The Buddha Joins Minds with an Elephant, Nalagiri

This synopsis of a historically documented miracle performed by Gautama Buddha is offered in celebration of the holiday of the butter lamps in Tibet….please feel free to share some miracles of your own in the comments below.

This is a story of how the Buddha joined minds with an elephant, and healed the elephant.

There was, at one time, a savage elephant named Nalagiri in the town of Rajagaha, an elephant known to have killed men.  One morning, the Blessed One (this is how Buddha is addressed in the ancient texts) went out into the street in Rajagaha to request alms.  A sworn enemy of the Buddha arranged for the savage elephant to be released in the Buddha’s presence at that moment with intent to harm, even kill him.  Some  villagers looked on in terror as Nalagiri raised his trunk, and with his tail erect began to charge at the Buddha.  The wise villagers looked on and said “now tusker will be contending with tusker”. 

Then, the Buddha encompassed the elephant with thoughts of loving kindness.  The Elephant lowered his trunk and humbly approached the Buddha, dipping his trunk down to the earth and scooped up some earth and sprinkled on the Buddha.  Nalagiri the elephant then returned quiet to the stable where he was kept, and was known as a peaceful and helpful elephant thereafter. 

Story recounted in “The Life of the Buddha” by Bhikku Nanamoli

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