Once upon a time, the Enlightenment Being was born as a tiny quail. Although he had little feet and wings, he could not yet walk or fly. His parents worked hard bringing food to the nest, feeding him from their beaks.

In that part of the world, there were usually forest fires every year. So it happened that a fire began in that particular year. All the birds who were able, flew away at the first sign of smoke. As the fire spread, and got closer and closer to the nest of the baby quail, his parents remained with him. Finally the fire got so close, that they too had to fly away to save their lives.

All the trees, big and small, were burning and crackling with a loud noise. The little one saw that everything was being destroyed by the fire that raged out of control. He could do nothing to save himself. At that moment, his mind was overwhelmed by a feeling of helplessness.


Then it occurred to him, “My parents loved me very much. Unselfishly they built a nest for me, and then fed me without greed. When the fire came, they remained with me until the last moment. All the other birds who could, had flown away a long time before.

“So great was the loving-kindness of my parents, that they stayed and risked their lives, but still they were helpless to save me. Since they could not carry me, they were forced to fly away alone. I thank them, wherever they are, for loving me so. I hope with all my heart they will be safe and well and happy.

“Now I am all alone. There is no one I can go to for help. I have wings, but I cannot fly away. I have feet, but I cannot run away. But I can still think. All I have left to use is my mind – a mind that remains pure. The only beings I have known in my short life were my parents, and my mind has been filled with loving-kindness towards them. I have done nothing unwholesome to anyone. I am filled with newborn innocent truthfulness.”

Then an amazing miracle took place. This innocent truthfulness grew and grew until it became larger than the little baby bird. The knowledge of truth spread beyond that one lifetime, and many previous births became known. One such previous birth had led to knowing a Buddha, a fully enlightened knower of Truth – one who had the power of Truth, the purity of wholesomeness, and the purpose of compassion. Then the Great Being within the tiny baby quail thought, “May this very young innocent truthfulness be united with that ancient purity of wholesomeness and power of Truth. May all birds and other beings, who are still trapped by the fire, be saved. And may this spot be safe from fire for a million years!”

And so it was.

The moral is:
“Truth, wholesomeness and compassion can save the world.”


“Often we take our opportunities and fortune for granted and focus on what we lack instead. This is tantamount to ignoring all the delicious food in a large buffet and complaining, “There is no spaghetti.” Instead of becoming depressed because we are ill, we can remember that we are also fortunate to have others who help us when we don’t feel well. Even if they don’t help us as much as we would like, they still are there for us, and we would be hard put if they weren’t. Something is always going well in our lives, and it’s important to remember those things that are. ”

Excerpts from Dealing with Emotions by Thubten Chodron

Once upon a time, the King had a gardener who looked after his garden.  Animals from the nearby forest sometimes came into the garden.  The gardener complained about this to the king who said, “If you see any strange animals, tell me at once.”

One day, he saw a wind-deer.  Wind deers run like the wind but they are extremely timid and are very easily frightened by humans.

The gardener told the king about the wind-deer.  The king asked if the gardender could catch the rare animal.  He replied, “My lord, if you give me some honey, I could even bring him into the palace!”  So the king gave him as much honey as he wanted.

This particular wind-deer loved to eat the flowers & fruits in the king’s garden.  So the gardener smeared honey on the grass where the wind-deer usually came to eat.  Sure enough, the wind-deer began eating the honey-smeared grass.  Soon, it developed a craving for the taste of this ‘honey-grass’ that it would come to the garden to eat nothing else but the honey-grass!

Little by little, the gardener came closer to the wind-deer.  At first, it would run away.  But eventually, it lost its fear & came to think of the gardener as harmless.  He soon had the wind-deer eating the honey-grass out of his hands.

Meanwhile, the gardener had rows of curtains set up, making a wide pathway from the far end of the garden to the palace.  From inside this pathway, the curtains would keep the wind-deer from seeing any humans.

When all was prepared, the gardener took a bag of grass & a container of honey with him.  He began hand-feeding the wind-deer.  Gradually, he led the wind-deer into the curtained-off pathway.  The wind-deer followed him right into the palace.  Once inside, the palace guards closed the doors & the wind-deer was trapped.  When it saw the people of the court, it became very frightened & began running around, madly trying to escape.

When the king saw the panic-stricken wind-deer, he said, “What a wind-deer!  How could he have gotten into such a state?  My friends, how dangerous is the simple craving for a sweet flavour, or any other taste sensation.  See how this beautiful shy animal was trapped by my gardener who took advantage of its craving for taste.”

Not wishing to harm the gentle wind-deer, the king released it into the forest.  It never returned to the garden & it never missed the taste of the honey-grass.

The moral is: “It is better to eat to live, than to live to eat.”

“These days many voices proclaim the sanctity of human life. Human life should of course be valued highly, but at the same time the lives of other living beings should also be treasured. Human beings snatch away the lives of other creatures whenever it suits their purposes. The way of thinking that encourages this behavior arises from a specifically human brand of violence that defiles the self-evident laws of the universe, opposes the growth of the myriad things in nature, and destroys feelings of compassion and reverence arising from our Buddha-nature. In view of such needless destruction of life, it is essential that laymen and monks together conscientiously uphold this precept.”

~ Hakuun Yasutani-roshi on the Precept of Non-Harm
As quoted in To Cherish All Life

“Human beings also kill animals not just for food. They take the animals’ skin to make shoes and hats and clothes. And even that is not enough. They take these animals’ bones to make necklaces or buttons or earrings. In short, they kill many, many animals in order to sell the animal parts for money. Because of these desires and this strong animal consciousness, human beings fight with each other, and destroy nature. They do not value life. So now this whole world has many problems; problems with the water, problems with the air, problems with the earth and food. Many new problems appear every day. These problems do not happen by accident. Human beings make each and every one of these problems. Dogs, cats, or lions, or snakes – no animal makes as many problems for this world as human beings do. Humans do not understand their true nature, so they use their thinking and desire to create so much suffering for this world. That is why some people say that human beings are the number one bad animal in this world. So human beings must soon wake up and find their original seeds, their original nature.”

~ Zen Master Seung Sahn
The Compass of Zen

“We are all here on this planet, as it were, as tourists. None of us can live here forever. The longest we might live is a hundred years. So while we are here we should try to have a good heart and to make something positive and useful of our lives. Whether we live just a few years or a whole century, it would be truly regrettable and sad if we were to spend that time aggravating the problems that afflict other people, animals, and the environment. The most important thing is to be a good human being.”

In 2006, more than 12,000 civilians died in the Iraq war. How many more will have to die before we can see that ‘an eye for an eye’ only kills more?

What the Buddha said is so true –

“Those who keep thinking ‘He abused me!” “He struck me!” “He oppressed me!” “He robbed me!” never still their hatred. But those who let go of such thoughts will. For in this world hatred is never still by more hatred. It is love that stills hatred. This is an eternal truth.”

A few of the Buddha’s quotes that I am going to try live by everyday.“Contentment is the greatest wealth.”“It is good from time to time to think about your own faults.
It is good from time to time to think about the faults of others.
It is good from time to time to think about your own virtue.
It is good from time to time to think about the virtue of others.”

“Do not wish pain on another out of either anger or rivalry.”

“Just as a mother protects her own child even at the risk of her own life, so too, one should have unbounded love for all beings in the world.”

“Those who keep thinking ‘He abused me!” “He struck me!” “He oppressed me!” “He robbed me!” never still their hatred. But those who let go of such thoughts will. For in this world hatred is never still by more hatred. It is love that stills hatred. This is an eternal truth.”