General Buddhism => General Buddhism => Topic started by: Dorje Pakmo on October 07, 2012, 06:39:26 PM

Title: The Worm
Post by: Dorje Pakmo on October 07, 2012, 06:39:26 PM
I found this very nice and short story while reading up on the internet and find the teaching to be funny but somewhat powerful.

What I personally understands from this story is that when we choose hang on to our Samsaric behaviours, there will come a time when our negative Karma accumulates and become so bad, even when help or great opportunities comes knocking at our door, we are already too ignorant to see it and will just shut it out without giving a second thought.

Do have a read and share your thoughts.

Ajahn Brahmavamso

There is a wonderful little story about two monks who lived together in a monastery for many years; they were great friends. Then they died within a few months of one another. One of them got reborn in the heaven realms, the other monk got reborn as a worm in a dung pile. The one up in the heaven realms was having a wonderful time, enjoying all the heavenly pleasures. But he started thinking about his friend, "I wonder where my old mate has gone?" So he scanned all of the heaven realms, but could not find a trace of his friend. Then he scanned the realm of human beings, but he could not see any trace of his friend there, so he looked in the realm of animals and then of insects. Finally he found him, reborn as a worm in a dung pile... Wow! He thought: "I am going to help my friend. I am going to go down there to that dung pile and take him up to the heavenly realm so he too can enjoy the heavenly pleasures and bliss of living in these wonderful realms."
So he went down to the dung pile and called his mate. And the little worm wriggled out and said: "Who are you?", "I am your friend. We used to be monks together in a past life, and I have come up to take you to the heaven realms where life is wonderful and blissful." But the worm said: "Go away, get lost!" "But I am your friend, and I live in the heaven realms," and he described the heaven realms to him. But the worm said: "No thank you, I am quite happy here in my dung pile. Please go away." Then the heavenly being thought: "Well if I could only just grab hold of him and take him up to the heaven realms, he could see for himself." So he grabbed hold of the worm and started tugging at him; and the harder he tugged, the harder that worm clung to his pile of dung.
Do you get the moral of the story? How many of us are attached to our pile of dung?
Title: Re: The Worm
Post by: Aurore on October 07, 2012, 09:15:28 PM
My translation from this story:

We are liken this worm who lives in a realm of materialism, attachments, desire and hatred, a world of darkness but we are enable to see it but instead we live by it happily and comfortably. So blinded we are when there is a way to get out of suffering shown by a holy being, we cannot see it and reject it. It's like how our negative karma rejects the teachings of the Buddha. Even though the seed of Enlightenment was planted in our previous lives (in this case, the worm was a monk before), it is up to us to not lose the opportunity to take full advantage of it because the karma may pass.
Title: Re: The Worm
Post by: rossoneri on October 08, 2012, 03:56:23 AM
Thank you Dorje Pakmo for this interesting story. Yes, it is so true that we as a human being in this realm have a very strong attachment towards our material and desire mostly. In general most of the people can't see that we are actually suffering in the darkness of samsara. In fact we are very lucky to be a Buddhist and to be able have this realization.

One step at a time, we must cut down on our habit of self indulgence. Buddha has shown us the way and it is ultimately up to us to decide if we wants to be on the Path of Enlightenment.

Title: Re: The Worm
Post by: yontenjamyang on October 08, 2012, 05:26:42 AM
Haha. How true. If we just shift both friends' rebirths one level up. In the case of the friend reborn in the heavenly realms, that would be enlightenment (pardon me here, enlightenment is a quantum of a difference from the heavenly realms but for simplistic illustration I am using this) and the friend who became a worm, now is reborn as a human.
The dung pile's qualities is analogous to the "happiness" and delusions of the human realm. The food (dung figuratively speaking..yeake!!), the entertainment, sex, house, cars, friends are not real happiness; are at best, temporary happiness that does not last. But to the worm, those are great happiness. To us the humans, we also find these "happiness" great. But we are deluded in the sense that we think it is ultimate and basically spend our whole life looking for, craving and clinging to it.

The story illustrate the fact that we are all living in the dung pile but we are so attached to it that we refuse to leave it for a better rebirth. Even when given a helping hand we refused it. It is analogous to the Guru and the Sangha offering a help hand, we say, NO THANKS, I AM HAPPY HERE! This is our ignorance.
Title: Re: The Worm
Post by: bambi on October 08, 2012, 05:30:23 AM
LOL... I remember this post. Dorje Pakmo, you can refer to this post as well... (
Title: Re: The Worm
Post by: pgdharma on October 09, 2012, 02:51:18 PM
Yes  Bambi, this was  posted  before. Thank you Dorje Pakmo for bringing up this post  again.

The monk who took rebirth in the heaven realm thought that he had the best things in life as compared to his friend, who is a worm  in a dung pile. However, even the monk in the heaven realm is considered in a dung pile, maybe a cleaner and better dung pile but both are still in samsara. This scenario also apply to us when we reflect back on how we are attached to our comfort zone and not wanting to venture out from that zone, just like the worm who found comfort in a dung pile. We are happy where we are and hesitant to change for fear of challenges and the unknown.

Moral of the story: Don't be like the worm. Take on challenges, have courage and get out of the comfort zone.
Title: Re: The Worm
Post by: RedLantern on October 14, 2012, 03:54:18 PM
Blindly ignoring our nature,even with our eyes open,we are closer to death with each passing moment.Due to ignorance we are attached to worldly concerns.In death and rebirth ourselves,we have to know ourselves,we have to know who and what we are,and how we got around and why and where we are going.Exactly like how we got to the shopping complex ,why we went to that particular place when we did.Where we are and how we get there and what we were doing when we decided to depart there in the first place.
Fortunately for us,there are those who have developed their awareness of self nature and how they function to the point of knowingly conducting themselves through this dreamlike wilderness with attentive awareness and wisdom-based intention to arrive in their next embodiment ready to proceed with it already.They are motivated and self realized to help others .Among these are the Tulkus of Tibetan Buddhism and other fully aware rebirths who are with us even today,who are defining through both the continuity of precious enduring lineages of teaching and practice.With Dharma knowledge and practice,one can have self realization and improve the quality of life.
Title: Re: The Worm
Post by: dondrup on October 14, 2012, 06:31:30 PM
There are many teachings that we could derive from this wonderful story about the worm.  Even though we [worm] are endowed with precious human lives with almost all the 8 freedoms and 10 endowments [opportunity to go to heaven], we do not take essence of these to liberate ourselves from samsara. We failed to surrender ourselves entirely to Guru and Dharma.  We are still attached to samsaric pleasures thinking [worm’s perception of life in the dung] that they can give us permanent happiness.  Everything in samsara is illusory and transient and yet we choose to believe [worm’s perception of dung remaining as permanent] things are real and permanent.  Buddha had pointed to the moon [heaven] as depicted in the Wheel of Life as the direction that we should be heading to and not to remain in the cyclic existence of samsara [the dung].
Title: Re: The Worm
Post by: ilikeshugden on December 22, 2012, 05:26:32 AM
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. My understanding of this story is that most people do not want to leave their comfort zone even if there is an opportunity given by a holy being to go to a higher state of living. One thing that I do not understand is why did the monk get reborn as a worm? Was it due to past karma? Was it due to not keeping vows? I also have another question to ask. Is it actually possible for the devas to bring lowly beings into their realms to enjoy? That is like changing realms.
Title: Re: The Worm
Post by: Tenzin Malgyur on December 22, 2012, 09:07:19 AM
Dorje Pakmo, this is an interesting story with a very real message. Indeed, there are many of us human here living a life with the attitude like the worm in the story. We are contented, never wanting to leave the comfortable condition which our clouded mind thinks is the best for us. And it is really so sad, even when we meet with someone who can get us out of our 'dung' situation, we refused to be helped, instead we clutch and hang on with our dear life. I wish many more will realize the real condition we are living in, stop clinging to our pile of dung and convince our stubborn mind to be rescued.