One family, father, mother and a child,
lives together in the midst of valley.
All three persons are infected
with severe disease and they are waiting for death.
One day, the father makes decision.
I will not allow everyone to suffer from this disease.
I will not be inert like this.
I will find the medicine from anywhere.
No matter how far or how hard it is
I will find the medicine and help everyone
as well as all villagers.
No one even tries to solve this.
If an outsider or a villager says,
“This father is bad, he left his family”,
I cannot accept this accusation
because it is false accusation.
Once in Makkanuka course at Young Buddhist Association of Thailand center 2, certain hermit said, “My friend has been converted to Christian because Buddhism teaches one to survive. Just sitting and doing meditation, one can go to nirvana but leave all friends and family.” I know which direction this accusation is aiming at. So, I said I would like to answer this question anywhere in the world where the Buddha is accused this way.
But first, let me explain the truth. I have been preaching a lot. I met many Christians. When they understood the truth and saw the way to be free from suffering, which can be proven, many of them changed to Buddhism, many families.
Once, I went to lecture for the council of political development, a Muslim leader attended the event as well. I lectured from 9 o’clock in the morning to 5 o’clock in the evening. The imam came to discuss with me after the lecture. He said, “You spoke well, otherwise I would have walked out in first 15 minutes. Buddhism is frightening. It is frightening when knowledgeable man talks”.
I always lecture for Muslim students. I do not want to convert anyone. I just want them to be good people and free from suffering. Today, I can visit everywhere. There is no limit in the place, person, occupation, or religion.
We should fully understand what we learn. I do not make excuse for The Buddha because his greatness does not need my protection. I just want to explain the truth to the world, especially of Buddhists.
To talk about this, we need to go back to the time when
the Prince Siddhartha visited Kapilavastu City.
When his charioteer Channa was riding the carriage along the path, he saw an old man. He never saw something like this before.
His father covered this up. He ordered not to allow patients or old people in his palace. He did not want the prince to feel depressed and go out to be ordained. Therefore, he wondered when he saw an old man. So, he asked Channa.
“Why his back is bent, weak and his legs are trembling?”
“He is an old man.”
The prince questions further.
“What is old man? Do I get old? And my father too?
Yasodhara Bimba, my wife too? And all people too?”
Channa replied truthfully.
“Yes, everyone including you.”
Then the carriage moved.
Not so long, the prince Siddhartha saw a patient with cold sore lying on the sidewalk. He was moaning pitifully.
The prince jumped out of the carriage and held that man, whose skin is soaked with lymph. Channa stopped the carriage hurriedly and followed him. He shouted, “Let him go. His blood is toxic”.
The prince asked Channa.
“What is wrong with him?”
“He is a patient.”
The prince repeated the word and asked again.
“What does patient mean? How does he get sick?”
“He is infected.”
“How could he become infected? Is he infected without any cause? Just sleep and get sick when wake up? I could get sick too? My father too? Yasodhara Bimba, my wife too? And all people can get sick too?”
Channa replied truthfully.
The Prince Siddhartha was very confused with what he saw. After that, he saw a person wrapped in cloth being carried by people. Then, he was put down on the ground and piled up with firewood to burn.
The prince was frightened. He asked Channa doubtfully.
“Why is that person not escaping?
Why does he let them burn him?”
“He is a dead man.”
The prince said.
“What is dead man? This word is so strange.”
He continued to ask.
“Will I die too? My father too?
Yasodhara Bimba, my wife too?
And all people too?”
The prince continued to ask.
“Isn’t there anyone to find the solution for this frightening matter?
Isn’t there anyone to put all efforts
so that we can be free from this suffering?”
Certainly, if I were Channa, I would not know how to reply.
Thus, Prince Siddhartha told Channa to bring him back to the palace immediately. But before returning to the palace, he saw a monk in sloppy cloth. So, he asked Channa, “Who is that?”
“He is ‘monk’.
He is determined to seek the path to be free from suffering.”
It seems that the prince is very pleased with this answer. I believe that many of you heard the story of the four passing sights. It inspired Prince Siddhartha to become ordained.
We all have seen birth, age, death and monk. We have visited newborns and patients at the hospital. We even used to be sick. We have grandparents and many relatives, who are old people. We used to attend funeral. We used to see monks. Nevertheless, have we felt that these things are suffering?
I want to ask you. If your beloved person dies today, at the moment you are reading this book or your physician tells that you have cancer, would you suffer? Of course, the everybody’s answers will be the same. Yes, we will suffer.
But is there anyone that wants to overcome this?
The answer is yours.
Suppose that one of your family members feels that birth, age, sickness, and death are extremely suffering. He tells his family members that he has decided to go out and seek the way to help everyone to be free from birth, age, sickness and death. What would you say or feel about that person?
Or you deeply think that how could this be possible that someone can be free form suffering? This is the nature, isn’t it?
Yes! Our birth is normal and our death is normal. However, if we do not have cause of birth, how can death happen?
Even in the last life, when the mind has released attachment, the Buddha used the term “extinguishment”. When it is extinguished, this body or existence is still working like a train that has remaining firewood. However, if new firewood is not put in, the train will be out of power and stop one day.
The reason why the Buddha and his disciplines must exist in the world.
If, O monks, three things were not to be found in the world, the Tathagata, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One, would not appear in the world, nor would the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by him shed its light over the world. What are these three things? Birth, old age, and death.
But since these three things are to be found in the world, the Tathagata appears in the world, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One, and the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by him sheds its light over the world.
Tipitaka, Anguttara Nikaya, Dasaka Nipaata
translated from the Pali by Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi
One family, father, mother and a child, are living together in the mist of valley. All of them have severe disease and they are waiting for death. But one day the father has made decision that he would not allow everyone to suffer from this disease. He will not be inert. He will go out to find the medicine from anywhere. No matter how far or how difficult it is, he will find the medicine and help everybody, including all villagers.
Although nobody ever dare to find solution. If the outsider or villager says, “This father is bad. He left his family.”, I would not be able to take this accusation because it is false.
Certainly, the father will not wait for his wife’s agreement. If he does not leave, everyone will continue to suffer endlessly. Even if he fails to find the medicine, he has tried his best for everyone. He can be considered admirable for this attempt.
In fact, the story did not end up like that. The determined father brought back the medicine. He saved himself, his wife, his child, his relatives as well as many villagers from severe disease.
Today, the world must recognize his greatness, not accusing him for searching the medicine.
Today The Buddha has discovered the precious truth. Importantly, he saved himself, his father, his wife, Bimba, his child, Rahula, his relatives and number of people, who followed him and became monk. His disciples reached out to preach and supported the religion to flourish until now.
Although the time has passed 2500 years,
we still receive an advantage from the greatness
in his mercy, wisdom, and purity.
What are we waiting for?
Do not let this life go uselessly without doing anything.
You might not find the noble truth for a long time.