First Fundraising Goal Met

A little over one year ago, Tahn Pamutto set off for the woods of Western Massachusetts with the hope of developing resources and community from scratch.  There was no temple to go to, nor kitchen to supply daily alms-food.  There wasn’t even a place to store extra gear out of the rain.  But there was a vast network of kind friends and supporters and plenty of people thirsty for dhamma.  Though it might take years, Tahn decided the best way to gather momentum would be to be on the ground practicing, teaching, and connecting.

We can never know how things will turn out, so it was with a vague notion of what was possible and needed that Upavana set the first fundraising goal at $5000, considered enough to support a monastic teacher for several months in a rented apartment or office.  Though summer came before the funds arrived, a camper was purchased to shelter in, a pair of grassy fields were offered to camp on, and a steady stream of generosity kept not one but three monastics fed, clothed, and bathed through a long, hot, rainy summer.

Now, after a year, that first fundraising goal has been met!  It came not through one act of giving but from dozens of sources all over the world, the majority though coming from people right in the local area supporting their neighborhood buddhist group.  Anumodana to all our friends in the dhamma!

Through faith and practice, the shelter this goal was meant to provide has come by other means, meaning much of the funds are still available to keep moving forward with programs and are ready to support ongoing projects and growth.  Because in dhamma-practice success is often a function of being able to meet opportunities when and where they arise, there’s no way of knowing what the next fundraising goal will be.  Stay tuned, as there are bound to be plenty more opportunities to practice and grow this summer!

Online Programs Resume

Tahn Pamutto has returned to MA and is resuming hosting the Upavana online programs – beginning with the Wednesday Tea and Meditation at 7pm tonight.

The Uposatha will be next week on June 14.

Working Vacation

Our Wednesday evening tea program is on hold for the near future as Tahn Pamutto is off traveling, connecting with friends and family.  Along the way he is mixing in events during his stops, including two weekend retreats with the Roots and Water intentional community in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

The Uposatha program on May 30th will still happen as scheduled.  It will be broadcast remotely from Austin, TX.  For those in the NYC area, there will be a daylong practice in Manhattan on Saturday, June 4th.  Email for details.

Last night Tahn Pamutto concluded guest-hosting for the Lancaster Mindfulness Online group.  Over nine weeks the group explored the Satipatthana Sutta and it’s many facets.

Tahn Pamutto is scheduled to return to MA on June 8, but it’s not clear yet how long it will take to get settled and get online programs back up.

BCBS retreat

This week Tahn Pamutto was away on a visit to the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (buddhistinquiry.org) This center is connected with the Insight Meditation Society and Forest Refuge and together provide a wealth of retreat and learning opportunities for practitioners both locally and from abroad.

The centers are lay retreat centers that only offer a small percentage of monastic-led retreats during the year. This was one such retreat, however, led by bhikkhuni Ayya Santussika. Ayya is the senior monastic and founder of the Karuna Buddhist Vihara in California. (Karuna Buddhist Vihara – Home (karunabv.org)

The retreat was on Anāpānāsati, the Buddha’s own system for breath meditation. This is a topic that never gets old! It’s always a joy to see a group of people practicing together and diving into study of the Pāli texts.  Tahn Pamutto was joined by friends who’ve been going to the center for years as well as Andrew from the online Uposatha events, who traveled all the way from Texas.

BCBS is looking good, seemingly fully recovered from the pandemic and leading into the new year with a full schedule of offerings. Notably, they’ve expanded their repertoire of online offerings. Courses aside, it’s also a wonderful part of the fabric of Buddhism in the area. The community that lives, works, and volunteers among the three centers are a network of good people that stretch from one end of the state to the other. Here’s wishing them a successful year of programs!

Family Group: Viriya

This weeks Santigāmā family group was a chance for everyone to take a look at the parami of Energy, or Viriya.  It was interesting to note that as we tried to approach the topic we had to distinguish it from Vayama, or Effort/Striving, which is a part of the Noble Eightfold Path.  Viriya is something much more basic and essential, involving our willingness and ability to work towards a task.

We started with a discussion about energy, and the difference between high and low states.  Low states were pretty obvious, as we all demonstrated just lying around not wanting to do anything.  But high states are more elusive.  It can seem like having a lot of energy means we’ll be bouncing off the walls, but that’s actually a low energy state from the perspective of getting things done.  Most of our effort will be wasted.  Instead, high energy could be better described as balanced energy.  When our energy is aroused and balanced, we can do anything we put our minds to.

Luna, the family cat, was able to provide a great example of this.  Like most cats, she divides her time pretty evenly between lounging and restlessly zipping around and exploring every crevice in the house.  Unbalanced energy at work.  Contrast this with the house mice that were making their presence known in early january.  They worked steadily and there was almost know time when they weren’t heard if they were present.  They explored, open new tunnels, found food, had babies.  There is no more amazing force in the world that the mouse’s tooth – the size of a mustard seed but diligently applied, it can level anything.

Our story for the session involved the Bodhisatta, or Buddha-to-be, getting out of a tight situation.  We followed it up with a similar activity requiring balanced energy and thinking: an escape room crafted with parami clues!

VIRIYA – ENERGY

STORY: The Caravan Leader

CHARACTERS: NARRATOR, BODHISATTA, Everyone Else

Once upon a time, the Bodhisatta was born in a city at the edge of a vast, hot desert. The people of the city were merchants, meaning they made their living by trading. Most of the people of the city liked to play it safe and traded things that were easy to get around where they lived. But the really adventurous traders would cross the great desert to trade with a city on the other side.

It was a dangerous journey because the desert was so big. It took seven long weeks of travel to cross. A caravan of wagons could only barely carry enough water to make it across, and if anything happened after the third week there wouldn’t be enough water to turn around and make it home. Many traders died of thirst trying to cross the desert.

The Bodhisatta in this life was an adventurous trader. He had made the journey several times and was becoming wealthier. He was now in charge of a caravan of ten wagons with oxen and people to drive them. One day when the time was right for a journey, he gathered everyone up to cross the great desert.

At the beginning of their journey everything went well. It was hot but they had plenty of water. The ox-drivers started drinking extra because of their thirst, but the Bodhisatta stopped them.

BODHISATTA: Be careful how much you drink! If we use too much water now, we won’t have enough for the end of the journey. The trick to success is to drink the same amount every day even if you feel thirsty. Don’t be fooled!

Everyone followed his advice and things went smoothly the next two weeks. Even though people were thirsty they carefully watched what they drank.

But during the third week disaster struck. The lead ox-driver fell asleep in the night, and his ox started turning slightly. Nobody else noticed. When they woke in the morning they were still in the desert so the lead ox-driver thought everything was fine. He fell asleep the next night, and the next. But then they woke up one morning and saw wagon tracks and hoof prints ahead of them.

They realized they had been walking in one big circle! They had wasted almost a whole week. Now they were in deep, deep trouble. They didn’t have enough water to return home, and they didn’t have enough water to reach the far city.

Everyone cried in fear when they realized what had happened. They all lay down sulking and had no energy to go any further. What was the point? They knew they wouldn’t make it. Their water would run out and they would die of thirst in the desert.

The Bodhisatta watched them all give up, but he didn’t give up. He tried to think of a plan that would save everyone. He looked at the wagons, and the oxen, and the people. Then he looked out across the wide desert.

As he was looking, he saw something in the distance. It was a certain kind of plant that grew in the desert. The Bodhisatta knew this plant only grew in a place where there was water under the surface.

BODHISATTA: Come everybody! It’s time to get to work!

The Bodhisatta brought everyone to where the plants were and handed out shovels. He told them to start digging, that water was under them. At first people dug a little, but quickly gave up.

EVERYBODY: It’s too hot!

BODHISATTA: I know it’s hot, but we have to keep digging!

They dug some more, but then started putting down their shovels.

EVERYBODY: This is pointless! We don’t see any water! We will die of thirst digging.

BODHISATTA: It’s true you don’t see water yet, but that’s because you haven’t dug deep. Success only comes to those who work.

They dug a little more. Now the hole was getting deep, but still no water.

EVERYBODY: We can’t go on!

BODHISATTA: But you must! Listen – if you give up and stop digging you will die of thirst here. Or you can try to travel to one city or the other but die of thirst on the road. If you keep digging it is true, there might not be any water. But if you keep digging there MAY be water. Using your energy and digging is the only option where you live. So why not try?

The Bodhisatta was able to convince them to keep trying, and just then they reached a buried pocket of water. It started to bubble up, and as the sand shifted became a big rush of water. It quickly filled the hole they had dug and became a big pool.

Everyone laughed and celebrated. They drank deep, and splashed, and filled all their water containers. Then they let their oxen drink and bathe. Finally, refreshed, they set off again in the direction of the far city. With all the extra water they made it with no problems. And, selling their goods, they became rich. They lived happily for the rest of their lives, celebrating the amazing energy of their leader the Bodhisatta.

Great Debates and a Flag

Recently we hung a Buddhist flag in the meditation room in Shelburne.  Surprisingly, not everyone was familiar with it!  Though the Buddhist flag officially comes from the country of Sri Lanka, it is now a recognized international symbol of the buddhist faith.  This is because it was adopted at a very important time for modern Buddhists.  Up until that point, the European powers were working very hard to suppress local cultures in their asian colonies, and Christian missionaries were aggressively denouncing other religions.  Without violence but with logic, truth, and by standing firm, the Buddhists won recognition as one of the world’s great religions at a time when they were relatively unknown.

Last Tuesday our Shelburne study group took some time to look at the famous Panadura Debates that led to the resurgence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and the designing of the flag.  If you aren’t familiar, here is some info from Wikipedia and a link to the text itself.  A very fascinating piece of Buddhist history!

The Panadura Debate | PDF | Gautama Buddha | Nirvana (scribd.com)

Panadura Debate

All [the previous] debates culminated in the most notable, the “Panadura debate”, which was held two years after the Gampola debate in 1873. The cause for the debate arose when Rev. David de Silva delivered a sermon on the soul at the Wesleyan Chapel, Panadura on 12 June 1873.[5] Gunananda Thera delivered a sermon a week later criticizing the points raised by de Silva. The two parties signed an agreement on 24 July 1873 to hold another debate at Panadura. However, this was not the only cause of the debate.[3]

The Christians may have thought that the Buddhists were not educated and hence could be easily defeated in debate.[3] However, the Buddhist monks were familiar with Pali and Sanskrit texts like Nyaya Bindu written by Dignāga and Tarka sastra by Dharmakirti, which were written on the art of debating, and were not hesitant in accepting the challenge of debating in public.[3]

The debate was held on 24 and 26 August 1873 on a property owned by Jeramias Dias near the Rankot Vihara.[1][5] The ablest debaters were summoned on the side of the Christians. Gunananda Thera was the debater on the side of the Buddhists while de Silva and Catechist S.F. Sirimanna represented the Christian side. The debate revolved around topics ranging from the nature of God, the Soul, and resurrection, to the concept of KarmaRebirthNirvana and the principle of Pratītyasamutpāda or dependent origination.[1]

Dr. K.D.G. Wimalaratna, Director of National Archives wrote:

“Rev. David de Silva, a fluent speaker in Pali and Sanskrit addressed the audience of around 6000-7000 – but only a very few understood him. In complete contrast was Mohottiwatte Gunananda Thera who used plain language to counter the arguments of his opponents.[5]

Dr. Vijaya Samaraweera in his article “The Government and Religion: Problems and Policies c1832 to c1910”, stated:

“The Rev. Migettuwatte Gunananda proved himself to be a debater of a very higher order, mettlesome, witty and eloquent, if not especially erudite. The emotions generated by this debate and the impact of Migettuwatte Gunananda’s personality had lasting effects on the next generation of Buddhist activities. Migettuwatte Gunananda’s triumph at Panadura set the seal on a decade of quiet recovery of Buddhist confidence. In retrospect, the establishment of the ‘Society for the Propagation of Buddhism’ at Kotahena, and the Lankaprakara Press at Galle would seem to mark the first positive phase in this recovery.[5]

At the end of the second day of the debate, the crowd chanted “sadhu, sadhu”,[1] displeasing the Christians. When the atmosphere became heated, Gunananda Thera raised his voice and ordered: “Everybody should be silent”. After that remark, the crowd was dispersed without making any further commotion.

Impact of the debate[edit]

The impact of the debate was phenomenal, both locally and internationally. Locally, it was the principal factor behind reviving the identity and pride of Sinhala Buddhists.[1] Internationally, it was instrumental in raising awareness of Buddhism in the west.[6] The editor of Ceylon Times newspaper, John Cooper, arranged for Edward Perera to write a summary of the debate; thousands of copies of which were published. This translation was also published as a book, Buddhism and Christianity Face to Face by J.M. Peebles in the United States with an introduction in 1878.[7] After reading a copy of the book, Henry Steel Olcott, the co-founder of the Theosophical Society, came to Sri Lanka on 17 May 1880.[1] With the arrival of Colonel Olcott,[8] the activities of the revival movement accelerated. Olcott described Gunananda Thera as: “The most brilliant Polemic Orator of the Island, the terror of the missionaries, with a very intellectual head, most brilliant and powerful champion of the Sinhalese Buddhism.[4]

Rev. S. Langden, who was present when Gunananda Thera spoke in the Panadura debate, remarked:

There is that in his manner as he rises to speak which puts one in mind of some orators at home. He showed a consciousness of power with the people. His voice is of great compass and he has a clear ring above it. His action is good and the long yellow robe thrown over one shoulder helps to make it impressive. His power of persuasion, shows him to be a born orator.[4]

Gunananda Thera continued work to revive Buddhism in the country and published many Buddhist periodicals, including RiviresaLakmini Kirana and Sathya Margaya.[4] He also served on the committee that designed the Buddhist flag in 1885.

Kamma / Karma

Lately in our family group we’ve been going through the list of the ten parami’s. These qualities are considered perfections of character and heart that are the attributes of a fully awakened Buddha (samma-sambuddha). Such a being is capable of not only attaining enlightenment without the aid of an existing teacher, but they have the wisdom and compassion to teach others in how to attain that same enlightenment. Such a being as a Buddha is not a pre-existing condition or miracle. The qualities known as the parami’s must be cultivated and developed over time until they are perfect. Thus the being known as the bodhisatta is one who has set out on such a quest to perfect themselves before attaining enlightenment so it can be of the highest possible benefit. It’s a quest that lasts a very, very, very long time, and spans innumerable births.

Many of the best stories for showing the exercise and mastery of the parami’s come from the jataka tales, a collection of stories that reportedly portray some of the Buddha’s past lives during his quest. Traditionally there are a lot of ideas that are so interwoven in the narrative they aren’t even explained – ideas of karma as cause and effect, ideas of rebirth and of other realms. Sometimes the main characters are powerful angelic beings; other times they are squabbling and petty talking animals. Most cultures were already warmed up to these ideas when they told these stories to their children.

This week our family group decided to take a little break from studying the ten parami’s in order to cover an important topic: kamma. This topic is so essential to Buddhist thought that it has to be covered at some point, and yet it is so essential it’s hard to know where to start. Luckily, upon consideration during the week before the group, it started to become clear that we weren’t addressing a topic that would be new to anyone. We were just applying a new word to a force that everyone kinda already suspects exists.

We started with a question: “Do you know what the word karma means?” It’s important to ask first, because you never know! As it turned out, neither of the children had much of an idea of karma, though they did know the song ‘Karma Chameleon’ from Culture Club!! You never know with modern culture! The lyrics are a little vague, but the music video shows a thief pickpocketing and eventually getting caught, and comically being made to ‘walk the plank’. That works!

We started our meeting with a meditation, and cultivated the quality of quiet observation. During our group we focused on good and bad kamma, but there is also the third kind: non-resultant kamma. It provides benefit and insight but doesn’t produce a consequence that will have to be experienced later. Meditation is often this third kind of kamma and helps us find freedom. Any action involving observation, empathy, consideration, reflection, understanding … all fall in this third category. We’ll definitely talk more about this in the future.

This was our very organic family group meeting:

Start with a question: “Do you know what the word karma means?” It’s very important to check, and everybody deserves a chance to give their perspective! It should become clear pretty quick that everybody has some idea of the concept, but there might still not be much agreement. It’s okay if the ideas differ. We’re here to cover the idea in Buddhism.

We can explain that in every culture there is some idea of cause and effect. If we do something, we will get a consequence or result. It can be useful to check if everyone knows what consequence means. In some cultures and religions it is believed that a god or angels are watching over us, and if we do good things the god rewards us and if we do bad things the god punishes us.

In Hinduism there is an idea of karma like a bank account. When we do good actions we get good karma, like points, and when we do bad actions we get bad karma points. If we have too much on one side or the other we’re going to start to get good or bad results respectively. Part of this belief is that experiencing a good or bad result helps balance the karma.

In Buddhism karma comes from the word kamma, which means action. The Buddha taught that kamma is not a bank account and nobody does it to us. Kamma is a law of nature like gravity. It works no matter what. When we do an action there will be a result. If it’s a good action, there will be a good result. If it’s a bad action there will be a bad result. Sometimes the result comes immediately, but it can also happen long after. So we are always receiving the results of things we did in the past, and how we are in the present will change what we experience in the future. We don’t get to choose when it happens though! So good things might happen to bad people and bad things to good people, but the more good we do, the more likely good results will come, and the same with bad. Our choices matter!

We can demonstrate how common this idea is. Have you ever heard a story or seen a movie about superheroes? Who usually wins in the end? The hero right? Why? Who usually loses in the end? The villain, right? Why? Isn’t it true that because the hero does good we expect things to work out for them, and because the villain does bad we expect them to fail? Sometimes it takes the whole story to find out, but it almost always ends that way.

It’s the same in life! Sometimes it might seem like people get what they want by doing bad things, but if you watch them long enough you see they create a lot of misery for themselves and others by their actions! Likewise everyone tends to cheer for the hero. Even if they have difficulty, we want them to win because they are doing good things.

ACTIVITY: We can actually use superheroes to show a lot about kamma! Let’s invent a superhero and name them. Now let’s invent a villain and name them. What is our hero like? What sorts of things do they do? We write them on a board and draw them. Now, what sorts of things does the villain do?

Now let’s consider what happens because of the actions they take. Our hero was often compassionate and saving people. So people trusted them, and built a statue of them, and gave them money. The villain liked to smash buildings and steal cookies. So people were afraid of them and the police were always trying to punish them.

To help understand Kamma and its effects, the Buddha divided it three ways. What three? Thought, Speech, and Bodily Action. What kind of thoughts does each character have? How do they talk? What things do they do? Now, let’s consider what other people think about them. What do they say about these characters?

One of the widest categories is thinking about the way our physical situation reflects our karma. This is a big part of buddhist culture and the stories in buddhism. Our intention and our mind state actually changes our whole world!

What does the hero look like? How do they live? How much free choice do they have? And now the villain – how do they look, live, and do they have as much freedom? We might see that our hero is strong, popular, and glows, while our villain is dark, bent, and brooding and hides in the dark places. They never have any peace. We already know that the quality of our thoughts and actions affects our whole life if we think about it.

Most stories are about karma really. We were lucky enough to have:

STORY: What Should Danny Do? By Ganit and Adir Levy

In the story, Danny goes through his day making choices, which affect how the story plays out. We went through it once keeping track of the outcome, then asked which choice we might have wanted to change the most. We went back and made a different choice there, and the whole story was different! Our choices really do matter.

In the end, we talk about Kamma to prepare the way for a lot of discussions to follow. The idea of cause and effect is so important! It’s good to be sure that if anyone has any questions they get to ask them. That way we can all move to understanding together!

Reclaiming Renunciation

This last Sunday our family group had the chance to take a field trip to the town of Wendell, the hilltown where Tahn Pamutto and company spent the summer months living in a tent and walking almsround. There the topic of the day, the parami of Nekkhamma or Renunciation, was made real by seeing different ways of life. Wood stoves, oil lamps, hand pumps for water, and composting toilets were just some of the wonders found there, where people are trying to live apart from the hustle and bustle of modern life. These things were commonplace a century ago but now require a conscious act of renunciation!

Renunciation often gets a bad rap. Many people living with the comforts of modern life feel it is a criticism or a call to become monastics. Even in the Pāli dictionary nekkhamma is equated with the Going Forth, but as a perfection it is something far more important and pervasive. Renunciation is necessary for any practice of the spiritual life.

How could we make a change if we weren’t willing to give up our old ways of doing things? How could we find time to meditate if we didn’t let go of the things that fill up our schedule? How could we afford to be generous if we spend every cent we make on all the luxuries that come our way?

Renunciation is the ability to forego an immediate want or pleasure. Sometimes this is for a known result, like when we go on a diet to lose weight. But other times it is for its own sake. We don’t know what we’ll spend our money on when we hold off on buying the newest gadget the second it comes out. But that’s just the thing – once we’ve restrained ourselves we have infinite possibilities for how we spend that money. Likewise with time and energy and all the things in life that are constantly running out. When we practice renunciation, we create space. And it’s not until we create space that something new can arise.

We had two activities to practice renunciation. The first was a gift exchange with a catch – we were to give someone a gift without buying anything. We had to think of something we had that someone else could use, and let it go. It turned out to be pretty fun!

The second activity was to think of an unskillful thought, verbal pattern, or action we habitually do that we might want to let go of. We wrote these down on pieces of paper and ceremonially tossed them into a fire. As we watched our bad habit burning up, we got to contemplate nibbana! When we let go of something that causes us suffering, the possibilities for new skillful behaviors to fill the void are endless!

Finally, we got to act out the story of Temiya. Temiya was one of the lifetimes of the Bodhisatta as he was practicing the perfections to become a Buddha. The Bodhisatta practiced the renunciation of becoming a hermit or ascetic many, many times – after all, he was dedicated to purity of mind and wanted to spend as much time working on it as possible! But in his life as Temiya, he had to be willing to let go of everything to move towards his goal:

THE STORY OF TEMIYA

Characters: NARRATOR, Temiya, Father, Mother, Sunanda

NARRATOR: This is the story of a lifetime of the Buddha when he was still a Bodhisatta, meaning he was not enlightened yet. He was still trying to master the parami’s and become a really good person. In one lifetime he was born as a king in a very rich and powerful country. In that life the Bodhisatta took it easy and enjoyed himself. He made lots of bad karma as a king because his country was always at war. He had to use violence and steal from other countries to stay in power.

When he passed away from that life he had to leave all the money and power behind. He realized he had made a big mistake! He hadn’t gotten any closer to being enlightened and he had done a lot of bad things. He suffered for a long time because of all the bad kamma he had done.

After a long time, though, he was ready to be born a human again. At that time there was a rich and powerful business family. They had no children, which was a problem because there was nobody to pass the family business to.

MOTHER: Oh, I really want a child!

NARRATOR: The mother of the family was actually a good person for the most part, and eventually her wish came true. The bodhisatta was born as her son. She named him Temiya.

Temiya’s father was not a very good person. He was in charge of a powerful corporation and he made his money in many bad ways. He was very rough and violent towards his competitors, he sold his products at an unfair price, and he would tell lies. He even sold things that hurt people like weapons and drugs.

When Temiya was little he heard what business his father was in and realized it was a lot like the kingdom he had had in his past life. When he grew up he would be expected to do many bad things and hurt people. When he understood this he became very scared.

TEMIYA: I don’t want to be rich and powerful. I want to be a Buddha! I have to think of a way to not be given the family company!

NARRATOR: Temiya tried to think of a way out, but he was very scared of doing bad things. When we are scared it’s hard to think straight. He knew if he ran away his father would send someone to find him. There was only one way – he had to pretend to not be able to see, hear, or speak. If his family believed the act, they would decide not to give him the company when he got older. Then he could live a peaceful life.

So Temiya stopped looking, and stopping responding to his name, and stopped talking. His mother had to feed him with a spoon, and their butler Sunanda had to get him dressed every morning and bathe him at night.

His family was very surprised by the change. They got together one night to talk.

FATHER: I don’t understand. Why doesn’t Temiya respond to us?

MOTHER: He didn’t get sick or hit his head. This is very strange!

SUNANDA: Maybe he is just acting?

FATHER: That’s it! It’s just an act. We must find a way to snap him out of it.

SUNANDA: When a young boy or girl is throwing a temper tantrum, sometimes you can get them to stop by offering them a candy or toy. All we need to do is offer Temiya something he can’t refuse. Then he will give in and respond to us.

NARRATOR: The family got together and planned. They thought of three things that Temiya really liked, and planned to get trick him into revealing he was acting.

[At this time, the group brainstorms to think of three things to try to tempt Temiya with. When they have them, one by one a family member will act out offering the thing to Temiya. Temiya can’t move a muscle, not to look or respond in any way!]

NARRATOR: They tried and tried for years, even as Temiya grew up. In the end it worked. It took a long, long time, but after sixteen years of trying to tempt Temiya the family decided it was impossible. Temiya really was blind and deaf and couldn’t talk. He would never be able to run the company. Father decided it would be a waste of time to keep Temiya around. He knew Mother would never let him go, so one day he ordered Sunanda to take Temiya into the forest – and bury him! That way Mother would never find out.

Sunanda put Temiya in a bag and drove him far away into a forest. Sunanda then dug a hole. When Temiya heard Sunanda working he understood what was happening, and even though he was sad he would be leaving his mother and family, he was very happy that he wouldn’t have to do bad things. He began to cry tears of joy.

SUNANDA: Master Temiya – are you crying? Why?

TEMIYA: Friend Sunanda, it is true. I have been acting all this time. I am crying because I am so happy. My family has finally decided not to give me the company. This is better than doing many bad things that I would regret. My life was short, but I am proud of myself. I was able to get closer to my goal of being a Buddha!

SUNANDA: Master Temiya, you are amazing! It is true, I also don’t like doing bad things. You’ve inspired me to let go of my bad work and try to live a more peaceful life. I’m not going to bury you!

NARRATOR: And so Sunanda and Temiya built a little cabin in the woods and lived there happily and peacefully. One day Father and Mother came to see what happened, and when they saw Temiya so happy and free, they were also inspired. Temiya taught them about Renunciation, and they were able to give up their bad business and live happily for the rest of their days.

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