Stories of Truth,nonviolence,honesty,peace and humanity

by @Kaash on October 10, 2013, 02:35:23 AM
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Lord Mahavira
Lord Mahavira is often credited with the advent of Jainism in India. However, Jainism existed even before Lord Mahavira was born. He is supposed to be the twenty-fourth (last) Tirthankara according to the Jain philosophy. A Tirthankara is an enlightened soul who is born as a human being and attains perfection through intense meditation. For a Jain, Lord Mahavira is no less than God and his philosophy is like the Bible. Born as Vardhamana Mahavir, he later came to be known as Bhagvan Mahaveer. Read the short biography of Lord Mahavira to know the intriguing life history of Bhagvan Mahaveer.

Lord Mahavira was born in the royal family of Bihar in 599 B.C. His father's name was King Siddhartha and mother's name was Queen Trishala. Known by the name of Vardhamana, the young boy was a very bright and courageous lad who showed extraordinary skills at a very young age. He once saved his friends from a poisonous snake and had the courage to defy an angel in the disguise of a monster. Though he had all the luxuries of life at his command, he led a very simple life. He left all his worldly possessions after his parents expired and became a monk. He gave up all pleasures and left his family for the purpose of attaining enlightenment.

For twelve years, he deeply meditated in order to overcome his desires and cravings. He succeeded in going without food for days together, avoided clothes and never harmed another living creature even if it was an insect. Once while meditating, he was bitten by a deadly snake. Still he did not develop any kind of hatred for the snake and kept meditating. After twelve years, he attained divine knowledge and self-realization. His perception about everything was crystal clear and he paved the way for spiritual pursuit for future monks. The attainment of this spiritual knowledge was known as keval-jnana.

Once he realized this knowledge, he traveled to the remotest places in India preaching whatever he had learnt. All through his wandering, he was barefoot and refrained from eating too often. His simple living and high morals attracted believers from all walks of life, which included kings, paupers, priests and untouchables. His teachings were based on the concept of self-realization for ultimate attainment of Moksha. He taught people how to gain freedom from misery, pain and the cycle of birth and death. Lord Mahavira was known to be omniscient, which means he knew everything about past and future.


KING HANSA
In the city of Rajpur, there was a king named Hansa. He was a fair and just king. He was known for his devotion to truth and nonviolence. On the top of Mount Ratnasringa, there stood a beautiful temple that was dedicated to the first Tirthankar, Rishabhdev. During the month of Chaitra, when the full moon appeared people came from far away places to visit and worship in the temple. Once the king also decided to visit the temple. He gave control of his kingdom temporarily to his council of ministers and left with the members of the royal household on this spiritual mission.
A few days after King Hansa had departed, another king called Arjuna attacked King Hansa�s city. In spite of strong fight, King Hansa�s army was defeated and many of the generals lost their lives on the battlefield. King Arjuna gained the control of the palace and the treasury. Arjun sat on the throne and enforced his authority over the entire kingdom.
King Hansa heard the story of this defeat on the way to the temple. The king�s courtiers were very upset and advised him that he should return to the city. The king said, "I have given up the control of kingdom and we are on spiritual mission and that is what we should be thinking about. So let us keep going to temple." The king�s courtiers were unhappy about the king�s decision and worried about the safety of their families at home. One by one they all dropped out and now only one umbrella-bearer was left with the king.
On the way to the temple the king got lost in the forest. Now he was concerned about their own safety so he took off his royal dress and jewelry and gave them to his servant. While walking through the forest this servant too got separated from the king.
As the king walked further all of a sudden a deer ran in front of him and disappeared. Right after that a hunter came running with a bow in his hand and asked the king if he had seen the deer. The king knew if he told the truth, the deer would get killed. So he decided not to answer to his question and kept on telling round and round.. So he said that he came from Rajpur. The hunter asked him again about the deer and he answered that he was the king. The hunter was very upset with his answers and left with anger.
By now the king was tired, and rested under a tree. He heard the discussion going on in the bush about to rob the monks who would pass through this way in next two days. The king got concerned about the safety of the monks. While he was thinking what he can do, some policemen approached him and asked if he saw any suspicious people looking like robbers. They said, "These people are very dangerous and we have heard that they harm the holy people. We are sent to capture or even shot them if necessary but protect the holy people."
The king was once again in dilemma whether to tell the truth. He was concerned that if he told about those people then they would be harmed and if not monks would be harmed. He thought, "By telling the truth if someone is going to get harmed or killed then telling that truth is not the truth. Truth is supposed to protect and not harm anyone." He said, "My friends, you are asked to guard the monks. Why do not go and look after those monks and worry about robbers if they confront the monks." The policemen felt better and left to join the monks.
Those robbers who were hiding in the bush heard all this. They were amazed by the mercy shown by this stranger. They came out and thanked him for saving their lives, and told him that they were at his service. The king advised them, "My dear friends, give up harassing people and fugitive life and be good citizens." The robbers promised that they would not harm the monks anymore and would try to give up their job and left.
As if these was not enough, a group of horsemen came and asked him if he had seen King Hansa. The king asked, "What do you want from King Hansa?" They explained that they were the trusted men of King Arjuna and they had been told to catch King Hansa and kill him. King Hansa thought for a while and said, "I am King Hansa. Carry out your duty as told by your king." After saying that, he closed his eyes and stood in meditation, and started reciting the Navkar Mantra.
All at once, a deva (angel) made his appearance and said, "Oh, king! I am overwhelmed by your truthfulness and compassion. I have captured King Arjun as prisoner and gave control of your kingdom to your ministers. Today is a great day for worship, and the temple is too far from here. There is no way you would reach there in time. My chariot is at your service. Please, oblige to let me take you there."
The king was overwhelmed by the miraculous turn of the events. In the company of an angel god, he reached the summit of Ratnasringa in time to worship. The angel god then escorted him to his kingdom. He pardoned King Arjun and released his soldiers immediately. The angel appointed four lieutenants to look after the safety of the king and his kingdom and he departed. Then King Hansa, once again, ruled the city of Rajpur, and the people were happy for him.
DAMANAKA
Long ago, in the city of Rajpur, lived a man they called Kulaputra. His close friend was Jaindasa, a Jain shravak. Kulaputra and his friend came in contact with the Jain monks and they took the vow not to eat fish.
Once there was a severe draught in the city. The grain became a scarce thing. People in the city started fishing as a source of food. Time came when even the staunch vegetarians changed their diet. Fish became almost the main source of food. This situation challenged Kulaputra�s continuous commitment for his vow. Many days went by when there was hardly any food in the house, but he did not break his vow. One day, his wife got frustrated by this and told him, "Can�t you see our children are starving? Do you not feel for them? please buy some fish, so I can feed them."
Kulaputra told her, "My dear, I can not take away other living beings� life to save mine. We are vegetarians. I love our children, but in same manner, I love all living beings, too."
At last, Kulaputra�s brother-in-law finally made him go to the riverbank with him so he could catch fish for the family. Kulaputra was very upset and with regrets he threw his net into the water. To his surprise, he caught the largest number of fish. But as he was pulling them out he saw the fish were uneasy and restless. He could not see their sufferings, so he released them back in water. He tried it for three times and he did the same. He could not tolerate anymore catching fish. So, he left and went on a fast unto death. After his death from here, he was born as merchant Manihar�s son, in the city of Rajagriha, and was named Damanaka.
Manihar was a rich man with great wealth and fortune. By the time Damanaka was eight years old, an severe epidemic broke out in the city and his whole family died except Damanaka. There was no one left in the family to look after Damanaka. Within a short period his wealth vanished, and he became an orphan boy. One day, a merchant named Sagarpoat gave him shelter in his house.
Some time passed by, and one day some monks came to Sagarpoat�s house for alms. The oldest monk noticed this boy, and said that his good karmas were going to mature shortly, and he would be the head of the household.
The merchant did not tell anyone about his disliking for the fortune to be inherited by this poor boy, because he wanted his real son to be the head of household. Therefore at once, he decided of a plan to kill him. One day, he sent for the butcher, and ordered him to take the boy into the forest and kill him. The butcher took the boy to the forest, and as he was about to kill him, the look in the innocent face of this boy made him change his mind. He could not kill this boy. But to show the merchant that he had killed him, he cut his little finger and turned him loose in the forest. He told the boy to leave, and to never show his face in that area again. Damanaka started wandering in the forest and he saw a cow herder. He told his story to the cow herder. The cow herder felt sympathetic towards him and invited him to live with them. This started a new chapter and a new life for Damanaka.
Several years passed by, and now Damanaka was a young man. One day, Sagarpoat was on his way for business and stopped by the place where Damanaka was living. He saw the young man and he liked him right away. When he inquired more about him, he figured out that this young man was the same boy whom he wanted to kill. His anger grew again. He immediately plotted a plan to kill him again. He requested the cow herder if he could spare this young man to take his message back home. Sagarpoat gave him a letter to be delivered to his son. Damanaka not knowing, what was in the letter, left to carry out his work.
As he reached the outskirts of the city Rajagriha, he was tired. He saw a temple and he decided to rest some. He left the letter by his side and fell sleep. It so happened, that just after he fell sleep, Bisa, the merchant�s daughter came into the temple. She noticed the letter laying next to him. She became curious to see what it was, so she looked at it. To her surprise it was addressed to his brother. Her curiosity grew even more to read the letter. She was puzzled to find that his father had written his brother, "Yah ladaka jaise hi vahan aye, usko bis de dena." meaning, "As soon as this boy arrives give him the poison (Bis)." She could not understand this. She looked at the young man. He was very handsome and looked innocent. She fell in love with him and decided to marry him. So, she changed the message, "Yah ladaka jaise hi vahan aye, usko bisa de dena." meaning, "As soon as this boy arrived there, get him to marry Bisa (his daughter)." She, then, put the letter back where it was and left.
The young man delivered the letter to Sagarpoat�s son. His son read the message. He was puzzled that why would his father ask him to get his sister married to him. But since that was his father�s wish, he obeyed it. Damanaka was also confused, but he liked Bisa, too, so he went along. Bisa�s brother celebrated his sister�s marriage with a big pomp.
When Sagarpoat came back home and found out what happened, he was fuming in his mind. But he did not express that to anybody. He once again started to plot to kill this man, now his son-in-law.
Sagarpoat, once again, hired someone to kill him. One day, everybody went to their friends house for a celebration. Damanaka went, too. After some time, Damanaka felt tired, so he decided to go home early. As he reached home, he found the house locked. So, he rested in the bed on the porch. The hit man followed him, but he felt that Damanaka was a strong man and it would not be easy to kill him without anything. So, he went home to get a sword. Meanwhile, Damanaka got up and went for a walk. While Damanaka was on the walk his brother-in-law came to the house. He, also found the house locked and he decided to rest in the bed on the porch. He fell far sleep. The hit man came back, and did not know what had gone on. He thought that this person was still Damanaka. So, with all his force he hit his sword on his neck and he cut off his head and he flew away.
After some time, when the rest of the people went home, they found this body in blood. They turned to him, and they were shocked to learn that it was Bisa�s brother who had been killed.
Sagarpoat now realized he was trying to over turn the words of the monk (fate of karmas), and that is why he did not succeed in killing Damanaka. Therefore, he mellowed down. He decided to accept the fate. His wife and he decided to pass over all the responsibilities of home and business affairs to Damanaka.
Damanaka carried out his duty for many years, and then he accepted the vows of the householders and lived happily thereafter.
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AIMUTTA MUNI
In the streets of Polaspur, a six years old child named Aimutta was playing with a few friends. He was the son of King Vijay and Queen Shrimati. While playing around, he saw a monk, Gautam Swami, bare-footed and bald, who was out to get food (alms). Aimutta ran to him, and invited him to come to his house to get food which would make his mother and him happy. Gautam Swami agreed to come to his house, and he went with the little boy to his house. His mother was pleased seeing Gautam coming to her house. She welcomed him with full devotion and uttered, "Maithen Vandami." She introduced Gautam Swami as a staunch disciple of Lord Mahavir to Aimutta. She asked Aimutta to go and get the food which he likes the most so he could offer it to Gautam Swami. He brought ladoos and started pouring them in a pot even though Gautam Swami said he didn�t need this many. He felt so happy that he could offer food to the monk.
As Gautam Swami started going back, Aimutta said, "Your bag is heavy, let me carry it to your place."
Gautam Swami said, "Aimutta, I can not give it to you, because it can be carried only by those who have taken diksha."
Aimutta asked, "What is diksha?"
Gautam Swami explained to him that when someone wants to go on a spiritual path he must give up his house, family and all other social and economical ties, and then he becomes a monk like himself, is called diksha. People take diksha to avoid himsa (violence) involved in social life. Almost every step one has to hurt someone, lie or cheat for something, or become possessive. These all are the cause of accumulating sins, and by becoming a monk one must avoid all of these. There is even a life in earth, air, water, or vegetables beings. In our social life it would be hard to avoid violence towards such things.
Aimutta became curious and asked, "Gurudev, you do not do sins!!! Don�t you need to eat? Don�t you have a place to live? Do not all these cause sins?"
Gautam Swami was pleased with the child�s interest to learn, so he explained, "We take food, but we do not accept food which is made for us. We stay in a place, but we do not own it, and we do not stay for more than a few days. We do not keep money, and we do not take a part in any business or any organizations. This way as a monk, we do not have to do any activities which cause sins.
Aimutta said, "Gurudev, in that case, I want to take diksha, because my mother, also, taught me that in our social life one can not avoids sins."
Aimutta went along with Gautam Swami to Lord Mahavira where he listened to sermons given by him. His desire to get diksha grew even stronger. Aimutta once expressed the desire to give him diksha. Gautam Swami said, "We can not give diksha unless your parents give permission." Aimutta said, "That is easy. I will go home and get their permission and come back." He ran towards home.
Aimutta went home. He told his mother, "Mom, Mom, I want to take diksha. Remember you used to say social life is full of violence, and the cause for more sins. Gautam Swami and Lord Mahavir, also, said the same. So, I want to be free of sins. Therefore, please give me permission to take diksha."
Aimutta�s mother was surprised by his words. She was happy in her mind for his fear for sins, and the desire to take diksha because after all, she was also a religious woman. But she wanted to be sure that Aimutta understood what was meant by taking diksha, so she said, "My son, to take diksha is not a boy�s game. It is a very hard and disciplined life. There is no mother, or father to take care of you. So, how would you be able to take such suffering?"
Aimutta said, "Mother, this social life, also, has a lot of suffering. At least, we know that these sufferings will help to destroy karmas and lead to salvation."
Mother was very happy to hear this. But she wanted to test him more. She said, "Son, why are you in such a hurry. Wait for sometime. You need to take care of us, when we get old and have your family, too."
Aimutta said, "Mother, I learned from Lord Mahavir that no one is small, or no one is big. I, also, learned that no one knows what is going to happen tomorrow. No one knows who will die first, or who would die last. So, why wait and miss the opportunity which has come our way."
Mother felt very happy that her son had understood what diksha was, and what his goal was.
Mother said, "Congratulation my son. I am very proud of you. You will be a good monk. Do not forget what your goal to attain salvation, and be sure to observe ahimsa (nonviolence) throughout your life. We will give you permission to take diksha."
Aimutta said, "Thank you, Mom. I promise I will keep your advice."
Mother blessed the child, and wished him success in his new task. After a few days on an auspicious day, he was given diksha, and he became a young monk.
He became a "Balmuni Aimutta."
Some time went by. One day while coming back from the bathroom, on the way Balmuni Aimutta found some kids playing in a water puddle with a paper boat. He got excited about playing, and he forgot that as a monk he can not play with water. So, he ran towards the kids, and asked them if he play with them. The kids also, got excited for a monk to play with them and they said, "Yes, you can." He took the lid of utensil he had and started sailing it as a boat. He was saying, "Look, my boat is also sailing." Meanwhile, other monks came there, and they saw him playing with the water. They came to him and said, Balmuni, what are you doing? Did you forget that you are not an ordinary child anymore, and you can not play with water. By playing with such water, we cause harm to so many water beings. We have taken a vow not to hurt any living beings. This is bad. You have accumulated sins and you broke your vow�."
Balmuni Aimutta realized his mistake. He started repenting, "Oh!!! What did I do? I promised my mother that I will not do any sinful activity. How sinful I am? How nice these monks were to remind me of my mistake. What would happened to me if these monks would not have noticed me?" He really started repenting for what he did. He went back with the other monks. Every monk has to recite "Iriyavahiyam Sutra" after they come into their place from outside. So, Balmuni was also reciting this sutra. When he came to the part, "Panakkamne, Beeyakkamne, Panag-daga-matti�.(if I have hurt any living beings of water, clay�then asking for forgiveness.)", his repentance had no bound. He was very sorry for what he had done. He started repenting, "What did I do? I destroyed so many living beings. How would I be free of these sins? How would I show my face to Lord Mahavir? My Lord forgive me of my sins. I will never commit these sins again." This sincere repentance turned good for him. All of his destructive karmas were destroyed. He became a Kevali. Heavenly angels came and celebrated this event.
After this, Kevali Aimutta muni came to Lord Mahavir�s assembly, and started going towards other kevalis who were sitting there. Some senior munis noticed this, and they started telling him, "Oh, Aimuttaji!! Where are you going? That is the place for kevali to sit. Come on this side where other monks are sitting."
Lord Mahavir interrupted them and said, "Monks, you should not insult Kevali. Aimutta muni is no ordinary monk. While reciting Iriyavahiyam Sutra, he destroyed all the sins, and he has became a kevali."
These monks realized their mistakes and started thinking, "There is no age barrier to be a kevali."
After finishing, the rest of his life Balmuni Aimutta went to salvation.
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CHANDANBALA
There was once a princess named Vasumati. She was the daughter of King Dadhivahan and Queen Dharinee of Champa. She was a very beautiful princess.
One day, war broke out between the king of Champa and the nearby state called Kausambi. It was a sad war. Vasumati�s father could not win the war, so he had to run away in despair. When Vasumati and her mother came to know that they had lost the war, they also decided to escape to save their own lives. While they were running away through the woods, a soldier from the enemy�s army spotted them. The soldier captured both of them. Both Vasumati and her mother were scared. They didn�t know what he would do to them. He told the older lady (mother) that he would marry her, and that he would sell Vasumati. After hearing that, the queen went into shock and died. After a few minutes, the soldier turned around and found the old woman dead. He immediately felt sorry for his remark, and decided not to make anymore comments. He took Vasumati to Kausambi to sell her.
When Vasumati�s turn came to be sold as a slave, the merchant Dhanavah happened to be passing by. He saw Vasumati being sold, and felt that she wasn�t an ordinary girl. He thought she might have been separated from her parents, and felt if she was sold like a slave, what would be her fate? So, out of compassion for her, he bought her and took her home and freed her from slavery. On the way home, he asked her, "Who are you, and what happened to your parents? Please don�t be afraid of me. I will treat you as my daughter." Vasumati didn�t reply.
When they got home, the merchant told his wife, Moola, about Vasumati. "My dear," he said, "I have brought this girl home. She is not speaking anything about her past. Please, treat her like our daughter." Vasumati was relieved. She thanked the merchant and his wife with respect. The merchant�s family was very happy with her. They named her Chandana, since she wouldn�t tell anyone her real name.
While staying at the merchant�s house, Chandana�s attitude was like that of a daughter. This made the merchant very happy. Moola, on the other hand, was wondering what her husband would do with Chandana. She thought that he would marry her because of her beauty. Therefore, Moola was never comfortable with Chandana around. One sunny day, when the merchant came from the shop, the servant who usually washed his feet was not there. Chandana noticed this, and felt delighted to get a chance to wash his feet for all the good things he had done for her. While she was busy washing the merchant�s feet, her hair slipped out of the buckle. The merchant saw this and felt that her hair might get dirty. He lifted her hair and clipped it on the back of her head. Moola saw all this and was outraged. She felt that her doubts about Chandana were true. Moola decided to get rid of her as soon as she got a chance. After a little while, the merchant went to his shop. After realizing that the merchant was gone, the merchant�s wife took the chance to get rid of Chandana. Right away, she called the barber to cut off all her beautiful hair. Then she tied Chandana�s legs with heavy chains, and then locked her into one of her rooms, away from the main area. She told all the other servants not to tell the merchant where Chandana was, or she would do the same to them. Then, Moola left to go to her parent�s house.
In the evening, when the merchant came back, he didn�t see either Moola or Chandana around. He became worried about Chandana and Moola. Anxiously, he asked the other servants about both of them. The servants told him that Moola was at her parent�s house. But they didn�t tell him where Chandana was because of the fear of Moola.
The merchant thought that Chandana might be working or playing around in her room. So, he didn�t inquire. By night time, he still didn�t see her anywhere. Once again he asked the servants where Chandana was. They still didn�t reply. He thought that maybe she was sleeping. The next day, he did not see her anywhere. On the third day, he still didn�t see her around. Now, he was getting really worried and anxious. He, then asked the servants in a worried tone, "Where is my daughter, Chandana? You better speak up now, or if I come to know about this, then you will be fired." Still nobody replied. He was very upset and didn�t know what to do. After a few minutes, an older servant, thought, "I am an old woman and will die anyway because of age. What worse could Moola do anyway." So out of compassion for Chandana and the sympathy for the merchant, she told him all about what Moola did to Chandana.
She took the merchant to the room where Chandana was locked in. He unlocked the door and saw Chandana. He was shocked when he saw her. He told Chandana, "My daughter, I will get you out of here. You must be hungry, let me find some food for you." He went to the kitchen to find food for her. He found that there was no food left, but only some dry lentils in a pan. The merchant decided to feed her that for the time being. So, he took them to Chandana. He told her that he was going to get a blacksmith to cut off the heavy chains and he left.
Chandana was amazed at how things were going. She started wondering that once she was a princess and could get anything she wanted to, and now she had to settle with whatever she was getting. Chandana then thought of offering lentils to someone else before she started. She got up, and walked to the door, and stood there with one foot out and the other in.
To her surprise she found this young monk (Mahavir) coming near her room. She said, "Oh, respected monk please, accept this food which is suitable for you and please oblige me." Lord Mahavir looked at her and noticed that one of his pre-decided conditions was still missing. So, without accepting food, he kept on going. [His conditions were, 1) The person who would be offering should be a princess, 2) she should be bald headed, 3) she should be in chains, 4) while offering uncooked lentils, her one foot should be inside the house and other one out side the house, 5) and she should be in tears.] So, you might have realized that she met all conditions except tears in her eyes, and therefore, Lord Mahavir went on. Chandana felt very sad and tears started running down her face. She started thinking that how unfortunate she was that even though she had a chance to offer food to the monk, he would not accept it. She, in her crying voice, once again, requested a monk to accept the food. Lord Mahavir turned back and saw tears in her eyes. Mahavir came back to accept the food knowing that all his conditions were met. She put the lentils in Lord Mahavir�s hand and felt satisfied.
Lord Mahavir was looking for pre-conditioned food, and meanwhile, he fasted for five months and twenty-five days. The heavenly angels celebrated the end of the fasting by Lord Mahavir. By the angels power, Chandana�s chains were broken, her hair grew back to normal, and she was dressed as a princess. Loud music and a celebration drew the attention of King Shatanikand. He came to this place with his family, his ministers and other people. Sampul an old servant recognized Chandana. He walked toward her, bowed, and broke out in tears. King Shatanikand asked, "Why are you crying?" Sampul replied, "My King, this is Vasumati the princess of Champa, daughter of King Dadhivahan and Queen Dharinee." The King and queen now recognized her, and invited her to live with them. Everybody was delighted at the outcome.
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KULADHARA�S DAUGHTER
Long ago, in the city of Champapuri, there lived a very rich merchant named Kuladhara, and his wife Kulananda. The merchant had seven daughters who were born by noble birth, and he called them Kamalashri, Kamalavati, Kamala, Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Jayamati, and Priyakarini. All the daughters were married to rich merchants, and were very happy. Kuladhara and his wife Kulananda gave birth to their eighth daughter, but they were not happy somehow. The parents were so unhappy at her birth that they did not even perform her naming ceremony. The eighth girl was less fortunate. Her father did not even care to find her a husband. If someone brought that to his attention, he would only say she would be settled, as soon as, he found the right groom for her. He was not worried about her happiness at all.
One day, while Kuladhara was at his work, a strange young man came up to him. The man was dressed poorly and his hair was a mess and he was covered with lice. The merchant asked him, "Where was he from? What was he doing here?" The young man replied, "I am from Koshalapura. My father�s name is Nandi and my mother�s name is Soma. My name is Nandana. I do not have any money, so I went to Chandadesha to find work, but I could not find any work there. I approached one merchant and he gave me a letter to deliver to Vasantadeva who lives in your city."
Kuladhara was not listening to him. All Kuladhara was thinking about was if he could give his daughter to this man. Kuladhara told a young man "I am going to send someone with you, and as soon as you deliver the letter, I want you to come back and talk to me." Meanwhile, Kuladhara arranged his servants to prepare for a bath, some clothes and some food for this young man. When Nandana returned, he took a bath, changed his clothes and finished eating. After that, Kuladhara proposed for him to marry his daughter. Nandana said, "He was to return to Chandadesha immediately." The merchant said, "Young man, it will not take long to arrange for the wedding, and I will give you some money for both of you to live until you get there."
A few hours later, they were married and a time came for his daughter to say goodbye to her parents. The couple then headed to Chandadesha. On the way, that night they decided to spend at the temple near Avantidesha. After his wife went to sleep, Nandana thought, "I would not reach Chandadesha in time because my wife can not walk as fast as I can. It would take too much money for us both to live. So, what would happen later on. I would have to beg." He did not like the idea of begging so he decided to leave his wife behind and he left.
At sunrise, when the daughter of Kuladhara woke up she realized that her husband was gone, and he took all the money with him. She started thinking, "What will happen to me without my husband." At first, she considered to go back to her parents house. But then she thought that she was not treated well there either so, what was the use of going back? She did not like the idea of begging either. So, she decided to search for work and support herself.
After she got herself together, she went to the marketplace for work. The first person she saw was a merchant, named Manibhadra. She stood there and looked at him. She developed a good feeling about this man. She asked him for work. At first, Manibhadra thought sorry for the way she looked. But then he was afraid to employ a stranger. The merchant decided to find out who she was. So he asked her, "Who she was? She told him, "She was the daughter of Kuladhara from Champa. She was on the way to Chandadesha with her husband, but they were separated on the way. So, now she was looking for work to support herself."
Manibhadra felt comfortable with her now, and invited her to stay in his house, and appointed her in charge of his household affairs. He sent several men to search for her husband, but they could not find him. He also checked on her parents, and found out she was telling the truth.
As the time passed, everyone in the family liked her, and showed her a lot of affection. After a short time, Manibhadra built a giant Jina temple with large gates and colorful flags. Kuladhara�s daughter went to the temple every day to worship Jina, and there she met the nuns of the order. She became involved with the nuns, and learned the Jain doctrine and knowledge of nava tattva (fundamentals). Then, she accepted the vows of a shravika, and felt much better about her life.
One day, Kuladhara�s daughter noticed Manibhadra seemed depressed. She asked him. "What has happened?" The merchant said, "The king has trusted him to upkeep the garden, and supply him with flowers everyday. I don�t know, but suddenly the garden has turned dry. I do not know how am I going to provide the flowers for the king. I am afraid the king will become upset, and I do not know what he may do?" She made a resolution that until the garden was restored with flowers, she would not eat any food, or drink any liquids. She returned to the Jina temple.
After she bowed to Jina, she went into deep kayotsarga. A few days went by, finally, the goddess appeared on the third night and said, "My daughter, your vow is fulfilled and in the morning the garden will be restored."
The next morning, the miracle happened. The garden was more beautiful than ever. It had all the fresh flowers anyone could hope for. The merchant, now, accepted her as a daughter in his mind. He rushed to her in the temple to congratulate her for the beautiful garden. The whole town rushed to the temple after they heard the surprising news, as to what had taken place. Everybody praised her.
After realizing that the garden is revived, she broke her fasting after offering food to the nuns. One night, while laying in the bed, Kuladhara�s daughter thought, "By good fortune she was born into the order of the Jina. I must make the best of this. This changed her life. Sometimes she would fast two days, or three days, and sometimes she would go as long as four days. Sometimes this would last as long as a month. One day, her life came to an end and she was reborn in heaven
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PUNYASAR
Once in the city of Gopalaka there lived a pious couple, Purandar and his wife Punyasri. They had no children, so Purandar worshipped their goddess to have a child. The goddess was pleased with his worship and blessed them, "You will have a son, but you will have to wait for a while."
A few years later, a son was born to them. They were very happy and celebrated this occasion. They named the child Punyasar. Punyasar was a very handsome boy. At his school, he met a beautiful girl named Ratnasundari, the daughter of a merchant named Ratnasar. Punyasar and Ratnayasundari used to have a lot of arguments between them. One day, the argument got very hot. Punyasar said, "You will be nothing but a slave to your husband." Ratnasundari was offended and replied by saying, "My husband will be a civilized man, I would not marry a worthless person like you." Punyasar could not tolerate this comment. He got agitated and said, "I will show you by marrying you." Ratnasundari said, "No way! No one can win someone else�s heart by force." They both left still angry at each other.
When Punyasar got home he told his father that he would like to marry Ratnasundari. His father, not knowing what was going on, assured him that it should not be a problem. Punyasar was happy in his mind. One day Punyasar�s father went to Ratnasundari�s house and suggested to Ratnasundari�s father for a marriage between Punyasar and Ratnasundari. Ratnasar, Ratnasundari's father was very delighted with this offer because Punyasar�s father was a well respected merchant in the town. He felt honored. Ratnasundari overheard this conversation and saw the expression on her father�s face. Just as her father was about to accept this proposal, Ratnasundari opposed saying, "I will not marry Punyasar." and ran away. Both of them were shocked by this. Ratnasundari�s father told Punyasar�s father, "Please do not take her word seriously. I will talk to her and let you know." Punyasar�s father left with disappointment.
When Punyasar�s father came home, he asked Punyasar, "What is so great about marrying that girl? She has a loud mouth, I do not think she will be a suitable girl for our family. You should forget about her." Punyasar did not say anything, because he was puzzled about what to do next.
Punyasar was determined to marry Ratnasundari, so he worshipped the family goddess. Pleased by his worship, the goddess appeared and told him, "Do not worry, in due time your wish will be fulfilled." Punyasar felt happy.
Punyasar grew up to be a fine, accomplished young man, but despite his many fine qualities he developed the habit of gambling. His father did not like this and warned him, but Punyasar did not listen. His gambling came to the stage where Punyasar started stealing things from home, and soon he stole the king�s ornaments which were kept in his father�s custody. His father realized this when the king asked for the ornaments, and he could not find them. He was furious at his son, and told him, "Until you can get those ornaments back, you can not he shall not come into the house."
Punyasar was stunned by this command. He felt sorry and helpless for what he had done. He left the house in sadness. Night came and he did not have any place to go. He came to a banyan tree which had a hollow truck so he sat in there to rest. A few minutes later to his surprise, he saw two angels come towards his tree and sit on it. One of them said, "It is a pretty night, let's go somewhere." The other angel said, "There is not any use of just wandering around unless there is something exciting to see." The first one said, "I have heard that in a city name Ballbhipur, a merchant named Dhana has seven daughters and they all will marry one man. It may be interesting to see who they marry?"
So they lifted the whole tree and flew over there. Punyasar was listening to this, and when the tree started flying he did not know what to do. So he decided that he might as well see who the lucky man would be who would marry the seven beautiful girls. After sometime the angels placed the tree on the ground. They went to the place where the marriage ceremony was going to be. Punyasar also got down and followed them.
As the angels approached the marriage hall, so did Punyasar. Some people at the hall saw Punyasar, they approached him saying, "We have been waiting for you to marry seven pretty girls." Punyasar was very puzzled. They said, "Yes, you are the one who will marry these seven girls." They explained to him, "Merchant Dhana has seven beautiful girls. Their names are Dharmasundari, Dhanasundari, Kamasundari, Muktisundari, Bhagyasundari, Saubhagyasundari, and Gunasundari. He was worried about their marriage. So he worshipped God Lambodara (Ganesh), the god of success. Seven days ago, God Lambodara appeared and told him, "Go ahead and make preparations for marriage. Seven days from today you will find a young man following two angels coming towards the marriage hall. He is the suitable person for your daughters. We saw you following two angels, so you are the person who will marry these seven sisters."
Punyasae was amazed to see how things were happening. He could not believe this. The people took him to the ceremonial stage, and when he saw the seven pretty girls he consented to marry them. Everybody was happy to see this handsome young man, too. When the marriage ceremony was over, the whole family along with Punyasar went to their house.
The girls were also amazed as to what had happened. They did not know whom they would be marrying, and what he might be doing? So once they were home and sitting in their bedroom with Punyasar, one of them asked him, "My Lord, how much have you studied?" Punyasar was puzzled as to what to answer. So he said, "Happiness does not come whether you are a great scholar or a fool. So keeping that in mind I took the middle path." The girls could not understand his answer. Punyasar was getting restless, he wanted to escape and go back home. He said that he wanted to get fresh air, and went outside. Gunasundari escorted him to the bedroom door, and stood there watching him. While leaving the house, he scribbled something on the wall. She ignored it, and sat down with her sisters.
As soon as Punyasar got outside of the house he ran towards the tree, still wearing his wedding clothes and precious ornaments. He was relieved when he saw that the tree was still there, and once again he rested in the hollow trunk. A few minutes later, the angels came back and started flying back with the tree.
Meanwhile in Gopalaka, when Punyasar�s mother did not see her son, she asked her husband if he knew where Punyasar might be? His father who was still mad at him, told her that he told Punyasar to leave the house because his behavior was not good for family's reputation. She understood this, but after all she was mother, and could not take this. She began crying and requested her husband, "Please for my sake, go, find him, and bring him home. I am worried about what might happen to him at night." Punyasar�s father could not bear to see her weeping. He went to look for Punyasar.
Punyasar�s father looked all over the town, but could not find him anywhere. He decided to go outside the town to see if Punyasar was around anywhere. Just before he got there, the two angels landed the tree outside of the town. On his way back home, Punyasar realized how bad his habits were. He decided that he would not gamble any more.
He got down from the tree and started walking home. Soon he ran into his father. When his father saw the ornaments and rich clothes he thought Punyasar must have stolen them. He was about to say something, but Punyasar said, "Dad, please do not think badly of me this time." He explained what all had happened after he left the house. He also promised his father that he had decided to change and would not gamble anymore. He also promised he would take part in the family business. His father was very happy to hear this. Both of them hugged one another and went home. His mother was happy to see that her son was all right.
Now in Ballbhipur, the girls began to worry when their husband did not come back. They did not even get a chance to ask his name, or where he was from. Gunasundari went outside to check if he was there, but she saw no one. She told her sisters, "We have been cheated, he left us. We should not have trusted the words of the goddess. Now it is too late. Let�s think of what to do." Just then she remembered seeing him scribble something on the wall. She told her sisters, "Wait, I will be right back." She went to the wall and saw the couplet:
"From Gopalaka did I come by divine grace and after marrying seven girls here do I return."
Gunasundari told her sisters what was written there. A few days went by and Punyasar still did not return. Gunasundari told her sisters and parents, "I will go to Gopalaka, find him, and bring him back. I will be back in six months. If I fail, then I will burn myself." She dressed herself as a man, named Gunasundar, and left for Gopalaka.
As a good gesture to the king of Gopalaka, Gunasundar went to the court house and offered him precious gifts. The king was happy to receive them and welcomed Gunasundar with honor. Gunasundar started a business, and it prospered greatly. He was the talk of the town. He met Punyasar on many occasions, and they became good friends.
Meanwhile, the people of the town began praising Gunasundar. They said he was handsome, educated, intelligent, and well-mannered. Ratnasundari saw him at one of the town�s functions, became attracted to him, and decided to marry him. She asked her father if he would give her marriage proposal to Gunasundar. One day, Ratnasundari�s father went to Gunasundar�s house. Gunasundar welcomed Ratnasundari�s father, offered him a place to sit, and then asked the reason for the visit. Ratnasar told Gunasundar the purpose of his visit, and proposed the marriage of his daughter, Ratnasundari. Gunasundar was in a dilemma. He did not want to accept the proposal, but he was afraid that the people may spread all kinds of rumor about him. Ratnasar was desperate because Ratnasundari was growing up and would not agree to marry any other man. Gunasundar could not say no to the persistence of Ratnasar, so he agreed to marry Ratnasundari.
Gunasundar and Ratnasundari were married in a small private ceremony. After the marriage, when Ratnasundari came to her new house, Gunasundar told her, "I have taken a vow that when I get married I would not sleep or stay in the same room with my wife for first six months." Ratnasundari did not think much about this vow because she was happy to be married to him, and she thought six months would fly by quickly. So they decided to stay in separate rooms.
When Punyasar learned that Ratnasundari, for whom he had left the seven girls he married, married Gunasundar, he was furious. He became angry with the goddess who promised him that everything would work out right. How can this be right when Ratnasundari was married to another man. He went to his room, and asked the goddess to explain this. The goddess appeared and said, "Calm down, have some patience and things will work out properly. Gunasundar is your wife." Then she left. Punyasar did not understand any of this, and was more confused. He could not figure out that Gunasundar was no one else but Gunasundari that he married in Ballbhipur.
Meanwhile, Gunasundari�s six month promise to her sisters and parents passed by, and she could not resolve the mystery of her life. So, she decided to burn herself. She told Ratnasundari about her decision. Ratnasundari was stunned. Ratnasundari asked Gunasundar, "What happened? Have I done anything wrong? Is there something we can work at?" But Gunasundar did not reply at all. Ratnasundari went to the king for help. Even the king was not only unsuccessful to find out the reason but could not convince Gunasundar to stop. The day was announced and the whole town was sad to what was going to happen.
When the day arrived, the whole town, even the king, was there where Gunasundar was going to end his life by jumping into the fire. As Gunasundar walked towards the fire, the king screamed, "Can anyone stop this?" Punyasar, because he was after all his friend, walked towards Gunasundar. Gunasundar stopped walking because he thought maybe Punyasar had recognized his real identity, and finally the mystery would be over. Punyasar asked Gunasundar, "Why are you doing this? Is there anything I can do to help?" Gunasundar was waiting for this opportunity. He said, "Yes. You can." He took out the paper he had with him, and asked Punyasar if he had written this. Punyasar was amazed to see those two lines which he had written at the girls� house whom he married and left. Punyasar said, "Yes, I wrote them."
Gunasundari immediately took off her bonnet. Her hairs went flying due to the wind. The people were even more puzzled to see this, and before they understood the situation Gunasundar bowed down to Punyasar and said, "I am Gunasundari." Now it clicked in Punyasar�s mind what the goddess said, "Gunasundar is your wife." Tears started flowing from his eyes, and he hugged Gunasundari in front of everyone. The people, the king, and Ratnasundari did not know what was going on. Punyasar told the crowd in broken words, "Gunasundar is no one but my wife Gunasundari of Ballbhipur, whom I married with her six sisters about six months ago. It was cruel on my part that I left them without telling anything about me." Everybody was relived. Ratnasundari was puzzled about what to do. The king explained that since she was married to Gunasundar, she would be Punyasar�s wife. Ratnasundari was amazed at the fate. She bowed downed to Punyasar. Punyasar hugged her, and asked for her forgiveness for the things he had said while they were students. Everybody dispersed and went home.
Since there was not any message from Gunasundari for a six month period, Gunasundari�s sisters came to Gopalaka in search of their husband. They came to know the whole story when they arrived in town. They met Punyasar, Gunasundari, and Ratnasundari. They all lived happily thereafter
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DHANASARA
In the city, of Mathura. lived a merchant named Dhanasara. He was very wealthy, but he would not offer a penny to anybody. He was popular for his riches, as well as, his stinginess. Dhanasara used to hide his wealth under the ground. One day, he went to check on it, but he found all of it was changed into charcoal, and snakes were crawling all over it. Within a short time before he can get over this loss, he got the news that his ships loaded with cargo had sunk in the sea. As if that was not enough, he also, got the news that the convoy that was carrying his possessions had been robbed. He felt so helpless and he was saddened by what was happening. He decided he was having all the bad luck. Whenever the unfavorable karmas are up, whatever a man will do will go against him. So, did with Dhanasara. He borrowed one million gold coins and went abroad to do business. With his luck, the ship was wrecked and all of his gold was in the sea. He saved himself by floating on a nearby log which took him to the shore.
He spent the next day on the seashore, then he moved to a park. This is when he saw a Muni (monk) preaching under the shade of a mango tree. He was giving a sermon to the people. When the sermon was over, the merchant went near the monk, and said, "Oh Muni! Due to which karmas did I acquire so much wealth, and due to which karmas did I lose it all?"
The muni narrated his past life. "In the country of Dhatakikhand, there was a city called Ambica. There lived two brothers. The elder brother was helpful and always generous to the needy, while the younger brother did not like the charities given by his older brother. The younger brother had a very bad temper, and he often displayed it when his older brother helped other people. After a while, when a younger brother could not tolerate this any more, he left the house. The older brother continued his style of giving to the needy and instead of his wealth getting less, it increased and so, was his prosperity. The younger brother could not stand this, so he made up a story and went to the king and convinced him to take over his brother�s wealth. The older brother was saddened by this and he renounced the world. After his death, because he was so good, and did good deeds he was born as a angel in heaven.
People did not approve the younger brother�s behavior, and he could not take their criticism. So, he left the town and joined some heretics and after his death, he was born as one of the Asurakumaras in hell. You are that younger brother. Because in your previous life, you did not approve his gifts and charities, so you are still a miser, and because you made your brother loose all the wealth your wealth is lost now. While your elder brother, after spending his life in Saudharmaloka, was born as a merchant in Tamralipti. He gained a lot of wealth and gave it all up, to join the order of the monkshood and you are talking to him now."
Dhanasara felt sorry and was troubled to hear this. He bowed down to the muni, and asked him for forgiveness. He took a vow, that he would not get involved in sinful activities and he will only keep one-fourth of his income, and the rest he would donate.
A miracle happened. All his wealth was recovered. He kept his promise. He became a devout shravak, and he spent his wealth on seven items: Jaina abodes, Jaina idols, Jaina literature, Jaina monks, Jaina nuns, Jaina shravaks, and Jaina shravikas. This was the turning point in his life, and he lived a noble life for the rest of his life.

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DHARMAKUMAR
Long ago in the land of Jambudvipa, there was a city called Kamalapura. The king of that city was Saharaksa. One day, in the king�s court came an astrologer who said the benediction and sat down. The king ask the astrologer if he knew what was going to happen in the future?
The astrologer did not say a word. The king ask him for the second time, and he told the king, "A severe famine is going to break out and it will wipe out the city."
The king did not like what he heard. He called his ministers and asked them to work out a plan where they can save the people. Ministers suggested that they should buy as much grain as possible. The king emptied his treasure and bought the grains, and stored them for bad days, to come.
It was the month of Ashadh (June-July). A cloud was seen in the sky. The king looked up at the sky, and he knew, it was about to begin raining. He said to himself, "we will get all the water we will need."
The cloud let the rain fall to the earth and the people had enough rain for the crops to survive. This proved the astrologer was wrong.
A few days later, the king�s gardener came to the king with a message. The message was that Sage would like to stay for this monsoon in his royal park. The Sage was Kevaljnai, one who knows what has happened in the past, what will happen now, and what will happen in the future, all at the same time.
The king rewarded the gardener for this message, and ask the people to welcome the sage and let him stay. The king went to visit the sage and listened to his holy words. The king then asked, "Bhante! How did it happen that the words by the astrologer were not true?" The sage told the king, "The famine was unavoidable. But it was averted because of the birth of an pious soul in your city. The astrologer did not realize that."
The king was eager to know about this pious soul, and his good deeds.
Sage stated. "In the land of Bharat there was a city called Purimatala. In the city, there was a rich man, who had suddenly gotten sick. He tried his best to improve his health. He did not succeed. His wealth did not help him. One day, he met a monk and after listening to his sermon, he decided to give up his regular food and decided to stay on simple food without any spices or salt. He, also decided to meditate and be celibate. His health improved in a few days. His pledge grew even stronger now. He continued his diet practice, and stayed celibate. He once again started taking care of his business, and he even became more wealthy.
Once there was a famine, and he used all his wealth to support the people. People could survive the famine and rain came the next year. After he finished his life, he was born as a deva (heavenly angel) and from there he was reborn in your city, as a son of shravika Subuddhi.
The king was happy to hear this. So, after he left from there, first, he went to Subuddhi�s house to pay respects to the pious soul. He saw the child and blessed him. It was at this time, he gave him the name Dharmkumar.
As Dharmkumar grew up, he was married to a beautiful, religious, young woman. They lived very happy. In his later years, he joined the holy order for monks, and after performing austerities, and meditation he attained Kevaljnana.

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SUMITRA
Long ago in the city of Srichandra, King Tarapida had a minister named Sumitra. He was a devoted shravak, and he regularly practiced samayik, pratikraman, and other religious rites. One day, the king ask Sumitra why he had overloaded himself with all these worthless activities. He wanted to know what he achieved out of them, and suggested that he should give up these things so he may have a pleasant life.
Sumitra told the king, " Instead of discouraging me, you should help me in carrying out these activities. You or anyone should know that good deeds help in one�s well-being."
One day, the minister finished his duties at the court and went home. This was the fourteenth lunar day, known as chaturdasi. He was fasting that day. He was late to perform pausadha at the temple. So he vowed not to leave his house during the night until sunrise and sat down in pratikraman.
During the night, a messenger came and told Sumitra that the king wanted to see him. The minister told him he could see the king at that time. The king sent another message to tell him that if he did not go to the king at once, he should resign his office and to hand over his royal seal.
Sumitra decided to continue his vow. He told the messenger to peak up the royal seal and tell the king that he would not be able to come.
While back to the king, the messenger thought it was not a bad to be the minister himself. So he started uttering, "I am the minister, I am the minister." He started repeating it louder and louder. It so happened that after a few minutes, some armed men jumped on him, and knocked him to the ground, and killed him. They grabbed the minister�s seal of the office.
When the king heard of the messenger�s death, he grabbed an opened sword, and left to go to the temple. He felt certain that Sumitra had a hand in this murder. On the way, he found his messenger who was lying dead with some armed men around him. He asked the men, "Why did they kill this man?"
They said, "We are armed men of King Surasen from Dharavar and came here to kill the minister Sumitra.
The king told them who he was. The man got scared and surrendered to him. He thought, "It is good that Sumitra did not come. His vow saved him."
The king�s anger cooled down. He reached Sumitra�s house. He told Sumitra, "If you had not been performing your vow today, you would have been killed. This would have been a terrible tragedy for the kingdom. I reinstate you to your office. I am sorry for what I did to you." This event turned the king to be a very religious person. The king met with Acharya Purnachandra, and accepted the vows of a shravak. The court was turned into a spiritual assembly. Sumitra now became even more special to the king, and the king did many good things for his people and his kingdom.
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SAGE NANDISEN
Sage Nandisen was a great ascetic and well-versed in the scriptures. He took a vow to serve monks with utmost devotion. His devotion of serving the monks was even popular in the heavens.
One day his services were openly applauded by Indra in an assembly of Angels. One of the angel could not believe this and decided to test sage Nandisen.
The angel gods can assume any form they desire in a moment and can reach any where in the wink of an eye. This god arrived at the outskirts of the village where the sage Nandisen was to test his "Vow of Servitude" and assumed the forms of two monks. One of the which was very old and diseased monk, while the other was young and healthy.
It was the day on which the sage Nandisen was to break his fast. After he came from collecting gochari (alms) and was about to break the fast, the young monk came to him and said, "Oh blessed one! There is a very old monk suffering from diarrhea, extreme thirst, and hunger. He is weak and needs your help."
Hearing these words, sage immediately got up and took pure water with him and went to the place where the old monk was. Seeing Nandisen, the old monk at once raged, "Oh you wretch, I am lying here suffering, and you did not even care to find if anyone needs help."
Sage Nandisen was not offended by these words. He had developed virtues of tolerance, forgiveness, and compassion. He calmly replied, "Oh the best of the monks, kindly excuse my oversight. I have brought pure water for you to drink."
He helped the old monk drink the water. He cleaned his clothes, his body, and helped him sit up. The old monk once again became irritated. He frowned saying, "Oh you fool, don�t you see that I am too weak to sit. What are you doing to me?"
Sage Nandisen said, "I will support you." Having seated the old monk he said, "Oh reverend monk, if you desire I shall carry you to upashray (place where monks stay temporarily) where you will be more comfortable."
The monk replied, "Why are you asking me? You may do so as you wish."
Sage Nandisen seated the monk on his shoulders, and slowly proceeded further. He walked slowly, watching every step carefully. The monk (angel god) was determined to test him, sohe increased his own weight gradually. With the increase in weight on his shoulder, sage Nandisen began to tremble, and he almost fell. The monk said, "Oh you wretch, what is wrong with you? Don�t you know how to walk? You are shaking my entire body. Is this any way to serve the sick?" His words were very bitter and harsh, but sage Nandisen was not disturbed at all. He said, "Pardon me. I shall be more careful."
Later the monk passed stool and the odor was unbearable, but the sage was not disturbed at all. He ignored this and continued walking and took care not to offend the monk with any of his faults. On the way, he thought about how to cure the monk.
He arrived with the monk at the upashraya. The angel god, with his limited range of intuitional knowledge, knew that the sage had not changed his mind about serving him, even after all of the aggravation. So the old monk turned back into an angel and paid homage at once to the sage Nandisen saying, "Blessed are you. Oh sage, you are the illustration of a real monk. You are as described by Lord Indra. I am very pleased with you and grant you whatever you choose."
"Oh god, this human life is very rarely achieved. Nothing is more valuable than human existence. I am content. I crave for nothing." The god bowed his head at the feet of the sage. The god returned to his abode, applauding the merits of the sage.
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Dineshkumarjonty
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«Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 12:54:26 PM »
Kaash jee maine pura to nahi pada par Lord Mahavira aapse khush honge.
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@Kaash
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«Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 11:43:44 PM »
http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/story/story.html

"Buddhism has always been fond of parables and many of these were used by the Buddha himself. He taught by parables, 'for men of good understanding will readily enough catch the meaning of what is taught under the shape of a parable.'"  Let us read these simple and yet moving stories with the eyes of a child and the mind of a beginner-- for they are the pointing fingers to the gateway of spirituality.



Beginner's Mind

Once, a professor went to a Zen Master. He asked him to explain the meaning of Zen. The Master quietly poured a cup of tea. The cup was full but he continued to pour.

The professor could not stand this any longer, so he questioned the Master impatiently, "Why do you keep pouring when the cup is full?"

"I want to point out to you," the Master said, "that you are similarly attempting to understand Zen while your mind is full. First, empty your mind of preconceptions before you attempt to understand Zen."


Asanga

Asanga was one of the most famous Indian Buddhist saints, and lived in the fourth century. He went to the mountains to do a solitary retreat, concentrating all his meditation practice on the Buddha Maitreya, in the fervent hope that he would be blessed with a vision of this Buddha and receive teachings from him.

For six years Asanga meditated in extreme hardship, but did not even have one auspicious dream. He was disheartened and thought he would never succeed with his aspiration to meet the Buddha Maitreya, and so he abandoned his retreat and left his hermitage. He had not gone far down the road when he saw a man rubbing an enormous iron bar with a strip of silk. Asanga went up to him and asked him what he was doing. "I haven't got a needle," the man replied, "so I'm going to make one out of this iron bar. "Asanga stared at him, astounded; even if the man were able to manage it in a hun-dred years, he thought, what would be the point? He said to himself: "Look at the trouble people give themselves over things that are totally absurd. You are doing something really valuable, spiritual practice, and you're not nearly so dedi-cated." He turned around and went back to his retreat.

Another three years went by, still without the slightest sign from the Buddha Maitreya. "Now I know for certain," he thought "I'm never going to succeed." So he left again, and soon came to a bend in the road where there was a huge rock, so tall it seemed to touch the sky. At the foot of the rock was a man busily rubbing it with a feather soaked in water. "What are you doing?" Asanga asked. "This rock is so big it's stopping the sun from shining on my house, so I'm trying to get rid of it." Asanga was amazed at the man's indefatigable energy, and ashamed at his own lack of dedication. He returned to his retreat.

Three more years passed, and still he had not even had a single good dream. He decided, once and for all, that it was hopeless, and he left his retreat for good. The day wore on, and in the afternoon he came across a dog lying by the side of the road. It had only its front legs, and the whole of the lower part of its body was rotting and covered with maggots. Despite its pitiful condition, the dog was snapping at passers-by and pathetically trying to bite them by dragging itself along the ground with its two good legs.

Asanga was overwhelmed with a vivid and unbearable feeling of compassion. He cut a piece of flesh off his own body and gave it to the dog to eat. Then he bent down to take off the maggots that were consuming the dog's body. But he suddenly thought he might hurt them if he tried to pull them out with his fingers, and realized that the only way to remove them would be on his tongue. Asanga knelt on the ground, and looking at the horrible festering, writhing mass, closed his eyes. He leant closer and put out his tongue. The next thing he knew, his tongue was touching the ground. He opened his eyes and looked up. The dog was gone; there in its place was the Buddha Maitreya, ringed by a shimmering aura of light.

"At last," said Asanga, "why did you never appear to me before?"

Maitreya spoke softly: "it is not true that I have never appeared to you before. I was with you all the time, but your negative karma and obscurations prevented you from seeing me. Your twelve years of practice dissolved them slightly so that you were at last able to see the dog. Then, thanks to your genuine and heartfelt compassion, all those obscurations were completely swept away and you can see me before you with your very own eyes. If you don't believe that this is what happened, put me on your shoulder and try and see if anyone else can see me." Asanga put Maitreya on his right shoulder and went to the marketplace, where he began to ask everyone: "What have I got on my shoulder?" "Nothing," most people said, and hurried on. Only one old woman, whose karma had been slightly purified, answered: "You've got the rotting corpse of an old dog on your shoulder, that's all. "Asanga at last understood the boundless power of compassion that had purified and transformed his karma, and so made him a vessel fit to receive the vision and instruction of Maitreya. Then the Bud-dha Maitreya, whose name means "loving kindness," took Asanga to a heavenly realm, and there gave him many sublime teachings that are among the most important in the whole of Buddhism.


The Thief and the Master

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.

..............................


Releasing the Cows
(Told by Master Thich Nhat Hanh)

One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by. The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by.

The farmer said, "Monks, I'm so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don't know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself.

The Buddha said, "My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction."

So the farmer thanked him and ran away, and the Buddha turned to his monks and said, "My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don't have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy.

"That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing (laughter). You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows."
..........................................



Searching for Answers in the Holy Book
told by Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda  in How to Live without Fear & Worry

Do not become slaves to any holy book. There was once a man who formed a religious cult and people regarded him as a very learned person. He had a few followers who recorded his instructions in a book. Over the years the book became voluminous with all sorts of instructions recorded therein. The followers were advised not to do anything without first consulting the holy book. Whenever the followers went and whatever they did, they would consult the book which served as the manual in guiding their lives. One day when the leader was crossing a timber bridge, he fell into the river. The followers were with him but none of them knew what to do under the circumstances. So they consulted the holy book.

"Help! Help!" the Master shouted, "I can't swim."

"Please wait a while Master. Please don't get drowned," they pleaded. "We are still seaching in our holy book. There must be an instruction on what to do if you fell off from a wooden bridge into a river."

While they were thus turning over the pages of the holy book in order to find out the appropriate instruction, the teacher disappeared in the water and drowned.

The important message of the story is that we should take the enligtened approach and not slavishly follow outdated conservative ideas, nor resort to any holy book without using our common sense. On the face of changing circumstances, new discoveries and knowledge, we must learn to adapt ourselves accordingly, and respond to them by using them for the benefit of everybody.

................................................. ....


Relying on Joy

        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.


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«Reply #3 on: October 10, 2013, 11:46:27 PM »
The Monkey King
(originally from "What do you think, my friend?")

There was once a kingdom of monkeys in the forest. The King of the Monkeys was very very large, and was very kind and wise. One day, the King was strolling & he noticed mango trees along the side of a river. He also noticed a human castle downstream. He then ordered the monkeys to remove all the mangos from these trees, "or there would be disaster". The monkeys did not understand the King's intention, but they did as told anyway. All the mangos were taken off these trees except one. This one was hidden behind a nest.

One day, this mango was ripe and fell into the river. It flowed downstream where the human King was having a bath. He noticed the mango & asked the Prime Minister what it was. The PM told him it was a "mango", a fruit of wonderful taste. The King then ordered that the mango be cut into small pieces & he gave a small piece to each of his ministers. When satisfied that the mango was not poisonous, he ate the rest of it & realized how tasty it was. He craved for more.

The next day, the human king, with his troops, went upstream to search for more of these fruits. There were lots of mango trees, but also lots of monkeys. The human king doesn't want to share the mangos with the monkeys, so he ordered all of them to be killed. A massacre started.

When the news reached the wise Monkey King, he commented, "The day has finally arrived". The thousands of monkeys were chased all the way to the edge of the forest. There was a deep cliff at the edge of the forest, and a bamboo forest at the other side of the cliff. The Monkey King saw that if his subjects could cross over to the bamboo forest, they will be saved.

With his huge body, he formed a bridge over the cliff and thousands of monkeys trampled over him to reach the safety of the bamboo forest. He endured all the pain. One monkey did not like the King & he saw this as an opportunity to get even. As he was crossing over the King's body, he pierced a spear through the King's heart. The King screamed in pain but endured the pain until all his subjects were safely across. Then he collapsed.

The human king witnessed the whole thing. He was so touched that he ordered the Monkey King be saved. When the Monkey King recovered his consciousness, the human king asked him, "You are their King, why did you bother to die for them?". The Monkey King replied, "Because I am their King". With that, he died.

The human king was so touched that he decided to be a good king from that day and he ordered that the monkeys in the bamboo forest be protected from harm forever.

................................................. .....

 
The Blind Men and the Elephant

A number of disciples went to the Buddha and said, "Sir, there are living here in Savatthi many wandering hermits and scholars who indulge in constant dispute, some saying that the world is infinite and eternal and others that it is finite and not eternal, some saying that the soul dies with the body and others that it lives on forever, and so forth. What, Sir, would you say concerning them?"

The Buddha answered, "Once upon a time there was a certain raja who called to his servant and said, 'Come, good fellow, go and gather together in one place all the men of Savatthi who were born blind... and show them an elephant.' 'Very good, sire,' replied the servant, and he did as he was told. He said to the blind men assembled there, 'Here is an elephant,' and to one man he presented the head of the elephant, to another its ears, to another a tusk, to another the trunk, the foot, back, tail, and tuft of the tail, saying to each one that that was the elephant.

"When the blind men had felt the elephant, the raja went to each of them and said to each, 'Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?'

"Thereupon the men who were presented with the head answered, 'Sire, an elephant is like a pot.' And the men who had observed the ear replied, 'An elephant is like a winnowing basket.' Those who had been presented with a tusk said it was a ploughshare. Those who knew only the trunk said it was a plough; others said the body was a grainery; the foot, a pillar; the back, a mortar; the tail, a pestle, the tuft of the tail, a brush.

"Then they began to quarrel, shouting, 'Yes it is!' 'No, it is not!' 'An elephant is not that!' 'Yes, it's like that!' and so on, till they came to blows over the matter.

"Brethren, the raja was delighted with the scene.

"Just so are these preachers and scholars holding various views blind and unseeing.... In their ignorance they are by nature quarrelsome, wrangling, and disputatious, each maintaining reality is thus and thus."

Then the Exalted One rendered this meaning by uttering this verse of uplift,

    O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim
    For preacher and monk the honored name!
    For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
    Such folk see only one side of a thing.
................................................. ........

 Three Questions
by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy

IT once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid, and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake.

And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to any one who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do.

And learned men came to the King, but they all answered his questions differently.

In reply to the first question, some said that to know the right time for every action, one must draw up in advance, a table of days, months and years, and must live strictly according to it. Only thus, said they, could everything be done at its proper time. Others declared that it was impossible to decide beforehand the right time for every action; but that, not letting oneself be absorbed in idle pastimes, one should always attend to all that was going on, and then do what was most needful. Others, again, said that however attentive the King might be to what was going on, it was impossible for one man to decide correctly the right time for every action, but that he should have a Council of wise men, who would help him to fix the proper time for everything.

But then again others said there were some things which could not wait to be laid before a Council, but about which one had at once to decide whether to undertake them or not. But in order to decide that one must know beforehand what was going to happen. It is only magicians who know that; and, therefore in order to know the right time for every action, one must consult magicians.

Equally various were the answers to the second question. Some said, the people the King most needed were his councillors; others, the priests; others, the doctors; while some said the warriors were the most necessary.

To the third question, as to what was the most important occupation: some replied that the most important thing in the world was science. Others said it was skill in warfare; and others, again, that it was religious worship.

All the answers being different, the King agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions, he decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom.

The hermit lived in a wood which he never quitted and he received none but common folk. So the King put on simple clothes, and before reaching the hermit's cell dismounted from his horse, and, leaving his bodyguard behind, went on alone.

When the King approached, the hermit was digging the ground in front of his hut. Seeing the King, he greeted him and went on digging. The hermit was frail and weak, and each time he stuck his spade into the ground and turned a little earth, he breathed heavily.

The King went up to him and said: 'I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important and need my first attention?'

The hermit listened to the King, but answered nothing. He just spat on his hand and recommenced digging.

'You are tired,' said the King, 'let me take the spade and work awhile for you.'

'Thanks!' said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the King, he sat down on the ground.

When he had dug two beds, the King stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit again gave no answer, but rose, stretched out his hand for the spade, and said:

'Now rest awhile -- and let me work a bit.'

But the King did not give him the spade, and continued to dig. One hour passed, and another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the King at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said:

'I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so, and I will return home.'

'Here comes some one running,' said the hermit, 'let us see who it is.'

The King turned round, and saw a bearded man come running out of the wood. The man held his hands pressed against his stomach, and blood was flowing from under them. When he reached the King, he fell fainting on the ground moaning feebly. The King and the hermit unfastened the man's clothing. There was a large wound in his stomach. The King washed it as best he could, and bandaged it with his handkerchief and with a towel the hermit had. But the blood would not stop flowing, and the King again and again removed the bandage soaked with warm blood, and washed and rebandaged the wound. When at last the blood ceased flowing, the man revived and asked for something to drink. The King brought fresh water and gave it to him. Meanwhile the sun had set, and it had become cool. So the King, with the hermit's help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. Lying on the bed the man closed his eyes and was quiet; but the King was so tired with his walk and with the work he had done, that he crouched down on the threshold, and also fell asleep -- so soundly that he slept all through the short summer night. When he awoke in the morning, it was long before he could remember where he was, or who was the strange bearded man lying on the bed and gazing intently at him with shining eyes.

'Forgive me!' said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw that the King was awake and was looking at him.

'I do not know you, and have nothing to forgive you for,' said the King.

'You do not know me, but I know you. I am that enemy of yours who swore to revenge himself on you, because you executed his brother and seized his property. I knew you had gone alone to see the hermit, and I resolved to kill you on your way back. But the day passed and you did not return. So I came out from my ambush to find you, and I came upon your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them, but should have bled to death had you not dressed my wound. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now, if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons do the same. Forgive me!'

The King was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend, and he not only forgave him, but said he would send his servants and his own physician to attend him, and promised to restore his property.

Having taken leave of the wounded man, the King went out into the porch and looked around for the hermit. Before going away he wished once more to beg an answer to the questions he had put. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before.

The King approached him, and said:

'For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man.'

'You have already been answered!' said the hermit still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him.

'How answered? What do you mean?' asked the King.

'Do you not see,' replied the hermit. 'If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug these beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards, when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business. Remember then: there is only one time that is important -- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!'

1903.

(from http://www.tolstoy.org/)

Appendix
        "How can we live in the present moment, live now with the people around us, helping to lessen their suffering and making their lives happier? How? The answer is this: We must practice mindfulness. The principle Tolstoy gives appears easy. But if we want to put it into practice we must use the method of minfulness in order to seek and find the way."-- Thich Nhat Hanh.

(Editor: Leo Tolstoy may not be a buddhist in the conventional and dogmatic sense, but this story of his definitely is. When we strip away all the labels we give to others and look only at the person and their deeds, we would come to the conclusion that practitioners of different spiritual traditions have much to learn from each other. In Thich Nhat Hanh's words "Tolstoy's story is like a story out of scripture: it doesn't fall short of any sacred text," "Tolstoy is a saint-- what we Buddhists would call a Bodhisattva.")
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«Reply #4 on: October 10, 2013, 11:55:45 PM »
 
Why Did Bodhidharma Bring When He Came From the West?

There was a monk who asked his master, "What did Bodhidharma bring when he came from the West?"

The master replied, "He didn't bring anything."

The monk insisted, "Didn't Bodhidharma bring Buddhadharma, the teaching of Buddha, from the West?"

The master replied, "No, not really. Buddhadharma has always been in China."

The monk was puzzled, "Well, that's strange then. If Buddhadharma was already here, why did Bodhidharma bother coming to China?"

The master replied, "Because Buddhadharma was already here, it is for that reason that Bodhidharma had to leave India and come here."

................................................. ....................


Esarhaddon, King of Assyria
by Leo Tolstoy
Translated by L. and A. Maude
(This is a wonderful story quoted by Thich Nhat-Hanh in The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching.)

THE Assyrian King, Esarhaddon, had conquered the kingdom of King Lailie, had destroyed and burnt the towns, taken all the inhabitants captive to his own country, slaughtered the warriors, beheaded some chieftains and impaled or flayed others, and had confined King Lailie himself in a cage.

As he lay on his bed one night, King Esarhaddon was thinking how he should execute Lailie, when suddenly he heard a rustling near his bed, and opening his eyes saw an old man with a long grey beard and mild eyes.

"You wish to execute Lailie?" asked the old man.

"Yes," answered the King. "But I cannot make up my mind how to do it."

"But you are Lailie," said the old man.

"That's not true," replied the King. "Lailie is Lailie, and I am I."

"You and Lailie are one," said the old man. "You only imagine you are not Lailie, and that Lailie is not you."

"What do you mean by that?" said the King. "Here am I, lying on a soft bed; around me are obedient men-slaves and women-slaves, and to-morrow I shall feast with my friends as I did to-day; whereas Lailie is sitting like a bird in a cage, and to-morrow he will be impaled, and with his tongue hanging out will struggle till he dies, and his body will be torn in pieces by dogs."

"You cannot destroy his life," said the old man.

"And how about the fourteen thousand warriors I killed, with whose bodies I built a mound?" said the King. "I am alive, but they no longer exist. Does not that prove that I can destroy life?"

"How do you know they no longer exist?"

"Because I no longer see them. And, above all, they were tormented, but I was not. It was ill for them, but well for me."

"That, also, only seems so to you. You tortured yourself, but not them."

"I do not understand," said the King.

"Do you wish to understand?"

"Yes, I do."

"Then come here," said the old man, pointing to a large font full of water.

The King rose and approached the font.

"Strip, and enter the font."

Esarhaddon did as the old man bade him.

"As soon as I begin to pour this water over you," said the old man, filling a pitcher with the water, "dip down your head."

The old man tilted the pitcher over the King's head and the King bent his head till it was under water.

And as soon as King Esarhaddon was under the water he felt that he was no longer Esarhaddon, but some one else. And, feeling himself to be that other man, he saw himself lying on a rich bed, beside a beautiful woman. He had never seen her before, but he knew she was his wife. The woman raised herself and said to him:

"Dear husband, Lailie! You were wearied by yesterday's work and have slept longer than usual, and I have guarded your rest, and have not roused you. But now the Princes await you in the Great Hall. Dress and go out to them."

And Esarhaddon -- understanding from these words that he was Lailie, and not feeling at all surprised at this, but only wondering that he did not know it before -- rose, dressed, and went into the Great Hall where the Princes awaited him.

The Princes greeted Lailie, their King, bowing to the ground, and then they rose, and at his word sat down before him; and the eldest of the Princes began to speak, saying that it was impossible longer to endure the insults of the wicked King Esarhaddon, and that they must make war on him. But Lailie disagreed, and gave orders that envoys shall be sent to remonstrate with King Esarhaddon; and he dismissed the Princes from the audience. Afterwards he appointed men of note to act as ambassadors, and impressed on them what they were to say to King Esarhaddon. Having finished this business, Esarhaddon -- feeling himself to be Lailie -- rode out to hunt wild asses. The hunt was successful. He killed two wild asses himself, and having returned home, feasted with his friends, and witnessed a dance of slave girls. The next day he went to the Court, where he was awaited by petitioners suitors, and prisoners brought for trial; and there as usual he decided the cases submitted to him. Having finished this business, he again rode out to his favourite amusement: the hunt. And again he was successful: this time killing with his own hand an old lioness, and capturing her two cubs. After the hunt he again feasted with his friends, and was entertained with music and dances, and the night he spent with the wife whom he loved.

So, dividing his time between kingly duties and pleasures, he lived for days and weeks, awaiting the return of the ambassadors he had sent to that King Esarhaddon who used to be himself. Not till a month had passed did the ambassadors return, and they returned with their noses and ears cut off.

King Esarhaddon had ordered them to tell Lailie that what had been done to them -- the ambassadors -- would be done to King Lailie himself also, unless he sent immediately a tribute of silver, gold, and cypress-wood, and came himself to pay homage to King Esarhaddon.

Lailie, formerly Esarhaddon, again assembled the Princes, and took counsel with them as to what he should do. They all with one accord said that war must be made against Esarhaddon, without waiting for him to attack them. The King agreed; and taking his place at the head of the army, started on the campaign. The campaign lasts seven days. Each day the King rode round the army to rouse the courage of his warriors. On the eighth day his army met that of Esarhaddon in a broad valley through which a river flowed. Lailie's army fought bravely, but Lailie, formerly Esarhaddon, saw the enemy swarming down from the mountains like ants, over-running the valley and overwhelming his army; and, in his chariot, he flung himself into the midst of the battle, hewing and felling the enemy. But the warriors of Lailie were but as hundreds, while those of Esarhaddon were as thousands; and Lailie felt himself wounded and taken prisoner. Nine days he journeyed with other captives, bound, and guarded by the warriors of Esarhaddon. On the tenth day he reached Nineveh, and was placed in a cage. Lailie suffered not so much from hunger and from his wound as from shame and impotent rage. He felt how powerless he was to avenge himself on his enemy for all he was suffering. All he could do was to deprive his enemies of the pleasure of seeing his sufferings; and he firmly resolved to endure courageously without a murmur, all they could do to him. For twenty days he sat in his cage, awaiting execution. He saw his relatives and friends led out to death; he heard the groans of those who were executed: some had their hands and feet cut off, others were flayed alive, but he showed neither disquietude, nor pity, nor fear. He saw the wife he loved, bound, and led by two black eunuchs. He knew she was being taken as a slave to Esarhaddon. That, too, he bore without a murmur. But one of the guards placed to watch him said, "I pity you, Lailie; you were a king, but what are you now?" And hearing these words, Lailie remembered all he had lost. He clutched the bars of his cage, and, wishing to kill himself, beat his head against them. But he had not the strength to do so and, groaning in despair, he fell upon the floor of his cage.

At last two executioners opened his cage door, and having strapped his arms tight behind him, led him to the place of execution, which was soaked with blood. Lailie saw a sharp stake dripping with blood, from which the corpse of one of his friends had just been torn, and he understood that this had been done that the stake might serve for his own execution. They stripped Lailie of his clothes. He was startled at the leanness of his once strong, handsome body. The two executioners seized that body by its lean thighs; they lifted him up and were about to let him fall upon the stake.

"This is death, destruction!" thought Lailie, and, forgetful of his resolve to remain bravely calm to the end, he sobbed and prayed for mercy. But no one listened to him.

"But this cannot be," thought he. "Surely I am asleep. It is a dream." And he made an effort to rouse himself, and did indeed awake, to find himself neither Esarhaddon nor Lailie -- but some kind of an animal. He was astonished that he was an animal, and astonished, also, at not having known this before.

He was grazing in a valley, tearing the tender grass with his teeth, and brushing away flies with his long tail. Around him was frolicking a long-legged, dark-gray ass-colt, striped down its back. Kicking up its hind legs, the colt galloped full speed to Esarhaddon, and poking him under the stomach with its smooth little muzzle, searched for the teat, and, finding it, quieted down, swallowing regularly. Esarhaddon understood that he was a she-ass, the colt's mother, and this neither surprised nor grieved him, but rather gave him pleasure. He experienced a glad feeling of simultaneous life in himself and in his offspring.

But suddenly something flew near with a whistling sound and hit him in the side, and with its sharp point entered his skin and flesh. Feeling a burning pain, Esarhaddon -- who was at the same time the ass -- tore the udder from the colt's teeth, and laying back his ears galloped to the herd from which he had strayed. The colt kept up with him, galloping by his side. They had already nearly reached the herd, which had started off, when another arrow in full flight struck the colt's neck. It pierced the skin and quivered in its flesh. The colt sobbed piteously and fell upon its knees. Esarhaddon could not abandon it, and remained standing over it. The colt rose, tottered on its long, thin legs, and again fell. A fearful two-legged being -- a man -- ran up and cut its throat.

"This cannot be; it is still a dream! thought Esarhaddon, and made a last effort to awake. "Surely I am not Lailie, nor the ass, but Esarhaddon!"

He cried out, and at the same instant lifted his head out of the font. . . . The old man was standing by him, pouring over his head the last drops from the pitcher.

"Oh, how terribly I have suffered! And for how long!" said Esarhaddon.

"Long?" replied the old man, "you have only dipped your head under water and lifted it again; see, the water is not yet all out of the pitcher. Do you now understand?"

Esarhaddon did not reply, but only looked at the old man with terror.

"Do you now understand," continued the old man, "that Lailie is you, and the warriors you put to death were you also? And not the warriors only, but the animals which you slew when hunting and ate at your feasts were also you. You thought life dwelt in you alone but I have drawn aside the veil of delusion, and have let you see that by doing evil to others you have done it to yourself also. Life is one in them all, and yours is but a portion of this same common life. And only in that one part of life that is yours, can you make life better or worse -- increasing or decreasing it. You can only improve life in yourself by destroying the barriers that divide your life from that of others, and by considering others as yourself, and loving them. By so doing you increase your share of life. You injure your life when you think of it as the only life, and try to add to its welfare at the expense of other lives. By so doing you only lessen it. To destroy the life that dwells in others is beyond your power. The life of those you have slain has vanished from your eyes, but is not destroyed. You thought to lengthen your own life and to shorten theirs, but you cannot do this. Life knows neither time nor space. The life of a moment, and the life of a thousand years: your life and the life of all the visible and invisible beings in the world, are equal. To destroy life, or to alter it, is impossible; for life is the one thing that exists. All else, but seems to us to be."

Having said this the old man vanished.

Next morning King Esarhaddon gave orders that Lailie and all the prisoners should be set at liberty and that the executions should cease.

On the third day he called his son Assur-bani-pal, and gave the kingdom over into his hands; and he himself went into the desert to think over all he had learnt. Afterwards he went about as a wanderer through the towns and villages, preaching to the people that all life is one, and that when men wish to harm others, they really do evil to themselves.

................................................. ..............................




Eight Earthly Winds

There was a well-known scholar who practiced Buddhism and befriended a chan master. Thinking that he had made great stride in his cultivation, he wrote a poem and asked his attendant to deliver it to the master who lived across the river. The master opened the letter and read the short poem aloud:

    "Unmoved by the eight worldly winds, [1]
      Serenely I sit on the purplish gold terrace."

A smile broke up on the lips of the master. Picking up an ink brush, he scribbled the word "fart" across the letter and asked that it be delivered back to the scholar.

The scholar was upset and went across the river right away to reprimand the master for being rude. The master laughed as he said, "You said you are no longer moved by the eight worldly winds and yet with just one 'fart', you ran across the river like a rat!"
 

[1] Eight worldly winds/concerns: Gain and loss, honor and disgrace, praise and blame, happiness and pain.
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«Reply #5 on: October 10, 2013, 11:58:56 PM »
 
Fate Is in Your Own Hands

Once upon a time, there was a general who was leading his army into battle against an enemy ten times the size of his own.

Along the way to the battle field, the troops stopped by a small temple to pray for victory.

The general held up a coin and told his troops, "I am going to implore the gods to help us crush our enemy. If this coin lands with the heads on top, we'll win. If it's tails, we'll lose. Our fate is in the hands of the gods. Let's pray wholeheartedly."

After a short prayer, the general tossed the coin. It landed with the heads on top. The troops were overjoyed and went into the battle with high siprit.

Just as predicted, the smaller army won the battle.

The soldiers were exalted, "It's good to have the gods on our side! No one can change what they have determined."

"Really?" The general show them the coin--both sides of it were heads.

................................................. .........

Hell
(Told by Master Thich Nhat Hanh)

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.

The guard had an instrument with three iron points, and every time he wanted the two men to go ahead, he used this to push them on the back, and of course blood came out of their backs. He did not allow them to relax; he was always pushing and pushing and pushing. He himself also looked like he was being pushed by something behind him. Have you ever felt that kind of pushing behind your back? Even if there was no one behind you, you have felt that you were being pushed and pushed to do things you don't like to do, and to say the things you don't like to say, and in doing that you created a lot of suffering for yourself and the people around you. Maybe there is something behind us that is pushing and pushing. Sometimes we say horrible things, and do horrible things, that we did not want to say or do, yet we were pushed by something from behind. So we said it, and we did it, even if we didn't want to do it. That was what happened to the guard in Hell: he tried to push, because he was being pushed. He caused a lot of damage to the two men. The two men were very cold, very hungry, and he was always pushing and beating them and causing them a lot of problems.

One afternoon, the man who was the Buddha in a former life saw the guard treating his companion so brutally that something in him rose up. He wanted to protest. He knew that if he intervened, if he said anything, if he tried to prevent the guard beating the other person, that he would be beaten himself. But that something was pushing up in him, so that he wanted to intervene, and he wanted to say: "Don't beat him so much. Why don't you allow him to relax? Why do you have to stab him and to beat him and to push him so much?" Deep within the Buddha was a pressure coming up, and he wanted to intervene, even knowing perfectly well that if he did, he would be beaten by the guard. That impulse was very strong in him, and he could not stand it anymore. He turned around, and he faced the guard without any heart, and said, "Why don't you leave him alone for a moment? Why do you keep beating him and pushing him like that? Don't you have a heart?"

That was what he said, this man who was to be the Buddha. When the guard saw him protesting like that, and heard him, he was very angry, and he used his fork, and he planted it right in the chest of the Buddha. As a result, the Buddha died right away, and he was reborn the very same minute into the body of a human being. He escaped Hell, and became a human being living on earth, just because compassion was born in him, strong enough for him to have the courage to intervene to help his fellow man in Hell.

When I read this story, I was astonished, and I came to the conclusion that even in Hell there was compassion. That was a very relieving truth: even in Hell there is compassion. Can you imagine? And wherever compassion is, it's not too bad.

Do you know something? The other fellow saw the Buddha die. He was angry, and for the first time he was touched by compassion: the other person must have had some love, some compassion to have the courage to intervene for his sake.

That gave rise to some compassion in him also.That is why he looked at the guard, and he said, "My friend was right, you don't have a heart. You can only create suffering for yourself and for other people. I don't think that you are a happy person. You have killed him." And after he said that, the guard was also very angry at him, and he used his fork, and planted the fork in the stomach of the second man, who also died right away, and was reborn as a human being on earth.

Both of them escaped Hell, and had a chance to begin anew on earth, as full human beings.

What happened to the guard, the one who had no heart? He felt very lonely, because in that Hell there were only three people and now the other two were dead. He began to see that these two were not very kind, or very nice, but to have people living with us is a wonderful thing. Now the two other people were dead, and he was alone, utterly alone there.

He could not bear that kind of loneliness, and Hell became very difficult for him. Out of that suffering he learned something: he learned that you cannot live alone. Man is not our enemy. You cannot hate man, you cannot kill man, you cannot reduce man to nothingness, because if you kill man, with whom will you live? He made a vow that if he had to take care of other people in Hell, he would learn how to deal with them in a nicer way, and a transformation took place in his heart. In fact, he did have a heart. To believe that he did not have a heart is wrong -- everyone has a heart. We need something or someone to touch that heart, to transform it into a human heart. So this time the feeling of loneliness, the desire to be with other humans, was born in him. That is why he decided that if he had to guard other people in Hell, he would know how to deal with them with more compassion. At that time, the door of Hell opened, and a bodhisattva appeared, with all the radiance of a bodhisattva. The bodhisattva said, " Goodness has been born in you, so you don't have to endure Hell very long. You will die quickly and be reborn as a human very soon."
 
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«Reply #6 on: October 12, 2013, 12:10:43 AM »

The massacre of the Sakya clansmen

Before the advent of Sakyamuni Buddha, there was near Kapila town a village inhabited by fishermen, and in it was a big pond. It happened that because of a great drought, the pond ran dry and all the fish were caught and eaten by the villagers. The last fish taken was a big one and before it was killed, a boy who never ate fish, played with it and thrice knocked its head.

Later, after Sakyamuni Buddha's appearance in this world, King Prasenajit who believed in the Buddha-dharma, married a Sakya girl who then gave birth to a prince called Crsytal. When he was young, Crystal had his schooling in Kapila which was then inhabited by the Sakya clansmen. One day while playing, the boy ascended to the Buddha's seat and was reprimanded by others who dragged him down. The boy cherished a grudge against the men and when he became king, he led his soldiers to attack Kapila, killing all its inhabitants.

At the same time, the Buddha suffered from a headache which lasted three days. When His disciples asked Him to rescue the poor inhabitants, the Buddha replied that a fixed Karma could not be changed. By means of his miraculous powers, Maudgalyayana rescued five hundred Sakya clansmen and thought he could give them refuge in his own bowl which was raised up in the air. When the bowl was brought down, all the men had been turned into blood.

When asked by His chief disciples, the Buddha related the story of the villagers who in days gone by had killed all the fish in their pond; King Crystal had been the big fish and his soldiers the other fish in the pond; the inhabitants of Kapila who were now killed had been those who ate the fish; and the Buddha Himself had been the boy who thrice knocked the head of the big fish. Karma was now causing Him to suffer from a headache for three days in retribution for his previous act. Since there could be no escape from the effects of a fixed Karma, the five hundred Sakya clansmen, although rescued by Maudgalyayana, shared the same fate. Later, King Crystal was reborn in a hell.

As cause produces effect which in turn becomes a new cause the retribution is inexhaustible. The law of causality is really very dreadful.

................................................. ..............




The Young Monk Who Saved The Ants

Once upon a time in the deep mountains forest there lived an old monk and a young monk. The old monk was a great practitioner of Buddha-dharma and was frequently in deep meditation. Normally when he started meditation, it could last for half a day or one full day. In addition, during his meditation he would know what was going to happen in the future.

One day, the old monk meditated again. Suddenly he found out that his little disciple was going to pass away in eight days. Therefore the old monk called the young monk and said,

"My child, I am going to give you an eight-day holiday so that you can go home to see your mother and father."

"Really? That's very good, thank you Shifu."

In fact, lately I have been feeling quite homesick too."

"However, you must remember to come back here by the eighth day."

"Okay, Shifu, please take care of yourself. I am leaving now."

"Go home now!"

Delightedly the young monk went down the mountains, without realising that in the eyes of the old monk, there was sadness and a sense of reluctance to see him leave. After a long walk, the young monk stopped at the bank of the stream to drink some water as he was getting thirsty. Then he saw there was an ant cave in which countless ants were going into and out of it. He stayed to observe for a while with interest. When he was just about to leave,

"Oh! Why is the water level of the stream is rising? Oh no!! The ants will be drowned!!"

The reason was it had been raining upstream for a few days continuously. Therefore the water level downstream was starting to rise.

He quickly took off his cloth and he put some hard soil in it to made up a protection wall along the cave. Not only did he managed to stop water from covering the cave, but also skilfully diverted the flow of the waterto somewhere else.

Hence he saved the lives of countless ants. Eight days passed quickly. The old monk was strolling in the mountains forest sadly. Suddenly from a distance, he saw the little monk coming back upto the mountains cheerfully. Happily he asked the young monk to recount what he has done in the pass eight days while he had been away. When he pondered on this story he finally understood that because the young monk had saved the lives of countless ants this has caused his fated eight-day life expectancyto lenghten into a long and happy life.This is the merit of cultivating good deeds, however seemingly insignificant they be.

................................................. ...................



 
The Power of Keeping the Precepts

Formerly, in Kubhana state (Kashmir), there was nearby a monastery a poisonous dragon which frequently played havoc in the region.

In the monastery five hundred arhats gathered together but failed to drive away the dragon with their collective power of Dhyana-samadhi. Later, a monk came to the monastery where he did not enter into Dhyana-samadhi; he merely said to the poisonous dragon: 'Will the wise and virtuous one leave this place and go to some distant one.' Thereupon, the poisonous dragon fled to a distant place.

When asked by the arhats what miraculous power he had used to drive away the dragon, the monk replied: 'I did not use the power of Dhyana-samadhi; I am only very careful about keeping the rules of discipline and I observe a minor one with the same care as a major one.'

So, we can see that the collective power of five hundred arhats' Dhyana--samadhi cannot compare with a monk's strict observance of the rules of discipline.

................................................. ..................


I Am Awake

When the Buddha start to wander around India shortly after his enlightenment, he encountered several men who recognized him to be a very extraordinary being.

They asked him, "Are you a god?"

"No," he replied.

"Are you a reincarnation of god?"

"No," he replied.

"Are you a wizard, then?"

"No."

"Well, are you a man?"

"No."

"So what are you?" they asked, being very perplexed.

"I am awake."

Buddha means "The Awakened One". How to awaken is all he taught.
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«Reply #7 on: October 13, 2013, 02:47:24 AM »
HAZRAT IBRAHIM AND THE OLD MAN
In the Middle East there is a land known as Palestine. Long before, in this land there lived a very great prophet. Prophet is a messenger of Allah. He has been chosen by Allah Himself to teach people religion, good thoughts and good deeds. The name of this great prophet was Hazrat Ibrahim. (He is also known as Abraham in the Bible). He had come to Palestine from Iraq.

Hazrat Ibrahim was very fond of guests. He liked to invite guests to his house. He was good to travellers. He took them to his house and gave them food to eat and bed to sleep. This good quality of his is described in the Qur'an.

Every morning Hazrat Ibrahim stood by the main road near his house and waited for travellers to pass. As soon he saw them he invited them to his house to be his guests. Hazrat Ibrahim liked this good deed very much. It pleased him to make other people happy and comfortable. Thus, Hazrat Ibrahim would everyday bring home one guest at least. If he came across no traveller even for a day he would become unhappy. Without having a guest, he would not touch food himself.

Once it so happened that no traveller passed that way for three days running. This, naturally, upset Hazrat Ibrahim. It made him sad. Without having a guest on his table he would not eat. Each morning Hazrat Ibrahim went to the main road hopefully. He would strain his eyes far away to the horizon. Yet no traveller was to be seen. Each evening he would return to his home disappointed.

Three days passed. One morning an old man appeared on a camel. Hazrat Ibrahim was happy. He invited the old man to his home to eat with him The old man accepted the invitation.

In the house they set to eat. Hazrat Ibrahim recited "Bismillah" before taking the food, but the old man did not say anything. Hazrat Ibrahim asked why he did not remember Allah before taking his meal. Was not Allah our Creator, our Nourisher and our Master? Was it not proper to remember Him before partaking of the food provided by Him?

The old man said that it was not the custom in his religion. Hazrat Ibrahim asked him what his religion was. He said that he was one of those who worship fire.

Hazrat Ibrahim was very much annoyed and turned the old man out.

As soon as the old man went away, the angel Jibrail came to Hazrat Ibrahim, from Allah. Jibrail told Hazrat Ibrahim that Allah had been feeding this unbeliever person for seventy years. Could not Hazrat Ibrahim tolerate him for even one meal! Hazrat Ibrahim felt very sorry for this. He immediately ran after the old man. Finally he reached him and persuaded him to return to his house to have food together. He finally succeeded in getting the old man to his home.

Moral:-

   1. However good you may be, it does not give you right to judge other persons.
   2. You should always seek the forgiveness and pleasure of God.
   3.  Always entertain and please a guest.



(HELPING HAND)


Once Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saw a slave grinding some grain on a grinding mill driven by hand. As he ground the grains he was crying. On seeing this Prophet became anxious. He asked the slave the reason why he was weeping. The slave said, "I am sick. I cannot grind the grain. My master is very cruel and he will beat me if I cannot finish my job." At this, the Prophet stepped forward and ground the rest of the grain saying, "Always call me if you have any grain to grind. I will do it for you."

...


Another time, the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw an old man walking and trembling under the weight of water which he carried in a leather jacket. The old man walked a few steps and rested a bit. Seeing this, the Prophet took the load and carried it to his place.
 
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«Reply #8 on: October 13, 2013, 03:02:22 AM »
THE THREE FRIENDS

Once the Prophet of God, Hazrat Muhammed (p.b.u.h) was sitting amidst his Sahaba (companions) in the mosque when all of a sudden he said "Today I shall narrate a story to you all which will reveal three riddles for all of you to solve". This hushed the crowd and they all listened to what the Prophet had to
say.

Hazrat Mohammed (p.b.u.h) continued by saying that once a man got to know that the days in his life was numbered and very soon he would be confronted with death. With this knowledge he feared his loneliness in the grave and went
searching for true friends who would help and accompany him.

He knocked on the door of his first friend and asked whether he would help. To this the friend said, "of course, what are we here for." But then the man went on to say that he had very few days to live after which he required help. As
soon as he uttered this statement, the friend said "I am sorry but when death does us apart, there is nothing we can do for you but buy you a place in the graveyard and some cloth (Kafan) to cover your dead body." Grieved but looking
forward to his next friend, the man moved on.

On the second door, when he came face to face with his friend, and after narrating the entire story of his death and asked for help, the same answer was his fate again. The second friend said "I have been there with you all your life
and can help you here. But there's nothing I can do for you after you die except take your corpse to the graveyard and bury you."

Lost in agony and despair, he headed for the third friend, very sure that he would receive the same answer but there was a tinge of hope left. When he confronted the third friend, and told him that he required help, the friend
eagerly volunteered to help. But the man continued to say that I need help after I die. To which the third friend replied, "Do not worry, my dear friend!

I shall accompany you to the grave, be there with you in the grave, even when the angels arrive for questioning (Munkar-o-Nakeer), then assist you on the Pul-e-Sirat (bridge) and then lead you to heaven. "To this the man heaved a sigh of relief and then passed away in peace."

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) then turned and asked his companions if anybody could identify the three friends and the man. When the prevailing silence didn't dissolve, the Prophet continued to say, "The man in the anecdote is any other
human being." The first friend is "money/wealth", things that help us only in life and not after we die.

The second family/friend were the "children/sons and daughters", we strive for them all our life and all they give us is a shoulder to the grave.

And the third and most important friend is "Aamal (deeds)". Who accompany us all the way through.

Moral: Do not strive for materialistic values that will give you nothing and help you in no way in your eternal life. But work and pray and ask forgiveness from God for only the good deeds assist mankind where every other thing loses
value in the life hereafter!


................................................. ....



TYING THE CAMEL

The caravan had been traveling for few hours now. Signs of fatigue were obvious on their faces. They arrived at a point and stopped. The Prophet (S.A.W.) who was also in the caravan, stopped the camel, and landed. Prior to anything, they were in search of water to prepare for prayer.

The Prophet (S.A.W.) also started searching for water. But soon, returned to his camel, without saying anything to anyone. The companions were surprised that the Prophet (S.A.W.) had ordered stopping here, and now perhaps he would like to move again? Eyes and ears were awaiting his order. But the surprise of the group increased as they saw him approach his camel, and tied its knees, and returned back in search of water.

Noises were raised from every corner:

" O Prophet of Allah! Why didn't you order us to do this for you, and insteadyou put yourself in discomfort? We would have proudly done that service for you."

The Prophet (S.A.W.) responded: "Never seek others' help in your affairs, don't lean on others, even if it is a small piece of Miswak (the wood used for brushing teeth)."

...........................................


THE SOUR GRAPES

One day a poor man brought a bunch of grapes to the prophet Muhammad as a gift.
The prophet ate one, two, three and then the whole bunch of grapes by himself.
He did not offer grapes to anyone present. The poor man who brought those grapes was very
pleased and left. One of the companions asked, "O prophet of Allah (peace be upon Him) ! How come
you ate all the grapes by yourself and did not offer to any one of us present?

The prophet smiled and said, "I ate all the grapes by myself because the grapes
were sour. If I would have offered you, you might have made funny faces and that would have
hurt the feelings of that poor man. I thought to myself that it's better that I eat all of them cheerfully
and please the poor man. I did not want to hurt the feelings of that poor man."
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