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The Buddha and the Bed-Ridden Monk
 

One day the Buddha was checking on the welfare of his monks in their quarters when he saw one monk lying prostrate on his bed. Seeing the Buddha, this monk tried to raise himself up, so he could bow in homage, but he didn’t have the strength.  

Seeing this, the Buddha came to the monk’s bed-side and consoled him. He asked, “How is it that you are this ill and yet nobody is looking after you?” The monk answered, “I am lazy by nature and since becoming a monk, I have never shown any real concern for the sufferings of others. Even when I have been assigned to care for the sick I have never done it well, but only in a perfunctory way. So, now I am sick and nobody is willing to come and care for me. Am I not shameful?”

After hearing his story, the Buddha helped the monk clean away his excrement. Then, he swept the monk’s room clean for him. The Heavenly King, Śakra, seeing the Buddha’s compassion, also came forward to bathe the sick monk.. The Buddha gently patted the monk with his hands. In the blink of an eye, the monk felt completely refreshed in mind and body; all of his afflictions were suddenly transformed into a feeling of deep tranquility.

The Buddha said to the monk, “Since you became a monk, you have been idling away your precious time, instead of diligently freeing yourself from the cycle of birth and death. That is the reason you have contracted the disease and suffered. I hope starting from today, you will devote all your effort to the practice.”

After hearing the Buddha’s words, the monk knelt down and bowed his head in repentance. “Buddha! I am forever in your debt. But for your great compassion, I probably would have died and kept drifting in the realms of suffering. From now on, I vow to seek supreme enlightenment and to liberate all living beings.”

Unwavering in his commitment, the repentant monk diligently practiced the Buddhist teaching, and soon reached the state of Arhatship.

Reflection

“Before attaining the state of Buddhahood, we have to build good connection with people.” In our busy, hectic lives, we tend to be indifferent at best, and callous at worst, to the needs of others. We tend to be critical rather than generous with praise. So, why not pause for a moment and show concern for the people around us? In doing this, you will be rewarded with unimaginable joy in return.