Once upon a time everybody was mortal.
Just being born—it meant that you would die! And you’d probably suffer first. That’s how horrible a time it was.
The Buddha took one look at that world and said, “No, sir.”
That’s not the right way for things to be.
Once upon a time, if a banshee howled, somebody would wither away. That’s the way banshees did things. They weren’t slackers! And mermaids were just as energetic. If they called you you’d hear them, no matter how far away you were, and you’d walk right down to the water and you’d drown. There wasn’t anything you could do about it if a banshee decided to wail your death or a mermaid to call you or if Coretta’s Lion decided to hunt you down and eat you slowly over the course of three full days. It was the nature of the banshee, the nature of the mermaid, the nature of the Lion. They’d made their decisions! That was that!
The worst of it was the monster.
He’d catch you. He’d hollow you out. He’d hurt you unbearably. Then he’d blame you for it, make it your fault, and you would generally agree.
That’s what the heroes would say to that. No sir! That’s not right, Mr. Monster! That’s a poor methodology for a world.
So 539 years before the common era, all that mess got sorted out.
The Buddha said, “I’ll be a Buddha.”
He didn’t ask the world’s permission. He just did it! And the world had to change. A world where you’re always suffering couldn’t have a Buddha in it. If Death and Time and banshees and Lions could be masters of your fate, then so could the Buddha—and he said, “You’ve got a choice.” That just blew up the whole system, like bolting a jet plane to your car, and nothing ever after was the same.
He saved the world from suffering; and he was not alone.
539 years before the common era, the hero Mylitta made an answer to monsters forever and ever.
They were unanswerable!
Until she did.
Maybe she didn’t know there wasn’t any way to fix things. Maybe she just got confused. People have been saying for the longest time that he beat her, that she failed us, that that’s why the Lord got so angry he smote everybody down. But that’s not how things looked to her. She took that impossibility and jammed it back down the world’s throat, and then there weren’t any monsters any longer and there couldn’t really be monsters again.
So there was that.
And even Belshazzar—bless his black and twisted heart!
Even that fell beast did one thing bright and brilliant at the last. He was the one who ripped the world open and let all the suffering drain out the hole.
He opened a gateway in his flesh and soul. He became emptiness for our sake.
And if it was the Lord’s judgment on him—
For so the tales say—
Then let us remember that he accepted it with joy.
And Chen Yu, in China; and Nohochacyum with the jaguars; and him, and her, and them, and those people over there:
539 years before the common era, they delivered the world from sorrow.
The poor mermaids! The poor banshees! That poor Lion!
It was like twenty-five hundred years before it could hunt a man again.