|The Buddha and his black chief male disciple, diverse representations (Wisdom Quarterly)|
But the two friends still had not given up hope, and they decided now to search separately, for doubling their chances. They agreed among themselves that if one first learned about a convincing path to liberation (the deathless, nirvana), he would quickly inform the other.
|Black Ven. Sivali (109060883@N02/flickr)|
One day Upatissa went to town while Kolita stayed back at their dwelling. Kolita saw his friend returning. Never had he seen him like that: his entire being seemed to be transformed, his appearance was buoyant and radiant. Eagerly Kolita asked him:
"Your features are serene, dear friend, and your complexion is bright and clear. Did it happen that you have found the road to enlightenement, the path to liberation from all suffering?"
Upatissa replied: "It is so, dear friend, the path to the deathless has been found!" He then reported how it happened....
When Upatissa heard this stanza, the vision of Truth (the "Dharma-eye") arose in him on the spot, and the very same happened to Kolita when he listened to the stanza retold by his friend. He, too, realized: Whatever arises is bound to pass away.
The realization that was evoked by this stanza, may be called a truly mystical event. For us, these four lines do not contain an explanation explicit enough for a full understanding. The deeper and wider meaning of the stanza reveals itself only to those who have trained themselves [and can discern the Four Noble Truths in it] for a long time in wisdom and renunciation and have reflected long upon the impermanent and thed eathless, the conditioned and the unconditioned.....
After Kolita listened to that powerful stanza, he asked at once where the Great Ascetic, the Perfected One, the Buddha was staying. Hearing that he was dwelling nearby at the Bamboo Grove Monastery, he wished to go there immediately....
4. The Struggle for Realization
|The Buddha teaching monastic disciples, bas relief, Songkla, Thailand, rooftop pyramid|
Now the two friends, at the head of the 250 fellow ascetics, approached the Bamboo Grove. There the Buddha was just teaching Dharma to his disciples. And when he saw the two friends approaching, the Enlightened One said: "Here, disciples, they are coming, the two friends Kolita and Upatissa. They will be my chief (male) disciples, a blessed pair!"
Having arrived, all respectfully saluted the Buddha, raising their folded palms to the forehead and bowing at the feet of the meditation Master. Then the two friends spoke: "May we be permitted, O venerable sir, to obtain under the Blessed One the going-forth and the full admission?"
Then the Blessed One responded: "Come, monks! Well proclaimed is the Teaching. Live now the life of purity for making an end of suffering!" These brief words served to bestow ordination on the two friends and their following.