Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Buddhist story

Wisdom Quarterly

Once there was a young man who married a beautiful woman. He took care of his elderly father as all the other members of the family had passed away. His new bride was wonderful, but she soon tired of looking after his father.

She asked her new husband to throw the father out. The young man explained that that was impossible. He was his father after all. The wife demanded he at least relocate him to the garage-like shed in the back.

Her husband conceded. The father was so happy to see his son as the son took his father up in his arms and took him out to the shed. "Where are we going, son?"

"I'm putting you out, father. My wife thinks it would be better."

"I understand," the father lamented. "Visit me often, son."

"I will," the son said as he slouched back toward the house. But soon his wife was again upset at having to wait on the elderly man.

"Kill him," she encouraged her husband. "Put him out of his misery -- and me out of mine." The husband was shocked, but he loved his new wife. She pressured him constantly then threatened to leave him.

The husband could not reason with her. So after a time, he asked her exactly what she wanted him to do.

"Take him and roll him over the cliff," she conspired. "But he's my father; he raised me," the husband pleaded. "Then I'm leaving," she threatened.

"I'll do it this evening," the young man finally agreed. When he went out to the shed, the father was overjoyed to see him. "Son! Are we going somewhere?"

"Yes, father," the son said as he placed his father into a sturdy old wheelbarrow cart. The father was ecstatic as he was wheeled up the hillside. "Oh, son, I've missed you. Your wife can be harsh. Tell me about your day."

But the son remained silent as he pushed his father ever higher.

"Son, where are we going? To the overlook to see the sunset?"

As they approached the cliff, the father told the son he was close enough to the ledge. "No, father, we're not close enough."

The father suddenly understood. And his heart throbbed with compassion: "Why, son, is it because I'm old?"

"No, father, it's because of my wife."

"I understand," the father lamented. "Just grant one last wish." The son was surprised that his father understood and was taking it so well. With a tear in his eye, he said: "Certainly, father, what is it?"

"Son, when you throw me over, make sure you don't throw over this sturdy cart."

"Why, father?" the son asked perplexed.

"Because, my boy, one day your son is going to need it."

The son stopped dead in his tracks, reconsidered committing this heinous karma*, and turned back. "Forgive me, father! I owe my life to you. Better I were to end up alone in our house than ever harm you."

The son returned together with his father and the cart and told his wife that unless she wanted to end up in the shed or on the street altogether, she would have to respect his father as she respected him.

The wife suddenly respected her husband and extended that respect to her father. The son thereby avoided the horrible fate of the Buddha's second chief male disciple, Maha Moggallana.
MAHA MOGGALLANA lived alone in a forest hut. After his encounter with the devil Mara he knew his end was near. Having enjoyed the bliss of liberation, he now felt a burden. He had no desire to make use of his psychic powers to extend his life. When killers came to assassinate him, he disappeared to spare them of the fearsome karmic consequences of such a deed, necessarily leading to rebirth in the hells. But they returned again and again out of greed for the money they had been promised. On the seventh occasion Moggallana suddenly lost the magic control of his body because of a heinous deed he had committed in a previous life long long before (causing the death of his own parents) for which he had suffered greatly for a long long time which had nevertheless not exhausted that karma. He was brutally beaten to death. More

*Five "heinous karma with fixed results" are matricide, parricide, murdering an arhat, wounding a Buddha, or causing a schism in the Sangha

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