The Story of Poor Sopaka
once was a boy by the name of Sopaka, born to a
very poor family. When this boy was only seven his
father died and his mother married another man who
was very wicked and unkind. His new stepfather always
beat and scolded small Sopaka who was very kind,
innocent and good.
stepfather thought, "This boy is a nuisance,
a good-for-nothing, but I cannot do anything to him
because his mother loves him so much. What shall
I do about him?"
evening he said, "Dear son, let us go for a
boy was surprised and thought, "My stepfather
has never talked to me so kindly. Perhaps my mother
has asked him to be kind to me." So he happily
went with his stepfather.
walked to a cemetery where there were many rotting
bodies and the stepfather tied Sopaka to one of
them, leaving him alone and crying.
the night became darker and darker Sopaka's fear
increased. He was alone in the cemetery and so frightened
that his hair stood on end and drops of sweat rolled
down his body. The noises of the jackals, tigers,
leopards and other wild animals made him even more
frightened. Then, when he was almost paralysed with
fear, he saw a shining noble-looking person with
a bright light coming towards him saying, "Sopaka,
don't cry. I am here to help you, so don't fear."
At that moment Sopaka broke his bonds and stood
before the Buddha in the Jetavana monastery. The
Buddha bathed him, gave him food to eat, cloths
to wear and consoled and comforted him.
on returning home, the wicked stepfather was questioned
by Sopaka's mother. "Where is my son?"
she asked. "I don't know," he replied,
"he came home before me." But the mother
could not sleep the whole night for worrying about
next day she went to see the Buddha for help. "Why
are you crying, sister?" asked the Buddha.
Lord," replied the lady, "I have only
one son and since last night he has been missing.
My husband took Sopaka for a walk and the little
boy never returned home."
worry, sister. Your son is safe. Here he is."
And so saying the Buddha showed her Sopaka, who had
become a monk. The mother was overjoyed to see her
son again, and after listening to the Buddha's teachings
she too became a follower.