The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Take Control of Your Life”
The Buddha teaches us tenderly and gently, as though we were his own children. There’s a story about a king who had many children. He loved his children dearly, but they were children, you know, children involved with children things, bright shiny play objects and things that make them happy. So the father left the children, hopefully in good care; he had to go off and do something in his kingdom (I think I’m telling the story right, I hope so. Om Benzar Satto Hung. So he goes away for a while and when he comes back to his house, his house is on fire. It’s a big house and his children don’t even realize it. The children are comfortably asleep in their little children beds. The king is outside. He can’t get to his children and he’s hollering, “Come out children. Hurry up. Get out of that burning house now. Quick wake up. Run.” The kids, they’re not used to being in trouble. They’re the king’s children. They’re used to being safe; and they have that habit of being safe in their beds so they’re not worried about anything. They hear somebody shouting, but they just turn over in their covers and go back to sleep.
The king becomes frantic. They’re his children! So he says, “Children come out now or I’ll beat you with a stick! Come out or I’ll go in there and I’ll just beat you with a stick and knock your heads off. So come out right now.” And the kids go, “Oh, that’s dad. You know, he’s not really going to beat us with a stick, because we’re the king’s kids. He’s just saying that, so we’re not too worried about it.” And so the kids get out of their beds and they start playing with their toys. The king is making so much noise, and they’re in the back room and they’re just playing with their little toys, preoccupied, you know, the way we are, and playing with little things. And then the king goes, “Children, I have beautiful toys for you out here. Treasures. Beautiful things. I have a grand elephant for you to ride. I have a whole herd of horses for you to enjoy. I have beautiful umbrellas and shiny jewels and so many objects for you to come and play with.” Naturally, the kids are attracted by that and go running out of the house. At which time the father, being part Italian goes, “Aye!” (That would have been me. That’s not what the father did.) The father embraced his children and said, “Oh I’m sorry I had to lie to you. I’m sorry I had to promise you things. I’m sorry I had to threaten you. But see, your house is burning.”
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