Finding Water or the Truth

Finding Water or the Truth

One day the Buddha was walking on a lonely road together with a disciple. Noticing water some distance away he decided to stop. He sat down under a shady Pipal tree and said: “Bhrigu, let us rest under this tree for a while. I am very thirsty. Go bring me some water from that pond over there.”

Bhrigu went to the pond and saw that the water was muddy and unfit to drink. He guessed that some animal had entered and stirred the water. On returning to the Pipal tree he suggested to the Buddha that they walk further and drink from a cleaner source.

The Buddha heard attentively and said, “No Bhrigu, I would rather drink now. I am thirsty, and who knows how far the next well might be.”

Bhrigu obediently returned to the pond and quietly sat down. The water, of course, was still muddy. He sat like a statue and watched the water quietly with full attention. Over 30 minutes ticked by. He noticed that mud was settling down and the upper layer was becoming clear. He took some in his hand and found that it was drinkable.

Bhrigu became hopeful and waited a bit more. Soon the top layer of clean water in the pond was deep enough for him to fill the bowl. Very carefully he dipped the edge of the bowl and scraped the upper layer of clean water into it. He brought it to the Buddha and handed him the bowl. The guru had been waiting patiently. He smiled sweetly, took the bowl from the disciple, and drank the water.

Bhrigu’s face shone with a sense of wonder. He said, “Bhante Bhagwan, thanks for teaching me a priceless lesson.”

The Buddha asked, “What have you learned, Bhrigu?”

“I have learned sir, that when you dig for water you need to keep digging till you reach it. If you do that you will surely find water but if you are impatient and dig many shallow pits, you will never find water and die of thirst.”

The Buddha applauded his disciple’s brilliant insight and added, “and this rule applies to all human quests, especially to the most difficult spiritual aspiration.”

March 24, 2007