Learning English Through Buddhism: Lesson 2

1. Match the following words with their definitions.

a. innocent

b. reference

c. insects

d. utter

e. patient

f. deliberately

g. intention

h. ointment

i. revenge

j. monastery

  1. A thick oily substance, usually containing medicine, which is put on the skin where it is sore to cure it
  2. To say something or to make a sound with your voice.
  3. A building in which monks live and worship.
  4. Harm done to someone as a punishment for harm that they have done to someone else.
  5. (Of a person) who has no guilty of a particular crime, or no knowledge evil thing in life.
  6. A person who is receiving medical care, or who is cared for by a particular doctor when it’s necessary.
  7. Something that you want and plan to do.
  8. A mention of something in a piece of writing where the person writing found their information.
  9. Done in a way that was planned, not by chance.
  10. A type of very small animal with six legs, two pairs of wings, or, any similar very small animal.

2. Read the Story of Thera Cakkhupala

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verse (1) of this book, with reference to Cakkhupala, a blind thera.

On one occasion, Thera Cakkhupala came to pay homage to the Buddha at the Jetavana monastery. One night, while pacing up and down in meditation, the thera accidentally stepped on some insects. In the morning, some bhikkhus visiting the thera found the dead insects. They thought ill of the thera and reported the matter to the Buddha. The Buddha asked them whether they had seen the thera killing the insects. When they answered in the negative, the Buddha said, “Just as you had not seen him killing, so also he had not seen those living insects. Besides, as the thera had already attained arahatship he could have no intention of killing and so was quite innocent.” On being asked why Cakkhupala was blind although he was an arahat, the Buddha told the following story:

Cakkhupala was a physician in one of his past existences. Once, he had deliberately made a woman patient blind. That woman had promised him to become his slave, together with her children, if her eyes were completely cured. Fearing that she and her children would have to become slaves, she lied to the physician. She told him that her eyes were getting worse when, in fact, they were perfectly cured. The physician knew she was deceiving him, so in revenge, he gave her another ointment, which made her totally blind. As a result of this evil deed the physician lost his eyesight many times in his later existences.

Verse 1: All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with an evil mind, ‘dukkha‘ follows him just as the wheel follows the hoofprint of the ox that draws the cart.

3. Answer the questions.

  1. Where was the Lord Buddha staying according to the article?
  2. To whom was the above verse taught? Why?
  3. Who is Cakkhupala? Why was he blind?
  4. What did the Buddha say when Thera Cakkhupala was abused of killing insects by a number of bhikkhus?
  5. Why did that woman not keep her promise with a physician according to the article?
  6. What does the stanza mean?
  7. Do you think to get in revenge is bad or good? Why?

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