Shovel Wise Man [Renunciation]
Once upon a time, the Enlightenment Being was born into a family
of vegetable gardeners. After he grew up he cleared a patch of land
with his shovel. He grew herbs, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers and
other vegetables. These he sold to earn a humble living.
shovel was his one and only possession in the whole world. He carried
it in the same way a forest monk carries his walking staff. So he
became known as the 'Shovel Wise Man'.
day he thought, "What good does it do me to live the ordinary
everyday life of a gardener? I will give up this life and go meditate
in the forest. Then I will be peaceful and happy." So the Shovel
Wise Man hid his one possession, his shovel, and became a forest
too long, he started thinking about his only possession, his shovel.
He was so attached to this shovel that he couldn't get it out of
his mind, no matter how hard he tried! Trying to meditate seemed
useless, so he gave it up. He returned to his shovel and his ordinary
life as a vegetable gardener.
and behold, in a little while the Shovel Wise Man again gave up
the everyday life, hid his shovel and became a forest meditator.
Again he could not get his shovel out of his mind, and returned
to being a gardener. All in all, this happened six times!
next time the Shovel Wise Man gave up his forest meditation, he
finally realised it was because of his old worn out shovel that
he had gone back and forth seven times! So he decided to throw it
away, once and for all, in a deep river. Then he would return to
the forest for good.
took his shovel down to the riverbank. He thought, "Let me
not see where this shovel enters the water. Otherwise it may tempt
me again to give up my quest." So he closed his eyes, swung
the shovel in a circle over his head three times, and let it fly
into the midst of the river. Realising that he would never be able
to find the shovel again, he shouted, just like a lion roars, "I
have conquered! I have conquered! I have conquered!"
just so happened that the King of Benares was riding by at that
very moment. He was returning from putting down a revolt in a border
village. He had bathed in the river, and had just seated himself
on his magnificent royal elephant. He was riding back to Benares
in a victory procession.
he heard the triumphant shouts of the Enlightenment Being, he said
to his ministers, "Listen. Who is shouting, just like a lion
roars, 'I have conquered'? Whom has he conquered? Bring that man
they brought the Shovel Wise Man to him, the king said, "I
am a conqueror because I have won a battle. You say that you have
conquered. Whom did you conquer?"
Enlightenment Being replied, "Your lordship, even if you conquer
a hundred thousand armies, they are meaningless victories if you
still have unwholesome thoughts and desires in your own mind! By
conquering the craving in my mind, I know I have won the battle
against unwholesome thoughts."
he spoke he concentrated his mind on the water in the river, then
on the idea of water itself, and reached a high mental state. In
a sitting position he rose into the air. He preached these words
of Truth to the king: "Defeating an enemy who returns to fight
you again and again is no real victory. But if you defeat the unwholesomeness
in your own mind, no one can take that true victory from you!"
the king was listening to these words, all unwholesome thoughts
left his mind. It occurred to him to give up the ordinary world
and seek real peace and happiness. He asked, "Where are you
going now, wise one?" He answered, "I am going to the
Himalayas, oh king, to practise meditation." The king said,
"Please take me with you. I too wish to give up the common
worldly life." Lo and behold, as the king turned northward
with the Shovel Wise Man, so did the entire army and all the royal
ministers and attendants.
the news reached the people of Benares that the king and all those
with him were leaving the ordinary world and following the Shovel
Wise Man to the Himalayas. Then all the people in the entire city
of Benares followed them towards the northern mountains. Benares
great migration of people came to the attention of the god Sakka,
King of the Heaven of 33. Never had he seen so many giving up worldly
power. He ordered the architect of the gods to build a dwelling
place in the Himalayan forests for all these people.
they arrived in the Himalayas, the Shovel Wise Man was the first
to announce that he had given up the ordinary world for good. Then
all those with him did the same. Never was so much worldly power
given up, or renounced, at the same time.
Shovel Wise Man developed what holy man call the 'Four Heavenly
States of Mind'. First is loving-kindness, tender affection for
all. Second is feeling sympathy and pity for all those who suffer.
Third is feeling happiness for all those who are joyful. And the
fourth state is balance and calm, even in the face of difficulties
taught the others advanced meditation. With great effort they all
gained high mental states, leading to rebirth in heaven worlds.
moral is: Only one possession is enough to
keep the mind from finding freedom.