25 Jun That man missed Buddha continuously for forty years. (OSHO)
Buddha passed through a village many times in his forty years of traveling. One man used to come; he would listen for a few minutes then get up and go away. And this had become a habit; he never listened to Buddha for the whole time Buddha was speaking.
He would come, that was certain, and whenever Buddha would come to the town he would wait for that man. He would come, that was certain. He would sit and for a few minutes he would listen, then, respectfully bowing down to Buddha, he would go away.
Ananda once asked that man, “Why do you do this?”
The man said, “Sometimes this is the peak hour for my business, but I must come just to pay my respects; that’s why I come. But my shop is open and customers are there, and they will not wait. Enlightenment can wait; next time I will hear.”
It happened again and again.
The day Buddha died he was near the village, and before his death he said to Ananda, “That man has not come. This is exceptional — he never missed. He always missed in a sense but he never missed. He has always come, now he has not come.”
Then Buddha asked his disciples, “Do you have anything to ask — because soon I will enter into the final samadhi, the final ecstasy, and then I will not be able to come back and answer you.”
They started weeping and crying but there was no question. And Ananda said, “We have asked everything, you have answered everything, and there is nothing. Our minds are blank just thinking that you are going to disappear.”
Buddha asked thrice, again and again. There was no question.
He went behind the tree and closed his eyes, just to dissolve into the infinite, to leave the body, and then suddenly the man came. He started fighting with the monks and said, “I must see him. This is the last time; I will not be able to see him again. For forty years I have been missing and I have a question to ask. I have never been able to ask it before because sometimes there was a marriage in my family, sometimes business was at a peak, sometimes I was ill or my wife was ill, and sometimes there were relatives staying. I always missed but now don’t prevent me.”
Buddha came out from his ecstasy, from his final samadhi. He came in front of the tree and he said, “Don’t prevent that man. He may have been foolish, he may have missed because of his ignorance, but I cannot be hard on him. I am still alive so let him come. No one should say that Buddha was alive and a man who had come begging was sent back.”
Buddha said, “What have you come to ask?”
He said, “When I came, I knew, but now I can’t remember. Next time I see you I will bring the question.” …
And there was going to be no next time. Buddha died that day, and that man must be wandering somewhere on this or some other earth, seeking a man who can answer his question.
That man missed Buddha continuously for forty years.
A Bird on the Wing