The Monk Who Overslept
(Clearwisdom) Buddha Shakyamuni often taught his disciples to study Buddhist doctrine attentively and wholeheartedly, and that they must not slack off or be lazy. Most of his disciples followed his teachings and cultivated diligently, and therefore obtained the Dao and reached their Attainment Status while eliminating a lot of worries and suffering.
However, there was one monk who simply was not diligent. Whenever others practiced meditation, he would just go to sleep. His fellow disciples tried to reason with him, but he would not change.
The monk's greatest weakness was oversleeping. Everyday he would to go sleep after he ate a meal. When he slept, he kept his door closed tightly and slept alone in his room. No one could wake him up, no matter how hard they tried.
One day at noon, after begging for food on the street, the monk came back carrying his alms bowel. He went straight to his room and fell asleep. The snoring from his room could be heard till the next morning.
The next morning, it was time for Shakyamuni to teach the Buddha Fa to the public. Every disciple was present, except the monk who liked to sleep. Shakyamuni asked, "Why doesn't the disciple who likes to sleep come?"
A disciple quickly stood up and replied, "Buddha, he has been sleeping since noon yesterday. We could not wake him no matter what we tried."
Shakyamuni remembered that the monk only had seven days to live. If he died while sleeping all the time, his death would bring him unhappiness. Shakyamuni had great pity for the monk. He instructed his disciples to recite a scripture and took Ananda with him to see the monk in his room.
They could hear the thunderous snoring before they reached the monk's room. They opened the door only to hear even louder snoring. The monk was still in bed in a deep sleep.
Ananda called the monk's name a few times, but the monk did not respond and continued sleeping. Then, Shakyamuni walked to his bed and gently shook him. The monk immediately woke up.
Upon seeing Shakyamuni standing before him and gazing at him with compassion, the monk immediately got up and bowed to Shakyamuni, saying, "Revered Buddha, please forgive me for being disrespectful."
Shakyamuni said to him, "You only have seven days to live. I cannot bear to see you die while sleeping so much and failing to reach an upright Attainment Status. I'm here to wake you up."
The monk was shocked. It had never occurred to him that he might only have seven days to live. He was frightened and did not know what to do.
Shakyamuni comforted him and said, "It is predestined for you. Several lifetimes ago when you were a monk, you indulged in food and sleep and never pondered the meaning of the Fa. You did not follow the Buddhist's precepts. You did not sow any blessings or virtue, therefore you reincarnated as a rice worm for 50,000 years. Then, you reincarnated as a snail, a mussel, and a moth for 50,000 years each.
"In your previous lives you liked to live in dark places without light, and you treasured your body and life very much. What's more unusual is that all four different beings were fond of sleeping and could sleep for over 100 years once they fell asleep. You did not try at all to be diligent. After 200,000 years you were finally able to repay the sin you had committed. Then, you reincarnated as a human and became a monk.
"Now that you have become a monk you should cultivate and study diligently to make up for what you previously lost. I did not expect that you would still be so attached to food and sleep like you were 200,000 years ago. Why do you always feel like you do not get enough sleep? Don't forget the consequences you suffered 200,000 years ago."
Shakyamuni stopped talking. The monk blushed from shame. He quickly repented to Shakyamuni. When he criticized himself deeply and repented, all his distracted thoughts disappeared. He was able to attain the status of Arhat by the end of his life.
There are only 24 hours in a day. People usually say that time passes by in the blink of an eye. The average person sleeps eight hours a day. People who oversleep may end up spending most of their time in sleep and dreams and therefore accomplish very few major tasks in a lifetime. Several decades pass by quickly in the human world. You'll indeed regret it if you do not firmly seize the opportunity. Sometimes you feel like life is long, but you don't know when death will take you. By that time, you will not have done a good job completing the tasks you were supposed to do and the missions you were supposed to fulfill. Even worse, you may not have made the effort to do those things at all. Nothing will help, no matter how regretful you feel. Do you really want to become a sleep worm in your next life?
The monk who overslept finally realized that he needed to seize the time he had left and not be sleepy and drowsy all the time. A cultivator stresses the importance of striving forward diligently in Buddha cultivation. How can a sleepy and drowsy person become as diligent as a mighty lion? A cultivator should seize every minute, sleep less, and cultivate more to succeed in cultivation.