Remembering Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri on Her 70th Birthday – Story 30 : Who is the safe one


by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

I went on a pilgrimage to India as a nun with Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri in 2006. One of our group’s pilgrims was sick and she had to be off loaded from the flight in Mumbai to go to the hospital.

Before the flight took off again, all of us had to identify our luggage. This was to avoid unidentified objects such as a bomb deposited on the flight.

Suddenly, a custom officer came into the middle of the flight and asked for the owner of an unidentified luggage. The whole plane was in dead silence. I could feel the tension and fear in the air.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri was sitting next to me. She pointed out to me that the group was feeling relieved as the sick pilgrim was off loaded and was going to get the help she needed. However, we might be the one to be blown up by a bomb inside the unidentified luggage on our ‘safe’ flight.

Life could change in a matter of seconds. It was a great lesson in the three characteristics of all phenomena: Dukkha (suffering), Annica (impermanence) and Anatta (non-self).


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