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Two monks arriving at a river ford noticed a beautiful young woman

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Ajahn Jayasāro's Yellow Pages Teaching

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Twice weekly handwritten Dhamma teaching by Ajahn.
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Two monks arriving at a river ford noticed a beautiful young woman sitting under a tree, crying. She told them that she was frightened and lost and didn't dare to cross the swift-flowing river by herself. The younger of the monks felt sorry for the woman. He decided that although it would be an offense against the monastic discipline, compassion should come first, and he would carry the woman across the river. But the other more senior monk forbade him from doing so. He insisted on them leading the woman to a bridge many kilometres downstream, where they left her with a trustworthy guide. The monks resumed their journey in silence, until some hours later the young monk spoke up, 'We just added twenty kilometres to our journey, unnecessarily. If I'd carried the woman across the river back at the ford, we would have arrived at the monastery by now and be enjoying a refreshing cup of tea.' His companion replied, 'You are tired and frustrated because you have been daydreaming about that woman since we met her. You may feel you have wasted your time because of this detour, but I feel as if I have spent my time very well. I have kept my mind on my meditation object on every step of the journey. I also feel joy at having been able to help that young woman in a way appropriate to a monk. Also, please understand that our rules do not limit our compassion, merely the ways in which we express it.

 

- Ajahn Jayasāro

(no human translation)

(no human translation)

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