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Between Master and Disciples

Buddhist Stories: “The Brahmin with a Single Robe” (Part 1 of 2) Sept. 18, 2015

2018-02-04
Language:English

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“This is a story about a Brahmin with a single robe. Single robe, one pair of clothes. One robe. ‘Make haste towards the good.’ This is the instruction given by the Buddha while he was in residence at Jetavana Park.” “For Culla Ekasataka possessed only a single undergarment. And his wife possessed only a single undergarment, and both of them together possessed only a single upper garment.” “One day, an announcement was made that there would be a preaching at the monastery. ‘Will you go to hear the Dharma by day or by night?’ they asked each other. ‘For we do not have enough upper garments between us to go together.’ The Brahmin’s wife replied, ‘Husband, I will go in the daytime.’ So saying, she put on the upper garment and went. The Brahmin spent the day at home. At night, he went to the monastery, seated himself in front of the Buddha and listened to the Dharma. As he listened to the Dharma, the five sorts of joy arose within him, suffusing his body. He greatly desired to do honor to the Buddha. But the following thought restrained him.” “So he was struggling inside himself. ‘I will give it. No, I will not. No, I will give it. No, I will not.’ This is a similar story here, right? Sounds familiar, no? ‘I go see Master. No, I won’t.’” “He said, ‘Two watches have elapsed. If these powerful thoughts of self’ ... self-comfort, self-interest, selfish, ‘increase, they will not permit me to lift up my head from the Four States of Suffering.’ At least he still knows that.” “That’s why finally he stood up. And took his garment, he laid it at the Teacher’s feet, means the Buddha, and thrice cried out with a loud voice, ‘I have conquered! I have conquered!’” “So King Pasenadi of Kosala happened to be listening to the Dharma at that time, so when he heard that person cried, he asked his subordinate to come and ask him, ‘Ask him what he has conquered?’ The king’s man asked the Brahmin the question, and the Brahmin explained the matter to them. When the King heard the explanation, he said, ‘It was a hard thing to do what the Brahmin did. I will do him a kindness.’ See, immediately had a good reward for the charity deed that he did, the offering.” “Wow! The monks started a discussion in the Hall of Truth thus: ‘Oh, how wonderful was the deed of Culla Ekasataka! No sooner done than he received all manner of presents of four. As soon as he did a good deed, straightaway the fruit thereof was given to him.’ The Buddha approached and asked the monks, ‘Monks, what are you sitting here now and talking about?’ When they told him, he said, ‘Monks, had Ekasataka been able to bring himself to give me his gift in the first watch, he would have received the Gift of Sixteens.’” “Because it was not until late in the last watch even,” not even the beginning of the last watch, but the last time of the last watch, almost the end of the last watch “that he gave me his gift, he received only the Gift of Fours. He who does good works should not put away the impulse to good that arises within him, but should act on it at the instant, at that instant. A meritorious deed tardily done brings its reward, but tardy is the reward it brings. Brings less. Therefore, a man should perform a good deed the instant the impulse to good arises within him.” So saying, he showed the connection, and teaching the Dharma, pronounced the following stanza: “Make haste towards the good”; means hurry. If you want to do good things, hurry, do it right away. “And check one’s mind from (for) evil. If one is slow in making merit, one’s mind delights in evil.” That is a problem. Not only if we are slow in doing a good deed, then we have less merit, but then, meanwhile, the mind will be occupied with evil thinking as well.
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