The Monk & the prostitute

Buddha was staying in Vaishali, where Amrapali lived–Amrapali was a prostitute. In Buddha’s time, in India, it was a convention that the most beautiful woman of any city will not be allowed to get married to any one person, because that will create unnecessary jealousy, conflict, fighting. So the most beautiful woman had to become nagarvadhu–the wife of the whole town.

It was not disreputable at all; on the contrary, they were very much respected. They were not ordinary prostitutes. They were only visited by the very rich, or the kings, or the princes, generals–the highest strata of society.

Amrapali was very beautiful. One day she was standing on her terrace and she saw a young Buddhist monk. She had never fallen in love with anybody, but she fell suddenly in love–a young man, but of a tremendous presence, awareness, grace. The way he was walking… She rushed down, she asked him, “After three days the rainy season is going to start…” Buddhist monks don’t move for four months when it is the rainy season. Amrapali said, “I invite you to stay in my house for the four months.”

The young monk said, “I will ask my master. If he allows me, I will come.”

The young monk came, touched the feet of Buddha and told the whole story, “She has asked me to stay for four months in her house. I have told her that I will ask my master, so I am here… whatever you say.”

Buddha looked into his eyes and said, “You can stay.”

It was a shock. Ten thousand monks… There was great silence but great anger, great jealousy. After the young man left to stay with Amrapali, the monks every day started bringing gossips, “The whole city is agog. There is only one talk–that a Buddhist monk is staying with Amrapali.”

Buddha said, “You should keep silent. I trust my monk. I have looked into his eyes–there was no desire. If I had said no, he would not have felt anything. I said yes… he simply went. And I trust in his awareness, in his meditation. Why are you getting so agitated and worried?”

After four months the young man came, touched Buddha’s feet–and following him was Amrapali, dressed as a Buddhist nun. She touched Buddha’s feet and she said, “I tried my best to seduce your monk, but he seduced me. He convinced me by his presence and awareness that the real life is at your feet.”

And Buddha said to the assembly, “Now, are you satisfied or not?” If meditation is deep, if awareness is clear, nothing can disturb it. And Amrapali became one of the enlightened women among Buddha’s disciples.

– Fwd By Natarajan Uncle

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