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CHINESE BUDDHIST CHILDREN STORIES 

CHINESE BUDDHIST CHILDREN STORIES 

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The Old Hen Who Set The Alarm

Once upon a time, in Jiashan of China there lived a person whose surname was Kong. Once Mr. Kong paid a visit to a relative whom he had not seen for a long time. They talked and talked until nightfall. Warm-heartedly the relative invited him to stay for dinner. Since they rarely saw each other, the relative attentively prepared thedinner. He wanted to slaughter the old hen whom he had been keeping for years and cook it for Mr. Kong. 

Off he went to the hen-coop and seized the old hen. The old hen drew out her throat and cried like anything when she knew that she was faced with imminent disaster. Upon seeing the pitiful scene, Mr. Kong’s sympathy was arouse and so he quickly told his relative, 

“Please don’t kill the hen!” 

“But this will make up a dish for you!” 

“Don’t worry, I’ll eat anything you give me.” 

“I should try my best to serve you since we rarely have a chance to get together.” 

“Really, you don’t have to… I, I…” 

“C’on, don’t say ‘I… I…’. Please make yourself at home.” 

Mr. Kong gave a gaze at the hen. He saw that her eyes was sad and tears were on the verge of falling off. Suddenly Mr. Kong determined to make a lie of “good-will”. 

“The case is,… I have been on vegetarian diet recently.” 

“Oh! Really? Why haven’t I heard you say that before?” 

“You’ve forgotten. We haven’t seen each other for a long time. 

Really, please don’t kill the hen.” 

“Alright! Since you are on vegetarian diet, we might as well join you for a vegetarian dinner!” 

It was late after dinner. The relative asked Mr. Kong to stay overnight.Because Mr. Kong was tired, he was soon in his “dream world” as soon as his head hit the pillow. He was sleeping soundly, when suddenly, he felt a peckon the face which woke him up. He opened his eyes and had a look. There he saw the old hen whom he had saved that evening. Mr. Kong could not help be annoyed. “My old hen, don’t disturb me, I want to sleep.” Then he went to sleep immediately after he said that. However, the old hen did not listen to him. She again pecked him and woke him up. 

Mr. Kong was becoming very annoyed. So he raised himself and sat on the bed and said to her, “My old hen, you are so ungrateful.I’ve saved you from being killed today. Yet tonight you aren’t even kind enough to allow me a good nights sleep.” After rebuking the old hen and as he was just about to lie down on the bed he unexpectedly heard a tremendous noise. He was so shocked that he brokeinto a cold-sweat when he was able to look at what had happened. A heavy block of stone had fallen off from the rotten roof beam onto his pillow! Had he been lying down on the bed he would have been killed. Gratefully, he saw the old hen leave and he understood the reason for the old hen’s behaviour. 

After this event Mr. Kong really became a vegetarian. He also constantlytold people about this story to persuade his relative and friends to avoid killing. 

Extract of The Buddhist Children’s Stories, page 1-4, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan, M¡ng Gu (R.O.C. Year) 76 Oct.Translated and proof-read by Forest, Buddhist Calender 2536 1st Lunar Monththe 3th(1993/01/25)01:00 Sydney.

The Young Monk Who Saved The Ants

Once upon a time in the deep mountains forest there lived an old monk and a young monk. The old monk was a great practitioner of Buddha-dharma and was frequently in deep meditation. Normally when he started meditation,it could last for half a day or one full day. In addition, during his meditation he would know what was going to happen in the future. 

One day, the old monk meditated again. Suddenly he found out that his little disciple was going to pass away in eight days. Therefore the old monk called the young monk and said, 

“My child, I am going to give you an eight-day holiday so that you can go home to see your mother and father.” 

“Really? That’s very good, thank you Shifu. 

In fact, lately I have been feeling quite homesick too.” 

“However, you must remember to come back here by the eighth day.” 

“Okay, Shifu, please take care of yourself. I am leaving now.” 

“Go home now!” 

Delightedly the young monk went down the mountains, without realising that in the eyes of the old monk, there was sadness and a sense of reluctance to see him leave. After a long walk, the young monk stopped at the bank of the stream to drink some water as he was getting thirsty. Then he saw there was an ant cave in which countless ants were going into and out of it. He stayed to observe for a while with interest. When he was just about to leave, 

“Oh! Why is the water level of the stream is rising? Oh no!! The ants will be drowned!!” 

The reason was it had been raining upstream for a few days continuously. Therefore the water level downstream was starting to rise. 

He quickly took off his cloth and he put some hard soil in it to made up a protection wall along the cave. Not only did he managed to stop water from covering the cave, but also skilfully diverted the flow of the waterto somewhere else. 

Hence he saved the lives of countless ants. Eight days passed quickly. The old monk was strolling in the mountains forest sadly. Suddenly from a distance, he saw the little monk coming back upto the mountains cheerfully. Happily he asked the young monk to recount what he has done in the pass eight days while he had been away. When he pondered on this story he finally understood that because the young monk had saved the lives of countless ants this has caused his fated eight-day life expectancyto lenghten into a long and happy life.This is the merit of cultivating good deeds, however seemingly insignificant they be. 

Extract of The Buddhist Children’s Stories, page 5-7, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan, M¡ng Gu¢ (R.O.C. Year) 76 Oct.Translated and proofread by Forest, Buddhist Calender 2536 12th Lunar Monththe 28th(1993/01/20) 23:45, Sydney.

The Eleven Pigs

Once upon a time in Yongzhou (China) there lived a butcher whose surnamewas Zhang. Everyday he would kill a pig to supply the demand for the people who lived around him. However, slaughtering pigs was an act of killing sentient beings Therefore he often thought of making a living out of other profession, 

“Em, I should change my profession! There are many jobs I can do out of’360 professions’. Why should I be a butcher? My knife has to kill a pigand “dye red” each day. If I kill 30 pigs each month then I will have killed 360 pigs every year. It’s terrible whenever time I think about it.” 

However, ‘Butcher Zhang’ had a family to feed. Slaughtering pigs was a profession that he could made money with ease. Therefore his thought of changing profession became replaced by another thought. He would reassured himself, 

“Oh well, well! Changing profession is not that easy, is it? Furthermore it isn’t me who like killing pigs. It’s other people who liketo eat pork. Otherwise who’ll I sell to when I kill them? Even though Iincur bad retribution, those who eat pork should also share theresponsibilities with me as well. Also we keep pigs because we want to eat them, don’t we?!!” 

Since he had to arrive at the morning market early, and also pigs made tremendous noise when he killed them, therefore he chose to slaughter the min the dawn. Butcher Zhang also had a habit which he had been keeping upfor years. That was: Every morning as soon as he heard the bell rang from the nearby Buddhist temple, he would get up and slaughtered a pig. This habitual action had never changed. However, one day he got up late. Later he found out that the temple did not ring the bell at all in that morning. When the butcher went to the pig-shed he discovered the mother pig he was going to kill gave birth to 11 sucking-pigs in the morning. Everyone of them was so fat and already they were leaning so close to the mother and suckling for milk. How lovely they were! He felt the event was extraordinary. 

Therefore he went to the temple. The abbot of the temple told him, 

“I had a dream last night. I dreamed of 11 children who knelt down to beg me to save the life of their mother. 

I asked them how I could save her. They replied it was very simple. All I needed to do was not to ring the bell.” 

Eleven children? Eleven pigs? Suddenly the butcher understood the relationship between them. He threw the knife he killed the pigs into the river. Eventually he determined to change his profession. 

Extract of The Buddhist Children’s Stories, page 8-10, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan, Mang Gua (R.O.C. Year) 76 Oct.Translated and proof-read by Forest, Buddhist Calender 2536 12th Month the28th(1993/1/20) 23:45, Sydney.

The Big Tortoise Who Seized The Bandit

This story happened in the Qing Dynasty (A.D. 1644 – 1911, the dynasty established by the Manchu people, Ed.). The time was the 7th Year of Kang Xi reign (The first Emperor of The Qing Dynasty). 

There was a merchant who came from Anhui. When he was by passing the place where Songhua Jiang (river) and the Huapu Jiang met, he saw a fisherman caught a huge tortoise. His sympathy for the tortoise arouse so he talked to the fisherman, 

“I gave you three taels (unit of weight for silver in old China) of silver. Pleasedon’t sell it for food to people. Let it go back to the river.” 

However, unexpectedly there was another fisherman peeping that and thought the merchant possessed many taels of silver. Therefore he had athought of seizing the money. Then he took the advantage when everyone was asleep, he held his knife and jumped onto the merchant’s boat. One strike he killed the boat-person and the merchant’s servant who were sleeping soundly. Then he woke up the merchant, 

“Ooi! Get up! Get up! Give meall of your silver, otherwise I’ll kill you.” 

“Okay! Okay! All of my silver is here, take it, if only you don’t kill me.” 

“Wah! All of my life I have never seen so much silver. You ask me not to kill you? No way! I’ve got the silver, why should I let you live?” 

The merchant kneeled down and begged with all his might, 

“I beg you to be kind, don’t kill me. In my family there are my wife and young children to take care of. Furthermore I’ve already given you all of the silver.” 

Okay! For the sake of your silver, I don’t kill you now. However, if I let you go, it’s not of my benefits. Make it this way, I tie you up and throw you into the river. Whether you’ll be alive or not that depend onyour luck.” 

So the fisherman tied the hands and legs of the merchant and threw him into the river. The situation was critical. Since the hands and legs of the merchant were tied up, he could not swim at all and it was up to the heaven to decide his destiny. Upon this very critical moment, suddenly the “relief troops” arrived. It was not anyone else but the tortoise whom the merchant saved. It placed the merchant on its back and swam against upstream for about 20 li (Chinesemile). Continuously it swam until dawn only then they found the water police on petrol. The water police saved the merchant. And under thedirection of the tortoise they caught the bandit fisherman and resumed the lost 400 taels of silver. From then onwards, the people living around and afar passed down with general approval the story of “the huge tortoise seizing the bandit”. 

Extract of The Buddhist Children’s Stories, page 11-13, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan, Mang Gua (R.O.C. Year) 76 Oct.Translated and proof-read by Forest, Buddhist Calender 2536 12th Month the28th(1993/01/20), 23:45, Sydney.

The Flies Who Paid A Debt Of Gratitude

During China’s Sai Dynasty (A.D.581-618) in the busy capital city there lived a ordinary person whose name was Mr. Wang Wu. He made wine and he made a living out of it. Although Wang Wuwas an ordinary person, he was very compassionate. For instance, when he made wine there were many flies who were greedy of the fragrance of the wine. Thus they often fell down into the wine cask and nearly got drowned. Then Wang Wu would carefully drained the flies and dried them up with ash. When the flies woke up and were able to fly, he released all of them as a work of merit. 

One thing that’s worth praising was that this virtues did not end in five minutes. Instead it continued day after day, month after month and year after year. He persisted in his virtues without stopping. 

One year misfortune came as someone lodged a false accusation against him. Wang Wu was very worried as he saw the day of execution was nearing. “Honestly I am innocent, but what can I do?” 

However, a miracle happened. When the executioner was just about to write the execution statement, suddenly there came millions of flies who risked their lives to seize the head of the brush pen. Therefore the executioner could not write anything. It would not have been extraordinary when it happened once. Whenever the executioner started to write, the samething happened again and again. The officer then could not refrain from asking himself, 

“What’shappening? I have been an executioner for years and I have never encountered anything like this. Perhaps someone has laid an unjust charge against him? I’d better ask my superior to investigate the case.” 

Because of the flies’ rescue, Wang Wu finally regained his life from ‘the gate of the hell’. 

After careful investigation of Wang’s case by the superior,Wang Wu was proved innocent and eventually he was released. From then on Wang Wu went back to his normal and happy life. 

Extract of The Buddhist Children’s Stories, page 14-16, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan, Mang Gua (R.O.C. Year) 76 Oct.Translated and proof-read by Forest, Buddhist Calender 2537 1st Month the4th(1993/01/26), 19:02, Sydney.

The Story of A Stupid Boy

“Alas! What a stupid son I have! I am worried that he will not be ableto preserve all of the property if I hand down to him. There was a wealthy man who was very astute and capable. However, he had a son who was very stupid and good-at-nothing. Hence the wealthy man had been very distressful. 

One day he was again sat down in the living room and sighed. His son was sitting opposite to him and was just mindlessly giggling, “Hihi, hehe!!” “Ai”, the wealthy man could not help making a sigh. Then the family old maid came in and said, 

“Master, there’s a monk looking for you for donation.” 

The wealthy man had been a person who knew how to respect the Buddhists. Therefore upon hearing that, he said, 

“Please invite him in immediately.” 

Soon an old monk who looked very compassionate came in. The wealthy man very politely requested him to sit down. The old monk did not sit down. Instead he directly walked towards the stupid son and looked at him. Then the old monk slowly touched his head for a few times and said, 

“In fact,this child is very clever and is good at studying. It’s a pity that there’s too much killing in your home. And this prevent him from being clever.” 

He left without looking back when he finished the remarks. There left the wealthy man to think of the remarks of the old monk, 

“The old monk was right. Truly our family have been consuming big fishes and much meat without stopping. Also we always throw dishes away when we cannot finish them. And every festivals we will have delicacies from land and sea. Perhaps it has been because we have been slaughtering many animals at home that resulted in having an idiotic son.” 

From then onwards, the wealthy man changed himself completely – The wholefamily started to become vegetarian. He banned anyone to take all liveanimals into the kitchen. In addition, he spent much money to buy animalsto release them in the wild as a work of merit. Thus he had been doing for many years. 

Suddenly one day the stupid son of the wealthy man ran to the father held his stomach and shouted, 

“Papa, my stomach’s aching and I want to vomit.” 

The wealthy man was very worried. He was just about to invite a doctor to treat his son when the son started to vomit some “black liquid”. Everyone was astonished upon seeing it. However, the stupid son became very intelligent since then. No longer anidiot any more, he mastered anything he learnt in no time. The wealthy man was very happy so he let his son studied. Finally the son attained the best results in the government examination. This confirmed what the oldmonk had said before.

Extract of The Buddhist Children’s Stories, page 17-19, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan, Mang Gua (R.O.C. Year) 76 Oct.Translated and proof-read by Forest, Buddhist Calender 2537 1th Lunar Monththe 8th(1993/1/30), Sydney.

The Snake Who Did Fortunate-telling

Once upon a time there was a well-known family whose surname was Fang. Everyone of the family was very kind, especially the old Madam Fang, who was a very compassionate and affable old lady. We can tell from her everyday life’s behaviour. She often reminded her maids, 

“At home do not pour any boiling or hotwater on the floor casually. This is because it may kill many ants or little insects on the floor. And if it flows through the drain it ispossible that it indirectly kill other small animals.” 

As for the normal activities in the house or courtyard, the old madamalso raminded family membrers to pay attetion when they walked. Otherwise they could step on and kill little animals. In addition, she also told thegrandchildren not to wilfully squeeze inserts that lived on the trees to death. 

Hence every member of the Fang family, young and old, always radiate an atmosphere of auspicious sign. Anyone who saw would naturally feel comfortable right from the heart. One day the old madam Fang’s son went to the capital city for business. When he came back he brought back an man-servant, hoping that the servant would help the old maiden to do some work. The old madam happily accepted him. 

However that night she had a dream. In the dream a red snake told her, 

“How’re you old madam? Actually I am your neighbour, that is because I live in the cave of the back of your courtyard. I have been moving in the past. Since everyone casually pour the hot water and step on the ground without payying attention, so I cannot be at rest. However since I moved here, I have been very satisfied. This is due to your compassionate heart. Now to repay your kindess, I would like to tell your fortune within these few days .” 

The red snake pasued for a while, behaving like any other fortune-teller, it shaked its head and continued, 

“The man-servant your son brought back is in fact a bandit. However, he will do no harm. Five days latter his father will come to see him. You can give them some tales of silver(money) and ask them to leave. Then everything will be fine.” 

Five days later, the man-servant’s father came as expected. The oldmadam acted very carefully. She did what the red snake had told her. After half a year, there was a case of robbery took place in the neingboruing county. Later it was found out that the robbers wer the father and son. Upon hearing this, from then on the Fang family took even greater care of all the little animals. 

Extract of The Buddhist Children’s Stories, page 20-22, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan, Mang Gua(R.O.C. Year) 76 Oct.Translated and proof-read by Forest, Buddhist Calender 2537 1st Lunar Monththe 17th(1993/02/08), Sydney.

The Astute Dog

This is an extraordinary story that happened in the reign of the QingDynasty (the last dynasty of China, 1644-1911). In Wu Town of T¢ng Countythere was a family who raised a dog named Lai Fu
. Lai Fu was a lovely dog. His hair was curly and he had a pair of bigblack sparkling eyes. Everyone who saw him adored him. Not only did the family love him, but also the children living around cherished him as well. Lai Fu not only looked lovely, was also very clever. He knew manytricks, which included looking after the house for the master, holding the vegetable basket in his mouth when the family members went to the market,and accompanying the little master Ah Hui to play with a ball. 

“Lai Fu roll the ball here quickly.” 

“Hm, Lai Fu is very well-behaved” 

Truly Lai Fu had been bringing happiness to the whole family. However,there was something very unusual; every midnight he mysteriouslydisappeared, when he returned home the next morning his whole body was soaking wet. One day the master finally discovered this phenomenon, so he secretly followed Lai Fu to find out what on earth Lai Fu had been doing. He was very angry when he discovered the truth. 

So the story was: Every midnight Lai Fu secretly ran out of the house,swam across the river to a family living on the other shore. At night he kept watch over that family and went home at dawn. When the master knew the truth, he scolded Lai Fu angrily, 

“What a little dog without any conscience! We give you food to eat, how can you at night keep watch over someone else? If you do this again, I am not going to keep you any more.” 

Upon hearing this, Ah Hui quickly came and said some fine words to defend Lai Fu, 

“Papa, please do not scold him any more, he will not do it again”, 

Ah Hui continued, 

“Right, Lai Fu?” 

Lai Fu behaved as a little child who had made a mistake, bowing his headall the time and murmuring under his breath. It seemed that he admitted he was wrong. That night the master had a dream. He saw Lai Fu turned into a beautiful little boy. 

“Please forgive me, I did not do it on purpose. Because I owe money to the family, I have to go there to keep watch over then at night for them. I still owe them 13 wasn qaan (cash, unit of money to measure copper coins in old China, Ed.) When I finish paying my debt, I will not go there anymore, okay? I will certainly repay you for your kindness.” 

The next day the master placed 13 wan qaan around Lai Fu’s neck. Lai Fu quickly went to the family on the other shore, threw the money into their window, and sped off home. From then on, Lai Fu always was well-behaved and looked after the house. He never went anywhere. 

One summer’s day Ah Hui took Lai Fu to go swimming in the river. Ah Hui was enjoying himself in the water while Lai Fu was watching with interest. As Ah Hui played his legs suddenly became numb, “Oh no, my legs…” As soon as he had said that he swallowed couple mouthfuls of water. He would have drowned soon. Lai Fu who was on the bank jumped into the river with a splash, swam with all his might towards his little master. Holdingthe boy’s pants in his mouth, he swam towards the bank. Then he quicklyran back to the house to inform the family. He saved Ah Hui’s life. After this event, the good reputation of “,Lai Fu the astute dog” spread all overthe village. 

Extract of The Buddhist Children’s Stories, page 23-26, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan, Mang Gua (R.O.C. Year) 76 Oct.Translated and proof-read by Forest, Buddhist Calender 2536 1st Lunar Monththe 21th(1993/02/12)16:00 Sydney.

The Legend Of The Sparrow

“You don’t need to be worried about my illness. I believe I will recovergradually.” 

Laying in bed, Mrs. Fan, who had been very sick for months, was saying in a weak voice to her husband. Mr. Fan patted her with his hand and comforted her, 

“You’re my wife, I must think of a way to help you recover from the illness. And I still hope that you will give birth to a son for me.” 

“Ge! Ge! Ge!” 

Mrs. Fan kept coughing for a few times. 

“See! Your illness is getting worse, how can I not be worried about you? Right, yesterday I requested a prescription from Daoist Fang (people who practise Daoism). Let us try it.” 

Mr. Fan stood up and went to get the prescription as soon as he had said that. 

“What prescription?” 

“Em! The prescription says that we need to keep 100 sparrows. Everydaywe have to feed them infused-herb rice. After 21 days of feeding them we kill them and eat their brains.” 

“What? Eat the brains of 100 sparrows? No! No way! This is too savage, I cannot eat them.” 

Mrs. Fan shook her head to imply her disapproval. 

“What is savage or not savage? You have to eat anything to recover. Furthermore Daoist Fang told me this prescription is very effective.” 

Mr. Fan did not agree with Mrs. Fan’s opinion. He went downtown alon eand brought back 100 fat sparrows. He kept them in a cage. Then Mr. Fan he quickly went to the Chinese herb chemist to buy the infused-herd rice. Laying in bed, Mrs. Fan heard the twittering of the sparrows. She knew of her husband’s determination. She could not help sighing, “Alas!” Mrs. Fan continued to think, 

“No! Normally I couldn’t be hard-hearted enough to carelessly step on an ant. Now we’re going to kill 100 livesparrows just to save my life, how could I have the heart to do it? 100lives!!” 

As Mrs. Fan was thinking, she made an effort to walk and crawled to the courtyard. She opened the sparrows’ cage, and set the 100 sparrows free. When Mr. Fan took the herbs back home and saw the empty cage, he kne wthat his wife did not want to eat. So he could not help but let it go. 

Strangely enough, however, since Mrs. Fan set free all of the 100 sparrows,her mind was unusually calm and comfortable. So she started to recover slowly. Even more extraordinary, one year later Mrs. Fan gave birth to afair and fat baby boy. Mr. Fan could not help but keep laughing and holding the baby and showing it to his wife, 

“See, our son is so lovely!” 

To their astonishment, at the same time both of them discovered – that there were many black spots on their baby’s both arms. And the shapes of the spots resembled to the shapes of the sparrows exactly. My dear reader, what do you think of this phenomenon? 

Extract of The Buddhist Children’s Stories, page 27-30, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan, Mang Gua(R.O.C Year)76 Oct.Translated and proof-read by Forest, Buddhist Calender 2537 1st Lunar Monththe 27th (1993/02/18) 11:45, Sydney.

The Soft-shell Turtle Who Cures Ailments

Once upon a time there was a couple whose surname was Zhang. They liked eating soft-shell turtle very much. One day they bought a huge soft-shell turtle and gave it to the young maid called Ape, 

“Ape! Kill this soft-shell turtle. This time we want to eat a barbecued one, pay attention todo your best!” 

Ape had never been fond of killing. However, it was hard for her not to obey the command of the master. Therefore having no way out, she started to sharpen the knife in the kitchen. The knife became sharper and sharper. Ape gazed at the soft-shell turtle. She saw it looking at her with its eyes begging her not to kill. 

Suddenly Ape felt that she did not have the heart to kill it. Therefore she secretly took the soft-shell turtle and set it free in the river. Then she told the master a lie of good-will, 

“I’m sorry, it was me who didn’t look well after the soft-shell turtle and now it is missing. Please forgive me.” 

Hearing that the master was outraged, 

“How could you be so careless! Where were your eyes? How could you lose such a big soft-shell turtle? Iam really disappointed! Without any cause you let us lose a beautifulmeal! Alas!” 

Not long after suddenly Ape suddenly fell severely ill and it seemed that she was dying. Mr. and Mrs Zhang saw no sign of her recovery, so they called people to take her home. However, those people threw her on the river bank near her home and went off. 

At midnight, a big soft-shell turtle suddenly emerged from the water, carrying wet mud, the sort-shell covered Apes body with the mud. Originally Ape had a temperature all over her body. But then she felt her body become so much cooler and she recovered in no time. When Ape went back to her master’s place, everyone was so surprised that no one could say a word. 

“What was the matter?”

Apê told the story of how the soft-shell turtle helped her to cure thedisease. The master only half-believed her so they went to look for the sort-shell turtle. Consequently they discovered that it was the one they had lost. The whole family was deeply moved by this incident. The couple hugged Ape and said, “Fortunately you set free the soft-shell turtle so that we will not continue to make mistakes. Ape, from now on we swear we will not eat soft-shell turtles any more.” 

Extract of The Buddhist Children’s Stories, page 31-33, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan, Mang Gua (R.O.C. Year) 76 Oct.Translated and proof-read by Forest, Buddhist Calender 2537 1st Lunar Monththe 27th (1993/02/18), 16:00, Sydney.

The Spiral Shells Who Mend The Ship

Hang Zhou is a scenic place in China. During Qing Dynasty (the lastdynasty of China, 1644-1911) there was a kind-hearted person named Run Qepang. Ever since Run Qepang was young he was very kind and he treasured little animals immensely. He also had an ambition of setting captured animals free. Regularly, he did the hard work of going to the banks of the streams or deep in the mountains to release captured animals. The animals he set free were mostly spiral shells and little fishes. He always advised people to set these two types of animals free. Once there was a little kid who asked him, 

“Uncle Ru n, why do you advise people to set free spiral shells and fishes free?” He replied with a smile, 

“Oh! It is because spiral shells and fishes are cheap to buy, but when you set them free you will have saved countlesslives.” 

Therefore as long as Run Qepang saw people selling spiral shells and little fishes in the market, he always bought them and set them free. Not only did he continue his blessed actions, but also he urged people tofollow him. 

In the year of Kong Xi (name of first of emperor of Qing Dynasty) Geng Sheng (the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Braches, a way of calculating years in old China, ed.), because Run Qepang was out on business, he was on board a ship by passing Fu Chun. Unfortunately the bottom of the ship wass truck by a submerged rock. The ship was in the middle of the river and the water was rising through the hole struck by the rocks. Soon the ship would be sink. Run Qepang was panicked and, he thought, “Alas! This time perhaps I will die.” 

At the critical moment, suddenly there was a disturbance from the bottom of the ship. Carefully they looked at it, the water had stopped pouring in. Run Qepang felt that it was unusual. When the ship was onshore, only then did they find out that there were countless spiral shells, layer upon layer, they had used their bodies to fill out the hole. In addition, there were thousands of little fishes helping the shells by the sides of the ship. This extraordinary situation made all eyewitnesses admit that it was the first time in their lives that they had ever seen such a marvellous spectacle. 

Accounts of refraining from killing 
and releasing animals to make merit) 

Extract of The Buddhist Children’s Stories, page 35-36, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan, Mang Gua (R.O.C. Year) 76 Oct.Translated and proofread by Forest, Buddhist Calender 2537 1st Lunar Monththe 1st (1993/1/23), Sydney.

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