The Long Wait

It has been seven long days since the group of monks have been walking. Just pausing on the way at few villages enroute, for food. Their leader, the Master, had been silent for almost two days, only replying in monosyllables to their conversation. He seemed to be in a hurry. They did not have the courage to ask him questions regarding where they were heading and the reason for the haste. They had entered the forest yesterday afternoon and have been walking incessantly. After climbing down a steep forest path, they turned right. There was a beautiful waterbody, with lotuses blooming.

The Master’s face shown with evident happiness, as he said, “There she is, waiting for me.” The disciples saw a young girl filling up water in a pitcher. As soon as she saw them, she rushed to the Master and bowed at his feet. Her voice almost choking, she spoke, “You have come for me at last.”

She was Ditha, the daughter of a grave digger, and the family stayed away from the village, in the fringes of the forest. The parents of the girl, came and stood near her. They had always known that she was different from their other five children, and that her destiny would also be something else.

As Ditha bid a tearful farewell to her family and joined the group of monks, on their journey further, the other five disciples were perplexed. What was it about this girl that made the Master make so much effort to find her? They still did not have the courage to ask him anything. That very night, all five saw the same dream – a child prince playing in the garden with a beautiful butterfly; then the butterfly changes into a snake near an anthill watching a young monk engrossed in deep meditation; the monk now is older sitting under a tree speaking to his disciples while an owl is perched on a tree listening to him. By the time they got up at dawn, they had all understood that the revered Master had given them his answer. The soul which had no-name and no-form, was born again and again as the butterfly, the snake, the owl and now as Ditha. After so many births, she finally had the human form to receive and imbibe the Master’s teachings.

As they started heading towards an unknown destination again, each recollected how they had met the Master, and could relate to the girl, when she said, “Master, thank you for finding me, it has been a very long wait for me.”

The Buddha smiled and replied, “My child, my wait for you all has been much longer.”

The disciples who had always thought that it was they who had patiently awaited the Master’s arrival, now understood how much longer, the many eons, the Buddha would have had to wait, to find his own.

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