Story Telling

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.
Post Reply
User avatar
Pondera
Posts: 2005
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:02 pm

Story Telling

Post by Pondera »

Having read MN several times in my early 20’s I thought I had seen it all. It is because “form” selected MN 77 that I returned to the MN collection. After reading a few beautiful suttas, I wanted to make a thread about story telling. This sutta https://suttacentral.net/mn81/en/sujato

is a great example of story telling. There is nothing in it about jhana, or the tell-tale examples of Buddhist doctrine that we find our selves sometimes arguing about.

It is a story about how the Buddha arrived at a certain destination and smiled.
So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was wandering in the land of the Kosalans together with a large Saṅgha of mendicants. Then the Buddha left the road, and at a certain spot he smiled.
Then Venerable Ānanda thought, “What is the cause, what is the reason why the Buddha smiled? Realized Ones do not smile for no reason.”
What follows, to my immediate delight, was a tale about Kassappa Buddha and a dedicated follower.

It is just a tale about a dedicated follower, however, it exemplifies the story telling ability of the Buddha.

I would encourage all to read it. And, more importantly, what is your favourite tale from the MN selection? It is not always about defining the key features of Buddhism. We often find gems here.

As I have revisited this MN selection in my late 30’s I am now, more than ever, impressed by the Buddha’s story telling ability. Having used meditation to cure a back injury that has hampered me for over six years, I am now in a comfortable place to appreciate some of the suttas in a different light.

The intriguing nature of the jhanas is what once drew faith in me in my early 20’s. As a man approaching 40, I have developed an understanding of meditation on my own with the help of suttas like the “Upanisa Sutta” - and have settled pains in my body to the extent that I can appreciate the suttas in different ways.

Please post and describe your favourite story telling suttas from the Tripitaka. It need not recite the fundamentals of Buddhism. Even a sutta dispelling the myth of the caste system is the kind of thing I’m aiming at.

Blessings to all. Pondera 🧐
“Monk, the property of light, the property of beauty, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of space, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the property of the dimension of nothingness: These properties are to be reached as perception attainments.[2] The property of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception is to be reached as a remnant-of-fabrications attainment. The property of the cessation of feeling & perception is to be reached as a cessation attainment."[3]

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
form
Posts: 2220
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: Story Telling

Post by form »

I recently return to MN as well reading section by section in details pertaining my current practice. I started to see many details that I did not previously notice.

Many years ago a theravada monk from blue mountain of Australia has adviced me when he saw me reading SN in the library. He told me it is better to start with MN first. Now I fully agree with him.
User avatar
Jeff_
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:45 am

Re: Story Telling

Post by Jeff_ »

Pondera wrote: Tue Mar 23, 2021 7:55 am ...

Please post and describe your favourite story telling suttas from the Tripitaka. It need not recite the fundamentals of Buddhism. Even a sutta dispelling the myth of the caste system is the kind of thing I’m aiming at.

Blessings to all. Pondera 🧐
The story at the end of DN 11, with the monk who keeps going higher and higher in the Deva worlds looking for an answer to his question about the four great elements.
DN 11 wrote:“‘But where, friends, is the Great Brahmā now?’
User avatar
Pondera
Posts: 2005
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:02 pm

Re: Story Telling

Post by Pondera »

Jeff_ wrote: Thu Mar 25, 2021 7:27 am
Pondera wrote: Tue Mar 23, 2021 7:55 am ...

Please post and describe your favourite story telling suttas from the Tripitaka. It need not recite the fundamentals of Buddhism. Even a sutta dispelling the myth of the caste system is the kind of thing I’m aiming at.

Blessings to all. Pondera 🧐
The story at the end of DN 11, with the monk who keeps going higher and higher in the Deva worlds looking for an answer to his question about the four great elements.
DN 11 wrote:“‘But where, friends, is the Great Brahmā now?’
Nice. I will read it the first chance I get!
“Monk, the property of light, the property of beauty, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of space, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the property of the dimension of nothingness: These properties are to be reached as perception attainments.[2] The property of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception is to be reached as a remnant-of-fabrications attainment. The property of the cessation of feeling & perception is to be reached as a cessation attainment."[3]

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 4228
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Story Telling

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

Takkala Jātaka (No.446)

Once in a village lived a man called Saviṭṭhaka, an only son, who looked after his father with great devotion, until the latter, much against the wishes of his son, found a wife for him. A son was born to the pair and, when seven years old, he overheard his mother planning to have the old man taken by a ruse to the cemetery and there killed and buried in a pit. The next morning, when his father set out in a cart for the cemetery, the child insisted on accompanying him. Having watched his father dig a pit, he asked what it was for, and was told that the useless old man was a burden to keep and that the pit was for him. The boy was silent, and when his father stopped to have a rest, he took up the spade and began to dig another hole. On being asked the reason, he said it was for his father when he should be too old to be supported. This remark opened Saviṭṭhaka’s eyes; he returned home and drove away his wife. He afterwards took her back on her promising to give up her treacherous ways.

The story was related to a man who had looked after his father; but the wife, whom he took at his father’s wish, wanted to get rid of the old man, and suggested the idea to her husband. However, his answer was that if she found the house inconvenient she could go elsewhere. The Buddha said that the characters of both stories were identical, and that he himself was the lad of the story of the past (atītavatthu). J.iv.43‑50.
BlogPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 18552
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Story Telling

Post by mikenz66 »

Jeff_ wrote: Thu Mar 25, 2021 7:27 am The story at the end of DN 11, with the monk who keeps going higher and higher in the Deva worlds looking for an answer to his question about the four great elements.
Yes that's awesome:
‘I am Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Undefeated, the Champion, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord God, the Maker, the Author, the First, the Begetter, the Controller, the Father of those who have been born and those yet to be born.’
https://suttacentral.net/dn11/en/sujato#81.2
It's even better when Ajahn Amaro reads it Monty-Python style... :tongue:
[Unfortunately, I can't currently locate the talks where he does this... :cry:]

:heart:
Mike
User avatar
Dhammavamsa
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon May 24, 2021 3:57 pm

Re: Story Telling

Post by Dhammavamsa »

I like the story of Mattakundali, the son of a selfish rich man.

http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_n ... undali.htm

"The only son of the brahmin Adinnapubbaka. His father loved him dearly, but was a great miser, and made for him, with his own hands, a pair of burnished ear rings in order to save the goldsmith's fee; the boy thus came to be called Mattakundali (burnished ear rings). When he was sixteen he had an attack of jaundice. His father refused to call in a physician, and prescribed for him himself till the boy was beyond all cure. Then he carried him out and laid him on the terrace, lest those who came to prepare for the funeral should see his wealth.

The Buddha saw Mattakundali as he lay dying, and, out of compassion, came to the door of his father's house. Too weak to do anything else, the boy conjured up devout faith in the Buddha; he died soon after, and was born among the gods in a golden mansion thirty leagues in extent. When he surveyed his past birth, he saw his father in the charnel ground, weeping and lamenting and preparing to cremate his body. Assuming the form of Mattakundali, he went himself to the charnel ground and, standing near, started to weep. When questioned by Adinnapubbaka, he said he wanted the moon, and in the course of conversation he revealed his identity and censured his father. Adinnapubbaka invited the Buddha to a meal the next day, and, when it was over, asked if it were possible to attain to heaven by a mere act of faith. In order to convince him, the Buddha made Mattakundali appear before him and confirm his statement that this was so. At the conclusion of the Buddha's sermon, both Adinnapubbaka and Mattakundali became sotāpannas, and eighty thousand persons realized the Truth (Mil.350).

DhA.i.20ff.; Vv.vii.9; VvA.322ff.; Pv.ii.5; PvA.92"

When I was new to Buddhism. I was amazed by this story. Kinda impressed by the Buddha's loving kindness and potent power of Saddha. This incident not only showed that the death moment is very important and also taught us death is not really the end of everything. Somehow, I feel there is hope in this life, if I keep going on the path, surely one day I can reach the goals with my Saddha in the Buddha's Enlightenment.
Dhammapada (78)
Na bhaje pāpake mitte, na bhaje purisādhame.
bhajetha mitte kalyāṇe, bhajetha purisuttame.

FYI, Dhammavamsa is a Pali name given by the Theras during my time as Samanera in temple.
Post Reply