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Chapter 4: Reflections in a Mirror

That prostitute comes to him and requests the bhikkhu to rest for one night in her palace. The bhikkhu replies, “There is no rule about this so I will not refuse your invitation. I will come, but the time is not yet right. When the actual reality of your body is revealed to you, that’s when I will come. Right now you are mistaken. The day you awake to the reality of it, I will come.”

The prostitute could not understand this. The very meaning of a prostitute is one who does not understand any other language but the language of the body. So do not think that just because a woman is somebody’s wife she is not a prostitute. If she understands only the language of the body she is a prostitute. As long as the language of the soul is not understood, nobody can rise above prostitution.

And don’t think that the word prostitute applies only to women; no, it applies to men too. Only the language of the body is understood; all transactions are carried out at the body level. The whole mind is focused only on the body, the body itself is the trade - this is all that is meant by the word prostitute.

The bhikkhu said, “I will certainly come, but only when the reality of your body is revealed to you.”

The prostitute said, “Are you mad? This is the time for you to come - while I am young and at the peak of my beauty. My body will never be in any better condition.”

The bhikkhu replied, “The concern is not for the better, the concern is for the real. When your body manifests its reality, then I will come.”

The prostitute said, “I am unable to understand what you say. Please make it clearer to me.”

The bhikkhu said, “When nobody comes to you anymore then I will come, because at that time your body will be showing its reality. Then the body will look the same from the outside as it really is inside. Right now it does not look the same on the outside as it really is inside. So when nobody comes to you, then I will come.”

Many years passed, and the prostitute became old, leprosy had spread all over her body, every limb had started wasting away, and the people threw her outside the village.

These were the same people who used to hover around her door! These were the same people who used to be dying for entry into her palace, who used to consider themselves lucky and were grateful even to get a distant glimpse of her. The same people threw her out of the village.

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