Wisdom of Queen Tenderhearted
Once upon a time, the Enlightenment Being was born into a rich high-class
family in Kasi, in northern India. He grew to young manhood and
completed his education. Then he gave up ordinary desires and left
the everyday world. He became a holy man and went to live by himself
in the Himalayan forests. He meditated for a long time, developed
high mental powers, and was filled with inner happiness.
run out of salt, one day he came down to the city of Benares. He
spent the night in the royal garden. In the morning he washed himself,
tied his tangled hair knot on top of his head, and dressed in a
black antelope skin. He folded up the robe made of red bark, which
he usually wore. Then he went to the city to collect almsfood.
he arrived at the palace gate, King Brahmadatta was walking back
and forth on his terrace. When he saw the humble looking holy man,
he thought. There is such a thing as perfect calm, this man must
have found it!" He had his servants bring him into the palace.
holy man was seated on a luxurious couch and was fed the very best
foods. He thanked the king. The king said, "You are welcome
to live in my royal garden permanently. I will provide the 'Four
Necessities' food, clothing, shelter and medicine. In so
doing I may gain merit leading to rebirth in a heaven world."
holy man accepted this kind offer. He spent the next sixteen years
living in the royal garden of Benares. During that time he taught
all in the king's family, and received the Four Necessities from
day King Brahmadatta decided he must go to a frontier area and put
down a revolt. Before leaving he ordered his queen to care for the
needs of the holy man. Her name was Queen Tenderhearted.
prepared food every day for the holy man. Then one day he was late
in arriving for his meal. While waiting, Queen Tenderhearted refreshed
herself in a perfumed bath, dressed in fine clothes and jewellery,
and lay down on the couch.
the Enlightenment Being had been meditating in a particularly joyful
mental state. When he realised what time it was, he used the power
of his mental purity to fly through the air to the palace.
Queen Tenderhearted heard the rustling sound made by his bark robe,
she rose up suddenly from her couch. In so doing, her blouse accidentally
slipped down for a moment and the holy man glimpsed her from
the window as he entered. He was surprised by the unusual sight
of the queen's great beauty.
which had been subdued but not erased, rose within him. It was just
like a cobra rises, spreading his hood, from the basket in which
it is kept. His desire lost its purity. He was wounded, like a crow
with a broken wing.
holy man could not eat his food. He took it back to his temple dwelling
in the royal garden, and put it under his bed. His mind was enslaved
by the sight of the beauty of Queen Tenderhearted. His heart was
burning with desire. He remained on his bed, without eating or drinking,
for the next seven days.
the king arrived home again. He circled the city and then went directly
to see the holy man in the garden temple. Seeing him lying in bed,
he thought he was sick. He cleaned out the temple and sat down next
to him. He began massaging his feet, and asked, "Reverend sir,
what happened to you? Are you sick?"
holy man replied, "Oh great king, my sickness is that I am
caught in the chains of desire." "What is it you desire?"
asked the king. "Queen Tenderhearted, my lord." "Your
reverence," said the king, "I will give Tenderhearted
to you. Come with me."
they arrived at the palace, King Brahmadatta had his queen dressed
in her finest clothing and jewellery. Then he secretly told her
to help the unfortunate holy man regain his purity. She replied.
"I know what to do, my lord, I will save him." Then the
king gave her away and she left the palace with the holy man.
they passed through the main gate she said, "We must have a
house to live in. Go back and ask the king for one." He returned
and asked the king for a house. The king gave them a tiny run-down
hut that people used as an outhouse.
holy man took the queen to their new home, but she refused to go
inside. He asked her why. She said, "Because it's filthy! Go
back to the king and get a shovel and basket." He obeyed and
when he returned she ordered him to do all the cleaning. He even
had to plaster the walls and floor with fresh cow dung!
she commanded him to go to the palace and get her a bed. Then a
chair. Then a lamp, bed linen, a cooking pot, a water pot. She ordered
him to get all these things one at a time, and he obeyed dutifully.
She sent him to get water for her bath and many other things. He
set out the water for her bath and then made up the bed. Finally
they sat down next to each other on the bed. Suddenly she grabbed
him by the whiskers, shook him back and forth, pulled him towards
her and said, "Don't you remember that you are a holy man and
then was he shocked out of his mad infatuation and made to realise
who he was. Having regained his self-awareness, he thought, "Oh
what a pitiful state I have fallen into. I have been blinded by
my desire into becoming a slave. Beginning with only the sight of
a woman, this mad craving could lead me into a hell world. My body
was burning, as if I'd been shot in the heart with an arrow of desire.
But there was no bleeding wound! Not seeing her body as it really
was, my own foolishness caused all my suffering!"
he spoke out loudly, "On this very day I will return the wise
Queen Tenderhearted to the noble King Brahmadatta. Then I will fly
back to my forest home!"
taking her back, he said to the king, "I don't want your queen
anymore. Before I had her, she was my one desire. After I got her,
one desire led to another endlessly, leading only to hell."
wise Queen Tenderhearted, by using her intelligence and knowledge
of life, had given a great gift to the holy man. Rather than taking
advantage of his weakness, she had restored his purity.
perfect calm the Enlightenment Being rose into the air, preached
to the king, and then magically flew to the Himalayan forests. He
never again returned to the ordinary world. After meditating for
years in peace and joy, he died and was reborn in a high heaven
moral is: Desire enslaves, wisdom liberates.