- John Madden
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For the Persian poet Rumi, each human life is analogous to a bowl floating on the surface of an infinite ocean. As it moves along, it is slowly filling with the water around it. That’s a metaphor for the acquisition of knowledge. When the water in the bowl finally reaches the same level as the water outside, there is no longer any need for the container, and it drops away as the inner water merges with the outside water. We call this the moment of death. That analogy returns to me over and over as a metaphor for ourselves.
We say that to ‘give up all evil and to develop the good’ is the heart of the Buddha’s teaching. If we only make merit but have not stopped doing bad things, then we will never have a day of completion. It is like an overturned bowl which is left outside in the rain. Even if the water is falling right on it, it only touches the outside and not the inside. In this way the bowl will never get full.