Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Bucket of Water

There once was a young, and impatient Prince. He wanted to learn meditation, in the hopes that it would make him a better leader, and maybe one day, a better King. He found a teacher in the village that agreed to help, and their journey together began.

At his first lesson, the Prince struggled with remaining still. He was constantly moving his hands and feet, readjusting his posture, clearing his throat, and always looking around.

"Why do I have to sit quietly?" asked the Prince. "Couldn't you just tell me the secrets you've learned from meditation? That way we could skip all of this and go straight to the advanced classes."

“I will show you why I cannot tell you,” said his teacher. The teacher got up and walked outside and the Prince followed behind. It was dark, but the moon was full and the stars were shining brightly.

The teacher put a hand into a bucket of water and stirred it quickly. "Look into the bucket," he told the Prince, "and tell me what you see."

"I see water swirling around," replied the Prince.

"Now we wait," said the teacher.

The teacher and the student sat down and watched the calming surface of the water for several minutes. Once the water was still, the teacher asked, "Now what do you see?"

"The moon, the stars, my own reflection," replied the Prince.

The teacher then added, “So too, the only way to see ourselves clearly is through a calm and settled mind.”


Our young Prince wants understanding, but he's too impatient to wait for it. He wants to be a better leader, but he doesn't want to be led.

The teacher knows that learning starts from within. The young Prince must see himself clearly before he can learn anything. He has to see and accept all of his flaws, his past mistakes, and his current weaknesses. Then he can go about improving himself.

In order to let go of something, we must first grasp it. We cannot throw a pebble, without first picking it up. We cannot give away clothing, without first owning the clothes.

In the same way, we cannot let go of a flaw until we first accept that it is ours.

Like the still water in a bucket, a calm mind enables us to see, and eventually accept, all things.

Enjoy the ride.

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