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Ancient Wisdom - Buddhist Tale - A Lesson From a Snake (Value of Goodness)

Ancient Wisdom - Buddhist Tale - A Lesson From a Snake (Value of Goodness)

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Published by: numerius on Jul 31, 2010
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A LESSON FROM A SNAKE (THE VALUE OF GOODNESS)
Get any book for free on: www.Abika.com1
 
A Lesson From a Snake(The Value of Goodness)
Get any book for free on:www.Abika.com
 
 
A LESSON FROM A SNAKE (THE VALUE OF GOODNESS)
Get any book for free on: www.Abika.com2 
Once upon a time, King Brahmadatta of Benares had a very valuableadviser priest. He came from a rich noble family. He was intelligentand full of knowledge. He was generous with his wealth andknowledge, holding nothing back. People thought of him as a kindand good person.
 
By practicing the Five Training Steps, he trained his mind to avoidthe five unwholesome actions. He discovered that giving up eachunwholesome action made him better off in its own way:
 
destroying life, since you have to kill part of yourself in orderto kill someone else;
 
taking what is not given, since this makes the owner angry atyou;
 
doing wrong in sexual ways, since this leads to the pain of  jealousy and envy;
 
speaking falsely, since you can't be true to yourself and falseto another at the same time;
 
losing your mind from alcohol, since then you might hurtyourself by doing the other four.
 
Seeing how he lived, King Brahmadatta thought, 'This is truly a goodman."
 
The priest was curious to learn more about the value of goodness.He thought, "The king honors and respects me more than his otherpriests. But I wonder what it is about me that he really respectsmost. Is it my nationality, my noble birth or family wealth? Is it mygreat learning and vast knowledge? Or is it because of my goodness?I must find the answer to this."
 
Therefore, he decided to perform an experiment in order to answerhis question. He would pretend to be a thief!
 
On the next day, when he was leaving the palace, he went by theroyal coin maker. He was stamping out coins from gold. The goodpriest, not intending to keep it, took a coin and continued walkingout of the palace. Because the money maker admired the famouspriest highly, he remained sitting and said nothing.
 
On the following day the make-believe thief took two gold coins.Again the royal coin maker did not protest.
 
Finally, on the third day, the king's favorite priest grabbed a wholehandful of gold coins. This time the money maker didn't care aboutthe priest's position or reputation. He cried out, "This is the thirdtime you have robbed his majesty the king." Holding onto him, heshouted, "I've caught the thief who robs the king! I've caught the
 
A LESSON FROM A SNAKE (THE VALUE OF GOODNESS)
Get any book for free on: www.Abika.com3
thief who robs the king! I've caught the thief who robs the king!"
 
Suddenly a crowd of people came running in, yelling, "Aha! Youpretended to be better than us! An example of goodness!" Theyslapped him, tied his hands behind his back, and hauled him off tothe king.
 
But on their way, they happened to go by some snake charmers.They were entertaining some bystanders from the king's court with apoisonous cobra. They held him by the tail and neck, and coiled himaround their necks to show how brave they were.
 
The tied up prisoner said to them, "Please be careful! Don't grab thatcobra by the tail. Don't grab him by his neck. And don't coil thatpoisonous snake around your own necks. He may bite you and bringyour lives to a sudden end!"
 
The snake charmers said, "You ignorant priest, you don't understandabout this cobra. He is well-mannered and very good indeed. He isnot bad like you! You are a thief who has stolen from the king.Because of your wickedness and criminal behavior, you are beingcarried off with your hands tied behind your back. But there's noneed to tie up a snake who is good!"
 
The priest thought, "Even a poisonous cobra, who doesn't bite orharm anyone, is given the name 'good'. In truth, goodness is thequality people admire most in the world!"
 
When they arrived at the throne room, the king asked, 'What is this,my children?" They replied, 'This is the thief who stole from yourroyal treasury." The king said. "Then punish him according to thelaw."
 
The adviser priest said, 'My lord king, I am no thief!" 'Then why didyou take gold coins from the palace?" asked the king.
 
The priest explained, "I have done this only as an experiment, totest why it is you honor and respect me more than others. Is itbecause of my family background and wealth, or my greatknowledge? Because of those things, I was able to get away withtaking one or two gold coins. Or do you respect my goodness mostof all? It is clear that by grabbing a handful of coins I no longer hadthe name 'good'. This alone turned respect into disgrace!
 
"Even a poisonous cobra, who doesn't harm anyone, is called `good'.There is no need for any other title!"
 
To emphasize the lesson he had learned, the wise priest recited:
 
"High birth and wealth and even knowledge vast, I find, Are lessadmired than goodness is, by humankind."
 
The king pardoned his most valuable adviser priest.
 
He asked to be allowed to leave the king's service in the ordinary

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