I got quite attached to my little Asus eee laptop while travelling. The size of a paperback book, it did everything I wanted – lots of photo storage, web, email, office suite – everything. Alas, it’s advantage is also a disadvantage – it’s small enough to steal and that’s what happened to it in the post church service chaos of last Sunday.
So I’ve been a bit grumpy as I’ve gone through the motions of filing police reports, pawn shop notifications and insurance claims.
Then I came across this story in Anthony de Mello’s The Prayer of the Frog (Anand Press, 1989), p92
The great buddhist saint Nagarjuna moved around naked except for a loin-cloth and, incongruously, a golden begging-bowl gifted to him by the king who was his disciple.
One night he was about to lie down to sleep among the ruins of an ancient monastery when he noticed a thief lurking behind one of the columns. “Here, take this,” said Nagarjuna, holding out the begging bowl. “that way you won’t disturb me once I have fallen asleep.”
The thief eagerly grabbed the bowl and made off – only to return next morning with the bowl and a request. He said, “When you gave away this bowl so freely last night, you made me feel very poor. Teach me how to acquire the riches that make this kind of light-hearted detachment possible.”
Don’t know that I would have passed my “golden bowl” over so easily, but I recall Jesus saying something very similar about the things we get attached to.
For another take, check out the discussion on this site on how to deal with thieves! It’s a lesson on “how not to market the church” to thieves or anyone else for that matter. Perhaps Nagarjuna can show us all a few things about how to follow our master!