IT is reported that two kingdoms were on the verge of war for the possession of a certain embankment which was disputed by them. And the Buddha seeing the kings and their armies ready to fight, requested them to tell him the cause of their quarrels. Having heard the complaints on both sides, he said:
"I understand that the embankment has value for some of your people; has it any intrinsic value aside from its service to your men?"
"It has no intrinsic value whatever was the reply.
The Tathagata continued: "Now when you go to battle is it not sure that many of your men will be slain and that you yourselves, O kings, are liable to lose your lives?" And they said: "It is sure that many will be slain and our own lives be jeopardized."
"The blood of men, however," said Buddha, "has it less intrinsic value than a mound of earth?" "No," the kings said, "The lives of men and above all the lives of kings, are priceless." Then the Tathagata concluded: care you going to stake that which is priceless against that which has no intrinsic value whatever?--The wrath of the two monarchs abated, and they came to a peaceable agreement.