Recently a friend of mine, while trudging through Mumbai traffic, remarked that the only way he can navigate through the city’s clogged arteries is to remind himself about the Buddhist story of the still mind.

“Tell me the story, so I can use it too.” I said and this is what he told me.

Buddha was travelling with a small entourage of disciples preaching the tenets of Buddhism. As they were passing by a small pond, Buddha looked at one of his followers and said, “Get me some water from the pond. I am thirsty”.

The disciple walked towards the pond, but as he was about to fill up the vessel, a bullock cart came through the pond. As a result the waters of the pond turned turbid. “How can I give this muddy water to my master”, thought the disciple. He came back and reported, “Master, the water is very muddy and not fit to drink.”

In half an hour, Buddha repeated his request. The disciple went back to the pond thinking that by now the mud might have settled. But unfortunately the water was muddy, there were some children playing in the water. Disheartened, the disciple came back to Buddha and reported the same thing. This continued for a while and Buddha kept sending the disciple to the pond and he kept returning with the same news.

Finally on the fourth attempt, the disciple found that mud had settled and the water was clear again. He fetched the pot and came rushing to Buddha. Buddha looked at the water and smiled and said “Look what you did to clean the water, you let the mud settle down on its own till clean water surfaced. Your mind is also like the water. When it is agitated it gets muddy and disturbed. Just let it be. Give it some time and it settles down own its own. And then clarity emerges. Still mind. Still water.” Buddha smiled.

“So what does this story has to do with Mumbai traffic?” I asked still as baffled as before.

“Every day while I drive through the chaos of Mumbai traffic, I tell myself, if I clear my mind the traffic too will smoothen out. Still mind. Clear traffic.”


Story Collected by: Vidya Kamat

Story told by: Shirish Desai

Location : Pan India

Image source: Wikipedia

Image details: Buddha statue from Kanheri, India