4820. The Mahamahabaalatta Sutta

Newly translated and annotated by
   Mahababba Makka Sanda

The Story Of the Real Big Fool
(mahamahabaalattasutta.m)
 

Thus I heard:

At one time, a man was dwelling at a beach in Florida.
There, in the last hours of a day in the rainy season,
shortly before the full moon, this man was carrying the
full gear of a True SD.

  [Note from the translator: from other sources it may be
   concluded with reasonable certainty that the term 'SD'
   probably was used to denote a 'scuba diver'.]

At this occasion, the Venerable Vatatussi happened to
be at this very beach, preparing himself to swim out
to the ocean.

Seeing the man walking at the beach and in full scuba gear,
Venerable Vatatussi walked up to him, stood to his side,
and addressed him thus in a verse:

  "Dear friend, oh Dear!
   What is your name?
   Why are you walking thus in full scuba gear?
   Tell me, quick, what is your game?"

The man turned to the Venerable Vatatussi who was
standing politely to his right side, answering thus:

 "You surely must be uneducated, silly, dull, and
  without proper knowledge. Do you not recognize
  that I am a True SD, fully endowed by the Holy
  Church of Divers, a member of the Noble Beach Club?
  Paul is my name, and I am truly SD!"

Venerable Vatatussi then spoke these memorable and
remarkable words:

 "Certainly have I heard of people who walked
  the Noble path to SD, dear friend.

  I, myself, when I was still young in years,
  of good health, and blessed with the fortune of
  my dear parents who were owners of the largest cloth
  hanger factory at the West coast of this Great
  Country, I myself, in those day, have taken the
  Free Calcutta Diver Evaluation Test.

  Then, in those days far gone, I sold my house
  and other worldly possessions and started
  walking on the noble path to True SD. However,
  dear friend, after having spent all of my money,
  after having sold the cloth hanger factory of
  my dear parents without even their knowledge, borrowing
  on the credit cards of my dear wife and my eldest
  son, I was still not endowed with the virtues,
  degrees, and honors of a True SD.

  At that time, then, dear friend, I myself, after my
  wife divorced me and after my children changed
  their names to hide the fact that I was their
  father, I too, joined the Noble and Holy Beach
  Club.

  And, then, while growing older in years, I was working
  for many, many moons for the Beach Club. Without pay,
  seven days a  week, more than sixteen hours a day, abused,
  ridiculed, having nothing else than rice and beans
  for many meals.

  Then, one day, just after a new moon at the
  beginning of the dry season, I addressed my
  Senior in the Beach Club thus, in a verse:

   "Honorable Senior, please answer my modest request!
    Here I am, for many years on my quest.
    My name is Pete P.
    and I am still not SD!
    Of the hundreds of members, if I look around,
    Only three, to my knowledge, let me count,
    have ever reached this Noble goal of SD.
    How come? Oh Honorable, please speak!"

  And anger arose in the mind of the Honorable Senior
  and he answered thus and in harsh words:

    "Thou are ungrateful, a nit-wit, a loser,
     Thou shallst now be a beach-comber
     We all hope you will come to your senses!"

  And for many years I was a beach-comber, an outcast
  who was forbidden to speak to anyone in the
  Beach Club; nor to anyone outside, of course.

  But then, dear friend, one day during the rainy
  season, my body became ill. And, as you well know,
  how could there be room for sick and old men in
  the Noble and Holy Beach Club? And they expelled
  me as I had become a burden."

The man in the scuba gear frowned and uttered:

  "I sure hope I am allowed to talk to you.
   After all, man, you have been expelled!"

And as they were talking, another man approached
them, stood to their side, and listened carefully
to their words.

And Venerable Vatatussi spoke the following words:

  "How can anyone tell an SD what to do?
   Are you not free to roam the ocean whenever you like?
   Do you not even go out to the pool and swim for yourself?"

At these words, the man who had just joined them,
interrupted Venerable Vatatussi with the utterance
that follows:

  "How could anyone be so selfish to swim in the ocean,
   nor even the pool?
   When all the rest of the world, all other men and creatures
   are damned to stay on the shore?
   I for myself shall not rest day nor night
   until every living being will know how to dive!"

Hearing these words, anger and disgust arose in the man
with the name Paul and he answered with the following verse:

   "A snorkel you have, not even a mask,
    you clearly are never up to this giant task!
    Without the right gear, you're lost in the ocean.
    Trust me, you must join the great Church of Divers
    for your own salvation!"

And while the Venerable Vatatussi tried to explain to both
how to get scuba gear on the Free Market and promptly got
beaten up by both, at this occasion, while the sun was
still setting, a whale swam to the shore and talked
thus to the three men:

   "You three men at the beach,
    you with the snorkel,
    and you, you with the gear,
    and then you, with both snorkel and gear!
    Why don't you join me for a ride in the ocean?
    Do you not see?
    A tidal wave is coming. Now, as we speak."

But the men, except Venerable Vatatussi, refused to listen
and to enter the water and to swim out to the ocean.

The man in the scuba gear had never learnt to swim and the
man who knew how to swim did not want to swim because
the rest of the world wouldn't swim out with him, too.

And while Venerable Vatatussi was entering the water, he was
approached by Mara, the Evil One. And, at this occasion, Mara,
the Evil One, spoke thus in a verse:

   "Vatatussi, Pete P., hear those wise men!
    Tell me, what do you know?
    Can't you see? They shurely know best!
    Or do you have pride still in your chest?

    Without blessings of Church or Beach Club,
    noone will ever be able to swim!

    And, even if so, don't be so cruel!
    The rest of mankind is not there yet:
    They can't swim, they don't have the gear.
    You should wait until they, too, are finally here!

    How dare you swim in ocean or pool?
    You really must be a real big fool!"

Then, after having listened carefully to all these utterances,
the Venerable Vatatussi, seeing the tidal wave coming,
left the other two men and the shore behind him, and swam
out with the whale into the ocean.

Not before too long, the tidal wave had swept the beach
clear leaving no trace of any life. Then, at that very occasion,
the whale spoke  thus to the Venerable  Vatatussi in the
following words:

  "The water is wet, no matter what man says!
   What use has scuba gear, snorkel, or vest,
   if man is not swimming nor diving, nor all the rest?
   Come on! Forget it! Let's now and forever play chess!"
 

(End of mahamahabaalasutta.m)
 



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