Chapter 33: Evil Is Nothing but an Absence of Good
Amrapali said, “In the coming four months, this palace should be your shelter. I don’t ask anything. I will not disturb you in any way. I will make everything as comfortable as possible for you, but don’t go for these four months.”
The monk said, “I have to ask my master. If he allows me, I will stay. If he does not allow me, you will have to forgive me: it is not in my hands, it is my master who decides where one has to stay.”
He came back. Everybody was angry, jealous, and they were all waiting to see if Gautam Buddha was going to punish him. Buddha asked, “Tell me the whole thing. What happened?”
He told Buddha everything. He also said that Amrapali. He did not use the word prostitute - that is a judgment. You have already condemned a woman by the very word, condemned her that she sells her body, that she sells her love, that her love is a commodity, if you have money you can purchase it.
He said, “Amrapali has invited me for the coming rainy season, and I have told her that if my master allows me, I will stay in her palace. It does not matter.”
There was great silence among the ten thousand monks. Nobody had thought that Gautam Buddha would say, “You are allowed to stay with Amrapali.” They could not believe their own ears; what were they hearing? A monk who has renounced the world is going to stay for four months in the house of a prostitute?
An old monk stood up and said, “This is not right! This man is hiding a fact. He says a woman, Amrapali, has invited him. She is not a woman, she is a prostitute!”
Gautam Buddha said, “I know, and because he has not used the word prostitute I am allowing him to stay there. He has respect - no judgment, no condemnation. He himself does not want to stay, that is why he has come here to ask his master. If you asked me to stay there, I would not allow you.”
Another monk said, “It is a strange decision. We will lose our monk! That woman is not an ordinary woman but an enchantress. This man, in four months, will be completely lost to the virtuous life, the good life, the life of a saint. After four months he will come as a sinner.”
Gautam Buddha said, “After four months you will be here, I will be here; let us see what happens, because I trust in his meditations and I trust in his insight. Preventing him will be distrusting him. He trusts me; otherwise there was no need to come. He could have thrown away the begging bowl and remained there. I understand him, and I know his consciousness. This is a good opportunity, a fire test, to see what happens. Just wait for four months.”
Those four months, for the monks, were very long. Each day was going so slowly, and they were imagining what must be happening, they were dreaming in the night about what must be happening. And after four months, the monk came back with a beautiful woman following him. He said to Buddha, “She is Amrapali. She wants to be initiated into the commune. I recommend her - she is a unique woman. Not only is she beautiful, she has a soul as pure as you can conceive.”