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My Journey Isn’t Your’s

I came across a story about Gautama, the Buddha. During his wide travels spreading the message of Dhamma, the master chanced upon a young man who arrived early for his talks. Finding the Buddha alone, he sidled up and asked if it was okay to ask a question, as he was shy of doing so in a crowd.

Who’s Driving Your Bus?

The ever-compassionate Buddha complied and the student said thus: “You are teaching us techniques and giving us tools to find Nirvana. Now, I want to know why you aren’t using your own achievements as the liberated one to work the miracle and liberate us? Because you also know how tough it is for the rest of us to be like you. So, help us please.”

Buddha smiled and said, “Let’s try right away. But, before that I want to know if you belong to this place?” The man answered in the affirmative. He said he belonged to Bangalore (purely as an e.g.). Now, the master asked, “So you are from this place only, not having roots elsewhere?” To this the man said, “No, no, I am from Palakkad in Kerala, and I still have interests there.”

The conversation continued: “So, you would be traveling to that place quite regularly, isn’t it? Do you know the route from Bangalore to Palakkad well,” asked the Buddha. “Of course master, I know it well enough as I travel once or twice a month. See, I can tell you the route: You head out of home, reach MG Road and get on to Hosur Road. Drive on till Krishnagiri on that road and then take a right turn and go straight on till Salem. At Salem, you take a right to the road leading to Coimbatore and once you cross this city, you enter Palakkad. See, I am well-versed with this path.

“I am sure that you love this place a lot and would have taken many of your friends from Bangalore to Palakkad,” the enlightened one said. “Of course, I have and they all loved the place,” said the man, now wondering where this conversation was going.

Which means your friends would also know Palakkad as well as you do, right? the Buddha asked, to which the man said, “Of course not! When they came with me, I led the way. How will they know the route if they don’t make the journey on their own?” he asked with a tinge of exasperation.

“Precisely my friend,” Buddha said, “all I can do is take you on my journey but if you require true salvation, you need to follow your journey. And the tools and techniques that I share would only help you navigate your course. So, even if I miraculously take you to my destination, you may realise that it was not where you wanted to go.”

A true teacher is one who walks along and not ahead of the pupil. And a true follower is one who follows their instinct after accumulating what they learnt from others’ journeys.

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