The Bunnysattva Sutra
ONCE UPON A TIME when they were staying in the Parasapya Pleasure Grove, Ananda found a tiny animal abandoned in a field. The creature was smaller than Ananda's hand. Ananda did not know how it came to be there. He sat off at some distance and waited for its parents to return.
Evening came, and no one had come to claim the creature. Ananda knew he could not leave this little being alone for the night, so he took it back to where the brothers were staying.
The Master had given strict instructions not to be disturbed, and a monk was posted near him to guard against interruptions. But Ananda knew that in circumstances such as this, the Master would, indeed, want to be disturbed.
Ananda showed the tiny creature to the guard, who let him pass. The Master was sitting beneath a sal-tree, his legs in half lotus, his hands folded on his lap, and his eyes half open.
Ananda said, "Master, I apologise for interrupting you. I found this creature in a field, and there was no one to take care of it."
"What kind of being is this, Ananda?" asked the Master, taking it in his hands.
"I do not know," he replied. "I have never seen anything like it."
"Look at the ears. How long they are," said the Master. "And look how round it is. And what soft fur."
"Yes, Lord," said Ananda.
"Ananda," said the Master, "I think this creature may be our long-lost sister." He smiled. "Let us prepare her a place for the night."
And with that the Master rose and found a soft place in the grass for the being to rest. He gave her a little water in his begging-bowl, and brought her two big handfuls of alfalfa hay. Then the Master lay down beside the little being, and appeared to fall asleep.
THE FOLLOWING MORNING, the monks gathered at the third hour, as was their custom. The Master stood before them in his faded yellow robe, and held up the little creature for all to see. Everyone looked at the furry being in the Master's hand, and no one said a word.
After a long moment, the Master waved his hand, and the monks dispersed, without any of the customary discourse or discussion.
Ananda followed the Master back to his place by the sal-tree. He straightened out the cloth on which the Master would sit, and when they were both comfortable, the Master spoke.
"Ananda, do you know why I showed this creature to the monks?"
"No, Master," replied Ananda.
"Would you like to know?" asked the Master.
"Yes, Lord," said Ananda.
"Because this being, who seems so young, sweet, vulnerable and helpless, will in times to come be a great and selfless servant, inspirer, and fierce protector, both of Devas and of men.
"A time will come, Ananda, when men and women, through ignorance and greed, will cut down the forests and poison the rivers and seas. They will build stone and metal cities, and fly about in machines. Poison fires will ruin the air, making it hard to see and hard to breathe. Wild storms will sweep the Earth, and flaming stones will fall from the sky. Even the rains will burn, and many birds and fish will be forced from this world into another.
"That is terrible," said Ananda.
"It is. But it will be followed by a long period in which there will be no war. Peace will reign, men and women will live in harmony with all of nature, and their spiritual faculties will open. This world will become an ideal place for those who seek the Truth above all else.
"Listen carefully, Ananda, so that later, when the time comes, you can explain this to the brothers and sisters. This tiny creature, who rests comfortably in my hand, whom I introduced to the monks this morning, appears to be at our mercy.
"But, in fact, it is by her mercy that many future generations will attain to the Truth, and will be saved from the wheel of endless suffering."
'ANANDA,' said the Master, 'I think our little friend is thirsty. Could you take her down to the stream?'
'Yes, Lord,' said Ananda.
Ananda picked up the little creature, and cradling her in his arm, walked down the hill to the stream. He set her down at the edge of the water and watched as she began, delicately, to drink.
On the far bank of the stream stood a young woman. Ananda saw her, but immediately looked away, for a brother who has renounced worldly life must have nothing to do with women.
Ananda waited till the furry creature had drunk her fill, and then picked her up and headed back toward the hill.
The young woman called out to him, 'Hey.'
'Yes,' replied Ananda, not looking at her.
'Could I see your bunny?'
'Could I see your rabbit?'
'What is a... rabbit?'
'That animal that you're holding.'
'Maybe another time,' answered Ananda.
'Oh, come on,' she said, and waded across the stream after him.
Ananda continued walking, but the woman was fast, and when she reached him she touched his arm. Ananda turned and stopped. The woman smelled of a sweet perfume. He saw that she was barefoot, and wore leggings of thick blue cloth and a peculiar thin black shirt with half sleeves.
Without looking up at her face, Ananda held the rabbit for her to see. The woman began to stroke the bunny just behind her ears.
'Could I hold it?' she asked him.
'If you are careful.'
Ananda handed the bunny to her. She held her very carefully, and petted her on the neck and back.
'I must go now. Namaste,' said Ananda. But suddenly the bunny jumped from the woman's hand and ran into the stream. Ananda, fearing she would drown, went running after her, as did the young woman.
The bunny swam quickly across the stream and up the other side, another small hill. She was so fast Ananda could not keep up with her. As he ran he worried how he could tell the Buddha that he had lost this tiny creature.
The woman was faster than Ananda, and caught up with the bunny at the top of the hill. She picked her up with one motion, crying 'Gotcha!'
'Boy, are you fast,' she laughed, catching her breath. Ananda reached them and took the bunny from her. The bunny, Ananda and the young woman were all out of breath.
'Thank you, Lord Maheshvara,' said Ananda, with great relief. 'My master would have been very angry if I came back without her.'
'Your master?' said the woman. She looked at Ananda's long patched yellow robe. 'What are you -- a Hare Krishna?'
'WHAT is a Hare Krishna?' asked Ananda.
'You know, those guys who sing at the airport, and sell books, and wear funny clothes -- like you.'
'I am not a Hare Krishna,' said Ananda. 'And now I must go.' He began walking down the hill toward the stream.
'Wait,' she called out. 'I didn't mean to put you down. Whatever. Listen, I don't have anything against Hare Krishnas, really.'
'I am not a Hare Krishna,' repeated Ananda, intent on getting away from this strange woman who smelled wonderful.
'Then what are you?'
'I am a student of Siddhartha Gautama. I am traversing the spiritual path.'
'The what?' called the woman.
'The spiritual path.' Ananda stopped, turned toward the woman, and without looking at her, said, 'To find Truth. And now I must go. You cannot follow.'
'What's Truth?' asked the woman.
Oh no, thought Ananda, now I am going to have to talk to her. This is very dangerous. May the Master rescue me from this curious girl.
And inwardly he cried out to his Master, Siddhartha Gautama, to come and save him. He knew that the Master, having reached Perfection, could, through his Wisdom-Eye, see anything that was happening, anywhere.
'It is only to find Truth,' said Ananda, looking at the woman's feet, 'that we have been born on Earth.'
Ananda felt the rabbit snuggle up to him as he spoke. He wondered, does this creature understand my words? He looked at the rabbit. The rabbit looked back at him contentedly.
'I have always been looking for something,' the woman said, quietly. 'I tried reading, and partying, and drinking. I tried drugs. But nothing helped much -- at least not for long. Then I became a Christian, and that was good for awhile -- you know, I like the singing -- but I began to feel like I couldn't breathe. All the 'do this' and 'don't do that' and hell and sin and... you know? Look, could we sit down for a minute?'
ANANDA HESITATED. He knew he should not be talking to a woman, and especially a young, attractive woman. But he could see that she was sincere in her search -- and he knew that it was his duty to help her find the way to the Path. The Master had often told him that he should never send away one hungry for the Truth without sharing a little of what he had learned.
Ananda adjusted his robe and sat down where he stood. He thought, I am safe here -- the Lord is right at the top of this hill. If I call out to him, he will come. If I am in danger, he will surely rescue me.
The woman sat down beside him. The bunny jumped from Ananda's arms into the woman's lap. She laughed and began to pet her.
'I work at Prime Time Video -- in fact I just got off work. We get to take out movies free, you know? Last week I watched a video of Krishnamurti. You know Krishnamurti?'
'No,' replied Ananda. In fact, he did not understand much of what she was saying.
'Well, Krishnamurti was talking on this video - he's a little old guy with white hair -- he looks like my grandpa -- and I began to feel like I really need to find something. You know, something deeper, something more real. Like, maybe I should meditate or something. Or go to India. Or whatever. I mean, I know, Arlington isn't the worst place in the world. Most of my family is here, and my friends are here. The bars aren't too bad, and there's a good bookstore. There's a theater that shows French movies. But, I mean, man, there's got to be something else. You know what I'm talkin' bout?'
She looked at him and waited. For the first time, Ananda allowed himself to look at her face.
Ananda thought, this is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Her eyes, her hair, her skin, her smell... I am not sure she is a woman, after all. She could very well be a Deva, come from heaven to question me.
Ananda had heard that Devas sometimes come to talk with those who have renounced worldly life, because they, like all beings caught on the wheel of birth and death, long to find the Truth. Even in the heaven-worlds, where there is only happiness and no suffering, beings long to take human form, because only in the human form can one find release from continual rebirths.
'Are you a Deva?' asked Ananda.
'Shura,' said the woman. 'But my friends call me Shur. What's your name?'
'Listen, Andy. I'll let you go now, I know you have stuff to do. But it's just that I... I never have a chance to talk about this with anybody. You seem to understand what I'm saying. You do, don't you?
'I do,' said Ananda. 'At least some of it. Why don't you come and see my Master. He is just up this hill, and I think if I ask him, he will see you. When you meet him and speak with him, he will clear all your doubts and set your feet on the Path. There is no one like him anywhere.'
Shur thought for a minute. She looked at her feet. Then, taking a breath, she said, 'Let's do it.'
Together they climbed the hill. Shur carried the bunny.
But when they reached the top, the Parasapya Pleasure Park, where the brothers were staying, was nowhere to be seen. In its place was a very long white palace. The palace seemed to have no windows, and was of a type Ananda had never seen. It was surrounded by what looked like hundreds of shining tents in a field of grey stone.
'I have gotten turned around,' said Ananda. 'We have gone up the wrong side of the stream. Shur -- is that your name? Do you know whose palace this is?
'Palace?' Shur laughed. 'It's the mall, silly.'
ANANDA WENT BACK to the stream and carefully explored the hills on either side. He carried the bunny with him. The abode of the brothers was nowhere to be seen.
Ananda was mystified. He began to wonder whether Shur had cast a spell on him. He had heard many stories of sorcerers casting spells, but Shur did not seem like a sorcerer. She was, however, unlike any young woman he had ever met.
As he searched, he remembered a talk he had had with the Master several days earlier. He had been thinking about the Master's explanations about Maya, the principle of ignorance.
He had asked, 'Master, I do not understand this Maya at all. Can you make it clear for me?' The Holy One had looked at him, but did not reply. Now, Ananda thought, he would be happy just to see the Master. He could care less about Maya.
Ananda directed his intuitive mind toward his Master, but could sense nothing of the Master's whereabouts. He began to doubt his sanity. He knew he must keep up the search, for the Holy One would surely be displeased if he was gone long. But no matter how hard he looked, there was no sign of the Parasapya Pleasure Garden.
Finally he went back to Shur, who had been waiting for him atop one of the small hills.
'Let's get something to eat,' she suggested.
They walked toward the white palace set amidst the shining tents. Shur stopped and pulled at a silver latch on one of the tents.
'So this is your house. How... simple,' observed Ananda.
'No.' Shur laughed. 'It's not a house.'
She held the door for him.
'I can't go inside your house.' said Ananda.
'I don't live in here.' She showed him how to sit, and fastened the seat belt for him. Ananda jumped as the car started. He clung to the door, his eyes a bit wild, as Shur pulled out of the lot.
He considered that Shur must be a sorcerer after all. He had never seen a carriage like this. It was most likely powered by mantras and breath control. This was magic known only to fakirs and adepts, and perhaps to yogis in the highest Himalayas.
And he had never seen a landscape like this. There were no carts, carriages, bullocks, wandering sadhus; no peddlers, women in saris, gypsies or flocks of goats. Only strange, stark buildings, stone roadways, signs in alien script, and a gloomy, depressing atmosphere everywhere.
SHUR PARKED THE CAMARO and led Ananda up the stairs to her apartment.
'I will wait out here,' he told her. 'It does not befit a brother to enter a home, except in the company of his Master.'
Shur shrugged and went inside. Ananda sat on the porch, feeling lost. She came back a few minutes later with cokes and pop-tarts.
'I need to feed the... what did you call it?' asked Ananda. Shur went back in and brought a carrot, some lettuce leaves, and a cup of water. The rabbit was hungry, and ate well. Then, looking at Ananda adoringly, she curled up at at his feet.
I must meditate, thought Ananda. He left the bunny inside with Shur and found a shady tree behind the house.
When he returned, the sun was setting. Ananda was calmer, but still had no idea how to find his Master.
Meanwhile Shur had found the address of a Hare Krishna temple in the yellow pages, and suggested that they go there. Ananda was hesitant, but could think of nothing else to do.
They drove through the steamy suburbs, hardly speaking. Ananda clung to the door. The bunny sat peacefully in the back seat.
THE ARLINGTON RADHA-KRISHNA MANDIR was in a store-front. The sweet smell of incense filled the sidewalk outside. Ananda went in first, looking carefully at the paintings of Krishna, Radha, the Gopis, Nityananda and Chaitanya. Surely, he thought, these people will know where I can find the Master.
A tall, pale bald-headed man in an orange dhoti was preparing the worship before the idols. He saw Ananda and called out to him, 'Hare Bol!'
'Namaste, Swamiji,' replied Ananda, bowing reverently with folded hands. 'I am looking for Lord Siddhartha Gautama. Do you know his whereabouts?'
'Who?' asked the swami.
Ananda bowed again, and walked backwards out of the temple.
'WHAT IN INDRA'S NAME shall I do now?' cried Ananda. 'These people have never even heard of the Master. Surely I have entered another dimension. I have been seduced into one of the hell-realms.
'I can no longer pretend to be innocent. All this is, undoubtably, the result of my past misdeeds. I will pray and fast till I have fully paid my debt.' And he sat down on the sidewalk, feeling a bit sorry for himself.
Shur waited patiently, looking in store windows, chewing cayenne gum from the health food store, petting the bunny and fluffing her fur. After awhile she went back to Ananda, meditating in front of a furniture store.
'Let's go, Andy'
'I will stay where I am,' replied Ananda. 'I realize now that I have been banished to this realm because of my misdeeds. It is only fitting that I suffer the penalties for my mistakes. Thank you, kind mother, for helping me. May you and your ancestors and descendents be benefited, and may you all be freed from the endless rounds of births and deaths.'
'Suit yourself,' Shur replied. 'I'm keeping the bunny. I can't trust you to look after her. You're losing it, Andy.'
"Losing what?' asked Ananda.
"Listen -- you've probably hit your head on something and just don't remember who you are. It happens all the time. Tomorrow we'll call Missing Persons, and maybe America's Most Wanted. Your folks must have reported you. They're probably worried sick. You can sit here all night, or you can come back to my place. Which is it?'
Ananda thought for a moment. He got up, and followed Shur to the car.
WHEN THEY GOT BACK, Ananda stayed outside on the porch. Shur tried her best to bring him in, and he did once look in through the doorway, but finally he went back out and lay on the concrete floor. The little rabbit sat down next to him.
Shur came out after awhile with hot chocolate and Doritos. Ananda thanked her, and drank a few sips.
'Forgive me, mother, for putting you to so much trouble, and acting in a manner unbefitting a brother. I have been sorely tried today, and I am at my wit's end. I do not know if I have entered another realm, another land, another time, or if I am dreaming. It is no wonder that you are tired of me and my foolishness.'
'I'm not tired of you, Andy. I know you're a mess. Once I got lost in the woods on Eagle Mountain. I was seven. I got so upset I cried for two days. My dad was so mad... Actually, you're doing pretty well. Really. I'm sure your master would be proud of you.'
'Proud? I don't think so. He gave me on a simple errand, and I got lost. He may even send me away for my foolishness. May Shiva have mercy on me. Thank you for your efforts to console me. May you be blessed with clear seeing. May you succeed where I have failed.'
Shur went back inside and watched Letterman. She fell asleep during Stupid People Tricks. Ananda wrapped his head in his shawl and tried to rest. The rabbit nuzzled him and chewed on his patched robe.
Just as he began to drift off, Ananda heard a strange buzzing sound. The noise grew louder and louder. Wearily he opened his eyes, and saw, directly overhead, a shining, spinning silver disk.
THE SUN ROSE over the scrub-brush as Ananda washed his robe in the stream behind the mall. Then he sat in his patched undergarment beneath a withered willow tree and chanted Sanskrit mantras to the Sun. He had been taught the mantras as a child, and it comforted him to sing them now that things looked really bad.
Then Ananda sat in meditation. He followed his breathing slowly, carefully, not paying much attention to the thoughts as they arose. My thoughts are like monkeys, he said to himself, chattering and screeching just to hear their themselves.
'Are you Andy?' He looked up. It was a tall man in a grey suit, clambering down the hill toward him. Behind the man was a much smaller woman with reddish hair and a pale face. Ananda stood up, adjusted his wearing cloth, and joined his hands in greeting.
'Namaste,' said Ananda.
'Agent Fox Mulder of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,' the man said with a tired half-smile. He opened a thin black wallet to show Ananda his badge. He nodded toward the woman. 'This is my partner, Agent Dana Scully.'
The red-haired woman scowled. 'We'd like to ask you a few questions,' she said softly, pulling her hair from her face.
Ananda took his damp robe from the branches of the tree and slipped it over his head. 'How can I help you, friends?' he replied.
'We're interested in sightings of strange lights that have been appearing over this part of Texas. These lights have been experienced by some people in conjunction with missing time. There have also possibly been animal abductions. Miss Shura, and some of the other residents of her apartment complex, reported an incident last night, and she said that at the time you were outside sleeping on the porch.'
'Yes. A brother ought not enter a private home without his Master being present. And my Master...'
'Just what kind of brother are you, if you don't mind my asking?' said Scully
'I am a student of Siddhartha Gautama.'
'Of what?' asked Scully.
'Siddhartha Gautama. My master is an all-enlightened one.' Ananda adjusted his robe. 'Age after age, perfectly enlightened beings appear in this world to awaken us from our ignorance,and set us on the narrow footpath to Nirvana. They guide us every step of the way, if we are willing to follow their compassionate instructions. Siddhartha Gautama is such a one, but he is not the first, nor will he be the last.'
'What are you, a Buddhist?' asked Scully, her face almost expressionless.
'What is a... Buhist?' replied Ananda.
AGENT MULDER'S EYES bored into him. 'Andy, did you observe any unusual lights last night? Anything that flashed or moved in an irregular manner?'
'Did you hear a strange buzzing sound, or find that you were missing time?'
Ananda thought for a moment. 'I do not remember any buzzing sound. But I am missing my brothers and my Spiritual Master, who have disappeared like mist over a lake. If you could help me to find them and return to my proper place in their midst, I would be eternally grateful...'
Mulder continued. 'Andy, missing time is when you think half an hour has past, but when you look at a clock, you see its been, maybe, three or four hours, and you don't know why.'
'What is a clock?'
'Very often there are peripheral phenomena, such as strange scratch marks on your skin, or a tiny metal ball in your nose that causes intermittent bleeding. Have you experienced any of these symptoms?'
'Did you sleep well last night?'
'I think so,' replied Ananda. 'But I awoke with a terrible headache, and felt nauseous and overheated.'
Mulder nodded to Scully, and they walked off a small distance to confer. Ananda could not hear what they said.
'Scully, there's something strange about this guy. I can't quite put my finger on it.'
'Mulder,' she said in a tired voice, 'he's exhibiting symptoms of a paranoid delusional state. I think he may have been experimenting with illicit drugs. And did you get a look at his clothes? I think it would be best if we had him placed under psychiatric observation.'
'No, Scully, I have a hunch. I think this man is missing time, he just hasn't realised it yet. He may even have experienced...'
'Oh God, Mulder. You see abductions in wallpaper. Out of thousands of alleged abductions, not one has been scientifically authenticated. There has never been a shred of physical evidence, not a fiber, not a thread, from any alien encounter anywhere in the world. And that's after fifty years of so-called abductions and sightings. And now with aliens all over television and in the movies...'
Ananda screamed 'Ganapati!' And forgetting the federal agents, he charged barefoot up the hill and across the parking lot of the mall. He did not stop to rest till he arrived, out of breath, at Shur's apartment. He yanked open her door. Shur lay on the floor, her feet up on the edge of her overstuffed couch. Bob Dylan sang 'Isis' on the stereo.
'Shur,' cried Ananda, 'WHERE IS THE RABBIT?'
A metallic blue Taurus screeched to a stop. Agents Mulder and Scully slammed the doors shut, and climbed the outside stairs to Shur's apartment. They found Ananda in the living room, collapsed on the couch, in obvious distress.
'His bunny is missing,' said Shur, chewing on a stick of celery. One of her long socks had a hole in it.
'What will I ever do now? moaned Ananda. 'I cannot face him. He will never forgive me!'
'Calm down, Andy,' said Mulder. 'We'll call in a hynotherapist. He'll put you under a light hypnotic trance, and you'll probably be able to tell us exactly where we can find your rabbit.'
'Mulder,' said Scully. 'Why are we bothering about this man's pet rabbit?'
'Scully, bear with me. I can smell it. We're onto something here.'
THE HYNOTHERAPIST was a slight man with oval glasses and a pinched face. He told Ananda, in a sing-song voice, to relax and follow the pocket watch with his eyes as it swung before him.
'Sleepy, Andy. You are getting very sleepy... All right. Tell us everything that happened when you went to bed last night. Nothing will disturb you or bother you in any way. We're just remembering here.'
Ananda spoke as if from far away. 'I'm lying on the porch. I can't sleep. I have to find the Master. There's a sound. A sound like a sick bird. It's getting louder and louder. I don't know what to do. It's getting louder. Oh Vishnu, there are lights... a chariot of torches... Narayana and Lakshmi! Protect us!'
'Calm down, Andy. Everything is fine. We're just remembering here. Nothing will harm you. What are you seeing? Tell me exactly.'
'It's a fiery chariot. Big and round. It's spinning slowly. It's coming down from the sky. Oh, Shiva!'
'It's stopped spinning. A great light is coming down from the chariot. It's coming down onto the porch. Oh, Brahma! There are people, they are very tall...'
'How tall are they, Andy? Describe them to me.'
'They are twice the height of a man, at least ten feet. They are tall and wide, with big shoulders, powerful. They are wearing golden robes. I can't see their faces. Oh, now one is coming up to me. He is looking at me. Shiva, Shiva... He has... the face of a rabbit.'
'WHAT DID YOU SAY?'
'A rabbit. He has the body of a man and the face of a rabbit. He is covered with brown fur. Now he is speaking. His ears are wiggling.'
'What is he saying, Andy? Tell us what he says.'
'He says... Lord Ananda, with your permission, we would like to take the Holy One -- he means the little bunny - for a ride in our celestial car.'
Mulder and Scully exchanged glances.
'All right, what happens next?'
'I tell him, certainly sir, just make sure you have her back here in time for me to return with her to the Parasapya Pleasure Grove. My Master, Lord Siddhartha Gautama, awaits us there.
'Now the rabbit-man speaks again. He does not move his lips, but I hear his words within me. His ears move about. He says, no problem. We will return with her in one turn of the earth. And I say, good. But you must make sure she has sufficient hay and water, and give her some carrots and greens. And now I realize I haven't asked the bunny if she wishes to go with them. But she smiles at me. She knows these beings, and is eager to fly off with them. What can I do? I give my consent. They climb up into their vehicle, and it rises into the air, and the chariot courses off across the sky. It is beautiful to see.'
'All right, Andy. We're going to wake up now. Listen carefully: we're not going to remember anything we just saw. I'm going to count to ten...'
'Don't tell me what I'll remember and what I won't.' said Ananda. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. Scully stood by the window, her head in her hands. Mulder was so excited he could barely contain himself. Shur made everyone avocado sandwiches with lettuce, tomato and sprouts.
THE BUNNYMEN came back that night, as they had promised. Ananda was waiting for them on the porch of Shur's house. The saucer descended from the heavens with the same buzzing sound. The shaft of light appeared again. Mulder and Scully and Shur and between forty and fifty constables, state police and highway patrolmen filled the parking lot in front of the apartments.
No one saw a thing. They all fell asleep on their feet, and did not regain consciousness until much later, feeling thirsty, disoriented and confused.
The same Bunnyman came down from the ship holding the little rabbit. He carefully placed her in Ananda's hands.
We had fun, Ananda, said the alien, communicating in the language of thought.
'Thank you,' replied Ananda. 'I have a boon to ask you, O great aerial traveler. Can you help me locate my Master, Lord Siddhartha Gautama? Because of my many sins, I have lost him.'
You have not lost him, said the Bunnyman, wiggling first his left ear, then his right. The Lord has just been veiled from your sight. When the time is right, you will see him again, and then you will understand all that has transpired.
In the meantime, make yourself at home here. Learn the ways of this primitive people. In this province of Arlington, in the kingdom of Texas, in this dark and dreadful age, there are many souls hungry for the Dharma. Feed them, O Arhat.
And as the Bunnyman rose into the sky in a shaft of light toward his saucer, he called out to Ananda, and to Shur, and Mulder, and Scully, and to the sleeping officers, and to all sentient beings of the cities of Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth, in the great kingdom of Texas (in the language of thought):In the name of Shakyamuni
I bid you peace and farewell
A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
I've been asked to tell a little about the background of the material in this folder. The translator is my teacher, who prefers to remain anonymous. I have tried to prepare a somewhat readable English version, without having done any of the actual translating myself. I neither speak nor write Tibetan, and am not a professional writer (as is perhaps sadly obvious). Coleman Barks, who writes popular English versions of the writings of the Sufi Master Rumi, is in a similar position -- he does not translate from the Persian, but works with translations by scholars such as John Moyne. But he, at least, is a poet.
The sun shines by day
the moon shines by night
the warrior shines in his armor
the brahmin by his meditation
but the Buddha shines, radiant
throughout both day and night
Lord Buddha, Dhammapada, 387
ANANDA WOKE from a peaceful sleep. He found himself on Shur's porch, with the sun high in the sky. Beside him was the little brown rabbit the Buddha had given into his care.
He rose and stretched, and, feeling thirsty, knocked on Shur's door. There was no answer. Shur was asleep or perhaps she had gone out.
I'd better get some breakfast for the bunny and me, thought Ananda. He picked her up and descended the stairs to the street.
Walking along the sidewalk, he decided to approach the first person he saw. It was a little old lady with two big brown shopping bags.
'Mother,' said Ananda, 'would you be so kind as to give us a little something to eat?'
'What's wrong with you, young man? Haven't you ever heard of WORK? You should be ashamed of yourself, an able-bodied person, begging on the street like some hoodlum. You remind me of my nephew. Get yourself some decent clothes and get a job!'
'Thank you, mother,' replied Ananda, 'for your kind advice. I am a follower of Siddhartha Gautama, and, by the Master's decree, we beg for our food. This allows us to learn humility, and allows you to gain the merit of supporting our spiritual search.'
The woman looked at Ananda from head to toe. She put down her bags and shouted at him 'I've never heard such nonsense in all my life.' Then she saw the rabbit. 'What a lovely bunny you have, young man. Would you like to sell him?'
'Mother, this creature does not belong to me. She is a sentient being like you and I, with all the same rights and privileges we enjoy. By the grace of Lord Brahma, she has come into this world. By the grace of Lord Narayan, she remains here. And by the grace of Lord Maheshvara, she will one day leave this body and continue on her evolutionary journey -- as must we all.'
The little old lady picked up her shopping bags. 'I ought to wash out your mouth with soap. All I can say to you, sir, is... good day. And she marched off, dragging her bags, and occasionally turning back toward Ananda and muttering.
Ananda thought he and the rabbit might seek food in one of the many buildings on the street. He chose a large white building with the words 'First Methodist' over the entrance. He climbed the steps, opened a large wooden door, and found himself in an enormous room lit by colored windows. At the far end was a big round window with a man's picture on it. The man, who looked to Ananda like a rishi, had his arms outstretched in welcome.
'I'm sorry, sir, animals are not permitted.' It was a tall man dressed entirely in black -- except for a small white collar.
'FATHER,' began Ananda, 'We are seeking alms, in the name of Lord...'
'Well then... in that case, come around back, and we'll see what we can do.' said the man. And he led Ananda and the bunny to a long, empty institutional kitchen.
'Sit here a moment, please,' the man told him. Ananda sat down at a formica table.
After a few minutes the man returned with a tray of food. Ananda thanked him, and began to eat, sharing his salad with the bunny. The man stood at a little distance and pretended not to watch. After Ananda and the bunny had had their fill, the man spoke:
'Sir, if I may ask, where is it that you have come from? I can see by your clothes that you are not from Fort Worth, and I have never before observed a man eating without utensils. Or feeding a rabbit from his own plate.'
'Father,' replied Ananda, I am from Bharat, a great kingdom not far from here. I am a student of Siddhartha Gautama, and somehow -- perhaps because of my many sins -- I have wandered from my Master's side, and now find myself in this strange and foreign land. The Master sent me for water for this rabbit, and when I tried to return, I could not.'
'A sad story, indeed,' said the man. And with that he sat down at the table. 'Who is this master you speak of?'
'Siddhartha Gautama, the all-enlightened one.'
'The name is somehow familiar,' said the man, 'but I cannot place it. Is he some sort of guru?'
'Oh, yes,' said Ananda. 'He is the guru of gurus, teacher of devas and of men. There is no one like him in the three worlds.'
'Indeed,' replied the man, nervously adjusting his clerical collar. 'And what does this 'master' of yours teach?'
'He teaches the way out of all suffering,' said Ananda. 'Shall I tell you more?'
'Certainly not,' said the man. And he rose to his feet, took Ananda by the arm, and guided him out the back door of the church.
'Thank you for feeding us, father.'
The man closed the door with a thud.
Ananda and the rabbit continued on down the street. As they passed a store marked Prime Time Video, Ananda heard a little voice.
'Go in there.'
'What?' said Ananda?
'Go in there.'
'Who is speaking?' asked Ananda. He looked around in every direction, but no one was nearby.
'Go in there.'
Ananda jumped. It was the rabbit. The rabbit had spoken to him.
'Devas and dakinis!' cried Ananda. 'You can speak.'
'Certainly,' replied the rabbit.
'But rabbits cannot speak.'
'Why not?' asked the rabbit.
'You never spoke to me before,' said Ananda
'I didn't have anything to say,' replied the rabbit. 'Let's go in the store.'
Ananda did as he was told. He pulled open a glass door and walked inside. At the far end of a large room, behind a crimson counter, stood Shur.
'Ananda,' she cried. 'I was so worried about you.'
'We are fine,' said Ananda as he reached her. 'A good man in black fed us. But I have not yet found my Master. And you are not going to believe this. The bunny speaks.'
SHUR took the bunny and held her. The bunny licked her arm. Shur smiled at Ananda and asked, 'You said he was speaking?'
'Yes,' said Ananda. 'I had no idea a rabbit could talk. Did you?'
'Well, it's getting to the point,' replied Shur, 'where nothing much surprises me.'
She let down the bunny, who scampered across the floor to a little pile of books behind the counter. Pulling with her teeth, she pulled from the middle of the pile a tiny book, hardly larger than a postcard and only a quarter of an inch thick. Ananda and Shur walked over to where the rabbit sat on the floor and watched as she spread the book open with her mouth and paws. And then the bunny, in a full but gentle voice, began to read out loud. This is what she read:
TO BE CONTINUED
You have been reading
THE BUNNYSATTVA SUTRA
translated from the Tibetan texts
'dPal-hKor-lo hbyun-satva bDe-mchog,'
'U-rgyan gu-ru padma-hbyun-satva-gnas-gyi rnam-thar.'
To read more, go to the
Door to the BUNNYSATTVA
This is a reproduction of a painting of Ilsa at age seven, walking with a few of her friends, by the German artist Sulamith Wulfing. Ilsa's story is told in VISIONS OF THE BUNNYSATTVA, the autobiography of Oscar Luft-Hansa.
The Bunnysattva Sutra is copyright 1999 The Eastern School of Broad Buddhism. It may not be reproduced in any manner without written permission. For information, or to report any problems with this web page, write Mandy Bell Buick, firstname.lastname@example.org
Om Bunnysattva Soha