Kamanita 22 :The Sick Nun

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Kamanita 22 :The Sick Nun

Postby yawares » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:46 am

Dear Members,

:heart: Kamanita And Vasitthi :heart:
[By KARL GJELLERUP]


THE SICK NUN

AT THIS TIME one of the bhikkhus came over to
us once a week and expounded the Teaching.
After some time Angulimāla's turn came — I did
not go into the meeting hall on this occasion but remained
lying in my cell, and begged a neighbouring sister to say
to him:
"Venerable Sir, Sister Vāsitthī lies sick in her hut
and cannot appear in the assembly. Will you, after the
meeting, go to her and expound the Dharma also?" And I
should add that this pretext of sickness was not entirely
untrue: the emotional torments which I had been experi‐
encing had also taken their toll on my body and I was
regularly faint and feverish during these weeks.
So, after his talk to the nuns, the good Angulimāla
and a companion came to my hut, greeted me deferen‐
tially and sat down by my bed.
"You see here, brother," I said then, "what none of
us would desire to see — a love‐sick nun — and you
yourself are the cause of my sickness, seeing that it was
you that robbed me of the object of my love. True, you
have since brought me to this great physician who heals
all life's ills, but now even his marvellous powers cannot
help me. In his great wisdom he has recognised this and
has given me a remedy to bring the fever to a crisis, and so
to get rid of the insidious germ of disease at present in my
blood.


"As a result, then, you see me at this moment with a
fever of longing raging within. So I wish to remind you of
a promise you once made to me to go to Ujjenī and
bring me certain news of Kāmanīta: whether he still lived,
and how he was. For my desire to know whether Kāmanīta lives,
and how he lives, is such an overpowering one that, until
it is gratified, there is no room in my heart for any other
thought, any other feeling,and it is consequently impossible
for me to take even the smallest step further forward on this,
our way to enlightenment. For this reason it becomes your duty
to do this for me, and to quiet my feelings by bringing me some
definite information."


After I had spoken thus, Angulimāla rose, and said:
"It will be just as you require from me, Sister Vāsitthī."
As he spoke I was unsure if his sense of duty was
also coloured with a feeling of criticism for myself, and for
my weakness of spirit. However, together with the bhikkhu who
was his chaperone, he left my hut and disappeared into the darkness
of the forest.
Angulimāla went straight to his hut to get his alms‐
bowl and in that same hour left the Simsapā wood. People
generally believed that he had simply gone on a pilgrim‐
age, following the Master. I alone knew the true goal of
his journey.


This step once taken, I felt myself grow somewhat
calmer, although haunted by a doubt as to whether I
should not have given him some greeting or messages for
my belovèd. But it seemed to me unfitting and profane to
use a monk in such a way — as a go‐between — while, on
the other hand, he could perfectly well go to a distant city
and give an account of what he had seen there. It would
also be something quite other — I said to myself with
secret hope — if he, acting on his own judgement and
without being commissioned to do so, should decide to
speak of me to my loved one.


"I will myself go to Ujjenī and bring him here safe
and sound" — these words resounded ever in my inner‐
most heart. Would the monk be likely, then to redeem the
promise of the robber? Why not, if he himself were con‐
vinced that it was necessary for both of us to see and to
speak with one another?
And with that came a new thought from which
streamed an unexpected ray of hope that at first dazzled
and then bewildered me:— If my belovèd should return,
what was then to hinder my leaving the Order and becom‐
ing his wife?


When this question arose in my mind burning
blushes covered my face, which I involuntarily hid in my
hands from fear that someone might just at that moment
be observing me and know my thoughts. What a hateful
misinterpretation such a course of action would be ex‐
posed to! Would it not look as though I had regarded the
Order of the Buddha simply as a bridge over which to
pass from a loveless marriage to one of romantic
fulfilment? My action would certainly be construed thus
by many. But, when all was said and done, what could
the judgement of others matter to me? And how much
better to be a devoted lay sister who stood loyally by the
Sangha, than a sister of the Order whose heart lingered
elsewhere. Yes, even if Angulimāla only brought me the
information that my Kāmanīta was still alive, and I could
gather from the account of their meeting that my loved
one was still true to me in the faithfulness of his heart,
then I would be able to make the journey to Ujjenī
myself. And I pictured how I would one morning, with
my shaven head and my robes, stand at the door of your
house — how you would fill my alms‐bowl with your
own hands and in so doing would recognise me — and
then all the indescribable joy of having found one
another again.


********to be continued*********
Edited by yawares :heart:
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