He was like Upatissa (who became the chief male disciple better known as Sariputra), who entered the first stage of sainthood by hearing only one line of a couplet. Bahiya of the Bark Cloth, on hearing a single stanza uttered by the Buddha, became enlightened.
Long before that, however, it is said that he had been born during the latter part of the dispensation at the final nirvana of the Buddha Kassapa aeons earlier. At that time he failed to get a foothold on sainthood (as recounted in the "Life of Mallaputta Dabba," when five ascetics abandon society and meditate to the end with all but Bahiya succeeding).
|A brahma can manifest any form it wishes even the form of a wise old man from space.|
His friend instantaneously descended from that "pure abode," that peaceful celestial world, and stood before him in all the glory and majesty of a God (brahma).
Bahiya was startled and dazzled, unable to believe his eyes as he asked this brahma who he was.
The very title "Buddha" was news to Bahiya of the Bark Cloth. So great was his enthusiasm that, legend has it, he traveled day and night without pausing (perhaps utilizing some psychic ability), covering a distance of 129 leagues (approximately 400 miles).
|Bahiya insisted he be instructed right away, and the Buddha gave him just what ne needed.|
Instead, he followed the Buddha's route into the village in search of instruction. He accosted the Buddha on the road and fell to his feet pleading for advice.
The Buddha informed him that he had arrived most unseasonably since he and the monks had already commenced their alms round.
in the countless round of rebirths and deaths?
before they would meet again?
He looked into Bahiya's past then his present and saw that this was to be his last wish. He therefore uttered to very concise teaching -- the gist of which was to look at things as they truly are:
sute sutamattam bhavissati
mute mutamattam bhavissati
vinnate vinnatamatam bhavissati
Bahiya understood and asked for ordination. Normally, the Buddha would simply utter the phrase "Come, venerable!" (Eham, bhante!). That would bestow ordination. Instead, seeing that Bahiya had not developed enough generosity-perfection (dana parami) in the past to have accrued sufficient merit to be fortunate in receiving robes, the Buddha asked him if he had any robes (which are necessary for ordination).
Bahiya, of course, did not. So he immediately went in search of cloth in a dust heap to construct a proper patchwork robe.
let there be for you only the otherwise sensed.
When you do, there will be no here,
no there, and no going between.
(In other words, Be here now.)
Then there will be neither here, nor there,
Nor transiting between the two.
The entire mass of suffering, the Wheel of Dependent Origination, which applies to all phenomena, could thereby be circumvented. One might momentarily glimpse nirvana and see the conditional nature of all composite things. The "Eye of the Dharma" or "Wisdom Eye," which purifies mind and heart, radically alters the individual. And knowing and seeing directly one is liberated from all defilements and bonds.