Remembering Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri on Her 70th Birthday – Story 5 : This is a light house


by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

As a lay supporter of Dhammasara Nuns’ monastery, I used to enjoy the reflections that Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri shared before Dana. The following is one of such stories that I remember from her teaching in 2001 or 2002.

This was a story about a ship sailing in a rough, foggy, and dark sea. Suddenly the ship’s captain saw the radar of the ship indicating an object directly in its path. The captain sent a radio signal: “We are on a collision course. Advise you to change course 10 degrees north.”

A response came over the radio: “Negative. We advise you to change course 10 degrees south.”

The captain now saw a blinking light from the approaching object. He urgently sent another signal: “I’m a ship captain. Change course 10 degrees north now!”

“Advise that you change course 10 degrees south to avoid collision.”

The captain is furious. He insisted: “This is a US marine battleship! Change your course immediately!”

“This is a lighthouse.”

I was reflecting on the story. We often bang our head onto the ‘lighthouse’ in life. We bang our head on old age, sickness and death. We keep banging on the promises that life can never deliver. Our sense of self is always insisting that we are special. Until one day, the penny drops.

Until we bow down to the dhamma.


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