Chapter 06: The Advantages of Keeping One’s Words
Thirty years ago, there was an old couple who honestly and sincerely practiced walking meditation. They strictly did walking meditation on their patio for one hour each evening. During this meditation time, they would not pay attention to anything, no matter what happened or who called them. They would go on walking slowly, acknowledging “Right goes thus” and “Left goes thus”. One day, four thieves appeared at their house to steal their water buffaloes. One thief stayed on guard at a place where he could keep an eye on them, one guarded the entrance and the others cut the fence, stole their water buffaloes, and ran away. The first thief was left behind. The couple had many dogs, but they were all sleeping that night. Other people who listened to this story could not help wondering why any dog did not bark when the thieves broke into the house. The thieves probably hypnotized them. May be it was because “dog-star” was shining high in the sky. Do you know that all dogs sleep when the “dog-star” rises? Thieves can steal during this time.
Here is what happened. It was full moon that night. The first thief who was assigned to watch to old couple and deep an eye on them, saw them walking slowly, “Right goes thus” and “Left goes thus”. He did not understand what they were doing. So he wondered why they continued walking without paying attention to their buffaloes as they were led out of the fence. He thought something was wrong with the couple. Then again, he was not sure what he saw. Were they human or ghosts? If there were human, then why did they not pay attention to their property? As the thief was watching the couple with wonder, he started backing up. He continued walking backwards until he stepped on a dog. Then, all ten dogs awaked and began barking. The buffaloes were frightened and ran in every direction. So the old couple did not loose their buffaloes. This is a true story that happened thirty years ago. It can signify one advantage of walking meditation and keeping one’s word about the meditation time.
There is another wonder ful story. There was an old Chinese couple who made a commitment to each other that they would practice sitting meditation uninterruptedly for one or two hours each day. I can’t remember the exact time. However, they made the commitment that they would sit and miditate continuously until their determined time was up. They would not quit, no matter what happened or who called them or who was trying to steal anything from them. They set an alarm clock for sitting meditation and quit when it went off. One day, while they were meditation, their daughter visited them. She knew that they would not be interrupted, so she went to the dining room and began eating some roasted chicken she found there.
At that time, a truck appeared with men carrying machine guns. They walked into the house and took the couple’s valuables, such as pieces of ancient blue-pattern chinaware and money. After they finished loading the couple’s property, they went back to the house and aimed the gun at the husband. At first, the gun did not go off. When it did fire, it went off in another direction. The thief wondered what happened. At first, the gun did not go off. When it did fire, it went off in another direction. The thief wondered what happened, so he inspected the couple’s necks to check whether they were wearing any miniature Buddha images to protect them. The couple did not move, but continued sitting acknowledging, “Rising” and “Falling” as they inhaled and exhaled, simultaneously.
The daughter heard the gun shot and was very frightened. She immediately hid under a one-foot high bench; roasted chicken was stuffed in her mouth.
It was quite a miracle that the gun could not be fired. The thieves drove away with the couple’s money and valuable belongings. It happened that a Police Colonel, who was patrolling the area at the same time, he had some feeling that he should patrol the lane where the couple’s house was located. He ordered his team to turn the patrol car into the lane. And they actually passed the thieves’ truck. When the thieves saw the police, they were frightened and jumped out of the truck and ran away. The police pursued them and caught tall of them.
After the investigation, the thieves confessed that they had stolen property from the couple. The police brought them back to the house and found the couple meditating, and so they did not answer his call. A few minutes later, the alarm clock went off. They had finished meditation. The police asked them whether they knew what was going on. They were robbed and shot at, though miraculously the bullet went off in another direction. The thieves had inspected their necks. The old man said that he knew, but he had to keep his word in sitting meditation. He just acknowledged what he knew. Here are what he acknowledged: “Knowing, knowing”, “Rising”, “Falling”, “Take if if you want to”, “It if belongs to you, you can take it”, “If it belongs to me, it remains”, “Rising”, “Falling”.
There was a sudden cry for help. The police looked around and found the old couple’s daughter under the one-foot high bench. They had to lift the bench up to free her. After freeing her, they asked her how she could get under that one-foot high bench when she haad such big hips. She said that she was so frightened that she could push herself under that bench.
Finally, the old couple could retrieve all their belongings. They also told the police that they forgave the thieves and did not want to pursue the case. The thieves knelt down to pay gratitude to them. The police wondered why the gun could not be fired at them. Had they some excellent miniature Buddha images that provided miraculous protection? The old man said his protection was to acknowledge “Rising” and “Falling” of his abdomen. The police were encouraged to practice this meditation and realized the miracle of meditation and acknowledging “Rising” and “Falling” of the abdomen. Later, they visited this temple and learned vipassana meditation.
This is the advantage of keeping one’s word. When there is danger, a gun cannot be fired at that person. There are many people who die from gun-shot, even though they were miniature Buddha images around their necks, but they did not honor their word and had never thought of the virtues of the Buddha.
I visited an army base at Khau Mountain in Changwat Petchaboon. We gave out gifts to the soldiers. There were twenty-four boxes of fish sauce and some goodies. I asked the Major who was in charged of the unit.
“Was there ever any soldier here who survived because the gun could not be fired at him?”
He said that one captain in his platoon was the only one who had survived an attack and that was many years ago when he was a sergeant. Everybody else had been shot by machine gun and died, but he fell down the mountain and survived. I asked how he could survive. The major said that he did not understand why the bullets did not him him. He is a Muslim, following his father’s religion, but his mother was a Buddhist before she got married. He did not have any sacred protection except a very beautifully braided “Takruit” around his neck. Only one Muslim soldier survived that attack, Buddhist soldiers died. I told the major that I would like to interview that soldier.
When that soldier arrived, I told him that I would like to inspect his “Takruit”.
“Please do not touch it”, he said.
“Oh! Why not? Is it because we believe in different religions? I wondered.
No, Luang Poh. I will explain the whole story”, he said.
“When I knew that I had to join this battle, my parents were abroad. They went to my father’s country. Therefore, I visited my uncle who is a Buddhist layman and said goodbye to him. I also asked him to give me some sacred protection. He told me to bring one of my mother’s skirts and he would make me the protection. He cut the skirt into strips and braided them. When he finished braiding, he put it around my neck. He told me to concentrate and chant: “Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato SammaSambuddhasa”, three times, then think of my God, my parents and my teachers, and asked for protection. He also told me to hold on to the Islamic discipline: 1)No alcohol, 2) No gambling and 3) No prostitution. My friends went to the village and drank. When they came back to the base, some stepped on a land mine and died. I fell down the mountain acquiring a lot of bruises. This is how I could survive the attack.” He showed me his scars that he got from that attack.
The I understood why he asked me not to touch his sacred protection. It was because it was made from his mother’s skirt. He did not tell anyobody because others would tease him for putting a piece of skirt around his neck.
Was it only his mother’s skirt that gave him protection? I say rather that it is because he kept his word. He did not drink alcohol and get drunk. His God protected him.
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