THE PERFECT LONG-SUFFERING
All the righteousness, the charity, the worship of the Blessed, that have been wrought in thousands of aeons, are destroyed by ill-will. There is no guilt equal to hatred, no mortification equal to long-suffering; and therefore one should diligently practise patience in divers ways. While the arrow of hate is in the heart, none can have a peaceful mind in equipoise, or feel the joy of kindliness, none can win sleep or calm. They whom a master cursed with an evil spirit honours with wealth and favours, and who dwell under his protection, seek nevertheless to destroy him. Even his friends are in terror of him. His gifts win for him no service. In short, there is no way for a passionate man to find happiness. He who stoutly fights against wrath, the enemy that brings these and other sorrows, wins joy in this world and beyond. Nourished by discontent, hatred grows swollen and destroys me; and discontent. Springs from doing unpleasing works or from the baffling of desire. Then I will cut off the nourishment of my enemy, for this foe-man’s sole purpose is to slay me.
My cheerfulness shall not be disturbed, even by the most untoward events; discontent works no good, and only destroys merit. What profits discontent if there is a remedy; and what profits it if there is none? We shrink from sorrow, defeat, rude speech, and dishonour for ourselves and our friends, and from the opposite of these for our enemy. Happiness is hard to win, pain comes readily; there is no escape from life save by pain; then be firm, O my spirit! The Karṇāt as the “little children of Durgā,” suffer the agonies of burning and maiming in a vain hope of salvation; why then shall I be fainthearted? There is nothing which practice cannot make easy; so by practice in slight sufferings we learn to bear great pains. Flies, stinging creatures, gnats, hunger, thirst, and other like pains, fierce itch and other like miseries lookest thou upon these as profitless? Before cold, heat, rain, wind, travel, sickness, bondage, and blows be not tender and delicate, else thy anguish will increase. Some there are who at the sight of their own blood become exceedingly valorous, and some at sight of others’ blood fall into faintness. This comes about through firmness and feebleness of spirit; then he who is unconquerable by pain will overcome suffering. Even in pain the wise man will not let the calm of his spirit be disturbed; for he is at war with the Passions, and in war suffering abounds. They who overcome their foes by presenting their bosoms to the enemy’s blows are “victors,” “heroes”; the rest are “slayers of the slain.”Another virtue of suffering is that from loathing of the flesh pride is brought low, and there arise pity for the creatures wandering through births, fear of sin, and love for the Conqueror. I have no anger against, the gall and the rest of my humours, although they cause great suffering; then can one be wroth against thinking beings, who likewise are deranged by outer forces? As a bodily pain arises unwilled (by the humours), so too wrath perforce arises un-willed (in the offender). A man does not become angry of his free will and with purpose of anger; nor does wrath resolve of itself to break forth before it breaks forth. All offences, all the various sins, spring of necessity from outer forces; none are self-guided. The total of outer forces has no consciousness that it engenders an effect, acid the effect has no consciousness that it is engendered. The “Primal Matter” and “Soul” of which forsooth men talk are imaginations. They do not come into being with consciousness of doing so. Before coming into being they do not exist; and who can then desire to come into being? If the “soul” is active upon its objects, it will not cease thence; and if it is constant, impassive, and like the ether, it is manifestly inactive; for though it he joined to outer forces, how can a changeless thing act? What part of the action is done by a thing which at the time of action is the same as before it? If “its own action” is the bond (between soul and object), what is the ground of this? Thus every, thing depends on a cause, and this cause likewise is not independent; in no wise, then, can wrath be felt against beings mechanical as phantoms.
“Then there can be no restraint; what is to be arrested, and who shall arrest it? “Not so; for since all is really the work of outer forces, hence we deem that sorrow may have an end. So when we see a foe, or even a friend, doing un-righteously, let us remember that such are the outer forces moving him, and remain in peace. If all mortals could win their ends at their own pleasure, none would suffer vexation; for none desire it. In heedlessness, wrath, or lust for women and other things beyond their reach, men bring themselves into distress from thorns, lack of food, and the like. Some destroy themselves by hanging, springing down from a height, taking poison or unwholesome measure of food, or doing unrighteousness. Since under the sway of the passions they harm thus their own persons, which they love, how can they spare the bodies of others? Maddened by passions, striving for their own destruction, there can be only pity for them; how should we be angered? If it is the nature of fools to hurt their fellows, it is as wrong for me to feel anger against them as it is to be wroth with the fire which naturally burns me; and if again it is a passing frailty, and creatures are upright of nature, then it is as wrong to be angered against them as against the air when smoke fills it.
Say I am angered not against the instrument the stick or whatso it may be but against him who moves it. But he is moved by hatred; it is better then for me to hate hatred. I myself in former times have wrought the same suffering for other creatures; thon I deserve this for having done hurt to living beings. The cause of my suffering is twofold my enemy’s sword and my body. He has taken the sword, I the body; with which shall I be angry? What I have got is an ulcer in the shape of a body, unable to bear the touch; and thus tortured in the blindness of desire, with what shall I be wroth? I seek not suffering, yet in my folly seek the cause of suffering; since my pain comes from my own offence, why shall I be wroth with another? The forest whose leaves are swords, the birds of hell, spring from my own works; with whom then shall I be wroth? They who do me hurt are moved thereto by my works, and thence they fall into hell; surely it is I that undo them I Thanks to them, my guilt through much patience fades away; thanks to me, they go to the long agonies of hell. It is I who do them hurt, they who do me kindness; base spirited fellow, wherefore this absurd anger?
If I fall not into hell, it will be by the merit of my spirit; what matter is it to them that I save myself? If I should return them evil for evil, they would not be saved thereby; my progress would be wrecked; and these poor creatures would be lost. In no place and by naught can the mind be destroyed, for it is unembodied; but from imaginations clinging to the body it suffers with the body’s hurt. Discomfiture, rude speech, dishonour, all these things harm not the body; then why art thou wroth, O my spirit? Can the ill-will of others towards me touch me in this life or in births to come, that I should dislike it? Haply I may mislike it because it hinders me from gaining alms; but then the alms that I get will vanish here, my guilt will stay with me for ever. Better for me to die this same day than to live long in sin, for however long I stay, the same death-agony awaits me. One man in dreams enjoys a hundred years of bliss, and awakes; another is happy for an hour, and awakes; surely the pleasure of both, when they wake, is alike ended. And so it is at the time of death with the long-lived and the short-lived. Though I may get many gifts, and long enjoy my pleasures, I shall depart empty-handed and naked, as if stripped by robbers. “By my gains I may live to wipe out my sin and do righteousness” ay, but he who is angry for the sake of gain wipes out his righteousness and does sin. If that for which I live is lost, what profits life itself which is spent wholly in ungodliness?
“I hate him who speaks to my blame, for he brings creatures to destruction” then why art thou not angry against him who rails at others? Thou bearest with the unkindly when their unkindness touches others, and bearest not with the caviller who touches on the growth of thy vices! It is unmeet for me to hate them that destroy or revile images, sanctuaries, or the Good Law; for the Enlightened and their company thereby take no hurt. If men wrong thy dear ones, masters, brothers, and the rest, know as before that outer forces are working, and restrain thy wrath. Whether it be wrought by a thing with or without thought, suffering is assured to living beings; it is found in whatever has thought; then bear with it. Some in their blindness do wrong, others in their blindness are wroth with them; whom of these may we call blameless, or whom guilty? Why hast thou of old done so that thou art thus afflicted now by others? All are under the sway of their own works; who am I to undo this? Knowing this, I will strive to do righteousness, so that all may be full of love for one another. When a house is burning, and the fire may fall upon the next house and seize upon the straw and like stuff within it, we carry this stuff away from it; and in like manner must we straightway cast out the things by touch whereof the spirit is inflamed with the fire of wrath, for fear lest the substance of our merit be consumed. If a man doomed to death be released with one hand cut off, is it not well for him? and if one through human tribulations escapes hell, is it not also well for him? If one cannot bear the small suffering of the moment, then why does he not put away the wrath that will bring upon him the agonies of hell? By reason of wrath I have been thus afflicted in hell thousands of times, and done no service to myself or to others. My present tribulation is not so heavy, and will be very gainful; let me be glad of a suffering that redeems the world from its suffering.
If some find delight in praising one of high worth, why, v my spirit, dost thou not rejoice likewise in praising hire? Such joy will bring thee no blame; it will be a- fountain of happiness; it is not forbidden by men of worth; it is the noblest way to win over thy fellows. If thou art not pleased because he [who praises] is glad, then thou wouldst forbid such things as payment for service, and seen and unseen rewards alike perish. Thou art willing for thy neighbour to be glad when he praises thy worth; but thou art loth to be thyself glad when another’s worth is praised. Thou hast framed the Thought of Enlightenment in desire to make all creatures happy: then why now art thou wroth with creatures who of themselves find happiness? Forsooth thou wouldst have all beings become Buddhas, and worthy of the three worlds’ worship; then why art thou vexed to see their brief honours? He who nurtures them that thou shouldst nurture gives to thee; yet when thou findest one that feeds thy household, thou art wroth, not glad! He that desires the enlightenment of living beings desires all good for them; but whence can one have the Thought of Enlightenment who is angered at another’s good fortune? If the gift comes not to thy neighbour, it stays in the house of the offerer; in no wise does it fall to thee: what matter to thee whether it be given or no? Shalt he check his righteousness, the kindness of others, or his own worth? shall he not take what is given? say, art thou not angered in every case? Not only wilt thou not grieve for thine own sins, but thou darest to be jealous of the righteous. If sorrow could befall thine enemy at thy pleasure, what would come of it? Thy mere ill-will cannot bring forth an issue without a cause; but if it were accomplished by thy wish, what happiness wouldst thou have in his grief? The issue then would be more harmful to thee than aught else.
This is in sooth a deadly hook in the hands of the fisher Passion; the wardens of hell will take thee thence in purchase and seethe thee in their kitchens. Praise, glory, and honours make not for righteousness or long life, or for strength, or health, or pleasure of the body. But such will be the end sought by a wise man knowing his advantage; and he who desires mirth of spirit may give himself to drink, gambling, and the like. For glory men waste their substance, ay, even their lives. But will syllables feed them? and when they are dead, who has pleasure of it? As a child wails bitterly when its house of sand is broken down, so I deem my own spirit will be when praise and glory vanish. Praise is but sound, and being itself without thought, cannot praise me. “Nay, I am glad, forsooth, because my neighbour is pleased with me.” But what is it to me whether my neighbour is pleased with me or with another? the joy is his; not the smallest share of it is mine. If happiness springs from the joy of others, then I should have it in every event; so why am I not glad when men rejoice to honour another? Then gladness arises within me only because I am praised; and thus, being foreign to myself, it is an utter child’s play. These praises and honours destroy my welfare and horror of the flesh; they arouse envy of the worthy and anger at their fortune. Then they who rise against me to crush my glory and honour are in truth working to save me from falling into hell. If I seek deliverance, gains and honours are a fetter that befit me not: how can I hate them that release me from this bond? By the blessing of the Enlightened, as it were, they become a door barring my way into sorrow; how can I hate them? “But he hinders me from righteous works” nay, it is not well to be angry for this. There is no work of mortification equal to long-suffering, and surely this is an occasion for it. If by my sin here I show not patience towards him, it is I who hinder myself from doing righteousness when the occasion for it has come. If one thing exists not without another, and exists when the other is present, the latter is the cause of the former: how can it be called a hindrance to it? The beggar who comes at the duo hour makes no hindrance to the almsgiving; and if a monk conies who can administer the vows, it is not called a hindrance to our taking the vows . We find many beggars in the world, but few who will do us hurt; for if I do no wrong, no man will wrong me. Then an enemy is like a treasure found in my house, won without labour of mine; I must cherish him, for he is a helper in the way to Enlightenment. Thus this fruit of my patience is won by me and by him together; to him must be given the first share, for be is the cause of my patience. “But my enemy seeks not to prosper my patience, and therefore he is not worthy of honour” nay, why then do we honour the Good Law, the unconscious cause of blessing? “Nay, his purpose is to do me hurt” but if an enemy is therefore not honoured, how can I otherwise shew patience towards him, as though he were intent, like a physician, on my welfare? It is by reason of his evil design that my patience is born; therefore he is the cause of patience, and as worthy of honour from me as the Good Law. Therefore the Saint has told of the Domain of Creatures and the Domain of Conquerors; for by seeking the favour of creatures and Conquerors many have risen to supreme fortune. Since with both creatures and Conquerors is the same gift of the qualities of the Enlightened , how may we deal partially and refuse to creatures the reverence shown to Conquerors? The greatness of the purpose lies not in itself, but in its works; hence creatures have a like greatness, and therein they are like to (the Enlightened). The greatness of creatures is that he who has the spirit of kindliness towards them wins worship; the greatness of the Enlightened is that merit is won by love toward them. Thus creatures are like to the Conquerors by giving in part the dower of the qualities of the Enlightened, albeit none of them are peer to the Enlightened, who are oceans of virtues, infinite of parts; and if even one atom-small virtue from these sole stores of the essence of the virtues be found in any creature, the whole threefold world is not enough for his worship. In creatures is found a little power, but that most noble, for bringing forth the qualities of the Enlightened; according to that little power should creatures be honoured.
Moreover, what perfect reparation can be made to these Kinsmen without guile, these doers of immeasurable kindness, save the service of creatures? They tear their own bodies, they go down into the hell Avīchī, all for the welfare of others; then even to them who most sorely wrong us we must do all manner of good. How dare I chew pride, instead of a slave’s humbleness, towards those masters for whose sake my Masters are heedless of their own lives? When they are happy, the Saints are rejoiced, and wroth when they are distressed; in. their gladness is the gladness of all the Saints; when they are wronged, wrong is done to the Saints. As one whose body is entirely in flame finds no comfort in any things of desire, so when creatures are distressed these beings of mercy have no way to find pleasure. Forasmuch then as I have done hurt to all these most compassionate beings by doing hurt to living things, I confess now my sin; may the Saints pardon me for the wrong that I have done them! To win the grace of the Blessed Ones today I make myself utterly theslave of the world. Let the crowds of living beings set their feet upon my head, or smite me, and the Lord of the World be glad i Beyond ail doubt these Merciful Ones have made the whole universe their own; truly it is our Lords who shew themselves in the form of creatures, and dare we despise them? It is this that moves the Blessed to grace, this that wins my true end, this that wipes away the misery of the world; then be this my vow!
A single henchman of the king handles a crowd rudely; and the throng, looking on from afar, dares not shew sign of passion; for he is not alone, the king’s power is his strength. And likewise thou mayst not dishonour him who wrongs thee because he is weak; for the warders of hell and the Merciful Ones are his strength. Then let us seek the favour of creatures, as a servant the favour of a wrathful king. Can a king in his anger bring upon us the anguish of hell, which we shall bear for making creatures sorrowful? Can a king in his pleasure bestow aught equal to Enlightenment, which we shall bear for making creatures happy? But beside the destined Enlightenment that springs from kindness to creatures, seest thou not that herein lie fortune, glory, comfort? Favour, health, joy, long life, and abounding delight of empire fall to the lot of the patient man in the course of his lives.