Tale of the Gobbling Goblins
Realisation: The Tale of the Gobbling Goblins
Here's a horrifying yet amusing and enlightening Buddhist fable to share... Once, a traveller was staying in a deserted hut. In the middle of the night, a goblin entered, tugging a corpse. Almost instantly, another goblin entered, arguing that the corpse was his. Unable to agree, they asked the traveller to judge. "It belongs to the first goblin," he suggested. Exploding angrily, the second goblin ripped out one of the traveller's arm. Seeing that, the first one pulled a corresponding arm off the corpse and attached it on the traveller. Enraged, the second goblin jerked another arm off the traveller. Again it was replaced with the corpse's other arm by the first goblin. They kept doing this till the bodies of the traveller and the corpse were completely exchanged. Exhausted, the two goblins decided to eat half of the "corpse" each, leaving right after. The shocked traveller, now with "his" new body, became confused as to whether he was dead or alive, or that he was himself at all. Terribly upset, he consulted a monk. The monk commented, "Not having your body, that's nothing new. The 'I' (self) of a human being is but a composition of various changing elements, only together for the moment. The foolish attach to this 'I' and suffer. Once you realise what your real 'I' is, your suffering will disappear."
We are nothing but a shape-shifting collection of physical parts (form), and mental composites (feelings, perception, mental formations and consciousness, together forming the five aggregates). No one single part of the body can be seen as us. For instance, you can cut your nails, donate blood, exchange your organs, lose all your limbs... and still be "you". Your feelings and perceptions are even more fickle, conditioned by your habits and what you experience, giving rise to various mental formations. All the above is run by your consciousness, which flows like a stream, changing as you read this. What then, is this real 'I'? The real 'I' is no 'I'! The aggregates are empty of any fixed self-nature. When we practise the Dharma and realise this truth of non-self, our suffering disappears instantly as we realise there is no self suffering. We only suffer as much as we cling on to the illusion of self. Now, don't you deny your"self" by chopping off your limbs. As long as you have self-delusion, you have to take care of your"self". "Self"-development will culminate in the realisation that there is no real self to develop. The end of "self"ishness, becoming "self"lessly compassionate and wise. Liberation of your"self" from yourself! O what freedom! -shian | pic:artcom.com
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Response to "The Fable of the Man who Went Places"