This morning I read about the second patriarch, Ananda, who had a difficult time getting enlightenment. He memorized everything the Buddha said, but still, within Buddha's lifetime, never saw the light.
The first patriarch, Mahakashyapa (aka Kashyapa), was enlightened when the Buddha held up a flower and Kashyapa smiled. Of course, there was more to it than that. Kashyapa also had 30 of the 32 prerequistes that Buddhas have. When Kashyapa was enlightened, a golden robe came down from the sky. I guess he was outside.
Ananda kept asking Kashyapa if there was more to enlightenment than the robe. That's like asking the president if there is more to being a president than living in the White House.
In any case, Kashyapa (aka Kate) said, "Knock down the flagpole in front of the gate." In the good ol' days, when the Buddhists and the non-Buddhists argued, each would raise a flag. Whoever won the argument would be allowed to leave their flag up, while the crowds (?) would tear the other flag down. Big government/little government, insurance company pays for insurance, or not, and whatever else we might argue about. So knocking down the flagpole would be like becoming ok with contradictory points of view. No more dualistic dividing the world into the good guys and the bad guys. Anyway, when Ananda chopped down the flagpole, it crashed with a big thud, and he was finally enlightened. Note: Another interpretation is that Kashyapa had one flagpole and Ananda a second. Taking down the pole indicated that they were both of the same mind and now transmission had occurred. The problem I have with this reading is that there wasn't enlightenment until Kashyapa said, "take down the flagpole." Did Kashyapa know that Ananda would become enlightened?
I had lunch with a group of people today at Elsi's. A woman in the group had recently heard a talk by an author who had been Mother Theresa's closest aid for 10 years. Supposedly Mother Theresa never learned this woman's name because she wouldn't allow any personal relationships between herself and her patients, her associates, the helpers with each other. I asked the woman if the author was criticizing Mother Theresa or just describing how she was. I guess Mother T felt that personal relationships—even holding a baby more than absolutely necessary—would interfere with one's relationship with God. I want to add that Mother T claimed that in all her life she only contacted with Jesus for one week. But we can't say that she didn't try.
"Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear." Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1655720,00.html#ixzz1oD6e7KFaSo let's take down the flagpole and just describe. Maybe there is no "good" and no "evil."