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A lesson from a wise beast

One day I went into a jungle with my family to take a movie of wild animals, which is my hobby. under the guidance of a tracker, we reached a river in a plain which is a popular place for filming because many kinds of animals go there to drink water.

But to my disappointment, the river, which usually has plenty of water, was completely dried up that day. I though no animals would appear there since there was no water. So I asked the tracker to take us to another place. The tracker, however, stopped me and said with confidence, "Wait for a moment. Soon , you will see an interesting sight. And you will also see the difference between men and animals." We followed his advice, and hid ourselves behind bushes to wait.

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Some time later an animal came down to the bed of the dried river and looked for water. Finding no water there, he went away. After that came various animals one after another and, as the first one did, went away after finding no water.

Then, an elephant appeared. He also found no water, but he did not go back as the other animals had. Instead he smelled around the dried-up bed, and began to dig a hole with his front legs and trunk. In about ten minutes, he succeeded in making a big hole, and from the bottom, water sprang out.

After drinking, he showered some of it on his body, and then he took a nap under the shade of a big tree.

When the elephant disappeared, other animals such as foxes, wild pigs and deer came again to the river. They drank water from the hole the elephant made. But soon, a fox and a wild pig began to quarrel as to who should drink first. As a result, the hole got filled up with mud. The other animals went back dejectedly without water to drink.

Near evening, the elephant appeared there again. Finding the hole he had dug before filled up, he began to dig another hole. About ten minutes later, he got enough water to drink and shower on his body. Then, he calmly returned to the jungle, leaving the hole as it was so that the other animals could drink.

In the elephant's behavior, I saw the qualities of an enlightened person. When the other animals could not find water on the surface they took no action. But the elephant was not only wise enough to find water for himself but he also supplied it to the other creatures. By their quarreling they failed to benefit from what he had shown them. Here was a clear difference between the one who is wise, not only in saving his own life, but also the lives of others, and those, who from ignorance and blindness, bring destruction upon themselves.

As observed by the Honorable R. Premadasa, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, and reported by Dr. Buddhadasa P. Kirthisinghe.m

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