Stop the Sun. It was an act of near futile resistance. Like in a movie, when a cornered and desperate person takes a hostage in their next to last moments on screen. Lama Levy explained it with a story about the Buddhist Prince, Virupa. In the guise of a penniless beggar, he encountered a disrespectful royal. The priest acted toward the Beggar in the ways he preached against and he treated Virupa as a creature undue his respect. This irritated the Hidden Monk so much that he revealed himself, scolded the hypocritical elite, and stopped the sun dead in its tracks.


The man removed all doubt that he had missed the Monk’s point when he laughed at Virupa and chided him for a feeble grasp on the concept of punishment. The arrogant schmuck assured Virupa that he loved the sun, it was his best friend! He relished the chance to spend more time with the sun shining brightly on the paradise of his cloudless life. Of course, he had spoken brashly, his louder voice like a trumpet. Before long the man was offering Virupa cash and other worldly pleasures for a brief return of the night and the ephemeral glow of a cool moon. He apologized for not practicing what he had taught. How much more did he have to sacrifice for living a lie? Virupa ignored him and busied himself with helping others in the region cope with eternal daylight. Whenever the man fell into the fitful swamp that his dreams had become, Virupa woke him with a whisper or a scream, “It lies beneath the lie. It is holds your gaze and see how it changed when I revealed myself”.

IMG_4139Not until the once-wealthy now disowned former royal found himself begging for scraps just as Virupa had done in the not so distant past, did he see a light in the lesson. He thanked his teacher, “I understand how I disrespected the Beggar and would not admit that by doing so, I also disrespected what is good in every sentient being”. Virupa nodded and released the Sun. The Monk looked blankly at the man, “I am merciful and kind. You’ve merely learned that humility is an option. Perhaps you are incapable of understanding that the nature of humans is two-fold? Do not respect only that which you consider the good in a person. Respect the whole person”. The man gasped, then giggled nervously, and finally looked at his feet.

Virupa shrugged, then turned to looked over the bone dry expanse of dust that had once been fertile and abundant fields. Looking to the horizon he spoke, “you learned that most obvious lesson the moment I stopped the sun. But, you chose to drink an ocean rather than admit your mistake was not of style, but of substance. An ocean’s worth of water had to come from somewhere. Did it not? It is not my intention to punish. I aim for justice. Any punishment was of your own making. Don’t you agree?” Hearing this, the man realized the truth. He fell to his knees and began to weep. He wept until his tears filled an ocean, then he wiped his eyes with his sleeve, and looked up at his teacher. Virupa began to laugh. He laughed until his eyes were wet, tears were running down his cheeks, and dripped off of his chin into the ocean mingling with the man’s tears. This restored the abundance of the land. Seeing this, the man began to chuckle. The pair laughed until sunset, then slept on the verdant hillside bathed in the glow of an opulent full moon and again trusted the Sun to rise.