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That rainy season, many Brahmans and members of different religious sects gathered in Savatthi. They organized sermons, lectures, and debates throughout the region, inviting people from the city to attend. At the debates, different sects were given a chance to expound their doctrines. Several of the Buddha's lay disciples attended some of these debates. They told the Buddha and the bhikkhus (Buddhist monks) what they had seen and heard. They said that every metaphysical problem imaginable was presented and that every speaker considered his doctrine the only correct one. The debates began cordially but often ended in angry shouting matches.
The Buddha told his disciples the following fable:
"Once upon a time, a clever king invited several people blind from birth to visit his palace. He brought out an elephant and asked them to touch it and then describe what the elephant was like. The blind man who rubbed its legs said that the elephant was like the pillars of a house. The man who stroked its tail said they elephant was like a feather duster. The person who touched its ears said it was like a winnowing basket, and the man who touched its stomach said it was like a round barrel. The person who rubbed its head said the elephant was like a large earthenware jar, and the person who touched its tusk said the elephant was like a stick. When they sat down to discuss what the elephant was like, no one could agree with anyone else, and a very heated argument arose.
"Bhikkhus, what you see and hear compromises only a small part of reality. If you take it to be the whole of reality, you will end up having a distorted picture. A person on the path must keep a humble, open heart, acknowledging that his understanding is incomplete. We should devote constant effort to study more deeply in order to make progress on the path. A follower of the Way must remain open-minded, understanding that attachment to present views as if they were absolute truth will only prevent us from realizing the truth. Humility and open-mindedness are the two conditions necessary for making progress on the path."
Originally posted by Sahabi
May we humble ourselves and have open-minds free from incorrect concepts and reasonings. May we become humble in sharing our subjective experiences and our relative understandings.
Peace and Love to us all
Thoughts? Insights? Rebuttals?
Originally posted by Sahabi
reply to post by NorEaster
A place of such insight, understanding, and experience would be wonderful! Your first paragraph has me spiritually and intellectually aroused ^_^ I would definitely investigate it, because all of my searchings into different domains has lead me to what I hope to attain today; transcendence beyond subjective reality and personal truths. Are you asking such questions to spark thought and discussion, or do you have a recipe to go with that silver platter?