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Buddha and the Limping Lamb

An eternal story from the life of Buddha the Compassionate One.

TAGS: WHERNTO: heedism  righton 

image of Buddha and the Limping Lamb

There are many stories told about Buddha the Compassionate One. They carry the eternal message with a simplicity that any child can understand. Here is one of those gems.

The Buddha is taking a walk. He gazes at the beauty of the flowers of the field and says: "O trees and flowers of the field! How trustfully you turn your faces to the sun! And how trustfully nightingales and doves take shelter in you! Alas! man hurts the birds and slays the animals! The wisdom of man is drenched in blood!"

A herd of goats and sheep passes by. The Buddha finds that the herdsman is driving them with difficulty: there is an injured lamb who is limping and slowing the herd down. Affectionately, the Buddha takes the limping lamb on his shoulder. The herdsman tells him that the animals, 100 goats and sheep in total, are being taken to the king for sacrifice this evening. The Buddha, carrying the lamb, chooses to accompany the herdman.

At the place where sacrifice is to happen, the man in charge is about to strike the sword against the first goat, when suddenly the Buddha exclaims "Great king! let not the man strike! Take my life as a sacrifice, O king! and spare the goat!"

The words of the holyman move the heart of the king, who then asks the Buddha to speak to the people. And the Buddha says:

"O men! you can take life easily but, remember, none of you can give life! So, have mercy, have compassion! And, never forget, that compassion makes the world noble and beautiful. Remember, too, that all living beings are linked together in maitri [friendliness, compassion]. Therefore, resolve that you will live on bloodless diet. Verily, in gentleness is the crown of life!"

The next day, a decree is proclaimed by the king. The order goes forth that none shall henceforth kill for sacrifice or for private pleasure. For life is one through mercy and compassion.