At the Roots of Enlightenment, Part III

At the end of the next seven days, the Enlightened One moved from the root of the Ajapāla Nigrodha to the root of the Mucalinda Tree.

A great storm arose, out of season, with seven days of wind, cold rain, and gloom.  Mucalinda, the royal nāga serpent, wrapped the Blessed One seven times with his coils, covered the Blessed One with his great hood, and thought, “Let the Blessed One feel no cold or heat or touch of gadflies, gnats, wind, sun and creeping things.”

At the end of seven days, Mucalinda saw the storm had cleared, unwrapped himself from around the Blessed One’s body, and made his form vanish and appeared in the form of a brahman youth, standing before the Blessed One with hands raised in reverence.

Knowing the meaning of this, the Blessed One uttered this exclamation:

Seclusion is happiness for one contented,
By whom Dhamma is learnt, and who has seen,
And friendliness towards the world is happiness
For [one] who is forbearing with living beings.
Disinterest in the world is happiness
For [one] that has surmounted sense desires.
But to be rid of the conceit ‘I am’ –
That is the greatest happiness of all.

(Note: This entry is a paraphrase of Bhikkhu Nānamoli’s The Life of the Buddha, pages 33 – 34.  I have switched gendered pronouns to genderless ones, from ‘him’ to ‘one’, where it did not seem to disturb the meaning of the text.  These are marked with brackets.  Yet another example of translation, interpretation, and the intersection of these with practice at work!)

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1 thought on “At the Roots of Enlightenment, Part III”

  1. This is really a wonderful passage, describing as it does the life of spacious wisdom.

    Of course, the word “disinterest” does not seem to support the great bodhisattva intention of profound, compassionate interest in the world’s suffering. Another translation issue, I suspect.

    I love the last two lines – wow, how powerful!

    Thank you!

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