Post by donq on Jun 12, 2017 6:27:30 GMT
The parable of the blind men and an elephant originated in ancient Indian subcontinent, from where it has widely diffused. An alternate version of the parable describes normal men, experiencing a large statue on a dark night, or with blindfold masking their eyes experiencing a large object by feeling it. They then describe what it is they experienced. In its various versions, it is a parable that has crossed between many religious traditions and is part of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain texts of 1st millennium CE or before.The story also appears in 2nd millennium Sufi and Bahá’í lore. The tale later became well known in Europe, with 19th century American poet John Godfrey Saxe creating his own version as a poem. The story has been published in many books for adults and children, and interpreted in a variety of ways. (from Wiki)
That is like people blind by birth in/when viewing an elephant.
-from ancient Hindu texts
When the blind men had each felt a part of the elephant,
the king went to each of them and said to each:
'Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant?
Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?'
O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim
For preacher and monk the honored name!
For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such folk see only one side of a thing
-from Buddhist texts
The sensual eye is just like the palm of the hand.
The palm has not the means of covering the whole of the beast
The eye of the Sea is one thing and the foam another. Let the foam go, and gaze with the eye of the Sea. Day and night foam-flecks are flung from the sea: oh amazing! You behold the foam but not the Sea. We are like boats dashing together; our eyes are darkened, yet we are in clear water
-Rumi, Persian poet and teacher of Sufism (1207–1273)
I'm going to post the song that Natalie Merchant sang the full poem of John Godfrey Saxe on another thread. What I'm going to post is something I haven't found on Wiki and would like to share it here. It's from one of my favorite ancient Chinese poets, Su shi (1037–1101):
Why do I like him? Let some of his poems speak for me here (though I have to skip some poems as I already posted them many times here. lol):
Having to write a poem where the rhyme words had to be "snow" and "West", he wrote:
To what can human life be likened?
Perhaps to a wild goose's footprint on snow;
The claws' imprint is accidentally felt,
But carefree, the bird flies East and West.
The following Sushi's parable, "The Blind Man and the Sun” was also used by Albert Einstein to illustrate the average person’s understanding of his theory of relativity.
'The blind man had never seen the sun. He would ask people what the sun was like. One person told him, “It’s shape is like a copper platter.” The blind man struck a copper platter and listened to the sound. Some days afterward, he heard the sound of a bell and he thought it was the sun. Someone else said, “Sunlight is like a candle". The blind man felt a candle, and concluded the sun was the same shape as the sun. Later he held a flute in his hand and thought it was a sun.
"The sun is quite different from a bell or a flute, but the blind man could not tell their difference because he had never seen the sun. Truth is harder to see than the sun, and when people do not know it they are exactly like the blind man. Even if you do your best to explain by analogies and examples, it is still like the analogy of the copper platter and the candle. From what is said of the copper platter, one imagines a bell, and from what is said about a candle, one imagines something else. In this way, one gets ever further and further away from the truth. Those who speak about the Way (Tao) will give it a name according to what they happen to see, or imagine what it is like without seeing it. These are mistakes in the effort to understand the Way."
It seems to be no way out? There's still hope. I mean there's still be the way that we might understand the truth. Sh shih also wrote the following poem when he was on the boat in the night with his friends:
"Do you really understand the water and the moon? Here, it flows by yet never leaves us; over there, it waxes and wanes without (really) growing or shrinking. If you look at things as changing, then heaven and earth do not last even the blink of an eye. If you look at them as unchanging, then I, along with everything, am eternal. So why be envious? Moreover, each thing within heaven and earth has its master. If I did not possess it, then I would not take even a hair of it. However, the pure wind over the river becomes sound when our ears capture it, and the bright moon between the mountains takes on form when our eyes encounter it. There is no prohibition against our acquiring them, and we can use them without ever consuming them. They are from the inexhaustible treasury of the Creator of Things, which you and I can enjoy together."