Home » Features » How Subha Gave & Gained Her Eye

External beauty is only skin deep
and the skin is not very deep.


From the Therigatha,
‘Verses of the Elder [Buddhist] Nuns’,
the world’s earliest collection of poetry by women,
is a dramatic incident,
that almost climaxed in ‘sex and violence’,
as rewritten here in brief:


Subha, in the forest alone,
asked the lustful man,
what infatuates him,
of her repulsive form.

Her eyes like a gazelle,
he says, like lotus buds,
spotless like gold,
which drives him wild.

Mad with desire for her,
even if she leaves, he says,
he will never forget them,
with their lashes and gaze.

This phantom body does not exist inherently, she says,
like a puppet cannot be without sticks and strings.
If it is not as it is without other conditions,
on what can he be fixated on?

Confusing the image for the real thing,
running after an empty mirage,
a puppet show,
a conjurer’s trick!

An eye is a ball in a hollow,
with a bubble in the middle,
salty with tears,
oozing slime!

Here, look!
She calmly plucks out her eye,
to give it to him,
without attachment.

Horrified, his passion dies,
Put it back, he begs,
Become whole!
Forgive me!

He recovers from the poison of lust.
Subha visits the Buddha,
who sees her virtue,
and recovers her eye.

What truly beautiful is
what truly endures (eternal),
what truly blissful (liberation),
what truly natural (Buddha-nature).


Full Version: Subha Speaks: Moon As Toy

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Name (required please)

Email (required, will not be published)

Website (optional)

error: Alert: Content is protected !!