Friday, October 5, 2012

Saints And Animals

I would like to return to St. Francis and the connection between saintly people and animals. When I was in Italy I visited the beautiful medieval town of Gubbio where St. Francis  arranged the pact between the townsfolk and the wolf. If you don’t know the story you can read it at It is a charming story.
There are stories about saints and animals helping each other in the Buddhist tradition too.   Here is one of the less well-known ones ‘Now at that time Venerable Sariputta  was suffering from a fever. Then Maha Moggallana went to him and said; “When you had a fever before what did you take to cure it?” “I took lotus stalks” he replied. Then as   easily as a strong man might stretch out his arm or bend it back Moggallana disappeared from the Jetavana and reappeared on the banks of the Mandakini lotus lake. Now a certain elephant saw Moggallana coming and said to him; “Honoured sir come,  you are welcome. What do you need? What can  I get for you”? Moggallana told him and the elephant instructed another elephant to get lotus stalks for him. Then that elephant plunged into the lake, pulled up lotus stalks with its trunk, washed them clean, tied them into a bundle, and went over to Moggalana and gave them to him. Then as easily as a strong man might stretch out his arm or bend it back Moggallana disappeared from there and reappeared in the Jetavana  and gave the lotus stalks to Sariputta. Venerable used them and his fever abated’.  (Vinaya I,114-5)   The photo is by Rog from 


Blogger said...

:) Like!!

These tales may or may not be real nevertheless they are awe inspiring.The authors of these simple tales could surely give a modern sci-fi writer a run for his money.

P.S.:Blogs must have a like button as in facebook.

ze said...

at ocident there is saint Rock ( Roque )a italian doctor who when sick is saved by his dog who brings him food and water with whom he is represented at statues. There is a tradition since Adam / Eva giving names to animals that nears saints and animals : s. Bras, s. Ieronimus and others.