Monday, December 5, 2016
There is a story of a man who came to see the Buddha because he had heard that the Buddha was a great teacher. He had some problems in his life, and he thought the Buddha might be able to help him straighten them out.
The Buddha listened patiently to the man as he laid out all his difficulties and worries, and then waited for the Buddha to say the words that would put everything right for him.
The Buddha said, "I can't help you."
"What do you mean?" said the man.
"Everybody's got problems," said the Buddha. "In fact, we've all got eighty-three problems, each one of us. Eighty-three problems, and there's nothing you can do about it. If you work really hard on one of them, maybe you can fix it - but if you do, another one will pop right into its place."
The man was furious. "I thought you were a great teacher! I thought you could help me!"
The Buddha said, "Well, maybe it will help you with the eighty-fourth problem."
"The eighty-fourth problem?" said the man. "What's the eighty-fourth problem?"
The Buddha said, "You want to not have any problems."
- Steve Hagen
from Buddhism Plain and Simple
art by Alex Arshansky