Author Topic: The story of the 2 monks  (Read 7637 times)

bambi

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The story of the 2 monks
« on: July 01, 2012, 05:14:01 PM »
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?

Big Uncle

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012, 05:46:16 PM »
LoL! That was a rather cute scenario there and its quite deep too. I believe it refers to the bane of ignorance and arrogance. For many of us, we are just too comfortable living in our misery, simply because we are comfortable knowing what we are getting and we refuse to do anything to change that.

We refuse because we are afraid of change, we are afraid to change because we think we will lose our security when we enter the unknown. However, it would be better to do something about it then to regret about it later when it is already too late. The worse form of regret is when we are old and dying because it would be too late by then. The bad news is when we already have regret at a young age and we don't do anything to change that, we will never change. That's how our minds operate. As we get older, it will get harder and harder to change so our regret and sorrows that we have right now will only intensify if we don't do anything about it right now.

I know I have gone into the deep end of the subject but that's how I see this subject. Nobody wants to regret later so it is really good to reflect on our past actions and look towards improving ourselves and that's in line with real spiritual practice. If we are true Buddhist, our learning should be in tandem with our compassion and that's reflected in how much we do for others. That is the best yardstick for anybody's practice.

Jessie Fong

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 02:18:14 AM »
Monk in heaven realms thought that he had the best in life, thinking that his friend the worm was in deep *^#@ which literally he was.  Each of them thought they had the best of their own world and did not want to leave their comforts for another place - attachment to the present, scared to venture out of their comfort zone, not willing to accept change, scared of what the future may hold, not willing to face challenges ..... a lot of negative energy.

Say, what would have happened if the monk in heaven had pulled so hard that the poor worm in dung pile had actually snapped and died?

ratanasutra

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 03:06:10 AM »
Ummm... the precious scenario is already not so good, now it is getting worse by the worm died..

If it was happened as Jessi said, i will said that the good intention that the Monk in heaven has brought negative result as it was not done by appropriate and skilful way for the worm, so instead of benefit the worm, it turned to be harmful.

So we must be mindful and aware of it, the good intention must go along together with right method or another word we can't have compassion without wisdom, otherwise things might not turn as good as it should be.


 


biggyboy

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 05:26:35 AM »
This story somehow reminds me of how many of us live.

We are very comfortable in our own comfort zone and resistant to change. 
We build barriers and stockade around our little dung heap feeling safe and content.
We make excuses to justify why we should continue as we are. 
We are afraid to venture out, afraid of what lies ahead of us. 
Our inertia has deprived us the opportunity for advancement and to taste something better.

The moral of the story is never to be afraid to try something new. Move on with courage.

yontenjamyang

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 06:48:09 AM »
Dear Bambi. Very humorous story and very good reflection of the reality. We in the lower 4 realms are really in the dung pile. But we do not know it is the dung pile. We are comfortable with it. We are attached ti it. We do not want to leave the "comfort" of our mindset. We do not realise we are in the shit. Hehe! Ignorance is the root of our samsaric existence.
I also find that even for the first monk who when to the heaven realms, also is in the dung pile because heaven realms are still in Samsara. He may enjoy the "life" there but it will also end one day and in the Lamrim, we learned that beings in the heavenly realm suffers even more when their good karma is exhausted and the only way is down after that.
So, best to accumulate merits and wisdom now as much as possible and practice Guru Devotion so that we may at the very least go to one of the pure lands like Tushita and be able to continue our practice.

That should be the small scope motivation at least. If we can practice renunciation and boddhicitta that will be the higher scope.

Ensapa

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 08:04:40 AM »
I like this story a lot. Many people cannot accept advice from their friends and people who care about them because the truth is definitely not easy to stomach for them. It can be hard at times to listen to difficult advice, especially if it comes from friends or family as we always expect them to be by our side but in the end they tell us the truth and we do not wish to hear it, because we are too attached to the notion that we are right and they are wrong for telling us off. What we do not know is that we are in a state that is far from good and these people are trying to help us out of it. It can be a very difficult uphill battle in more ways than one for them to care enough to talk to us and tell us that we are heading the wrong direction as it rips the friendship apart, especially if that person loves his ego and loves his comfort zone and negativities more than their friends.

In a way, I was guilty of doing that as well. A year ago, a Dharma brother gave me an advice that would help me repair my samaya with my Guru and not only that, it could also help me to improve as a person as well. But I was pretty stubborn as the odds were somewhat against me as there was just too much groundwork to do as well as too many challenges and obstacles from my family. I resisted and resisted and was not happy as the way he told me was rather rude in more ways than one. I somehow thought he was trying to put me down and make fun of me and that he did not understand the situation at all. It is only when time passed and I was reminded and hinted by my lama to do so that i did so. If I had done it earlier, it would have been good but unfortunately i was too stubborn, like the worm in poo.

In a way, this story is a gentle reminder for us so that we do not take our peer's advice for granted as it could be something that would really turn the situation around for us. We never know if what we have is good or bad, but we will definitely know if someone pointed it out to us and to reject this would be a great shame indeed on so many levels.

bambi

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2012, 08:47:01 AM »
This story somehow reminds me of how many of us live.

We are very comfortable in our own comfort zone and resistant to change. 
We build barriers and stockade around our little dung heap feeling safe and content.
We make excuses to justify why we should continue as we are. 
We are afraid to venture out, afraid of what lies ahead of us. 
Our inertia has deprived us the opportunity for advancement and to taste something better.

The moral of the story is never to be afraid to try something new. Move on with courage.

Yes, biggyboy. It was exactly what I believed. People are comfortable in their comfort zone hence they dare not venture into something new afraid that something bad or they have to do more. We always say what we have learned and practicing it but are we really doing it? We come up with all sorts of excuses on why we shouldn't do it. We should walk the talk.. Then people around us will do the same. Although not all us will do but some change will do all of us good.

Carpenter

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2012, 01:00:20 PM »
This story is very much describing us as well, just imagine how many of us are the same as the worm that keep holding on our dung and still happily holding onto it? Despite the suffering we have while holding onto the dung, we still don’t want to let go, and this is what brings us back to the same dung life after life, our attachment is too strong.

When we don’t have the level to understand something better, we should listen and do what’s good for us, because when we don’t try, we would not know the difference, and will not change.
The dung has already kind of became a comfort zone for the worm, he is comfortably staying there and being so afraid to change, he is afraid that when he got out from the dung, he will lose everything, and to understand the law of impermanence, nothing in this world is permanent and nothing here belongs to us.

When we read this story, we pity the worm, but look at us, aren’t we the same?

Jessie Fong

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2012, 12:44:39 PM »

When we read this story, we pity the worm, but look at us, aren’t we the same?

So if we pity the worm for holding onto the dung, are we also pitying ourselves for holding on to our attachments.  But could the worm be holding on because it had nothing else to hold onto?  Maybe it was scared that he would lose his life as all that he has ever known was that pile of dung?  Just like the frog in the well - the well and its surroundings was all that he had for neighbours. Maybe it was feeling like the drowning man - any straw would do?


pgdharma

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2012, 03:26:32 PM »
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.

bambi

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2012, 03:27:28 PM »

So if we pity the worm for holding onto the dung, are we also pitying ourselves for holding on to our attachments.  But could the worm be holding on because it had nothing else to hold onto?  Maybe it was scared that he would lose his life as all that he has ever known was that pile of dung?  Just like the frog in the well - the well and its surroundings was all that he had for neighbours. Maybe it was feeling like the drowning man - any straw would do?

Yes Jessie, I believe that all the worm could see was the dung. His narrow mindedness caused him to be so attached to his current environment. His attachment to it made him think that he will be unhappy if he were to be taken to somewhere else of which he is not familiar with. Hence the worm's comfort zone and ignorance just the same as the frog. How many of us can leave of comfortable life and become a monk/nun? Knowing that the Dharma can give us ultimate happiness. Aren't we too, holding on to our attachment?

vajrastorm

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 03:10:01 PM »
How applicable this story is to me and many people, I think.

I, for one, am filled with a sense of great elation and a 'must act now ' spirit whenever I read Day One of the Lamrim about this rebirth as being more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel, and the Chapter on The Optimum Human Rebirth. Checking Thubten Chodron's checklist on the things that constitute most conducive conditions for spiritual practice, I find I have all of them, including rare conditions, like having a Spiritual Guide and a supportive circle of Dharma friends who encourage my practice.

Yet, i am like the worm still holding on to the dung pile - still very attached to my comfort zone and all things samsaric, and fearful of venturing into the unknown. Fortunately, I have  a Spiritual Guide who cares so much about my future lives. Hence, I must heed his advice(and I must keep reminding myself of this), letting go and renunciation is the way to go. Also, focus on benefiting others. Perish all thoughts of, and squash the demon of self-cherishing.

Q

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Re: The story of the 2 monks
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2012, 08:18:48 PM »
Thank you for this wonderful story. There is so many lessons that we can learn from this story itself...

It is true that even though people live in the same conditions they may not go to the same place after this life is over... this shows that we are indeed in total control of our lives and future lives, and no environmental situations can control affect us. This is why even though both of the monks lived their whole lives as monks in the monastery until they pass away... one was born in heaven while the other in the animal realm. We cannot escape our karma no matter what... we will still have to experience the karma that we have committed many life times ago.

It also shows that the lower we go in the 6 realms... the more ignorant we become... and even if a higher being comes over to help us we cannot see the reality behind it... what a fearful state to be in...