Wednesday, November 14, 2007

taking is bondage; discarding is freedom

four pratyekabuddhas were staying together in the house of a potter. thus begins not a bad buddhist joke, but a tight little narrative i have just come across in a collection of stories about nuns. it is drawn from the vinaya and retold by the great tibetan polymath buston. the potter sees the four pratyekabuddhas meditating at night, and is inspired to ask them how they came to ordain. here is their exchange:

"where and why did you ordain?"

“have you heard of king rna lag can of the kalinga country?”

“yes, i have heard of him.”

“that was me. after seeing the shortcomings of kingship, i ordained.”

"what did you see?”

“a bird was carrying meat. as it was flying in the sky, many other birds attacked it. it flung the meat away, and another bird took it. then they surrounded the one who had taken it, and stole it from him. seeing that, i had the thought, ‘taking is bondage; discarding is freedom,’ and i ordained.

1 comment:

gujugalpal said...

fantastic story! thanks for sharing it.