The Girl at the Well
While on a mission, Ananda, Buddha’s favorite disciple, observed a girl as he passed by a well near a village. Ananda asked the girl for a drink of water.
She responded, “I am too humble to give you water to drink, do not ask any service of me lest your holiness be contaminated, for I am low caste.”
Ananda replied, “I ask not for caste but for water. The girls heart was filled with joy and she offered Ananda the drink of water.
Ananda thanked her and continued on his mission. The girl learned that Ananda was a disciple of Gautama Sakyamuni and proceeded to follow Ananda.
She then cried to the Blessed One, “Lord help me, and let me live in the place where Ananda your disciple dwells, so that I may see him and minister to him, for I love Ananda.”
The Blessed One understood her emotions and said, “Your heart is full of love, but you understand not your own sentiments. It is not Ananda that you love, but his kindness. Accept, then, the kindness you have seen him practice to you, and in the humility of your station practice it to others. Verily there is great merit in the generosity of a king when he is kind to a slave; but there is greater merit in the slave when he ignores the wrongs which he suffers and cherishes kindness and good-will to all mankind. He will cease to hate his oppressors, and even when powerless to resist their usurpation will with compassion pity their arrogance and supercilious demeanor.”
He continued, “Blessed are you. You will be a model for noblemen and noble women. You are low caste, but Brahmans may learn a lesson from you. Swerve not from the path of justice and righteousness and you will outshine the royal glory of queens on the throne.”