The Lady and the Ogress
ONCE THERE WAS A MAN who was becoming impatient with his wife for not being able to bear him any children. At the same time, his wife was becoming increasingly
anxious because she was not able to give him the children he
longed for. Fearing that her husband would one day abandon her, she coaxed him into taking another wife. But each
time she learned that the new wife was pregnant, she caused
her to miscarry by putting some drugs into her food.
The second wife eventually figured out what was going on, but it was too late to do anything about it, for she was already near death’s door from being poisoned so often.
Before she finally died, however, she swore that she would
pay the first wife back for all the suffering she was caused
should their paths cross again in future lives.And indeed their paths did cross again. Once they were reborn as a cat and a hen, and another time as a leopardess
and a doe, and each time they were after each other’s off-springs, creating more and more hatred between themselves.
Finally, they were reborn as the daughter of a nobleman and
an ogress.One day, the ogress in all her fury was chasing after the nobleman’s daughter and her baby. The mother, in desperation, fled to the monastery where the Buddha was staying and begged the Buddha to save her child from the hungry ogress. The Buddha, instead, admonished her, as well as the
ogress, for the folly of their unabated vengeance. He then
related to them how their mutual hatred began and how, because of that hatred, they had been killing off each other’s babies in their successive lifetimes. He made them realize that hatred only caused more hatred, and that hatred
ceased only through goodwill and compassion. The lady
and the ogress then felt great remorse for their past actions
and asked each other for forgiveness. In that way, after many
lifetimes of unbroken rivalry filled with hatred, they finally
made peace with each other.
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