a time there was a very well known teacher in the city of Takkasila,
in northern India. He taught religion, as well as all other subjects.
His knowledge was enormous and his teaching ability made him world
that time a son was born to a rich family in Benares. The family
kept a holy fire burning constantly from that day on. When the son
turned 16, they gave him a choice. They said, "This holy fire
has been burning since your birth. If you wish to be reborn in a
high heaven world, take it into the forest and worship the fire
if you wish to live the home life of a family man, you must learn
how to manage the wealth of our family in the affairs of the world.
If that is the life you choose, go and study under the world famous
teacher of Takkasila."
young man said, "I don't want to be a holy man. I would much
rather be a family man. Then I will be happy for the rest of my
life." So his parents sent him to the world famous teacher.
They gave him a thousand gold coins to pay for his lessons.
several years the man graduated with honours and returned home to
his parents had come to wish more and more that he would become
a holy man in the forest. This was just as they had wished on the
day he was born. His mother wanted the best life possible for her
son. She thought, "My son wants to marry and raise a family.
He does not realise how dangerous a wicked woman can be to a man.
I must find a way to get his teacher to teach him this."
the wise woman asked her son, "Did you earn only the Ordinary
Degree without also obtaining the higher Unhappiness Degree?"
Her son replied, "I have earned only the Ordinary Degree."
mother said, "How can you be called educated in the ways of
the world if you have learned nothing about unhappiness? Return
to the great teacher and ask for the Unhappiness Degree." The
son dutifully followed his good mother's advice and returned to
just so happened that the world famous teacher had a mother who
was 120 years old. She was blind and very weak. The teacher bathed
and fed and cared for her with his own hands. Since it took more
and more of his time, he was forced to give up teaching. He and
his mother moved into a forest hut, where he looked after her, night
the young student arrived from Benares he found that his old teacher
was no longer at the college. Hearing that he had retired to the
forest, he went and found him there.
greeting each other, the teacher asked him, "Why have you come
back so soon?" He replied, "Honourable professor, you
did not give me the Unhappiness Degree." "Who told you
about that degree?" asked the teacher. "My mother, sir,"
teacher thought, "I've never heard of such a degree! No doubt
his wise mother wanted me to teach him how wicked some women can
be. For they bring great unhappiness to men."
said, "All right, I will teach you so you can earn this high
degree. The course is a work-study program. Your lessons will consist
of taking care of my old mother for me. You will bathe, feed and
care for her tenderly with your own hands.
you are washing and massaging her body, you must say, 'Dear lady,
even in your old age your skin remains fair and beautiful.' You
must constantly exaggerate her beauty in this way, saying, 'When
you were young, you must have been even more beautiful!' And if
she says anything to you, you must tell me without shame, whatever
it is, hiding nothing.
you do these things correctly, you will earn the Unhappiness Degree.
Then your mother will be proud of you."
student agreed and began tending to the 120-year-old lady. He bathed
and fed her with his own hands. He massaged her arms, legs, back
and head. While doing this he said, "Madam, it is marvellous
indeed! Even in such great old age, your arms and legs are so very
beautiful! I can guess how beautiful you were in your youth!"
In this way he exaggerated her beauty again and again, for many
desire began to arise in the old lady's mind. Even though she knew
she was blind and her body was rotten from old age, she thought,
"No doubt this young man would like to live with me like a
husband." So she asked him, "Do you want to be with me,
just like a husband and wife?"
man replied, "Oh yes of course, madam. I want to very much.
But how can I? Your son is my teacher and he is very respectable.
It would cause such a scandal! I will not dishonour my teacher."
the teacher's mother said, "Well in that case, if you really
want to be with me, then kill my son!"
student said, "How can I kill him when I have been studying
with him for so long? How can I kill him just because of this desire
for you?" Then she said, "If you will stay with me and
not desert me, I will kill him myself!"
he had agreed, the student went to the world famous teacher and
told him all that had taken place. Amazingly, the teacher did not
seem surprised. He said, "You have done well to tell me this,
my pupil. I appreciate your good work."
he examined his mother's horoscope and discovered that this was
to be the day of her death. He said, "I will arrange a test
teacher carved a statue from the softwood of a tree limb. He made
it look exactly like himself, life-size. He laid it in his own bed
and pulled the sheet up over it. He attached a long string to it
and gave it to his pupil. He told him, "Now take this string
and axe to my mother. Tell her it is time to do the killing."
the student returned to the blind old lady. He said, "Madam,
my master is sleeping in his bed. If you follow this string it will
lead you to him. Then kill him with this axe, if you really can
do such a thing!"
replied, "If you do not abandon me, I will do it." He
said, "Why should I abandon you?"
she took the axe in her hands. She trembled as she stood up. Slowly
she followed the string to her son's bed. She felt the statue and
thought she recognised her son. She pulled down the sheet from the
head and raised the axe. Thinking to kill him with one blow she
struck the neck as hard as she could with the axe. But it made a
thumping sound, so she knew it had struck wood.
teacher asked, "What are you doing, my mother?" Suddenly
she realised she had been deceived and discovered. The shock was
so overwhelming that she dropped dead on the spot! This time the
horoscope had been correct.
world famous teacher respectfully burned his mother's body and offered
flowers on her ashes.
he said to his pupil, "My son, there really is no such thing
as the 'Unhappiness Degree'. Wicked women cause unhappiness. You
are fortunate to have such a good and wise mother. By sending you
here to earn the Unhappiness Degree, she wanted you to learn how
evil some women can be.
have seen with your own eyes how my mother was filled with craving
and vanity. She has taught you this lesson. Now return to your wise
mother, who cares so much for your well-being."
he arrived home his mother asked, "My dear son, have you finally
earned the high degree in the subject of Unhappiness?" He replied,
she said, "I ask you again, my son, do you wish to leave the
worldly life and go into the forest to worship the fire god? Or
do you wish to marry and lead the family life?"
son replied, "I do not wish to lead the family life. I have
seen with my own eyes how evil some women can be. There is no limit
to their craving and vanity. Therefore I want nothing to do with
family life. I will seek peace as a forest monk."
respectfully took leave of his parents. After many years of peaceful
meditation in the forest, he eventually died and was reborn in a
high heaven world.
moral is: Wickedness between women and men
brings unhappiness to both.