The Shravaka disciples,
Both men and women,
Contemplate and practice the Four Noble Truths,
Concealing the real and displaying the expedient.
After Shakyamuni became a Buddha, he first spoke the Avatamsaka Sutra, which very few beings were able to understand. He then “concealed the true and offered the expedient teaching,” and he spoke the Agama Sutras. “Whom should I teach?” the Buddha wondered. Then he recalled, “Previously I had five fellow- cultivators who supported my practice. I should teach them first, because in the past I vowed that when I became a Buddha, I would first teach those who have slandered me, killed me, or treated me badly.” Who had treated the Buddha the worst? If you’ve read the Vajra Sutra, you’ll know about King Kali. On the causal ground, when Shakyamuni Buddha was cultivating as a patient immortal, King Kali had chopped off the limbs of his body. Why?
In that previous life, Shakyamuni Buddha was a skilled cultivator. His body was covered with a thick layer of dust and dirt, and he never went down the mountain. He remained there cultivating ascetic practices. One day King Kali took his concubines-his wives-along on a deer hunt. The women accompanied him into the mountains, but had no interest in hunting with the King. They wanted to have fun on their own. While strolling around in the mountains, they came upon a strange creature. They weren’t quite sure what it was. Its eyebrows were three inches long and its hair was two feet long. Its face seemed to have never been washed, for the dirt caked on it was extremely thick. The dirt on its clothing was at least an inch thick. When these women saw it, they couldn't figure out what it was. They said,“It's a monster! Let's get out of here!”
Then the cultivator said, “You don't have to leave; I'm not a monster.
“It can speak!” they gasped. One of the braver ones asked him, “What are you doing here?”
He replied, “I'm cultivating.”
She asked, “What do you mean by ‘ultivating’?”
He said, “I'm cultivating in order to become a Buddha.” Then he taught them the Dharma.
The women grew friendlier and expressed their concern, “You endure so much difficulty here. What do you eat?”
He answered, “I eat whatever there is-roots and leaves. I don’t go out asking for food from people.”
By that time the women's fears vanished. One of them reached out to touch his eyebrows; another touched his hands, and yet a third patted his face. They viewed the cultivator as something precious and tried to get closer to him.
Meanwhile, King Kali had finished hunting and was looking for his concubines. He found them all gathered around something and tried to see what they were up to. He worked his way slowly toward them, not making a sound, and when he was close enough he saw them talking with a very strange man. What is more, one was touching his hands and another was patting his feet! Seeing them acting so friendly, the King immediately grew jealous. The cultivator was talking to his women about cultivation.
In a rage, the King bellowed, “You have no business cheating my women! What are you cultivating?”
The cultivator replied, “I'm cultivating patience.”
“And what do you mean by ‘patience’?”
“I will not become angry at anyone who scolds or beats me.”
To be contiued