As you may already know,
in ancient times there were merchants
who ventured out across the ocean
to get precious jewels before returning
back to the mainland to sell them.
On one particular trip,
a ship with five hundred merchants was
returning to port when they were
caught in a terrible hurricane.
The boat overturned,
throwing all the merchants in the water.
Soon the boat sank,
leaving very little for the men to hold onto.
All five hundred were facing death.
A great sea turtle,
having seen this disaster,
swam into their midst
so that they could hold onto his back
and help each other stay afloat.
The turtle bodhisattva used his strength
to head for the shore,
saving the lives of all these men.
Once on land,
he sacrificed his body
to 80,000 flies.
Later after becoming a Buddha,
he taught the Dharma to the flies,
who had been reborn as 80,000 gods,
and established them in the vision of the truth.
1.Door to Inconceivable Wisdom and Compassion, Sky Dancer Press, 1996
2. Path of Heroes Birth of Enlightenment
by Zhechen Gyaltsab Padma Gyurmed Namgyal
Dharma Publishing, 1998