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Spiritual Stories

One day a beggar went to see a Sufi fakir and found him seated on velvet cushion inside a beautiful tent with it's ropes tied to golden pegs in the ground. Seeing all this the beggar cried:What is all this! I have heard so much about you and your spirituality and non-attachment but I am completely disillusioned by all this ostentation around you. The fakir laughed and immediately jumped up and said Let's go and walked off with the beggar not even waiting to put on his sandals. After a while the beggar was distressed. "I left my begging bowl in your tent. What shall I do without it? Please wait while I go back and fetch it." The Sufi roared in laughter. My friend said he," the gold pegs of my tent were stuck in the earth, not in my heart; but your begging bowl is still chasing you."

He always walks by himself

There is no way to push him here and there, you cannot manipulate him; he remains there, utterly himself, so centred is he, so rooted is he, in his being. When one has known the fourth, turiya, then there is no distraction then one can live anywhere.

Once it happened in the days of Buddha that a beautiful prostitute fell in deep love with a Buddhist monk who had gone to beg. The woman had seen many beautiful people – she was one of the most famous prostitutes of those days – even kings used to queue at her door, and she fell in love with a monk, with a bikku, a beggar.

Sannyasins have a beauty that only Sannyasins can have; that a beauty when one walks by himself that grace – the grace of the centred one – dignity, the elegance. Just visualize the monk walking. And Buddhist monks their whole teaching consists of one thing; Be alert; be watchful. Not even a single breath has to pass your nostrils without your being aware of it.

So, absolutely watchful, meditative, he must have passed by the woman. She had seen many beautiful people, but never a man who walked by himself like this – and in the market-place, and in the whole noise, so silently as if the market did not exist. She immediately fell in love with the man. She touched his feet and asked him to come to her home and stay for this rainy season, for four months. Buddhist monks stop moving for four months. Buddhist monks stop moving for four months in the rainy season. The rains were just about to come, and the clouds were gathering, and it was time for them to stay and find shelter for four months.

So she invites him: “You come to my home. Be my guest for four months.” The monk said, “I will have to ask the Master. Tomorrow I will come and reply. If he allows it, I will come.”

There were other monks begging in the town – they saw the whole thing; they became very jealous. When the young man came back to Buddha, he stood in the assembly and made the request “ A woman, a prostitute” – Amrapalli was her name – “has asked me to stay with her for the coming rainy season. I will do whatever you say.” Many heard it – they all stood up and said, “This is wrong. Even to have allowed that woman to touch your feet was wrong. Because Buddha has said, “Don’t touch a woman don’t allow a woman to touch you.” You have broken that rule, and now this is something, that you are asking to stay with the woman for four months!”

Buddha said, “I told you not to touch a woman, not to be touched by a woman because you are not centred. For this man that rule is no more applicable. I can see that he walks alone by himself – I have been watching him – he is no more part of the crowd. You are still part of the crowd. When you go to the market, you go to the, market; he simply passes by there as if he had never gone.” And to the bhikku Buddha said, “Yes, you are allowed.”

Now, this was too much; never had it been done before, there was no precedent. All were angry, and for four months thousands of gossips went around exaggerating what was happening there. Everybody was interested, and many rumours were coming that the monk was no more a monk, that he had fallen.

After 4 months the monk came back followed by Amrapalli. Buddha looked at the monk, looked at Amrapalli, and said, “Woman have you something to say to me?” She said, “I have come to be initiated by you. I tried to distract your disciple, I failed; this is my first defeat. I have always succeeded with men. This is the first man whom I could not distract - not even an inch. A great desire has arisen in me too – how can I attain this centring. And the more he has been with me these days, the more I have seen how far away he is from the world. He lived with me, I danced before him, I sang before him, I played on musical instruments before him – I tried to allure him in every way – but he remained silent. He always remained himself. Not for a single moment have I seen any cloud in his mind or any desire in his eyes. I tried to convert him, but he has converted me – me not saying a single word. He has not brought me here; I have come on my own. I have known for the first time what dignity is; I would like to learn the art.”
She became a disciple of Buddha. She became a nun.

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