Such was the sincerity of people that Maulingaputta said, “I do not know truth; I am a seeker.” Buddha said, “I also used to be a seeker. Now I am no more – only truth is. Do you want to discuss truth, still – with truth itself? And how will you discuss? I am feeling compassionate towards you. My suggestion is: sit by my side for two years in silence – just drinking my presence, feeling my presence, absorbing my presence. For two years you are not even to speak a single word, and after two years you can start your discussion.”
It was a strange condition: two years he has to sit in silence. But he was an authentic seeker, not just a thinker, but one who wanted to realize truth – not as a logical conclusion but as an existential realization.
He agreed. And that very moment, a disciple of Gautam Buddha, Mahakashyapa, sitting under a tree, started laughing, almost madly. Maulingaputta could not understand. He said to Gautam Buddha, “What has happened to this man? Suddenly, without any reason he started laughing.” Buddha said, “You can ask him yourself.”
Mahakashyapa said to Maulingaputta, “If you really want to ask the question, ask now. After two years, you will have found the answer. Who will ask the question? You will have disappeared. This man is dangerous. I had also come to discuss with him and he played the same trick with me. Sitting two years silently by his side, I disappeared. Now, I am the truth, but discussion is impossible. I laughed because I thought: again, he is at his old tricks; that poor fellow will sit two years, thinking that after two years there is going to be a great discussion. I still tell you: that if you are interested in discussing, this is the moment.”
But Maulingaputta agreed with Buddha and he said, “Whatever Gautam Buddha is saying is relevant. I don’t know anything about truth; how can I discuss it? Let me sit for two years. I have wasted fifty years roaming around the country, discussing with thousands of people, arguing and arguing; and what is in my hands? – they are empty. I have wasted fifty years; I can risk two years more. And the very presence of Gautam Buddha, his silence, his serenity, his fragrance…a subtle aura around him which is almost tangible, makes me sure that he cannot deceive me, that he cannot deceive anyone.”
Two years he waited in silence; but in two years, he disappeared. His mind became so silent that he forgot even to count months, days, weeks. When two years had passed, he was not aware that two years had passed. It was Gautam Buddha who said, “Maulingaputta, have you forgotten our agreement? Two years have passed. This very day, two years ago, you came to me. According to the agreement, I am now ready to discuss; you can ask the question.”
Instead of asking the question, there were tears of joy in his eyes and he put his head on Gautam Buddha’s feet and he said, “Please, forgive me. Mahakashyapa was right. I have fallen in such a rapport with you, that now there is no need for me to ask anything, or for you to answer anything. I know you exactly in your innermost being. I have seen your light and I have seen your love and I have experienced your truth. The most amazing thing is that when I experienced them, suddenly inside me, the same experiences started flowering.