Advertisement

Blind man with a lantern

topic posted Wed, March 2, 2005 - 8:10 AM by  Alanna
Share/Save/Bookmark
A blind man was leaving his friend's house and the friend handed him a lantern to take on his way.

The blind man said that he didn't need the lantern since it made no difference to him whether it was light or dark.

The friend said that if the blind man did not take the light, someone might run into him. The blind man agreed to take the lantern with him.

As the blind man was walking along, he ran into another person walking the same path. The blind man got flustered and said "what's wrong, can't you see a light right in front of you?" The other traveller then told the blind man that his light was already out.

Moral: Using ideas of one person to enlighten another is like the blind man with the lantern; the light may go out along the way and you'll never know.
posted by:
Alanna
Canada
Advertisement
  • Unsu...
     

    Re: Blind man with a lantern

    Wed, March 2, 2005 - 10:36 AM
    Alanna, thank you for sharing your thoughts and observations.

    A request: could you please keep a single thread running, so the forum doesn't get too crowded? Like a "Daily Wisdom" thread.

    gassho~
    Barnaby
  • Re: Blind man with a lantern

    Wed, March 2, 2005 - 2:50 PM
    hmmm ... and i thought it went like this ...

    As the blind man was walking along, he ran into another person walking the same path. The blind man got flustered and said "what's wrong, can't you see a light right in front of you?" The other traveller then told the blind man that his light was already out. [Then the blind man handed the lantern to the traveler who then lit the light and the two continued down the path together.

    Moral: One might carry a light that may not be intended to illuminate their own path, but may eventually aid another in finding their way.]

    ;o
    • Re: Blind man with a lantern

      Wed, March 2, 2005 - 9:56 PM
      thanks for your observation mara!

      No doubt the story can be told that way as well. With these zen stories, i often find that there are a few different takes on them, however, I believe that the moral for each version is actually very similar: What works for one may not work for everyone, yet we are all capable of aiding others in our own (perhaps different)ways.
      • Re: Blind man with a lantern

        Thu, March 3, 2005 - 2:34 AM
        both stories are good. the point isn't the story but the moral, although they aren't two stories.

        stories are just ornaments anyway.
        • Re: Blind man with a lantern

          Mon, April 11, 2005 - 1:56 AM
          This thread reminds me of the quote...
          If you see the Bhudah on the path,
          Kill him.
          That one took me a minute to grasp but it has been in my mind ever since. Not the words I would choose but I think it makes sence.
          TAJ
          • Re: Blind man with a lantern

            Mon, April 18, 2005 - 11:38 AM
            i've read, "empty your bowl so it can be filled." same lesson i think.

            i've been called a "bad buddhist" for following such advise. i felt i was so intuned with zen that a mere day indulgence wouldn't be lesson enough, that to completely turn my back to zen, to live the superficial life would be the challenge for me to come back from that, and i have, almost.

            it turns out that the ones who called me a "bad buddhist" for doing such arrived at such conclusion out of jealousy. sorta like a pot calling the kettle a pot.
  • Re: Blind man with a lantern

    Mon, April 11, 2005 - 2:21 AM
    Hehe, I like it.

    It's kind of how a consultant tells the company that he has come to the conclusion that the company would benefit from less consultants.
    Or how the principal of a small school wants to join with a larger school to reduce bureaucracy.
    Both things happened here recently, and they both lost their jobs.

    A koan against koans, the paradox is so zen that it's mindblowing :)
    • Re: Blind man with a lantern

      Mon, April 11, 2005 - 7:30 PM
      Robin: I see the irony in your analogies, but I don't quite understand the meaning of TAJ's koan or how your analogies compare to the koan.

      Why sould one kill the buddha upon meeting on a path?
      • Re: Blind man with a lantern

        Tue, April 12, 2005 - 1:57 AM
        The moral, or the intended moral anyway, of the "blind man with lantern" post, was that you cannot use the teachings of someone to educate someone else.
        Noone writes a koan based upon their own experiences, others write them down. (I have never read a koan atleast, with words like "I went there", "I did this". It's always "The monk went there", "The student did this".)
        So it's a koan, saying that you can't use koans to reach enlightenment. I like it :)

        I think I've heard other koans with similar moral, but I'll have to get back to you on that.
  • Unsu...
     

    Re: Blind man with a lantern

    Mon, April 18, 2005 - 8:03 AM
    Alanna the irony of your intro post is that it is doing exactly what it condems... so are you saying that you are a blind person with a lantern?

    I enjoy the stories, but I'll come up with my own morals thank you.
    • Re: Blind man with a lantern

      Thu, April 21, 2005 - 1:21 AM
      The irony is marvelous, I smiled like crazy first time I read it.
      I find it to be right, and wrong.
      I mean, I don't think that I can't find enlightenment through reading other people's works.
      But at the same time, I don't think I can enlighten someone else by passing on the work I find to be enlightening.

      "I enjoy the stories, but I'll come up with my own morals thank you. "
      I bet that's the point of some koan out there ;)
    • thank-you chocmoolz!

      Sat, April 23, 2005 - 6:50 AM
      I do not force anyone to read.

      That is done by your own volition, so if you think that you are your own best teacher then that is great!

      And THAT is precisely what the koan is stating.

      The point is not necessarilly WHERE the lesson comes from (for lessons can be found at all times and in all things), but WHAT is taken from it. Choose to take what you will, and I will do the same, but do not forget that your choice could not be made without mine and mine could not be made without yours.

Recent topics in "Zen ( Mahayana Buddhism )"

Topic Author Replies Last Post
O Bodhisattvas! For the benefit of all beings, starting with a... Jan 1 Today, 2:01 AM
Science, Psychology and Buddhism Unsubscribed 4 November 28, 2014
Chanting in zazen practice Lydia 28 November 28, 2014
Are You Practicing? Unsubscribed 19 November 28, 2014