Wednesday, July 22, 2015

決して見くびらない菩薩 (4) Never Disparaging Bodhisattva (4)

Never Disparaging Bodhisattva (4)
By Thich Nhat Hanh

I always try to practice this kind of action. One day there were two young brothers who came to spend the day with me. I took them both to see a new manual printing press I had just gotten. The younger boy was very interested in the machine and while he was playing with it the motor burned out. As I was pressing one button to show the boys how it worked, the little boy pressed another at the same time and it overstressed the machine’s engine. The elder brother said angrily, “Thây, you just wanted to show us the machine. Why did he have to do that? He wrecks whatever he touches.” These were very harsh words from such a young boy. Perhaps hearing his parents or other family members use blaming language like this had influenced him and he was just repeating what he had heard without realizing the effect it would have on his little brother.

In order to help mitigate the possible effects of this criticism on the younger boy, I showed the boys another machine, a paper cutting machine, and this time I instructed the younger one on how to use it. His brother warned me, “Thây, don’t let him touch it, he’ll destroy this one too.” Seeing that this was a moment when I could help both boys, I said to the older brother, “Don’t worry, I have faith in him. He is intelligent. We shouldn’t think otherwise.” Then I said to the younger boy, “Here, this is how it works—just push this button. Once you have released this button, then you press that button. Do this very carefully and the machine will work properly.” The younger brother followed my instructions and operated the machine without harming it. He was very happy, and so was his older brother. And I was happy along with them.

Following the example of Sadaparibhuta Bodhisattva, I only needed three or four minutes to remove the complex of the younger brother and teach the older brother to learn to trust in the best of his younger brother and not just see him in terms of his mistakes. In truth, at that moment I was a bit concerned that the young boy would ruin the other machine. But if I had hesitated and not allowed him to try and follow my instructions, believing that he would destroy the machine, I could well have destroyed that little boy. Preserving the health and well-being of the mind of a child is much more important than preserving a machine.

(to be continued)


決して見くびらない菩薩 (4)