photo from Eve’s flower collection – England 2016
The Buddha was visiting a small village in India. Several people brought a blind man to him and said,
“This man is blind and we are his closest friends. Although we try in every way to convince him that there is light, he is not ready to accept such a fact. His arguments are such that we are at a loss. Even though we know that there is light, we have to admit defeat. The man tells us that he wants to touch the light. Now how do we make it possible for him to touch the light? Then the man says, ‘Ok, if it cannot be touched then I want to hear it. I have ears. Make the sound of light so that I can hear it. If this is also not possible then I want to taste it, or if the light has a fragrance I want to smell it.'”
There is no way to convince the man. Light can only be seen if one has eyes – and he has no eyes. He complained to the village people that they were unnecessarily talking about light just to prove that he was blind. He felt that they had invented the story of light just to prove him blind.
So the people asked Buddha if, as he was in the village for a while, perhaps he could make their blind man understand.
Buddha said, “I am not mad enough to try to convince him! Mankind’s problems have been created by people who have tried to explain things to those who cannot see. Preachers are a plague to humanity. They tell people things which they cannot understand.”
So he said, “I won’t make this mistake. I will not explain to this blind man that there is light. You have brought him to the wrong person. There was no need to bring him to me, take him instead to a physician who can treat his eyes. He does not need preaching, he needs treatment. This is not a question of explanations, or of him believing in things you tell him, it is a question of treatment for his eyes. If his eyes get cured then there will be no need for you to explain; he himself will be able to see, he himself will be able to know.”
Buddha was saying that he didn’t consider religion to be just a philosophical teaching – it should be a practical cure. So he recommended that the blind man be taken to a physician.
The villagers liked what Buddha said so they took the blind man to a physician for treatment and fortunately he was cured after a few months. By that time Buddha had gone to another village so the blind man followed him. He bowed to Buddha, touched his feet and said, “I was wrong. There is such a thing as light but I couldn’t see it.”
Buddha answered, “You were certainly wrong, but your eyes got cured because you refused to believe what others told you unless you experienced it for yourself. If you had accepted what your friends had told you then the matter would have ended there and no question of treatment for your eyes would have arisen.”
One should search for one’s own understanding because one cannot attain anything by worshipping the insights of another. In fact, the search for one’s own understanding can only begin when one drops the idea of the other. As long as there is any outer substitute, as long as something is being supplied from the outside, the search cannot begin.
Nobody can reach anywhere in somebody else’s boat. And nobody can see with another’s eye – nobody ever has and nobody ever will. One has to walk on one’s own feet, one has to see with one’s own eyes, one has to live by one’s own heart beat. One has to live by oneself and one has to die by oneself. Nobody can live in another’s place; nobody can die in another’s place. Nobody can take another’s place; neither can one take anybody else’s place. If there is anything totally impossible in this world, it is the fact that no one can take anyone else’s place.