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Buddhist Stories

edited October 2008 in Arts & Writings
Hey everyone,

I was wondering if you could help me with a school art project its about abariginal (please correct my spelling if you know how to spell it) art we have to find a story or make up a story then paint an abariginal painting about the story so i was wondering if you guys could give me a realy cool buddhist story that would be fun to paint. thanks



  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited October 2008
    Hey Chuck.... It's 'Aboriginal'...OK? ;)

    How about the story of the man with the two water Pitchers?
    It's not strictly Buddhist, but here goes:

    A man walks down a long lane, every day, to fetch water, and puts it into two big pitchers.... he carries these by attaching each one to the end of a pole, and slinging the pole across his shoulders, so that he has a pitcher each side....
    One pitcher is brand new, shiny and watertight.
    The other is older, a little cracked and leaks somewhat.

    The brand new squeaky-clean pitcher mocks the other one.

    "Look at you!" he scoffs, "You are so old and decrepit! You can't hold all the water put into you from the well! You leak most of it on the way home! Now, I am special! I hold every drop, I don't leak and I am a fine pitcher! I am so good at my job, I really don't see why the old man keeps you!"

    The Cracked pitcher speaks to the old man, whilst the other pitcher is being filled.

    "Master, New-Pitcher is right! You need to get rid of me, and get yourself a better, newer pitcher to match the other one! I am useless and redundant, I am no good... see how much water I lose! Please, throw me away, and get yourself a better pitcher!"

    The old man chuckled to himself....
    "Ah my old faithful friend, do you not see all those wonderful colourful flowers on the path side, as we go home? I threw the seeds there...if it wasn't for you, how would I water them? How would they look so fresh, so colourful, so lovely?
    I planted the seeds there on purpose, that you might water them. And now, I can pick the flowers for my wife to tell her how much I love her, and to brighten our home! The bees now come and drink the nectar and give us honey... and the flowers will seed again, for next year! If it wasn't for you, how would the lovely flowers grow!? I couldn't do it without you!"

    The story has a moral: Even those around us who seem redundant and useless, have a precious gift to bestow. We all have our talents and we just need for others to see them and recognise them. But however small and insignificant we may believe ourselves to be, in fact we are priceless and would be missed if we did not do the little things we can!
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited October 2008
    Hey, Charlie. How was your summer in Arkansas?

    There is also the story of the Four Friends that you might find fun to do. They were four animals, an elephant, a monkey, a rabbit and a bird, who all lived in the forest of Kashika in ancient India. They all came to the same spring in the forest to drink and soon became friends. One day they were talking and wondered who among them was the oldest. The elephant said he must be the oldest because he remembered when he was born, the tree that stood by the spring cast its shadow across his body. The monkey said that he must be older than the elephant because he remembered when he was born the tree was the same size as he was. The rabbit said that he must be older because he remembered that when he was born the tree was just sprouting and he ate a leaf from the sprout. The bird then said that he must be the oldest of them all because when he was young he ate the fruit of a tree south of the spring, the seed passed through him, and he planted the seed where this tree grew.

    The animals all agreed that the bird was indeed the eldest. To show their respect for each other, the elephant then placed the monkey on his back, the rabbit on the monkey's neck, and the bird on the rabbit's head. Then the bird said that they must all keep the five basic disciplines (not killing, not stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying, no intoxicants - the five basic precepts) their entire lives. They not only did so, but they ensured that all the animals of the forest did so as well. The peace that then filled the whole kingdom was so great that the king and his ministers all felt that they were responsible, the king because of his wise rule, the queen because of the lack of sexual misconduct in their marriage, the princes because of the respect they showed their parents, and the people of the kingdom because of the obedience they paid to their king.

    But they all began feeling quite proud of their accomplishments, which they attributed to themselves alone, and eventually disagreements and arguments broke out about who was the most righteous. Finally the king summoned a great seer to settle the matter. The seer told them that none of their efforts was responsible for this peace. It was the animals in the forest who had created these conditions, and because the people of the kingdom had also kept the precepts, they too had reaped the benefits.

    This is a story told by the Buddha as one of his former lives (known as the Jataka Tales). He said that in this life he was the bird, his attendant Ananda was the elephant, and his two closest disciples, Shariputra and Maudgalyana, were the rabbit and monkey respectively. The Four Friends is a popular subject for paintings in Tibet and other Buddhist countries.

  • edited October 2008
    Hi Chuck,

    I recently found this site: with some animations of a few of the more famous Jataka Tales. It's pretty darn cute! You might find something there to work with.
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited October 2008
    Great thread! Keep 'em coming, folks. I'm thoroughly enjoying this!
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