The Little Golden Bird
The monks spent their days contentedly in prayer and meditation, and the beauty of their surroundings was all they needed to make them forget the world. Then one day, something happened to change their life in this peaceful corner, making the days seem shorter and not so monotonous. No longer did they live peacefully together, indeed they started to quarrel. But what had happened?
A young monk had arrived, upsetting their lives by telling them all about the outside world beyond the garden wall. He told them about cities, the bright lights, everyday life full of entertainments and pleasure. And when the monks heard about this different world, they no longer wanted to remain in what had, till then, seemed paradise, but now turned into a lonely existence.
With the young monk as their leader, first one group then another left the temple. Weeds began to sprout on the paths and the temple was almost deserted. Then the last five monks, torn between their love for the sacred spot and the wish to see the new world they'd heard about, sadly got ready to leave.
But just as they were about to turn their backs on the temple, a golden bird, dangling five long white strings, fluttered over their heads. Each monk felt himself drawn to clasp one of the strings, and suddenly the little group found itself carried away to the land of their dreams. And there, they saw the outside world as it really was, full of hate, misery and violence, a world without scruples, where peace was forever banned.
It was a long journey, and when the golden bird brought them back to the temple garden, they decided never to leave it again. Three times the bird circled overhead before it vanished into the sky. And the monks knew then that Buddha had come to help them find the pathway to true happiness.