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STRAYING THOUGHTS

STRAYING THOUGHTS

As the fletcher whittles and makes straight his arrows, so the master directs his straying thoughts.
Gautam Buddha. The Dhammapada.

There is a famous Tibetan parable:
A man served a master for many, many years. The service was not pure; there was a motivation in it. He wanted a secret from the master. He had heard that the master had a secret - the secret of how to do miracles. With this hidden desire, the man was serving the master day in, day out. He was afraid to say anything about his motive, but the master was continuously watching him.
One day the master asked, ″It is better that you please speak your mind, because I am continuously seeing a motive in all the service that you do for me. It is not out of love, certainly not out of love. I don′t see any love in it and I don′t see any humility in it. It is a kind of bribery. So please, just tell me, what do you want?″
The man had been waiting for this opportunity. He said, ″I want the secret of doing miracles.″
The master said, ″Then why did you waste your time for so long? You could have told me the very first day you came. You tortured yourself and you tortured me too, because I don′t like people around me who have motives. They are ugly to look at. They are basically greedy, and greed makes them ugly. The secret is simple - why didn′t you ask me the first day? This is the secret...″
He wrote down a small mantra on a piece of paper, just three lines: ″Buddham sharanam gachchhami. Sangham sharanam gachchhami. Dhammam sharanam gachchhami.″ It means, ″I go to the feet of the Buddha; I go to the feet of the Buddha′s commune; I go to the feet of the dhamma, the ultimate law.″
And the master told the man, ″You take this small mantra with you, repeat it five times - just five times. It is a simple process. Just remember one condition while you are repeating it - take a bath, close the door, sit silently - and while you are repeating it, don′t think about monkeys.″
The man said, ″What nonsense are you talking about? Why should I think about monkeys in the first place? I have never paid any attention to monkeys in my whole life!″
The master said, ″That is up to you, but I have to tell you the condition. This is how the mantra was given to me, with this condition. If you have never thought of monkeys, so far so good. Now go home, and please never come back. You have the secret, you know the condition. Fulfill the condition and you will have miraculous powers, and whatsoever you want to do you can do. You can fly in the sky, you can read people′s thoughts, you can materialize things, and so on and so forth.″
The man rushed home; he even forgot to thank the master. That′s how greed functions; it does not know thankfulness, it does not know gratitude. Greed is absolutely unaware of gratitude; it never comes across it. Greed is a thief, and thieves don′t thank people.
The man rushed out, but he was very much puzzled: even on the way home, monkeys started appearing in his head. He saw many kinds of monkeys, small and big, and red-mouthed and black-mouthed, and he was very much puzzled - ″What is happening?″ In fact he was not thinking of anything else but the monkeys. And they were becoming bigger and they were crowding all around.
He went home, he took a bath, but the monkeys were not leaving him. Now he was becoming suspicious that they were not going to leave him while he was chanting the mantra. He had not even chanted the mantra yet, he was simply preparing. And when he closed his doors, the room was full of monkeys - it was so crowded that he had no space for himself! He closed his eyes and there were monkeys, he opened his eyes and there were monkeys. He could not believe what was happening. The whole night he tried. Again and again he would take a bath, and again and again he would try, and fail, and fail utterly.
In the morning he went to the master, returned the mantra and said, ″Keep this mantra with you. This is driving me mad! I don′t want to do any miracles, but please help me to get rid of these monkeys!″

Comment

It is so impossible to get rid of a single thought! And if you want to get rid of it, it becomes even more difficult, because when you want to get rid of a thought it raises the question -it is a very decisive moment - of who is the master, the mind or you? The mind will try in every possible way to prove that he is the master and not you.
The master has been a slave for centuries, and the slave has been the master for millions of lives. Now the slave cannot leave all his privileges and priorities so easily. He is going to give you great resistance.
You try it! Today take a bath, close your doors, repeat this simple mantra: Buddham sharanam gachchhami. Sangham sharanam gachchhami. Dhammam sharanam gachchhami -and don′t let the monkeys come to you ...
You are laughing at the poor man. You will be surprised: you are that man.
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STRAYING THOUGHTS