Two monks and a lady.

Post sayings or stories from Buddhist traditions which you find interesting, inspiring or useful. (Your own stories are welcome on DW, but in the Creative Writing or Personal Experience forums rather than here.)
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Two monks and a lady.

Post by muni »

...about a lady on the riverbank, engrossed in thought-emotion or carried across the river:

"Two Buddhist Monks were on a journey, one was a senior monk, the other a junior monk. During their journey they approached a raging river and on the river bank stood a young lady. She was clearly concerned about how she would get to the other side of the river without drowning.

The junior monk walked straight past her without giving it a thought and he crossed the river. The senior monk picked up the woman and carried her across the river. He placed her down, they parted ways with woman and on they went with the journey.

As the journey went on, the senior monk could see some concern on the junior monk's mind, he asked what was wrong. The junior monk replied, "how could you carry her like that? You know we can't touch women, it's against our way of life". The senior monk answered, "I left the woman at the rivers edge a long way back, why are you still carrying her?"

The moral of that buddhist monk story: The senior monk had broken rules but for good reason. Once the purpose was fulfilled he put her down and continued on. He never gave it a further thought. The junior monk however did not touch the woman but he had brought up the actions of the senior monk when it was an action of the past. Therefore the junior monk was carrying the burden of what the senior monk had done as emotional baggage.

We have little use for the past except for the purpose of learning from our experiences, good and bad. Just like in the Buddhist monk story, we need to let go of any burden the past may place on us. It's happened, it's over, it cannot be changed, we can only move forward and create a compelling future."

I think that the senior monk just acted out of compassion with smooth, bright " undistracted mind", and so without a wave of thought as : "Ouch I must take a woman up my arms" but just a caring act for another human fellow. The young monk, focussed on respected rules, judged and clouds of concepts were the solidified burden he seemingly was dwelling in.
_/\_ _/\_ _/\_
Ngawang Drolma
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Re: Two monks and a lady.

Post by Ngawang Drolma »

This has always been one of my favorite dharma stories :namaste:
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Re: Two monks and a lady.

Post by buddhaflower »

Dear muni,

I really like this story :twothumbsup:

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Re: Two monks and a lady.

Post by waimengwan »

Yes the difference between theory and application :)
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Re: Two monks and a lady.

Post by mohitsharma »

Very nice story.

I also follow this principle i.e. I usually break the rules for the good cause.

Touched my heart.
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Quiet Heart
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Re: Two monks and a lady.

Post by Quiet Heart »

I like this story also, but some of you seem to have missed the "bite" in this story.
In some versions the "lady" is clearly a concubine, on her way to met a "client".
It was intended to show she was clearly a prostitute.
That is why the junior monk was so critical.
As the senior monk tries to point out he simply picked her up, carried her across the muddy water, and then put her down on the other side.
It was the junior monk who passed an unwarranted judgement on her.
And that was exactly the point of the story, at least before it was "cleaned up" to be more presentable.
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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