Stories By Swami – Two Tales of the Buddha

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Two Tales of the Buddha

You Western folk want action! You cannot yet perceive the poetry of every common little incident in life! What beauty could be greater than that of the story of the young mother coming to Buddha with her dead boy? Or the incident of the goats? You see the Great Renunciation was not new in India! . . . But after Nirvana, look at the poetry!

It is a wet night, and he comes to the cowherd’s hut and gathers in to the wall under the dripping eaves. The rain is pouring down and the wind rising.
Within, the cowherd catches a glimpse of a face through the window and thinks, ‘Ha, ha! Yellow garb! stay there! It’s good enough for you!’ And then he begins to sing.
‘My cattle are housed, and the fire burns bright. My wife is safe, and my babes sleep sweet! Therefore ye may rain, if ye will, O clouds, tonight!’
And the Buddha answers from without, “My mind is controlled: my senses are all gathered in; my heart firm. Therefore ye may rain, if ye will, O clouds, tonight!’
Again the cowherd: ‘The fields are reaped, and the hay is fast in the barn. The stream is full, and the roads are firm. Therefore ye may rain, if ye will, O clouds, tonight.’
And so it goes on, till at last the cowherd rises, in contrition and wonder, and becomes a disciple.
Or what would be more beautiful than the barber’s story?
“The Blessed One passed by my house,
my house–the Barber’s!
“I ran, but He turned and awaited me,
Awaited me–the Barber!
“I said, ‘May I speak, O Lord, with Thee?’
“And He said ‘Yes!’
‘Yes!’ to me–the Barber!
“And I said, ‘Is Nirvana for such as I?’
“And He said ‘Yes!’
Even for me–the Barber!
“And I said, ‘May I follow after Thee?’
“And He said, ‘Oh yes!’
Even I –the Barber!
“And I said, ‘May I stay, O Lord, near Thee?’
“And He said, ‘Thou mayest!’
Even to me–the poor Barber!”

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