Sixteen Frightening Dreams
upon a time there was a king called Brahmadatta who was ruling in
Benares, in northern India. One night he had sixteen frightening
nightmare dreams. He awoke in the morning in a cold sweat, with
his heart thumping loudly in his chest. The sixteen dreams had scared
him to death. He was sure they meant that something terrible was
about to happen. In a panic, he called for his official priests,
to ask their advice.
the priests arrived at the royal bed chamber, they asked the king
if he had slept well. He told them that it had been the worst night
of his life, that he had been scared to death by sixteen dreams,
and that he was desperate to find out their meanings.
this the priests' eyes lit up. They asked him, "What were these
dreams, your majesty?" King Brahmadatta told them all sixteen
dreams. The priests pounded their foreheads and exclaimed, "Oh
what horrors! It couldn't be worse, your majesty. Such dreams as
these can mean only one thing danger!"
king asked them, 'What danger, oh priests? You must tell me the
meaning at once!" They replied, It is certain, your majesty,
these dreams show that one of three disasters will take place
terrible harm to the kingdom, to your life, or to the royal wealth."
king had feared as much. He wrung his hands as the sweat kept pouring
from his body. He was shaking all over with terror and panic. He
asked, "Tell me, oh worthy royal priests, is there any way
to avoid this disaster?" "Indeed, it is very dangerous,"
they said. "If you do nothing, the end is certain. But we can
prevent it. If we couldn't, then all our training and learning would
be useless. Trust us, lord."
panic-stricken king cried out, "Just tell me what to do, priests.
I'll do anything! What can you do to save me, my kingdom and my
wealth?" "We must offer the greatest animal sacrifice
that has ever been seen," they said. "We must kill, as
sacrificial offerings, four of every type of animal that lives!"
he was usually a gentle, kind and merciful ruler. King Brahmadatta
was so frightened that he couldn't think straight at all. Paralyzed
with fear, he put all his hope and faith in his priests. He gave
them permission to prepare the gigantic slaughter.
priests said, "Have no fear, your majesty, we will take care
of everything. We will prevent the coming doom!" They knew
they would be paid well to perform the sacrifice. And the meat from
the killed animals would be theirs as well. Their secret thoughts
were, "This is a great way for us to get piles of money, and
the best food and drink too!"
priests got to work organizing the biggest sacrifice Benares had
ever seen. Just outside of town they dug a huge pit. Into it they
put the most perfect ones they could find of all the animals
land animals, birds and fish. From each kind they selected four
to be killed in the ceremony. It became known as the 'Four-from-all'
the king's senior teaching priest had a promising young pupil. He
was gentle and compassionate, and very well-educated. He wondered
about all that was happening. So he asked the teacher priest, "Oh
master, you have taught me well the wise teachings of old. Can you
show me anywhere it says the killing of one will save the life of
priest answered, "What kind of question is that? Open your
eyes and be realistic, my boy. Don't you see that this great sacrifice,
the Four-from-all, will make us rich? You must be trying to help
the king hold onto his riches! "
idealistic and sincere pupil said, "You have not answered my
question, master. If this sacrifice is to be your work, it shall
be mine no longer!" With these words he departed and went to
the royal pleasure garden to consider what he would do.
just so happened that the Enlightenment Being had been born into
a rich high class family. For many generations the men in that family
had been priests, just like the ones who were now preparing the
Four-from-all sacrifice. But when the Bodhisatta grew up he abandoned
the life of a rich priest. Instead he went to the Himalayas and
lived as a humble forest monk. He concentrated his mind in meditation
and entered high mental states. He gained the sweetest inner happiness,
and even miraculous supernatural powers.
forest monk loved all the animals. When he heard about what was
happening in Benares he was filled with tenderness and compassion.
He decided, "I must teach the ignorant people and release them
from the chains of superstition. I will go to the city at once!"
Then he used his supernatural power to fly through the air to Benares.
In an instant he was seated on a rock in the king's pleasure garden.
His gentle nature made him glow like a golden sunrise.
idealistic young student approached and recognized him as a great
holy man. He bowed respectfully and sat on the ground. The forest
monk asked him, "Young man, do you have a good and just king
reigning here in Benares?"
said the student, "our king is kind and good. But he is being
misled by the royal priests. He had sixteen dreams which left him
completely panic-stricken. The priests took advantage of this when
he told them his dreams. They have convinced him to have a huge
sacrifice and kill many animals. Oh holy one, please tell the king
the true meanings of his dreams. Free the many helpless beings from
fear and death."
holy man said, "If he comes and asks me, I will tell him."
"I will bring him, sir," said the young man. "Kindly
wait here a short while until I return."
student went to the king and told him there was a marvelous holy
man seated on a rock in the royal pleasure garden. He told him he
had said he could interpret the king's dreams. Hearing this, the
king went with him to the garden. A crowd followed behind.