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"That was it? Was that really it?”
The Miracle of 15 cm
Despite the fact that there were many intelligent and talented disciples with royal family background, Ven. Culla Panthaka was able to attain Arahatship before those who could almost certainly be comparable to Sidartha Sakyamuni Buddha in many aspects. People are well aware of how the Buddha took in Ven. Culla Panthaka after his brother Mahapanthaka left him without support. However, the Buddha asked Ven. Culla to do something which was very manageable for him to do on his own: to wipe off dusts with rags on his hands!
In fact, the only thing Ven. Culla Panthaka was able to do was just that. Therefore, Ven. Culla Panthaka wiped and scrubbed with all his might. He was probably very happy to do this. To be among the wise and the reputable, he must have felt very proud and happy that there were works for him to do and that he was needed. Every day he would have wiped and scrubbed with joy.
But, was he expecting something in return for wiping and scrubbing? Probably not. He was perhaps happy just to be around and be with his biological brother. With a great heartfelt appreciation and delight, he could have cleaned and scrubbed sincerely. One day, after cleaning and scrubbing the floor, or perhaps cleaning the shoes of other monk’s, he attained realization in an instant and dropped rags from his hands and murmured…
“Aha! That was it? Was that really it?”
The unenlightened human beings like us could not possible fathom what Ven. Culla Panthaka’s have realized at that moment. If we are really curious to find out what Ven. Culla realized at that moment, we should also start wiping and cleaning earnestly.
“If you only concentrate on the success of others
Your precious life will float away…”
“I wouldn’t do it! I will not waste my life by cleaning after others!” Of course it is okay to also think this. But, it is important to find what you can do at this very moment and in the meantime, you could find something that makes you truly happy. What is important is that as Ven. Culla Panthaka did while he cleaned, you must pay your full attention to your responsibility in front of you and work with love and dedication.
Nonetheless, Ven. Culla Panthaka attained Arahatship. Those who remember his past ignorance still laughed at him, but he was invited by the Buddha to sit together during meals.
If scrubbing the floor defies your imagination still, then how about the story of the American climber Mark Wellman? When Mark Wellman was 22 years old, he fell off the cliff while climbing and became completely paralyzed from the waist down. But, this did not keep him from his decision to climb 1000m El Capitan Canyon. For next 7 years, he worked with the disability he could not change. He continued to prepare and practice to climb the rock without a gap.
At the very last before reaching the top, Mark held on to a rope his friend hung around the rock. 15 centimeters at a time. Not more and not less, he climbed 15 centimeter at a time and for 9 days, he climbed to the top with 7000 tugs of rope. Finally, on July 18, 1989 he reached the top. He said the following about his success:
“It may seem impossible, but there is nothing we can not do
if we think to go on 15 centimeter at a time. “
There are a lot of biographies of people with disabilities who succeeded despite many great obstacles. Some may buy these books with envy of their success. However, without knowing the joy of scrubbing the floor, or without the determination to pull yourself up 15 cm at a time, we may just be wasting our money on these books.
Devadata only saw the status, fame and glory of the Buddha. As such, if we just concentrate on the success of others, we will be like the man who grab hold of the snakes in his arm, thus end up only with experience of our precious life floating away.
<Pic. From twolittlecavaliers.com and story from ibulgyo.com>