The Spiritual Master and the Thief
It matters who you are, not who you were.
We cannot suspect who God chooses to offer His Grace to, and spiritual realization can be even over a step away.
But only if you do....
"Once upon a time, a man, a famous murderer, a murderer, a sinner, came to the Buddha to be initiated.
When he came, he was afraid that people might not let him in; that the disciples may not let him see the Buddha. So it came at an hour when there weren't too many people.
And he didn't enter the main gate, he jumped over the wall.
By chance, the Buddha was not there, and the man was caught.
He said to his disciples:
" I didn't come to steal or do anything wrong, but I was afraid you wouldn't let me in the main gate. Everyone knows me.
I'm a well-known character in the surroundings. I am a person that the people here hate the most and who they fear the most, they all know me.
So I was afraid you weren't going to let me in, you might not have believed me I wanted to become a disciple."
Therefore, they took this man to one of the great disciples of the Buddha, Sariputra, who had a telepathic ability to see people's past lives.
They asked Sariputra:
"Look at this man! We know that in this life he is a murderer, a sinner, a thief, and that he has done all kinds of things. But maybe he had some virtues in previous lives, maybe that's why he now wants to become an aspirant to spirituality.
He's just researching his past lives."
Sariputra researched his eighty thousand past lives....and it had always been the same! Even Sariputra began to tremble, seeing him as being so dangerous – eighty thousand times a murderer, a murderer, always a sinner.
He is a consecrated sinner! It is impossible – no change is possible in this man. Not even buddha can do anything.
"Throw this man out, remove him immediately – because even buddha will fail with such a man. He is an established thief. Just as the Buddha is an established Buddha, all this man is a proven sinner. I have seen eighty thousand lives and I cannot go any further. Arrive!"
Therefore, the man was kicked out. He felt very sad that there was no chance for him. He couldn't be around Buddha being alive – so he decided to commit suicide.
As he passed the first corner after the main gate, he approached the wall and was preparing to hit his head against the stone wall and kill himself. Suddenly, Buddha appears, coming from his begging tours and sees this man. She stops him from what he was doing, takes him inside and initiates him.
And history says that this man became arched in seven days – that is,
he became an enlightened in seven days
. Thus, they were all very confused. Sariputra appeared to the Buddha and said to him:
"What does that mean? Is all my clairvoyance, all my astrology science useless?
I have researched eighty thousand past lives of this man! If this man can become enlightened in seven days, then what's the point of researching people's past lives? It's all absurd. How can this happen?"
And the Buddha answered him:
"You looked into his past, but you didn't look into his future.
And the past is the past!
Whenever someone thinks about changing, it can change – the decision itself is decisive.
And when a man has lived eighty thousand lives in misfortune, he knows and longs for change, and the intensity of his goal to change is infinite.
Therefore, it can happen in seven days.
Sariputra, you're still not enlightened. You are a good man, you have had good lives – you do not feel burdened by your past. You have a kind of kind of kindness around you.
You have been Brahman for many lifetimes, a scholar, a respected person.
But look at this man. He was burdened with burdens in all eighty thousand lives, and now he wanted to free himself.
He really wanted to free himself;
hence the miracle – in seven days he got out of prison. The intensity of his past pushed him forward.
Those who feel guilty change very easily. Those who feel fair, straight are very hard to change.
Religious people are hard to transform, the unbelievers are easily transformed. So whenever a religious man comes to me, I don't care too much about him.
But I'm interested in how many times an unbelieving person comes to me. I'm in him, I'm with him, I'm totally for him, because there's a possibility."