Author Topic: The hare that almost killed all the animals  (Read 8472 times)

bambi

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The hare that almost killed all the animals
« on: July 01, 2012, 06:48:50 PM »
One morning while some bhikkhus were on their alms round in Savatthi, they passed some ascetics of different sects practicing austerities. Some of them were naked and lying on thorns. Others sat around a blazing fire under the burning sun.

Later, while the monks were discussing the ascetics, they asked the Buddha, "Lord, is there any virtue in those harsh ascetic practices?"

The Buddha answered, "No, monks, there is neither virtue nor any special merit in them. When they are examined and tested, they are like a path over a dunghill, or like the noise the hare heard."

Puzzled, the monks said, "Lord, we do not know about that noise. Please tell us what it was."

At their request the Buddha told them this story of the distant past.

Long, long ago, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Baranasi, the Bodhisattva was born as a lion in a forest near the Western Ocean. In one part of that forest there was a grove of palms mixed with belli trees. A hare lived in that grove beneath a palm sapling at the foot of a belli tree.

One day the hare lay under the young palm tree, idly thinking, "If this earth were destroyed, what would become of me?" At that very instant a ripe belli fruit happened to fall and hit a palm leaf making a loud "THUD!"

Startled by this sound, the hare leapt to his feet and cried, "The earth is collapsing!" He immediately fled, without even glancing back.

Another hare, seeing him race past as if for his very life, asked, "What's wrong?" and started running, too.

"Don't ask!" panted the first. This frightened the second hare even more, and he sprinted to keep up.

"What's wrong?" he shouted again.

Pausing for just a moment, the first hare cried, "The earth is breaking up!" At this, the two of them bolted off together.

Their fear was infectious, and other hares joined them until all the hares in that forest were fleeing together. When other animals saw the commotion and asked what was wrong, they were breathlessly told, "The earth is breaking up!" and they too began running for their lives. In this way, the hares were soon joined by herds of deer, boars, elk, buffaloes, wild oxen, and rhinoceroses, a family of tigers, and some elephants.

When the lion saw this headlong stampede of animals and heard the cause of their flight, he thought, "The earth is certainly not coming to an end. There must have been some sound which they misunderstood. If I don't act quickly they will be killed. I must save them!"

Then, as fast as only he could run, he got in front of them, and roared three times. At the sound of his mighty voice, all the animals stopped in their tracks. Panting, they huddled together in fear. The lion approached and asked why they were running away.

"The earth is collapsing," they all answered.

"Who saw it collapsing?" he asked.

"The elephants know all about it," some animals replied.

When he asked the elephants, they said, "We don't know. The tigers know."

The tigers said, "The rhinoceroses know." The rhinoceroses said, "The wild oxen know." The wild oxen said, "The buffaloes know." The buffaloes said, "The elk know." The elk said, "The boars know." The boars said, "The deer know." The deer said, "We don't know. The hares know."

When he asked the hares, they pointed to one particular hare and said, "This one told us."

The lion asked him, "Is it true, sir, that the earth is breaking up?"

"Yes, sir, I saw it," said the hare.

"Where were you when you saw it?"

"In the forest in a palm grove mixed with belli trees. I was lying there under a palm at the foot of a belli tree, thinking, 'If this earth were destroyed, what would become of me?' At that very moment I heard the sound of the earth breaking up and I fled."

From this explanation, the lion realized exactly what had really happened, but he wanted to verify his conclusions and demonstrate the truth to the other animals. He gently calmed the animals and said, "I will take the hare and go to find out whether or not the earth is coming to an end where he says it is. Until we return, stay here."

Placing the hare on his tawny back, he raced with great speed back to that grove. Then he put the hare down and said, "Come, show me the place you meant."

"I don't dare, my lord," said the hare.

"Don't be afraid," said the lion.

The hare, shivering in fear, would not risk going near the belli tree. He could only point and say, "Over there, sir, is the place of dreadful sound."

The lion went to the place the hare indicated. He could make out where the hare had been lying in the grass, and he saw the ripe belli fruit that had fallen on the palm leaf. Having carefully ascertained that the earth was not breaking up, he placed the hare on his back again and returned to the waiting animals.

He told them what he had found and said, "Don't be afraid." Reassured, all the animals returned to their usual places and resumed their routines.

Those animals had placed themselves in great danger because they listened to rumours and unfounded fears rather than trying to find out the truth themselves. Truly, if it had not been for the lion, those beasts would have rushed into the sea and perished. It was only because of the Bodhisattva's wisdom and compassion that they escaped death.

At the conclusion of the story, the Buddha identified the Birth: "At that time, I myself was the lion."

The rumor almost killed the animals all because of 1 hare. How is it related to what the Buddha was teaching the Bhikkus?

bambi

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Re: The hare that almost killed all the animals
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 01:51:18 PM »
People in this time are very sensitive and prone to listening to rumor or spread something that someone said twisting it into another story. I think that the Buddha was telling the bhikkus that because 1 person started the harsh ascetic practices hence everyone who sees it believe that it helps their spiritual life and that it is virtuous. They believe that it will bring them to Enlightenment. But they didn't check out Buddha's teachings to find out the if they were virtuous practices. This is also caused by ignorance.

Jessie Fong

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Re: The hare that almost killed all the animals
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 02:04:50 PM »
IN relating the story of the hare, Buddha was teaching was that we should not accept things as they are.  Rather we should examine them carefully before coming to any conclusion.

In the hare's haste and fright, he bolted without checking what was happening.  And just because he was thinking out loud and right at that moment of that sound, he really believed that his thought had materialised. And because he failed to check properly, he took it upon himself that whatever he felt was real.

The other animals that followed suit also did not find out the cause for that stampede, just allowing it to grow.  When it came to finding out the cause of their hurrying, the "blame" went down the line and we could see that actually, none of them knew the real reason.

bambi

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Re: The hare that almost killed all the animals
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2012, 05:28:39 PM »
IN relating the story of the hare, Buddha was teaching was that we should not accept things as they are.  Rather we should examine them carefully before coming to any conclusion.

In the hare's haste and fright, he bolted without checking what was happening.  And just because he was thinking out loud and right at that moment of that sound, he really believed that his thought had materialised. And because he failed to check properly, he took it upon himself that whatever he felt was real.

The other animals that followed suit also did not find out the cause for that stampede, just allowing it to grow.  When it came to finding out the cause of their hurrying, the "blame" went down the line and we could see that actually, none of them knew the real reason.

Aren't most of us like that? We hear something and then jump to the conclusion and believe it as we hear it? Some people make it worse by exaggerating and blowing things out of proportion. Human nature is just like that. Classic case of ignorance and selfishness. We believe what we want and don't care about anything else. All made up by our own distorted delusions. And to add to that, other people start to twist and turn the truth. Because of ego and pride, one should not even start any and create the karma of becoming worse.

brian

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Re: The hare that almost killed all the animals
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2012, 05:32:55 PM »
People nowadays do not really check both side of the story and quickly jumped onto a conclusion on certain matters. This is an example of one person not being wise enough and steadfast. I view this as negative value to be removed away from our behavior as this is dangerous because misunderstanding can lead to hatred and anger and eventually to a point of no return if let's say, a murder was committed. So rather than the hare almost killed all the animals, the hare should always check first before proceeding onto any form of action.

Dhiman

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Re: The hare that almost killed all the animals
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2012, 12:28:30 PM »
This story tells us to not just listen and follow any form of teachings blindly but to obtain the truth ourselves through examining, questioning and contemplating over the teachings. Why should the monks listen to the Buddha's advice? Because he has gone through the extreme ascetic way (e.g. practice of starvation) and found that it was not the way to be.

On a different case, Aristotle stated that the earth is the center of the universe which we know is false today. However, Aristotle is still considered an important philosopher. We have learned to study the ancient philosophy by setting aside those parts that conflict with our modern scientific understanding and focus on what remains - in this case, Aristotle's contribution towards psychology, ethics, politics etc.

Another good example is how we study the sutras. Shunyata (emptiness / void) and tathata (full) are two sides of the same coin and it is equally important to study both sides. We learn that "form is emptiness" and at the same time we also need to understand why "emptiness is form," but this matter is not something I can explain on.

One more thing...

Quote
In this way, the hares were soon joined by herds of deer, boars, elk, buffaloes, wild oxen, and rhinoceroses, a family of tigers, and some elephants.

When the lion saw this headlong stampede of animals and heard the cause of their flight, he thought, "The earth is certainly not coming to an end.

I'm not doubting the great Buddha but how can lions and tigers co-exist in the same forest?  ;D

Tammy

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Re: The hare that almost killed all the animals
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2012, 01:39:50 PM »
Long story!! But I think it is worth contemplating. My take is : we should not believe in hearsay, what we heard, directly and indirectly, we must check and verify before jumping onto the bandwagon! Follow the 'belief' of majority is dangerous as with out verifying the information presented in front of us, we subject ourselves to blind faith. Faith without proper and deeper understanding will not bring us far in our spiritual path.

Wisdom comes from knowledge, knowledge comes from fact-finding and analyzing the validity of the 'fact' or information. Only when we fully understood and accept what we have learn, then we could share with other and benefiting many people.

I dont know whether this is the moral of the story, just what i think and feel after reading it.
Down with the BAN!!!

pgdharma

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Re: The hare that almost killed all the animals
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2012, 02:29:44 PM »
Most of us are like the hare, we always jump to conclusion on certain matters without examining it properly.

Out of ignorance, the hare panic and acted hastily which snowballed into a big exodus as all the animals believed that the earth is breaking up. Just like most of us, we always believe in hearsay, we never investigate or examine any matters properly. Due to our ignorance and narrow mindedness, we do not have the wisdom to know the truth and this can sometimes create problems for others. I agree with what Tammy said about having wisdom. When we have wisdom, we have knowledge and that knowledge comes from studying, researching, contemplating and analyzing what we learn. Also when we are faced with a situation we should try to remain calm as a panic or confused mind will not help solve the problem.