468 – An open and free mind

A story about a Buddhist Nun.

Pattachara was born in a well to do family. She fell in love with a servant and ran away with him. She became pregnant and she wished to return home to have her baby. She could not reach her home and she delivered her child on the roadside. When she became pregnant a second time, she wished to make her way home.

However, her labor began and there was a terrible storm. She gave birth in the middle of the storm and her husband died of snake bite, while trying to build a shelter. She continued homewards broken hearted and while trying to cross the river, both her children drowned. She reached home and learnt that her parents had died in the storm and their house was burnt down by lightning.

She was heartbroken and it was only when she met the Buddha that her grief disappeared. He was able to console her and he began to teach her his dhamma.

One day while she was meditating, she saw water running over the dry sand. Some was absorbed quickly; some took a little longer and some after that. She understood what happened to humans, each one of them had a different life span. It was like the water’s absorption at different levels.

Then at night, when she was going to sleep, she extinguished her lamp and that gave her an insight into how to become free. She attained enlightenment.

Her verses describe the stages of her efforts.


Furrowing fields with plows, sowing seeds in the ground,
Taking care of wives and children, young men find wealth.
So why have I not experienced freedom,
When I am virtuous and I do what the teacher taught,
When I am not lazy and I am calm?
While washing my feet I made the water useful in another way,
By concentrating on it move from the higher ground down.
Then I held back my mind,
As one would do with a thoroughbred horse,
And I took a lamp and went into the hut.
First, I looked at the bed, then I sat down on the couch,
I used the needle to pull out the lamp’s wick.
Just as the lamp went out, my mind was free.

Poems of the First Buddhist Women.

What happens when we meditate incorrectly? We wish to empty our minds but it is impossible? We have so many questions and no answers. When our mind becomes quiet, we can understand Pattachara’s verses.

Aim Hrim Klim

Photo by Daniel Lerman on Unsplash

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