When the Buddha was alive, there was a monk whose name was Ananda. He as the Buddha’s assistant, listened to the Buddha’s Dharma talks more than any other monastic. However, he was scolded for clinging to words by the Buddha, who said, “Clinging to words for a thousand days is not as good as practising for a day.” After the Buddha passed away, some of his disciples congregated to make a book of the Buddha’s Dharma talks. Ananda thought that he should attend the meeting because he, the Buddha’s assistant, had listened to the Buddha’s Dharma talks more than anyone else. However, he was not allowed to join the meeting since he was not enlightened. Then, he went to Mahakasyapa who was the successor to the Buddha and asked him, “I know you received the Buddha’s garment and alms bowl. What else did you take from the Buddha other than them?” Mahakasyapa called him by his name, “Ananda.” Ananda answered, “Yes.” Mahakasyapa said, “Get out and break the flagpole in front of this building.” Ananda couldn’t grasp what Mahakasyapa meant in the beginning but after twenty-one days of practice he attained enlightenment and could join the meeting.
Student: “What else did Mahakasyapa receive from the Buddha other than the Buddha’s garment and alms bowl?”
Master: “He showed it to Ananda.”
What can be given and taken is the shadow of what cannot be given and taken.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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