This story tells of a time when Buddha was teaching his disciples about peace of mind. He used the example of a lake to illustrate how peace can be found even in the midst of disturbance.
Buddha – Peace of Mind
“Once Buddha was walking from one town to another town with a few of his followers. This was in the initial days. While they were traveling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there and Buddha told one of his disciples, I am thirsty. Do get me some water from that lake there.
The disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple thought, How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink! So he came back and told Buddha, The water in there is very muddy. I dont think it is fit to drink.
After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked fit to be had. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.
Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said, See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be … and the mud settled down on its own and you got clear water… Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You dont have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless.”
Moral of the story
The story of Buddha and the muddy water imparts a profound lesson on managing the turbulence of the mind. When the disciple initially encountered the muddy water, he hesitated to offer it to Buddha, assuming it was unfit for consumption. However, Buddha’s second request to fetch water revealed a valuable truth. By simply letting the water be and giving it time, the mud settled down on its own, leaving behind clear water. Buddha used this observation to teach the disciple about the nature of the mind.
The moral of the story is that, much like the muddy water, our minds can become disturbed and agitated by various external influences. Instead of trying to forcefully calm the mind or suppress its disturbances, the story encourages us to adopt a patient and non-interfering approach. By allowing the mind to settle naturally, without force or effort, it regains its clarity and tranquility.
In our daily lives, we often encounter stress, worries, and anxieties that stir the mind. This tale reminds us to be patient, giving ourselves time and space to let these mental turbulences subside naturally. By practicing mindfulness and non-judgmental awareness, we can learn to observe our thoughts and emotions without unnecessary interference. As we embrace this approach, the mind finds its own equilibrium, and inner peace becomes effortlessly attainable. The story thus inspires us to trust the inherent resilience of the mind and cultivate a calm and serene presence within ourselves.