The Arayawa and the Beggar

Two men sat on a small mound on a busy road.  One was an Arayawa and the other was a beggar.

As people passed by the beggar, they dropped coins into his begging bowl.

During a moment of silence, the beggar said to the Arayawa, "You see sir, here is enlightenment.  To sit and contemplate the world without becoming involved in it is the highest pursuit."

The Arayawa listened, and then asked, "What is it you contemplate?"

"Why," said the beggar, "I contemplate nothingness.  And when I die, I shall be at rest."

The Arayawa listened, and then asked, "Are you not at rest now?"

"No," said the beggar, "I can not quiet the thoughts in my head.  If I die with thoughts in my head, I will be in turmoil forever."

The Arayawa listened, and then asked, "What will you gain by rest over turmoil when you die?"

"I will achieve eternal rest if I die at rest," said the beggar, "but I will have to come back and live again if I die in turmoil."

The Arayawa listened, and then answered, "I understand what you are saying."

Many hours passed as the two sat together on the road.  The beggar had been thinking of his own death, but suddenly realized that the Arayawa had said nothing.

The beggar asked, "Arayawa, what do you contemplate?"

"Everything," answered the Arayawa.

"But that is complete turmoil," cried the beggar!

"Yes," answered the Arayawa.

"But what will happen when you die," cried the beggar even louder!

"I will die when I die," answered the Arayawa.

"But you will be reborn again," whispered the beggar.

"Perhaps," answered the Arayawa.

"Does this not frighten you?  What if you must repeat this life or worse?  What if there is no end," asked the confused beggar.

"Why should I fear that possibility," asked the Arayawa.

"Because life is torture, we must escape it, Arayawa," exclaimed the beggar!

The Arayawa listened, and held silent.

"Did you not hear me?  It is torture, I say," said the beggar.

The Arayawa listened, and then asked quietly, "Is this your way of asking me to kill you while you are at rest?"

The beggar's eyes went wide with fear and panic, "No, please, Arayawa, do not kill me!"

"But, I thought this was your highest goal.  I can help you achieve it right now," said the Arayawa.

The beggar looked down at the ground, and said, "Oh. Aren't you afraid of the consequences? What if you are punished in this life?  What if you are brought back as a dog?"

"If I help you achieve a great and moral deed, shall I be punished," asked the Arayawa.

"Well, it doesn't work like that.  Yes, you would be punished," said the beggar.

"I understand what you mean," answered the Arayawa. "But, I have considered it, and I am prepared to accept all possible consequences."

Rising to his feet and pulling out his sword, the Arayawa stood over the beggar now cowering in fear.

"No, please, Arayawa, do not do this! I am afraid! I am not at rest! I need more time! Please," cried the beggar!

The Arayawa sheathed his sword, and sat down and held the trembling beggar until he relaxed again.

The beggar looked up at the Arayawa with wet eyes, and the Arayawa dried them for the beggar.

And then the Arayawa spoke to the beggar, "And now you have learned the evil of your doctrine.  For you hated and feared life, and sought death.  You beg for your food so that others may help you escape life.  And yet, when offered payment in full, you hated and feared death, and sought life."

"What shall I do now," asked the beggar with remorse in his voice.

"Contemplate everything.  And seek all knowledge, and never stop.  And if this causes you to be reborn, then you are blessed and may seek knowledge forever," said the Arayawa.

"But what of rest," asked the beggar, "Will I never find rest?"

"Have you see the corpse of an animal drying in the sun," asked the Arayawa.

"Yes," said the beggar making a disgusted face.

"There is rest.  There is damnation," said the Arayawa, "And if that is what you seek, beg no more, and rest will come fast to your body.  And if you seek it faster, I have my sword ready. But you do not know true bliss."

"What is true bliss, " asked the beggar.

"Bliss is in the creation and granting of life.  The blissful are the ones who have been dropping their coins into your bowl, granting you another day of life, which you both craved and rejected, thanked and spat on, taken and not given.  You have no bliss because you are set against yourself.  You are life seeking death.  You are false to your true nature. You have sought bliss everyday, and have missed it walking by you a thousand times over because your eyes are closed to knowledge, which grants this bliss," said the Arayawa.

"You have not sought death, but have been dead this entire time.  Arise, and live," pronounced the Arayawa.

The eyes of the beggar were opened.  He dropped his bowl, and from that day forward followed the Arayawa as a student.