Buddha and the young king
During Buddha’s life there was this young king,
very rich and powerful and also very famous as a musician.
He was considered to be the best sitar player in the country.
But when he heard Buddha’s teachings for the first time,
he was so deeply impressed that he decided to renounce his kingdom
and to become a disciple. Even Buddha didn’t wanted him
to do such a great act so impulsively and he told him:
” Wait. Think. I will stay in your city during the whole raining season,
so you have four month to think over this.”
But the young king said: ” The decision has been made already,
there is nothing more to think about. I don’t want to wait
even a single day, you always say we should live in the present!”
Buddha conceded and initiated him, but he was a bit uncertain
whether the king will be able to live like a beggar,
after a life and luxury and comfort.
He knew from him own experience that it takes time
to get used to being without shelter, without food sometimes,
without friends, but with enemies all over.
Buddha knew the whole thing is going to be too much
for this young man. He felt sorry for him, but he initiated him.
To his surprise, the former king simply moved
to the other extreme. All buddhist monks were eating
only once a day; the new monk started eating only once
in two days. All buddhist monks were sleeping under trees;
the ex-king slept under the open sky.
The monks were walking on roads; he was walking always
on the side of the road, were there are thorns and stones.
He used to be a beautiful and healthy man; within months
his skin becam dark, he became thin, ill and wounded.
Many disciples came to Buddha and said: ” This man
has become self-destructive, he is torturing himself!
Something has to be done!”
So Buddha went to the new monk and told him:
” I have heard that when you were a king you were a great
musician, you used to play the sitar.”
”Yes, but that is finished now, I have forgotten about it.
That was my only hobby, I used to practise at least
eight hours per day and I had became famous for that. ”
Buddha said: ” I have to ask you one question:
if the strings of your sitar are too tight, what will happen? ”
He said: ” What will happen? It is simple! The strings will break
when you will attempt to play. ”
” Another question” Buddha said. ” If they are too loose,
what will happen then? ”
” If they are too loose no music can be produced on them,
becuase there is no tension” the answer came.
After this Buddha said: ”You are an intelligent person –
I need not to say anything more to you. Remember,
life is also a musical instrument. It needs a certain tension,
but only a certain one. Less tha that and your life is too loose
and there is no music. If the tension is too much,
you start breaking down, you start going mad.
First you lived a very loose life and you missed the inner music;
now you are living a very uptight life –
you are still missing the music!
That is what my teaching is: be exactly in the middle,
between the two poles. The tension must not disappear
completely, otherwise you will be dead; and it must not
become too much, otherwise you will go mad. ”