Posted by: Zane Maser | April 14, 2017

BUDDHIST STORY OF TWO MONKS, TWO CHOICES

Sometimes, there are things, situations, a job, or a person we must let go of, lay down, and walk away from, because to carry the ego burden any further is to choose the fork of the path called “Self-Suffering.” To lay this “weight” down is a momentous decision in rendering the tricks of the “ego” or “conditioned mind” ineffectual. Whatever the particular form of “attachment” was, when we release it, it no longer has any perceived power “over” us.

In loving compassion for myself, I lay it down,
move forward, let it be.

Sometimes, there are moments when we have to choose between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. If we choose empathy and helpfulness over some rigid rule, is this not a choice of the heart, rather than blindly following a stricture of the mind? It’s a contrast between the mind of the matter and the heart of the matter. The mind would react with its usual resistance, “No, this gesture is against the rules and propriety.” The heart would respond with its characteristic, accepting attitude, “Yes, I gladly want to be of kindly service to this person in need.”

There are always daily opportunities to look upon life from the perspective of Oneness—I am you, and you are me. Conversely, we can view life from what appears to be “twoness.” “I am me, and you are you. I fend for and am responsible for myself. You do the same. I pass you by and go my way. We are separate beings.” Yet another possible response is, “Here, let us cross the river as though we are one body, assisting one another as the need arises.”

The following is a well-known Buddhist story of two monks that highlights the dilemmas, attitudes, and choices of each monk. There are no right choices or wrong choices. Depending on our choice, the result is “the” suffering, as the Buddha would call it, or the absence of “personal” suffering and its freedom. There is simply the outer effect that demonstrates the degree of the inward flowering of our consciousness or the current “bud stage” of our consciousness with its smaller glimmer of spiritual light.

We all eventually walk this same path toward illumined Consciousness. Consider, which monk are you?


      A senior monk and a junior monk are traveling together.
At one point, they come to a river with a strong current. A
pretty young woman is walking along the riverbank looking
very upset.
      “What is the matter?” asks the senior monk.
      “I’m really worried,” replies the girl, “because my father
is ill and I need to cross the river in order to get to him but
the bridge has collapsed. Do you know where the next bridge is?”
      “Oh, it is miles away,” responds the monk. “But don’t worry.
I can carry you over the water.”
      The girl gratefully accepts the offer of help and the senior
monk carries her on his back to the other side of the river.
He puts her down and says goodbye.
      The junior monk is very troubled by what has happened.
He knows that monks are not allowed to touch women and he
is furious and upset that the senior monk has broken his
vows. He continues to fume and agonize over this for some
time. Finally, he can bear it no longer and confronts the
senior monk.
      When he hears what is upsetting the young student so
much, he bursts out laughing. “Goodness,” he says, “I put
that woman down when we reached the other side of the
river. Are you still carrying her?”
1


Other Spiritual Offerings:

Empty Boat Day

• Let It All Rest…

• Happy Buddha Day

• The Wesak Festival of Lord Buddha

• Choose Your Fork Of The Path

• Merciful Opportunities

• Ego Speak, Heart Speak

Endnote:

1. Rose Elliot. 2015. I Met a Monk: 8 weeks to happiness, freedom and peace. Watkins.


©

Text © by Zane Maser, 2017. River photo from UK Geograph project, attributed to Derek Harper. All 2009-2017 rights of Zane Maser and SunnyCat Astrology reserved worldwide.

Protected by Copyscape Web Copyright Protection

My editorial master and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my stupendous husband.


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