"Flowers for Olie, the German" by Charles Pearson, acrylic & pencil on plywood, 19 x 30, July 24, 2004
I wrote an entire article a few moments ago, but it vanished into oblivion. I can't make sense of what happened save a guardian angel decided it was best not told or remembered. Yes, I only had one glass of wine and should have drafted the article in Pages as normal...but not at home, oh no, I was too lazy and took a short cut. Then again, I've been photo-logging and chatting more than work-focus, so there's no telling what happened. Upon my notes in an old Journal 2004, I came across Stepping Stones parable & re-read it. Yes, I got it. There was something I still had not learned and still had to learn in order to succeed. The answer was always there...
Thus to end Globetrotter for the Month of May we post a parable of a raft entitled "Stepping Stones" as told by Gautama Buddha...
STEPPING STONES A Parable by Gautama Buddha
Gautama, the Buddha, was teaching one day. There was a heckler in the crowd that used to follow him from place to place, trying to trick him with deeply loaded questions.
On this particular day, he asked Gautama, "Are you telling us that your way is the only way?"
Gautama recognized this as a loaded question.
He knew if he answered " yes," then he would be accused of being a god, a falsehood, which he didn't want to impart to anyone.
If he answered "no," the heckler would accuse him of not having a message of real value. So he decided to answer a question with a story:
"A man is on a long journey. In the course of his journey, he comes upon a body of water that is too wide to swim across and too long to go around.
He knows his goal lies beyond the far shore, but is at a temporary loss as to how he can reach that distant shore. He decides to sit beneath the shade of a stand of bamboo trees and meditate on his problem.
Suddenly, he gets an idea. Standing up, he takes out his knife and begins to fashion a raft from a few of the bamboo trees. Using the raft and his own power (an important factor in this man's journey), he eventually attains the far shore.
Now, the question is: What does the man do with the raft? Should he pick it up and carry it upon his back just in case he might encounter another body of water? Or, now that the raft has served its purpose, should he leave it behind and continue on his journey unburdened?"
The heckler thought about the question posed to him and replied, "Surely he would be a fool to carry this heavy raft around on his shoulders for the rest of his life! He must leave it behind."
Gautama replied, "So it is with my teachings. As long as they assist you in the attainment of your goal, use them. As soon as they become a burden, discard them."