Buddha’s story on Karma

Value- Right conduct

Sub value- Positive thoughts

 

Buddha was sitting with his disciples. One of them asked him “What is Karma?”

Buddha said, “Let me tell you a story…”

A king was touring his kingdom on his elephant. Suddenly he stopped in front of a shop in the market and said to his minister, “I don’t know why, but I want to hang the owner of this shop.” The minister was shocked. But before he could ask the king why, the king had moved on.

The next day, the minister went to that shop dressed as one of the locals to see the shopkeeper. He casually asked him how his business was faring. The shopkeeper, a sandalwood merchant, reported sadly that he had hardly any customer. People would come to his shop, smell the sandalwood and then go away. They would even praise the quality of the sandalwood but rarely buy anything. His only hope was that the king would die soon. Then there would be a huge demand for sandalwood for performing his last rites. As he was the only sandalwood merchant around, he was sure the king’s death would mean a windfall.

The minister now understood why the king had stopped in front of this shop and expressed a desire to kill the shopkeeper. Perhaps, the shopkeeper’s negative thought vibration had subtly affected the king, who had, in turn, felt the same kind of negative thought arising within.

The minister; a nobleman, pondered over the matter for a while. Without revealing who he was or what had happened the day before, he expressed a desire to buy some sandalwood. The shopkeeper was pleased. He wrapped the sandalwood and handed it over to the minister.

When the minister returned to the palace, he went straight to the court where the king was seated and reported that the sandalwood merchant had a gift for him. The king was surprised. When he opened the package, he was pleasantly surprised by the fine golden color of the sandalwood and its agreeable fragrance. Pleased, he sent some gold coins to the sandalwood merchant. The king also felt sorry in his heart that he had harbored unbecoming thoughts of killing the shopkeeper.

When the shopkeeper received the gold coins from the king, he was astounded. He began to proclaim the virtues of the king who had, through the gold coins, saved him from the brink of poverty. After some time, he recalled the morbid thoughts he had felt towards the king and repented for having entertained such negative thoughts for his own personal goal.

If we have a good and kind thought for another person, that positive thought will come back to us in a favorable way. But if we harbor evil thoughts, those thoughts will come back to us as retribution.

“What is Karma?” asked Buddha

Many replied, “our words, our deeds, our feelings, our actions……”

Buddha shook his head and said

“Your thoughts are your Karma!”

Learning

We will receive what we give. Everything is about reaction and reflection. Good thought, deeds and actions will get back the same.

 

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Parable of the Zither- Middle Path

Value- Right conduct

Sub value- Moderation in everything one does

Sona was a young disciple of the Buddha. Born into an affluent family, he was diligent, astute, and cheerful.

Ever since renouncing his secular life, he was highly motivated and more assiduous in his meditation practice. As the days went by, he found himself mired in melancholy which gave way to frustration, befuddlement, and agony. Before long, he became so emaciated and haggard-looking.

Exasperated over his lack of spiritual progress, he went to the Buddha to seek guidance.

The Buddha said: “Tell me Sona, in earlier days, were you not skilled in playing the stringed music of the zither ( stringed instrument)?”

“Yes tuneful and easily playable?”

“Certainly not, O Lord.”

“And when the strings on the zither were too loose, was then your lute tuneful and easily playable?”

“Certainly not, O Lord.”

“But when, Sona, the strings of your lute were neither too taut nor too loose, and adjusted to an even pitch, did your zither have a wonderful sound, and then was it easily playable?”

“Certainly, O Lord.”

“Similarly, Sona, in the practice of the way, if energy is applied too strongly, it will lead to strain and restlessness; if energy is too lax, it will lead to lassitude. Therefore, Sona, keep your energy in balance and you will then be able to focus your attention on the spiritual cultivation.”

Learning

Practicing Middle way is the key to happiness. One must do everything in moderation exercise, diet, sleep, work and we then be able to have a balanced lifestyle brimming with joy.

 

Raj’s lesson on Gratitude

 

Value- Right conduct

Sub value- Gratitude

gratitude 01

Raj belonged to a middle class family and his family couldn’t afford to buy him expensive gadgets, latest clothes and shoes which his friends in the school had. He was often mocked by his classmates for that. One day, one of his friends brought a I pad to school and was showing it off to everyone. Raj felt upset seeing this.

When he went back home after school, his parents showed him a simple jigsaw puzzle they had brought for him. Raj became very angry seeing an ordinary educational game that he started shouting and misbehaving. He felt upset that his parents never bought anything expensive or trendy which all his friends had.

He started crying and asking God why he never got what he wanted. After some time, Raj fell asleep and saw a dream.

He saw himself in an untidy old house which had just one room and no furniture. His clothes were all shabby and the house had no facilities; it was almost empty. The room in which he was present was stinking. Raj then walked out of this house and saw another house.

This house was big and magnificent. There was a small lovely garden too that he could see from the main gate of the house. He was shocked to realise that this nice house was his own!

He tried to enter the house but was stopped by a security guard. Raj tried to convince him that he lived in this house but the guard refused to let him enter. The guard said the dirty house on the other side was his. Raj was scared and confused. Then the whole scene changed and he woke up to find himself in his room, lying on his bed.

He realised it was all a dream — a dream that made him think how lucky he was, and ungrateful too! Raj quickly got up and went to his parents, but he was just too ashamed to say anything and stood with his head bowed. His parents realised Raj was remorseful at his behaviour.

His mother hugged him and said, “Son, the reason we never brought those kind of expensive clothes, shoes and other devices for you is because we didn’t want to spoil you like those boys in your school.

“If you look around you will realise that there are so many people in the world who don’t even have enough to eat each day, let alone luxuries like toys. Moreover, having costly things does not make a person more worthy than those who don’t own expensive things.

“It is your character and behaviour that determine your worth as a human being. Anyone with enough money can buy an expensive gadget but no one can buy a good personality trait, or make others like you with money.”

Raj’s eyes were filled with tears. He was ashamed of his ungrateful behaviour. He apologised to his mother and to God as well and decided to remain happy with whatever God had blessed him with.

Learning

We always tend to compare ourselves with people who have more than us. We forget to count our blessings. Happiness or contentment is not measured by how much money one has. It has so much to do with what kind of a character we possess, how we value and respect our relationships, how we look out to make a difference in some one else’s life. Money is essential but is not the measure of happiness. Sensible use of money is important. Let us learn to be thankful and grateful for what we are blessed with.

 

The cobbler and the rich man

Value- Right conduct

Sub value- Contentment, Detachment, peace of mind

There lived a happy cobbler who passed his days working and singing from morning till night; rain or shine. A rich man who passed by the cobbler daily felt sad at the sight of the poor cobbler working so hard. He wanted to help him.

One day he asked the cobbler “Hello man, I see you working hard daily and wondering how much do you earn in a year?” The cobbler replied, ”I earn enough to make both ends meet.” ”I am really sorry to hear that .You must be living in great distress,” said the rich man. “But I am used to this sort of life and I am happy,” said the cobbler.

The next day the rich man again came to visit the cobbler. He came with ten thousand rupees in a bag. He said to him, ”Look, my friend! I have brought ten thousand rupees for you. Keep this money and remove your distress. ”The cobbler was greatly surprised. At first he refused to take the money. The rich man told him that he could use the money in times of difficulties. The cobbler took the money from the rich man and thanked him.

Now a new fear troubled the cobbler. He said to himself, ”Ten thousand rupees is a lot of money. ” He could not think where to keep the money safe. He dug a hole in his hut and kept the money there. But he always thought that his money could be stolen any time. This thought kept him awake and he lost his sleep every night. He lost his smile, happiness and forgot to sing. He could not devote himself to his work. As a result, his life became more miserable. Peace and happiness vanished from his life. The cobbler gradually realized that he had money, but no peace of mind.

Learning

Money does not necessarily bring happiness. It is difficult to earn money and even more difficult to safeguard it. It brings more fear and anxiety to protect the wealth. The money which should have brought happiness brought more restlessness and fear. This does not mean that money is not good. It is good to have enough money for our needs and comfort and a little more to be of help to others.

Saint transforms a thief

Value- Right conduct
Sub value- Detachment
Tulsidas, a pious saint, used to worship God in the form of Rama, the great prophet of India. Wealthy devotees of Tulsidas, inspired by his intense devotion, gave him many golden utensils to be used in his sacred temple ceremonies. Tulsidas, while he meditated deeply on Rama, noticed an underlying fear that these gold utensils would be stolen.
His fear was not unfounded, for a thief had learned about the temple’s gold utensils. Saint Tulsidas left the temple open, and at night he used to meditate under a bower of fragrant flowers, about one hundred yards from the temple. The thief planned to go there at night and steal the utensils, but for seven nights as he approached the temple, he beheld the living image of Rama guarding the temple entrance.
Bewildered, the thief dressed himself up as a gentleman and went to Tulsidas one morning, saying, “Honored Sir, I have heard that you do not lock the temple door even at night, for you always invite true devotees to meditate there. Yet for seven nights I have wanted to enter your temple to meditate and receive the holy vibrations, but I dared not enter because your sentry, dressed as King Rama and equipped with bow and arrows, was menacingly guarding the temple door.”
Tulsidas, with tears in his eyes, asked the gentleman, “Is it true that you saw Rama guarding the temple door? Well, sir, I’m sorry. I will ask my sentry not to guard the temple door anymore, so that you can visit the temple at any time.”
Tulsidas realized that this “gentleman” was really a thief. But he also realized that his fear of losing the gold utensils had attracted the Lord Rama to materialize and lovingly guard the temple treasures for him.
The saint retired to the temple and meditated all day long, praying to Rama, “Lord, please take away my gold utensils. I’m ashamed to have bothered you with my fears and caused you to be awake through the night guarding the temple utensils. Please desist from assuming the part of my sentry.” Rama appeared in a vision and smilingly agreed to the prayer of his devotee.
That night the thief, making sure that Tulsidas was deeply meditating under his favorite tree, once again crept silently into the garden. As Tulsidas had promised, there was no divine guard at the temple entrance. On tiptoe the thief stole into the temple, hurriedly gathered most of the golden utensils in his gunnysack, and then quickly left the temple. At that point, a stray dog began to howl and chase him. The thief, with the golden utensils tinkling in the gunnysack, now chased by the barking dog, broke into a run.
Tulsidas, having finished his meditation, was resting under the tree and expecting the return of the thief. When he heard the howling dog, the racing feet, and the tinkling sound of the gold utensils, he went into the temple and discovered the loss of almost all of the utensils.
Hurriedly gathering up the few remaining gold pieces, Tulsidas tied them in a napkin, and raced in the direction of the barking dog. He quickly overtook the thief, who, in remorse and almost beside himself with fear, fell at the feet of the saint and cried, “Gracious Saint, please take back your gold utensils. I beg you not to turn me over to the police.”
The saint laughed merrily and, patting the thief on the back, handed him the rest of the gold utensils, saying, “Son, I did not overtake you to arrest you, but only to give you the rest of the utensils, which in your hurry you missed. I am glad to be relieved of them, for they distracted me from my meditation on my beloved Rama. Son, you need them more than I do. Take them all with my blessing. However, the next time you want anything from the temple, please don’t steal it and poison your spiritual life. Just ask me and I will willingly give it to you.”
The thief was dumbfounded at the astonishing non-attachment, devotion, forgiveness, and generosity of Tulsidas, and, bowing deeply before him, held the saint’s feet tightly to his bosom, saying amidst sobs, “Honored Saint, I am a thief by profession, but I have never met a greater thief than you. Today you have stolen everything from me—my body, mind, desires, aspirations, heart, and my very soul, as well as the golden utensils you gave me. I don’t want to be a thief of perishable articles any longer, but I want to be a thief of souls like you.”
Saying this, the thief, now a disciple, followed the master to the temple, and ever after they walked, dreamed, and loved God together.
Learning
The above story illustrates that the love of God must be supreme. One must learn to detach  ourselves from perishable things and material world. These are but temporary. It will not make us negative and joyless, but instead will bring the imperishable, ever-new, ever-increasing joy of God

Krishna and Karna- Is life fair or unfair?

Practice of Dharma

Value- Righteouness

Sub value- Duty

Prahlad was not only a devotee of Lord Narayana but also a very righteous king. He was the most bountiful of kings. He would never say ‘no’ to anyone who approached him for a favour, gift or help.

prahalad 1
Once Indra intending to test Prahlad, came to him in the guise of a Brahmin. Prahlad offered his respects to him and asked: “What do you seek of me. How can I make you happy? The Brahmin replied: “Oh king! I want you to gift me your Sheela (character). Prahlad said: “So be it. Your wish is fulfilled. I am gifting away my Sheela to you.” The Brahmin left the court. No sooner did the Brahmin leave, then a charming young man was seen walking away from the royal court. Prahlad questioned him: “Sir! Who are you. The young man replied: “I am fame. I cannot stay with you any longer since Sheela has left you.” Prahlad permitted him to leave.

A few seconds later, yet another handsome man was seen walking away from the court. Prahlad asked, “May I know who you are?” The man replied: I am valour. How can I be with you without Sheela and fame? I am therefore leaving.” Prahlad permitted him to leave.

Soon, a charming lady was leaving the court in hurried steps. Prahlad asked her: “Mother, may I know who you are?” “I am Rajyalakshmi, the presiding deity of this kingdom.” She replied and added: “I can’t live here without Sheela, fame and valour. Then a lady was seen moving away with tears in her eyes. Prahlad ran towards her and asked: “Mother, who are you?” She said: “Son! I am Dharma Devatha (righteousness). I don’t have a place where there is no Sheela, fame and valour. Even Rajyalakshmi has left you.”

Prahlad fell at her feet and said: “Mother, I can live without Sheela, fame, valour and Rajyalakshmi but I cannot live without you. How can I send you anywhere. It is the duty of the king to protect Dharma. Dharma alone is the basis of the entire world. Please stay with me. Do not forsake me.”

Dharma Devatha agreed to stay. When Dharma Devatha agreed to stay, all the others also returned to the court and said: “We cannot exist without Dharma Devatha. Let us please be with you.”

Lord Indra tested Prahlad only to illustrate to the world the greatness of Prahlad, which was founded only on his practice of Dharma.

Learning

Great sages, saints, kings like Prahalada are remembered for their adherence to righteousness, faith and devotion. When one does all their duties with sincerity, love and devotion in a righteous manner they not only progress in material life but in spiritual life as well.

Source-http://www.saibaba.ws/stories/storiesparables.htm#Practice of Dharma

 

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