Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Wanting Oni and the Humble Monk

The Wanting Oni and the Humble Monk
a story with a moral by - Brad Carver

Long ago in a time when the demons of Japan, and the holy men of Buddha coexisted in the plains of life, and death there lived a wanting Oni, and a humble monk. The Oni, which spent it's time longing for that next wayward soul to pass was always unhappy, and always wanted for a better existence. Despite the enjoyment that torturing a new soul brought to him he couldn't be content with his role in the grand scheme of things, nor could he be content with the one or two souls sent his way every one hundred, or so years. He wanted more. He longed for more souls, and he longed for a higher position in the Oni hierarchy. Thus he made it his goal to rise among the ranks, and become the best Oni in hell. As the millennia passed, and the ages of Japan came, and went the wanting Oni continued to long for more. Though he had risen in the ranks, and became the leading Oni general with a constant supply of human souls to judge, and torture he still felt a longing in his darkened heart. An emptiness that just could not be filled. He did not understand it ...

One day during the judgment ceremony of a Buddhist monk who had faltered in his footsteps of holiness the wanting Oni began questioning the monk at the center of it as to why he did the things that he did, so that he could apply his torture accordingly. Unwavering, and not cowering in the slightest the monk displayed an odd demeanor that the wanting Oni had never seen before in all of his lowly existence. Despite facing the harshest punishment known to man the humble monk looked at the wanting Oni dead in the eyes with a content smile upon his face, and rattled off a list of his sins without a care in the world. The wanting Oni listened distractedly, and took note of the holy man's many transgressions. While he did so, many thoughts were racing through his worm infested mind. He wondered how a man who was so damned could sit there in a tranquil manner knowing that he was going to suffer more than any normal sinner would. 

The wanting Oni swallowed his pride, breathed deeply, and asked the humble monk why it is that he was smiling. In a wise tongue, much like that which most Buddhist monks speak the humble monk replied in saying that life to him had been fulfilled. In his old age he had witnessed wonders beyond measure, found peace in the simple things, and realized that every part of his existence no matter how trying it was could be looked at as just another step in understanding it all. For the humble monk life wasn't about passing pleasures, though he did partake of some. To him it was more about the experience, and understanding his purpose, and his end goal. He didn't waste his time wanting for things, because he knew that they were of the Earth, and wouldn't last forever. He had his eyes set on a bigger prize. That prize was peace everlasting. Even in the face of eternal torment the humble monk was content in the fact that he had yet again transcended beyond his humanly form to come to know something of greater depth. A peace like no other. A dedication like no other. A love like no other.

Perplexed the wanting Oni looked into the humble monk's eyes, and began to weep as he realized his own faults in their mirrored reflections. He told the monk his tale of longing, and never being satisfied. He spoke of the ranks he had risen, and the souls he had amassed. In a quivering voice he confessed all of his own sins from a past life when he too was but a wayward soul. Placing his aged, and somewhat bony hand upon the kneeling Oni's head the humble monk said, "It's alright my brother". With his hands withdrawn, and placed in a prayer formation the monk began chanting a Buddhist prayer of redemption. As he did so a bright heavenly light surrounded the wanting Oni, and once again the torturer of souls knew his human form. At the same time a light illuminated the humble monk, and in doing so revealed something the Oni had not realized. Something he had long forgotten. The once old monk before him had now turned into his youthful self revealing to the former Oni in a flashback memory that he was, in life his only brother.

Countless ages earlier the brothers had led two very different lifestyles growing up, and had ultimately fell apart on their own separate paths for their own reasons. The man who was the wanting Oni had wasted his life on life's many passing pleasures. He ignored his brother's pleas to join him in a better life with the Buddhist monks. The pleasure seeking brother eventually died of his own misdeeds at an early age while the humble monk lived his life to an old, and wiser age. During his time on Earth the humble monk never forgot his brother though, and ended up pleading to Buddha when he met him to give his brother one last chance at redemption. Buddha being the wise, and forgiving god that he is said that if you can get your brother to confess his sins, and realize that he is lost I will bring you both into the heavens with me. Should you fail though you will live in torment forever with the Oni that is your brother. Risking it all the humble monk took the generous god's offer, and fell into sin, so that he could see his brother again. He figured that even if his brother did not confess his sins he could at least be with him for all of eternity. He felt that in life he had not tried enough to help his brother, and was in a way searching for redemption himself. The humble monk never wavered in his love for his brother. He knew one way or another he would get his brother to realize that all the pleasures, wealth, and social standings in existence will never make a person happy, but that seeking out happiness in the simple things, and simple truths is vastly more fulfilling. 

Thus as they stood together in the realization of who they were, and what they really wanted they became overcome by the light of Buddha, and the happiness therein. Together the brothers ascended into the heavens, and both came to know true happiness.

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