Kamanita And Vasitthi
[~By KARL GJELLERUP]
THE UNREASONABLE CHILD
AFTER THE BUDDHA HAD ended his discourse,
Kāmanīta remained sitting for a long time, silent and
motionless, a prey to conflicting and sceptical thoughts.
Finally he said: "You have told me much of how the
monk should make an end of suffering in his lifetime,
but nothing whatever of what becomes of him when his
body disintegrates in death and returns to its elements,
except that from that time on neither people nor gods, nor
even Nature Herself, sees him again. But of an eternal life
of supreme happiness and heavenly bliss — of that I have
heard nothing. Has the Master revealed nothing
"Even so, brother, thus it is: the Tathāgata has
revealed nothing concerning it."
"That is as much as to say that the Lord Buddha
knows no more of this most important of all questions
than I myself," replied Kāmanīta discontentedly.
"Do you think it to be so...? In that same Simsapā
wood in the neighbourhood of Kosambī, where you and
your Vāsitthī swore eternal fidelity and pledged yourselves
to meet again in the Paradise of the West, there the Tathā‐
gata at one time took up his abode. As he walked through
the wood he picked up a bundle of Simsapā leaves in his
hand and said to the monks with him — ''What do you
think, bhikkhus, which are more numerous, these Simsapā
leaves which I have in my hand, or all the other leaves in
the forest?' Immediately they answered — 'The leaves
which you have in your hand are very few, Venerable Sir,
whereas the leaves in the Simsapā forest are far more
"'In the same way, bhikkhus,' said the Tathāgata,
'that which I have discerned and yet not revealed to you is
far greater in sum than that which I have revealed to you.
And why have I not revealed everything? Because it is not
helpful spiritually, it is not in keeping with the path of
simplicity and renunciation, it does not lead to the turning
away from all worldly things, nor to the letting go of
passions, nor to the final disowning of all that is subject to
change, nor to perfect knowledge and enlightenment — it
does not aid the realisation of Nirvāna.'"
"If the Master spoke thus in the Simsapā grove at
Kosambī," answered Kāmanīta, "then the matter is pro‐
bably even more serious still. For in that case, he has
certainly been silent on the point in order not to discourage
or, as might well happen, even terrify his disciples; as
he certainly would, if he should reveal to them his version
of the Final Truth — namely, annihilation. This seems to
me to result as a necessary consequence from what you
have so plainly stated. For, after all the objects of the five
senses and of thought have been denied and rejected as
fleeting, as without any real existence and as full of suff‐
ering, there remain no powers by means of which we could
grasp anything whatsoever.
"So I understand, Venerable Sir, from the doctrine
you have just expounded to me, that those who have
freed themselves from all delusion fall victim to annihil‐
ation when the body dies, that they vanish and have no
existence beyond death."
**************to be continued***********
Edited by yawares
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