One day two young Buddhist monks, Rev Nang and Rev Dong were walking along a village path, in a deep discussion on sins and merits.
On their way, they reached a small stream across which the wooden bridge was broken. A beautiful lady was there, staring at the broken bridge; needs to cross but scared to get into the water.
Rev Nang, without any hesitation, lifted her, crossed the stream and placed the beauty on the other side. She thanked him and went away.
For the next 10 miles there was deep silence between the monks.
Rev. Dong, who was surprised to see that his friend carried the lady, was in a deep thought.
"This is totally against Buddhism. We, monks, are not permitted even to touch a small girl. What he did was totally against the restraints of a Buddhist monk. Is it a right decision to have such a friend. Am I also be dragged into sins by this friendship. Should I follow a different path?"..... The chains of thought were never ending.
The monk started breathing hoarsely, his heart beat accelerated rapidly, his chick muscles started twitching. Wiping the beads of sweat on the forehead he started muttering to himself, something in anger and disgust.
Noticing this unusual behaviour of his friend, Rev Nang asked his friend whether he has any problem.
Rev Dong said that there is nothing.
As the same behaviour continued for another 5 miles Rev Nang asked the question again and Rev Dong gave the same reply.
After about another 5 miles, as the situation was becoming worse Rev Nang stopped and talked to his friend in a firm voice. "Look, Rev Dong, you will be fainted if we move further like this. Please tell me the problem or pain that you are suffering from".
Then, reluctantly Rev Dong started talking. "Rev Nang, you see, it was a terrible thing. I never expected you to carry a lady in your arms like that. You made me ashamed of myself being a friend of yours".
Then with a smile on his face, Rev Nang calmly said, "My dear Rev Dong, I left that lady there, but you are carrying her now for 20 miles. I can clearly see how heavy she is, when I look at you".
.....I used to read this short Zen story again and again when I was young. It fascinated me. I knew that there is something deeper than the obvious advice that it gives.
Last week, as Nelson Mandela passed away, there were many articles about him allover FB and newspapers. A part of the speech given by Mandela in his inauguration ceremony as SA president, to which he has invited the jail guards who harnessed him, caught my eye more than any other.
This is the essence of that part of the speech, although the exact wording may be different.
"The day that I stepped out of the prison, I left everything behind. I left my anger, hatred, revengeful-thoughts....... everything. Otherwise, even today I would have been a prisoner... A prisoner of my own thoughts".
With this speech, together with the Zen story, I found the long awaited answer for a question that many people asked me over the years.............
WHAT IS BUDDHISM ....?
As I understand, Buddhism is the guidance for giving up the ego..........
First you give up the bad deeds and bad thoughts (evil deeds and thoughts as some of you may refer)
Then you give up the greed for over satisfying the five senses
Then you give up your love for good things as well
Finally you have to give up everything.... even Buddhism
This may take many many births..... but you can start now
Let's talk about this in detail, some other time.......