Author Topic: Compassion of the old man  (Read 16399 times)

bambi

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Compassion of the old man
« on: July 01, 2012, 05:24:39 PM »
The Old Man and the Scorpion
One morning, after he had finished his meditation, the old man opened his eyes and saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the water. As the scorpion was washed closer to the tree, the old man quickly stretched himself out on one of the long roots that branched out into the river and reached out to rescue the drowning creature. As soon as he touched it, the scorpion stung him. Instinctively the man withdrew his hand. A minute later, after he had regained his balance, he stretched himself out again on the roots to save the scorpion. This time the scorpion stung him so badly with its poisonous tail that his hand became swollen and bloody and his face contorted with pain.

At that moment, a passerby saw the old man stretched out on the roots struggling with the scorpion and shouted: "Hey, stupid old man, what's wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don't you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?"

The old man turned his head. Looking into the stranger's eyes he said calmly, "My friend, just because it is the scorpion's nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save."


Compassion, one of the quality one must have to achieve Enlightenment.

But in this time and now, out of so many of us, not including the Sanghas, how many of us can do the above?
I can't, yet.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 02:10:25 AM »
This is a classic case of the dog that bites the hand that feeds him.

Yes we saw compassion in action on the old man's part but the scorpion did not have the ability to see that it was being rescued. It could have thought that the old man was trying to catch/harm him and thus it retorted by stinging him.

The old man could have used a branch or something else to reach out to the scorpion as he should have known what the scorpion would do, since he stated :  "My friend, just because it is the scorpion's nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save."

ratanasutra

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 03:28:18 AM »
Well said Jessi.

I do agree with you, there is not only one way for the old man to help the scorpion which he still does not change his nature of save, instead he will be able to save more!! It calls compassion with wisdom which taught by Lord buddha and all practitioners are practice towards that direction.

As we knew Lord Budha gave 84,000 types of the teaching so in any situation i believe there are always more than one ways to do it as long as it a virtuous actions and harmless. Do not be stuck with what we are facing, think out of the box, even coin have two sides, there always be the way to do it with the win win situations.

   

Carpenter

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 03:31:33 AM »
Compassion is one’s inner quality, it does not come with condition, someone who is compassion will not stop their kind act due to an unfavourable situation, because their main intention is to help and save lives.

Compassion is the virtue of empathy for the suffering of others. It is regarded as a fundamental part of human love, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism —foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.

One day Buddha’s personal attendant, Ananda asks him: "Would it be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is a part of our practice?" To which the Buddha replied, "No. It would not be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is part of our practice. It would be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is all of our practice."

Quote from:

Buddha
Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion. It is called compassion because it shelters and embraces the distressed

Dalai Lama
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion



Dorje Pakmo

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 10:03:28 AM »
Dear Bambi, the story of “Compassion of the old man”, reminds me of how ignorant one can be. Many times when we see a friend going down a wrong path, we would quickly remind, advice and even scold them when it’s necessary out of love and care. But like the ungrateful scorpion, these people often turn around and ask us why we are such busy body? Often, people do not realize, why do we even waste our breath scolding them and risk being hated and dislike? Its funny isn’t it?  ???

Another version of this story is told this way:
A man saw a dog walking with one of its front leg lifted and it seem very uncomfortable. The kind man approached the dog and found a thorn stuck deep in the paw of the dog. The kind man attempted to remove the thorn and the dog growled and snapped at him angrily. Shocked, the man moved away. When the dog calmed down, he approached it again, and made a second attempt to remove the thorn, this time the dog was so angry it bit the kind man who was actually trying to help it; the kind man caught hold of the dog’s neck and removed the thorn after much struggling.

Moral of the story? Our ignorance will cause harm to people who actually cares the most about us.
DORJE PAKMO

bambi

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 10:30:49 AM »
When I read the story, it reminded me how incredible the old man was. He suffered the pain but his compassion and understanding to help the scorpion is truly amazing.

The suffering of where we are and its causes are the result of our selfish attitude and self cherishing mind. Therefore with the strong thought to benefit beings, the old man's motivation and kindness is to help the scorpion. So that the scorpion will be happy to live and it won't suffer or die. One the path to Enlightenment is to find happiness and eliminate sufferings of others. Having compassion means generating kind and love towards every being without discrimination. Do not generate love because on its beauty. That is why we see all beings as mother sentient being.

Tammy

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 10:57:27 AM »
Jessie,

I cant agree with you with regards to your comment - a classic case of a dog that bites the hand that feeds.

The scorpion is innocent, why? because it is so ignorant to a point it is bot able to understand the old man's act of compassion AND not able to comprehend that it's life is in great danger!

I respect the old man's act of pure compassion that he was risking his life to save another which does not appreciate it. This old man is a true dharma practitioner who truly walk the talk of Buddha's teachings of helping all sentient beings.
Down with the BAN!!!

Jessie Fong

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2012, 11:35:02 AM »
Dear Bambi, the story of “Compassion of the old man”, reminds me of how ignorant one can be. Many times when we see a friend going down a wrong path, we would quickly remind, advice and even scold them when it’s necessary out of love and care. But like the ungrateful scorpion, these people often turn around and ask us why we are such busy body? Often, people do not realize, why do we even waste our breath scolding them and risk being hated and dislike? Its funny isn’t it?  ???

Another version of this story is told this way:
A man saw a dog walking with one of its front leg lifted and it seem very uncomfortable. The kind man approached the dog and found a thorn stuck deep in the paw of the dog. The kind man attempted to remove the thorn and the dog growled and snapped at him angrily. Shocked, the man moved away. When the dog calmed down, he approached it again, and made a second attempt to remove the thorn, this time the dog was so angry it bit the kind man who was actually trying to help it; the kind man caught hold of the dog’s neck and removed the thorn after much struggling.

Moral of the story? Our ignorance will cause harm to people who actually cares the most about us.


We may call the dog ungrateful but come to think about it, at the moment of pain, it must have been scared, wary that someone else coming along might be trying to cause more harm.  Once it is hurt, it goes on "alert" mode for anything/anyone coming nearby.

But we cannot blame it for it is an animal, unable to communicate with us in a way we can properly understand.

We should actually look at the way we handle the situation: we could have approached the dog in another way that does not look "hostile" to it.


Carpenter

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2012, 12:16:10 PM »
Dear Bambi, the story of “Compassion of the old man”, reminds me of how ignorant one can be. Many times when we see a friend going down a wrong path, we would quickly remind, advice and even scold them when it’s necessary out of love and care. But like the ungrateful scorpion, these people often turn around and ask us why we are such busy body? Often, people do not realize, why do we even waste our breath scolding them and risk being hated and dislike? Its funny isn’t it?  ???

Another version of this story is told this way:
A man saw a dog walking with one of its front leg lifted and it seem very uncomfortable. The kind man approached the dog and found a thorn stuck deep in the paw of the dog. The kind man attempted to remove the thorn and the dog growled and snapped at him angrily. Shocked, the man moved away. When the dog calmed down, he approached it again, and made a second attempt to remove the thorn, this time the dog was so angry it bit the kind man who was actually trying to help it; the kind man caught hold of the dog’s neck and removed the thorn after much struggling.

Moral of the story? Our ignorance will cause harm to people who actually cares the most about us.


We may call the dog ungrateful but come to think about it, at the moment of pain, it must have been scared, wary that someone else coming along might be trying to cause more harm.  Once it is hurt, it goes on "alert" mode for anything/anyone coming nearby.

But we cannot blame it for it is an animal, unable to communicate with us in a way we can properly understand.

We should actually look at the way we handle the situation: we could have approached the dog in another way that does not look "hostile" to it.


Human will also act the same as the dog, when problem arises and when we don’t know how to handle it or overcome it, our mind will naturally closed up, whatever constructive or destructive suggestion we will hear no more already. When our mind is closed up, it is not only hurting ourselves, it also hurt the people around us who care about us. When we are having a closed mind, we will also generate a karma for us to fade away from Dharma, because of our negative thought, whatever positive information when reaches us, it will become negative.

If we really practice Buddhism, we should focus out, not focus into ourselves, do not let problem carried us away and forgotten our main motive of practicing Dharma.

Dhiman

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2012, 02:11:34 PM »
I think it is logical to understand the nature of the scorpion does not realize that it is being saved by the old man. But I'm thinking, what if the scorpion does not want to be saved? If the old man keeps trying he will probably end up dying first followed by the scorpion. Similarly if we put it in a situation involving two human beings (as mentioned by Dorje Pakmo), what if the person who is being helped fully understands his own situation but does not want the kind assistance? If all the actions are futile, wouldn't it be better for the 'helper' to help others instead of this ungrateful person?

Jessie Fong

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2012, 02:31:30 PM »
I think it is logical to understand the nature of the scorpion does not realize that it is being saved by the old man. But I'm thinking, what if the scorpion does not want to be saved? If the old man keeps trying he will probably end up dying first followed by the scorpion. Similarly if we put it in a situation involving two human beings (as mentioned by Dorje Pakmo), what if the person who is being helped fully understands his own situation but does not want the kind assistance? If all the actions are futile, wouldn't it be better for the 'helper' to help others instead of this ungrateful person?

So if the old man had stopped what he was doing and then continued on his way to help others, how would he feel if something had happened to the scorpion?  He may think that the did not put in more effort to save it, or he should have tried a different method (if at first you don't succeed ...).  What if he had continued on his journey to help others,but found that he could not have helped other --- was it worthwhile to give up helping he scorpion?

Maybe the scorpion felt that it was a prey of the old man?  Then it went on a defensive mode and stung his hand?  Maybe it felt the old man was in its way, as it was trying to not to drown?

pgdharma

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2012, 02:45:15 PM »
I don't think at this time, I can be like the old man who has so much compassion and is willing to risk his life for a scorpion.

What the scorpion did was an act of self defense. The scorpion had no wisdom or compassion to understand that the old man was trying to save him. On the other hand, as the old man understand the nature of the scorpion, he should not use his hand to save the scorpion, he should use any object available as a tool to save the scorpion.

biggyboy

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2012, 03:52:23 PM »
I don't think at this time, I can be like the old man who has so much compassion and is willing to risk his life for a scorpion.

What the scorpion did was an act of self defense. The scorpion had no wisdom or compassion to understand that the old man was trying to save him. On the other hand, as the old man understand the nature of the scorpion, he should not use his hand to save the scorpion, he should use any object available as a tool to save the scorpion.

No doubt about it that the scorpion stung the old man to defend itself.  Most animals and insects does not have cognitive mind that human has.  Hence, it is important that we should realise the importance of spiritual practice to fully understands law of karma and rebirth. 

Having said that, the old man's act save the scorpion out of compassion is admirable but not thinking and did it smart to help. This shows he did it out of impulsion not thinking further on the consequences one would face later. 

bambi

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2012, 04:38:41 PM »
No doubt about it that the scorpion stung the old man to defend itself.  Most animals and insects does not have cognitive mind that human has.  Hence, it is important that we should realise the importance of spiritual practice to fully understands law of karma and rebirth. 

Having said that, the old man's act save the scorpion out of compassion is admirable but not thinking and did it smart to help. This shows he did it out of impulsion not thinking further on the consequences one would face later.

I disagree with you biggyboy, when one act out of compassion, one does not think of the consequences as they have achieved higher understanding of how it works. Eg. when a man dash out the road to save someone from being hit, knowing very well he will in turn get hit but he still did it for the other person. It is an act of compassion and not on impulse. There are people who are like that. They do not care for themselves but for others. One of the best way to practice compassion.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Compassion of the old man
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2015, 07:49:11 AM »
"The old man turned his head. Looking into the stranger's eyes he said calmly, "My friend, just because it is the scorpion's nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save.""

This is the reply from someone who saved a scorpion, got bitten and is great pain to the point of death.

It is so inspiring even though at this point, I am unable to exercise such compassion, at least I know why such compassion will lead to enlightenment.

COMPASSION CONQUERS ALL.  Including our vicious cycle of death and rebirth.