Author Topic: The Bull  (Read 6559 times)

Jessie Fong

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The Bull
« on: July 04, 2012, 02:45:12 PM »
Once upon a time, in the country of Gandhara in northern India, there was a city called Takkasila. In that city the Enlightenment Being was born as a certain calf. Since he was well bred for strength, he was bought by a high class rich man. He became very fond of the gentle animal, and called him 'Delightful'. He took good care of him and fed him only the best.

When Delightful grew up into a big fine strong bull, he thought, "I was brought up by this generous man. He gave me such good food and constant care, even though sometimes there were difficulties. Now I am a big grown-up bull and there is no other bull who can pull as heavy a load as I can. Therefore, I would like to use my strength to give something in return to my master."

So he said to the man, "Sir, please find some wealthy merchant who is proud of having many strong bulls. Challenge him by saying that your bull can pull one- hundred heavily loaded bullock carts."

Following his advice, the high class rich man went to such a merchant and struck up a conversation. After a while, he brought up the idea of who had the strongest bull in the city.

The merchant said, "Many have bulls, but no one has any as strong as mine." The rich man said, "Sir, I have a bull who can pull one hundred heavily loaded bullock carts." "No, friend, how can there be such a bull? That is unbelievable!" said the merchant. The other replied, "I do have such a bull, and I am willing to make a bet."

The merchant said, "I will bet a thousand gold coins that your bull cannot pull a hundred loaded bullock carts." So the bet was made and they agreed on a date and time for the challenge.

The merchant attached together one-hundred big bullock carts. He filled them with sand and gravel to make them very heavy.

The high class rich man fed the finest rice to the bull called Delightful. He bathed him and decorated him and hung a beautiful garland of flowers around his neck.

Then he harnessed him to the first cart and climbed up onto it. Being so high class, he could not resist the urge to make himself seem very important. So he cracked a whip in the air, and yelled at the faithful bull, "Pull, you dumb animal! I command you to pull, you big dummy!"

The bull called Delightful thought, "This challenge was my idea. I have never done anything bad to my master, and yet he insults me with such hard and harsh words!" So he remained in his place and refused to pull the carts.

The merchant laughed and demanded his winnings from the bet. The high class rich man had to pay him the one thousand gold coins. He returned home and sat down, saddened by his lost bet, and embarrassed by the blow to his pride.

The bull called Delightful grazed peacefully on his way home. When he arrived, he saw his master sadly lying on his side. He asked, "Sir, why are you lying there like that? Are you sleeping? You look sad." The man said, I lost a thousand gold coins because of you. With such a loss, how could I sleep?"

The bull replied. "Sir, you called me 'dummy'. You even cracked a whip in the air over my head. In all my life, did I ever break anything, step on anything, make a mess in the wrong place, or behave like a 'dummy' in any way?" He answered, "No, my pet."

The bull called Delightful said, "Then sir, why did you call me 'dumb animal', and insult me even in the presence of others? The fault is yours. I have done nothing wrong. But since I feel sorry for you, go again to the merchant and make the same bet for two thousand gold coins. And remember to use only the respectful words I deserve so well."

Then the high class rich man went back to the merchant and made the bet for two-thousand gold coins. The merchant thought it would be easy money. Again he set up the one hundred heavily loaded bullock carts. Again the rich man fed and bathed the bull, and hung a garland of flowers around his neck.

When all was ready, the rich man touched Delightful's forehead with a lotus blossom, having given up the whip. Thinking of him as fondly as if he were his own child, he said, "My son, please do me the honour of pulling these one hundred bullock carts."

Lo and behold, the wonderful bull pulled with all his might and dragged the heavy carts, until the last one stood in the place of the first.

The merchant, with his mouth hanging open in disbelief, had to pay the two thousand gold coins. The onlookers were so impressed that they honoured the bull called Delightful with gifts. But even more important to the high class rich man than his winnings, was his valuable lesson in humility and respect.


I chanced upon the above tale and enjoyed reading it.  It's so true.   Lost in our daily activities in this world full of competition, we don't give a thought to the people who will help us succeed.

Just like in this story, the rich man was only concerned with winning, not bothered about the bull that was going to do all the hard work.  He expected that since he took such great care of the bull, it would not fail him.

DS Star

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Re: The Bull
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2012, 03:31:41 PM »
Good story :-)  though I wonder why the rich man don't make money by showing to people that his bull can TALK...!

Anyway, back to the moral of the story... obviously it teaches us to be respectful to others, even animal in this case. Buddha taught us to be considerate of all people and sentient beings because they were our mothers before (many times over) and could be our mother in future as well... since they were our mothers, we must respect them. Simple logic. We must remember the kindness of our mothers and must repay them, so how can we not show them respect even though in this life they are born as animals?

This is yet another one of Buddha's previous lives stories known as Jataka tales, it is to be told as a lesson to us, especially to children. Thank you Jessie for this interesting post.

My question is to what extent we must show respect to animals? What about the cockcroach? Do we buy food purposely to feed the cockcroach in our house???

Jessie Fong

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Re: The Bull
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2012, 03:42:50 PM »
Cockroaches are household pests.  So I would not want to give them food.  As it is they are already scouring the drains and garbage bins for left-overs, so I say it's best to leave them alone rather than to encourage more of them around the house.

A search turns out from

They can also passively transport microbes on their body surfaces including those that are potentially dangerous to humans, particularly in environments such as hospitals. Cockroaches have been shown to be linked with allergic reactions in humans. One of the proteins that triggers allergic reactions has been identified as tropomyosin. These allergens have also been found to be linked with asthma.

So no thanks to feeding insects that are labelled as pests.  I would not want to expose myself to more diseases than there already are.

Hey DS Star : Yes, the rich man would have been much much richer had he exhibited his Talking bull but I guess he just did not have the wisdom to ride on that.


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Re: The Bull
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 10:15:30 AM »
This is a very touching story and it reminds me more of how man practices speciesism – discrimination towards other species – and mistreats animals. I’ve heard in many of Buddha’s stories that he has taken form of different animals in his countless past lives. In his life as Prince Siddhartha, the Buddha felt compassion when he saw cases like a bird eating a worm from the soil and the injuries inflicted on the back of the ox by the farmer. The sufferings of both humans and animals have contributed to his desire to seek enlightenment.

Besides the bull, there is another inspiring story that depicts Buddha’s ultimate compassion towards all sentient beings and the importance of respecting animals. Buddha took the form of a deer and offered his own life to replace a pregnant doe that was headed for slaughter. The deer’s generosity appealed to the king’s sense of compassion who then granted a guaranteed protection of all the deer in the park. Ultimately it became a protection for all animals, birds and fish in the realm.

Buddha has magically spoken many times in the form of animals and another example is when he was the white elephant in this story posted by bambi.