Curse of Mittavinda
seven days on the Indian Ocean, all the winds and currents stopped
completely. The ship was stuck! After being dead in the water for
seven days, all on board were terrified they would die.
they drew straws to find out who was the cause of their bad luck
and frightening misfortune. Seven times the short straw was drawn
forced him onto a tiny bamboo raft, and set him adrift on the open
seas. They shouted, "Be gone forever! You are nothing but a
curse!" And suddenly a strong wind sent the ship on its way.
once again Mittavinda's life was spared. This was a result of his
wholesome actions as a monk, so many births ago. No matter how long
it takes, actions cause results.
an action causes more than one result, some pleasant and some unpleasant.
It is said there are Asuras who live through such mixed results
in an unusual way.
are unfortunate ugly gods. Some of them are lucky enough to change
their form into beautiful young dancing girl goddesses. These are
They enjoy the greatest pleasures for seven days. But then they
must go to a hell world and suffer torments as hungry ghosts for
seven days. Again they become Apsara goddesses - back and forth,
back and forth - until both kinds of results are finished.
floating on the tiny bamboo raft, it just so happened that Mittavinda
came to a lovely Glass Palace. There he met four very pretty Apsaras.
They enjoyed their time together, filled with heavenly pleasures,
for seven days.
when it was time for the goddesses to become hungry ghosts, they
said to Mittavinda, "Wait for us just seven short days, and
we will return and continue our pleasure."
Glass Palace and the four Apsaras disappeared. But still Mittavinda
had not regained the peace of mind thrown away by the village monk,
so very long ago. Seven days of pleasure had not satisfied him.
He could not wait for the lovely goddesses to return. He wanted
more and more. So he continued on, in the little bamboo raft.
and behold, he came to a shining Silver Palace, with eight Apsara
goddesses living there. Again he enjoyed seven days of the greatest
pleasure. These Apsaras also asked him to wait the next seven days,
and disappeared into a hell world.
Amazing as it may seem, the greedy Mittavinda went on to seven days
of pleasure in a sparkling Jewel Palace with 16 Apsaras. But they
too disappeared. Then he spent seven days in a glowing Golden Palace
with 32 of the most beautiful Apsaras of all.
still he was not satisfied! When all 32 asked him to wait seven
days, again he departed on the raft.
long he came to the entrance of a hell world filled with suffering
tortured beings. They were living through the results of their own
actions. But his desire for more pleasure was so strong that Mittavinda
thought he saw a beautiful city surrounded by a wall with four fabulous
gates. He thought, I will go inside and make myself king!
he entered, he saw one of the victims of this hell world. He had
a collar around his neck that spun like a wheel, with five sharp
blades cutting into his face, head, chest and back. But Mittavinda
was still so greedy for pleasure that he could not see the pain
right before his eyes. Instead he saw the spinning collar of cutting
blades as if it were a lovely lotus blossom. He saw the dripping
blood as if it were the red powder of perfumed sandal wood. And
the screams of pain from the poor victim sounded like the sweetest
said to the poor man, "You've had that lovely lotus crown long
enough! Give it to me, for I deserve to wear it now." The condemned
man warned him, "This is a cutting collar, a wheel of blades."
But Mittavinda said, "You only say that because you don't want
to give it up."
victim thought, "At last the results of my past unwholesome
deeds must be completed. Like me, this poor fool must be here for
striking his mother. I will give him the wheel of pain." So
he said, "Since you want it so badly, take the lotus crown!"
these words the wheel of blades spun off the former victim's neck
and began spinning around the head of Mittavinda. And suddenly all
his illusions disappeared; he knew this was no beautiful city, but
a terrible hell world; he knew this was no lotus crown, but a cutting
wheel of blades; and he knew he was not king, but prisoner. Groaning
in pain he cried out desperately, "Take back your wheel! Take
back your wheel!" But the other one had disappeared.
then the king of the gods arrived for a teaching visit to the hell
world. Mittavinda asked him, "Oh king of gods, what have I
done to deserve this torment?" The god replied, "Refusing
to listen to the words of monks, you obtained no wisdom, but only
money. A thousand gold coins did not satisfy you, nor even 120,000.
Blinded by greed, you struck your mother on your way to grabbing
greater wealth still.
the pleasure of four Apsaras in their Glass Palace did not satisfy
you. Neither eight Apsaras in a Silver Palace, nor 16 in a Jewel
Palace. Not even the pleasure of 32 lovely goddesses in a Golden
Palace was enough for you! Blinded by greed for pleasure you wished
to be king. Now at last, you see your crown is only a wheel of torture,
and your kingdom is a hell world.
this, Mittavinda - all who follow their greed wherever it leads
are left unsatisfied. For it is in the nature of greed to be dissatisfied
with what one has, whether a little or a lot. The more obtained,
the more desired - until the circle of greed becomes the circle
said this, the god returned to his heaven world home. At the same
time the wheel crashed down on Mittavinda. With his head spinning
in pain, he found himself adrift on the tiny bamboo raft.
he came to an island inhabited by a powerful she-devil. She happened
to be disguised as a goat. Being hungry, Mittavinda thought nothing
of grabbing the goat by a hind leg. And the she-devil hiding inside
kicked him way up into the air. He finally landed in a thorn bush
on the outskirts of Benares!
he untangled himself from the thorns, he saw some goats grazing
nearby. He wanted very badly to return to the palaces and the dancing
girl Apsaras. Remembering that a goat had kicked him here, he grabbed
the leg of one of these goats. He hoped it would kick him back to
this goat only cried out. The shepherds came, and captured Mittavinda
for trying to steal one of the king's goats.
he was being taken as a prisoner to the king, they passed by the
world famous teacher of Benares. Immediately he recognized his student.
He asked the shepherds, "Where are you taking this man?"
said, "He is a goat thief! We are taking him to the king for
punishment!" The teacher said, "Please don't do so. He
is one of my students. Release him to me, so he can be a servant
in my school." They agreed and left him there.
teacher asked Mittavinda, "What has happened to you since you
told the story of being first respected, and then cursed, by the
people of the remote village. He told of getting married and having
two children, only to see them killed and eaten by demons in the
haunted forest. He told of slapping his generous mother when he
was crazy with greed for money. He told of being cursed by his shipmates
and being cast adrift on a bamboo raft. He told of the four palaces
with their beautiful goddesses, and how each time his pleasure ended
he was left unsatisfied. He told of the cutting wheel of torture,
the reward for the greedy in hell. And he told of his hunger for
goat meat, that only got him kicked back to Benares without even
a bite to eat!
world famous teacher said, "It is clear that your past actions
have caused both unpleasant and pleasant results, and that both
are eventually completed. But you cannot understand that pleasures
always come to an end. Instead, you let them feed your greed for
more and more. You are left exhausted and unsatisfied, madly grasping
at goat legs! Calm down, my friend. And know that trying to hold
water in a tight fist, will always leave you thirsty!"
this, Mittavinda bowed respectfully to the great teacher. He begged
to be allowed to follow him as a student. The Enlightenment Being
welcomed him with open arms.
moral is: In peace of mind, there is neither
loss nor gain.