A Reluctant Answer by the Buddha to Expel Illusion

A soldier by the name of Yodhajiva once visited the Buddha with a question. He wanted to know whether a claim made by his commanders, one that directly relates to his life, was actually correct. After showing his respect to the Buddha, Yodhajiva first clarified what he had learned and then inquired what the Buddha would think about it:

“Sir, I have heard my seniors say that those soldiers who fight valiantly in a war and destroy enemies will be born in a happy realm of deities. What is your view about this teaching?”

Contrary to what Yodhajiva expected, the Buddha was unwilling to give a direct answer to the question. “I would let that question go unanswered. Please do not ask me that question again,” he said.

The Buddha’s reply indicates how he dealt with some questions. First, he would evaluate the question and then decide whether he would answer it or not. If he found the question to be insignificant and irrelevant or the answer to be unbeneficial and disagreeable to the listener, the Buddha would leave that question unanswered.

However, Yodhajiva was insistent. He asked the same question two more times and implored the Buddha’s answer.

In fact, Yodhajiva was following a privilege the Buddha had apparently granted to the listener. One could ask the Buddha the same question in an earnest effort to persuade him to speak. Based on pragmatic grounds, the Buddha would answer a repeated question only on rare occasions.

After listening to Yodhajiva’s repeated requests, the Buddha changed his decision to leave the question unanswered. “I have told you not to ask me that question repeatedly, but you do not allow me to leave it,” the Buddha responded. “So I will answer your question.”

Having thus commented, the Buddha answered Yodhajiva’s question in the following words:
“If any soldier wishes that his enemies would die and suffer, that thought is low, cruel, and wrong. Therefore, it is a false view to believe that those who destroy enemies in a war go to the world of deities.”

On hearing the Buddha’s answer, Yodhajiva began to cry and shed tears. The Buddha responded by saying, “Yodhajiva, I repeatedly told you not to insist on that question, but you never allowed me to be silent.”

“I cried not because you gave this answer to my question,” Yodhajiva replied. “I cried because my seniors had kept me in illusion for such a long time.”

Samyutta Nikaya IV: 42. 3; The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: 1334-1336

Vihara News

Kathina Ceremony Is on Nov. 3rd and 4th

Kathina ceremony is approaching: it is on Nov. 3rd and 4th.  Preparation work is now underway, including two Sramadana activities (voluntary work) on Sunday, Oct. 28, in the morning and Friday, Nov. 2 in the evening.

Invitation cards have now been mailed, and if your address is with us, you must have received the card by now.

As most of you are already aware, we will have all-night chanting Saturday night and the Kathina ceremony on Sunday. 20+ members of the Maha Sangha are expected to participate in the ceremony.

Final Dhamma Talk during the Vas Season Is on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7: 00 pm

The last Dhamma talk of the Vas season will be delivered on Oct. 27th by Ven. Basnagoda Rahula Thero in English. It begins at 7:00 pm after chanting at 6:15 and Puja at 7:00 pm.

This program is sponsored and your dinner will be provided by Suren and Asanka Lewkebandara family.