Buddha never forgot the promise he made to king Bimbisara to return and give him teachings. So when the time was right, he journeyed to Rajagriha. Outside this royal city was a hill called Vulture’s Peak, and Buddha and many of his disciples went and lived in caves there. King Bimbisara often went to Vulture’s Peak to hear the words of the Buddha. The people of the city went also, and soon the number of Buddha’s followers grew very large.
After some time, the King and several other rich people gave Buddha and his followers parks where everyone could stay and listen to his teachings in comfort. Buddha’s cousin, Devadatta, became very jealous. “He has so many people following him, ” he thought, “and everyone shows him so much respect. But they all ignore me, and I am as great as he is. I must destroy him !”
He knew that he would need help in killing the Buddha, so he went to King Billiards’s son.”Don’t you want to be King ?” he asked.
” Why should your father have all the wealth and power ?” Come, if you help me kill the Buddha, I shall help you kill your father. Then you can become King in his place.” The King’s son listened to these wicked words and agreed.
Then the two of them tried many ways to murder the Buddha.
One day, while Buddha was sitting in meditation near Vulture’s Peak, they rolled a very large boulder down the hill towards him. But just before it was going to crush him, the rock split in half, leaving Buddha unharmed.
Another time, Buddha was walking through the city with several of his closet disciples.The two men knew he was coming and were ready. They had bought an elephant and gave it lots of liquor to drink. When the elephant was quite drunk, they beat it with sticks until it was crazy with anger. Then they released it in the direction of the Buddha, hoping the elephant would trample him to death.
When the disciples saw the enraged elephant charging towards them, they ran away in fear. All except Ananda, Buddha’s closet companion, who stayed by his teacher’s side, holding onto Buddha’s robe.
Buddha saw the elephant coming and , instead of being frightened or angry, felt great love and pity for the poor beast. Even though the elephant was drunk and crazed, it felt the power of Buddha’s love.It stopped charging and walked over to the Buddha meekly, and then bowed down its large head at Buddha’s feet.
moral: Buddha patted the elephant gently an turned and said to Ananda,”The only way to destroy hatred is with love. Hatred can not be defeated with more hatred.”
3 haiku poems by one of my favorite zen poets
Matsuo Basho 1644- 1694 (Japan)
on my horse
a frozen shadow.
A banana plant in the autumn gale -
I listen to the dripping of rain
Into a basin at night.
on my horse
a frozen shadow.
may your day be filled with love