Kamanita 21 : Vasitthi "The Disciple"

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Kamanita 21 : Vasitthi "The Disciple"

Postby yawares » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:13 am

Dear Members,

:heart: Kamanita And Vasitthi :heart:
[By KARL GJELLERUP]


I withdrew to the rearmost circle of disciples where
I was a somewhat inattentive spectator of the rest of the
proceedings of that last evening. For I cannot deny that I
felt somewhat disappointed at the very simple phrase that
the Master had given me. Had not several of the sisters
received other quite weighty reflections for their spiritual
benefit: one, a sentence relating to existence and its
causes; another, relating to non‐existence; a third, to the
transitoriness of all phenomena? And I therefore felt I had
received some kind of slight, which grieved me deeply.
When I had reflected further upon the matter,
however, the thought occurred to me that the Master had
perhaps noticed some self‐conceit in me and wished to
illumine it in this way. And I resolved to be on my guard,
in order not to be retarded in my spiritual growth by vanity
or inflated self‐esteem. Soon I would be able to claim
praise for having mastered my contemplation and could
then obtain another directly from the lips of the Master.
Full of this assurance, I saw the Blessèd One depart
early next morning with many disciples — among these
naturally was Ānanda, who waited upon the Master and
was always with him. He had, in his gentle way, invariably
treated me with such special friendliness that I felt I should
miss him and his cheering glance greatly, even more than
I should the wise Sāriputra, who helped me over many a
knotty point of the Teaching by his keen analysis of all my
difficulties and his clear explanations. Now I would be left
to my own resources.


As soon as I had returned from my alms‐round and
had eaten my meal, I sought out a stately tree which stood
in the midst of a little forest meadow — the true original of
that "mighty tree far removed from the bustle of life," of
which it is said that people may profitably sit beneath,
absorbed in reflective meditation.
That I now did, and began earnestly upon my
sentence. When I returned to the meeting hall towards
evening, I brought with me, as the result of my day's
work, a feeling of dissatisfaction with myself and a dim
foreboding of what these few words might really come to
mean. But when I returned to my hut on the following
evening, at the close of my period of meditation, I already
knew exactly what the Master had in mind when he gave
me this phrase to investigate.


I had certainly believed I was on the straight path
to perfect peace, and that I had left my love with all its
passionate emotions far behind me. That incomparable
Master of the human heart, however, had seen that my
love was not by any means overcome — that on the
contrary, having been overawed by the mighty influence
of the new life I was leading, it had simply withdrawn into
the innermost recesses of my heart, there to bide its time.
And his desire, in directing my attention to it, was that I
should induce it to come forth from its lurking‐place and
so overcome it. And it certainly did come forth, and with
such power that I found myself at once in the midst of
severe, distracting conflicts of heart and became aware that
mine would be no easy victory.


It is true that the astonishing information that my
loved one had not been killed, and in all probability still
breathed the air of this earth with me, was now more than
half a year old. But when that knowledge rose so sud‐
denly within me, owing to the apparition on the terrace, it
was at once inundated by the stormy waves of feeling it
had stirred up and all but went down in its own vortex.
Passionate hate, longings for revenge and malignant
broodings succeeded one another in a veritable devil's
dance. Then came the transformation of Angulimāla, the
overwhelming impression made upon me by the Buddha,
the new life, and the dawn of another and utterly unsus‐
pected world whose elements were born of the apparent
destruction of all the elements of the old. Now, however,
the first impetuous onrush of the new feeling was over,
the great Master of this secret magic had disappeared from
my view, and I sat there alone, my gaze directed on love
— on my love. Again that marvellous revelation rose
clearly before me and a boundless longing for the distant
loved one, who still dwelt amongst the living, laid hold
upon my heart:— But did he really yet abide amongst the
living? And did he love me still?


The fearful anxiety and uncertainty of such ques‐
tions stimulated my longing yet further and, being
subdued by my love, I could make no progress with my
contemplation. I thought only of Love and never reached
Suffering, the Origin of Suffering and the Cessation of
Suffering.
These ever more hopeless soul‐struggles of mine
did not remain hidden from the other sisters and I heard,
of course, how they spoke of me: "Sister Vāsitthī, formerly
the wife of the Minister of State, whom even the stern
Sāriputra often praised for her quick and sure apprehen‐
sion of even the most difficult points of the Teaching, is
now unable to master her sentence, and it is so simple."
That discouraged me even more; shame and
despair laid hold upon my heart and at last I felt I could
bear this state of things no longer.


**********to be continued***********
Edited by yawares :heart:
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