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life." The Buddha replied, "Very well, but you must fetch me mustard seeds from a house in which no-one has died." She went forthwith to all the homes in town, but at each door she was told, "We would gladly give you seeds, but since you say you may take them only from a house in which no-one has died, then we must disappoint you. So many person have died in this house." Finally she returned to the Buddha. "So, did you bring mustard seeds?" he asked. "I am finished with mustard seeds," answered she. "Please give me shelter."

18. A young Vaisya woman named Patacara became secretly intimate with a Sudra man before her father arranged her marriage. When the date of her marriage to some Vaisya was set, she told her Sudra lover, "It's now or never. Either we run away together or we will never be able to see each other again." He took her away to a small village where they lived as husband and wife. In time she became pregnant and desired to bear the child at her father's house, as is the custom among Hindus. But her husband was naturally reluctant to see her father. Patacara resolved to go alone; she knew that her parents' sentiments would win over their anger at her choice of a husband. So she left on foot when her husband was out. When he returned and found out from the neighbors what she had done, he followed her. That was fortunate, for as it turned out she gave birth right on the road. After that they returned with a son. When she became heavy with child a second time, the same desire came over her, and everything came to pass as before, except that she took to the road with her first son, a toddler. When the husband caught up with her, she was in labor with the second child. And thereafter unseasonable clouds arose in the sky. The husband gathered sticks from the forest to make a shelter from the rain for his family. When they entered it with rain pouring down, he noticed that the roof required more grass, as it was leaking. So he went to a place where tall grass grew and began cutting it, but was bit by a snake and died. Patacara waited the whole night in the shelter for him to return. In the morning she followed his footprints in the mud and found his body. "Because of me, my poor husband is dead," she lamented. She tried to go home but found the way blocked by a floodstream. She told her older boy to wait on the bank while she crossed the steam with the baby on her head. Leaving the baby in her headcoil on the far side, she waded into the rivulet to fetch the toddler. But a hawk dove at the baby. She waved her arms in the air to drive it off. The child on the other side thought her mother was waving for him to cross. He stepped into the floodstream and was washed away by the strong current. And while Patacara was trying to save him, the hawk carried off the newborn child.

19. Once the Buddha stayed in a wealthy family's home at a place called Savatthi. The matron of the house was named Visakha. Once she came before the Buddha in the dress of mourning; the Buddha asked why, and she told him that her grand-daughter had died. She was very attached to the girl, and so was most griefstricken. The Buddha then asked Visakha if she would like to have as many children and grandchildren as there are human beings in Savatthi. She readily agreed. Then the Buddha asked her if she knew how many people die each day in Savatthi. She supposed about ten each day. The Buddha said, "Then, if you had as many children and grandchildren as the population of Savatthi, would you ever be out of mourning?" She admitted, "No, indeed, Exalted One." The Buddha said, "They that hold a hundred dear, have one hundred sorrows. And they that hold ninety dear have ninety sorrows...80...70...60...50...40...30...20...10...3...2...1, and they that hold nothing dear have no sorrows."

20. From the discussion between Warrior Payasi and Kumara Kasyapa, a monk, come the following examples.

a. Payasi had asked his sinful friends as they were dying to

return and tell him about the sufferings of hell (but as they did not return, he doubted whether there was a hell). Kumara Kasyapa replied that this was as likely to happen as a prisoner under sentence of death, whose head is on the chopping block, requesting and receiving permission from the executioner to go visit his relatives for a while, on the promise that he will return to have his head severed.

b. Payasi had asked his pious friends as they were dying to

return and tell him about the enjoyments of heaven (but as they did not return, he doubted whether there was a heaven). Kumara Kasyapa replied that this was as likely to happen as a man who, after being rescued from a dung-pit and bathed and dressed in clean cloth and given all facility for sense enjoyment, would voluntarily return to that dung-pit.

c. Payasi said there's no proof that God exists because He

cannot be seen (actually, he spoke of the demigods, but this Buddhist argument can be used to support the existence of God!). Kumara Kasyapa replied that just because a blind man says that black, white, blue, yellow, red, pink, even, uneven, stars, moon and sun do not exist and that no one can see these simply because he cannot see them, that does not mean that he speaks rightly.

d. Payasi asked that if the virtuous attain a higher

existence after death, and if this present existence is considered so unworthy by the virtuous, why then don't the virtuous just commit suicide? Kumara Kasyapa replied by giving an example of two wives of a brahmana, one with a son of ten years old, and the other who was pregnant with her first child. The brahmana died, leaving the will that all his property should go to his son(s). The boy went to the pregnant woman and said to her, "All my father's property now belongs to me." She replied, "Just wait til I give birth; if the baby is a boy, he will take half; if a girl, she will also belong to you." But again and again the boy came, declaring that all property was his. Finally she could not bear the suspense of knowing whether the child was a boy or a girl, so with a knife she cut open her own belly and died, along with the baby. The point here is that virtue must ripen of its own accord into a higher status of existence. Suicide is itself sinful and will destroy the ripening virtue, not hasten it.

e. Payasi said that he had never seen the soul of condemned

criminals leaving their bodies when they were executed, even though he'd experiemented in so many ways to see the soul. Kumara Kasyapa replied that when he dreamed during a nap in the daytime, while being attended by servants, his soul certainly left his body, but still his servants could not see the soul. So if even in life the soul cannot be seen, then why should it be seen at death?

f. Payasi thought that the difference between a living body

and a dead body could be explained materially because the dead body was heavier than the living body (therefore something material must have departed from it, not the soul). Kumara Kasyapa replied that if a hot iron ball is weighed, and then cooled down and weighed, a difference of weight will be discerned because heat makes things lighter. So the difference he noticed between living and dead bodies was once simply of heat, which is the result of the presence of life energy within the body activating metabolism, but which is not the same as the life itself.

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