The Dark Secret

(A free rendering of a beautiful and poignant Buddhist story.)

They are the last days of Gautama Buddha, the Enlightened One.  The Great Master was meeting his disciples personally and individually to give his last message.  Ananda, one of the closest and wellknown disciple of the Master, stood close and near his beloved Guru.  Buddha’s large, flower-like and compassionate eyes gazed deep into his disciple and asked, “I would like to deliver you from everything which may be holding you from the supreme state.  Do you have anything to confess?  Keep nothing hidden.  Tell me whatever that is troubling you.”

Ananda has a dark secret to confess.  His mind went back to that day—

Buddha was against admitting woman to the Sanga, the religious order.  But Ananda after repeated pleading, was persuading his Master to admit woman.  Among the first woman was a princess.  Buddha told Ananda to lodge her in a house reserved exclusively for her.

And one day, the princess requested Buddha for a personal meeting.  The young woman fell before the feet of her Master, sobbing uncontrollably.  Buddha said with infinite tenderness “tell me Sumithra, what happened, whatever it may be.”  The princess told Buddha the tragic incident.  Yesterday night, someone entered into her house and molested her.  Buddha said calmly, “My dear sister, once you have taken refuge in me you have become inwardly pure.  None can defile that inner purity. Try to forget what happened.  Have faith in me and believe you are pure.”

Ananda, as he stood before his Master recalled the terrible day, remembering with shame and agony, what he did to that young, beautiful princess, with all the result of his long and arduous discipline and the ego of the most advanced Arat, disappearing in smoke in the darkfire of his passion.  He confessed with every word wrenching his heart.  Buddha said:  “You can go now in peace.  You are now delivered from your last threads of bondage.”


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