Prince Sutasoma – from Jataka Tale #31

Once the Buddha born as a prince named Sutasoma. One day he came upon a great teacher of sacred verses. The prince respectfully asked the teacher to recite some verses. But, before the teaching began, a man eating monster known as Saudasa, shattered the peace of the park.

The compassionate prince decided to cure Saudasa of his thirst for blood. Angered by this, Saudasa carried Sutasoma off to his bone littered cave. The prince began to cry and Saudasa laughed at his tears. He thought the prince weak and fearful for his life.

“Death cannot be outrun forever, “ said the prince. “What use is fear? I am sad because I was unable to hear the scared verses before you carried me off. Allow me to go back and receive the verses. I promise to return to you.”

Saudasa decided to see if the prince would live up to his words. When the prince returned, he was struck by his courage. “Let me hear those verses you hold more dear than your life, “ Saudasa said.

“Such verses are only suitable if the listener is suitable. He must be humble and attentive. His mind and heart must be open and desire for truth,” Prince Sutasoma said calmly. “How can you, who have been powerless to your wickedness, achieve this unless you willingly seek the cure?”

The prince’s words touched Saudasa’s long hardened heart. He vowed to give up his evil ways and enter the righteous path as follower of the dharma. ~~~

A common verse that is used in Lam Rim teachings is:

The Dharma teachings are the lamp or light that can kill the darkness of ignorance.
Teachings are the best wealth that nobody can steal from you.
Your education is the best weapon to protect yourself from enemies.
Your education is the best guide to show you what to do.
Then your education is your best friend. Even if you become poor, your education will stay with you.

If you have money one day you can become bankrupt or somebody will cheat you and take it. Even friends can be stolen. But the education of Dharma or teachings that you have will stay with you forever. Even if you are locked up in prison, your education will be there with you. If you are kicked out from a place of work maybe your credit card and all your belongings, like your car and computer, can be taken away, but still your education goes with you. Like that, it is considered the best wealth and I think that is really true.

That means once you get the right teaching you know what is the right thing to do and what is not right to do. If you follow the instructions, you are following the three wheels of practice: having right morality, right meditation and right wisdom. Then you will solve a lot of problems.

– Demo Rinpoche, Jewel Heart Ann Arbor, Jataka Tales, May 23, 2021

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