Jataka Tales
There was once a King who loved his chariot. He would drive around with his four beautiful horses and scare the whole neighborhood. On festive days he decorated the chariot wagon and the horses it bright colours and drove wildly through the whole village.

One day he parked outside the palace and ran in to get a drink of water. When he came out he saw the leather bindings of the wheels eaten away. There were teethmarks of dog on the wheels. He became enraged and ordered all dogs in the kingdom killed. The dogs in the city left as fast as possible. They joined the wild packs around the forest surrounding the city. They all feared that the kings enforcers would come and exterminate them for something they did not do.

The alpha male (the Buddha in a previous lifetime) decided to put aside his own fear and go talk to the king. He was such a magnificent animal that the guards did not dare kill him instantly. Once before the king the king asked,"Why aren't you dead already. I ordered all dogs killed.

The alpha male answered, " I have come on a mission of mercy, your Highness. "Why are you killing all the dogs in the kingdom? Surely not all the dogs ate the leather bindings. There is not enough for all the dogs here."

The King replied, "Dogs chewed the bindings, therefore dogs die."

"But your Highness, which dogs did the chewing of your most royal wagon."

The King explained, "I don't know therefore all die."

The alpha male continued, "Your HIghness how is it justice to make all suffer for the wrongs of a few. You will be killing many innocent beings. How is that justice? How is that good statecraft?"

The King said, "Show me the guilty parties or all dogs must die, talk or no talk." The alpha male continued, "Have the royal dogs eat kula grass. This will make them cough up what is in their stomachs.

" This is crazy," said the King."How can we compare royal dogs to you common curs. But since you seem to think that my actions might lack justice, we'll entertain the idea."

The royal dogs were given kula grass juice to drink and lo and behold they coughed up leather form the royal chariot. The King was amazed. He ordered the killing to stop and let the pets of the common people back into the city. He halted all killing of wild dogs except those known to kill livestock. Every year the royal dogs had to serve the common dogs from both the city and the forest at a great banquet in the centre of the city.

Thus it is that a King learned the meaning of justice, courage and compassion from the Buddha who at time was living as an alpha male with a pack of wild dogs in that lifetime.

October 15, 1999