Parables and Problems

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...Image via Wikipedia

When we think of the word parables, many people automatically think of Jesus. Parables, simple stories that taught a moral or spiritual lesson, were a common means of teaching during his day.  Jesus was a master storyteller!

Other great teachers used stories, as well.  Here is a parable from the Buddhist traditions:
The 84th Problem

A man once came to see the Buddha to get help with his problems. After the man had told the Buddha one of his problems and asked for help, the Buddha replied: "I cannot help you get rid of that problem."

The man was surprised that the Buddha could not help him in this regard, but he told the Buddha about another problem; he thought to himself that the Buddha should at least be able to help him with that problem. But the Buddha told him "I cannot help you with that problem either."

The man started to get impatient. He said: "How can it be that you are the perfectly Enlightened Buddha, when you can’t even help people get rid of their problems?" The Buddha answered: "You will always have 83 problems in your life. Sometimes a problem will go, but then another problem will come. I cannot help you with that."

The baffled man asked the Buddha: "But, what can you help me with, then?" The Buddha replied: "I can help you get rid of your 84th problem." The man asked: "But what is my 84th problem?" The Buddha replied: "That you want to get rid of your 83 problems." 

Problems are part of life because life, as we know it, is imperfect.  I believe we are here in this reality to learn lessons - like helping one another, loving one another, forgiving one another.  We cannot learn these lessons without a problem to solve.  

During this season of thanks, remember to give thanks for your problems, for without them, you would not be who you are today; those whose lives have intersected yours would not have been there; and you would not have so many opportunities to love and share.


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