Vietnamese translation: HT. Like Minh Chau
White World Honored One, now many people kill the lives of many sentient beings to offer food to the dead. The Blessed One said: There is no benefit in offering such food to the dead. When you have killed living beings, how can there be any benefit?
If sentient beings knew…,
This story, while staying at Ky Vien, the Master told about food for the dead. During that time, many people killed many goats and sheep… to offer food for their dead relatives. The bhikkhus, seeing them doing this, asked the Master:
“World-Honored One, now many people kill the lives of many sentient beings to offer food to the dead, venerable sir, is there any happiness or benefit here?” The Ton said:
“There’s no benefit in offering such food to the dead.” When you have killed living beings, how can there be any benefit?
In the past, the sages sat in the middle of nowhere, preaching the Dharma, explaining the dangers of this custom, causing the entire population in the land of Jambudvipa to abstain from that action. But now, being accumulated by birth and existence, that action arises again.
Having said this, the Blessed One told the story of the past.
“Once upon a time, when King Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, a brahmin, knowledgeable in the three Vedas, a famous teacher from the four directions, wanted to offer food to the dead, to arrest them. a goat and said to his disciples:
“My children, take this goat to the river, bathe it, put a wreath around its neck, feed it half a quarter of rice, groom it, and bring it here.”
The disciples obeyed, led the goat to the river, bathed it, groomed it, and then let it stand on the riverbank. That goat, seeing what he had done in his previous life, thought, “Today, I will be free from suffering”, so he feels happy, laughs loudly like breaking a jave, and thinks: This brahmin, when he kills me, will suffer my sufferings in the past,” he began to feel pity for the brahmin and wept loudly. The young men asked him:
– Hey, you laugh out loud and cry out loud. Why do you laugh, why do you cry?
– Ask this question in front of your teachers!
They took the goat away, and reported it to the master. The teacher heard the story and asked the goat:
– Hey goat, why are you laughing and why are you crying?
The goat, through its knowledge of the past, remembered what he had done, and said to the brahmin:
“Brahmin, in the past, like you, I was a brahmin who was good at incantations, wanted to give food to the dead, but killed a goat to make an offering. For killing only one goat, I was beheaded in four hundred and ninety-nine times. This is my last five hundred life and death. Today, I will be free from that suffering. Thinking like that, we feel happy, because of this predestined predestined we laugh. And I wept, because I thought that just for killing a goat I would have to suffer beheading five hundred times. Today we will get rid of that suffering. But this brahmin, for killing me, will be like me to suffer beheading for five hundred lives. Out of pity for him, I wept.
The story of the Buddha’s predecessor: The story of the tea merchant
– Hey goat, don’t be afraid, I won’t kill you!
– Hey Brahmin, what do you say? Whether you kill me or not, I cannot escape death today!
– Hey goat, don’t be afraid, I will protect you, I will go with you!
– How small, brahmin, is your protection and mighty is my evil deeds!
The brahmin released the goat and said to his disciples: And with the disciples, the brahmin followed the animal. The goat that had just been released, stretched its neck, came to the grass that grew behind the rock, and began to eat the leaves.
Just then, lightning struck the back of that rock, a piece of rock was broken, fell on the neck of the outstretched goat, and cut off its head. Many people gathered to watch.
At that time, the Bodhisatta was born as a tree deity there. With the power of the deity, the Bodhisattva sat cross-legged in space, over the standing assembly watching, and thought: “These sentient beings, if they knew the results of such evil deeds, would not do evil deeds. again!” Then, with a sweet voice, he preached the Dharma in verse:
If sentient beings knew
This gives rise to suffering,
Friendship will no longer exist
Another sentient killing,
For whoever kills a lover,
There will be sorrow and suffering.
Thus, the Great Being preached the Dharma, causing everyone to fear hell. And many people who heard that sermon, knowing fear of hell, gave up killing. After the Bodhisatta finished his sermon, he abided in the Five Precepts and then followed his own karma. As for the masses, staying in the bodhisattva’s advice, after doing meritorious deeds such as almsgiving, etc., they are reborn in the heavenly world, filling the city of gods.
– The Master finished this Dharma talk, combined the two stories together, and identified the Predecessor as follows:
– At that time, I was the tree god.