To Love and Care for Children

Among the ten great disciples of the Buddha, Katyayana was the greatest at debate.

There was a time when he left the Buddha to go south to teach the Dharma in Rajagrha. One day, he sent one of his very young disciples back to Jetavana Monastery to see the Buddha. When the Buddha saw his young visitor who had traveled so far to see him, he immediately said to Ananda, “Ananda, Prepare an extra bed in my room, for this little disciple of Katyayana to stay with me.”When the news of this kind gesture of the Buddha reached Katyayana, he was deeply impressed, and thereafter made additional effort to spread the Dharma.

Witnessing how the Buddha cared for the young novice monk, his own disciples learned how to treat the novice monks in the sangha, such as Kuni and Rahula, with more care and dared not neglect them.In the sutras, we often find the Buddha’s sincere advice on how to respect those younger than us and not regard them as unimportant. Usually, the Buddha did not force rules onto his disciples. More often, he acted in accordance with what he taught and exemplified the Dharma through his own actions. This earned him great respect and wholehearted obedience from his followers, who came from all directions to learn from him.

— Footprints in the Ganges: The Buddha’s Stories on Cultivation and Compassion(By Venerable Master Hsing Yun)

Moral: Kindness begets kindness.

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