September 2016 In one of the innumerable existences of the Bodhisatta, he was born as a monkey chieftain. Once, a Brahmin lost his way in the forest and fell into a deep chasm. The Bodhisatta exerted himself to rescue the man and carried him onto safe ground. Exhausted by then, he fell asleep on the Brahmin’s lap. The Brahmin thought, “I’ve earned nothing today. My wife is going to be upset with me. How pleased she would be if I were to bring home monkey flesh.” So he dealt a blow to the monkey’s head with a stone. Blood gushed out of the wound in all directions. Stupefied and covered in blood, the Bodhisatta leapt onto a tree. “Oh, there are such people in this world,” he thought. And yet he said to the Brahmin, “I must show you the way out of this forest, but I cannot trust you. You can follow the trail of my blood as I jump from tree to tree.” This Jataka tale illustrates the ten perfections practised by the Bodhisatta in a single undertaking – loving kindness by seeing the plight of the man and resolving to save him; assessing the situation and devising a plan was wisdom; executing the plan at great risk to himself and using all his strength was the practice of energy. In bearing the deadly injury, without getting angry, he exercised great patience. Not allowing himself to be overcome by anger for such a wicked deed was the practice of equanimity. Saving the Brahmin from such a deep chasm at the risk of his life amounted to generosity. Not even uttering a curse, and never raising his hand to strike back, constituted morality. In doing this noble deed the Bodhisatta never thought about the merit he would gain and that was renunciation. By not going back on his word to save the Brahmin, the Bodhisatta accomplished truthfulness — not very easy to keep under the circumstances. Lastly, fulfilling his commitment without wavering in spite of the Brahmin’s shocking treatment, was resolve. Paramahansa Yogananda
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