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Between Master and Disciples / Buddhist Stories

Buddhist Stories: “The Hundred-Headed Fish,” “The Peaceful Heaven Being’s Deeds,” and “The Trayastrimsa Heaven Gatherings,” Part 2 of 8, Aug 09, 2015

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He knew nothing about all this Buddhist teaching, of course. When his father died, he said to him, “My son, you should remember, don’t ever try to go and make a discussion or debate with the monks of the Buddha, because these great beings, they have deep and wide wisdom. You can never compare. So don’t dare even go near.”

So, “On the bank of the river where the Buddha and the sangha rested on the way walking to the neighboring country…”

No wonder my eyes feel funny. So I put this one there; it’s big, big. (Wow!) Made in Japan for book reading. My God! Then I don’t have my hands free to express my feelings. OK, I don’t need to express. It’s just this is probably more convenient. There are some optic glasses. They just hang on the neck, and whenever you want, just clasp together. I should go and ask for that, but I don’t have the time yet. I don’t feel like going anywhere if I don’t have to. I mean, if not urgent then I just don’t go.

“Five hundred cowboys…” the boys who take care of the cows, they call them cowboys, no? (Yes.) I don’t mean Texas. Buddha was not in Texas, at that time, not yet.

“Five hundred cowboys and 500 fishermen. These fishermen, they have three kinds of nets. One net needs 200 people to spread and to pull it. And another one, 300, bigger. And another one, bigger, 500 people in order to manage the net.” Must be a very big one, very big. “The Buddha and the bhiksus…” many bhiksus, He has a lot of bhiksus, the monks. “Sitting also not too far from them, and at one time suddenly they saw that certain 500 fishermen there could not be able to pull the net back up onto the shore.” It was too heavy or something.

“And then these 500 fishermen asked the 500 cowboys to come and help them to pull together. And then so 1,000 people in order to pull it up. And then they saw a very, very, very great, giant fish. On the body of this fish were all kinds of heads of different animals, like the horse’s head, the camel’s head, the tiger’s head, the wolf’s head, the pig’s head, etc., etc. It was a very strange kind of fish, so they all came and had a look. And then the Buddha also asked Ananda to go over there and check it out. And then Ananda went over there and saw that. He saw 100 kinds of different animals’ heads on this body of the fish. And then he came back to the Buddha and told the Buddha thus.” And then of course he would ask.

Ananda asked a lot of questions. It’s always him who asks. I wonder why nobody else knew how to ask? Up to now in many stories, most of the stories, always Ananda asked the Buddha, “Why is that? Why is that?” He was clever, no? Even though he wasn’t enlightened, but because he was probably busy, or being the Buddha’s attendant he thought he didn’t need. Maybe like that. Possible, possible it affects. But then later, he meditated just for a while alone in the woods after the Buddha’s Nirvana, he got enlightenment complete right away. So he had it already in him. Just took some time. Maybe you all have it and it takes some time. Maybe after I die, then you all go sit in a corner there and get enlightenment completely. I don’t know, all right.

“And then the Buddha also went there and had a look, and when He went there He asked the fish, ‘Are you Ca Tỳ Lê (Kapila)? Is your name Ca Tỳ Lê (Kapila)?’ And then the fish said, ‘Yes, Sir.’ And the Buddha asked, ‘This lifetime you are born as a fish. Do you know next lifetime where you are going?’ So he said, ‘I have to go to the infinite hell.’” There is a hell that you will never get out of there, like a life sentence. And here is like an infinite sentence.

Ananda and the whole assembly of bhiksus did not know why, so of course he asked. ‘Praised be the World Honored One. You call this fish Ca Tỳ Lê (Kapila), why? Can You please tell us?’ And the Buddha said thus, ‘Listen to me. I will tell you the origin of this fish. Long, long time ago, at the time of Ca Diếp (Kassapa) Buddha.” Another Buddha. Before Shakyamuni Buddha, many, many decades, no, many eons ago, another Buddha. And between, there are many more and before that many more and after Shakyamuni there will be more. It’s just at that time, long, long time ago, at the time of Ca Diếp (Kassapa) Buddha. There was a Brahman, Brahman, the first caste of the Indian four-caste system. He had a son and his name is Ca Tỳ Lê (Kapila). He was very, very intelligent, many talents. And of all the contemporary similar levels of intellectuals and talents, he was the first.’”

Oh, I am sorry, yesterday by the way, Sariputra, I remember, he was not the one with the wisdom sword, it’s Manjusri, no? In Âu Lạc (Vietnam), we call it Văn Thù (Manjusri), Văn Thù Bồ Tát (Manjusri Bodhisattva), Manjusri. He’s the one with the sword of wisdom. Is that correct? Anybody knows? Monk, Manjusri? (Manjusri, yes.) With the sword of wisdom. (Yes, right.) Not a sword, it’s meaning that he can cut asunder ignorance, so just saying that he has the sword of wisdom, but he doesn’t use a sword, of course. He doesn’t have to use any sword at all, right? So Manjusri is the number one wisdom. I guess, it’s not Sariputra. Sariputra is something else.

I’m sorry, I’m not a very good Buddhist. I learned some sutras, but then I went to the Himalayas and then busy meditating and then busy with you all this time. I had no time to study much. I did know, before, I did know many. Just I forgot. I told you already, even now I tell you something and I say, “What did I say?” Getting old. Maybe I knew, I just forgot.

What is Sariputra? What about Sariputra? (Sariputra, he is…) The first one to get enlightened? (Attain the Wisdom.) Attain the Wisdom. (He is the first one to attain the Wisdom.) Yeah, he’s the first one but he’s not with… (In “The Life of Buddha,” the cartoon, I saw it in Youtube.) The cartoon! (Yes.) So it’s Manjusri. Manjusri is Văn Thù. Is there an Aulacese (Vietnamese) here, Aulacese Buddhist? Văn Thù Sư Lợi Bồ Tát, I think it’s Manjusri. Maybe I’ll read some more of the other sutra later to clear his name. But Sariputra is not the one with the sword of wisdom.

At that time this boy, Ca Tỳ Lê (Kapila) was the best in the contemporary world at that time, but concerning just the worldly intelligence and knowledge and talent. But compared to the monks of the Buddha, then he knew nothing. He knew nothing about all this Buddhist teaching, of course. When his father died, he said to him, ‘My son, you should remember, don’t ever try to go and make a discussion or debate with the monks of the Buddha, because these great beings, they have deep and wide wisdom. You can never compare. So don’t dare even go near.’ So after his father died, he was still in school, continued to study, and in the whole country he was praised, as he had eloquence, number one, in the whole country. But he never went out and tested his eloquence with the monks of the Buddha.

And then his mother saw that this was one of his weaknesses, so she came and told him, ‘You are a very intelligent person and very highly educated. Who is better than you?’ So the son said…” Ca Tỳ Lê (Kapila) told his mother, “‘Praised Mother, the monks of the Buddha are much, much, much better than I.’ So the mother asked, ‘How? How better than you? In which way?’ And he said, ‘Praised Mother, if anything I didn’t understand or I didn’t know, I came and asked them, any of them, then they explained to me very clearly and very easy to understand. But if they asked me anything, I could not answer. So I knew that I am nothing compared to them.’ ‘Why don’t you go there and learn with them, learn the way they know things?’ ‘Oh, Mother, I am an ordinary layperson. If I go there and want to study with them, then I have to become a monk first. So how can I do that?’ ‘Hey, very easy, you just fake to be a monk. And then after you learn everything good already, then you come back to me, no harm done.’” Wow! “‘Praised Mother, I will do that.’

After a while, he bought some clothes, wrapped around his body and bought a begging bowl. He went in there to the assembly to study with the monks. There were so many monks at that time with the Buddha, so nobody checked who is who. As long as you shaved your head and had a begging bowl and wore a saffron robe, then everybody accepted you as a monk. So of course he was already very intelligent. After a while he remembered everything inside. He learned everything; understood everything.

And then one day, he went back home to have a visit with the mother. The mother asked him, ‘Did you study well already? Are you better than all the monks already?’” Study well, maybe OK, but better than the monks, must be dreaming. “So he said, ‘Praised Mother, beloved Mother, concerning the education, I am the same as them.’” Meaning, he's learned everything from them already, so he thinks it’s the same. “‘But the meditation, I am very low.’ ‘Why, how do you know that you’re low on meditation?’ ‘Beloved Mother, because meditation is very difficult, and it’s not just sitting but inside, must know the insight, a vision, and it’s very mysterious and very deep. I try a lot, but I cannot do like them. I want to understand the meditation inside. I cannot. I cannot go “inside.” I cannot penetrate the essence of meditation.’”

You know, it’s not just sitting. Probably he didn’t learn the initiation. He just came in, but he didn’t know that he has to go through initiation, not just being a monk. He didn’t know that. Of course, if you meditate or you’re initiated, you don’t ask the sister nearby, “Are you initiated? How do you initiate?” Even then the sister won’t tell you. It has to be with the Buddha or the appointed monks in order to be initiated.

“‘Therefore, if we talk about this meditation or visions or whatever inside, I am always lost. I never won any discussion on this topic.’ ‘OK,’ the mother said, ‘from now on, whenever you discuss anything with the monks and you have lost and they have won, then you just scream loudly; you just slander them; you just scold them; you just degrade them,’” just to cover up. “So the son asked the mother, ‘Mother, but all the monks they are practicing compassion and mercy. They haven’t done any sinful things. Why do you tell me to scold them, degrade them and yell and humiliate them? Why?’ So the mother said, ‘If you’re louder and you scream and you yell at them and you degrade them, then you win. And they won’t know what to say. They wouldn’t know how to answer that. They wouldn’t yell at you; they wouldn’t degrade you back. That means you win.’” Oh God! What a treasure of ignorance!

By the way, I forgot to tell you, when you wash your hands, you wash all into the bucket, right? And then use it for the toilet, right? Or not? (Yes.) You save water, right? (Yes.)

Another thing, whoever has the water and electricity ability should buy those filters, put it on the tap and then whenever you open, you turn it to the filter side. Turn this side and you can wash as normal; turn to the filter side, then you have filtered water. You can drink straight, direct, because it’s very clean. That’s what I drink every day. I don’t cook water. Unless I don’t have any filter, I don’t cook. Or if I don’t have a filter, then I use a cloth or something to filter. So here, of course it’s not as good as if you use a cloth, because we don’t have to buy one more extra, but it’s OK. One filter like that attached to the tap, we can use for three months, regardless of how much water you use. You just use it and drink anytime you want. Just go in the bathroom, turn on the tap, push it to the filter side and drink. I do that all the time. The more simple, the better, that’s all. Not because I’m lazy. I have a kettle, stainless steel and all that. I do it only now and then, when I need to drink something hot to cleanse the throat or when I have customers, I have friends, then I cook tea for them or something like that. Then I use the kettle.

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