A Buddhist fable "Troubleshooting Legend: The Problem"

An ancient Buddhist story tells that long ago, in a monastery, located on an almost inaccessible slope of a Himalayan Mountain, one of the oldest Buddhist monks passed away. He had an important position, since he was the guardian, and some other monk will have to take his job. But it was not an easy task. The monk will need to be one with the right traits.

So, the monastery Grand Master gathered every disciple, to see who could hold such an honourable position. In a large room, everyone sat facing the Great Teacher. He placed a small table in the middle of the room and a beautiful porcelain vase on top of it. Inside, he placed a bunch of beautiful yellow flowers, and claimed:

Here is the riddle: whoever can solve it, will assume the honourable position of Guardian Monk.

Everyone was absorbed, silently looking at the beautiful vase: What could it represent? Where was the problem? Would the flowers need water? Would it represent the beauty of nature? Or the temptation of man?,……,  Too many questions to be answered! The options were increasing, the situation was becoming more complex, and the correct answer seemed to be slipping away.

But then, one of the disciples stood up, determined. He drew his sword, looked at the disciples and the Grandmaster and with one blow, broke the vase and the flowers. The others were horrified, but the Grand Master said:

Here we have someone who has not only guessed the problem correctly, but also solved it. Let us honour our new guardian of the monastery.

Moral: “It doesn't matter what the problem is. What matters is to solve it."

Learning to solve problems is essential, and it's not that simple. Sometimes we get carried away by the appearance of the problem, and we forget that everything has a solution. Too many thoughts confuse us. Often the problem is that we don't know how to identify it: Most of the disciples were not able to see that the vase itself was the problem. They were trying to guess what it could mean. The only monk capable of not letting himself be carried away by the thousands of thoughts that arose, the only one who could simplify everything, saw that the vase itself was the problem.

Appearances do not let us see the problem: Neither appearances nor complex thoughts. ‘Too many paths’ make it more difficult to find the right path. When facing a problem, we must simplify and get clear of all appearances to verify what the exact problem is.


Classic Buddhist Fable