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A story

Nov 19, 1996 11:06 PM
by kymsmith

Liesel wrote:

>For a spiritual group, methinks we have an inordinate amount of mud slingers.
>How's that for raising people's consciousness?

I offer a story, which in my opinion, may address this:


"There comes now an interesting passage in the life of the Buddha and this
history of philosophic religion.  About this time his foster-mother, she who
had nourished him after the death of his mother, sent to the World-Honored a
message from herself, from Yashodara and from other great ladies.  It was to
this effect:

   "Full of hindrances is the household life, very free the life of the
homeless for such as would walk in the Way!  Let the Blissful One permit
that women also retire to the peace of the homeless life, under the
discipline taught by the Lord."

But he returned no answer: and a second time they asked, believing that
women have much need of the Peace.  His foster-mother Prajapati herself came
and made this request with tears, and he answered:

    "Enough, lady.  Do not make this request."

So wandering and teaching he came to Vaishali, and Prajapati with shorn hair
and yellow robes, followed by many of the Shakya ladies, journeyed there on
foot and waited in the porch of the Pagoda Hall, very sorrowful.  There the
beloved disciple Ananda, cousin of the Buddha, met them and seeing their
feet cut and bleeding from travel, and their faces covered with dust and
tears, asked the reason.  Having heard all he went to the Buddha and
besought for these women and was refused.  Again and yet again he
besought--in vain.  But pity urged Ananda to perserverance, and he said:

    "Lord, if women retire to the homeless life, is it possible for them to
attain Arahatship [the higher consciousness]?  Escaping from sorrow can they
reach this?"

And he in who is all truth answered:

    "They can attain."

Then Ananda gladdened (his name means Joy), and he said:

    "Then let the Blessed One think of the Lady Prajapati!  She is sister to
the mother of the Blessed One, and at her breast he was nourished.  Let them
be admitted.  If they can thus end sorrow, should it not be permitted?"

And the Buddha answered:

    "I cannot refuse.  If they will accept eight weighty rules in addition
to those accepted by the Order and will be subject to the Order it shall be
reckoned to them for ordination."

And when, standing patiently, they heard this, sorrow passed from them and
with joy they accepted the Rules.

Later, the Buddha meditating said:

    "If, Ananda, women had not accepted ordination under my discipline [my]
religion would have endured a thousand years in India.  Now even with the
eight weighty regulations it shall not endure."

(Beck, L. Adam, The Story of Oriental Philosophy, pp.143-144)

My interpretation of the moral of this story:

You can say really dumb things, say things that hurt people's feelings, and
say things that are clearly wrong. . .and still be a really, super cool
human being.

And be a really, super cool "spiritual" discussion list, too.


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