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

Silence, A Parable – Myth And Legend

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PAINTING: Odilon Redon, “Buddha Walking Among the Flowers,” 1905.

The mystic and author G.I. Gurdjieff, suggests that there are two world. He says, “There is in us a zone where noise and tumult have no place, and a zone where everything reverberates. Hazrat Inayat Khan also tells us through his writings, that everything emanates from silence and gives rise to all that exists, including ourselves and our many manifestations. There is so much to say about silence, but shhhh! – I won’t be saying it. Here’s a Zen tale on the subject… Enjoy! 🙂 

Learning to Be Silent:

The pupils of the Tendai School used to study meditation before Zen entered Japan. Four of them who were intimate friends promised one another to observe seven days of silence.

On the first day all were silent. Their meditation had begun auspiciously, but when night came and the oil lamps were growing dim one of the pupils could not help exclaiming to a servant: “Fix those lamps” The second pupil was surprised to hear the first one talk. “We are not supposed to say a word,” He remarked.

“You two are stupid. Why did you talk?” asked the third. “I am the only one who has not talked,” – concluded the fourth pupil.

sorry about errors on first post.. (Had to repost.)


Sai Baba’s Parable – Kodaikanal,1997 – Sathya Sai Memories Cont.

old photo of darshan in Kodaikanal during 1997

Sai Baba from a Kodaikanal Discourse, 1997

In 1997, Swami gave discourses everyday in Kodaikanal. To make them more interesting to us, he often included small parables to get the meaning across. I wrote several down. Here is one that I found fascinating.

Four Wives and Four Ways

A rich man had four wives. The first wife was highly spiritual. The second wife was sick. The third wife read many good books. The fourth was a modern wife; she enjoyed fashionable sarees and jewellry.

The rich man went to America on business. There he was delayed. He wrote to his wives to explain, and asked each of them to send a fax and tell him what they wanted him to bring home.

The fourth wife, the modern woman, wanted the husband to bring her the latest fashionable sarees and jewellry. The third wife wanted books full of information and biographies of noble people. The second wife said, “Bring the latest medicines.” The first wife said, “I don’t want anything. It is enough that you return safely.”

The husband returned. He gave the latest sarees and jewels to the fourth wife. All books he gave to the third wife. To the second wife he presented the latest medicines, and then he stayed with the first wife. The three other wives were angry, and asked, “Why do you stay there? Why don’t you stay with us?”

It is difficult to live with one wife, and beyond measure with two wives. Three wives were responsible for Rama being sent into exile. Four wives are unbearable! All three wives started to fight with him.

Then he said, “I gave you what you wanted. You wanted the jewels and sarees; you wanted good books, and you wanted medicines, but first wife wanted me, and I am staying with her.”

God is the same. He acts in a similar way. If someone prays to God, “Oh God, I want wealth and comfort.” God may grant them. If some others pray to God for wisdom, certainly God will teach them wisdom. God also has constructed the Super Specialty Hospital for those who fall sick.

But to those who pray, “Oh God, I want you!” He will be very close to that one. These are the four ways of approaching God.

– Sai Baba