True observation of the precepts
protects oneself as much
as it protects others.
Vakkula was a strange child. He was not born crying like most children, but entered the world smiling, Not only was he smiling, he was sitting upright in full lotus. Seeing this, his mother exclaimed, ‘He’s a monster.’ and threw him on the brazier to burn. After three or four hours, he hadn’t burned; he just sat there in full lotus laughing.
Fully convinced that he was a monster she then tried to boil him. When she took the cover off the pot several hours later, he just smiled back at her. ‘Oh no.’ she cried, and threw him into the ocean. He did not drown, however, because a big fish swam up and swallowed him. Then a man netted the fish and cut it open. Vakkula stepped out, unharmed by the knife.
So the fire didn’t burn him, the water didn’t boil him, the ocean didn’t drown him, the fish didn’t chomp him to death, and the fisherman’s knife didn’t cut him. Because he kept the precept against killing in every life, he obtained these five kinds of death-free retribution. The precept against killing any sentient being (not only humans) is the first major prohibition in all sets of Buddhist precepts, whether for monks or laypersons, sravakas or Bodhisattvas.
Thus Have I Heard: Buddhist Parables & Stories