The Miracle of Metta

Claudia Weeraperuma

Farmer Lakshman owned a splendid stretch of land. Dark its soil and rich, land blessed by sun and rain. His wife, two sons and farm machines gave him a hand. He got good money from the peas, the greens and grain. One day disaster struck when Lakshman’s neighbour fenced Half of Lakshman’s land and claimed it as his own. At once poor Lakshman hurried to the law, incensed, Employed a lawyer so that justice would be shown. The mounting misery his wife could no more stand And so she left; his sons went both to countries far. Alone he was with worries, toiling at his land. He daily went to drown his troubles at the bar. One day he leaned against the fence his neighbour built And looked with sadness at the lovely land he’d lost. A broken man, he was in debts up to the hilt: He’d fought nine years in courts – colossal was the cost. At dusk when gorgeous gods come down to our earth The sky above the land was all ablaze with fire And Lakhsman cursed: ``Oh gods, my life has lost its worth, Be fair for once and listen now to my desire: Tan my neighbour’s hide with misery untold! Spoil his crops – brinjals and limes, each tree in flower! Trample every ear of rice, spread blight, spread mould! On to him send pestilences hour after hour! Pinch him, punch him, all poisons in your power !’‘ While Lakshman was complaining, raging in his mental jail, There came the neighbour’s dog, it ran straight to the fence. The dog jumped up and down, it fondly wagged its tail, Danger and unfriendliness, it did not sense.

Lakshman first ignored the darling of his foe Until the dog began to whimper and to plead; Its tawny fur was gleaming in the evening glow; A kind caress of cuddle was its urgent need. Lakshman promptly petted then his foe’s best friend, When suddenly the dog was raising up its eyes, Their eyes did meet and Lakshman felt his heart extend. Its gentle eyes were boundless like the skies. The man was wakened by this timeless land of love Where borders, wars and worries were, all left behind. His heart became as weightless as a flying dove. He saw that ``mine’‘ and ``thine’‘ were mirages of mind. No more did Lakshman nurture insults of the past. No more did Lakshman say: ``He stole the land from me.’‘ The dog did help him treat the man next door at last Without a trace of enmity.