Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Third Set of Robes

Very advanced monks are known to develop exceptionally powerful minds capable of feats far beyond that of ordinary putthujana. This is the theme that underlies this story, which was shared by Bhikkhu Agga:

She then told the tale of a rich man who learned that an Arahat was coming to visit his neighbourhood. He decided that he would invite the holy man to a meal, and also that he would like to present him with three sets of robes. When the day came, he set out to meet the Arahat, and conduct him to his home. As he was walking back along a muddy track with the monk, they came to a large puddle, whereupon, instead of walking sedately round it, the monk tucked up his robes and jumped over it. The rich man was shocked by this, and thought to himself “This undignified fellow cannot be an Arahat. I think I will give him only two sets of robes.” After a while they came to another puddle, and again the monk jumped over it; and the rich man thought “No, he is certainly a common fellow – I will give him only one set of robes.” Then a third time they came to a puddle, and this time instead of leaping over it, the monk walked carefully round it. The rich man was puzzled, and said to the monk “Venerable Sir, can you explain to me please, why it is that you jumped over the first two puddles, and then walked round the third?” And the monk replied “Sir, I did not think it would be good for you to withdraw the third set of robes.”