0 Items

The Buddhist parable of the poisoned arrow

The Buddhist parable of the poisoned arrow

Buddhism is characterized by the use of the parable and the kōan. Zen teachers often resort to the kōan, a seemingly absurd problem, illogical or banal that only he can resolve when we separate ourselves from words and rational thinking.

In fact, in Buddhism it gives hugely important intuitive understanding, one that occurs with all being and which demand an increase in the level of consciousness. It's a moment in which the mind opens and response simply shows, so that everything makes sense. To achieve this insight, Buddhist teachers also use parables, small stories that usually enclose spiritual truths to which the person should arrive by itself.

Buddhism gives importance to the intuitive understanding, one that occurs with all being and which demand an increase in the level of consciousness


The poisoned arrow


The parable of the poisoned arrow is one of the most interesting and part of the Majjhima Nikaya, a collection of texts attributed to Buddha found in the Pali Canon. Buddha told this story to a disciple who was impatient because his master discovered him the solution to the famous “14 unanswered questions”:

“There was once a man who was wounded by a poisoned arrow.

Family and friends wanted to call a doctor, but the patient refused, claiming that he wanted to know the name of the man who had wounded him before, the caste to which he belonged and their place of origin. He also wanted to know if that man was tall and strong, If it had clear or dark complexion.

In addition, I wanted to tell you what kind of arc had shot and if the bowstring was made of hemp, bamboo or silk. He said that he would not allow the doctor to see him until he did not know if the arrow feather came from a hawk, a vulture or a Peacock...

Like this, wondering if the bow which had been used to shoot was a common arc, a curved or model of Oleander; the man died not knowing the answers”.


It faces conflict


To read this parable, It is evident that the wounded man behaved in a way foolish and absurd. However, Buddha alerts us that everyday life all we behave in the same way, without being aware of it.

We are all wounded with a poisoned arrow since, sooner or later, die. However, We prefer to live with their backs to our mortality, running the risk of wasting life in inconsequential details give that an excessive importance, leaving that they occupy completely our mind and finite and precious time we have at our disposal.

When our mind is too busy in irrelevant things it is difficult to focus on the problem and not get lost in brooding, as happened to the wounded man of the parable. Psychologists know that we we tend to ignore the real problem and go around the Bush.

The drawback is that, on many occasions, We activate defense mechanisms, as the displacement, to move that out of us conflict in an attempt to hide it. However, Thus we only lose precious time, wasted energy and snowball the problem. For this reason, the strategy is not to look away, but in learning to detect genuine conflicts and deal with them.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *