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Record My Mind: Banal Records of a Pedestrian Life

Suffering and evil overwhelm me and I stew in my own juice. 

Thursday, June 24, 2004

6/24/2004 09:04:00 pm - Letting Go at the Right Time

I've been meaning to record and write about so many things but I just didn't have enough motivation. Finally, sufficient motivation came tonight after reading this passage from Thich Nhat Hanh's Thundering Silence: Sutra on Knowing the Better Way To Catch a Snake:

"Bhikus, I have told you many times the importance of knowing when it is time to let go of a raft and not hold onto it unnecessarily. When a mountain stream overflows and becomes a torrent of floodwater carrying debris, a man or woman who wants to get across might think, 'What is the safest way to cross this floodwater?' Assessing the situation, she may decide to gather branches and grasses, construct a raft, and use it to cross to the other side. But, after arrviing on the other side, she thinks, 'I spent a lot of time and energy building this raft. It is a prized possession, and I will carry it with me as I continue my journey.' If she puts it on her shoulders or head and carrries it with her on land, bhikus, do you think that would be intelligent?"

The bhikus replied, "No, World-Honored One."

The Buddha said, "How could she have acted more wisely? She could have thought, 'This raft helped me to get across the water safely. Now I will leave it at the water's edge for someone else to use in the same way.' Wouldn't that be a more intelligent thing to do?"

The bhikus replied, "Yes, World-Honored One."

The Buddha taught, "I have given this teaching on the raft many tmes to remind you how necessary it is to let go of all the true teachings, not to mention teachings that are not true."

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