Buddhist Tales for Young and Old

Volume 2 - King Fruitful

Teaching [Chapter 4]

King Brahmadatta bowed to the ground before the holy man and said, “Your wisdom has taken my fear and panic from me. Your compassion has kept me from doing terrible unwholesome things to many helpless beings. My gratitude is endless, oh holy monk.”

The Enlightenment Being said to the king, “Now you must realize why your royal priests wanted to have a sacrifice ceremony. It was not because they understood the Truth and it was not because they cared for you and your well-being. Instead it was due to greediness. They wanted only to get rich, eat fine food, and keep their jobs at your court.

“Your 16 dreams have indicated disasters in the distant future. What you do now will have no effect on them. Those things will happen when the world is declining, when the unreal is seen as real, when the unreasonable is thought to be reasonable, and when the non-existent seems to exist. It will be a time when many will be unwholesome without shame, and few will be ashamed of their own wrongdoing.

‘Therefore, to prevent these things by performing a sacrifice today is impossible!”

Remaining seated, the Bodhisatta miraculously rose into the air. Then he continued his teaching: “Oh king, it was fear that unbalanced your mind and brought you close to killing so many helpless ones. Real freedom from fear comes from a pure mind. And the way to begin purifying your mind is to climb the five steps of training. You will benefit greatly from giving up the five unwholesome actions. These are: destroying life, for this is not compassion; taking what is not given, for this is not generosity; doing wrong in sexual ways, for this is not loving-kindness; speaking falsely, for this is not Truth; losing your mind from alcohol, for this leads to falling down the first four steps.

“Oh king, from now on do not join with the priests in killing animals for sacrifice.”

In this way the Great Being taught the Truth, freed many people from bondage to false beliefs, and released many animals from fear and death. In an instant he returned through the air to his home in the Himalayas.

King Brahmadatta practiced the Five Training Steps. He gave alms and did many other good things. At the end of a long life he died and was reborn as he deserved.

The moral is: Beware of the panic-stricken man. What he can do is more dangerous than what scared him in the first place.