Buddhist Tales For Young And Old

The Meditating Security Guard (Fearlessness)

Once upon a time, the Enlightenment Being was born into a rich and powerful family. When he grew up he became dissatisfied with going after the ordinary pleasures of the world. So he gave up his former lifestyle, including his wealth and position. He went to the foothills of the Himalayas and became a holy man.

It just so happened that one day he ran out of salt. So he decided to go and collect alms. He came upon a caravan and went with it part way on its journey. In the evening they stopped and made camp.

The holy man began walking at the foot of a big nearby tree. He concentrated until he entered a high mental state. He remained in that state throughout the night, while continuing to walk.

Meanwhile, 500 bandits surrounded the campsite. They waited until after supper, when all had settled down for the night. But before they could attack, they noticed the holy man. They said to each other, “That man must be on guard, for security. If he sees us, he’ll warn the rest. So let’s wait until he falls asleep, and then do our robbing and looting!”

What the bandits didn’t know was that the holy man was so deep in meditation that he didn’t notice them at all – or anything else for that matter! So they kept waiting for him to fall asleep. And he just kept walking and walking and walking – until the light of dawn finally began to appear. Only then was he finished meditating.

Having had no chance to rob the caravan, the bandits threw down their weapons in frustration. They shouted, “Hey you in the caravan! If your security guard hadn’t stayed up all night, walking under that tree, we would have robbed you all! You should reward him well!” With that they left in search of someone else to rob.

When it became light the people in the caravan saw the clubs and stones left behind by the bandits. Trembling with fear, they went over to the holy man. They greeted him respectfully and asked if he had seen the bandits. “Yes, this morning I did,” he said.

“Weren’t you scared?” they asked. “No,” said the Enlightenment Being, “the sight of bandits is only frightening to the rich. But I’m not a rich man. I own nothing of any value to robbers. So why should I be afraid of them? I have no anxiety in a village, and no fear in the forest. Possessing only loving-kindness and compassion, I follow the straight path leading to Truth.”

In this manner he preached the way of fearlessness to the lucky people of the caravan. His words made them feel peaceful, and they honored him.

After a long life developing the Four Heavenly States of Mind, he died and was reborn in a high heaven world.

The moral is: It pays to have a holy man around.