An Oriental Homily

AIAWR series

An Oriental Homily

group of disciples, with their wise teacher, was seated in a field. The wise man began the discourse by making a statement and asking a question, "'Two persons walking with raindrops falling from the sky, and heaven does not drench one person.' Can you explain this?"

For a moment there were whispers among the disciples. Then one of them stood up and answered, "Because one of them is wearing a straw coat and the other is not."

Another disciple got up and responded happily, "Because the rain is scattered and does not fall onto both, so one of them got drenched but not the other."

Seeing no reply from the wise man to the two answers, a disciple quickly jumped up and explained gleefully, "Because one of them is walking along the middle of the road while the other is walking under the shelter of buildings."

A silence followed. The wise teacher then replied, "All of you based your answers on 'does not drench one person,' so of course you cannot figure out the meaning. Actually, by 'does not drench one person,' does it not mean that both persons got wet?"

The disciples were jolted by the words of the wise man. They were ashamed. Why didn't they think of it? Of course they didn't think of it. Why would they?

The adage is this: "A finger points to the moon, but the moon is not at the tip of the finger. Words point at the truth, but the truth is not in words. To seek illumination through words is to get lost in the web of words and not see the truth."

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An Oriental Homily