The Eleven Pigs
Once upon a time in Yongzhou (China) there lived a butcher whose surnamewas Zhang. Everyday he would kill a pig to supply the demand for the people who lived around him. However, slaughtering pigs was an act of killing sentient beings Therefore he often thought of making a living out of other profession,
"Em, I should change my profession! There are many jobs I can do out of'360 professions'. Why should I be a butcher? My knife has to kill a pigand "dye red" each day. If I kill 30 pigs each month then I will have killed 360 pigs every year. It's terrible whenever time I think about it."
However, 'Butcher Zhang' had a family to feed. Slaughtering pigs was a profession that he could made money with ease. Therefore his thought of changing profession became replaced by another thought. He would reassured himself,
"Oh well, well! Changing profession is not that easy, is it? Furthermore it isn't me who like killing pigs. It's other people who liketo eat pork. Otherwise who'll I sell to when I kill them? Even though Iincur bad retribution, those who eat pork should also share theresponsibilities with me as well. Also we keep pigs because we want to eat them, don't we?!!"
Since he had to arrive at the morning market early, and also pigs made tremendous noise when he killed them, therefore he chose to slaughter the min the dawn. Butcher Zhang also had a habit which he had been keeping upfor years. That was: Every morning as soon as he heard the bell rang from the nearby Buddhist temple, he would get up and slaughtered a pig. This habitual action had never changed. However, one day he got up late. Later he found out that the temple did not ring the bell at all in that morning. When the butcher went to the pig-shed he discovered the mother pig he was going to kill gave birth to 11 sucking-pigs in the morning. Everyone of them was so fat and already they were leaning so close to the mother and suckling for milk. How lovely they were! He felt the event was extraordinary.
Therefore he went to the temple. The abbot of the temple told him,
"I had a dream last night. I dreamed of 11 children who knelt down to beg me to save the life of their mother.
I asked them how I could save her. They replied it was very simple. All I needed to do was not to ring the bell."
Eleven children? Eleven pigs? Suddenly the butcher understood the relationship between them. He threw the knife he killed the pigs into the river. Eventually he determined to change his profession.
Extract of The Buddhist Children's Stories, page 8-10, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan