7th month reflection 

7th month reflection

Walking home this evening, I saw heaps of burning paper, joss sticks;
the smoke went deep into the nostrils and one had to take extra care
to avoid stepping on offerings. Everywhere, businessman, housewives,
shop owners, young and old were burning, praying, lighting up...

If the enlightened ones were here, perhaps this is what they would say:

*Punnika, an enlightened nun teaching a Brahman who believed that
washing in the river would purify him.

______________________________

Thig XII.1
(vv. 236-251)

[Punnika:]
I'm a water-carrier, cold,
always going down to the water
from fear of my mistresses' beatings,
harrassed by their anger & words.
But you, Brahman,
what do you fear
that you're always going down to the water
with shivering limbs, feeling great cold?

[The Brahman:]
Punnika, surely you know.
You're asking one doing skillful kamma
& warding off evil.
Whoever, young or old, does evil kamma
is, through water ablution,
from evil kamma set free.

[Punnika:]
Who taught you this
the ignorant to the ignorant
'One, through water ablution,
is from evil kamma set free?'
In that case, they'd all go to heaven:
all the frogs, turtles,
serpents, crocodiles,
& anything else that lives in the water.
Sheep-butchers, pork-butchers,
fishermen, trappers,
thieves, executioners,
& any other evil doers,
would, through water ablution,
be from evil kamma set free.

If these rivers could carry off
the evil kamma you've done in the past,
they'd carry off your merit as well,
and then you'd be
completely left out.
Whatever it is that you fear,
that you're always going down to the water,
don't do it.
Don't let the cold hurt your skin."

[The Brahman:]
I've been following the miserable path, good lady,
and now you've brought me
back to the noble.
I give you this robe for water-ablution.

[Punnika:]
Let the robe be yours. I don't need it.
If you're afraid of pain,
if you dislike pain,
then don't do any evil kamma,
in open, in secret.
But if you do or will do
any evil kamma,
you'll gain no freedom from pain,
even if you fly up & hurry away.
If you're afraid of pain,
if you dislike pain,
go to the Awakened One for refuge,
go to the Dhamma & Sangha.
Take on the precepts:
That will lead to your liberation.

[The Brahman:]
I go to the Awakened One for refuge;
I go to the Dhamma & Sangha.
I take on the precepts:
That will lead to my liberation.

Before, I was a kinsman to Brahma;
now, truly a brahman.
I'm a three-knowledge man.
consummate in knowledge,
safe & washed clean.
______________________________



Don't let the smoke irritate you,
Don't let the heat burn you...

If burning papers, incense can burn away fear,
then we shouldn't be just burning in the 7th month.
For spirits, ghosts, and hell-beings that we fear
are around always; they burn incessantly, consistently
'burning' inside and out because of past wrong doings.
They are hot enough, do they need more heat?

Knowing this,
do you still want to 'burn' now
and perhaps become a recipient of others' offering in future?

"If you're afraid of pain,
if you dislike pain,
then don't do any evil kamma,
in open, in secret.
But if you do or will do
any evil kamma,
you'll gain no freedom from pain,
even if you fly up & hurry away.
If you're afraid of pain,
if you dislike pain,
go to the Awakened One for refuge,
go to the Dhamma & Sangha.
Take on the precepts:
That will lead to your liberation."

With metta
Peifen

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