Goodspeaker and the Water Demon [Chapter 2. The Teaching
of the Gods]
time, the queen gave birth to another son, who was named Prince
Moon. Shortly after both children began walking about, their mother
suddenly became very sick, and died.
help him look after his playful children, the king found a princess
to become his new queen. In a few years, this queen gave birth to
a beautiful bright little boy. He was named Prince Sun. Since the
king was so happy, he wanted to please his queen, and reward her
for bringing up all three children. So he promised to grant her
one wish. The queen considered, and said, "Thank you my lord,
I will make my wish at some time in the future."
time went on, the three princes grew into wonderful playful youngsters.
The queen saw that Prince Goodspeaker was intelligent and understanding.
She thought, "If these two older princes remain in the palace,
my son, Prince Sun, will never get a chance to be king. Therefore,
I must do something to make him the next king."
day, when the king was in a good mood, the queen respectfully approached
him and reminded him of the promised wish. He was very happy and
said, "Ask whatever you want!" The queen said, "Oh
my husband and king, grant that after the course of your life is
over, my son, Prince Sun, will be the next king."
king was shocked by this request. He became angry and said, "My
first two children are like bright stars! How can I give the kingdom
to my third son? All the people will blame me. That cannot be done!"
The queen kept silent.
happy as the king had been, he now became just as unhappy. He was
afraid and filled with doubt. He suspected that the queen might
destroy his first-born children by some wicked means. He decided
that he must make sure his children were safe.
the king called Prince Goodspeaker and Prince Moon to him. He told
them of the queen's dangerous desire. He sadly said that the only
safe thing for them to do was to leave the kingdom. They should
return only after their father's death, and take their rightful
places ruling the kingdom. The two obedient princes accepted their
father's order and prepared to leave.
a few days they were ready. They said their sad good-byes to their
father and friends, and left the palace. On their way through the
royal gardens, they came upon Prince Sun. He had always been very
affectionate and friendly towards his two older half-brothers. He
was upset to hear that they were leaving for a very long time. So
he decided that he too would leave the kingdom. The three friendly
princes departed together.
several months they travelled, until they reached the forest country
of the mighty Himalayas. They were very tired and sat down under
a tree. The oldest brother, Prince Goodspeaker, said to the youngest,
Prince Sun, "Please go down to the nearby lake and fill some
lotus leaves with water. Bring them back here so we can all drink."
They did not know that the beautiful dark blue lake was possessed
by a water demon! He was permitted by his demon ruler to eat any
beings that he could convince to go into the water. There was also
one condition. He could not eat anyone who knew the answer to the
question, 'What is the teaching of the gods?"
Prince Sun arrived at the shore of the lake, being dry and dirty
and tired, he went directly into the water without any investigation.
Suddenly the water demon rose up from under the water and captured
him. He asked him, "What is the teaching of the gods?"
Prince Sun said, "I know the answer to that! The sun and the
moon are the teachings of the gods." "You don't know the
teaching of the gods, so you belong to me!" said the water
demon. Then he pulled Prince Sun under the water and locked him
up in a deep cave.
Prince Sun was delayed, Prince Goodspeaker asked the second brother,
Prince Moon, to go down to the lake and bring back water in lotus
leaves. When he got there, he too went directly into the water without
examining. Again the water demon appeared, grabbed him, and asked,
"What is the teaching of the gods?" Prince Moon said,
"I know the answer to that! The four directions North,
East, South and West these are the teachings of the gods."
"You don't know the teaching of the gods, so you belong to
me!", replied the water demon. Then he locked up Prince Moon
in the same underwater cave with Prince Sun.
both his brothers did not return, Prince Goodspeaker began to worry
that they might be in some danger. So he himself went down to the
beautiful dark blue lake. As he was a wise and careful person, he
did not go directly into the water. Instead, he investigated and
saw that there were two sets of footprints leading into the lake
- but not coming out again! To protect himself, he got his sword
and bow and arrows ready. He began to walk around the lake.
that this prince did not go straight into the lake, the water demon
appeared to him disguised as a humble villager. He said to him,
"My dear friend, you look tired and dirty from much walking.
Why don't you get into the water and bathe, drink, and eat some
the one-way footprints, Prince Goodspeaker said, "You must
be some kind of demon disguised as a human! What have you done with
my brothers?" Surprised at being recognized so quickly, the
water demon returned to his true ferocious appearance. He replied
to the wise prince, "By my rights, I have captured your brothers!"
prince asked, "For what reason?" "So that soon I
can gobble them up!", the demon answered, "I have permission
from my demon ruler to eat all those who go into this lake who do
not know the teaching of the gods. If anyone does know the teaching
of the gods, I am not allowed to eat him."
Prince asked, "Why do you need to know this? What is the advantage
to a demon like you, to know the teaching of the gods?" The
water demon replied, "I know there must be some advantage to
me." "Then I will tell you what the gods teach,"
said Prince Goodspeaker, "but I have a problem. Look at me.
I am covered with dust and dirt from travelling. I cannot speak
about wise teachings in this condition."
now, the water demon realized that this prince was especially wise.
So he washed and refreshed him. He gave him water to drink from
lotus leaves, and tender lotus roots to eat. He prepared a comfortable
seat for him, decorated with pretty wildflowers. After laying aside
his sword and bow and arrows, the Enlightenment Being sat on the
adorned seat. The ferocious demon sat by his feet, just like a student
listening to a respected teacher.
Goodspeaker said, "This is the teaching of the gods:
should be ashamed to do unwholesome deeds.
You should be afraid to do unwholesome deeds.
You should always do wholesome deeds -
that bring happiness to others, and help mankind.
Then you will shine with the inner light of calm and peacefulness."
water demon was pleased with this answer, and said, "Worthy
prince, you have completely satisfied my question. You have made
me so happy that I will give you back one of your brothers. Which
one do you choose?"
Goodspeaker said, "Release my younger brother, Prince Sun."
To this the demon replied, "My lord prince, wise one, you know
the teaching of the gods but you do not practice it!" The prince
asked, "Why do you say that?" The demon said, "Because
you leave the older one to die, and save the younger. You do not
prince then said, "Oh demon, I know the teaching of the gods,
and I do practise it. We three princes came to this forest because
of the youngest brother. His mother requested our father's kingdom
for him. So it was for our protection that our father sent us here.
The young Prince Sun joined us out of friendship. But if we return
to the court without him, and say he was eaten by a water demon
who wanted to know the teaching of the gods, who would believe us?
They would think we killed him because he was the cause of our danger.
This would bring shame to us and unhappiness to the kingdom. Fearing
such unwholesome results, I tell you again to release the young
water demon was so pleased with this answer that he said, "Well
done, well done, my lord. You know the true teaching of the gods,
and you do practice that true teaching. I will gladly give back
both your brothers!" So saying, he went down into the lake
and brought both princes back to shore. They were wet, but unharmed.
on, the Bodhisatta gave further helpful advice to the demon. He
said, "Oh water demon, my new friend, you must have done many
unwholesome deeds in your previous lives, so that you were born
as a flesh eating demon. And if you continue in this way, you will
be trapped in a terrible state even in later lives. For unwholesome
deeds lead to shame, fear and unpleasant rebirth. But wholesome
deeds lead to self-respect, peace and pleasant rebirth. Therefore,
it would be much better for you to do pure deeds, rather than impure
deeds, from now on." This turned the demon from his past ways,
and the princes lived together happily under his protection.
day, word came that the king had died. So the three princes, as
well as their friend the water demon, returned to the capital city.
Prince Goodspeaker was crowned as king. Prince Moon became the chief
minister, and Prince Sun became commander of the army. The water
demon was awarded a safe place to live, where he was well fed, cared
for and entertained for the rest of his life. In this way they all
acquired wholesome meritorious thoughts, leading to rebirth in a
moral is: Unwholesome actions bring shame
Wholesome actions bring self-respect and peace.