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Jul 27, 2011

Protecting what is More Valuable

(from the article ' The Peacemaker ', Vipassana Newsletter archives, Winter, 1982) 

Two kingdoms were on the verge of war for the possession of a certain embankment in dispute between the two countries. And the SammasamBuddha Gotama, seeing the kings and their armies ready to fight, requested them to tell him the cause of their quarrels.

Having heard both sides of the situation, the Buddha asked the kings: “I understand that the embankment has value for some of your people; has it any intrinsic value aside from its service to your men?”

“It has no intrinsic value whatever, O Lord,” was the reply.

The Buddha continued: “Now when you go to battle, is it not sure that many of your men will be slain and that you yourselves, O kings, are liable to lose your lives?”

They said: “Verily. O Lord, it is sure that many will be slain and our own lives be jeopardized.”

“The blood of men, however,” said Buddha, “has it less intrinsic value than a mound of earth?”

“No, O Lord,” the kings said, “the lives of men and above all the lives of kings, are priceless.”

Then the Buddha concluded: “Are going to stake that which is priceless against that which has no intrinsic value whatsoever?”

The wrath of the two monarchs abated, and they came to a peaceful agreement.


The Buddha helping Bharadwaja conquer anger, by maintaining his own composure and generating compassion in the face of abuse. 
(The painting is part of the Buddha Life Art Gallery of the Global Vipassana Pagoda)
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