Happy Bodhisattva Reincarnates in a Taiwan Village
by Good Sam
Please be aware that by reading this real life story well you may just wake up!
Note: In Mahayana Buddhism, only the last 12 stages in the 52 stages of Bodhisattva are the Saint Bodhisattvas. The first 40 stages are ordinary good people. All of us yearn, while we are alive, to attain to the first stage or above of the Saint Bodhisattva, so as to freely choose the afterlife in a Pure Land or to be born in a particular family. The first stage Saint Bodhisattva is also called the Happy Stage. It is the stage where one has been liberated from the affliction of the mind, and has leaped into a very happy, joyful state. This is a true life story of a Happy Bodhisattva and for the first time we get to find out how a Happy Bodhisattva respond to events in our mundane society. Let us reflect on our cultivation...
In modern daily life, we seem to have a hard time meeting someone who is truly happy. Most people seem preoccupied with loads of stress. They are too busy to be able to enjoy inner peace and happiness. If we pay attention and observe the finer details, we may discover there are some people although ordinary in appearance, but in reality have very profound wisdom. Their comments and conduct, like Buddha and Bodhisattva, flow with compassion, joy and equanimity.
Most Buddhists have heard of Amitabha Buddha as the Infinite Light Buddha, the Longevity Buddha, but few have known that he is also called the Happy Light Buddha. When we chant mantra or visualize Buddha, we ought to experience this happy light, this inner purity.
Let me tell you a true story. I respect this person as my Venerable Teacher, who is teaching us Happy Unconditioned Manner with her behavior. Therefore, we respectfully addressed her...
She is a farmer, 50ish years old. Every day, she works diligently on the farm. She is happy and likes everything, so all and every difficult thing becomes very easy.
She is very good at growing vegetables. Her husband describes her, "Her vegetables grow fast, grow big! She is only dutiful in growing not harvesting them."
You may say that her vegetable garden is open to everyone because of her magnanimity. For example, when the beans in her garden are ripe, she would tell the neighbors, "Ahua's beans are ripe. If you want some, come to my garden and pick them." Whoever goes to pluck vegetables from her garden, she always smiles and happily gives away. Her husband goes so far as to say,"Anyone goes to steal her vegetables, she would quickly hide herself so as not to embarrass that person."
Her unconditional giving inspires me to a deeper understanding of the teaching in the Buddha Sutra.
The government wanted to widen the road, and expected to requisition her farmland. Most people would not like it if part of their farmland were to be taken for road widening. Most farmers would fight it and petition to have their land off the list. However, when the government officer came to talk, she just simply smiled like an innocent happy child, and happily said,"I'm so happy. I'm so thankful. I really have good karma. I give my farmland to widen the road. Please make it wider so everyone's car has plenty of room to safely pass by."
She was so sincere, wishing for everyone to be safe on the road that she happily gave unconditionally. In a few words and by her conduct she demonstrated the teaching of Buddha Sutra. She has often said, "I don't know anything, only know to be happy." While others cannot be happy, she can be very happy with the event.
You Are Happy, I Am Happy
Someone had once encroached part of their farmland for more than a year. Both of them, husband and wife, were very courteous and not fighting it. When the village was doing surveying, the surveyors had to peg the land with markers. Of course, the encroached land would clearly be marked to belong to the rightful owner.
That person, the locals called him the tyrant, said to the surveyors, "Any of you dare to come over and put a marker here, I will beat him down and stick him here as the marker."
The local villagers just had enough of him and were disputing with him. The police came, but he still was shamelessly saying, "Sue me in court!"
His behavior was so unreasonable that they almost got into a fight.
Happy Bodhisattva saw this from afar and ran to them saying, "Namo Amitabha! Namo Amitabha! We are all here together for the reason we must be very happy. Everybody, don't be angry."
Then, she turned around and said to that person, "Uncle Sir, if this piece of farmland was to return to us, will you be happy or not?"
The person angrily replied, "Of course I will not be happy!"
Happy Bodhisattva then said, "Oh, if you will not be happy then it's not good. You don't have to return it, because you are like my parents and I must respect you. I'm happy to give it to you. Today, they are here just to place a marker on the land to avoid land dispute. Tomorrow, our farmland is yours to plant anything you want. As long as you are happy, I'm happy."
Namo Amitabha! Namo Amitabha! She then turned around to her husband and gently caressed his chest, and smilingly said, "We want to give this uncle happiness, you also want to be happy, OK!"
Afterwards, she waved her hands to everybody and said, "Goodbye, I'm going home." As she was walking away, that person called out her name. She turned her head to see that the person was in tears and said, "I want to give the land back to you."
All the villagers that had seen this dramatic turn of event were looking at each other saying, "Ghee! How easy! Just a few words have resolved it."
Really happy! Really easy! Being very happy makes things become very easy.
Everyone has the Buddha-nature. Whether someone is a good or bad person now, everyone can become a Buddha. She has often said, "If you are happy, I am happy." Her Buddha-nature shines unconditionally. She treats people with sincerity. When they feel that sincere, happy heart, they naturally have the compassion of their Buddha-nature arising, thus letting go their greedy mind. This change happens in a moment of thought.
I have discovered that her Happy Light truly has the power to shine into others' heart. In one moment of sincerity, even a bandit can be moved to become an innocent pure child.
After the surveying was completed, the husband and wife Happy Bodhisattva voluntarily made their farmland smaller by building the footpath ridges completely within the boundary of their land, instead of right on the property line. They had done so to let the neighbors be happy.
There was one section of the common road where the cost was supposed to be prorated among the land owners, but her husband, sympathizing with the elderly neighbors who were struggling to make a living, said, "I will pay all the TW$100,000 for building this section of the road. I am lucky that I can work. No problem."
Did you know that their money, every cent of it, was hard earned with sweat? Her husband was working as a plasterer. He often had to be up before dawn to go to work at the physically demanding job, returned by night covered in plaster, and still more, he had to work the farmland. Their whole family had treated others very generously but themselves frugally. Others would often hear happy laugh after happy laugh from their home.
They truly live happily. They are the living happiness.
Happy Bodhisattva described this laughter as, "Everybody laughs together, like blooming forth together a very big lotus flower."
She did not have the opportunity to go to school when she was young. Not until she was 46 years old did she happily attend first grade elementary. She would often say to the school principal that she was very grateful. Although she had no schooling her words were more knowledgeable, elegant and gracious than scholars'. My friend had spent a few days staying with them and so admired their laughter saying, "This family's laughter is truly creating heaven!"
Heart Connecting Heart
The family of Happy Bodhisattva often gave happily. The result was their situation got better not poorer. Others respected them because they always respected others. Others loved them because they always loved others.
When she told me for the first time, "My husband has eight brothers, and eight sister-in-laws. Everyone is heart connecting heart. Our houses are connected and we don't lock our doors." I instantly had great respect for them. Eight in-laws heart connecting heart, how extraordinary!
She often told others, "We are together, therefore we have lucky destiny; everyone must heart connecting heart, everyday be happy."
One day, she realized that she had lost TW$5,000, the first thing she said, "So whoever found it can use it, I'm very happy."
She would still happily go to do recycling for charity. She never worried about looking for her money. When she was at the local Agriculture Cooperative just happily chatting about it, it happened that the people there had found TW$5,000. The moment they heard her story, they immediately wanted to return her money.
She said, "You found it and it's yours."
The people knew her and had seen her doing recycling for charity hospital. Day after day, she would voluntarily go to schools and many places to collect recyclable materials urging people to recycle, and then she would cart them away for sorting. Everyone that had seen her doing what she did was moved.
They insisted on returning her money. She said, "Well let's split it, you 3000, me 2000." There was no way anyone would accept it. So, she bought a lot of treats to share with everyone. Everybody was happy.
Her style of behavior was opposite of average people, so oppositely lovable. Average people contended for their selves to be happy, she gave happiness to others. Everyone's happy, she's happy; the result -- she's the most happy one in the world.
"I really liked this story! It reminded me that I often take needlessly complicated and cynical views of situations. We do have a choice about how we let things affect us. We should follow this good example and learn to recognize opportunities to be happy. Thank You!" by Phil Cunningham