The two ghosts opened their eyes and stared. “What do you care?” they said. “We’re in no hurry. We’re waiting for someone who isn’t due for a long, long time.”
“Who? said Sundarananda.
“Shakyamuni Buddha’s little brother, Sundarananda, if you must know,” they said. “He left home, but seeks only the blessings of the heavens and the five hundred goddesses. He’ll be living in heaven for a thousand years, but in his confusion he will forget how to cultivate and will commit many offenses. This will create evil karma and drag him into the hells to be deep-fried in this very pot.”
Every hair on Sundarananda’s body stood straight up on end, and every pore ran with cold sweat. “How could this happen to me?” he moaned. From that moment on, he stopped cultivating for rebirth in the heavens and resolved to end birth and death. Soon he certified to Arhatship.
Sundarananda was extremely handsome. The Buddha had the thirty-two marks of a superman and Sundarananda had thirty. Some people even mistook him for the Buddha. One day Shariputra was debating with some non-Buddhists who were even more extreme than many hippies; they didn’t wear any clothes at all. “This is our original face,” they said. “Why disguise yourself by wearing clothes?”
Shariputra, although not very tall, was extremely intelligent; his replies left them speechless, as if they had no mouths at all. Later, when Sundarananda, who was tall and handsome, happened along, the nudists said, “If that short little Bhikshu beat us, how could we possibly out-talk this tall one?”
They bowed to Sundarananda as their teacher and left the home life. Sundarananda had a lot of faithful disciples, and their cultivation was very successful. This is the story of Sundarananda, who gave up his wife for the goddesses and then, fearing the hells, cultivated the Way.