What am “I”? We might point at our nose or tap our chest and say, “This is me,” but am “I” in my face or in my heart? These are “my face” and “my body,” not myself. This month, let us learn about a story to do with one of Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciples, Daigo, who cast a question: What am “I”?
One day, back when Daigo was a merchant, he was on his way home from another country. However, he got lost and the sun set. With no inns around, he had no choice but to sleep near a graveyard. But then an unearthly sound awoke him. Daigo saw a red demon coming, carrying a dead body. He climbed a tree in haste and watched the demon, shaking with fear. Before long a blue demon appeared. “Give me that body,” said the blue demon. “I found this before you! I won’t give this to you!" said the red demon, and so the demons began fighting. Then the red demon pointed at Daigo in the tree and said, “There is a man up there who has been watching us for a while. Let’s ask him who it belongs to. He can be the witness.” Daigo was shocked. Realizing that he could not avoid being eaten now, he decided to tell the truth. “That body belongs to the red demon,” he said. The blue demon became angry and dragged Daigo down from the tree. He pulled off one of Daigo’s legs and ate it. The red demon felt sorry for him, so he took a leg from someone’s dead body and put it onto Daigo. This made the blue demon furious, so he pulled off Daigo’s arms and ate them. Then the red demon took the arms off of the dead body and put them onto Daigo. The blue demon kept on eating parts of Daigo’s body and the red demon kept on replacing the lost parts afterwards. After the blue demon left, the red demon said, “Thank you for telling the truth. It made me happy.” Then he went away too. Daigo was left alone. He stood up and walked, but he felt nothing strange. However, it was absolutely clear that the arms and legs he had now were not the ones he originally had. He wondered whose legs and arms they were. He went back to his town and walked around, shouting, “Whose body is this?” Because of this, people began to call him “Daigo,” which means “shouting loudly.”
Where Am “I”? Today, organ transplants are commonplace. However, in the future, doctors may be able to perform whole body transplants. Daigo’s arms and legs were not his own, but this is not only the case for him. Then, where am “I”? Buddhism clearly shows us the answer.
The Buddha’s wisdom is the light that brightens our life. If we practice the Buddhist teachings, our daily life will dramatically change.