Irrepressible Stories of the Nuns of Mount Jiri
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In the past when my Master used to meditate in a cave, he only wore a worn out jumper with an old pair of trousers. He had a long mustache and survived in a cave by eating only the mixed bean flours. He had already lost 15 kg and he was left only with skin and bones.
Occasionally he went around the mountain and picked up garbage to take them out at the garbage ground, infront of the Sangye-sa Temple entrance near their parking lot. At this time, there was a young Buddhist woman who owned a small corner store near the temple entrance. Just like always, the Master collected garbage and was throwing them out at the Sangye-sa Temple garbage ground. At that very moment, the young woman bought a Korean sweet pancake and offered it to the Master.
During this time, the appearance of the Master was indeed very poor so everyone used to treat him like a homeless beggar. However, this young woman was the only one who paid enough attention to the Master to offer him food. This fresh warm pancake was the first offering the Master received since he arrived at the Hwaghe-gol Mountain. The Master told the woman “I am very confident that a warm hearted person like you will always lead a happy life.” The young woman was very worried about whether she should sell her corner store or not at this time, but after hearing the Dharma teachings by the Master she decided to keep the store and work harder because she realized that the difficulties one faces in early part of life are very precious teachings one must accept. Therefore, for the next 15 years she managed the store and learned about life from people she met (at her store); at times giving people good advice and stories, sometimes reading Buddhist Sutras, she continued to live as the Master taught.
Yesterday, the Master went near the Sangye-sa Temple to wait for the bus and he met this young woman again by coincidence. The young woman asked when the Master will return, and on his return she came to the temple for the first time with the Master.
The woman probably thought that the temple was maintained well just like the other temples. But, she was shocked by the sight of the temple and meditation rooms made with old tree trunks, and grass. Later, when she was having tea at the main Buddha Hall and the Master mentioned about the pancake 10 years back, she said “At that time I did not even know your name and I thought you were just “a monk who collects garbage”. Now that I am here today, my heart feels very strange but very happy” and laughed.
The young woman ordered Chrysanthemum Flowers in time for the Master’s arrival and left the temple. To bless her beautiful heart, the Chrysanthemums were offered to the Buddha in every corner of the temple.
Just like a saying that “True friends are those we meet during our most difficult times”, being compassionate towards people who seem so small and minuscule could be done by people with big hearts and generosity. Being friendly to people with power and fame, but coveting and being resentful behind their back is the mind of ordinary people. Giving with a pure heart without calculation is indeed a very beautiful thing.
Flowers can blossom in cold frost
A deep scent of Chrysanthemum in Autumn,
And the scent of the plum tree in early Spring
Aspiration prayers go out to all sentient beings
For development of beautiful hearts