"Charity and offering will bring wealth and health. If you keep the precepts, you will be born either in the human's world or the Heavens and have a lot of merits and enjoy happiness. Whenever you see Buddha or sangha monks, then you should gaze with respect and love. Then later, you will be born in beautiful and dignified bodies.”
After many, many years, this house also became rotten and kaput. And the snake also died. But the soul of the snake was still attached to the gold. So he would be born again as a snake, poisonous snake. And many, many, many ten thousands of years again and again he was born as a snake just to keep these seven pitchers of gold around that area all the time. He had never gone anywhere. And then after many thousands of, tens of thousands of years he realized this was useless. What can you do with the gold when you are a snake? You can't even hold it, right? Can't even eat it, can't even take it to the bank and put it in, can't even use it to exchange for whatever that was his beloved food. So he felt very fed up now. Fed up, up to there. So he was thinking to himself. I mean the snake was thinking. A snake can think? My goodness! "Because of my greed for gold I have to be born in such a terrible, ugly body like this. So it's maybe better, I bring this gold to make offering." He meant to Buddha, or the sangha. "And then I will use that merit to wish for a better life," very wise, "either in Heaven or on Earth."
After he thought like that, he crawled to the edge of the street, the main road, and hid himself in the grass. And then when one person passed by him and he yelled very loudly, called him. And the person heard somebody calling, so he looked around and didn't see anyone. He was hiding inside. And then he wanted to continue to walk away and then the snake crawled himself all the way out in the middle of the street, and said, "Hi, uncle. Come here, uncle! I have something; I ask of you a favor." And then the person saw there's a poisonous snake. "You are a wicked, poisonous being! Why do you call me? You want me to go near so that you can bite me? I'm not stupid!" So the snake said, "Yeah, it's me. I'm poisonous, but if you don't come here, I will kill you." And then the guy was very scared. But what to do? No choice. So he came near the snake. He was afraid, but he came near. Because if he didn't come the snake would also fly to him and bite him anyway. And then the snake said to him, "My house has a pitcher of gold." He didn't say seven, so I don't know yet. "Can you bring it and make offering for me? If you don't do it, I will bite you dead right now." So the human said, "Yeah, yeah. I'll help you right now. No problem!"
And then the snake led the man all the way to this old house, many ten thousand years ago still remembered where the house was, still remembered where the gold was. My goodness' sake. All right, and then he told him to dig out one of the pitchers, and told him, "OK, you bring this pitcher of gold to a temple and make offering. But you take out a little bit first. Use that to sell and then exchange some money for rice, food, fruits, vegetables, and all that. And please make a vegan meal to give, offering to the sangha, the monks. Whenever you know that the monks will come and accept the offering, you bring a stick here so that I will coil on it and you bring me over there to the temple to see the sangha eating." So they did everything like that, etc., and then the abbot of the temple said, "Oh, what kind of miracle the poisonous snake still knows how to make offering to the Buddha and sangha. OK, I will help you to do that." And then the passerby said, "What is the day? Please tell me. So I will prepare." So he said, "The next fifteenth day of the month. This normally is a vegetarian day." They eat maybe the first day of the month, middle of the month, and end of the month. Some people eat four days vegetarian. They try their best, some ten days. Like that. That is also the day you can repent your sin. So it is a very, very good meritorious day. So the person said, "OK, I am going home and take care, arrange it. And on that day I will come."
And the day came and he really brought a stick and came to the snake area. And then the snake was very happy to see him and asked, "How are you?" and in French. "How are you?" In Togolese I don't know how. Togolese. (Togolese?) Togolese. How do you say "How are you?" in Togolese? O fon a. (Afouan?) O fon a. You don't have a native language? Togolese? (O fon a.) O fon a. Ah! O fon a! That means "How are you?" OK? When you see him, you say "O fon a." It sounds like goodbye, like "au revoir." OK. All right. So then, he coiled himself wrapped himself around the stick. And then he brought him to the temple. And then the person covered the snake because he was very big, big, big, big. He covered the snake on the stick with a blanket, something like this, so that people didn't see it and get scared. And then some people were still curious. "What are you carrying? So beautiful." And he didn't say anything. And they asked again, "What are you carrying? On your shoulder, it's so beautiful." And he also didn't answer. He cannot say it's a beautiful snake. They asked him three times. He didn't answer anything. And then the snake saw that he didn't answer. He was very angry. He thought, "This man is very rude. People asked him three times, respectfully, and he doesn't answer. He is so stupid, so stupid." At that time when he thought like that and he was also angry, so his poison came out because it's the snake's nature. He really wanted to spray the poison and kill that man right away. But then he thought, "No, no, no, this man is helping me to do good deeds. So I should not do that. I have to be patient."
All right. And then the man carried it walking, until some place that was empty. Nobody was in the field. And then he said, "Please let me down." The snake said to the man. Then, as soon as he touched the ground he scolded the man. "You! People, humans have mouths. It's to speak. You only use it to eat. How come people asked you respectfully three times, you didn't answer? Idiot." So the man heard him scolding like that, but he wasn't angry at all. He felt very repentant, and he very humbly said, "Sorry, sorry." And the snake said, "From now on, you don't behave like this anymore, OK? If anyone asks you, you have to say it very nicely. Say ‘OK.' You have to answer them nicely." Then the man said, "I will obey your advice. From now on, it won't happen again."
So when they came to the temple, he put the snake down in front of the big hall, like a lecture hall. And then at that time all the monks had already arrived. And the snake told the man to bring incense, to light the incense to offer to the Buddha. And when the man did that, the snake really very lovingly sincerely looking at him as if he was doing it himself for the sangha, for the monks. He did not even blink his eyes all the time that the man was doing the ritual, making offering to the sangha. When all the monks were walking around the Buddha's stupas, and the snake told the man to bring water so that the monks would not be thirsty walking so long. And then he was also very respectfully looking with his eyes at all the monks, with love and respect. After the monks finished the meals, they lectured to the snake saying, "Charity and offering will bring wealth and health. If you keep the precepts, you will be born either in the human's world or the Heavens and have a lot of merits and enjoy happiness. Whenever you see Buddha or sangha monks, then you should gaze with respect and love. Then later, you will be born in beautiful and dignified bodies. If you are greedy and hoarding properties, and doesn't give to charity, then you will be born as a hungry ghost. If your heart is wicked, then you will be bitten by many of the poisonous snakes, or others." After the snake heard that, he was very happy and said, "Praised be the reverends. Please come to my house. I have another six pitchers of gold. I will offer all to wish for liberation." Then the abbot of the temple and everybody went there and then brought all the six pitchers of gold, came and offered it to the Three Jewels. And did some praying for him, and forwarded this merit to the snake. After that the snake died, he was born in one of the Heavens.
After that the Buddha said, "Ananda, you should know, the one that carried the snake, it was me. It was the Buddha in a former life. The poisonous snake now is Sariputra." Sariputra. Wouldn't you like to bring gold to change your life? Sariputra was a poisonous snake. Gosh, OK. "At that time, even though the snake was scolding me I was feeling ashamed and repentant, and became humble. Not only that, I treated all beings equally. Up to now I have not changed my attitude." At that time, I, Ananda, and all the bhiksus hearing the Buddha saying thus, everyone was very, very respectful and our equality spirit, to treat all beings equally, arose.
Why is that? So now you want to get married to a good wife or not? (Yes.) The men. Our time is limited so I keep reading a lot for you. You never know, you're going soon maybe, if I can detach myself from you I also would go anytime. Ah, so many, I was thinking.
(Master, that story reminded me of a hell joke.) What joke? (A hell joke.) Hell joke? (Yes.) You want to go to hell? Come on, we are not afraid of hell, tell us. (The rich man died, and he went to Heaven. But when he got there, the gate was locked. So he couldn't get in. And so he was knocking on the pearly gates.) He's knocking. (Trying to get in. He's knocking on the pearly gates.) And Saint Peter came out or not? (Saint Peter looked and saw him. Saint Peter came over to him and He said, "You can't come in, you don't have any merit.") You don't have any merit for Heaven. (And so the rich man said, right in front of Peter, he said, "Wait a minute now, wait a minute now, just last week I gave a homeless man a dollar.") That's a merit, yeah. (And so Peter looked puzzled. So He called Gabriel. And Gabriel came over, and Peter said to Gabriel, "Gabriel, what is this?" So, Gabriel opened the Book of Life and he said "He did that, but we had already sentenced him to death.") Oh. (And the rich man was right in front of Gabriel.) Who already sentenced him to death? (He'd already been sentenced to death.) Before? (Before he gave the dollar.) Before he gave the one dollar? (The dollar to the homeless man.) That's why it's confusing. OK, then? (And so the rich man said, "Wait a minute now. There's more." And so Peter looked puzzled at Gabriel again. He said, "Gabriel, what is this?" So Gabriel and Peter went over to the side, away from the rich man and discussed it. So Gabriel opened the book again and he said, "Look here, Peter, there is no merit on this guy. Just like when he was on Earth, he lied, cheated and stole to get ahead. Now he's trying to lie, cheat, and steal his way into Heaven.") In Heaven. (And so Peter looked at Gabriel, He said, "Well, Gabriel, what do you think we should do?" Gabriel said, "Give him his dollar back and send him to hell.") Oh man, that's mean. He did try. Sentencing him to death, but he didn't give the dollar, right? Oh, he did give, yeah. Meaning it's too late, right? (Right.) Oh, man. Late is better than never. (Right.) Should tell Peter that. (We know now.) Yeah.