The Buddhist tale of The Compassionate Elephant

AUTHOR: | POSTED: December 6, 2010 | COMMENTS: Comments Off on The Buddhist tale of The Compassionate Elephant
CATEGORIES: Love This...Not So Much,

Carolyn Savage

Once it happened that an elephant was living in a forest and the forest caught fire.   The whole forest was burning and all the animals were escaping. This elephant was also running. The forest was very big, and from running and the heat all around and the fire he got tired. Just then he saw a tree which was not yet on fire.

There was shade there, so he rested just for a single minute under the shade of the tree. After he had rested, the moment came when he wanted to move. He raised one leg. When he raised his leg a small white hare, who was also tired from running, came under his foot just to rest there. The elephant thought, ”If I put my foot on the earth this hare will be killed.”

So he waited. He thought, “When this hare leaves, when he has rested, then I will move.” But the hare would not move. The hare thought, “It is beautiful to be under the shade of the elephant, and there is no danger when the elephant is there, and the surrounding trees have not yet caught fire.” So he waited.

The hare did not move and, tired from standing on three legs, many times the elephant thought, ”Crush this hare and move.” But then an idea came to his mind, “As I love my life, this hare also loves his life. If I am escaping for my life and I am afraid of death this hare is also afraid of death.”

Questions to ponder…Would you risk your life to protect the life of another?  Even at great risk to yourself?  If you lost your life while protecting the life of another, would your death be foolish, or would you die comforted by your act of compassion?