Buddhism has a natural peacefulness, mostly due to the ideals and principles sought. Seeing the open arms of Buddha statues or reflecting on mandalas that represent the universe focuses my mind on what we can all do to work through the struggles of life. One can follow the Noble Eightfold Path, which consists of right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right-mindedness, and right contemplation. The Buddhist boy picture shown here was taken by Steve Evans. He has granted permission for Story Crossroads to use this image.
Present-Day Benevolence & Big-Heartedness
The Buddhist Global Relief (BGR) has 29 different projects to show kindness to others. They focus primarily on giving food to the hungry and malnourished, providing sustainable agriculture, and educating girls and women so as better to support their families.
Past Benevolence & Big-Heartedness (Folktale)
The Monkey King’s Bridge – or under many different titles – with some versions here:
Although there are several versions, here is my summary:
The Monkey King is respected by all the other monkeys for being strong, kind, and wise. The Monkey King warns the monkeys to be careful that none of the mangoes fall into the water as this could lead to creatures or people who would yearn for more and cause death. The hundreds of monkeys follow this council though one mango escapes notice and flows down into a Human village. The Human King is presented the lone fruit and tastes it for the first time on behalf of all the humans. The Human King is so entranced by the taste that he sends out his armies to track it down. Eventually, the human army comes upon the trees where the monkeys live. As the monkeys were spotted eating mangoes, the Human King felt he was being robbed and ordered the army to shoot their bows and arrows. The Monkey King, seeing his people in danger, takes a vine and stretches his body to create a bridge so that his people can cross to safety. Despite the arrows flying, the monkeys cross over their beloved leader’s back and are saved. However, the Monkey King, when seeing all have crossed, falls to the ground. In some versions, the Monkey King dies. However, I prefer the one where the Human King orders for the Monkey King to be retrieved. While the Monkey King is close to death, the Human King asks why he would sacrifice himself when he is royalty. The Monkey King replies that when there is danger, he feels sorrow for his people. When there is safety and peace, he feels joy with his people. The Human King knows he has heard wisdom and vows to be a servant for his people.
Interesting Notes on Kindness:
- The Monkey King is respected because he is wise and kind
- The Monkey King practices servant leadership and places the value of others beyond his own
- The Monkey King proves this servant leadership through self-sacrifice when creating a bridge out of his body and allowing others to cross
- This Kindness impresses the Human King to the point of wanting to talk with the Monkey King (in some versions) as a result
- This chat with the Monkey King allows the Human King to reflect on how better to serve his people through kindness
What stories of kindness do you know associated with Buddhism? Anywhere in the world – past or present? Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.
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