Buddha once said, "All living creatures have Buddha nature". Even creatures like a worm or a little bird too are worthy of living.
There is an old folklore in India about a man in white who rescued a little bird. Somewhere in a countryside, a group of workmen were resting under the tree after work. Suddenly, they heard the sound of flapping wings. After a little while, they heard a bird crying in distress. Therefore, they followed the direction of the sound to take a look. After a while, the workmen saw a little bird that was flapping its wings to try to fly away but kept falling to the ground. There was a cohort of children happily chasing the bird that was struggling to get away.
At this moment, a person in white walked pass with his entourage. The person in white approached the children and said to them, "Are you playing with this little bird?"
He then bent over to pick the bird up carefully. He saw that the little bird's foot was tied to a rope with a rock attached to one end. It was no wonder that it could not fly away.
The man in white felt sorry for the little bird and he wanted to set it free. However, the children said, "The bird belongs to us, you cannot let it go."
The man in white replied, "Alright, I would like to buy this bird, how much will you sell it?"
The kids happily sold the little bird to the man in white, whom immediately untied the string on the bird's foot and released it. The little bird happily flapped its wings and circled a few times on top of the man before flying away with delightful chirps.
After that, the man in white said to the children, "Don't you think it is beautiful that the little bird can fly freely and chirp happily? All beings have their worth and right to live, this is the beauty of all lives in this world!"
The children and those workers who were spectators to this episode heard what the man said, and they felt ashamed of themselves. Glad to see that everyone has repented, the man in white patted each of the child’s head and left with his entourage.
After the man in white had left for some time, the workers and the children felt that the man was not an ordinary person, as he had spoken such wisdom. One of the children suddenly yelled, "Isn't he our King?"
The King referred by the child is King Ashoka. King Ashoka was a kind and compassionate King. He often dressed in white and walked among the commoners to learn about the living conditions of the commoners.
The person who is noble and kind understands the beauty of life and respect all lives. By cultivating spiritually, we too can respect all living beings and cherish the beauty of all living creatures.