The Giddy Fish

THERE was a bhikkhu who had great difficulty in keeping his senses and passions under control; so, resolving to leave the Order, he came to the Blessed One to ask him for a release from the vows. And the Blessed One said to the bhikkhu: “Take heed, my son, lest you fall a prey to the passions of your misguided heart. For I see that in former existences, you have suffered much from the evil consequences of lust, and unless you learn to conquer your sensual desire, you will in this life be ruined through your folly.

“Listen to a story of another existence of yours, as a fish. The fish could be seen swimming lustily in the river, playing with his mate. She, moving in front, suddenly perceived the meshes of a net, and slipping around escaped the danger; but he, blinded by love, shot eagerly after her and fell straight into the mouth of the net. The fisherman pulled the net up, and the fish, who complained bitterly of his sad fate, saying, ‘This indeed is the bitter fruit of my folly,’ would surely have died if the Bodhisattva had not chanced to come by, and, understanding the language of the fish, took pity on him. He bought the poor creature and said to him: ‘My good fish, had I not caught sight of you today, you would have lost your life. I shall save you, but from now on avoid the evil of lust.’ With these words he threw the fish into the water.

“Make the best of the time of grace that is offered to you in your present existence, and fear the dart of passion which, if you do not guard your senses, will lead you to destruction.”

The author of this story is unknown and greatly appreciated!

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