Guiding Light: Quench the flames

One day, some disciples of Gautama Buddha put to him many questions concerning God. Who exactly was He? How did He manifest? Why did He create human beings?

The Buddha thought it was a waste of time to answer all those questions. So he told his disciples a story instead:

Once upon a time, there lived a man whose house was on fire. As the heat of the flames licked the walls and ceiling, as the black smoke and orange blaze intensified, he continued to sit inside his house. His neighbours, friends and family stood outside, shouting to him, “The wind is blowing! The fire is spreading! What are you doing? Please come out or you will get burnt! You will lose your life.”

The man continued to sit foolishly amidst the burning flames and yelled back to them, “What was the cause of the fire? What is the temperature of the fire? What are the chemical constituents of the fire? Unless I get the answers to these questions, I will not come out.”

The Buddha said to his disciples, “Each one of you is like this man. Your house is on fire. The fact is that you are all burning in trishna, the fire of desires. You must go and quench these flames of desire. When you have done so, you will reach the state of nirvana, enlightenment. Then, all the answers to your questions about God and divinity will become clear to you.”

We unnecessarily intellectualise and rationalise and try to find meaning in the happening of so many events and incidents. If only we learn to trust in the goodness and caring power of God and believe that His plans are perfect, we will discover true peace.

Practical tips:

It is a common tendency to instantly react, to be hasty in our outbursts, argue unnecessarily. Practise being an observer, calmly witnessing the situation. Imagine you are watching the entire situation at a distance through a set of binoculars. Realise that heated discussion and unnecessary arguments only wear the other person out, they don’t make us winners of the situation.

(Dada J.P. Vaswani is humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader.)

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