event of a thread

Jetsyn greeting an old woman

In a large field Jetsyn came across a very beautiful girl, about fifteen years old. He went up to her , and she kindly invited him to her house, pointing, “It is over there. Wait for me at the door. I will come directly.”

Accordingly, Milarepa went to her home, pushed the door open with his staff, and went in. At once an ugly old woman with a handful of ashes rushed at him, shouting, “You miserable yogi-beggars! In the summer you all show up begging for milk and butter! In the winter you all come for grain! I’ll wager you wanted to sneak in to steal my daughter’s and daughter-in-law’s jewelry!”

Grumbling and trembling with rage, she was about to throw the ashes at Milarepa, when he said, “Wait a minute, Grandmother! Please listen to me!”

He then sang:

Grandmother, you are an angry woman, Question your own thoughts and examine your mind. Practice [the best of] the Buddha’s teaching.When you were first sent here, Did you dream you would become an old nanny-goat? In the morning you get up from bed, In the evening you go to sleep, In between, you do the endless housework; You are engrossed in these three things. Grandmother, you are the unpaid maid.Question your own thought and examine your mind. Then things may be different for you.The head of the family is the most important one, Income and earnings are the next most longed-for things, Then sons and nephews are wanted most. By these three you are bound. Grandmother, for yourself you have no share.Question your own thought and examine your mind [if you can, so far as you can]. Grandmother, you are burned up with fury.Gossip about other women and their manners is what interests you; To talk of widows and relatives is your delight.Grandmother, are you so gentle when you gossip?To lift you from a chair is like pulling out a peg; With feeble legs you waddle like a thieving goose; Earth and stone seem to shatter when you drop into a seat; Senile and clumsy is your body, Grandmother, you have no choice but to obey.Question your own thought and examine your mind. From that you may find out how you have changed.Your skin is creased with wrinkles; Your bones stand out sharply from your shrunken flesh; You are deaf, dumb, imbecile, eccentric, and tottering; You are thrice defonned. Grandmother, your ugly face is wrapped in wrinkles.Your food and drink are cold and foul, Grandmother, you are now a wretch, half woman and half bitch!Now, with fear and grief at heart, You watch the time of death draw nigh. Grandmother, can you face death with confidence?

Upon hearing this profound, melodious song, the old woman was so moved that she regretted what she had done to the Jetsun, and could not help shedding tears. [139-39, passim, and slightly modified.]

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All