Volume 7 - Issue 08
August 2009
Other Articles

THE MUD AND THE MIND

 

Buddha, for all of us, symbolizes wisdom, compassion and absolute reality. Equanimity of mind is best understood when we observe Buddha’s reactions to events and non-events in his life. His sense of compassion moves you with its sheer purity and simplicity.

Let us share with you a day from the life of Buddha.

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Buddha, in one of his travels, was going from one town to another along with his disciples. The Holy One’s company, His observations, suggestions, and advice were gems of wisdom that His disciples were blessed to receive.

  As this team traversed some distance, they came upon a lake. Buddha voiced His need for some water as He was thirsty. “Do get me some water from the lake as I am thirsty.”

The disciple walked toward the lake to a point where he could fetch some water when he saw a bullock cart cross the lake resulting in the lake turning to a murky brown.

“Oh no,” he thought, rather disappointed about the ill-timed passing by of the bullock cart. “How do I take this muddy water to Buddha? What will He say to this?”

He walked back to Buddha not looking too happy and said to him, “Buddha, this water isn’t good to drink. It is dreadfully muddy.” Buddha waited for about a half hour and sent him back to the same lake to get Him a bit of the same water!

The disciple visibly puzzled walked back quite sure the lake wouldn’t change. A closer look showed that the lake was indeed still addled. He was right; the lake didn’t change colour in that time at all. There was no way he was going to take this water back to Buddha!

“Be like the tortoise that can live in water or on land.  That is to say, cultivate the inner calm that helps you remain with the thought of God, whether you are alone or in a crowd.  The true inner solitude (ekantha) is when you are not aware of the crowd around you.  When you are able to remain undisturbed by others, then you have perfect inner solitude.”

He marched back to his master. He was received with the same calm and waited for a while. Buddha told him to go to the lake yet again. The disciple knew not what Buddha had in mind as he found the whole exercise a bit odd.

The lake that was mucky and filthy all the while since the bullock cart left seemed to be a totally different one this time – a clean, clear lake with not a hint of brown! The mud nicely settled into a bed of sediment; it required no skill to fill his pot of crystal clear water for Buddha. Feeling triumphant after more than a single attempt, he walked back pleased to have gone back on a successful note.

Buddha in his quintessential serene look, accepted the water, and turned to this disciple and said, “Did you see what it took to get me some clean water? Nothing! You just let it be. You gave it time and what happened? The mud raced to the bottom of the lake leaving you with clean water!”

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“The same holds true for your mind as well. Just let it be. All it needs is a little bit of your time. It will quieten down on its own. It requires no effort from you to still it. It eventually happens with the help of a little time. It is effortless.”

Just how supremely powerful is this simple message? The disciple was obviously stupefied. The peace of mind that seems to elude most of us on this planet actually is right here for all of us to experience.

“It is actually effortless.” It isn’t a wearisome exercise that we think only few can get results for. It is actually that simple for all of us!”

Bhagavan Baba says, “Be like the tortoise that can live in water or on land.  That is to say, cultivate the inner calm that helps you remain with the thought of God, whether you are alone or in a crowd.  The true inner solitude (ekantha) is when you are not aware of the crowd around you.  When you are able to remain undisturbed by others, then you have perfect inner solitude.”

Dear Reader, did this article inspire you in any way? Do you have a similar story to share? Please tell us your reflections about this article by writing to [email protected] mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.

    - Heart2Heart Team

 

Illustrations: Mrs. Vidya, Kuwait

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