The One-hundredth Prince
[Obedience to a Wise Teacher]
Once upon a time, there was a king who had one- hundred sons. The youngest, the one-hundredth, was Prince Gamani. He was very energetic, patient and kind.
All the princes were sent to be taught by teachers. Prince Gamani, even though he was the one-hundredth in line to the throne, was lucky enough to have the best teacher. He had the most learning and was the wisest of them of all. He was like a father to Prince Gamani, who liked, respected and obeyed him.
In those days, it was the custom to send each educated prince to a different province. There he was to develop the country and help the people. When Prince Gamani was old enough for this assignment, he went to his teacher and asked which province he should request. He said, “Do not select any province. Instead, tell your father the king that if he sends you, his one-hundredth son, out to a province, there will be no son remaining to serve him in his home city.” Prince Gamani obeyed his teacher, and pleased his father with his kindness and loyalty.
Then the prince went again to his teacher and asked, “How best can I serve my father and the people, here in the capital city?” The wise teacher replied, “Ask the king to let you be the one to collect fees and taxes, and distribute benefits to the people. If he agrees, then carry out your duties honestly and fairly, with energy and kindness.”
Again the prince followed his teacher’s advice. Trusting his one-hundredth son, the king was glad to assign these functions to him. When he went out to perform the difficult task of collecting fees and taxes, the young prince was always gentle, fair and lawful. When he distributed food to the hungry, and other necessary things to the needy, he was always generous, kind and sympathetic. Before long, the one-hundredth prince gained the respect and affection of all.
Eventually, the king came to be on his deathbed. His ministers asked him who should be the next king. He said that all his one-hundred sons had a right to succeed him. It should be left up to the citizens.
After he died, all the citizens agreed to make the one-hundredth prince their next ruler. Because of his goodness, they crowned him King Gamani the Righteous.
When the ninety-nine older brothers heard what had happened, they thought they had been insulted. Filled with envy and rage, they prepared for war. They sent a message to King Gamani, which said, “We are all your elders. Neighbour countries will laugh at us if we are ruled by the one-hundredth prince. Either you give up the kingdom or we will take it by war!”
After he received this message, King Gamani took it with him to his wise old teacher, and asked his advice.
It just so happened that this honorable gentle teacher was the reborn Enlightenment Being. He said, “Tell them you refuse to wage war against your brothers. Tell them you will not help them kill innocent people you have come to know and love. Tell them that, instead, you are dividing the king’s wealth among all one-hundred princes. Then send each one his portion.” Again the king obeyed his teacher.
Meanwhile the ninety-nine older princes had brought their ninety-nine small armies to surround the royal capital. When they received the king’s message and their small portions of the royal treasure, they held a meeting. They decided that each portion was so small it was almost meaningless. Therefore, they would not accept them.
But then they realized that, in the same way, if they fought with King Gamani and then with each other, the kingdom itself would be divided into small worthless portions. Each small piece of the once-great kingdom would be weak in the face of any unfriendly country. So they sent back their portions of the royal treasure as offerings of peace, and accepted the rule of King Gamani.
The king was pleased, and invited his brothers to the palace to celebrate the peace and unity of the kingdom. He entertained them in the most perfect ways – with generosity, pleasant conversation, providing instruction for their benefit, and treating all with even-handed courtesy.
In this way the king and the ninety-nine princes became closer as friends than they had been as brothers. They were strong in their support of each other. This was known in all the surrounding countries, so no one threatened the kingdom or its people. After a few months, the ninety-nine brothers returned to their provinces.
King Gamani the Righteous invited his wise old teacher to live in the palace. He honored him with great wealth and many gifts. He held a celebration for his respected teacher, saying to the full court, “I, who was the one-hundredth prince, among one-hundred worthy princes, owe all my success to the wise advice of my generous and understanding teacher. Likewise, all who follow their wise teachers’ advice will earn prosperity and happiness. Even the unity and strength of the kingdom, we owe to my beloved teacher.”
The kingdom prospered under the remainder of the generous and just rule of King Gamani the Righteous.