Master Bodhisattva of the Little Creek

2019 04 24

Author: Mindaugas Barysas

At the ashram of the Little Creek, where, sadly, I did not have the honour to learn the secrets of this world, Master Bodhisattva lived. He was a Bodhisattva because he did not rush to become a Buddha: after all, according to the definition, Buddha studies no more. The Master, even though he understood both the selfless singular nature of all the things and their empty impermanence, which gives them value, was enamoured by the sheer multiplicity of theirs and the ability to colour the world we dream with a rainbowish glitter – letting them all go was his last step to nirvana, but he did not wish to take that step just yet – in this way remaining a human.

The funny part is that the ashram of the Little Creek was very popular among software developers who were looking for clarity – sometimes life, sometimes world, but almost always – for the clarity of code. The Master Bodhisattva was not a great expert – he had only worked with CP/M and only as a user. However, the great Masters, the real Buddhas – who had developed on PDP-10 or even ENIAC – usually were too busy lighting the Way for millions of junior developers or hunting demons in COBOL mainframes (for significant donations to their ashrams, of course), so lonely souls suffering from dukkha and having found no consolation in the words of great Masters, talking about the beauty of the programs, born in the zenith of following the Noble Way, often appeared at the ashram of Little Creek.

– Master Bodhisattva, why does this life make us suffer so much? – these tortured souls moaned – Look, they are laughing and prancing cheerfully in their projects like in the garden of Eden – and we are standing here in the darkest corner, smoking cheap tobacco in disgust; their classes do one thing and do it well, while mine do many things and failing at them all. Here, look! Their automated tests shine with assertions, they ensure an equity of every string, while I have only one test that came with the framework, and even there someone deleted everything and left me with a single assertTrue(true).
Then they would usually start weeping, having realised how far away have they gone from the Way, and also because of anger they felt for their code.

– Calm down – Master Bodhisattva would say. – Dukkha is an essential part of ones’ life, one of three marks of existence: simply put – if you feel pain, you are alive. Do not be angry! Would you be angry at a child who accidentally broke a statuette of Buddha? Or would you feel angry that his mother who, without asking the child, brought him to life, nurtured and raised him? Code is just like an innocent child, who was brought to life and raised by a programmer to the best of his ability: the code is not guilty as is not guilty the developer, who lost himself in the footpaths of sorrow, far away from the Noble Way. Can you even conceive the horror that is to be lost and not even realise how far away from the light you are? Wipe your tears and think for a moment: if you know where the Way is, you already know how to find it – just go!

– But, Master Bodhisattva! We will never find it! – the poor souls would wail.
Master Bodhisattva would just smile.

– Every step taken towards the Noble Way is the step taken on the Noble Way. – he would say.
This is how Master Bodhisattva thought about inherited code.
His story only begins…