The thought of Spider's Thread

Last night, when I was eating dinner with my family, a very tiny spider came down to the front of my son. My son let the spider go.

Them, we talked about the story of The "Spider's Thread", by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, one of the most famous novelist in Japan.

At that time, I realized something by this matter.

"Spider's Thread" is very short story. Please read it.


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The Buddha Shakyamuni is meandering around Paradise one morning, when he stops at a lotus-filled pond. Between the lilies, he can see, through the crystal-clear waters, the depths of Hell. His eyes come to rest on one sinner in particular, by the name of Kandata. Kandata was a cold-hearted criminal, but had one good deed to his name: while walking through the forest one day, he decided not to kill a spider he was about to crush with his foot. Moved by this single act of compassion, the Buddha takes the silvery thread of a spider in Paradise and lowers it down into Hell.

Down in Hell, the myriad sinners are struggling in the Pool of Blood, in total darkness save for the light glinting off the Mountain of Spikes, and in total silence save for the sighs of the damned. Kandata, looking up by chance at the sky above the pool, sees the spider's thread descending towards him and grabs hold with all the might of a seasoned criminal. The climb from Hell to Paradise is not a short one, however, and Kandata quickly tires. Dangling from the middle of the rope, he glances downward, and sees how far he has come. Realizing that he may actually escape from Hell, he is overcome by joy and laughs giddily. His elation is short-lived, however, as he realizes that others have started climbing the thread behind him, stretching down into the murky depths below. Fearing that the thread will break from the weight of the others, he shouts that the spider's thread is his and his alone. It is at this moment that the thread breaks, and he and all the other sinners are cast back down into the Pool of Blood.

Shakyamuni witnesses this, knowing all but still with a slightly sad air. In the end, Kandata condemned himself by being concerned only with his own salvation and not that of others. But Paradise continues on as it has, and it is nearly noontime there. Thus the Buddha continues his meanderings.

(This sentence is copy from Wikipedia)


He had already been saved.

Kandata was a part of Buddha-nature himself already.

But, Kandata didn't enlighten this truth and he harassed himself.

Then, Buddha gave final chance to Kandata.

He came being conscious of ego as he climbed up to higher level.

Additionally, when he watched the people who were also climbing up by the same thin spider's thread, his ego was completely separated from the others.

If he devote himself to be climbing completely, he would know where paradise is.

If he hadn't watched the under, he wouldn't realize ego.

The ego of Kandaka was separated from the Hell's anguish and the others by a thread of spider.

I feel this story seems similar of the story of Adam and Eva.

This morning, I talked about this theme with my son and I believe he understood what I want to say.

I often meet an aggressive person. They love to attack and criticize for their identity.

They are all of wrong.

The way of being oneself is not caused by reflecting such a ice flame.

The way of being oneself should be the way of mercy, I believe.



SD110823 Fudoan Hekishusai