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06/26/20
A Rhinoceros Horn
Filed under: General, Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Abhidhamma Pitaka, Tipiṭaka KUSHINARA NIBBANA BHUMI PAGODA
Posted by: site admin @ 8:46 am

A Rhinoceros Horn


Translator’s note: The refrain in this sutta
is a subject of controversy. The text literally says, “Wander alone like
a ’sword-horn,’ which is the Pali term for rhinoceros. The commentary,
however, insists that this term refers not to the animal but to its
horn, for the Indian rhinoceros, unlike the African, has only one horn.
Still, some scholars have noted that while the Indian rhinoceros is a
solitary animal, rhinoceros horns don’t wander, and that in other verses
in the Pali canon, the phrase “wander alone like…” takes a person or an
animal, not an animal part, for its object. Thus, for example, in Dhp
329 (repeated below), one is told to “wander alone like a king
renouncing his kingdom, like the elephant in the Matanga woods, his
herd.” It’s possible that the rhinoceros was chosen here as an example
of solitary wandering both because of its habits and because of its
unusual single horn. However, in a translation, it’s necessary to choose
one reading over the other. Thus, because wandering “like a rhinoceros”
sounds more natural than wandering “like a horn,” I have chosen the
former rendering. Keep in mind, though, that the singularity of the
rhinoceros’ horn reinforces the image.

As noted under I.1,
there is evidence suggesting that the verses here were originally
separate poems, composed on separate occasions, and that they have been
gathered together because of their common refrain.





Renouncing violence
for all living beings,
harming not even a one,
you would not wish for offspring,
so how a companion?
Wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
For a sociable person
there are allurements;
on the heels of allurement, this pain.
Seeing allurement’s drawback,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
One whose mind
is enmeshed in sympathy
for friends & companions,
neglects the true goal.
Seeing this danger in intimacy,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Like spreading bamboo,
entwined,
is concern for offspring & spouses.
Like a bamboo sprout,
unentangling,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
As a deer in the wilds,
unfettered,
goes for forage wherever it wants:
the wise person, valuing freedom,
wanders alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
In the midst of companions
— when staying at home,
	when going out wandering —
you are prey to requests.
Valuing the freedom
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
There is sporting & love
in the midst of companions,
& abundant fondness for offspring.
	Feeling disgust
at the prospect of parting
from those who’d be dear,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
They are hard to please,
some of those gone forth,
as well as those living the household life.
Shedding concern
for these offspring of others,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Cutting off the householder’s marks,1
like a kovilara tree
	that has shed its leaves,
the prudent one, cutting all household ties,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
If you gain a mature companion,
a fellow traveler, right-living & wise,
overcoming all dangers
	go with him, gratified,
mindful.
	
If you don’t gain a mature companion,
a fellow traveler, right-living & wise,
wander alone
like a king renouncing his kingdom,
like the elephant in the Matanga wilds,
his herd.
	
We praise companionship
— yes!
Those on a par, or better,
should be chosen as friends.
If they’re not to be found,
living faultlessly,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Seeing radiant bracelets of gold,
well-made by a smith,
clinking, clashing,
two on an arm,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros,

[thinking:]

“In the same way,
if I were to live with another,
there would be careless talk or abusive.”
Seeing this future danger,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Because sensual pleasures,
elegant, honeyed, & charming,
bewitch the mind with their manifold forms —
seeing this drawback in sensual strands —
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
“Calamity, tumor, misfortune,
disease, an arrow, a danger for me.”
Seeing this danger in sensual strands,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Cold & heat, hunger & thirst,
wind & sun, horseflies & snakes:
enduring all these, without exception,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
As a great white elephant,
with massive shoulders,
renouncing his herd,
lives in the wilds wherever he wants,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
“There’s no way
that one delighting in company
can touch even momentary release.”
Heeding the Solar Kinsman’s words,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Transcending the contortion of views,
	the sure way attained,
	the path gained,

[realizing:]

“Unled by others,
I have knowledge arisen,”
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
With no greed, no deceit,
no thirst, no hypocrisy —
delusion & blemishes
blown away —
with no inclinations for all the world,
every world,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Avoid the evil companion
disregarding the goal,
	intent on the out-of-tune way.
Don’t take as a friend
someone heedless & hankering.
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Consort with one who is learned,
	who maintains the Dhamma,
	a great & quick-witted friend.
Knowing the meanings,
subdue your perplexity,
[then] wander alone
like a rhinoceros,
	
Free from longing, finding no pleasure
in the world’s sport, love, or sensual bliss,
abstaining from adornment,
speaking the truth,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Abandoning offspring, spouse,
father, mother,
riches, grain, relatives,
& sensual pleasures
altogether,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
“This is a bondage, a baited hook.
There’s little happiness here,
next to no satisfaction,
all the more suffering & pain.”
Knowing this, circumspect,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Shattering fetters,
like a fish in the water tearing a net,
like a fire not coming back to what’s burnt,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Taking off the householder’s marks,2
like a coral tree
	that has shed its leaves,
going forth in the ochre robe,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Showing no greed for flavors, not careless,
going from house to house for alms,
with mind unenmeshed in this family or that,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Abandoning barriers to awareness,
expelling all defilements — all —
non-dependent, cutting aversion,
allurement,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Turning your back on pleasure & pain,
as earlier with sorrow & joy,
attaining pure equanimity,
tranquillity,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
With persistence aroused
for the highest goal’s attainment,
with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action,
firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Not neglecting seclusion, absorption,
constantly living the Dhamma
	in line with the Dhamma,
comprehending the danger
in states of becoming,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Intent on the ending of craving & heedful,
learned, mindful, not muddled,
certain — having reckoned the Dhamma —
& striving,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Unstartled, 	like a lion at sounds.
Unsnared, 	like the wind in a net.
Unsmeared, like a lotus in water:
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Like a lion — forceful, strong in fang,
living as a conqueror, the king of beasts —
resort to a solitary dwelling.
Wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
At the right time consorting
with the release through good will,
compassion,
appreciation,
equanimity,
unobstructed by all the world,
any world,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
Having let go of 	passion,
aversion,
delusion;
having shattered the fetters;
undisturbed at the ending of life,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
	
People follow & associate
for a motive.
Friends without a motive these days
are rare.
They’re shrewd for their own ends, & impure.
Wander alone
like a rhinoceros.


The Farmer


At Savatthi. Now at that time the Blessed One was
instructing, urging, rousing, & encouraging the True Followers of
The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata with a
Doctrine-Practice of The Path Shown BY The Blessed,Noble,Awakened
One-The Tathagata talk concerning Unbinding. TheTrue Followers of The
Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata   —
attentive, interested, lending ear, focusing their entire awareness —
were listening to the Doctrine-Practice of The Path Shown BY The
Blessed,Noble


Then the thought occurred to the Evil One:
“Gotama the contemplative is instructing, urging, rousing, &
encouraging the True Followers of The Path Shown by The
Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata  with a Doctrine-Practice of
The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata talk
concerning Unbinding. The monks — attentive, interested, lending ear,
focusing their entire awareness — are listening to the
Doctrine-Practice of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened
One-The Tathagata. What if I were to go to Gotama the contemplative to
obscure his vision?”


Then  the Evil One, taking on the form of a farmer with a
large plowshare over his shoulder, carrying a long goad stick — his hair
disheveled, his clothes made of coarse hemp, his feet splattered with
mud — went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, said, “Hey,
contemplative. Have you seen my oxen?”


“And what are your oxen, Evil One?”


“Mine alone is the eye, contemplative. Mine are forms, mine
is the sphere of consciousness & contact at the eye. Where can you
go to escape me? Mine alone is the ear… the nose… the tongue… the body…
Mine alone is the intellect, contemplative. Mine are ideas, mine is the
sphere of consciousness & contact at the intellect. Where can you go
to escape me?”


Yours
alone is the eye, Evil One. Yours are forms, yours is the sphere of
consciousness of contact at the eye. Where no eye exists, no forms
exist, no sphere of consciousness & contact at the eye exists:
there, Evil One, you cannot go. Yours alone is the ear… the nose… the
tongue… the body… Yours alone is the intellect, Evil One. Yours are
ideas, yours is the sphere of consciousness & contact at the
intellect. Where no intellect exists, no ideas exist, no sphere of
consciousness of contact at the intellect exists: there, Evil One, you
cannot go.”



[Evil One:]



Of what they say,
‘This is mine’;
and those who say,
‘Mine’:
If your intellect’s here,
contemplative,
you can’t escape
from me.


[The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata:]



What they speak of
isn’t mine,
and I’m not one of those
who speak it.
Know this, Evil One:
you won’t even see
my tracks.

Then  the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, “The
Blessed One knows me; the One Well-gone knows me” — vanished right
there.

Spiritual Community of The Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata



While meditating under the Bo tree in the forest at Gaya (now
Bodhgaya, India) during the full-moon night of May, the Bodhisatta
becomes the The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata (age 36).

During the full-moon night of July, the The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata delivers his first discourse near Varanasi, introducing the world to the Four Noble Truths
and commencing a 45-year career of teaching the religion he called
“Doctrine-Practice of The Path Shown by The Awakened One-The
Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata-vinaya.”

Setting the Wheel of  in Doctrine-Practice of
The Path Shown by The Awakened One-The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The
Tathagata in Motion

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Varanasi in the Game Refuge at Isipatana. There he addressed the group of five monks:

There are these two extremes
that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two?
That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual
objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is
devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding
both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata —
producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct
knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

And what is the middle way
realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge —
leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding?
Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right
speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness,
right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathagata
that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct
knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

Now this, True Followers of The Path
Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata, is the noble
truth of stress: Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is
stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are
stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from
the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In
short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.

“And this, True Followers of The Path Shown by The
Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata, is the noble truth of the
origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming —
accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there
— i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for
non-becoming.

“And this, True Followers of The Path Shown by The
Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata, is the noble truth of the
cessation of stress: the remainderless fading & cessation,
renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very
craving.

“And this, True Followers of The Path Shown by The
Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata, is the noble truth of the way
of practice leading to the cessation of stress: precisely this Noble
Eightfold Path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action,
right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose,
illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before:
‘This is the noble truth of stress’… ‘This noble truth of stress is to
be comprehended’… ‘This noble truth of stress has been comprehended.’

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose,
illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before:
‘This is the noble truth of the origination of stress’… ‘This noble
truth of the origination of stress is to be abandoned’ … ‘This noble
truth of the origination of stress has been abandoned.’

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose,
illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before:
‘This is the noble truth of the cessation of stress’… ‘This noble truth
of the cessation of stress is to be directly experienced’… ‘This noble
truth of the cessation of stress has been directly experienced.’

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose,
illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before:
‘This is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation
of stress’… ‘This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the
cessation of stress is to be developed’… ‘This noble truth of the way of
practice leading to the cessation of stress has been developed.’

“And, True Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened
One-The Tathagata, as long as this knowledge & vision of mine —
with its three rounds & twelve permutations concerning these four
noble truths as they actually are present — was not pure, I did not
claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled
in the cosmos with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, with its
contemplatives & priests, its royalty & commonfolk. But as soon
as this knowledge & vision of mine — with its three rounds &
twelve permutations concerning these four noble truths as they actually
are present — was truly pure, then I did claim to have directly awakened
to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its devas,
Maras & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & priests, its royalty
& commonfolk. Knowledge & vision arose in me: ‘Unprovoked is my
release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.’”

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the group of five 
True Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The
Tathagata delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being
given, there arose to Ven. Kondañña the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.

And when the Blessed One had set the Wheel of Doctrine-Practice of
The Path Shown by The Awakened One-The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The
Tathagata in motion, the earth devas cried out: “At Varanasi, in the
Game Refuge at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the
unexcelled Wheel of Doctrine-Practice of The Path Shown by The Awakened
One-The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata that cannot be stopped
by priest or contemplative, deva, Mara or
God or anyone in the cosmos.” On hearing the earth devas’ cry, the devas
of the Four Kings’ Heaven took up the cry… the devas of the
Thirty-three… the Yama devas… the Tusita devas… the Nimmanarati devas… the Paranimmita-vasavatti devas… the devas of Brahma’s
retinue took up the cry: “At Varanasi, in the Game Refuge at Isipatana,
the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that
cannot be stopped by priest or contemplative, deva, Mara, or God or
anyone at all in the cosmos.”

So in that moment, that instant, the cry shot right up to the Brahma
worlds. And this ten-thousand fold cosmos shivered & quivered &
quaked, while a great, measureless radiance appeared in the cosmos,
surpassing the effulgence of the devas.

Then the Blessed One exclaimed: “So you really know, Kondañña? So
you really know?” And that is how Ven. Kondañña acquired the name
Añña-Kondañña — Kondañña who knows.



Notes

1.
The Pali phrases for the four noble truths are grammatical anomalies.
From these anomalies, some scholars have argued that the expression
“noble truth” is a later addition to the texts. Others have argued even
further that the content of the four truths is also a later addition.
Both of these arguments are based on the unproven assumption that the
language The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata spoke was
grammatically regular, and that any irregularities were later
corruptions of the language. This assumption forgets that the languages
of The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata’s time were oral
dialects, and that the nature of such dialects is to contain many
grammatical irregularities. Languages tend to become regular only when
being used to govern a large nation state or to produce a large body of
literature: events that happened in India only after The
Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata’s time. (A European example:
Italian was a group of irregular oral dialects until Dante fashioned it
into a regular language for the sake of his poetry.) Thus the
irregularity of the Pali here is no proof either for the earliness or
lateness of this particular teaching.

2.
Another argument for the lateness of the expression “noble truth” is
that a truth — meaning an accurate statement about a body of facts — is
not something that should be abandoned. In this case, only the craving
is to be abandoned, not the truth about craving. However, in Vedic
Sanskrit — as in modern English — a “truth” can mean both a fact and an
accurate statement about a fact. Thus in this case, the “truth” is the
fact, not the statement about the fact, and the argument for the
lateness of the expression does not hold.

3.
The discussion in the four paragraphs beginning with the phrase,
“Vision arose…,” takes two sets of variables — the four noble truths and
the three levels of knowledge appropriate to each — and lists their
twelve permutations. In ancient Jambudvipa That is The Great Prabuddha
Bharath philosophical and legal traditions, this sort of discussion is
called a wheel. Thus, this passage is the Wheel of Doctrine-Practice of
The Path Shown by The Awakened One-The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The
Tathagata from which the discourse takes its name.



Doctrine-True Practice of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata


Living With the Cobra


(A brief talk given as final instruction to an
elderly Englishwoman who spent two months under the guidance of Ajahn
Chah at the end of 1978 and beginning of 1979.)


This short talk is for the benefit of a new disciple
who will soon be returning to London. May it serve to help you
understand the Teaching that you have studied here at Wat Pah Pong. Most
simply, this is the practice to be free of suffering in the cycle of
birth and death.


In order to do this practice, remember to regard all the
various activities of mind, all those you like and all those you
dislike, in the same way as you would regard a cobra. The cobra is an
extremely poisonous snake, poisonous enough to cause death if it should
bite us. And so, also, it is with our moods; the moods that we like are
poisonous, the moods that we dislike are also poisonous. They prevent
our minds from being free and hinder our understanding of the Truth as
it was taught by the The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata.




Clipart of a Poisonous Cobra Snake

Poisonous Cobra Snake


Thus is it necessary to try to maintain our mindfulness
throughout the day and night. Whatever you may be doing, be it standing,
sitting, lying down, speaking or whatever, you should do with
mindfulness. When you are able to establish this mindfulness, you’ll
find that there will arise clear comprehension associated with it, and
these two conditions will bring about wisdom. Thus mindfulness, clear
comprehension and wisdom will work together, and you’ll be like one who
is awake both day and night.


These Teachings left us by the The Blessed,Noble,Awakened
One-The Tathagata are not Teachings to be just listened to, or simply
absorbed on an intellectual level. They are Teachings that through
practice can be made to arise and known in our minds. Wherever we go,
whatever we do, we should have these Teachings. And what we mean by “to
have these Teachings” or “to have the Truth,” is that, whatever we do or
say, we do and say with wisdom. When we think and contemplate, we do so
with wisdom. We say that one who has mindfulness and clear
comprehension combined in this way with wisdom, is one who is close to
the The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata.


When you leave here, you should practice bringing everything
back to your own mind. Look at your mind with this mindfulness and
clear comprehension and develop this wisdom. With these three conditions
there will arise a “letting go.” You’ll know the constant arising and
passing away of all phenomena.


You should know that that which is arising and passing away
is only the activity of mind. When something arises, it passes away and
is followed by further arising and passing away. In the Way
ofDoctrine-True Practice of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened
One-The Tathagata  we call this arising and passing away “birth and
death”; and this is everything — this is all there is! When suffering
has arisen, it passes away, and, when it has passed away, suffering
arises again.There’s just suffering arising and passing away. When you
see this much, you’ll be able to know constantly this arising and
passing away; and, when your knowing is constant, you’ll see that this
is really all there is. Everything is just birth and death. It’s not as
if there is anything which carries on. There’s just this arising and
passing away as it is — that’s all.


This kind of seeing will give rise to a tranquil feeling of
dispassion towards the world. Such a feeling arises when we see that
actually there is nothing worth wanting; there is only arising and
passing away, a being born followed by a dying. This is when the mind
arrives at “letting go,” letting everything go according to its own
nature. Things arise and pass away in our mind, and we know. When
happiness arises, we know; when dissatisfaction arises, we know. And
this “knowing happiness” means that we don’t identify with it as being ours. And likewise with dissatisfaction and unhappiness, we don’t identify with them as being ours. When we no longer identify with and cling to happiness and suffering, we are simply left with the natural way of things.


So we say that mental activity is like the deadly poisonous
cobra. If we don’t interfere with a cobra, it simply goes its own way.
Even though it may be extremely poisonous, we are not affected by it; we
don’t go near it or take hold of it, and it doesn’t bite us. The cobra
does what is natural for a cobra to do. That’s the way it is. If you are
clever you’ll leave it alone. And so you let be that which is good. You
also let be that which is not good — let it be according to its own
nature. Let be your liking and your disliking, the same way as you don’t
interfere with the cobra.


So, one who is intelligent will have this kind of attitude
towards the various moods that arise in the mind. When goodness arises,
we let it be good, but we know also. We understand its nature. And, too,
we let be the not-good, we let it be according to its nature. We don’t
take hold of it because we don’t want anything. We don’t want evil,
neither do we want good. We want neither heaviness nor lightness,
happiness nor suffering. When, in this way, our wanting is at an end,
peace is firmly established.


When we have this kind of peace established in our minds, we
can depend on it. This peace, we say, has arisen out of confusion.
Confusion has ended. The The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata
called the attainment of final Awakenment an “extinguishing,” in the
same way that fire is extinguished. We extinguish fire at the place at
which it appears. Wherever it is hot, that’s where we can make it cool.
And so it is with Awakenment. Nibbana is found in Samsara. Awakenment
and delusion (Samsara) exist in the same place, just as do hot and cold.
It’s hot where it was cold and cold where it was hot. When heat arises,
the coolness disappears, and when there is coolness, there’s no more
heat. In this way Nibbana and Samsara are the same.


We are told to put an end to Samsara, which means to stop
the ever-turning cycle of confusion. This putting an end to confusion is
extinguishing the fire. When external fire is extinguished there is
coolness. When the internal fires of sensual craving, aversion and
delusion are put out, then this is coolness also.


This is the nature of Awakenment; it’s the extinguishing of
fire, the cooling of that which was hot. This is peace. This is the end
of Samsara, the cycle of birth and death. When you arrive at Awakenment,
this is how it is. It’s an ending of the ever-turning and
ever-changing, an ending of greed, aversion and delusion in our minds.
We talk about it in terms of happiness because this is how worldly
people understand the ideal to be, but in reality it has gone beyond. It is beyond both happiness and suffering. It’s perfect peace.


So as you go you should take this Teaching which I have
given you and contemplate it carefully. Your stay here hasn’t been easy
and I have had little opportunity to give you instruction, but in this
time you have been able to study the real meaning of our practice. May
this practice lead you to happiness; may it help you grow in Truth. May
you be freed from the suffering of birth and death.

The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata



(The Four Jhanas)


“Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful
mental qualities, he enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and
pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and
evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body
with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.
Just as if a skilled bathman
or bathman’s apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and
knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his
ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and
without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the True Follower of The
Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata permeates…
this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There
is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born
from withdrawal.



“This is a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, more excellent than the previous ones and more sublime.


“Furthermore, with the stilling of directed thoughts &
evaluations, he enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and
pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed
thought and evaluation — internal assurance. He permeates and pervades,
suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of
composure.
Just like a lake
with spring-water welling up from within, having no inflow from the
east, west, north, or south, and with the skies supplying abundant
showers time and again, so that the cool fount of water welling up from
within the lake would permeate and pervade, suffuse and fill it with
cool waters, there being no part of the lake unpervaded by the cool
waters; even so, the True Follower of The Path Shown by The
Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata  permeates… this very body with
the rapture and pleasure born of composure. There is nothing of his
entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born of composure.


Carlson Lake


“This, too, is a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, more excellent than the previous ones and more sublime.


“And furthermore, with the fading of rapture, he remains in
equanimity, is mindful & alert, and senses pleasure with the body.
He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones
declare, ‘Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.’ He
permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the
pleasure divested of rapture.
Just as in a lotus pond,
some of the lotuses, born and growing in the water, stay immersed in
the water and flourish without standing up out of the water, so that
they are permeated and pervaded, suffused and filled with cool water
from their roots to their tips, and nothing of those lotuses would be
unpervaded with cool water; even so, the monk permeates… this very body
with the pleasure divested of rapture. There is nothing of his entire
body unpervaded with pleasure divested of rapture.


http://www.schubart.net/archives/2004/07/


“This, too, is a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, more excellent than the previous ones and more sublime.


“And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure and stress
— as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress — he enters
and remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity and mindfulness,
neither-pleasure nor stress. He sits, permeating the body with a pure,
bright awareness.
Just as if a man
were sitting covered from head to foot with a white cloth so that there
would be no part of his body to which the white cloth did not extend;
even so, the True Follower of The Path Shown by The
Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata  sits, permeating the body with
a pure, bright awareness. There is nothing of his entire body
unpervaded by pure, bright awareness.



 


 


 


 


 




“This, too, great king, is a fruit of the contemplative
life, visible here and now, more excellent than the previous ones and
more sublime.


Rulership




I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Kosalans in a wilderness hut in a Himalayan
district. Then, as he was alone in seclusion, this train of thought
arose in his awareness: “Is it possible to exercise rulership without
killing or causing others to kill, without confiscating or causing
others to confiscate, without sorrowing or causing others sorrow —
righteously?”


Then  the Evil
One, knowing with his awareness the train of thought in the Blessed
One’s awareness, went to him and on arrival said to him: “Exercise
rulership, Blessed One! Exercise rulership, O One Well-gone! — without
killing or causing others to kill, without confiscating or causing
others to confiscate, without sorrowing or causing others sorrow —
righteously!”


“But what do you see in me, Evil One, that you say to me,
‘Exercise rulership, Blessed One! Exercise rulership, O One Well-gone! —
without killing or causing others to kill, without confiscating or
causing others to confiscate, without sorrowing or causing others sorrow
— righteously!’?”


“Lord, the Blessed One has developed the four bases of
power, pursued them, handed them the reins and taken them as a basis,
given them a grounding, steadied them, consolidated them, and undertaken
them well. If he wanted to, he could resolve on the Himalayas, king of
mountains, as gold, and it would become a mountain of gold.”



[The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata :]

The entirety
of a mountain of gold,
of solid bullion:
even twice that
wouldn’t suffice
for one person.
Knowing this,
live evenly,
in tune with the contemplative life.
	
When you see stress,
and from where it comes,
how can you incline
to sensual pleasures?
Knowing acquisition
to be a bond in the world,
train for
its subduing.
 




Then  the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, “The
Blessed One knows me; the One Well-gone knows me” — vanished right
there.




Presentation



Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 10:37 am


Dear Dhammachari Chandrashekar,   < ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


You
will have received my email (given below here), after my telephonic
conversation with you…  I feel very grateful you have accepted to speak
to us on Nov 9th.Meanwhile, may I request you send me your bio-data.  It
could be sent by email to my ID above or by post to my address (Fr
Ronnie
Prabhu, Fatima Retreat House, Kankanady, Mangalore 575 002).

 Dear Dhammachari Chandrashekar,,
 
 It
was a joy to talk to you today and I am grateful you have  accepted to
speak to us on Friday 9 November, the second day of  our three day Kristotsava festival.
I am grateful also to Banthe Ananda for speaking to you about this.
  
We
expect to have around a thousand Catholics from different part of
Karnataka.  Though educated, a good number of them will not be able to
speak in English and we would appreciate you talking in Kannada, with a
mixture of English!

It is our conviction that we will be helped
in this if we can see ourselves also as others see us. So we are
requesting a representative form each major religious community to give
us a feedback  covering the following questions:
What in the message
of Jesus strikes a chord in you and what do you like about Christianity
Where do you find the Christians and the Church in our times in India
falling short of the teachings of Christ

You will necessarily have to do some plain speaking and the reason
why we are approaching you is that you are one who can speak the truth
with love.

The Kristostsava festival
will be held in the Good Shepherd Convent Hall, < ?xml:namespace
prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Museum Road , Bangalore
560025, and the session will be on  Friday Nov 9, 2007, at 10.00 am. 
The other speakers include Nidumamidi Swamiji, Dr Taha Mateen and
hopefully Ham Pa
Nagarajaiah.. You have half an hour for your talk with some
clarifications. The whole session with other speakers will last two
hours or so. 

I know you are extremely busy with many
concerns and I am happy and grateful you will still do this for us. 
This invitation comes to you from the Catholic Bishops of Karnataka, who
are the organizers of this program. Writing  on their behalf,   I
convey their great appreciation  and gratitude to you.

  Yours sincerely,

  Ronnie Prabhu

With regards,
 Ronnie Prabhu

ronnieprabhu@yahoo.com

Bio data



 


Dear Most Reverend Ronnie Prabhu



I am grateful to your Kind self  and Venerable Ananda Bhante for asking me  to do some plain speaking of truth with love to you on Friday  9th November 2007, the second day of the three day Kristotsava festival.



 



I
informed Venerable Anand Bhante that I wish to present a prepared
speech on that occasion. I have already started preparing the speech.
Hence this delay in giving you my bio-data.



 



My prepared speech will be sent you your kind self and Venerable Anand Bhante.



In fact if all the speakers do the same and if I get a copy of the same I wish to publish in http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org.



 



I hope you are visiting that site.



 



Also I will be very grateful to your kind self if you can prepare a speech on



 



What
is the message of The Buddha strikes a Chord in you and what do you
like about Buddhism. Where do you find the Buddhists and Monasteries in
our times in Jambudvipa that is The Great Prabuddha Bharath falling
short of the Practice of the Doctrine of the Buddha.



 



The other speakers may also be asked to prepare on the above subject to enable me to publish the same in http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org on the occasion of completion 2550th Buddha Jayanthi.

 

Bio-data



A Peaceful Revolution


At the age of 65 Dhammachari Jagatheesan Chandrasekharan is one of the most senior members of Mahabodhi Society Bangalore.
Here he looks back over a life, which spans of extraordinary change
within Jambudvipa That is The Great Prabuddha Bharath and particularly
in the communities now known as ‘Original Inhabitants of The Great
Prabuddha Bharath That is Jambydvipa’.


My
parents followed some other culture out of ignorance of the fact that
more than 98% were original inhabitants of Jambudvipa that is the Great
Prabuddha Bharath. After visiting a slaughter house in childhood, the
suffering of the animals those were slaughtered developed loving
kindness and compassion. While human beings were cremated or buried in
the grave yards. It was observed that the birds, fishes and domestic
animals were in double trouble. They were cremated in the kitchen
crematoriums, after storing them in refrigerator mortuaries and buried
in the mobile human beings grave yards that are their stomachs.



Then step by step I started training my mind and started practicing  abstaining
from the taking of life that leads to longevity, abstaining from
stealing to prosperity, abstaining from sexual misconduct to popularity,
abstaining from false speech to a good reputation, and abstaining from
intoxicants to mindfulness and wisdom.



 



Attended Pabajja and Vipassana and Zen Meditation Practice



 



To
preserve the practice of the Triple Gem in the mind, the body is kept
in a fit condition by daily cycling for 10 Km and swimming. Participated
in State, National competitions and would participate in International
events.



Practice
to endure being contented and satisfied with little; eating little,
sleeping little, speaking little and living in moderation. By doing this
we can put an end to worldliness.



Retired as
Senior Manger (Design) Aircraft Research and Design Centre, involved in
designing passenger Aircrafts in HAL Bangalore.




 



Dear Most Reverend Ronnie Prabhu







Thank you very much for your mail.







I will come on my own.







If you prepare a talk on Buddha, kindly mail it to me.







Now
many people are returning back to their own home i.e., Buddhism, after
realizing the true fact that they are the original inhabitants of
Jambudvipa i.e., The Great Prabuddha Bharath, since every one in this
world are for the gain of the many and welfare of the many and wish to
live a very happy and peaceful life.





We
are all part of this one family of humankind and that is one reason
that your kind self is able to bring all of us together. If this
exercise continues, it will set an example to the whole world as how to
live in peace. This is possible in this country since we originally
belong to that one family. I also sincerely feel that if all the invited
speakers could prepare talks on different religions and exchange
amongst each other that will go a long way.





I have prepared the following presentation for 9th
November 2007. I discussed with Venerable Anand Bhante and decided to
send the same to your kind self for amendments if need be.





It
was very easy for me to get the translation in English. But it will be
very difficult to get it translated to any other languages including
Kannada. Hence I would like to make this written presentation with any
amendments you would like to make in the larger interest of mankind. I
have no attachment to my presentation.





If
I talk in Kannada or any other languages, the murder of the language
will be keenly observed by the audience. But that will not happen when
it is presented in English. Since it is a prepared presentation one can
translate at leisure.





With Kind regards and



Lots of Metta





Jagatheesan Chandrasekharan







Presentation


Most
Respected Reverend Ronnie Prabhu, Venerable Nidumamidi Swamiji, Dr Taha
Mateen and Honourable < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns =
“urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Ham Pa Nagarajaiah


I
am very grateful to Venerable Anand Bhante, Reverend Ronnie Prabhu,
Catholic Bishops of Karnataka who are the organizers of this program on
whose invitation this presentation is made for the benefit of this
learned august house of Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa that is The
Great Prabuddha Bharath.


As the purpose of this get-together is to do some introspection as to
whether as a Christian community we are living up to expectations of our faith.


If
faith is “the substance of things hoped for,” then worry is the
substance of things dreaded (Hebrews 3:6). Worry is destructive. It
fritters away time. It kills creativity and it often is a prophet of its
own self-fulfilling doom. Most of all worry keeps us from claiming the
blessings God has for us. It prevents us from living up to the fullness
of our creation and finding joy in life. How do you fight worry and
build faith?


Danema, 48, North Carolina says


I’ve
come to stand on God’s word, “As a man thinketh, so is he”. Since God
gave us the freedom of choice. Why is it so hard to “choose” not to
worry? I’ve pondered this question many times, realizing as scripture
reveals that all things are rooted in either fear or love. Since I know
God is love and I believe God loves me…then I have to question any and
all thoughts of doubt and negativity as to its root. I ask myself, is
there truth to this thought of doubt or negativity? Is it based on love
or fear? Exercising the power of choice, or should I say the gift of
choice, is what I have to do daily. This goes along with the scripture
that says, Examine each thought carefully. And also what the word says
about meditating on the word, meditating on truth day and night… So
therefore, I make a decision and choose to “meditate” on the positive,
standing in faith using prayer as a tool and wait in expectation from my
the best to come out of the situation, praising God all the way. And
then I get up each morning and start all over again, exercising my
muscles of faith. When I need more strength, I call on God even more



Coming to the Center

< ?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml” />

http://www.spiderzrule.com/legends.htm


Try
watching a spider. A spider spins its web in any convenient niche and
then sits in the center, staying still and silent. Later, a fly comes
along and lands on the web. As soon as it touches and shakes the web,
“boop!” — The spider pounces and winds it up in thread. It stores the
insect away and then returns again to collect itself silently in the
center of the web.


Watching
a spider like this can give rise to wisdom. Our six senses have mind at
the center surrounded by eye, ear, nose, tongue and body. When one of
the senses is stimulated, for instance, form contacting the eye, it
shakes and reaches the mind. The mind is that which knows, that which
knows form. Just this much is enough for wisdom to arise. It’s that
simple.


Like
a spider in its web, we should live keeping to ourselves. As soon as
the spider feels an insect contact the web, it quickly grabs it, ties it
up and once again returns to the center. This is not at all different
from our own minds. “Coming to the center” means living mindfully with
clear comprehension, being always alert and doing everything with
exactness and precision — this is our center. There’s really not a lot
for us to do; we just carefully live in this way. But that doesn’t mean
that we live heedlessly thinking, “There is no need to do sitting or
walking meditation!” and so forget all about our practice. We can’t be
careless! We must remain alert just as the spider waits to snatch up
insects for its food.


This
is all that we have to know — sitting and contemplating that spider.
Just this much and wisdom can arise spontaneously. Our mind is
comparable to the spider, our moods and mental impressions are
comparable to the various insects. That’s all there is to it! The senses
envelop and constantly stimulate the mind; when any of them contact
something, it immediately reaches the mind. The mind then investigates
and examines it thoroughly, after which it returns to the center. This
is how we abide — alert, acting with precision and always mindfully
comprehending with wisdom. Just this much and our practice is complete.


This
point is very important! It isn’t that we have to do sitting practice
throughout the day and night, or that we have to do walking meditation
all day and all night long. If this is our view of practice, then we
really make it difficult for ourselves. We should do what we can
according to our strength and energy, using our physical capabilities in
the proper amount.


It’s
very important to know the mind and the other senses well. Know how
they come and how they go, how they arise and how they pass away.
Understand this thoroughly! In the language of Doctrine-True Practice of
The Path Shown by The Blessed, Noble, Awakened One
 
we can also say that, just as the spider traps the various insects, the
mind binds up the senses with impermanence, unsatisfactoriness,
not-self. Where can they go? We keep them for food; these things are
stored away as our nourishment. That’s enough; there’s no more to do,
just this much! This is the nourishment for our minds, nourishment for
one who is aware and understanding.


If
you know that these things are impermanent, bound up with suffering and
that none of it is you, and then you would be crazy to go after them!
If you don’t see clearly in this way, then you must suffer. When you
take a good look and see these things as really impermanent, even though
they may seem worth going after, really they are not. Why do you want
them when their nature is pain and suffering? It’s not ours, there is no
self, and there is nothing belonging to us. So why are you seeking
after them? All problems are ended right here. Where else will you end
them?


Just
take a good look at the spider and turn it inwards, turn it back unto
yourself. You will see that it’s all the same. When the mind has seen
impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, not-self, it lets go and releases
itself. It no longer attaches to suffering or to happiness. This is the
nourishment for the mind of one who practices and really trains himself.
That’s all, it’s that simple! You don’t have to go searching anywhere!
So no matter what you are doing, you are there, no need for a lot of
fuss and bother. In this way the momentum and energy of your practice
will continuously grow and mature.








[The Evil One]

Those with children

Delight

Because of their children.

Those with cattle

Delight

because of their cows.

A person’s delight

Comes from acquisitions,

Since a person with no acquisitions

doesn’t delight.


[The Blessed, Noble, Awakened One:]

Kids   Kids   Kids   Girl   Kids   Two Boys   Two Girls   Girls Playing Marbles   Kids   Kids Playing Jump Rope  



Those with children

Grieve

because of their children.

Those with cattle

Grieve

because of their cows.

A person’s grief

Comes from acquisitions,

Since a person with no acquisitions

Doesn’t grieve.



\"\\"



Then
the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, “The Blessed One knows
me; the One Well-Gone knows me” — vanished right there.


Shot into the night {bad people}



If, by forsaking

A limited ease,

He would see

An abundance of ease,

The awakened man

Would forsake

The limited ease

For the sake

Of the abundant.





He wants his own ease

By giving others dis-ease.

Intertwined in the inter-

Action of hostility,

From hostility

He’s not set free.





In those who

Reject what should,

& do what shouldn’t be done

 — Heedless, insolent —

Effluents grow.

 

But for those who

Are well-applied, constantly,

To mindfulness immersed in the body;

Don’t indulge

In what shouldn’t be done

& persist

In what should

 — Mindful, alert —

Effluents come to an end.





Having killed mother & father,

Two warrior kings,

The kingdom & its dependency —

The invader, untroubled, travels on.

 

Having killed mother & father,

Two learned kings,

&, fifth, a tiger —

The invader, untroubled, travels on.





They awaken, always wide awake:

Blessed, Noble, Awakened One’s disciples

Whose mindfulness, both day & night,

Is constantly immersed

In the Blessed, Noble, Awakened One’s.

               

They awaken, always wide awake:

Blessed, Noble, Awakened One’s disciples

Whose mindfulness, both day & night,

Is constantly immersed

               In the Doctrine-Practice of Path Shown by The Blessed, Noble, Awakened One.

               

They awaken, always wide awake:

               Blessed, Noble, Awakened One’s disciples

Whose mindfulness, both day & night,

Is constantly immersed

               In the Spiritual Community of The True Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed, Noble, Awakened One.

               

They awaken, always wide awake:

Blessed, Noble, Awakened One-’s disciples

Whose mindfulness, both day & night,

Is constantly immersed

In the body.

               

They awaken, always wide awake:

Blessed, Noble, Awakened One-’s disciples

Whose minds delight, both day & night,

In harmlessness.

               

They awaken, always wide awake:

Blessed, Noble, Awakened One’s disciples

Whose minds delight, both day & night,

In developing the mind.





Hard is the life gone forth?

Hard to delight in.

Hard is the miserable

                                                           Householder’s life.

It’s painful to stay with dissonant people,

Painful to travel the road.

So be neither traveler

                                                                 Nor pained.





The man of conviction

Endowed with virtue,

Glory & wealth:

Wherever he goes

He is honored.





The good shine from afar

Like the snowy Himalayas.

The bad don’t appear

Even when near,

Like arrows shot into the night.






Sitting alone,

Resting alone,

Walking alone,

Untiring.

Taming himself,

He’d delight alone —

Alone in the forest.

\"\\"


Whether we are truly followers of Christ and what steps we should take to revitalize ourselves in the path of Christ.


What
in the message of Jesus strikes a chord in you and what do you like
about Christianity Where do you find the Christians and the Church in
our times in India falling short of the teachings of Christ


http://www.marketingjesuschrist.com/http://www.majordojo.com/archives/000408.php



Buddhist views



 Buddhism and Christianity
(are two major religions that are compared and contrasted by scholars,
with parallels between the two revolving around perceived similarities
in the teachings and in the spiritual
intent and practices. Given these correspondences, questions arise as
to their origins, influences, and interaction. Scholars remain divided
on whether the religious parallels are coincidental, or arising from
separate but similar developments, or the result of a direct or indirect
influence of Buddhism on early Christianity)
.



Buddhists’ views of Jesus differ, since Jesus is not mentioned in any Buddhist text. Some Buddhists, including Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama[124] regard Jesus as a bodhisattva (
are motivated by the wish to benefit other beings and to lead them to
awakenment). who dedicated his life to the welfare of human beings. Both
Jesus and Buddha advocated radical alterations in the common religious
practices of the day. There are occasional similarities in language,
such as the use of the common metaphor of a line of blind men to refer
to religious authorities with whom they disagreed [125][126].
Some believe there is a particularly close affinity between Buddhism
(or Eastern spiritual thought generally) and the doctrine of Gnostic texts such as The Gospel of Thomas[127]



Now,
some people confuse the clay pot with the treasure. They think if the
church and Christians aren’t perfect, they are not worth considering.
Hey, wait a minute. The only way you can get into a church is to admit
you are a sinner and you need help.


The church is a place
where people who are spiritually sick can get well,
where people who are unconnected with God can connect,
where folks who are ignorant of spiritual truth can learn,
and where self-centered people can learn to love and serve.


I mean, do you criticize a hospital because it has sick people in it?


Do you criticize a school because it has people in it who don’t know everything?


Paul
says we are like earthen cookware. The reason we need to keep this
image of ourselves, he says, is so that we remember the power and the
glory is not in ourselves but in the treasure. Well, let’s talk about
the treasure.


The Treasure


Paul
spends the rest of the chapter talking about the treasure we have in
Christ. The Christ-treasure I will call it. It is completely differently
from most human treasure. Like, most human treasures are in a specific
location like a vault, or a lock box.


In Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island you
may remember the story revolves around a crudely constructed map with
directions written on the back of it… Some of the words were: Tall tree, Spyglass shoulder, Skeleton Island, Ten feet.


Like most hidden treasures it was buried in a specific place.


Contrast please with the treasure we have in Christ.


The Christ-treasure is buried not in a geographical location but in the minds of his disciples. Listen to the Apostle:
“We always carry around in our body . . . Jesus.” (2 Cor. 4:10) God has chosen us to “carry around” his treasure.


Maybe
most important, we don’t find the Christ-treasure, the Christ treasure
has already found us. In Christ’s eyes, we are the treasure. And we’ve
been found. But we hold the key to the lock on your mind. You can say to
the Lord, enter, or stay away.



Don’t miss this:




A
human treasure is to be protected. Consider how rare jewels are placed
in secure places. Bank vaults with security alarms paint the picture.


How
different is the gift of our Lord. The Christ-treasure doesn’t seek to
be protected at all. In fact, it prefers to lead us into the battles of
life. It is more like an infantryman than a security officer. Listen as
Paul describes how aggressive the Christ-treasure is.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
Perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not abandoned;
Struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8,9)


You
see, we don’t so much push Christ into a safe place as Christ walks
with us when life pushes us into a land mine. Christ is a treasure you
can take with you in life, in suffering, and even in death and the
resurrection.


“Therefore
we do not lose mind. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly
we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles
are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2
Cor. 4:10-12)


There
had been some difficult days as a church family recently. Eight times
in the last two weeks they have stood at opened graves and grieved with
those who are left behind. Their minds have been broken. Remember that
we have no immunity from life as believers, only the infectious presence
of the One who died on the cross and conquered death. When we are
stripped of everything we expected, we discover He is there and our
church is there. In the end the treasure and the earthen vessel remain.


The
late Henri Nouwen, the Catholic Priest who taught as Yale and Notre
Dame spent his last years at a Retreat center for handicapped adults
near Toronto, Canada.
One of his friends was named Trevor. He loved to walk in the fields and
pick flowers. Often he would bring them to Henri. Then came the day
when Trevor had to spend some time in a Mental Institution to take some
psychological evaluations. Nouwen called up the chaplain to ask if he
could visit Trevor. The Chaplain was a bit awed that Nouwen would be
coming and asked if he could invite others of the religious community to
join them for dinner. Not understanding what was involved Nouwen
agreed.


When
Nouwen arrived the Chaplain was waiting for him along with others who
had been invited. “Where’s Trevor?” asked Henri. “You will see him after
dinner explained the Chaplain. The patients are not allowed to eat with
the guests…” “But I am here to see Trevor,” said Nouwen. “That is
impossible,” said the Chaplain, “because you see we are having dinner in
the Golden Room and patients are not allowed to eat there.”


Nouwen
was completely taken by surprise and said, “If Trevor does not eat I
will not eat. If Trevor can’t come to the Golden Room I will not be
eating there either.” That brought on some serious whispering. Henri
went looking for Trevor and found him as always looking for flowers. He
saw Henri and ran to him and said, “Here, I brought you some flowers.”
Finally they said, “Alright we will invite Trevor.”


Trevor
sat by Nouwen. As is usual, drinks came first. Nouwen poured Trevor a
coke. The mood was somewhat serious as guests became acquainted with one
another. Suddenly Trevor stood up and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, a
toast,” as he held his coke up. Everyone looked up partly anxious and
partly embarrassed. Nouwen said later he could read their thoughts:
“What in the heck is this patient going to do? Better be careful.”


Trevor,
like a little child, seemed to have no worries. He began to sing, “When
you’re happy and you know it, lift your glass, when you’re happy when
you know it lift your glass.” As he sang, people’s faces relaxed and
started to sing and not long after everyone was standing and singing
under Trevor’s direction.


Trevor’s
toast changed the whole mood in the Golden Room that day. He had
brought strangers together and made them feel at home. His beautiful
smile and fearless joy turned a place of sorrow and joy into a place of
blessing.


Maybe
the church is like Trevor, not invited to many Golden Rooms. But don’t
count us out. At surprising times we wind up giving blessings to those
who walk through difficult, difficult times.


We have this treasure in earthen vessels!

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