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Purpose:

Find out the origin (reference) of this story.

Situation:

I got to know this Scorpion story from these websites.

The summary of this story is like this. The scorpion stung the man but he saved the scorpion. Because even though to sting is the scorpion's nature, his nature to save won't change.

Problem:

Unfortunately, neither one have the reference to the story. It could be a fake story and I want to find out if it is a true Buddhism story or not. I sent messages to both of the administrators. But I got no replies.

Comment

Does anyone know the original book of this story?

Thank you.

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The closest story I could find to what you were describing is in the Ahina Sutta:

"On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now, at that time in Savatthi a certain monk had died after having been bitten by a snake. Then a large number of monks went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there they said to him, "Lord, just now in Savatthi a certain monk died after having been bitten by a snake.

...

May all creatures, all breathing things, all beings — each & every one — meet with good fortune. May none of them come to any evil. Limitless is the Buddha, limitless the Dhamma, limitless the Sangha. There is a limit to creeping things: snakes, scorpions, centipedes, spiders, lizards, & rats."

...

(AN 4.67).

Other than this, I can find no other references in the Pali Canon similar to what you described.

-Apannaka

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  • Thank you anyways!
    – Jinn
    Aug 1 at 5:24
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The story means well, has some wisdom, but is also a bit confused. Listening to it, we might start trying to foolishly save scorpions with our bare hands and die for that.

AN8.74:2.4: A snake might bite me, or a scorpion or centipede might sting me.
AN8.74:2.5: And if I died from that it would stop my practice.

Although dying to save others is indeed better than ignoring others suffering...

AN4.95:2.2: The person who practices to benefit neither themselves nor others is like this, I say.
AN4.95:3.1: The person who practices to benefit others, but not themselves, is better than that.

...the best is to benefit all:

AN4.95:3.3: But the person who practices to benefit both themselves and others is the foremost, best, chief, highest, and finest of the four.

Please, in our compassion to save scorpions, know that scorpions are lethal. Do NOT get stung. Use a stick to help the dear creature escape.

Read the suttas directly. They are clear, helpful and not confused. And if a moving story leads us to the suttas, well, then that is also beautiful and fine.

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  • Sorry, I was asking the origin of this story... Do you have any other ideas of the origin of this scorpion story?
    – Jinn
    Aug 1 at 20:37
  • I searched the Tipitaka on SuttaCentral and there is nothing comparable. That suggests strongly that the scorpion story happened AFTER the Buddha's time. The other evidence of later origin is that the advice espoused is a bit misleading because it might cause us to react foolishly to dangers. It's a nice story but I'm fairly certain the Buddha himself would not have told that story.
    – OyaMist
    Aug 2 at 10:28
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    Yeah, I searched it too. I personally have different opinion about this story but it doesn't matter for this thread. Thank you anyways.
    – Jinn
    Aug 2 at 22:40

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