Thursday 16th FEB 06 12:35am
A very long time ago, even before legends were born, there lived a prince of a very wealthy country. He had everything a young boy in his time could ever ask for. Wealth, status and looks. He had servants taking care of his every need, from hand to foot. He was happy.
Soon, he was of the age to get married. He had many women to choose from, the pretty girls coming from all the neighbouring cities for his choosing. He was also lucky. He managed to pick a humble, loving and hardworking wife as a partner. The wife was loyal to him. Loving him and taking care of his emotional and sexual needs with empathy and sincerity.
But as he grew older and more attentive to the world around him, he felt he was missing something day after day. But he had everything. What could he possibly be missing? The feeling of loss nagged at him strongly, day after day, week after week, month after month. Finally, he decided he could not take it anymore and, on one clear night, he packed a small bag of belongings and left his grand palace and city secretly. He needed to find what he was missing. He needed to put his mind at ease.
He traveled for days on end. Outside of the proctection of his palace and kingdom, no one reconised him as the prince. He was attacked and robbed of his possesions and left with only his clothes on his body and a worn out sandle, he had no choice but to carry on with his journey as he is.
After 1 year of traveling, he stopped by one day at a small tea hut and sat under a rock to beg for food as he has been doing for the past year. People walked past him and a few barely noticed he was around. Finally, an old lady walked up to him and place a dried bun on his hand. "Here, young man, take this bun. Fill your hunger." said the old lady to him.
The prince was touched by this stranger's act of kindness to him and thanked the old lady. He kept the bun inside his worn out robes and left his sitting area, thinking to enjoy his bun quitely in one corner.
But it was not to be. As soon as he took out his bun, he was attacked by other beggers who were hiding amongst the bushes shielding themselves from the scorching afternoon sun. The prince tried to fight his attackers off and save his bun. But there were too many of them and he was already weak from malnutrition. The attackers left him bloodied and sore, lying on the roadside.
The prince, filled with anguish, looked to the sky and lashed out at heaven. "I have forsaken my life of wealth and comfort to find that which has been nagging me for a long time. I have hurt no one, done no wrong. Yet, why do you, heaven, treat me so unfairly?" The prince was angry, lost and afraid. He was confused. He was too tired to carry on with his journey.
And, as if an answer by the heavens, the sky grew dark and lightning struck. The prince watched in amazement as a flash of mighty lightning struck a huge fig tree and yet, the tree was still standing, undamaged by the attack from the heavens. But wait, the tree then begun to glow, as if inviting the prince to take shelther under it's leaves, for by now, huge pallets of rain has already started to decend upon the ground.
The prince crawled to the tree. When he reached the tree, he felt warmth and safe. He was also very exhusted from his earlier attack. He fell sleep.
The prince had a dream that night. In his dream, there was this bright light. And as the bright light spoke to him, the prince felt the power and love of the voice. A voice that calms him and made him listen to the words that were soken.
"My child. You have heard the call of your heart and seek to understand the emptiness of your self. You have been through alot. At this time, do you still wish to continue with your search for the answers in which you seek?" The voice asked.
"Yes. Please, please, please help me. Help me find that which i seek, for i know i am not complete without it" Was the prince's reply.
"Very well. If you are really certian this is what you seek, then stay under the fig tree. For as long as it is necessary, until then, will you find the answers you are looking for."
And with that final sentence, the prince found that he was back under the big fig tree and that the sky was clear once again.
And so the prince took up residency under the fig tree. He drank the dew from the leaves, ate the fruit from the tree and the tree's huge leaves granted him protection against the hot sun and the rain. He was also able to see, from where he was sitting, the happenings around his area. the things that people do and say. From there, he understood many things from his observations. Before long, he was able to advise people that come by to him with questions.
3 years passed, and as word of the prince's wisdom spread, more and more people came to seek an audience with the "wise man" under the fig tree.
One day, a bandit came up to the prince under the tree and, pointing his huge, blood stained sword at the prince, demanded that the prince leave his spot and give it to him for shelter.
The prince looked up at the bandit and smiled. "All you need to do was ask, my friend." With that, the prince moved away from his spot and sat on the hot ground under the sun, in front of the bandit.
The bandit laughed at the prince and, along with spitting at the prince, scolded him "STUPID". The bandit then went about making himself at home under the prince's fig tree. All the prince's followers were stunned and shocked. Why had their wise teacher given up the place which he had called home for so many years?
The bandit stayed on for the next 48 days. All the while spitting and cursing at the prince for his silly actions of staying under the sun.
On the 49th day, the bandit called out to the prince. "Hey stupid!, Do you want your tree back?"
The prince once again smiled and replied "Yes, if you are done and satisfied, i wish to have my tree back."
The bandit made a sinster face and shouted at the prince "Alright, stupid. strip off your clothes and kiss my feet and i will let you have your tree back!"
Again, the prince smiled and replied, much to the shock and amazement of the bandit and the crowd of people that have gathered around the tree, "Alright, if that is what you wish. I will."
And without a second word, the prince stripped off his clothes and knelt down and kissed the bandit's toes.
At this, the bandit asked incredeously, "Stupid!!! why did you do it? it's just a tree! why?"
With that, the prince again smiled and replied. "This tree has fed me and sheltered me for the past 3 years. It has helped me understand the world around me and in return, i was able to help others. Just like it has fed you and sheltered you the past 49 days. It is a tree that does not discriminate between good or evil, just that everyone deserves to have a place to feed and rest. It has given me so much. By baring my body and kissing your feet, it is not even enough to pay for the interest of the wealth the tree has given me."
This time, It was the bandit who smiled. "my child, you have indeed filled your self with that which you seek." With that, the bandit turned into the golden bell Arhat.
At the sight of this transformation, the prince got on his knees and bowed to the powerful entity, his eyes filled with comfort and joy. " Oh great Arhat, have you come to teach me more?" asked the prince.
"No, my child. I was sent to you by the Lord Buddah himself. He wants to see you, and teach you personally, if you are willing."
"YES! yes, great Arhat. i am willing, and so are my students and followers."
"But there is one last test you have to go through before you can come with me, my child."
"which test would that be? oh great Arhat?"
But he was all alone. The golden bell Arhat was gone, and so was his followers. All gone.
The prince looked around himself, confused for a moment. And then he heard it.
"My husband!!!" called out a women's voice.
The prince turned around and reconised his wife. Apparently, his loving wife has never stopped looking for him ever since he left his palace. "My dear wife!" called out the prince. The two of them held each other in a tight embrace, tears flowing freely between them.
"I have been looking for you everywhere, my husband. I am so glad to have found you at long last! Please, come back with me to the palace, your whole kingdom awaits!!"
"You spent the last few years looking for me? why?" enquired the prince.
"Why? because you are my husband! because i love you! and you have a kingdom to rule and i want t be by your side as your wife!"
"I see" said the prince. "I am sorry. I cannot go back with you. You do not love me. It was all an illusion"
"What?!" The wife said, tears forming in her eyes. "But i have spent all this while searching for you, afriad that i may never see you again. I Love you with all my heart. How can you now be so heartless and say such things like that!"
The prince once again smiled and said "Do you really?"
"YES!!! I SWEAR by it!" came the confident and fast reply.
The prince nodded, and, right infront of his wife's eyes, turned into a woman.
"Do you still love me now?"
The prince's wife was speechless. "But... but thats not possible... that's not supposed to happen..." she stammered finally.
"You do not love me, my wife. You love my face, my body and my name. Yet, you do not love that person that is inside of the body. What is visible to your eyes may be nice to you now. But that will grow old and wither. Will you still love that which is broken or changed?"
"I can be male today. And i can be female tomorrow. Will you love me the same as you would yesterday?"
With that, The prince dissappeared in a flash of golden light. Leaving the wife to finally understand the truth of those very words.
The prince was none other then the Goddess of Mercy.
My friends. We can always say we love this or that person. But at the end of the day, what IS it that we really DO love? what is it that we really DO appreciate?
Let me know when you have the answer.
Or is my story too deep for you to understand?
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