Buddha Vacana (August 4, 2555)
Once The Lord addressed the monks saying: “Once there was a certain king in this very city of Savatthi. He called someone, saying: ‘Come my good man, go and gather together in one place all the men in Savatthi who were born blind.’ ‘Very good,’ said the man, and he did as the king commanded. When he had done so the king said to him: ‘Now, my good man, show these blind men an elephant.’ ‘Very good,’ said the man, and he did as the king commanded. He presented one blind man with the head of the elephant, one with the ear, one with the tusk, another the trunk, the foot, the back, the tail and the tuft of the tail, saying to each other as he did so, ‘O blind man, this is an elephant.’ Having done this the man went to the king and said: ‘Sir, the elephant has been presented to the blind men. Do what you will.’ So, the king went to the blind men and said to each: ‘Oh blind men, have you seen the elephant?’ ‘Yes, Sir, we have,’ they replied: ‘Then tell me what an elephant is like.’ The one who had been presented with the head said: ‘An elephant is like a pot.’ The one who has been presented with the ear said: ‘An elephant is like a winnowing basket.’ They said the tusk was like a ploughshare, the trunk like a plough pole, the body like a granary, the foot like a pillar, the back like a mortar, the tail like a pestle, and the tuft of the tail like a broom. Then they began to argue with each other, shouting as they did: ‘It is!’ It is not!’ ‘An elephant is not like that!’ ‘Yes it is!’ Soon they began to hit each other, and the king was delighted with what he saw. In the same way, wanderers of other sects are blind, they do not see, they do not know the skillful or the unskillful. They do not know what is Dhamma or what Dhamma is not and because of their ignorance they are by nature argumentative, quarrelsome and contentious, wounding each other with the weapon of the tongue.” Then the Lord spoke this verse:
“Some so-called monks and brahmins
Are deeply attached to their own opinions
They see only one side of things
And thus end up with quarrels and contention.”
Note. Here is another story of blind men and an elephant. The same story appears in the (ancient Hindu) Veda but with a different emphasis. As we can see that sometimes because we do not know that we do not have the whole truth and we believe that we have the right truth for our purpose, we accuse others of being ignorant or self-serving. Will we ever learn?