Thursday, December 17, 2009

Self-sustaining Jewel

Bodhidharma was from a family of the warrior caste, and his original name was Bodhitara. He was the third son of a rajah, or king, of southern India. That king was unusually devoted to Buddhism, and he once gave a priceless jewel to the Buddhist master Prajnatara.

The king had three sons, one named Chandratara, the second named Gunatara, and the third named Bodhitara. In order to test the wisdom of the princes, Prajnatara showed the jewel given him by their father and said, "Is there anything comparable to this jewel?" The first and second princes said, "This jewel is the finest of prescious stones, there is cetainly none better. Who but someone of your sanctity could receive such a jewel."

But the third son Bodhitara said, "This is a worldly jewel, and cannot be considered of the highest order. Among all jewels, the jewel of truth is sumpreme. This is a worldly luster, and cannot be considered the finest. Among all lusters, the luster of wisdom is supreme. This is a worldy clarity, and cannot be considered the best. Among all clarities, clarity of mind is sumpreme. The sparkle of this jewel cannot shine by itself, it needs the light of knowledge to discern its sparkle. When you discern this, you know it is a jewel, when you know this jewel, you know it is prescious. When you understand that it is prescious, the value is not value in itself. If you understand the jewel, the jewel is not a jewel in itself.

"The jewel is not a jewel in itself because we need the jewel of knowledge to distinguish it as a jewel in the worldly sense. Value is not value in itself because we need the treasure of knowledge to understand the value of truth. Because your Way is a treasure of knowledge, you have been rewarded with a worldly treasure. So that treasure has appeared because there is enlightenment in you, just as the treasure of mind appears in anyone with enlightenment."

Hearing the eloquent explanation of the third prince, the Buddhist master Prajnatara knew that he was an incarnated sage and perceived that the prince would be his spiritual successor. He knew the time was not yet ripe, however, so he kept silent and did not single him out....

Transmission of Light
T. Cleary/Shambhala

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