A Buddhist Christmas Story
A Christmas Story from the Lotus Sutra

One time a young man inherited 4 farms from his father. He also married his childhood sweetheart. He celebrated his good fortune by building a great house with servants and many rooms.

As the children were born the man bought many toys. He filled the children's rooms with toys of many colours and sizes. The children loved to play for hours in their nursery.

One day a fire broke our in the house. The father shouted, "Run everybody." Naturally he expected his children to run out of the house with them. But they didn't follow the mother and father outside to safety. The parents called and called to the children, but they did not want to leave their wonderful toys.

A neighbour who had come to help out with the fire suggested that they lure the children outside with more new toys. "But we don't have any," said the father. "We'll just make them up," suggested the tear-faced mother as the flames grew hotter and hotter. "Come on out," shouted the father and mother together. "We have horses, carts, jumping frogs, mechanical dolls, bows and even a monkey."

The children left the burning house and their beloved toys to see the new ones and thus were saved. When the smoke cleared from their eyes they saw the house destroyed. They also noticed that there were really no new toys to be seen at all. For the first time in their lives they knew what it was to have nothing and be very grateful indeed.

December 26, 1999