Curse of Mittavinda [Chapter
Once upon a time, there was a monk who lived in a tiny monastery
in a little village. He was very fortunate that the village rich
man supported him in the monastery. He never had to worry about
the cares of the world. His alms food was always provided automatically
by the rich man.
the monk was calm and peaceful in his mind. There was no fear of
losing his comfort and his daily food. There was no desire for greater
comforts and pleasures of the world. Instead, he was free to practice
the correct conduct of a monk, always trying to eliminate his faults
and do only wholesome deeds. But he didn't know just how lucky he
day an elder monk arrived in the little village. He had followed
the path of Truth until he had become perfect and faultless.
the village rich man saw this unknown monk, he was very pleased
by his gentle manner and his calm attitude. So he invited him into
his home. He gave him food to eat, and he thought himself very fortunate
to hear a short teaching from him. He then invited him to take shelter
at the village monastery. He said, "I will visit you there
this evening, to make sure all is well."
the perfect monk arrived at the monastery, he met the village monk.
They greeted each other pleasantly. Then the village monk asked,
"Have you had your lunch today?" The other replied, "Yes,
I was given lunch by the supporter of this monastery. He also invited
me to take shelter here."
village monk took him to a room and left him there. The perfect
monk passed his time in meditation.
that evening, the village rich man came. He brought fruit drinks,
flowers and lamp oil, in honor of the visiting holy man. He asked
the village monk, "Where is our guest?" He told him what
room he had given him.
man went to the room, bowed respectfully, and greeted the perfect
monk. Again he appreciated hearing the way of Truth as taught by
the rare faultless one.
as evening approached, he lit the lamps and offered the flowers
at the monastery's lovely temple shrine. He invited both monks to
lunch at his home the next day. Then he left and returned home.
the evening, a terrible thing happened. The village monk, who had
been so contented, allowed the poison of jealousy to creep into
his mind. He thought, "The village rich man has made it easy
for me here. He provides shelter each night and fills my belly once
I'm afraid this will change because he respects this new monk so
highly. If he remains in this monastery, my supporter may stop caring
for me. Therefore, I must make sure the new monk does not stay."
in this way, he lost his former mental calm. His mind became disturbed
due to his jealousy - the fear of losing his comfort and his daily
food. This led to the added mental pain of resentment against the
perfect monk. He began plotting and scheming to get rid of him.
that night, as was the custom, the monks met together to end the
day. The perfect monk spoke in his usual friendly way, but the village
monk would not speak to him at all.
the wise monk understood that he was jealous and resentful. He thought,
'This monk does not understand my freedom from attachment to families,
people and comforts. I am free of any desire to remain here. I am
also free of any desire to leave here. It makes no difference. It
is sad this other one cannot understand non-attachment. I pity him
for the price he must pay for his ignorance."
returned to his room, closed the door and meditated in a high mental
state throughout the night.
next day, when it was time to go collect alms food from the supporter
of the monastery, the village monk rang the temple gong. But he
rang it by tapping it lightly with his finger nail. Even the birds
in the temple courtyard could not hear the tiny sound.
he went to the visiting monk's room and knocked on the door. But
again he only tapped lightly with his finger nail. Even the little
mice inside the walls could not hear the silent tapping.
done his courteous duty in such a tricky way, he went to the rich
man's home. The man bowed respectfully to the monk, took his alms
bowl and asked, "Where is the new monk, our visitor?"
village monk replied, "I have not seen him. I rang the gong,
I knocked at his door, but he did not appear. Perhaps he was not
used to such rich food as you gave him yesterday. Perhaps he is
still asleep, busily digesting it, dreaming of his next feast! Perhaps
this is the kind of monk who pleases you so much!"
back at the monastery, the perfect monk awoke. He cleaned himself
and put on his robe. Then he calmly departed to collect alms food
wherever he happened to find it.
rich man fed the village monk the richest of food. It was delicious
and sweet, made from rice, milk, butter, sugar and honey. When the
monk had eaten his fill, the man took his bowl, scrubbed it clean,
and sweetened it with perfumed water. He filled it up again with
the same wonderful food. He gave it back to the monk, saying, ''Honorable
monk, our holy visitor must be worn out from travelling. Please
take my humble alms food to him." Saying nothing, he accepted
the generous gift for the other.
now the village monk's mind was trapped by its own jealous scheming.
He thought, "If that other monk eats this fantastic meal, even
if I grabbed him by the throat and kicked him out, he still would
never leave! I must secretly get rid of this alms food. But if I
give it to a stranger, it will become known and talked about. If
I throw it away in a pond, the butter will float on the surface
and be discovered. If I throw it away on the ground, crows will
come from miles around to feast on it, and that too would be noticed.
So how can I get rid of it?"
he saw a field that had just been burned by farmers to enrich the
soil. It was covered with hot glowing coals. So he threw the rich
man's generous gift on the coals. The alms food burned up without
a trace. And with it went his peace of mind!
when he got back to the monastery, he found the visitor gone. He
thought, "This must have been a perfectly wise monk. He must
have known I was jealous afraid of losing my favored position. He
must have known I resented him and tried to trick him into leaving.
I wasted alms food meant for him. And all for the sake of keeping
my own belly full! I'm afraid something terrible will happen to
me! What have I done?" So, afraid of losing his easy daily
food, he had thrown away his peace of mind.
the rest of his life the rich man continued to support him. But
his mind was filled with torment and suffering. He felt doomed like
a walking starving zombie, or a living hungry ghost.
he died, his torment continued. For he was reborn in a hell world,
where he suffered for hundreds of thousands of years.
there too he died, as all beings must. But the results of his past
actions were only partly completed. So he was reborn as a demon,
500 times! In those 500 lives, there was only one day when he got
enough to eat, and that was a meal of afterbirth dropped by a deer
in the forest!
he was reborn as a starving stray dog another 500 times! For the
sake of a full monk's belly in a past life, all these 500 lives
were also filled with hunger, and quarrelling over food. Only a
single time did he get enough to eat, and that was a meal of vomit
he found in a gutter!
most of the results of his actions were finished. Only then was
he so very fortunate enough to be reborn as a human being. He was
born into the poorest of the poor beggar families of the city of
Kasi, in northern India. He was given the name, Mittavinda.
the moment of his birth, this poor family became even more poor
and miserable. After a few years, the pain of hunger became so great,
that his parents beat him and chased Mittavinda away for good. They
shouted, "Be gone forever! You are nothing but a curse!"
Mittavinda! So very long ago he had not known how lucky he was.
He was contented as a humble village monk. But he allowed the poison
of jealousy to enter his mind - the fear of losing his easy daily
food. This led to the self-torture of resentment against a perfect
monk, and to trickery in denying him one wholesome gift of alms
food. And it took a thousand and one lives for the loss of his comfort
and daily food to be completed. What he had feared, his own actions
had brought to pass!