Crows have always been black. They are black to
begin with; they don’t
have to be dyed that color. And swans have always been white. They are
white from birth. Humans and gods have always stood upright. Humans and
celestial beings all walk erect. And animals have always walked on four
legs. Animals walk horizontally, with their four legs on the ground.
This is all fixed. Their whiteness does not come from being washed, and
their blackness does not come from being dyed. For example, crows are
black, but they weren’t dyed black. Also, swans did not have to be
washed to become white. And there have never been nor will there be any
changes for eighty thousand eons.
says: “As I now examine to the end of this life, I find the same
holds true. In fact, I have never seen Bodhi, so how can there be such
a thing as the attainment of Bodhi? You should now realize that there
is no cause for the existence of any phenomena.”
This person is able to see the events that occur
within eighty thousand
great eons, so he says, “As I now examine to the end of this life, the
life of this physical body, I find the same holds true.” Just like the
living beings that he perceives within eighty thousand great eons, his
body also has no source from which it comes. He says, “In fact, I have
never seen Bodhi. I have yet to see what Bodhi looks like, so how can
there be such a thing as the attainment of Bodhi? I’ve looked
throughout the eighty thousand great eons and haven’t even caught a
glimpse of Bodhi, so why should I believe that it is possible to attain
Bodhi? You should now realize that there is no cause for the existence
of any phenomena; for no reason whatsoever, they come into being.”
Actually, he can only see within the range of eighty thousand great
eons, and he has no idea of what occurs beyond that period of time.
When the Buddha was in the world, an old man came
to the monastery
wishing to leave the home-life. The Buddha was away on the road and not
at the monastery. The Arhats there all took a look at the old man, who
was probably over eighty years old, with wrinkled skin, white hair, and
an unsteady gait. Whenever a person requested to leave the home-life,
the Arhats would look into his past causes and future effects. Now they
contemplated the old man’s causes and found that in the past eighty
thousand eons he had not planted a single good root; he had not done
any good deeds.
The great Arhats said, “Since you didn’t plant
good roots, you cannot leave the home-life.”
You shouldn’t think leaving home is so easy. To
leave home, you have to
plant good roots for Bodhi in life after life. So the Arhats told the
old man, “Although you wish to leave the home-life now, since you don’t
have any good roots, we can’t allow you to leave home.You’d better go.”
When the old man heard that, he began to cry. He
began to weep as he
thought about his unlucky fate. At such an advanced age, he had wished
to leave the home-life and had been rejected by the Buddha’s disciples.
As he walked along crying, he thought, “I might as well commit suicide.
I could hang myself or throw myself into the river. I don’t want to
live anymore.” However, his one thought of sincerity evoked a response.
The Buddha came back and asked him, “What are you crying for?”
He said, “I wanted to leave the home-life, but the
Buddha wasn’t at the
monastery and the Buddha’s disciples wouldn’t allow me to leave home.
They said that I hadn’t planted any good roots or done any good deeds
in the last eighty thousand great eons. That’s why I think I’d be
better off dead. There’s no point in living.”
The Buddha said, “Don’t cry anymore. I will help
you. I will let you
leave the home-life. Come with me to the monastery.” Thus the old man
returned to the monastery and left the home-life under the Buddha. All
of the Buddha’s disciples were perplexed.
“Strange! The Buddha accepts only those who have
good roots. Why did
the Buddha accept that old man, who didn’t have any good roots?” the
To be continued