History teaches that Gautama, in his search for truth, once sat under a tree by the river meditating, a boat sailed by and in the boat were an old man and a young musician who played the lira.
When they sailed past where Gautama sat then he heard the old man say to the young musician, “if you expand the string too much it will break and if it is too slack it will not sound right.”
When the old man had spoken these words the boat sailed away and under the tree Gautama sat enlightened.
Hearing these words Gautama is to have woken up and seen that in his search he had gone from one extreme to another, from the kingdom and great wealth to ascetic life. And nothing had changed.
This story is very interesting. But not only because of the old man’s words and the understanding of Gautama about himself, but for that we do not feel important in the story, and therefore miss.
We read the story, look at the words and we believe we understand the words of the old man and what his words did for Gautama, and we make it the main point in the story, but without ourselves becoming enlightened.
But is it the main point? Or is there something we do not see?
One could easily see that between the wealth and poverty is no difference. And there is no reason to belittle that fact. Good and evil are in fact one and the same. So whether we prefer one over the other does not matter.
Good or evil is no solution. The solution lies in letting go of both. Stand outside and without all.
And that is exactly what Gautama had discovered. He saw and understood. And like so many others, both before and after, he tried to share his vision with his fellow men. But for them were his finding only hollow words. Certainly beautiful and wise but empty. People did not understand what he was saying.
And thus the story should end. But it did not end there. It continued something like this, when Gautama saw how weak and useless his words were he decided nonetheless to try to educate and inform people and thus change the world. He got followers, disciples, who picked up crumbs of wisdom that fell from his lips and made them into doctrines and principles of their existence. And before anyone knew the Buddhism was born.
To this day people have been picking the crumbs here and there, admiring them and create something from them. Always something.
But what then is the minor point and at the same time the core of the story? If we look at the story little closer we see that it was the words of an old man who made the difference in the life of Gautama. It were they that made Gautama Buddha, they that made him famous to the present day. And they could be crucial in our lives, if we just excluded the Buddha section.
So why was it Buddha who became famous? Not that fame is important in the story, but this was still not the words of Gautama. These were the words of an old man. Were they then not also his wisdom? Why did not the old man become famous? What happened to the old man?
That is exactly where the answer is found, in the core of the story.
The old man said the words needed to be said and then quietly went his way. Invisible.
Why did Buddha not do just that? Why have not all the buddha’s of this world done just that, whether they have had the name Gautama, Jesus, Mohammed, John or Jane. We all.
Why do we not just say the words needed to be said and then disappear? Invisible. As the old man did?
Do we not see the greatness of it?
The answer can be found in all religious leaders, scholars and the wise of this world, both large and small, both past and present, because the answer is hidden within all men. All of us.
Those who cannot speak the words needed to be said and then quietly go their way, carry within themselves fear. Fear of being nothing. Fear of being invisible to their fellow men. All.
Fear creates importance. It is fear that makes us important, whether it is called spiritual importance or of this world, Buddha, doctor, Messiah, teacher, prophet, merchant, or something else. Always something.
If we want to know the answer and see the whole story, not just parts here and there, pieces of wisdom from the mouth of others, then we must look at ourselves. Within. Each for himself.
When we see the answer, the fear in ourselves, we have to look at it without retreating, then it will vanish.
With the fear disappears also our importance. Then we have no longer the need to be visible and to prove ourselves. Then we are invisible. And like the old man, we speak the words that need to be told and go then quietly our way. Without a trace.