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The Two-Headed Bird

Host: Venerable Miao Guang

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Once upon a time, up in a snowy mountain, there lived a two-headed bird. One head was named Garuda, the other Upagaruda. Usually, they would hunt during the day and rest at night. Both of them have an agreement, when one is asleep, the other one must stay awake to keep watch.

On one hot day, after flying for a whole morning, Garuda and Upagaruda decided to take a rest under a fruit tree. As the cool breeze blew, both of them stared into space and rested in silence. Soon Upagaruda fell asleep, and Garuda knew he had to be the one to stay awake.

Suddenly, a gust of wind brought one of the branches down and landed next to Garuda. He could smell the fruits, and began to salivate. It was at that moment, he realized that his stomach was rumbling. Seeing Upagaruda fast asleep, he thought, “If I eat this fruit, it will end up in our stomach. I am sure Upagaruda won’t mind as both of us will feel full, and our energy will be revived with the nutrients.” So, Garuda ate the fruit alone without waking Upagaruda.

Not long after that, Upagaruda awoke feeling full in the stomach. He couldn’t help himself and burped. Out of curiosity, he asked, “Where did you get such delicious food? I am feeling content and revitalized. Now I feel comfortable and even my voice is much sharper.”

Garuda replied, “Oh good! While you were asleep, the wind blew down the fruits. I saw you fast asleep, and so I ate the fruit on my own. It was really delicious! But I figured, you will still feel full, even if I’m the one eating, that’s why I did not wake you up.”

Upon hearing what had happened, Upagaruda was furious and yelled, “How dare you enjoy the delicious food on your own?! How can you be so selfish?! Fine! In the future, if I find anything good, I will never tell you!”

One week had past, and Upagaruda was still holding a grudge. One afternoon, the two-headed bird rested under a tree again. This time, the fruits were poisonous and not meant for birds.
However, Upagaruda believed, “This is my chance to take revenge.”

He turned to Garuda and said, “Go on, you can sleep. I will stay watch.”

“Are you sure?" Garuda asked.

“Yes, go ahead and take a good rest.”

Upagaruda waited for a while, when he saw that Garuda was deep into the sleep, he stretched forward and swallowed the poisonous fruits.

Immediately, Garuda woke up in cold sweats; feeling uneasy, he burped loudly and asked, “What is that smell? What did you eat?”

Upagaruda answered, “The poisonous fruits. Haha!”

But it was too late for both of them, they choked to death.

This story reminds us that everyone living on earth influences each other, we have such “two-headed bird” relationships with many people, with our friends and family, with our classmates and colleagues, even with strangers and the entire human race. Indeed, we all coexist as one. If due to a momentary anger, we endanger the peace and harmony of everyone, then it will be just like Upagaruda eating the poisonous fruits. It becomes a lost cause for all of us.

It is also said that, one type of rice feeds a thousand different kinds of people. However, every single person’s upbringing is different. Inevitably, our mindset and attitudes will differ due to a difference in education and environment. Without seeing the causes and conditions of each situation, we will not be able to embrace the difference, or be willing to understand each other. As a result, it brings about many unnecessary disputes and misunderstandings. And sometimes when we hurt others out of anger, it does not solve the situation, and it might even come back on us.

Just as Venerable Master Hsing Yun says,
Selfishness provokes war.
Hatred rouses calamity.
Sympathy conveys warmth.
Attentiveness brings progress.