A girl in the (Vedi) group attains the Nibbana
May 02, 2016
There was a forest near city Vangahāra. It was through this forest one can go to a village, which was called Nālā. It was a village of Veddas – Tribes (a group of native people of India), and the people in this village hunted animals as their livelihood. They were very happy when drought is upon them since they could trap animals who come looking for water. One day when their leader (Mahahūrā) was on his way to hunt, he saw a hermit in the forest. He talked to the hermit. “My dear sir, what are you doing in this forest?” “Dear uncle, I am a hermit and am here to stay alone and spend my time in leisure. If you offer me some food, deities will be happy and may bring you a good hunt today.” “Wow! Is it for sure?” “Yes, why would I lie to you?” Then the Mahahūrā thought, ‘this is great. I’ll offer some rice to this hermit.’ “Okay. Please sir, you stay in this cave and no need to go for alms-gathering into our village. I’ll bring you some rice when I come back to my way to make my hunt.” “Okay, okay uncle. I’ll be in that cave on top of that mountain.” He brought food like he promised on that day and after some time passed by, the Mahahūrā became a good friend of the hermit. He brought rice to the hermit each day, and the hermit follows his solitary life pattern well. One day, the Mahahūrā came to see the hermit with a bottle of water. “Dear hermit, I am going into the deep forest to make some hunt with rest of my team. I would not be able to come see you for few days, so please walk to my house in the village, and my wife will offer you some food to eat. I’ve told her about you.” The hermit agreed… The hermit went to get some food from that house the next day. The Mahahūrā’s house was not something very well built. It was like a part of the forest itself. There was a fence made out of some wood, and the Mahahūrā’s wife was waiting behind it. When she saw the hermit walking toward their house in a calm pace, she shouted to someone inside her hut. “Hey daughter, where are you Chapa? Come here girl. Hermit is here. Bring that rice and offer it to him.” The hermit looked at the hut, and Chapa came out from it. That sight disturbed the calm mind of the hermit. He kept staring at her. Chapa got scared of that look and automatically stepped back few steps. The hermit’s meditation and his meditative mind were completely destroyed at that moment. “Wow! This is a miracle. How come such a beautiful girl lives in this deep forest, in a rural hut like this? Her name is ‘Chapa’ which matches very well to her beauty. I’ve been to many places in this country but never have seen such a beautiful girl in any of those places… Her figure and her eyes are charmingly beautiful…” Chapa came closer and offered the rice to the hermit who kept looking at her golden color finger nails. He felt his heart is being pierced by some keen thought. His whole body went cold and numb. He usually wishes well for the people who offer him food on other days, but he could not even remember that on this day. After staring at Chapa for few moments, the hermit put his eyes down and left the place. He came back to the cave and put away the food. He looked at the distant forest. What he sees is Chapa’s face. He sees it in the forest, among the tress, among the tree shadows. When he looks at the sky, he sees her face in the clouds. What he sees is Chapa’s bluish, sparkling eyes everywhere. The hermit slowly bent down and sat on the cave floor putting his weight on his knees. He put his hands on his head and cried shouting. “Oh! Yes, I don’t want this food that I gathered. How can I stay alone in this cave? What is the meaning of this life? I don’t want to eat this food alone anymore.” The Mahahūrā and his crew came back to the ‘Nālā’ village from their hunt after couple of days. It was a richly hunt for them that time. At their meal time, Mahahūrā remembered his friend hermit and asked about him from his daughter. “Hey Kekuli, did our hermit come by the hut? Did you offer him something to eat?” “My dear dad, our hermit came here only once. It’s been couple of days now, but he didn’t come back. Only gods would know what happened to him.” “Okay, I’ll go see him tomorrow morning.” When Mahahūrā went to see the hermit the following day, he could see a loneliness in hermit’s cave premises. There were tree leaves all over. No one could be seen around and was silent. He looked inside the cave slowly and called out for the hermit. “Where is our dear hermit?” He went inside the cave and saw the hermit on the floor groaning in pain. “Oh dear! What has happened to our hermit? Did you faint?” He got some water quickly and poured into the hermit’s mouth. After drinking the water, the hermit mourned again in a low and weak voice. “Un… Uncle, I am going to die. Yes. I am going to die. It’s better if I die…” “What! Dear hermit, what are you talking about? Why do you think you would die? No deity in this forest curses you, so you would not die.” “Oh uncle! I can’t continue to follow this solitary life anymore. My mind was disturbed.” “What! Did you meet the elephant? Or did the bear hurt you?” “No, no. Nothing like that happened to me. It’s forbidden for me to say the reason. I will instead embrace my death!” The Mahahūrā felt so sorry about the hermit. He was ready to help him any way he could. At the end, the hermit told him the reason in a weak, mourning voice. “Dear uncle, promise me that you would not kill me. I’ll tell you the truth.” After Mahahūrā promised him not to hurt him, the hermit said, “Dear uncle, your daughter, Chapa, disturbed my mind. I can’t live without her now.” The Mahahūrā was surprised with what he just heard. He slowly got up and went out. He sat under a nearby tree, let out a sigh, and thought, “Oh! What can I do now? His thoughts are now to become one of us and be with Chapa. Would he be able to hunt and care for my daughter?” He stood up and went back to the hermit. Sitting near him, he took his hands and said, “You don’t have to be afraid now. I would not kill you. You can have my daughter as your wife. But can you hunt and bring her food? You will have to go in the forest and hunt animals. You will have to look for animals and move with them like their shadows, sometimes even in to the deep forest.” With those words from Mahahūrā, the hermit’s face lit up with a smile. He realized that he is going to get Chapa for sure. He felt a new strength coming to his body. “Oh dear uncle, you are my god. I can’t hunt, but I’ll join you when you are hunting. I’m accustomed in walking many miles in the forest holding belongings (robes, bowls, etc.). So I’m sure I can come along with you holding wild meat. I also know how to talk to merchants in the city – I’ll go to Vangahāra state and sell your meat to them. I’ll bring money to you.” That was how this new comer joined that group of native (Vedi) people. His wife is now Chapa. “Chapa, you are indeed a beauty. I give you my whole heart. I’ll fetch some wild flowers to you on my way back from the hunt. I’ll also bring you honey and juicy fruits.” “Why does this man actually like me this much?” “Chapa, you look like a young tree ascended on a top of a mountain. Your smile is like the beautiful flowers of that tree. Yes Chapa, you are like a tree full of pomegranate flowers. You are like a Palhol tree with beautiful flowers in the center of an island. Yes, you are like that…” Chapa was very happy. After some time, a baby boy was born in to this family. But this hermit did not get the rough features that other people in the Vedi group had. He still looks like a hermit. After a while, Chapa started to hate his nature. But she used a loving name, ‘Kalu’ to call him, out of her love to this Upaka. But she mocked him passing hints now and then since he did not have those rough features like others in her group. One day when he came back from a hunt holding the meat, Chapa was in their hut singing a lullaby to her child. “Don’t cry child – Upaka’s child You my child – hermit’s child… Who brought you to this world – your father brought you Where were these requisites brought to – to his cave it is To whom a parcel of rice is brought to –to your father it is…” “See what I’m saying. Chapa, you are still doing that hint passing. If you keep doing that, I’ll no longer love you and will become a hermit again… Do you think I would come and stay here again, if I did that? It’s this female figure that bound even the hermits who meditate in forest.” “Kalu, that’s not fair. Me and my family like you very much. Can’t you have such a loving heart again?” “That’s enough. That’s enough. If you tell even one quarter of what you just said to someone who is fond of you, he will think of it as a big deal, but not me.” “Okay, then where’s that beautiful tree of flowers on that top of the mountain that you talked about? Where’s that tree full of pomegranate flowers? Then where’s that Palhol tree with beautiful flowers in that island? Did you forget all those what you used to compare my beauty to? How would you let go of me who has a beautiful figure like this?” “Yes. A hunter tries to keep a bird trapped in his cage. Even if he could do that, you’ll never be able to trap me from your figure.” Upaka went outside of the hut and sat on the floor in front of it. He looked at the far sky and let out a deep sigh… Chapa came to him and sat beside him. “Yes Chapa, I made a big mistake. I can remember now what my master told me. I don’t know where he is now. The things he told me are still echoing in my ears, in my mind.” Chapa listened to him like a deer with long, open ears. “Yes Chapa, on that day I asked Him, who His teacher is. Then he preached me, ‘Upaka, I don’t have a teacher. If there’s something one should realize, I have realized that all. I freed myself from all desires. There’s none in this world of gods and humans who can be compared to me…I am free of all lusts, hatred, and ignorance. I live with a quenched and calm mind. I am a Samma Sambuddha. Upaka, I am on my way to Bārānhasi in the country Kasī. I am going to disclose the truth, the Dhamma, the path of freedom to the world that is dying in a darkness of ignorance.’ Oh! He comes to my memories now… The Truth…! He is indeed ‘the Anantajina’. I wonder where that Most Fortunate One lives these days. I will go and find Him.” Upaka suddenly started to cry covering his head with his hands. Chapa got frightened. She did not like for her husband to leave her. She started to talk to him. “But my dear Kalu, what would happen to our son? How can a father having such a son leave his wife?” “Chapa, wise humans leave their children, wealth, and relatives like an elephant freeing itself from strong chains. They leave all these things behind them and become monks.” Chapa was furious about what just Upaka told her. “Is that so? I will hurt this child. You will then stay here with the pain of your son getting hurt. You will not be able to leave then.” “Hey Chapa, childish woman, you will not be able to stop me even if you give that child to wolves or dogs. Do you think that I’ll be trapped in a hut again because of this child…?” But when Upaka continued to tell about the Supreme Buddha, Chapa also started to like the thought of Him. She becomes happy to hear about the Supreme Buddha. There were some moments when she closed her eyes and listened about the Lord Buddha. In such moments, she was in a completely different world, the world of Arahants. How marvelous it is to go to the world of the Supreme Buddha and His Arahat disciples even if it is in thoughts. Chapa realized that she cannot keep her husband with them anymore. She told him soft words. “Kalu, where are you going to go then leaving all these behind? Is there any particular city, a country, or a village name?” “Chapa, we thought that we hermits were monks. We went village to village, city to city with all our stuff. We journeyed all the places in India. I heard about the Supreme Buddha last time, and He was at the River Nēranjarā. He is indeed my Teacher.” “Kalu, I also like to know more about that King of the whole World. I also like to join His disciple (lady) monks. If you find Him, please worship Him in the name of me as well. Please worship Him and pass the merits onto me.” Like a bird who got freed from a closed hand, Upaka left the place. The Supreme Buddha was at the River Nēranjarā. He worshiped the Supreme Buddha who preaches the noble Dhamma and passed the merits to Chapa. Upaka became a disciple of the Supreme Buddha. Chapa got to know about Upaka becoming a Bhikkhu and was very happy about it. When her son got older, she came to the Supreme Buddha with her son. Yes, the child also became a Bhikkhu among the rest of the monks, and Chapa became a Bhikkhuni. That was how a beautiful Vadi girl went to the Dhamma. Father, mother, and son were also lucky to be able to become Arahants in this Gautama Supreme Buddha’s dispensation. They freed themselves from the Samsara. They realized the Noble Nibbana. (Based on the story of Arahat Chapa Bhikkhuni in the Thērī Gātā) By Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero


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