When the Buddha was alive, seven wise sisters happened to pass a cemetery. One of them, pointing to a dead body, asked the others, “The corpse is here. Where is the man?” One of them said, “What? Why? Why?” All of them attained enlightenment upon hearing these words. Then, surprised to see them get enlightened, a heavenly God, spraying flowers, said, “Oh, my glorious sisters, what do you need? I will be willing to provide you with whatever you need forever.” The sisters answered, “We have everything we need. But if you want to help us, we hope to have three more things; one is a tree without a root, another is a patch of land without light and shade, and the third is a valley that doesn’t make any echo even if we shout.” The heavenly God said, “I have everything needed, but I don’t have the three things you mentioned.” The sisters responded, “If you don’t have these things, how can you save people from their suffering?” The heavenly God went to the Buddha and asked him about the meaning of these things. The Buddha answered, “Even my students who have practised a lot don’t know the meaning of these things. Only Bodhisattvas can know the meaning of them.”
Student: “How did they attain enlightenment when they heard a sister say, ‘What? Why? Why?’?”
Master: “She didn’t say any words and they didn’t hear any words.”
Seeing and hearing are the source of all calamities.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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