The blind and the elephant

translation: Mike Rooney

Once upon a time, according to a story of Buddha, there was a king of Benares. Just to amuse himself, he called together all beggars who had been blind since birth and offered a prize to the one who could best describe the animal that stood before him.

The first beggar touched, quite by chance, the animal`s leg and he reported that the animal had legs like tree trunks.

The second beggar who, again by chance, touched the animal`s tail said that the animal was as thin as a rope so it had to be a snake, about which he had already heard.

The third beggar took hold of the animal`s ear and he was convinced that the animal was as flat as a palm leaf.

And because none of them took any notice of the words of the others, none of them changed their point of view, and each of them claimed to know the truth, they all parted in disagreement.

And the king who had first laughed about these blind fools gained in wisdom about the doubtfulness of his own knowledge, thoughts, feelings and his mightiness.

We, too, should recognize our own blindness, gain from this example more tolerance and brotherliness and think in the same way as this man 2000 years ago who called upon us:

“Whatever you have done to my brothers and sisters, however small, this you have also done to me.”