A monk was making his round for alms from door to door. He reached the house of a jeweler, and stopped before the door. At that moment the jeweler was preparing to pierce a pearl for the king. The color of the monk's robe was reflected on the pearl, which thus took on a red color. The jeweler went into his house to seek food for the monk. At that moment a goose saw this pearl, red in color, similar in appearance to a piece of meat; immediately she swallowed it. Then the jeweler returned with the food and gave it to the monk. When he looked for the pearl, nowhere could he find it again. This pearl was of great value and belonged to the king. The jeweler, who was poor, and who had just lost the king's precious pearl, addressed the monk excitedly and said to him: "Give me back the pearl!" Then the monk thus reflected: "This pearl has just been swallowed by a goose. If I say that to this man, he will kill the goose to get the pearl. I am in a very painful situation. What should I do to avert this calamity?" Then he uttered the following stanzas:

"If I respect the life of this living being, my body will endure sufferings;
But I have no other means,--my life alone can redeem hers.

"If I say to this man that the goose has swallowed [the pearl],
He will not believe me, and he will kill this goose.

"Why should I use this means?
I am going to give my own body to save her.

"Now, to prevent this goose from being killed,
Shall I say that some one has taken it and carried it off?

"No more may this be said.
For if one desires to keep oneself free from sins,
One must refrain from words of falsehood.

"I have indeed heard the Brahmans say:
Recoil not from falsehood to save your life.

"But I have also heard this saying of an ancient sage:
It is better to abandon one's life than ever to make a lie.

"The Buddha has related the story of a thief
Whose body was mutilated with a saw.

"But even in the midst of his sufferings,
He was altogether unwilling to violate the Law.

"Even though by a lie one might save himself,
It is not proper to make it.

"It is better to remain faithful to the Precepts
And to renounce your own life.

"If I should make myself guilty of a lie,
All those who are vowed to the religious life
Could accuse me of having violated the Precepts.

"Such an accusation, and their contempt,
Would, of a surety, be calculated to burn my heart.

"It is for this reason
That it does not become me to violate the Precepts.

"In the midst of my sorry plight,
I should imitate geese,
Which, when drinking a mixture of water and milk,

"Are able to drink all of the milk,
And leave only the water.

"It is thus that I should act:
I should flee the evil, and choose only the good.

"Here are the words of a Sutra:
When a wise man and a simpleton
Find themselves in the same difficulty,
The former does not imitate the bad conduct of the latter.

"The man who adheres to the good,
Knows how to leave the evil alone,
Like a goose that drinks a mixture of water and milk.

"I am ready to sacrifice my body and my life
To preserve the life of this goose.

"This faithful observance of the Precepts
Will bring me to Deliverance."

When the jeweler had heard these stanzas, he said to the monk: "Give me back my pearl! If you don't give it back, I will make you endure many sufferings, and will show you no pity." The monk replied to him: "Do you think I would remain silent, if I had stolen your pearl?" The jeweler said to him: "Nevertheless, there was no other person who would have been able to rob me of this pearl." And immediately the jeweler closed his door and said to the monk: "You are mighty obstinate!" Then the monk turned his eyes in the four directions, but found a refuge nowhere,--like a stag taken in an enclosure, knowing no way to get out: thus was the monk, deprived of help. Then the monk tightened and adjusted his robes. This man said to the monk: "Are you getting ready to fight with me?" The monk replied to him: "I will not fight with you. I fight only with the Contaminations and the Bonds. What I have just done, was for a different reason: I fear that my body may be stripped naked when you strike me. For we monks, when we are about to endure sufferings, when our end is at hand, cover ourselves with our robes to prevent the stripping of our body." And the monk uttered these stanzas further:

"The Exalted One was full of modesty;
I am obedient to his teaching.

"When I reach the termination of my life,
I wish not to have my body remain naked."

Then the jeweler said to the monk: "Have you not, then, the least concern for your life?" The monk replied to him: "The Law of us religious requires us to preserve our life until we have attained Deliverance. Even in the midst of the greatest dangers, it is necessary to protect your own life. But now I know in advance that I ought to abandon this body; and for this deed the congregation of those who have retired from the world will glorify my name." Then he uttered these stanzas:

"When I quit life,
I shall fall as a dry branch falls.

"But that will be in order that I may be glorified
For having given my life to save a goose.

"And that will cause all who come after me
To be inspired with disgust [for the world]
And to be ready to sacrifice their body.

"Those who hear the story of it told
Will redouble their zeal;
They will follow the Noble Path;
They will keep the Precepts faithfully.

"And those who violate the Precepts
Will form the resolution to keep them with all their heart."

Then the jeweler said to the monk: "What you have just said is only sham and falsehood. You wish simply to win the praises of men." The monk replied to him: "Then you believe me to be capable of staining myself with a falsehood? Pray, what good would these praises do me? I am not shamming when I say that I am joyful. I am not anxious to have men glorify my name, but I desire the Exalted One to know my devoted heart." Then he uttered these stanzas:

"The disciples of the Great Sage,
In order to remain faithful to the Precepts,

"Abandon life, which is difficult to abandon:
They do so in order that the inhabitants of the whole world

"And all those that have retired from the world
May form high resolutions.

"Though they may not have formed them,
They will surely form them in the future."

Then the jeweler bound the monk and beat him with a stick. He asked the monk: "Where is the pearl? Give me back my pearl!" The monk replied to him: "I haven't the pearl." The jeweler began to weep, for his heart was full of remorse; and the fact that the pearl belonged to the king added yet more to his despair. The monk uttered these stanzas:

"Alas! how poor this man is!
I know good and evil deeds.
His heart is filled with remorse.
Alas! this poor man
Does evil because he is poor."

Then the jeweler, shedding tears, prostrated himself on his face before the feet of the monk, and said to him: "Make me glad, and give me back my pearl. Then you will cease to suffer, and you will not make me suffer any more." The monk replied: "I have not, in reality, taken it." Then the jeweler said: "This monk is very obstinate; notwithstanding his sufferings, he denies having the pearl."

The jeweler, who was very poor, and who could not find his pearl, commenced once more, insane with anger, to beat [the monk]. The monk, who had his two hands and his neck bound, turned his eyes in the four directions; he saw no one whom he could call; death for him was inevitable. Then the monk said to himself: "In the round of existences, one is always in danger of such sufferings. One must stoutly refuse to violate the Precepts. For if one violates the Precepts, one is smitten with the punishments of hell, which are indeed more terrible than my present evils." And he pronounced these stanzas:

"With constancy I call to mind the All-knowing,
The Merciful, the Compassionate,
My venerated Master;
I remember his teaching,
And the words of Fou-Na-Kia,
And I call to mind The sage Kshanti who resided in the forest:
They mutilated his feet and his hands,
They cut off his ears and his nose,
Without making him angry.

"A monk ought also to call to mind
That which is said in the Sutra:
Thus the Buddha enjoins upon the monks:
If with a saw they mutilate you,
All your members, your hands and your feet,
You must not get angry.
You must think solely of the Buddha;
You must call to mind the Precepts!

"In my previous states of existence
I have been put to death for adultery or for theft
So many times that they cannot be counted.
As deer, as stag, or as one of the six domestic animals,
I have been put to death innumerable times,
But in these occurrences I suffered without profit to myself.

"To die for the keeping of the Precepts
Is better than to live and violate them.

"Even if one desires to preserve his life,
He will end by dying just the same.
It is far better to keep the Precepts
And to preserve one's life for the profit of others.
Let us renounce this body, exposed to dangers,
To obtain life in Deliverance.

"Among those who renounce life,
There are those who reap merit therefrom,
And there are those who derive no profit therefrom.
The wise man, while preserving his life,
Reaps glory and merit;
The man without intelligence, when he abandons his life,
Suffers in vain, and gains no advantage."

At that moment the monk said to the jeweler: "Do not forget sentiments of pity! Oh, how I suffer!" Then the jeweler, weeping and sad, pronounced these stanzas:

"Even in the act of beating you, I suffer horribly;
And when I think of the king
Who will demand of me an accounting for my pearl,
Renewed is my inclination to torture you.

"Escape, then, from these sufferings,
And cause my sufferings to cease.
You have renounced the world;
You should renounce covetousness.
Drive covetousness from your heart!
Give me back my pearl!"

The monk smiled feebly, and pronounced these stanzas:

"Yes! my heart is full of covetousness,
But never have I desired this pearl.
Hearken to what I shall say to you:
What I covet is the good opinion
And the admiration of the sages;
What I covet is the Precepts
And the Law which procures final Deliverance.
The supreme object of my covetousness
Is the Way of the Deathless [Nirvana].

"Never has my heart desired your pearl.
I clothe myself with robes from a dust-heap,
I live on food received by way of alms,
I have established my residence under the trees:
All that suffices me.
What reason should I have
To make myself a thief?
Consider this well!"

The jeweler said to the monk: "What is the good of all these words?" Then he garrotcd him further, beat him with a stick, and bound him tight with cords. His eyes, his mouth, and his nose were bleeding.

At this moment the goose came back to drink his blood. The jeweler, furious, beat the goose to death. The monk said: "Is this goose quite dead?" The jeweler replied to him: "Why do you ask me whether the goose is dead or alive?" Then the monk turned towards the goose, and when he saw that she was dead, he wept and displayed no satisfaction. Then he uttered these stanzas:

"I endured all the tortures
In the hope of sparing the life of this goose.

"And now I remain alive still,
While the goose has died before me.

"In the hope of saving your life,
I endured these horrible sufferings.

"Why did you precede me in death?
No more do I deserve reward."

The jeweler asked the monk: "What affection have you for this goose, that you are so greatly afflicted [by her death]?" The monk replied to him: "I am sad because I have been unable to fulfil my vow. I formed the resolution to give my life for that of the goose. Now that this goose is dead, I am unable to fulfil my vow." The jeweler asked; "Why did you utter this vow?" The monk replied: "The Buddha, when he was still a Future Buddha, permitted his hands and his feet to be mutilated, and did not spare himself when the salvation of living beings was involved. I wished to imitate him." Then he uttered these stanzas:

"In times past, the Future Buddha
Sacrificed himself to redeem the life of a dove;
I formed a similar resolution,
I was sacrificing my life for a goose.

"I formed a noble resolution,
I desired to save the life of this goose.
But since you have just killed the goose,
I cannot fulfil my vow."

The jeweler said: "I do not yet understand your words. Explain to me in detail your reason for so acting." Then the monk replied to him with these stanzas:

"My robe red in color
Threw on the pearl a reflection of flesh color.

"This goose mistook it for a piece of meat
And swallowed it.

"I endured all the sufferings
To save this goose.

"In the midst of the tortures and the pains,
I hoped to save her life.

"The living beings of the whole world
Are regarded by the Buddha as his children;

"Even those who are destitute of all merit
Are embraced by the Buddha with pity.

"Gautama is my Master:
How could I let a living being suffer?

"This living being is my brother:
How could I wound him?"

When the jeweler had heard these stanzas, he opened the belly of the goose and recovered his pearl. Then he lamented in a loud voice, and said to the monk: "To save the life of the goose, you have not spared your own! And thus you have caused me to act contrary to the Law." Then he uttered these stanzas:

"You are a Treasury of Merits,
Like a fire that is covered with ashes.

"The result of my folly will be
That I shall be punished in many hundreds of births.

You are altogether worthy
To bear the standard of the Buddha.

"Blinded by my ignorance,
I have not been able to exercise good judgment.

"The fire of ignorance burns me.
Therefore pray remain a moment longer
To receive the expression of my repentance;

"As one who has stumbled,
Lift me up again from the earth, cause me to stand erect!
Accept a slight reparation from me!"

Then the jeweler joined his hands, addressed himself to the monk, and pronounced in a loud voice the following stanzas:

"Glory to him whose conduct is pure!
Glory to him who has kept the Precepts faithfully!

"Placed in a difficult position,
He has shown no sign of wavering.

"When one is not placed in a position similarly painful,
There is nothing extraordinary in keeping the Precepts.

"But when, in the midst of tortures like these,
One has the courage to keep the Precepts,
This is called performing a difficult act.

"To sustain tortures to save a goose,
And not violate the Precepts,--
This is in truth difficult to do."

When the jeweler had expressed his repentance, he permitted the monk to return to his residence.