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The Tunnel 
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Post The Tunnel
In an ancient Buddhist land there lived a famous warior. He was an expert swordsman and archer, a lover of the good life, and a lover of women. One day he arrived in a city where a very wealthy and pious man lived. This wealthy man was married to a very beautiful woman and they had a 10 year old child. One day our warrior was invited to the home of the pious man for dinner. There he met the wife of this good man, and fell madly in love with her. He made every effort to seduce the beautiful woman. She resisted his passes, but finally she fell for the man and ran away with him leaving the husband to take care of their son.

The warrior took the woman to his home where he took care of her as if she were a queen. After many years of uncontrolled pleasures, the woman left without saying anything. Our warrior searched for her in every town and city, but was unable to find her. He became as a madman running through the countryside calling for his beloved. He abandoned his appearance, and he would get drunk everyday. His friends tried to help him, but he refused all help.

One day he was so drunk that he left his home and drifted aimlessly through the countryside until he fainted. He woke up very dizzy many days later in a strange bed. Soon an older man arrived and smiled at him.

"Where am I?" said the warrior.
"You are in a forest hermitage. You have been here for the past two weeks. I have tried to keep you alive."
"Who are you?"
"I am just an old Buddhist monk."

For the next couple of weeks our warrior gained some strength with the simple food that the old monk fed him. Soon he was up again, and he asked the old monk if he could stay with him for a few days. The old monk agreed. Our warrior told the monk his story and asked him if he could learn the teachings of Lord Buddha. The monk taught him the Noble Eightfold Path, the Four Noble Truths, the Five Glorious Precepts; he taught him how to meditate and chant sutras. During the day the monk and our warrior would work the land, and during the evening they would meditate and chant sutras.

As his spiritual practice advanced, the warrior realized that he had lived a life of violence and hedonism. He understood the evil he had done, and how he had shamed an inocent family. Now he felt great shame and repentance.

"How can I undo the evil that I have done?' he asked over and over.

The years passed, and our warrior grew in understandg, love, and compassion.

One day our warrior told the monk that he needed to leave the hermitage and find forgiveness from the man and woman he had shamed and offended. He went to the home of the man, and found out that the woman had returned to her husband who had forgiven her, but she died two years after her return. Her husband died just recently of a broken heart, and the son was searching for the man who had caused so much suffering to his family.

Our now aging warrior travelled from one place to another in search of a way to atone for the evil in his past. One day he reached a beautiful valley sorrounded by tall mountains. The people who lived in the valley were simple farmers who had to travel many miles arround the mountains in order to take their goods to the main city. Our repentant warrior decided that he would atone for his sins by building a tunnel through one of the mountains so that people could reach the city in a shorter time. He built a small hermitage at the foot of the mountain, planted a garden, and started to build a tunnel through the mountain with very primitive tools. He worked tirelessly throughout the day, returned to his hermitage in the evening, took a bath, ate, meditated and chanted Buddhist sutras.

One day a young warrior arrived at the hermitage in the moment that our now hermit returned from a day of hard work at the tunnel. The young warrior recognized the man who had seduced his mother and brought suffering to his family.

"I know who you are. You are the man who brought shame and suffering to my family, and I have vowed to kill you", he said.

Our now repentant warrior hermit answered with serenity, "I will allow you to kill me, and I will not resist you. But before you kill me, I would like to ask of you a favor, not for me, but for the people of this valley. Allow me to finish the tunnel that I have started, and when I finish you can complete your vow."

The young warrior agreed. Our hermit warrior continued the building of the tunnel: he would return in the evenings take a bath, eat, meditate, and chant sutras. Months passed this way, and the young warrior waited patiently. He started to get tired of waiting, and decided to help the hemit with the construction of the tunnel: "This way -- he thought -- the tunnel will be finished sooner, and I can fulfill my vow."

Time passed. The tunnel kept getting deeper. The deeper they got into the tunnel, the harder it was to return to the hermitage every day. So they would work for two days, and return to rest for one day, bathe, pick vegetabels for the next two days, and of course, the hermit warrior would meditate and chant sutras. One day the yourng warrior became curious and interested in the meditation and chanting of sutras, and started to meditate with our now repentant warrior. The years passed, and finally the tunnel was completed.

After dedicating the tunnel to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, our hermit-warrior gave the tunnel to the villagers. They were grateful, for now they could reach the great city in a short time. After the festivities were finished, our hermit-warrior approached the younger warrior and said:

"I have finished the tunnel. Now you may fulfill your vow. I am ready to die."

The younger warrior looked at the hermit with tears in his eyes and said, "The man who shamed and brought suffering to my family and me died many years ago. During these past years you have been my spiritual teacher. You have taught me what it is to do good, I have seen your lack of selfishness, you have been a true disciple of Lord Buddha. Before my father died he asked me to be compasionate and forgiving. You were searching for forgiveness, but it is I who must ask your forgiveness. You are my spiritual guide."

The hermit, who once was a warrior, looked with kindnes upon the younger mand and said, "Today you have taught me the spirit of true loving kindness. Let us continue our mission of doing good and shunning evil in order to eliminate the suffering in the world."

So for the last time they entered the tunnel and disappeared.

Note: I heard or read this story many years ago when I was a young man beginning my spiritual path. It made a great impact in my mind, and I never forgot it.

Hermano Luis

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Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:37 pm
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Post Re: The Tunnel
Fascinating. Why, given that they would benefit from the tunnel, didn't the locals lend a hand? The Swiss spend years digging tunnels through mountains and they don't do it alone. And as for that, just how many tunnels are there in that neck of the woods? Hmmn, my immediate thought was that they disappeared into the first pub they came across but I'm now thinking it's because the tunnel collapsed. As much as I like soaking in a hot tub, preferably wood heated under the trees, I tend to avoid all that chanting and meditating malarkey by just abiding. And taking it easy. And also pointing out to concerned parties that the past is another country. They do things differently there.

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Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:31 pm
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Post Re: The Tunnel
Thanks Luis.
Journeys and tunnels can be gateways to a new life. I loved the story.


Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:26 am
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Post Re: The Tunnel
I have always believed that the story was of a more symbolic nature. :grin:

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Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:43 pm
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