When we’re being selfish, our actions are motivated by attachment to our happiness, reputation, opinion, expectations being met, etc. As we practiced after the last episode, we again practice cherishing others as an opponent to attachment. This time, however, we try to motivate our practice of cherishing others by a wish for all living beings to be happy and free from suffering. The following story and accompanying verses of the Buddha illustrate how living beings are trapped in a cycle of suffering and uncontrolled rebirth. The escape route is enlightenment. So the motivation for our practice of cherishing others can go as deep as the wish to become enlightened yourself. For who else can point to the escape route?
The Story of a Young Sow
“While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (338) to (343) of this book, with reference to a young sow.
On one occasion, while the Buddha was on an alms-round at Rajagaha, he saw a young dirty sow and smiled. When asked by the Venerable Ananda, the Buddha replied, "Ananda, this young sow was a hen during the time of Kakusandha Buddha. As she was then staying near a refectory in a monastery she used to hear the recitation of the sacred text and the discourses on the Dhamma. When she died she was reborn as a princess. On one occasion, while going to the latrine, the princess noticed the maggots and she became mindful of the loathsomeness of the body, etc. When she died she was reborn in the Brahma realm as a puthujjana brahma but later due to some evil kamma, she was reborn as a sow. Ananda! Look, on account of good and evil kamma there is no end of the round of existences." (Translated by
Daw Mya Tin, M.A.)
The following verses were spoken by Buddha after this discussion with Ananda.
Verse 341: In beings, there flows happiness that is smeared with craving; those beings attached to pleasure and seeking pleasure are, indeed, subject to birth and ageing.
Verse 342: People beset with craving are terrified like a hare caught in a snare; held fast by fetters and bonds they undergo dukkha (round of rebirths) again and again, for a long time.
Verse 343: People beset with craving are terrified like a hare caught in a snare. Therefore, One who wishes to free himself from craving should eradicate craving.
-Buddha, The Dhammapada
May I be a protector for the protectorless
A guide for those on the path
A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood
May I be
a light in the darkness
A resting place for the weary
A healing medicine for all who are sick
A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings
May I bring sustenance and awakening
Enduring like the earth and sky
Until all beings are freed from sorrow
And all are awaken
—by Shantideva, Buddhist sage 700 A.D., India
We take a practical step in that direction and make the intention to cherish others. With the mantra “May you be happy”, may you be free of suffering”
References with Links
Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma.
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