The King of the Gods – from Jataka Tale #11

The Buddha was once born as Shakara, King of the Gods. His splendor and goodness shone to the very edge of the universe and that gave rise to jealousy in the hearts of demons.  An army to overthrow the king was amassed by demons everywhere.

Foreseeing the suffering the demons could bring helpless beings, the king had no choice but to lead an army of gods against the demon horde. A thunderous battle shook the heavens. When the demons began to win, the gods turned and fled the battlefield. Only King Shakara and his faithful charioteer remained.

Fearing all was lost, the charioteer turned the chariot and began to retreat.  Along the path lay a tree with a nest of eagles too young to fly.  Shakara commanded they turn back so he could save them.  The charioteer pleaded with fear as they would surely be overrun by demons if they turned back.

“Better to be struck down by demon blows than live in infamy by abandoning helpless beings.  Turn back,“ the king once more commanded.

Seeing the king of the gods suddenly turn back and face them, the demons were filled with fear. In terror and confusion, they stumbled over each other as they turned and fled in sight of such bravery.  Shakara returned in victory to his capital to the chagrin of the embarrassed gods.

Dharma protects those who practice it

That is very special. The compassion or your morality should be like that. You should respect your compassion and morality even in bad times. When you are happy, when you are doing very well, you can be a very generous person. You can be very patient. You can be very human. You are full of humanity. But when something goes wrong, when you are in a bad situation, then there is no compassion. There is no morality, there is no generosity. You are even ready to push down your friends.

This is important. If you want to practice compassion and morality you have to preserve those things in bad situations

–  Demo Rinpoche, Jewel Heart Ann Arbor, Jataka Tales, January 17, 2021

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