West London Buddhist Centre

Betting turtles

Published on Apr 17th 2024, in Blog

‘Suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water, and a human were to toss a yoke with a single hole there. A wind from the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east. A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would push it north.

And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there. It would come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now what do you think: would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?”

“It would be a sheer coincidence!…”

“It’s likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state.”

Whether you are placing bets on that blind turtle or contemplating the sheer wonder of how billions of cells have come together to create your human body, the preciousness of this human life is clear. Precious in the sense of rare, precious in the sense of capacities (your senses), precious in the sense of being free to speak and practise as you wish, precious in the sense of our connections and community. Can we take a moment each day to remember what might be precious to us just now?

Thank you, Buddha, for that short but profound story. [And yes, I like it because it has an animal in it!]

With a bow

This story is from the Chiggala sutta, Samyutta nikaya 56.48.

from the WLBC Newsletter, 3 April 2024
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