what they want, they will immediately turn against you. For many people, even if you give them candy every day, they only remember every single day that you didn’t give them!
One day, when the Buddha was preaching his teachings to his disciples under a big tree, suddenly a Brahmin monk came to insult him and intend to attack him. But under the wisdom gaze of a fully enlightened being, he reacted to anger with complete silence.
At that time, because he was so surprised at the Buddha’s behavior, the Brahmin man asked the Buddha why he silently listened to him curse. The Buddha replied calmly: “If I give you a gift and you do not accept it, to whom does the gift belong? “Belongs to me,” replied the man. The Buddha nodded and explained: “In the same way, you curse me, I don’t accept it.”
This story teaches us that: Although some people decide to waste their time and energy on us with insults, we do have a choice as to whether we should take it or not. Just like we choose to accept the gift or return it to the giver. If you accept, you take the gift, otherwise the person who offended you is simply a pitiful person left with their negative behavior.
A large lock was hung on the door, no matter how much force was used, there was no way to open it. However, when the key, a small and insignificant object, was inserted, with just a slight flick, the lock was opened.
Many people feel wondering: “Why can’t we open the lock even if we use all our strength, but this small key only opens when it’s put in?”.
The key said, “Because I know the inside of it best.”
This story teaches us that: The inside of each person is like a lock hanging on the other door, no matter how you try to get in, you can’t get in. Only by paying attention and turning oneself into a meticulous and delicate key can one enter the innermost thoughts of others and understand others.
One heart for the Tao
One spring morning, a King with a reputation for benevolence came to the villages and hamlets, visiting the masses and giving Tet gifts to the poor. This is also an opportunity for the king to learn about the lives and emotions of the people.
The king often encouraged people to worship the Three Jewels and practice vegetarianism. In addition, he also does good deeds, is filial to his parents, and gets along with his brothers. He spared the tax collectors for all who followed His counsel.
Everyone followed suit. Unexpectedly, on the surface they wore a mask of hypocrisy to cover up their evil and sinister actions. Thanks to the experience that day, the new day understood people’s hearts. Since then, he has always thought of solutions to improve the people.
One week, the happy family passed the edict: “From now on, anyone who still eats vegetarian food and recites the Buddha’s name will be sentenced to death. Those who do not follow Buddhism will be free and enjoy their jobs.”
Of course, the fake people all return to the same action, no longer have to hide anything.
One morning, however, a frail, tattered old man was brought to the court yard. This old man did not obey the king’s orders but still converted to Buddhism. He thought: “I have been poor for a long time. I only had one meal of vegetables all day, but I took refuge in the Three Jewels. Hearing the teachings of the Buddhas, our hearts are filled with joy. And even if we live a rich life on jewels or ivory, or go to Heaven to enjoy the life of a fairy forever without hearing a Buddhist scripture, it is just a prison for us.”
The old man affirmed:
– “Your Majesty, this poor person has committed a crime of disobeying your orders, please just cut off his head”.
– If you know how to repent and comply with my new decree, I will forgive your sins and give you the title. As for the people who do not obey the national law, I will execute them by guillotine to deter illegal people in the future.
Reverend old man:
“Your Majesty, if you forsake the righteous Dharma and upset kings, even if you enjoy all the pleasures in this world, the poor will not be greedy.”
“If you disobey my orders, I will immediately execute you.”
“Your Majesty, it is said in the Buddha’s Sutra: “If sentient beings commit themselves to the three evil paths, it will be difficult for them to be human. Even if you are a human, you cannot be born in a virtuous country. Can’t see Buddhist scriptures, can’t meet high monks to make offerings and listen to the Dharma.” Now that I know the Dharma of the Three Jewels, I understand a little bit of Buddhist scriptures, so maybe in my previous life I practiced very hard. Then even if Your Majesty puts me in boiling water or burns it in a red fire, I will still have one faith in the Three Jewels.”
The house has a low voice:
“Who are you to be gentle with me? Before death, but still brave.”
– “My name is Thanh Tien Su, Your Majesty, regardless of the punishment, I never complain or beg for anything.”
Soon, the king sent soldiers to escort the old man to the execution ground.
Before the execution ground, shining swords were ready to be raised to his neck. Thanh Tien Su was still calmly happy and advised his son before saying goodbye:
“My son, you were born in a time when there was Buddha Dharma, knowing that worshiping the Three Jewels is a blessing and virtue for you. You should firmly study and follow my example, even if my head has to fall because of the king’s strict decree. Father is still happy and determined to follow the righteous path and never give up.”
As soon as he finished speaking, the courtier ordered the soldiers to lead the old man back to the court.
When the courtier returned to tell the advice of Thanh Tien Su’s son. The king was moved to the point of tears. He stepped down from the dragon pedestal, went to the city gate and hugged Thanh Tien Su. Everyone was surprised. The old man also stared at the king because he did not understand what was going on. The king brought him to the palace in a gracious and happy manner, but Thanh Tien Su did not know anything, so he could only bow his head to the ground to thank the king. The king immediately took Thanh Tien Su’s hand and said intimately:
– “In this nation, there is only one Thanh Tien Su. There is only one Thanh Tien Su who faithfully follows the Buddha’s teachings, with a single heart for the cause. In addition, they are all lies and self-interest. My edict issued is only to test people’s hearts only. So from now on, please live with me and help me in spreading the Buddha Dharma and awakening people’s hearts.”
Then the two talked happily. Then the king appointed Thanh Tien Su the title of General of the country.
The story was widely circulated among the people. Since then, the alarm bell has been ringing in everyone’s soul. Before long, the people were living in a peaceful, happy situation. Everyone returns to Buddhism.
That King was the forerunner of Shakyamuni Buddha.
This story teaches us that: Every time a person is happy or suffering, or a person is on the verge of birth and death, tormented by disease, suffering, and incurable. …. Everyone looks to Buddhism as a way to ease their pain and pain as well as find the light to save their lives.
Among the Buddha’s cousins, Devadatta was always jealous and determined to harm the Buddha. One day, while Shakyamuni Buddha was standing on the side of Linh Thuu mountain, Devadatta climbed to the top, pushed a huge rock to roll down right where he was standing. Fortunately, when it rolled down near the Buddha, the rock was blocked by other rock formations. However, the thrust and weight of the rock on impact caused it to break and scatter a few small pieces. A piece of it hit the Buddha’s left leg, injuring him, bleeding profusely.
As for Devadatta, later he fell seriously ill for many years, just stayed in one place, couldn’t go anywhere, his previous supporters did not come to visit. During his illness, he had plenty of time to reflect on his gains and losses, successes and failures, and reflect on his actions in previous years. The Venerable had sincerely repented, and wanted to see the Buddha before he died. At that time, the Venerable Master was already very weak, seeing the Buddha standing in front of him but could not sit up, he could only stare at the Buddha with eyes begging for forgiveness. Finally, with great effort, the Venerable Master could only say one sentence: “Disciples take refuge in the Buddha.” The Buddha put his hand on his forehead to comfort and accept the venerable’s repentance.
No one has a noble character, developing loving-kindness and compassion like the Buddha did in his time. Even with those who intend to harm him, He is still merciful and tolerant and forgives them. As for us today, sometimes we still use our eyes to judge and misunderstand others and then cause a lot of suffering to ourselves.
This story teaches us that: Less resentment, more forgiveness is the practice of bringing happiness according to the Buddha’s teachings.
Late one afternoon, in a certain alley, one saw an old woman with a thin appearance. She seems to have lost something and is looking for it. “I’m looking for the needle,” said the old woman. All the people there started looking for needles with her. After searching for a while and couldn’t find it, people gradually lost their patience and asked the old woman: “The road is long and the needle is very small, where exactly did you drop the needle?” “Inside my house,” said the old woman. Hearing that, someone shouted angrily:
“Are you confused! If you dropped a needle in the house, why are you looking out here?” The old woman bluntly replied, “Because it’s sunny out here, but it’s not in the house.”
This story teaches us that: Many times for the sake of convenience, we look for value on the outside when it’s actually found on the inside. Why do we seek happiness outside of ourselves? Is it because we lost it there?
King Asoka returns to Buddhism
When the Buddha was still in the world, he blessed the kings and great ministers with the righteous Dharma, in order to spread the Buddhadharma more widely.
King Asoka was originally a descendant of King Asha Thea, his father’s name was Tan Dau Sa, his mother belonged to the Brahmin sect. When he was young, his body was very gross and ugly, and he was not loved by his father. By the time he matured, he was more outstanding than people.
An internal rebellion occurred in Huu Thi La citadel, and the king sent him to conquer. When there was peace somewhere, his father saw that he had merit, so he was crowned Crown Prince.
Not long after, when King Qin Dau Sa died, he succeeded him. His temper is very cruel, he has killed hundreds of servants, ministers and relatives.
In the spring of that year, he took the palace ladies to enjoy the flower garden. The palace maidens were only busy joking and admiring the beauty of nature. No one gathered around him like in the inner palace. The king was furious, ordered to kill them all, and then immediately returned to the palace, not going to enjoy it anymore. All the people in the country complained that he was a great and wicked king.
Moreover, he also established a place called: “Hell on earth”, named garden “Ai Lac”. Outside, the decoration is very beautiful, there is a lotus pond, precious grass and fragrant flowers, just like a park, for people to come and have fun. But inside, there are wild swords, furnaces filled with oil, and all kinds of tools to execute people in a gruesome way.
Whenever anyone entered that Ai Lac garden, the prison guards arrested him and then executed him. As for the women in the palace who quarreled and quarreled with each other, they were forced to bring them to the prison master for arbitration. It is truly an indescribable tragedy of human suffering.
At that time there was a monk. On the occasion of going for alms in Hoa Thi city, because he did not know the road, he got lost in the garden of “Ai Lac”. Seeing the beautiful scene outside, but inside is a hell, the monk panicked, trying to find a way out, who expected to be caught by a good prison. He tried so hard to plead that he burst into tears, but they still wouldn’t tolerate it.
The jailer saw this and asked:
“You are a monk, why are you so afraid of death that you cry like a baby?”
The monk replied:
“I’m not afraid of death but cry, but because I’m afraid of losing the benefit of my whole life, that’s why I’m so sad.”
The warden asked curiously:
– “What are the benefits? Could you please tell me?”
The monk said:
– “The number is that I have just left home and have not yet attained enlightenment. I think back to the difficult human body, difficult to meet the Buddha’s teachings, now that I accidentally fall into this evil place, my life will be destroyed anyway, so where else can I practice so I cry, but I’m not afraid of death.”
When the monk finished speaking, he implored the prison master to forgive him for surviving for seven days, and then it was not too late to execute him. When the prison owner saw the cultivator, he was also moved. So, according to the teacher’s words, he stopped for seven days before he killed.
On the first day, the monk saw a very cruel punishment, which was the woman who was put in the mortar to beat people, the meat was broken and the bones were broken; Children were thrown into the furnace, some pulled their hands and necks, some opened their mouths and wrinkled their teeth.
When the monk saw that scene, he became bored, then remembered the Buddha’s teaching that: “The gentle calendar seems to be like a group of bubbles, wearing beautiful clothes but not forever”. Thanks to the quotation of the Buddha’s teaching, the teacher awakened, cut off all impurities, and immediately attained Arahantship.
On the eighth day, the good prison forced him to put it in an oil pan, then piled up wood and burned it. But when the fire went down and the wood turned to ash, the oil in the pan still didn’t heat up.
When the warden saw this, he became angry, beat the good prisoners, and ordered to bring more firewood and gather more. But when I looked back in the oil pan, I saw a monk sitting cross-legged on a lotus flower, his appearance still natural, not moving. The warden panicked and rushed to tell the story to King Asoka.
When the king heard the news, he immediately went straight to Ai Lac garden.
As soon as he entered the place, he saw a monk embodying in space, full of eighteen miracles. Above me, the water overflowed, and below, the fire burned, like a big mountain in the middle of space.
King Asoka stood and stared in amazement for a long time, then thought to himself, “This monk and I are also human, why do you allow yourself to be so free, while I am worried about killing people? doing great evil?
The king thought so hastily knelt down, said to that bhikkhu that:
– “May the saints take care of me, please come down here, I vow from now on to give up evil and do good, and take refuge with him”.
The monk replied:
– “Excellent! Or rather! Now that the great king has repented and surrendered to the Three Jewels, he will receive infinite merit and virtue. What a pleasure for the people.”
When the monk finished speaking, he used his divine power to return to the monastery.
When King Asoka took refuge in the Buddha, in his heart of joy, he prepared to return to the palace. Suddenly the jailer came and said:
– “When the Great King set up this scene of “Human Hell”, he ordered anyone who entered here not to let them out. I have already lived my life, so I dare not argue. As for the Great King, who is a heavenly son, he must also speak in one language.”
Hearing the jailer say this, King Asoka asked:
“According to what you said, do you want to kill me now?”
The jailer replied:
– “As the words of that Great King, it is true to the military orders”.
King Ashoka then asked the jailer:
“So when you first created this Ai Lac garden, who did you and this lady come in first?”
The warden said:
– “My Lord, I am here first”.
When the king heard this reply, he immediately ordered the good prison to press and force the prison owner to put it in an oil pan, and at the same time ordered to set fire to burn the whole Ai Lac garden.
From then on, the king abandoned all evil things to do good deeds and his temperament was very compassionate, so the people praised him as Dat Ma Asoka Vuong (meaning “gentle king”).
Later, thanks to the Buddha Uba Cuc Da (the fourth Patriarch), the king became more and more religious in Buddhism, he himself sent 256 high monks to go around the country to spread Buddhism.
Lessons for us: Compassion is the source of happiness.
The story of a hungry dog
When the Buddha was in the world, there was a very cruel king. Hearing the Buddha coming to preach in his country, he immediately went to the Buddha’s place and asked him to tell a story.
The Buddha immediately told the story of the “hungry dog” to the happy family:
“Once upon a time, there was a king who was very tyrannical and harsh to the good people, and the people complained. When Emperor Thich saw this, he appeared to the world and brought a very evil demon with him. Emperor Shakyamuni transformed himself into a hunter, and the demon transformed into a tall dog.
The hunter took the dog to the king’s palace to meet him. Suddenly the dog got up and howled violently. The king was shocked, so he called the hunter to the throne and asked:
“That guy, why is the dog howling?”
The hunter said:
– Your Majesty, because of hunger, the dog howled.
The king immediately ordered the dog to eat rice. But strangely enough, the dog ate as much as he brought. The food in the storage was exhausted but it wasn’t full yet, so it howled even more fiercely. Unfortunately, every time the dog howls, the king’s palace and temple shakes as if it is about to collapse.
The king hurriedly asked the hunter:
– What will it take to feed it?
The hunter replied:
– Your Majesty, take the meat of the person it hates to eat. The dog will stop howling.
The king asked:
– Who does this dog hate?
The hunter said:
– This dog hates those who unjustly harm the poor. The day when there are no more hungry people in the country, that day it will stop.
When the Buddha finished this story, the king’s face turned pale. The king immediately remembered his evil deeds and deeply regretted it. From there, repent.
The Buddha gently instructed the king that:
“As long as you hear the howling of a dog, you will remember the story I told you.” Your Majesty can silence the dog.
This story teaches us that: Dogs also know their rules and limits, let alone humans. Dogs are like an intelligent army, the public god is incorruptible, destroys evil and promotes good. Through that image of a hungry dog, the king began to believe in the Buddhadharma, use the righteous ethical method to govern the people, and vow to serve the Three Jewels wholeheartedly.
Crossing the river
There was an old monk who brought a little monk to ask for sutras. On the way, they encountered a fast-flowing river. On the bank of the river stood a beautiful young woman, her face worried because the nearest bridge across the river was broken. She really wanted to cross the river but didn’t dare to wade into the fast current. Without hesitation, the old monk took the initiative to carry the woman and put her to the other side and continued with the little monk on the way. Witnessing that, the uncle continued to waver. He knew that monks were not allowed to touch women, so in his heart he was upset because he thought that his teacher had violated the precepts but did not dare to ask.
While walking, thinking, finally, unable to hold back anymore, the little monk said: “Master, you have broken the precepts, how can you carry a girl across the river?” When the old monk heard the reason why the uncle was angry, he laughed. The master said, “I put her down a long time ago, and you’ve come such a long way and you still carry her?”
This story teaches us that: Sometimes we carry the burden of the past with feelings of resentment, guilt, and resentment. And we even try to make it much heavier than it really is. By accepting that these strong emotions are not quite our life right now and learning to let go, we can reduce the pressure on ourselves and those around us.
A professor from a prestigious university came to see the Zen master because he had heard about his wisdom and noble qualities. To prove himself to the Zen master, he proudly introduced all the titles and degrees he had obtained during his long years of hard work and study. The professor then said the reason for the visit was to learn all the wisdoms of Zen.
Instead of giving an answer, the Zen master invited him to sit down and make a pot of tea. He poured the professor a cup of tea, and when the cup was full, he continued to pour. The professor looked at the tea spilled on the table until he couldn’t hold it any longer, and said: “The tea is already overflowing, can’t add any more!”. Then, the Zen master leisurely put down the teapot and said, “Like this cup of tea, you are full of opinions and prejudices. How can I teach you Zen if you don’t empty your own cup?”
This story teaches us that: With a mind full of prejudices and conservative thoughts, we cannot learn and absorb new knowledge and beautiful philosophies in life. Showing a humble attitude, eliminating self-grasping, is that we are emptying the cups of our souls.
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