Once born in this existence, apart from earning a living, creating happiness for oneself, we should have benevolent thoughts, speeches and acts; abstaining from bad deeds, not encroaching one another. Because these are sublime acts that we should do; good deeds should be done often as a habit to keep the mind away from all the unwholesome deeds. Being a proudly good person, one must observe the precepts as the basis of life, the norm of heart. The precepts protect those who observe them and others unharmed. The precepts are marvelous; even though others do not know that we observe the precepts but deities and Devas know and look out for those who observe precepts. As the precepts are important bridges to everyone who wishes for nirvana; as seen in the following Jataka .
When the Lord Buddha was resided at Jetavana Monastery in Shravasti, He recited a story that a Bodhisattva was once a rabbit. The rabbit lived in a forest surrounded with the mountains. He had three friends: a monkey, a fox and an otter. The four animals are moral; every evening they met together and listen to the moral matters from the rabbit. One night, the rabbit looked at the moon and noticed that the next day will be a holy day, he then said, “Tomorrow, we shall observe the precepts and giving alms, since doing so will bring great merits so we should prepare food to provide the beggars.” The three animals agreed and returned to their homes.
The next morning, a fisherman caught seven carps and buried them in the sand before crossing to the other side downstream. The otter came across those fish, he cried out three times to find out if there was any owner of the fish then he took the fish home, taking a rest, and observing the precepts. After the monkey gathered mangoes in the forest, he went back home and observed the precepts. The rabbit did not gather any food, he realized that he would be unable to offer anything to any beggars so he decided, “I have no sesame, no rice. If someone asks for food then I will give my own flesh to them.”
With the rabbit’s strong will power causing the throne of Sakka Indra, the Lord of the Devas, to become warm, therefore, he decided to come down to test the virtues of the animals by disguising himself as a Brahmin. He first visited the otter and requested some food from the otter. The otter said, “Brahmin .. I have seven fish. May you have them, please.” Brahmin accepted and went to the fox to request for food. The fox gave the food and said, “Brahmin I have two pieces of grilled meat, a lizard and a jug of sour yogurt. May you have them please.” Brahmin took the food and went to the monkey. The monkey gave him the food and said, “Brahmin, may you have these ripe mangoes, cold water. Under this cool and pleasant shade, may you have the food and a rest, please.”
Brahmin accepted the food from the monkey and went to the rabbit’s residence to ask for food. Upon hearing the request, the rabbit was delighted and said, “Brahmin, please be invited to prepare a fire, I have nothing for you, except my flesh. Please have me as your meal.” The rabbit continued in chanting form, “Rabbit has neither sesame, nor beans, nor rice; please have me cooked with this fire. Then in this wood, practicing the monastic observances as you should.” Sakka Indra, Lord of the Devas, then bring about the fire by magic. The rabbit was glad, without fear of death, he jumped into the flames. To his surprise, the rabbit felt no heat and asked what was happening. Sakka Indra said. “Pundit, I’m not a Brahmin, I am Lord Sakka, I come to test your virtue.
” The rabbit said, “Only to test me! And how would the world know that I wish for my life to be alms?” “Your virtue in sacrificing your life should be known eternally,” said Sakka Indra, and then painted a rabbit on the moon as the symbol for the world to see from then on. Sakka Indra then disappeared to return to Devas realm. After that, the four animals have been making merits, maintaining the observance of the Eight Precepts until the end of their lives. Likewise, those who observe the precepts will have the courage, with firm upholding in goodness, being afraid of nothing; sacred things always protect those who observe the precepts ..
Knowing Buddha Organization with Master Acharavadee Wongsakon
Translation: Samroeng Thongrong