Buddha’s Brother

Surely, you don’t know the true fictional story
of Buddha fleeing the palace to seek liberation.
You can’t know this tragic tale because I’m
writing it now just for you.

Buddha had a younger brother who suffered
terrible nightmares. Some nights, Buddha could
hear his brother scream in terror from his
room. Although, he knew it was just a dream,
he also knew that suffering, even when unreal
causes mental pain. How can compassion
ignore agony, even in dreams, without lending
a hand?

Most nights, the brother would wake up when
Buddha pressed his hand on his forehead. But
on that night when Siddhartha fled, his brother
wouldn’t respond to his touch, his yells, his
slaps. Covered in sweat, he writhed, and
screamed in the grip of a dream.

To what extreme is permissible to go, in
helping a suffering being? What degree of pain
should one inflict to end suffering? Buddha saw
his brother’s dagger by his bedside. In his
desperation to wake him up he pricked his
brother’s breast with the dagger. At that very
moment, his brother sat up and impaled himself
on the tool of his liberation from the dream.
Fully awake, he smiled at Buddha with gratitude,
and died.

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