‘You’ve often told us in your sermons that the Buddha-nature in all is always perfect, and their nature loses nothing even if the mind is disturbed, and gains nothing when the mind is calm.

Why then do you tell people to control their passions and acquire peace of mind? On your own showing, nothing real is lost, for the true nature can never be lost or even diminished.’

‘They think that they lose something, and that causes distress.’

‘Then simply tell them nothing has been lost, It is wrong to treat it as if they did lose something by letting their mind run wild, and then tell them how to control it.’

‘Let me tell you something that happened to me once. I was passing one of those fried eel shops; you know what a delicious smell there is when they are cooking. I didn’t want any eels, but without thinking I inhaled a deep breath and said, “Ah-h-h!” as I passed by.

‘A little boy came running after me. “I saw you, I saw you”, he cried, ‘Daddy says that smell’s our business, and I saw you sniffing it up there. You’re stealing our business – give it back!”

“‘Oh dear, so I am,” I told him, “I didn’t think. Of course I must give it back” and I let out a big breath slowly, and smiled at him. He went back satisfied; it wouldn’t have done to upset him. When he grows up, he’ll remember it perhaps and laugh, and maybe think kindly of what he remembers of a Buddhist priest. What harm will that do?’

 

© Trevor Leggett – Fried Eels

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