Buddha Reincarnation Stories

22. Gains of an Ascetic

Once upon a time, the Bodhisattva was born as a famous teacher of the Vedas. Nearly five hundred pupils were his disciples. One day, one of his students who still could not conquer his desire for worldly life asked his teacher, “O holy being, how can one gain happiness in this world? What does an ascetic gain at the end of his life?” Bodhisattva smiled and said, “My dear, at the end of his life an ascetic feels happy to have acquired knowledge and wisdom and receives the blessings of God. In this world of fools where men have forgotten the path of virtue, the man who slanders, changes colours with changing situations and talks evil things succeeds in gaining material prosperity. But at the end of this mortal life he suffers endless torture in hell.” His words had a deep impression on the student and he decided to become an ascetic.

23. The Value of Forbearance

The sentries of King Kalabu reported to the King that his queen was in the company of an ascetic. Hearing this, the King flew into a terrible rage and rushed to the scene. As he drew his sword to kill the Bodhisattva, the queen pleaded for mercy and asked him to spare the ascetic’s life. Still seething, the King asked, “Holy man! What do you teach?”

“The value of forbearance. I teach how one should never lose composure even in the face of abuse,” answered the Bodhisattva calmly. “Aha! Is that so?” the King sniggered. “Then let me test your forbearance.” Saying this, he ordered his men to lash the ascetic a hundred times with a whip of thorns. The thorns bruised the Bodhisattva’s back sorely but he still remained calm. This infuriated the King all the more and he chopped off the Bodhisattva’s hands and legs. “Now holy man, tell me again… what do you teach,” the King demanded. But this time too, the Bodhisattva smiled and replied, “The value of forbearance.” The King became frustrated and left the scene. On the way, he was struck by lightning, and he died.

24. The Foolish Son

Once, in the city of Vaisali there lived a royal barber who was a devoted follower of the Buddha. One day, he took his son along when he went to the palace to work. There, his son got attracted to a very beautiful girl all dressed up like a goddess and wanted to marry her. His father told him to forget about the girl as she belonged to the royal family and would never agree to such a proposal. But the son refused to eat and drink until he got married to her. All his family members tried to reason with him, but failed. The young lover was so disappointed and heartbroken that he passed away. After performing his son’s last rites, the father went to meet the Buddha. The Buddha told him, “Your son has died by setting his heart on something which he could never have.” The barber could say nothing but weep for his son’s foolishness.

25. The Compassionate Deer

The Bodhisattva was once born a Sarabha, a kind of forest deer, with the strength of a lion and the wisdom of a man. The Sarabha was kind and compassionate. He would help every creature in need in the forest. One day, the king went hunting in the forest and spotted the Sarabha. He immediately took out his bow and arrow and took an aim at him. Seeing the king, the Sarabha ran with utmost speed even though he had the strength to fight the king – as he had vowed to avoid violence. The king followed him on his horse. They went deep into the forest and came to a chasm, which the Sarabha leapt across easily. But the king’s horse could not leap over it. So, the king and his horse fell headlong into the chasm. The Sarabha saw this and feeling sorry for the king, pulled him out of the chasm. The king realized that the compassionate Sarabha was not an ordinary deer, and with great respect, sought his forgiveness.

26. The Power of Generosity

Once there lived a rich man who was famous for his charitable acts. He always gave alms to the poor. A poor hermit happened to be his neighbor. The hermit was called the Silent Buddha, for he was an enlightened person and spent all his time in meditation.

Once he meditated for seven days and seven nights at a stretch without any food or water. When he awoke from his trance, he was very hungry. So he went to the rich man to beg for food.

Mara, the God of Death, was jealous of the rich man’s reputation and decided to stop him from giving alms. He wanted the Silent Buddha to die to starvation. When the rich man came forward to offer alms to the Silent Buddha, Mara lit a huge fire between the two. But the rich man was determined and trusting the strength of his good deeds, walked through the fire and, emerging unharmed, offered the Silent Buddha food. Mara was defeated and departed saying, “Indeed the power of generosity is great!”

27. The Teacher and the Student

Once, the Bodhisattva was born as Karandiya, a young Brahmin studying under a renowned teacher in Takshila. The teacher had a habit of preaching moral laws to anyone and everyone he met, regardless of the face whether they were willing to listen or not.

One day, Karandiya went out with his friends to a nearby village. On the way, while crossing a jungle, he noticed a cave and started throwing stories as it. After they returned, they students informed the teacher about Karandiya’s strange behaviour. The latter asked Karandiya to explain his weird actions. Karandiya merely expressed his surprise and said, “Why can’t I try to make the world level when you think you can make the whole world moral?” The teacher realised his mistake and stopped his habit of preaching indiscriminately.

28. The Power of Devotion

Once upon a time, the Bodhisattva was born as a Kinnara or celestial musician. During summers, he would come down to the plains on earth and live with his beloved Chanda on the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains. One day, while they were frolicking in the water of a stream, King Brahmadatta was passing by. His eyes fell on the lovely Chanda singing and dancing gaily in the water and he fell in love with her. Guessing that the Kinnara was her husband, King Brahmadatta shot and killed him with his arrow. He thought that with the Kinnara dead, Chanda would agree to marry him. But soon he was proved wrong.

Chanda sat wailing aloud beside her dead husband. And when King Brahmadda came up and offered his love to her, Chanda flared up at his words. “How could you think that I would forgive the man who has killed by husband?” she shouted. Her heartrending cries shook Sakka’s throne in heaven. Pleased with Chanda’s devotion, Sakka came down and restored the Bodhisattva back to life.