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Subhadda Dharma Vijaya Youth Pledge
Sopaka Lovingkindness Sutta
Angulimala Twin Parrots
 

Subhadda
 Ven. Dr. Walpola Piyananda


The Buddha’s loving kindness knew no limits, as shown by one of his last acts before his passing.

Now it happened that a certain wandering ascetic called Subhadda was staying near Kusinara. When he heard that the Buddha was about to pass away, he resolved to go see him before the Blessed One passed away.  He was sure that the Buddha could answer his question to clear up the doubts he had.

Subhadda went to the Sala Tree grove, and asked Ananda whether he could speak to the Buddha.  Ananda told him, “Enough, friend Subhadda, do not disturb the Buddha.  He is weary.”

A second and a third time Subhadda made his request to speak with the Buddha.  Each time Ananda replied in the same manner.

The Buddha heard the conversation between Ananda and Subhaddha. He called to Ananda and said, “Come, Ananda.  Do not keep Subhadda away, he is asking from a desire for knowledge and not to annoy me. Whatever I may say in answer to his questions, he will quickly understand."

Subhadda approached the Buddha to ask his question. When he heard the Buddha's answer, he asked to join the order of monks.  In a short time with earnest and diligent effort he became an Arahant.

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Sopaka
 Ven. Dr. Walpola Piyananda, '"Love in Buddhism"


The Buddha’s compassion and love were boundless. Ever ready and able he extended them even to those in mortal danger.

Once there was a boy by the name of Sopaka.  When Sopaka he was only seven years old, his father passed away and his mother remarried.  The stepfather was very cruel and unkind to Sopaka. The stepfather always scolded the boy and beat him. After some time, a brother was born. One evening the little baby began to cry in his cradle. The stepfather blamed Sopaka for making the baby cry. He squeezed the elder brother’s ear and hit him. Sopaka's crying frightened his brother and he began crying too. Sopaka was afraid the stepfather would hit him again.

Sopaka’s mother was not home at the time, so there was no one to stop the stepfather’s rage. He went to get a rope to tie Sopaka up. Sopaka ran from the house as fast as his little legs would take him.

Finally he found himself by a forest cemetery, where many foul-smelling cadavers were strewn around.  There his stepfather caught up with Sopaka. He took him and tied him to one of the dead bodies. Sopaka cried out, begging his father not to leave him tied up. The cruel man laughing, turned a deaf ear and returned home.

As it grew darker Sopaka’s fear increased. As he heard the cries of jackals, tigers, leopards, and other animals, and his own sobs became louder.

When Sopaka's mother returned home she couldn’t find him. Her husband said nothing about what he had done. So she set out to look for Sopaka. Not finding him anywhere, she became more and more desperate, and began to cry. She ran through the streets of Savatthi asking everyone if they had seen her son, but no one could help her. Finally an old man told her there was only one person who could tell her about her son, that was the Buddha, who was at the Jetavana monastery. He told her the Buddha knew all past, present, and future. The poor distraught mother went to the monastery and told the Buddha about her missing child and her husband’s cruelty to the child. The Buddha told her to go home and return in the morning to see him.

At midnight, with the power of his loving kindness, the Buddha saw that Sopaka was at the cemetery, and went to him. Sopaka saw a soothing light approach him.  The Buddha spoke:

“Child, I came in search of you. I have come to your aid. I will soon set you free.”

The Buddha stroked the youngster’s head and led him to a stream, where he bathed him in pure water. Then Sopaka was led to the monastery, given some food to eat and clothes to wear.  The Buddha comforted him.

The boy was so exhausted that he fell into a deep sleep. The Buddha called his attendant Ananda, who was waiting close by.

“Ananda, I saved the life of this poor boy who had been thrown into the cemetery bound to a corpse. I bathed him and brought him here. See, Ananda, how well he sleeps. The supreme happiness that man can earn is to help a helpless being like this and make him happy. Now carry him and take him to your room. Give him a bed in a suitable place.”

Early the next morning Sopaka’s mother came to the monastery. The Buddha spoke kindly to her:

“Don’t worry, sister. Your son is safe. Here he is”

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Angulimala
 Ven. Dr. Walpola Piyananda


Once there was a Brahmin (the highest caste in India) who served in the court of King Pasenadi of Kosala who had a son named Ahimsaka.

Ahimsaka was sent to Taxila for his studies. He was intelligent, excelled in all his studies, and was obedient to this teacher; therefore he was liked by both the old teacher and his young wife who did not have children of their own. This made the other pupils jealous, so they went to the teacher and falsely accused Ahimsaka of having an immoral relationship with his wife.

At first, he did not believe them, but after hearing it a number of times, he thought it was true and vowed to have revenge on Ahimsaka. He thought that if he killed Ahimsaka it would reflect badly on himself. His rage prompted him to ask the unthinkable of the young, innocent pupil, who would have no choice but to obey his teacher.  He told Ahimsaka that he must kill a thousand human beings and bring the right thumb of each as payment to him for being his teacher. The young man could not even bring himself to think of such a thing, so he was banished from the teacher's house and returned to his parents.

When his father learned that Ahimsaka had been expelled for disobeying his teacher, he became furious with his son, and would hear not even listen to what the teacher had asked him to do. That day as the rain poured down, he ordered Ahimsaka to leave his house. Ahimsaka went to his mother to plead with her, but she could not go against the will of her husband.

Next Ahimsaka went to the house of his betrothed (the ancient custom in India was for people to be promised in marriage when they were children), but when the family learned that Ahimsaka had been turned out of school for disobeying his teacher, they drove him away.

The shame, anger, fear, and despair of Ahimsaka drove him out of his mind. His suffering mind could only recollect the teacher's order: collect 1,000 human thumbs. And so he started killing. As he killed, the thumbs he collected were hung on a tree but these were destroyed by crows and vultures. So he later wore a garland of the thumbs to keep track of the number.

Because of this he came to be known as Angulimala (finger garland).  He became the terror of the countryside. The king himself heard about the exploits of Angulimala, and he decided to capture him. When Mantani, Ahimsaka's mother, heard about the king's intention, she went to the forest in a desperate bid to save her son. By this time, the chain around the neck of Angulimala had 999 thumbs in it. He just needed one more.


The Buddha learned of the mother's attempt to save her son. He reflected that if he did not intervene, Angulimala, might kill his mother because he did not recognize her. In that case, he would have to suffer even longer for his evil kamma. Out of compassion, the Buddha left for the forest to stop Angulimala.

Angulimala was very tired and near exhaustion after so many sleepless days and nights, . At the same time, he was very anxious to kill one last person to  complete his task. He made up his mind to kill the first person he met. As he looked down from his mountain perch, he saw a woman on the road below.  At the same time, the Buddha was approaching, and attracted Angulimala's attention. He set out after the Blessed One with his knife raised. But the Buddha kept ahead of him, Angulimala just could not catch up with him.

Finally, he cried out, "O Bhikkhu, stop, stop!"

And the Enlightened One replied, "I have stopped. It is you who have not stopped."

Angulimala did not catch the significance of these words, so he asked, "O Bhikkhu! Why do you say that you have stopped while I have not?"

The Buddha replied, "I say that I have stopped because I have given up killing all beings. I have given up the ill-treatment of all beings, and have established myself in universal love, in patience, and in knowledge through reflection. But you have not given up killing or ill treatment of others and you are not yet established in universal love and patience. Hence, you are the one who has not stopped."

On hearing these words Angulimala was restored to reality. He thought these were the words of a wise man. This monk, so very wise, so very brave must be the leader of the monks. Indeed, he must be the Enlightened One himself! He must have come here specially to make me see the light. So thinking, he threw away his weapons and asked the Blessed One to let him become a monk, which the Buddha did.

When the king and his men came to capture Angulimala, they found him at the monastery of the Buddha. Finding that Angulimala had given up his evil ways and had become a bhikkhu, the king and his men agreed to leave him alone. During his stay at the monastery, Angulimala ardently practiced meditation.

As a result of his evil actions before becoming a monk, Angulimala was the target of stones and sticks while seeking alms and would return to Jetavana monastery with blood flowing from the wounds on his cut and bruised head. The Buddha would remind him: "My son Angulimala. You have done away with evil and have patience. Your evil kamma would have made you suffer through innumerable existences had I not met you."

One morning while going for alms in Savatthi, Angulimala heard someone crying out in pain. A pregnant lady was having labor pains and was having difficulties delivering her child, he reflected that all worldly beings are subject to suffering. Moved by compassion, he went to ask the Buddhas what he could do to help the suffering of this poor woman.  The Buddha advised him to recite the words of truth, which later came to be known as Angulimala Paritta. Returning to the suffering woman, he sat on a seat separated from her by a screen, and uttered these words:

"Sister, since the day I became an arahant I have not consciously destroyed the life of any living being. By this truth, may you be well and may your unborn child be well."

Instantly the woman delivered her child with ease. Both the mother and child were well and healthy. Even now many use this paritta.

Angulimala liked living in solitude and seclusion. He passed away peacefully. Other bhikkhus asked the Buddha where Angulimala was reborn, and when the Blessed One replied, my son Angulimala has attained parinibbana, they could hardly believe it. So they asked whether it was possible that such a man who had in fact killed so many people could have attained parinibbana. To this question, the Buddha replied, "Bhikkhus, Angulimala had done much evil because he did not have good friends. But later, he found good friends and with their help and good counsel he became steadfast and mindful in practicing the dhamma and meditation. Thus, his evil deeds have been overwhelmed by good kamma and his mind completely rid of all defilements.

The Buddha said of Angulimala;

"Whose evil deed is obscured by good, he illumines this world like the moon freed from a cloud."

The power of love and compassion are stronger than any evil, and are absolute conditions for awakening.

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 Dharma Vijaya Youth Pledge

I resolve this day,

To wish every person I meet health, happiness and success.
To help my friends recognize their own worth and feel important.
To be happy about the joy and success of others.
To keep a good and happy mind, and to avoid being mean and selfish.
To examine and improve myself, and not to find fault with others.
To try to do better and better every day until I reach perfection.
To learn from past mistakes and to advance with hope for the future.
To look at the good and bad side of life and see it as it really is.
To appreciate the present and maintain a happy smile.
To be calm and peaceful under all conditions.


I speak truthfully.
I give whatever I can.
I do not give in to anger.
These three practices will lead me to happiness.
 

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When You’ve Lost Your Temper    

When you’ve lost your temper,
You’ve lost your reason, too.


You’ll not be proud of anything
Which in anger you may do.


When in anger you have spoken
And been by emotion led,
You’ll have uttered something
That you’ll wish you’d never said.


In anger you will never do
A kindly deed, or wise.


But many things for which you’ll feel
You should apologize.


In looking back upon your life,
And all you’ve lost or made
You’ll never find a single time
When anger ever paid.


So cultivate calm patience,
And grow wiser as you age.


Never act, nor speak a word
When overcome by rage.


Remember without fail
That when your temper flies,
You’ll never do a worthy thing,
A decent deed, or wise.

by Bohumil Ontl  (1906-1976)

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 Lovingkindness Sutta

May I be free from anger,
May I be free from hurt,
May I be free from troubles of mind and body,
May I be able to protect my own happiness.

May my family, relatives, and friends living and departed, be free from anger,
May they be free from hurt,
May they be free from troubles of mind and body,
May they be able to protect their own happiness.

May people known and unknown to me, living and departed, be free from anger,
May they be free from hurt,
May they be free from troubles of mind and body,
May they be able to protect their own happiness.


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 Twin Parrots
Retold by Bodhicari Cintamani

Once upon a time at the top of a mountain, in the top of the highest tree was a nest with two baby parrots. One day a great wind blew the nest. Each of the baby parrots fell to a different side of the mountain.

On one side of the mountain in a cave lived a band of fierce robbers. They found the parrot among their weapons, threw him in a cage and named him Spears. They fed him, spoke harshly to him.  They taught him to curse and to keep lookout for anyone that came near their cave. The robbers were always fighting and yelling at each other and the parrot.

On the other side of the mountain a group of monks found a baby parrot lying among some flowers.  They cared for him and named him Flower. They fed him and let him live among the trees and flowers in their garden.  The monks were always gentle with the parrot and each other, speaking kind words.

One day King Pancala was hunting for deer on the mountain. Seeing one in the distance he chased it. He rode so swiftly that he left behind all of his soldiers. Soon it was dark and King Pancala became lost.

It was so dark and as he was trying to find his way back, he saw a fire burning near a cave. Riding all day he had not seen anyone on this mountain.

He was tired and hungry. He started towards the fire. Then he heard a voice yelling out, “Catch him, bind him, kill him. He has riches.” King Pancala became afraid. He did not know how many men might be in that dark cave. He was alone without his soldiers to help him.

Quietly he rode away and coming to the other side of the mountain he heard a voice calling out, “Please have a seat. Have some food and drink. Please come and rest yourself.” And so he did. When the monks came back to their cave he asked them why their parrot was so kind.  He told them of the other mean sounding parrot.

They told him that their parrot was treated with kindness and grew up surrounded by goodness. The other parrot who grew up in the company of robbers was treated roughly. The two parrots each took on the ways of those around them.

They became like those around them, good and kind OR bad and mean.


Who Does This Anger Belong To?

One day the Buddha was walking through a village. A very angry and rude young man came up to him. He was yelling and shouting insults. “You are as stupid as everyone else! You shouldn’t teach anyone! Who do you think you are? You are just a fake!"

The Buddha was not upset by these insults.

Instead he asked the young man, “Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does it belong?"

The man was surprised by the strange question. He answered, “It would belong to me because I bought it.”

The Buddha smiled and said, “That is correct. And it is exactly the same with your anger. If you are angry with me and shout insults and I do not get insulted, then the anger still belongs to you. All you do is hurt yourself.”

Now, there are two benefits to this type of thinking.

1. If you are the one who is angry and you see that you are only hurting yourself, you can get rid of the anger with loving kindness. When you become angry with others and hate others, you yourself become unhappy. But when you have loving kindness for others, you become happy and everyone is happy. One way to do this is to say:

May I be free from anger,
May I be free from hurt,
May I be free from troubles of mind and body,
May I be able to protect my own happiness.

May all others be free from anger,
May they be free from hurt,
May they be free from troubles of mind and body,
May they be able to protect their own happiness.

2. If the other person is angry you can know that it is their anger. And like the Buddha you can let them keep it. You do not need to tell them to keep. By not being disturbed by it, they automatically keep it.

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