Half of the crowd disappeared. The young man could not believe….
Just a few miles further they were again prevented, this time by a crowd. They needed four priests because the richest man’s daughter was being married, and the reward was going to be great.
“…And it is only a question of a few days, and then you can go on wherever you are going.” Immediately, more than four were ready, but the crowd said, “We don’t want more than four.”
The other monks tried to ask them, “What are you doing? We have been sent for a certain purpose, because of a certain message.”
They said, “We are not going astray. It is only a question of a few days. Soon we will finish the marriage and we will come a little faster and join you. Your journey is long. The path is tedious. And we cannot miss this opportunity of earning, getting rewards, from the richest man.” Four persons again disappeared.
In this way it went on, and the young man started feeling that “Perhaps I am the only one who is going to make it back!”
As they were passing a river, a very beautiful young woman with tears in her eyes said, “You are all compassionate people. My father is a famous hunter – I live with my father, my mother is dead. He was supposed to come back this morning and it is evening and he is not back. And I am immensely afraid in this lonely part of the Himalayas. Won’t you be kind enough, at least one, to be with me for the night? And in the morning you can go as soon as my father comes home.”
Immediately a young man…in fact many were ready, but a young man said, “I am coming. This is the essential teaching of Gautam Buddha – compassion!”
And this goes on…. It is a long story, how people went on disappearing. Finally only two monks and the young man remained. They were passing the last village and soon they would be arriving at the monastery. It was already shining in the morning sun on the mountains.
In that village there was an atheist who challenged those monks: “If you have any guts, first accept my challenge for a debate. I don’t believe in Gautam Buddha and I don’t believe in his teachings, and I am ready to fight on each and every point.”
The young man said to the remaining two fellows, “Don’t get involved in this. Our monastery is there, you can see it – so beautiful in the eternal snows of the Himalayas.”
But one of them said, “I cannot move an inch. My master Gautam Buddha has been challenged. I am going to remain here. Either I will convert this man to Buddhism or I will be converted to his disciplehood, however long it takes.” So he was left in that village.