佛教的故事:The Goat Who Saved the Priest

 来源:沪江社团    要点:小学英语故事  
编辑点评: Once upon a time, there was a very famous priest ina very old religion. He decided it was the right day toperform the ritual sacrificing of a goat. In his ignorance,he thought this was an offering demanded by his god.

Ignorance

Once upon a time, there was a very famous priest ina very old religion. He decided it was the right day toperform the ritual sacrificing of a goat. In his ignorance,he thought this was an offering demanded by his god.

He obtained an appropriate goat for the sacrifice. Heordered his servants to take the goat to the holy river andwash him and decorate him with flower garlands. Thenthey were to wash themselves, as part of the purificationpractice.

Down at the riverbank, the goat suddenly understoodthat today he would definitely be killed. He also becameaware of his past births and deaths and rebirths. Herealized that the results of his past unwholesome deedswere about to finally be completed. So he laughed anuproarious goat-laugh, like the clanging of cymbals.

In the midst of his laughter, he realized another truth that the priest, by sacrificing him, would suffer thesame terrible results, due to his ignorance. So he began tocry as loudly as he had just been laughing!

The servants, who were bathing in the holy river,heard first the laughing and then the crying. They wereamazed. So they asked the goat, "Why did you loudlylaugh and then just as loudly cry? What is the reason forthis?" He replied, "I will tell you the reason. But it mustbe in the presence of your master, the priest."

Since they were very curious, they immediately tookthe sacrificial goat to the priest. They explained all thathad happened. The priest too, became very curious. Herespectfully asked the goat, "Sir, why did you laugh soloudly, and then just as loudly cry?"

The goat, remembering his past lives, said, "A longtime ago, I too was a priest who, like you, was welleducated in the sacred religious rites. I thought that tosacrifice a goat was a necessary offering to my god, whichwould benefit others, as well as myself in future rebirths.However, the true result of my action was that in my next499 lives I myself have been beheaded!

"While being prepared for the sacrifice, I realizedthat today I will definitely lose my head for the 500thtime. Then I will finally be free of all the results of myunwholesome deed of so long ago. The joy of this mademe laugh uncontrollably.

"Then I suddenly realized that you, the priest, wereabout to repeat the same unwholesome action, and wouldbe doomed to the same result of having your headchopped off in your next 500 lives! So, out of compassionand sympathy, my laughter turned to tears."

The priest was afraid this goat might be right, so hesaid, "Well, sir goat, I will not kill you." The goat replied,"Reverend priest, even if you do not kill me, I know thattoday I will lose my head and finally be released from theresults of my past unwholesome action."

The priest said, "Don't be afraid, my fine goat. I willprovide the very best protection and personally guaranteethat no harm will come to you." But the goat said, "Ohpriest, your protection is very weak, compared to thepower of my unwholesome deed to cause its necessaryresults."

So the priest canceled the sacrifice, and began tohave doubts about killing innocent animals. He releasedthe goat and, along with his servants, followed him inorder to protect him from any danger.

The goat wandered into a rocky place. He saw sometender leaves on a branch and stretched out his neck toreach them. All of a sudden a thunderstorm appeared outof nowhere. A lightning bolt struck an over-hanging rock,and cut off a sharp slab, which fell and chopped off thegoat's head! He died instantly, and the thunderstormdisappeared.

Hearing of this very strange event, hundreds of localpeople came to the place. No one could understand howit had happened.

There was also a fairy who lived in a nearby tree. Hehad seen all that had occurred. He appeared, gentlyfluttering in the air overhead. He began to teach thecurious people, saying, "Look at what happened to thispoor goat. This was the result of killing animals! Allbeings are born, and suffer through sickness, old age anddeath. But all wish to live, and not to die. Not seeing thatall have this in common, some kill other living beings.This causes suffering also to those who kill, both now andin countless future rebirths.

"Being ignorant that all deeds must cause results tothe doer, some continue to kill and heap up moresuffering on themselves in the future. Each time they kill,a part of themselves must also die in this present life. Andthe suffering continues even by rebirth in hell worlds!"

Those who heard the fairy speak felt 'that they werevery lucky indeed. They gave up their ignorant killing, andwere far better off, both in this life and in pleasantrebirths.

The moral is: Even religion can be a source ofignorance.

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