God Alone Is Real, Al Drucker – Early Devotees

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Here’s an interesting article from Al Drucker recently published on his website. (link provided.) I will provide more information on this post at a later date when I have the time. I am still away in India, this being my last week. I found here at the ashram as always, a sublime peace that  permeated everything, and everywhere. The vibes in the Mandir, hall and surrounding area remain as blissful as ever.


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The Highest Teachings of the Non-dual Vedanta

God alone is real. Besides the One God (who is also known as Brahman or Atma) nothing else exists. A world without God is utter illusion. Such a world can never exist. From the standpoint of Reality, a God-less world is nothing. No matter how real it may appear, it is totally illusory, a momentary perturbation in Eternity, signifying nothing.

On the other hand, when you see the world and yourself as firmly implanted in God Awareness, vitalized and governed by God Presence, your perception radically changes. As you become filled with God you become subsumed in God, and you, as you previously knew yourself within, disappear. Though you may continue for a time as a body, your separate identity as an individual in the world dissolves, and you shine forth as the unchanging God Awareness, the one universal person masquerading as the many.

As long as you live your whole life in the deluded state of separation, unaware of your non-dual Reality, you will see a world of variety, a world of many separate objects, countless beings and things outside of you. In your curiosity you ask the question, “Who created all this multiplicity, who caused this world of variety to spring forth?” You will hear stories of creation which attempt to answer that, and they may satisfy you for a moment. But they cannot give an enduring, believable, uncontroversial answer to your question. Why? Because your question makes no sense! Your question, “Who created all this variety?” is meaningless – precisely because there never was, is, or will be, any multiplicity in Truth. No being, force, circumstance or accident, produced a world of multiplicity. How could it have arisen? Where would it have come from?

The most likely candidate to spin out such a separative world is the egoic, dream-making wizardry of the human mind! But, despite its creation stories, multiplicity can never occur. The One remains as One. It’s just that you mistook It and spun it into the many.

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God, the Supreme Reality, did not change into a relative world, just as at dusk, a rope lying on the path did not suddenly change into a snake. In the twilight, you imagine the rope to be a frightful snake, and convince yourself the snake is really there, threatening you. But the rope is still a rope, and remains a rope. It’s just that you mistook it to be a snake.

In a similar way, God is God forever, but your ignorance of this fact made you see God as a world of many. In your deluded perception, you look on the One God, but unable to identify It, you concoct an illusory world in which you unknowingly label God by all the myriad worldly names and forms that you give meaning to. You believe all these to be real, but they are unreal, for no separate objects can exist in Reality. Only God exists.

You think you see an objective world outside of you, but there is nothing outside of you. What you see is always only what you yourself made up and projected to appear to be outside. Wherever you look, you always see only yourself. You see either your True Self, which is one with God, or your false self, which appears in the form of the objects and beings of the illusory world of separation. This latter path, driven by false perceptions, will keep you bound.

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Don’t subject yourself to that suffering! Correct your vision! Remove your delusion! Focus and dwell on God, who alone is real!

The world stands on one leg, Maya, namely, illusion. Kick down that leg and the whole world falls. Maya is not real. It is nothing. It disappears when you give it no further support and stop feeding it with your energy and belief.

You now experience the absence of this multiplicity, the disappearance of this world based on illusion, every day in deep sleep. But when you return to waking consciousness you do not hold on to that experience. That is a great tragedy! When you are deep asleep, what happens to your world? Where does all that multiplicity disappear to? What is the source of joy that sound sleep brings? Deep sleep keeps a tiny trace of the ego as a seed, a memento of the false world. When you awaken, you grab hold of that seed, and the next instant you again find yourself to be the same deluded individual you were before you fell asleep, again pestered by creatures of your own fantasies, imaginary boogeyman that you yourself made up!

Sathya Sai baba as I remember him

Sathya Sai Baba as I remember him

Sai Baba said, “I often tell you not to identify me with just this particular physical build-up; but you do not understand. You call me by only one name and believe I have only one form. But, there is no name I do not bear and there is no form that is not mine. And what is true for me is equally true for you.

You are God, you are the Atma, you are the One Self. You are not this temporary body or the separate personality it has identified with in the world. You are not an individual in a world of illusion. Correct your perception. It is said, ‘Dust if you think, dust you are; God if you think, God you are.’ Be the God you truly are! Nothing is ever outside of you. You, your Self, are God! Realize It and be happy!

– Based on a talk given by Sai Baba 11/24/62, and expanded on by Al Drucker, 4/1/15

Heartbreak – David Whyte


Rapunzel and the Magic Flower by RosyChiovaro77

Dear Folks –

I am still away in India with one more week to go. I think I’ve spent my time wisely considering most of the time the temps. have been in the high 30’s centigrade. I did get up early each morning to attend the chanting of the Vedas and the bhajans – both were delightful as always. Most of my days were spent in the ashram garden, where the birds sang their mantras and the butterflies were fluttering in the Neem trees, and the wading birds attending to fishing in the lily pond. I shall miss all of this dreadfully but i feel my physical strength is not up to more. (I wish it was).  Last night it rained and what a relief it has been. The morning (today) brought cooler weather and breezes. I bought pink roses, one for my hair, the other for the altar in the garden. (sigh) – I wish I could be as free at home –  Eve

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I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow and called out, “It tastes sweet, does it not?”

“You’ve caught me,” grief answered, “and you’ve ruined my business. How can I sell sorrow when you know it’s a blessing?” ~ Rumi


“When there’s no getting over that rainbow, when the smallest of dreams won’t come true….” – Yes, I’ve been there, haven’t you? The need to reach out and touch another, and yet that ‘other’ is not able to deal with us or our pain. Perhaps their own pain is all too much. Who knows. We often befriend the most unlikely people and for all the wrong reasons. What were we thinking of ?  The truth is, we often don’t think at all on these matters. Now it’s time to let go and move on. For when we don’t let go, a relationship can  become bad, or even toxic to the point of despair.  The Great Wisdom Masters tell us: “Our good friends are our gifts in life. Others are our painful lessons.”

I concur with this.  But even painful lessons pass, although perhaps etched on our hearts forever more. David Whyte has written this beautiful piece, on ‘Heartbreak’, that I want to share with you.


source - beauty of the arts

source – beauty of the arts

Heartbreak is unpreventable; the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control, of holding in our affections those who inevitably move beyond our line of sight. Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot. In other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day.

Heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average lifetime. Heartbreak is our indication of sincerity: in a love relationship, in work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better, more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is just as much an essence and emblem of care as the spiritual athlete’s quick but abstract ability to let go.

Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going. Heartbreak is inescapable, yet we use the word ‘heartbreak’ as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream, a child lost before their time. Heartbreak, we hope, is something we hope we can avoid; something to guard against, a chasm to be carefully looked for and then walked around. The hope is to find a way to place our feet where the elemental forces of life will keep us in the manner to which we want to be accustomed and which will keep us from the losses that all other human beings have experienced without exception since the beginning of conscious time.

But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way…

From the upcoming Third Readers’ Circle Essay – ‘HEARTBREAK’

Mirrors – Spirituality

PenguinsWe, so often in life, serve as mirrors for one another. We look to our relatives to find out whether we are loveable, look to others  to see if we are capable of being loved. We want to know we carry an innate radiance within ourselves. And what a tremendous gift, to enable someone’s return to the awareness of their own loveliness.

When we see the goodness in others, we enable them to ‘flower from within’, and of self-blessings. This is what ‘Metta’ is all about, really. It’s the reteaching of loveliness to all we come in contact with. I cannot write too much on Metta because I am not the best practitioner of the art. Here is something I found recently that I hope you will enjoy.

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Koala Creativity — for me — that’s where the power is, that’s where the healing is. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, to make something that is beautiful and not destructive, or to make something that is useful and not destructive, that’s the healing power of the artist.

For me, as someone who spends so much time in solitude, it has been about making actual objects—making stories and making quilts. And making friends with somebody, that’s very good too. And we, all together, make political movements; we make changes in society.
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we live in a culture that bombards us with destructive images that are killing us

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One of our big problems is that we live in a culture that bombards us with destructive images that are killing us.

I think that children are battered so badly by destructive, negative images from television, mainly, and the movies, that they often have no idea that they can ‘create’ in a way that’s not destructive. They actually think that creation itself is destructive. That’s a terrible place for us to find ourselves in, where our children really believe that.
– Alice Walker

The Parable of the Light Princess (Jewish) – Myths and Legends

Hi folks, having a lovely time here in Prasanthi. The gardens are exquisite and full of bouganvillas, butterflys and beauty. Don’t really want to leave here it is such a treat after the cold winters in Europe.

Here is one of my favourite parables from years ago. Happy Ugadi – New Year !!


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I love this short story. Actually it’s a parable within the Jewish Faith. I have had it at the back of the blog for sometime now, where it is not seen. Hopefully bringing it to the front page will be a good way of sharing it.. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

aawhiteed


There was once a long time ago, a lovely princess who made her home in the Temple In Jerusalem. She was not an ordinary princess, oh no, she was very special for she was made of light.

Her father, was the ruler of the world and made his home in a heavenly palace. There he had two thrones, a throne of justice and another throne of mercy. Because he was a good and wise ruler, he used the thrones to make the laws. When he sat on the throne of justice, he was stern and very strict. When he sat on the throne of mercy he was a forgiving and loving ruler. The king had sent his princess into the world to give out blessings and light.

Most of the time the princess was invisible, although people could sense her presence, and once in a while they saw her in visions and sometimes in dreams.

Sometimes she appeared as a princess and sometimes as a lovely bride and at other times she would appear as a saintly person, she could sometimes be seen hovering over the Temple. Then the people would gather together and say to each other, ‘the princess is with us!’ Whenever she appeared they would utter prayers, for they knew that as long as the princess was there, her father the king, was also protecting them.

While the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the princess of light was always happy, her days were full of blessings.

But when the Temple was torn down, the princess was sorrowful. She saw how the people of Jerusalem were forced to leave their homes and decided she would also leave the Temple and go into exile with the people.


Her father called upon all the princes in the world to go and find her


When her father learned that she had left the Temple and gone into exile, he called upon all the princes in the world to go and find her and to report back to him with news to where the princess was. He promised the prince who found her that he would wed him to the princess. He foretold that on the day of the marriage, all the people in the world would celebrate their marriage.

Now all the princes wanted to marry the princess whose father was the ruler of the world. Each went his separate way in search of the princess. Some looked to the North, others to the East, a few went to the South, and others to the West. They searched every town and village, in every house and under every bed. But even though they searched everywhere, they could not find her.

At last there was but one prince left who had not searched for the princess. Now it was his chance to go and look and he could not turn down the quest. Before he set out into the world, he went around his castle saying to himself, ‘Where is it that the princess is so well-hidden, yet the same time always with her people?’

This prince sought out a wise rabbi and the rabbi said, ‘There is only one thing in the world that is always with our people, and that thing is the holy book, the Torah.’ ‘Well’ said the prince, ‘you must teach me the words of the holy book.’ The rabbi agreed.

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The prince had to study the Torah for many years before he was able to master it, but a day came when he had become such a master of the teachings, that he was able to find out where the princess was hidden.

And as was the case, his search came to an end one day while he was reading the holy book. For all of a sudden he glimpsed the princess hidden in the sacred words of the Torah. The prince as he became filled with wisdom was able to see the shining brightness of the princess in the holy words, and his eyes were filled with luster.

Now the prince knows where the princess is hidden, he is determined to set her free. And when he does, her father the ruler of the world will keep his promise to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, that was once her home and on the day of their wedding the whole world will celebrate.


-retold by moi from the Original.

Such A Perfect Day – Elephant Orphanage

srilankaelephants121Volunteers with the elephants

My trip is half over now, must say the time went by quickly. I have been busy taking pics. – lots of them.The heat is well into the 30 degree range with rain sometimes. It’s really too hot to do anything. I have enjoyed my stay in Prashanthi Nilayam and so enjoy the Vedas and the bhajans, also other chants. Oh! how sublime it is here, away from the daily drudge of cleaning, washing and doing the shopping. I have many stories to share with you all, but they will have to wait until my return. My most pleasant surprise has been the superb food, not usually what I expect on my trips here to Puttaparthi.  

– love eve xxxx


 

I’ve dragged out another old document with a travel story from long ago. I can’t remember just what year I visited  Pinnawela? I guess it was at least 12 years back. I’d forgotten I’d written this yarn. This adventure, is one worth sharing, although not really in keeping  with  my blog. I could blog it under Ganesha, I suppose, the Hindu Elephant God Ganesha – the remover of obstacles. I love reading myths about Ganesha, still there’s nothing like a real elephant. To see them is to love them dearly.

Ganesh wood carving. Japan. Early Buddhist brought Ganesh to Japan.

Ganesh wood carving. Japan. Early Buddhist brought Ganesh to Japan.

Such A Perfect Day at Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage – Sri Lanka

Although the mini-bus was fully air-conditioned and comfortable our three-hour drive from Kandy to Pinnawela proved exhausting.

The boiling sun roasted the countryside making the air thick with dust. Also the war had taken its toll on the roads where we encountered numerous pot-holes and rough patches that caused our stomachs to roll over. Our driver manoeuvred our vehicle to avoid them but it was an “un-perrrrrfect” skill on his part.

My friend Karon who lives in Sri Lanka, helped to make the drive interesting by pointing out favourite landmarks along the way, telling me their history. She also insisted that our driver play her favourite cassette tape. The cassette had only one song – “A Perfect Day,” by Eric Clapton. The song amused me with its endless repetitions of the same four words – dare I repeat them, “Just A Perfect Day.” But after an hour or so our poor driver sighed and pulled at his hair,

“Enough!” he wailed. “Enough, enough, enough.”

I nodded quietly agreeing with him.

We continued our journey to the steady rhythm of Enya singing “In Memory of Trees”.

Our driver gave a mischievous grin, “Wonderful!” he exclaimed and began to sing along, but horribly out of tune.

At exactly 11.40 a.m. the driver informed us we were entering the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. He hurriedly parked the mini-bus and urged us to go quickly because at noon the baby elephants were to be fed.

We rushed to the entrance paid our 50-rupee each fee, then sped to the enclosure where the babies were kept. Oh! What a beautiful sight met our eyes. Miniature elephants of varying size stood eagerly waiting their morning meal. Several really small ones, stomped their feet anxiously as they waited.

Others moved their heads up and down in an attempt to draw attention to their hungry bellies. The older ones trumpeted with undisguised impatience; they had to wait until last. We struggled to get nearer to the orphans but there was a large crowd.

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Eventually we managed a front row spot,  where I could stretch out my hand to stroke one of the smallest babies. The infant still covered with baby hair felt like a brillo pad! I continued to stroke him/her, but he/she wasn’t having it. He/she roared at me, until I withdrew my hand. The infant although appealing still looked dangerous. The keeper seeing my concern came over and began to feed the baby elephant, who took the bottle greedily. The little thing closed her eyes, her long lashes looked almost like false ones. They were long and thick.

We tried to find out more about the orphans but the keepers were too busy. Our friendly bus driver joined us and offered intriguing details about the orphans. He had been bringing people here for years and had a wealth of knowledge he could share. He told us that most of the orphans had lost their parents in the continuing war in Northern Sri Lanka. We heard that one youngster had been found wandering with a group of wild buffalo and was eventually rescued and brought to the centre only a few days earlier. Another teenager elephant, crippled by a land mine, had been saved by soldiers and brought to the orphanage where the vets had amputated a back leg. The injury had taken three years to heal. The injured elephant had little trouble following the rest of the herd to the river, even on three legs.

After the baby orphans had been fed we made our way down to the river, where the joyful trumpeting of the adults was heard as they wallowed in the water. The elephants were divided into groups to aid them in establishing new family herds. They rubbed and trunk-hosed each other fondly, trying to keep cool in the soaring temperatures. Several youngsters caught my eye as they stood heaving their trunks over their backs splattering mud and water everywhere.

Fascinated by these gentle beasts, I wanted a closer view. I removed my shoes and with Karon’s help, climbed down the steep incline to the riverside. From my new vantage point, I could see that the river run deep in the middle, while flanked on both sides by a steamy jungle. A perfect setting for the wild elephants. Directly in front of me two huge adults, were lying on their sides in the river, being lovingly scrubbed by their keepers. Being within hearing range, I could hear the keepers giving commands to the great beasts who followed them attentively.

“Come closer,” one of the keepers shouted to me.

“Oh! no,” I cried. “It’s too muddy and I may slip.” Being close to the elephants was treat enough but I didn’t want to push my luck.

“Beautiful creatures,” I yelled. “What’s their names?

“This one is Lila.” The keeper nearest to me shouted back while pointing to the beast lying in the water beside him. “I’m the mahout.” (keeper)

Lila eyed me curiously, rolled over, and stood up. He was of gargantuan size!

“Oh!” I exclaimed, gingerly stepped backwards. “Is Lila dangerous?”

The keeper laughed and called a command to Lila who trudged towards him through the thick mud.

He can be dangerous but not with me in charge.” Assured the mahout with a chuckle.

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vols-river2From the rocks. A good vantage point for seeing the elephants in the river

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Karon stretched out her hand, “Here take your camera,” she said. “And be careful.” I took several photos of Lila until he came a tad too close. At which time I made a speedy retreat through the rocks.  From the safely on the riverbank, I waved to the mahout who continued to brush and wash the elephant.

“Now you’ve been close to a wild elephant,” Karon joked, her eyes twinkling with mischief. “Maybe you will be brave enough to ride one.”

Wiping the sweat from my face, I answered that I only might consider it. Karon took several more photos then we made our way to the cafe overlooking the river. We remained there sipping our ice-cold cola for sometime, watching the elephants. The younger ones as they played with each other, provided us with a glimpse of how elephants inter-act in the wild. The older ones explored the far side of the river, trumpeting as they went. The babies, farther down the river, enjoyed lessons in “elephant hygiene” given by their keepers.

One sad looking male stood chained to a rock. We were told he was ready to mate. He stood in the water, roaring ominously. Very upset with the hoards of tourist. We felt sorry for him as he stood there looking at the females, who flirted outrageously with him. Several of the elephants appeared to be sick, due to the terrible ordeals they had been through. We could only hope that with time and care they would recover and lead normal elephant lives.

At four p.m. the elephants were rounded up and led in a single file back to the orphanage. We stood captivated as each one filed past. Last but not the least; the three-legged teenager strolled by lapping up all the extra attention tourist gave him.

“Ah,” we cried, ” he’s so sweet.”

Sweet, yes, but powerful and majestic beyond measure.

From my travels…………

aawhiteed

Pinnawela-Elephant-OrphanageProperly taken from the Cafe – overlooking the river.

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I have no idea what Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is like today. I hear different reports, some suggesting the elephants are not treated too well. On my visit The elephants looked very well cared for considering a cruel  war was waging. the orphanage lacked funds, often relying on volunteers to help out.  Might add the photos are not mine. They come from the Internet. My photos are on film.

aawhiteed

Ganesh wood carving. Japan. Early Buddhist brought Ganesh to Japan.

Ganesh wood carving. Japan. Early Buddhist brought Ganesh to Japan.

The Meaning of Ganesh in Japan

Ganesha assumes 30 distinctive forms in Japanese iconography, often as a dual entity. One erotic form, specific to Shingon Buddhism, features two embracing male and female forms with elephant heads and human bodies. These are rare idols, worshipped with secret rituals inside temples. Typically, they are made of metal as they must be immersed in oil during worship. Gumyo-ji, an 8th century temple in Minami, Yokohama has one such image. Often, Japanese temple doors feature two long-robed, elephant-headed figures in an embrace.

Young Japanese popularly worship Kangiten as a symbol of conjugal bliss. Many entrepreneurs, especially those whose business involves food and drink, worship Ganesha as Shou Ten, a benevolent obstacle-remover and enhancer of wealth.

Many thanks to the Ganesh blog for details.


Have you made it to the end of this epic read?  Need a break? Here’s Lou Reed with “SUCH A PERFECT DAY..” ~  Karon, if you are still reading my blog, this one is for you and Sam!

And it was a perfect day – as Lou Reed describes !

 

Transformation – Spirituality

viola in the wind

viola in the wind

Time to say goodbye to the computer for a while. My visa was late in arriving, I very late in leaving. Here is a dainty little quotation to ponder upon in the meanwhile.  Now to  flowers again, I am sure they could tell a tale or two about the harshness of life. I have watched them grow and bloom through the cold winter season. Watched them battle each new storm, bend in strong winds, and battle with the hard frost and yet even then, they all kept their beautiful smiles.. Well done flowers. :)

 

“The basic pain of feeling separate and disconnected is fundamental human experience. Yet when we consciously reside in the physical feeling of separation, we come closer to recognizing its insubstantiality. Continually bringing the light of awareness to our viscerally held beliefs, our pretenses, our anxieties, begins to dissolve these self-imposed boundaries, the boundaries that block awareness of the vast reality of being. This is the slow transformative path to freedom.”
~
Ezra Bayda


Saying Yes to Life (Even the Hard Parts)

 


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Also several abstract art photos:

 

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my garden - spiria? not sure of the spelling of this beautiful flower

my garden – spiria? not sure of the spelling of this beautiful flower

roses in summer - my garden

roses in summer – my garden

“les rêves,” French Kiss – Camera Catches

E.D.:

From the Florist Shop in Quimper

 Photo – French kiss Texture with White flower, merged together and tinted pink.

 “Don’t worry, little dhampir. You might be surrounded by clouds, but you’ll always be like sunshine to me.”  – R. Mead, Shadow Kiss

Originally posted on Camera Catches - Photography:

From the Florist Shop in Quimper  From the Florist Shop in Quimper

Working with flowers is not always easy. It is better to have lots of time and good edit tools. Without these, flowers can be difficult subjects.  While it’s fun to take flower photos, they can be not be relied upon to look as lovely as in real life. Thus, sometimes we need to take our flower photos and make dream pics. from them.  

Flowers can make wonderful abstracts pics. To get it right takes skill, I am still working on that. Here are a few bouquet pics. that I have played with this week.  I’ve used textures such as  “French Kiss” on a few photos, others have been created with different edits that I like to use. ~      Eve


Quimper flowers Quimper flowers

“Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone fidelity
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and…

View original 113 more words

The Arrow Parable From The Buddha – Myth and Legend

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Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.”  – Gautama Buddha

BUDDHA’S PARABLE OF THE ARROW

“Imagine a man that has been pierced by an arrow well soaked in poison, and his relatives and friends go at once to fetch a physician or a surgeon. Imagine now that this man says:

“I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know the name of the man who shot it, and the name of his family, and whether he is tall or short or of medium height; until I know whether he is black or dark or yellow; until I know his village or town. I will not have the arrow pulled out until I know about the bow that shot it, whether it was a long bow or a cross bow.

I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know about the bow-string, and the arrow, and the feathers of the arrow, whether they are feathers of a vulture, or kite or peacock.

I will not have the arrow pulled out until I know whether the tendon which binds it is of ox, or deer, or monkey.

I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know whether it is an arrow, or the edge of a knife, or a splinter, or the tooth of a calf, or the head of a javelin.”

Well, that man would die, but he would die without having found out all these things.

In the same way, any one who would say: ‘I will not follow the holy life of Buddha until he tells me whether the world is eternal or not; whether the life and the body are two things, or one thing; whether the one who has reached the Goal is beyond death or not; whether he is both beyond death and not beyond death; whether he is neither beyond death nor is not beyond death.”

Well, that man would die, but he would die without Buddha having told these things.

Because I am one who says: Whether the world is eternal or not, there is birth, and death, and suffering, and woe, and lamentation, and despair. And what I do teach is the means that lead to the destruction of these things.

Remember therefore that what I have said, I have said; and that what I have not said, I have not said. And why have I not given an answer to these questions? Because these questions are not profitable, they are not a principle of the holy life, they lead not to peace, to supreme wisdom, to Nirvana.”

– Majjhima Nikaya