A Parable Taught by Śākyamuni Buddha
When learning the Buddhist teaching accurately, it is no doubt that discussion is highly important. However, it is meaningless to argue for argumentʼs sake. Such fruitless discussions are strictly rejected by Śākyamuni Buddha.
One day an ascetic with a dissatisfied look visited Śākyamuni. He complained about being unable to hear what he wants to know from Śākyamuni. “Is there a limit to the universe?” “Until when is this world going to last?“ These are the questions he wanted Śākyamuni to answer. Then Śākyamuni taught him a parable as follows:
Suppose a man was pierced by a poison arrow, and a surgeon was called to extract it. But the man objected, saying, “Wait a little. Before you begin, I want to know who shot this arrow. Was it a man or a woman? Was it someone of noble birth or not? Was it a big bow or a small bow, that shot the arrow? What was the bow-string made of, fiber or gut? Was the arrow made of rattan, or of reed? What feathers were used? You must not extract the arrow until I know all the answers to these.” Before long the poison circulated through his system and this man died.
Śākyamuniʼs words continued: “Impermanence is quick. The suffering of old age, sickness and death are real problems. I am teaching about the root cause of this suffering and the way of a solution. You have to know the important matter of life.
Being exposed to the profoundness of Buddhism, the look of dissatisfaction has disappeared from the asceticʼs face and he left.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #20 | 2012, Analyzing the Poison Before Removing It?
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