Once upon a time there was a young boy who was very cruel and mean. He loved to tease and bully anybody who was weaker than himself. If he saw a little girl walking along with her friends or her younger sister, he would hit or splash her with mud or take her doll away and throw it into the road and run away. He also like to hurt animals and all of Mother Nature‘s creatures. He would catch butterflies and pull off their wings to see if they could still fly. When he saw a cat or a dog he would throw rocks at them and run them off into the street.
So all the animals and children ran away from him when they saw him coming down the road and the mean and ugly boy would hold himself very straight and tall, proudly saying to himself, “I am so great and strong everyone is afraid of me!”
One day, two strange men came walking down the street on which the ugly boy lived and he overheard one of them say, “Look, what a very ugly little boy who is over there. If I were that ugly I would go to the Temple and bath in the holy lake.”
The boy ran home after hearing this and asked, “Am I ugly, Mother?”
“Well, my boy, you are not exactly handsome,” said his Mother.
“But tell me the plain truth,” he begged. “Am I really very ugly?”
“Yes, you are very ugly, though, I love you,” replied the Mother
The next day, the mean ugly boy met a little girl coming down the street and in his usual manner he went up to her to tease and bully her into crying. But to his great surprise, instead of crying the little girl said, “Oh my! What an ugly face you have. If I had a face like yours I would hide it.”
These words made the ugly boy so ashamed that he decided to go to the Temple and bathe his face in the lake as the two strange men had suggested. He asked his Mother to give him lunch off he went. After walking ten miles to the Temple he arrived and looking through the door saw a priest sitting on the floor in front of the Buddha shrine chanting a Sultra. The ugly boy, without thinking of his manners, stamped up the aisle and was just going to interrupt the priest and talk to him, when the priest turned round and asked, “What do you want my son?”
“I wish to bathe in the Holy Lake and make my face beautiful,” said the boy.
“So you have heard the old story,” said the priest. “Alas, the like has no such power and the story is really but an urban myth. It is you and you alone who have the power to make your face beautiful.”
“I have the power? Indeed, you must be mistaken. I would gladly change this face of mine but I cannot.” said the boy.
“Yes, my son, you can. You see your face is but an open page on which is written all your thoughts, words and deeds.”
As your thoughts are mean and cruel and full of hate.
As your words are untruthful, impure and unkind.
As your deeds are cowardly and dishonest.
So does your face look ugly reflecting these ugly thoughts, words and deeds? Of course!
“But if you will have loving and kind thoughts-truthful and gentle words-brave and honest deeds; they will be reflected in your face and your face will be beautiful because of these beautiful and right things, said the priest. But just as it has taken a long time to make your face ugly so it will take a long time to change it.”
Returning home with the words of the priest burning in his heart, he began to put into practice what he had learned.
The next morning when he rose from his bed he went into the kitchen and kissed his Mother good morning and asked her if he could do anything to help her. The Mother was so surprised to see her naughty boy so changed that she just stood there for a while with her mouth open in amazement. The boy, after his breakfast, picked up his books and said with a charming smile, “Good-bye, Mom”. When he arrived at the school he walked into his classroom with a smile on his face and said, “Good morning Teacher is there anything I can do to help?”
All day with everyone whom he met he was kind and caring. At last, even the neighbors began to notice the change in his behavior.
Everyday he looked into the mirror to see if his face had changed but it was the same. However, after about three months he began to notice that some of the quarrelsome and angry lines were getting smaller until at last after a year his face had completely changed. There had been no trace of ugliness left in him.
“Good thing I went to the priest and learned before it was too late to change my face,” he thought. And, then he remembered the world of the Buddha which the Sunday School Teacher had once taught him.
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. All that we do now is a script of how our future will be.”
The city was filled to the brim with nice people and wonderful estates. We would not have like these houses at all, not you or me, or anyone else but the people who lived in them. It would only make sense that those who loved these houses were Mud Bugs and they found the cool wet comfort of mud houses just right.
Of the many Mud families, Mrs. and Mrs. Joan Mudbug were the proud parents of a new son. Happy were they to know that their very,very,very fat and round son was the smartest among the Mud babies who lived in the neighborhood.
As their son grew up he became wiser and much more curious than the other Mud bug children. He asked question upon question upon question to which some did not know the answers to. The young fat Mud bug went to Grandpa and other elders for answers to his questions but often was given no response to his questions.
He best friend,was an older gentleman by the name of Mr. Greenfrog. Mr. Greenfrog had eyes that would pop out which made him look much wiser than his peers. This older gentleman seemed to have the answers to the questions that John Mudbug had been curious about.
Excitement had grown in Mud city for Grandma Mudbug had decided one morning to just get up out of bed and without saying goodbye to anyone not even Grandpa Mudbug climbed to the top of the tallest water-fern. She struggled and puffed and struggled and puffed. Grandma Mudbug had been known for her chubby disposition and big backside and climbing had never been her thing. Up and up and up and snorting and snorting she went until she vanished just above the water.
As the townspeople stood in awe and amazement, the thought among many had been:
‘Who will watch the little Mud Bug children now? Who will bake the Mud cakes? Who will tell the bedtime stories now that Grandma is gone?’
“But where has she gone?” cried John Mudbug
Of course, that was a question that had no answer.
Immediately John Mud Bug went to see his friend, Mr. Greenfrog.
The wise Mr. Greenfrog listen with great interest as John told his tale of woe. As the story ended a smile stretched across the older gentleman’s face.
“I know all about it. I have set above the water and watched the Mud Bugs crawling up the water-ferns many times. I saw old Grandma Mud Bug come up just this morning.”
“What happens to them after they come out of the water?” asked John excitedly.
“Why they simply toss off their old skin and become creatures that grow bigger and bigger. They have long and sleek bodies with wings like glass and they just simply fly away.” explained Mr. Greenfrog.
“Oh, I shall want to do that someday too!” said John Mudbug
“Yes, they all do it!” replied the wise old Mr. Greenfrog.
John went back with his knew found wisdom and told his parents and the townspeople. Many refused to believe John’s tale and continued to howl and cry complain.
They were much like the people of today.
John learned his simple lesson. A lesson that many still have yet to learn.
The art is in our rebirth and that change is inevitable. Our thoughts, actions and deeds make it so.