Thus I remember. At one time, I was living in a region in V
, India which is situated near the
great Deer Park
. It is difficult to avoid tourists when you live around such a historical landmark. It is in
extremely close vicinity of where the great
Buddha gave his first sermon and it is common that practitioners
from all over Asia and occasionally the West will come for a visit (Strong, “The Life Story of the Buddha and
Its Ramifications” 4). More often than not, they are searching for enlightenment of some sort and see this
city of temples as a proper place to begin or end this journey. The educated laypersons are aware that
reaching liberation requires a close following of the Buddha’s teachings
. However, the Westerners whom
arrive merely for the opportunity to boast to their fellow intellects about visiting such a historical memoir will
take anything as a prediction that they are something of a hidden Buddha. I do not take advantage of this
like most divination practitioners, but instead I use proper methods of crystal gazing to determine the future
of my clients, whether it be fortune or misery.
It was one afternoon when two males presented themselves and were looking for answers as to
what would lie ahead. When men walked in to my small converted living room, I could tell that they had
visited for a joke. However, I was not about to stop taking things seriously.
“Hello there ma’am. My name is Ralph Suddhodana, and I am here to get my fortune told!” It was
almost as if his southern drawl clung to his breath, nearly as thick as that of his accompanying companion.
Each sutta, begins with “Thus have I heard: Once the Blessed One was living/staying/dwelling at.
..”, or a similar form of such a
sentence. An example of this is in the
Satipatthana Sutta: The Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipatthana Sutta).
As the fortune
teller represents both a characterization of the Buddha’s teachings, and is a bodhisattva herself, the beginning of this story starts
off like a sutta. It also foreshadows the idea that lessons are to be learned throughout the story, much like a sutta explains
The concept of liberation refers to the result of following of the Four Noble Truths, and an in-depth practice of the Noble
Eightfold Path (Skilton, 33). Nirv
a (liberation, enlightenment) is the ultimate goal in Buddhist practice, and only can occur
when one has eradicated the
The ten fetters are a belief in separate selfhood, skeptical doubt, attachment to rules
and rituals for their own sake, sexual desire, ill will, desire for existence in the world of form, desire for existence in the formless
world, conceit, restlessness and ignorance (Skilton, 37). Ultimately, one who becomes liberated is no longer reborn into the cycle
of samsara, and is consequently deemed an arhat (Skilton, 37). The difference between an arhat and an unenlightened being is