Thursday, January 22, 2009

Buddhist Love Story: The Deer Couple

Deer Couple - from The Jakata Tales

This is what I (note 1) had heard:

Once upon a time, there was a herd of deers glazing by the riverside, lead by a Deer King.

One day, a hunter set up a trap to hunt animals, but unfortunately, as the herd of deers was glazing by the riverside, the Deer King was caught by the trap. He struggled and struggled against the trap, while the other deers were so scared that they all ran away.

But, a female deer did not escape. She stayed with the Deer King and said to him, "Before the hunter comes along, you better try all your strength to loosen the trap. May be you still have a chance to get away with it."

But, no matter how the Deer King tried, it was no use. Finally he said, "I am becoming weak now. There is no hope of escaping. You better go and take care of yourself."

At this time, they saw the hunter was coming. . "You see, " said the Deer King, "that black faced man must be the hunter. He is wearing a deer-skin robe and he will kill me for my skin and for my meat."

On hearing this, the female deer approached the hunter and confronted him, "Mr. hunter, you may kill me first, before you kill the Deer King."

The hunter was surprised by the courage of the female deer and asked, "What is the relationship between two of you?"

"He is my husband," replied the female deer. "I love him so much that I am willing to die for him. We cannot be separated from each other. Now, if you want to kill him, you should kill me first!"

The hunter was startled by what he had just heard, "she is a very loving wife! I never seen any thing like this before." He was so moved that he told the female deer, "I have never came across such a loving wife before. How can I be so cruel to separate both of you. OK, I will release your husband and let both of you go. I will pray for your love with each other."

Having said that, the hunter cut loose the Deer King and let them go. The female deer was so happy and said, "Thank you very much. I, my husband and my herd are so grateful to your compassion."

Having finished the above story, the Buddha told his disciples, "In our former lives, I was the Deer King and Yasodhara (Note 2) was the female deer. She had always been by my side, supporting me and suffering because of my deeds. Other couples may be separated or even divorced, but not us."

Note 1: the "I" refers to Ananda, who wrote most of the Buddhist Sutra.

Note 2: Yasodhara was Prince Siddhartha's wife. Later she became his disciples

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