2021-05-19-Sutta Storries-The Lady and Her Servant
3:33PM May 19, 2021
So I'll continue today with some stories from the suit does the engine discourses of the Buddha. And the Buddha himself was a storyteller. In that he tells innumerable stories as part of his teachings. And some of them may be or events that he experienced some of them, I think he just made up for the purposes of teaching. And he also makes up many analogies and metaphors. And he's kind of a wonderful storyteller as a rich kind of vocabulary of storytelling techniques for helping us understand better and and so here's a story the Buddha told, it seems that there was a monk who, when he was criticized, would easily get upset, get angry, when someone pointed out that he wasn't behaving properly. So he told this story, that once there was a lady bed, there he goes, who was known for being gentle, and kind, and peaceful. If you had reputation around town, that that was how she was. But this lady also had a servant by the name of Kali. And Kali was worked hard, she was very clever and competent, in her work was very neat, and her worked, cooked delicious food, did everything for the household, that made everything go smoothly and easily. And then one day colleague, the servant, thought to herself, you know, it seems that people have this idea that the lady is kind and gentle and peaceful. But I wonder if this is really the case. Let me find out. So the next morning, when usually Callie would wake up before the lady and get everything ready for the day. But in this day, Callie slept in. And the lady woke up and found that this servant was still sleeping. So she spoke harshly. Oh, she said to us, she said to her, what's the matter, Callie, that you're sleeping? And Callie said, Nothing's the matter. I just sleeping in. And then the lady got upset and angry and said it was harsh, spoke harshly to her. You know, don't do that again. You shouldn't you can't you have to do your work. sudden, the next day, Callie slept in again. And the next day, the lady asked what's the matter? And call he said nothing's that matter I just sleeping in. And so then the lady got even more upset, then spoke even more harshly. The next day. The same thing happened. But this time, the lady got really upset. And she got a rolling pin from the kitchen and started hitting the servant over the head. Terrible, you're wicked, you're bad. How could you do such a thing. And with blood running down your face, the servant ran out in the street and said, Look, everyone, you thought that the lady was kind and gentle and peaceful. But it doesn't take much to provoke her that she's actually underneath. She had carries a lot of anger. And that anger given half a chance or even a mild chance will surface and look what she's capable of doing. And from then on the lady's reputation of being kind and gentle and peaceful, was no longer in that town. So I imagined the Buddha made this story up and maybe we don't like the story too much. But still it's an example of him using a story as an analogy. Because then he goes on and and he says that there are five ways that people might speak to you. He's talking to the monastics he says that Either
someone might say something that's true or not true. Someone might speak in a timely fashion or not timely fashion. Someone might speak, speak gently or harshly. Someone might speak with loving kindness, or not with loving kindness, someone might speak to benefit others, or to harm them. So these are the five ways it's possible to speak. Regardless of how they speak to you, you should have loving kindness for them, you should have kind regard for them, you should be concerned for our care for their welfare and their happiness. In other words, don't succumb to anger, bitterness, resentment, if they speak to you in a way, that's not kind, not beneficial way that's harmful, that's untimely. Or that is false. That's not a reason to get angry, to get upset, to be distressed or to be, you should always maintain a heart of kindness. That doesn't mean that we're pushover doesn't mean that we go along with what they want. But it means that we find our way without getting angry. And then he goes on to make some analogies. And he says, What do you think? If a person comes along with a shovel, maybe a wheelbarrow, and starts digging up the dirt on in on the earth? To take it away? Could that man that person succeed at hauling away all the dirt from the earth? And I imagine those listening kind of laughed and said, No, you can't take the dirt away from the earth, where are you going to put it and, and so in the same way, you should make your mind at like the earth, that the no matter what comes your way that you're undisturbed, you you you're balanced, you're not disturbed, you're not out you're unchanged by the harshness or this trouble that when people speak to you in unkind ways, or an untruthful ways. Rather, you should continue to spread loving kindness. Suppose he said next, that a person comes along with paint, all kinds of beautiful colored paints, and a paintbrush and dips, the brush in the paint then starts painting with a brush on in the air with that person making any kind of painting. And they say no, we get paid that way you have to paint on something, you can't just kind of wave your brush in there. In the same way, make your mind like empty space. And so that whatever words come your way, they don't paint a picture on your mind. They don't your mind doesn't react, it doesn't take the colors that are thrown at you and people are unkind or speak words of harmful but rather maintain loving kindness and stay concerned care for the welfare of this person. And start with that person and then spread that care and goodwill through everyone at all directions. And then he goes on to say that if you put a little bit of dye, I think this is right. And I don't have a historic 100% accurate so you have to be a little bit generous that I'm being a storyteller myself and in some of the details. And But anyway, so he says then imagine that there's a Ganges River, and someone puts a little bit of dye in a few drops of dye in the Ganges River. would that change the river would he call her the river? And the person said no, it's a few drops might change the color in a small glass of water, but it has no impact on the Ganges River. And so in the same way, make your mind like the Ganges River broad and wide and flowing. And the words that people say towards you, let it be like those few drops so that it has no impact on you. It has no effect on you so that you can maintain a heart of kindness, goodwill loving kindness. For this other person, you can maintain care. You can stay caring for their welfare and their happiness even if they want to harm you. And with that person cultivating your loving kindness with that person, then spread it out to all beings Everywhere.
So the first story of the lady and Kali is a story about how there's underlying tendencies we have, that we can behave one way. But deeper down in the mind, there might be a triggers for us to get angry, upset, high, even hostile, violent even. And that the point of practice, Buddhist practice is really to touch the deeper place and transform it and to change it. So that our kindness is not superficial, or feigned, or pretend, or, you know, where it doesn't really come from who we are, or we're not in danger, of really kind of causing harm ourselves. And this is one of the reasons why we want to develop concentration and meditation. There's something about concentration that can sometimes bring us deeper under the surface concerns we have the surface mind preoccupations and concerns and stories, we tell ourselves deeper down to really see what's there. And sometimes what we find is that there's underlying layers of resentment and anger, or upsetness, or fear, greed that's there. And that is something really good to touch into see. So we know it's there. And then we can practice with it, and resolve it, dissolve it, solve it. All these words of having to solve and them have to do with releasing on tying them and in the Latin root, to untie it. And to cultivate loving kindness, not just to be neutral as we untie the knots of the heart, but to cultivate loving kindness. No matter what, even if people are speaking words that are difficult for us to hear. It's a kind of a tall order. It's a challenge with the life that we live. But the here the Buddha is really pointing to the role of practice, we practice because this is a valuable way of living. That this is a wet valuable way not as a moral obligation to be kind or to uproot our anger. But rather, this is both working for the welfare of ourselves and the welfare of others. That to really uproot our underlying tendencies to anger. And to cultivate the ability not to succumb to anger and hostility, no matter what people say to us. This preserves our own peace and well being and as for our own welfare, and as we do it, we're also creating the conditions where that other people might work for their own welfare that other people might relax, making it possible for other people to be at peace, if they know how to use it, if they know how to allow for it. So thank you, and we'll continue with the few more stories this week.