Chapter 33: Evil Is Nothing but an Absence of Good
When a man comes to buy the body of a woman, she may pretend great love for him because he has paid for it, but deep down she hates him because he is using her as a thing, as an object - purchasable; he is not respecting her as a human being. And the greatest hurt and wound that can happen to anybody is when you are treated as a dead thing and your integrity, your individuality, is humiliated.
This young monk went into the city to beg. Not knowing, he passed by so many chariots of gold and beautiful horses he was amazed: “Who lives in this palace?” As he looked upward, Amrapali was looking from the window, and for the first time love arose in her heart - for the simple reason that the moment the young monk saw Amrapali, he bowed down to her with deep respect. Such beauty has to be respected, not to be used. It is a great gift of existence to be appreciated - but not to be humiliated.
At the moment this young, beautiful monk bowed down, suddenly a great upsurge of energy happened in Amrapali. For the first time somebody had looked at her with eyes of respect, somebody had given her the dignity of being a human being. She ran down, touched the feet of the monk and said, “Don’t go anywhere else; today be my guest.”
He said, “I am a bhikkhu, a beggar. In your great palace, where so many kings are waiting in a queue to meet you, it won’t look good.”
She said, “Forget all about those kings - I hate them! But don’t say no to my invitation, because for the first time I have given an invitation. I have been invited thousands of times by kings and emperors, but I have never invited anybody. Don’t hurt me, this is my very first invitation. Have your food with me.” The monk agreed.
Other monks were coming behind him, because Buddha used to move with ten thousand monks wherever he went. They could not believe their eyes, that the young monk was going into the house of the prostitute. With great jealousy, anger, they returned to Gautam Buddha. With one voice they said, “This man has to be expelled from the commune! He has broken all your discipline. Not only did he bow down to a prostitute, he has even accepted her invitation to go into her palace and have his food there.”
Buddha said, “Let him come back.”
For the first time Amrapali herself served food into the bowl of the monk. With tears of joy she said, “Can I ask a favor?”
The young monk said, “I don’t have anything, except myself. If it is in my capacity, I will do anything you want me to do.”
She said, “Nothing has to be done. The season of rains is going to start within two, three days.” And it was the rule of Buddhist monks that in the rainy season they stayed in one place for four months; for eight months of the year they were continually moving from one place to another, but for the four months of the rains it was absolutely necessary for them to stay somewhere where they could get a shelter.