Wisdom Story – 196

River RushOne day a young Buddhist on his journey home came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours on just how to cross such a wide barrier.

Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher, “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river”?

The teacher ponders for a moment looks up and down the river and yells back, “My son, you are on the other side.”



  1. Tim says

    Sometimes we get defensive on how we see or believe something, not realizing that someone else may feel the exact opposite of our stand. We can become so absorb on an issue or task, we cannot hear what others are saying, or see what they are doing. We need to try to see and listen to others’ perspective on issues we disagree on.

    Happy weekend to all…

  2. Lynda says

    What a great reminder of how we all see and understand things differently! I’m going to be on an Ignatian Retreat this weekend and will keep everyone in my prayers. Have a blessed weekend.

  3. Dolly says

    This is one of those Zen parables that is challenging because it offers so many viewpoints. Immediately, I wondered if the young Buddhist’s question to the great teacher should have been more precise like” “O Wise one, how do I get to YOUR side of the river?”
    With this in mind and if the question is about spirituality (flowing water often connotes spiritual quest), then Anthony de Mello’s, S.J. quote is apropos:” the wise teacher is basically saying to the young Buddhist,” The spiritual quest is a journey without distance. You travel from where you are right now to where you have always been. From ignorance to recognition, for all you do is to see for the first time what you have always been looking at.
    Whoever heard of a path that brings you to yourself or a method that makes you what you have always been? Spirituality, after all, is only a matter of becoming what you really are.”

  4. Denise J says

    I am not sure I got it right, or I understood everything the Zen master wanted to say, but what I heard in this story was “You are where you are supposed to be,” which is a message I think I needed to hear. Thank you!

    Happy weekend, everyone.

    • Leo Alberg says


      that was a great insight to this wisdom story. What I read in it too. And it could be the message that I need to hear this morning before I got to the office.

  5. Pat Burns says

    Not sure I really know what this meant but I am learning so much from the comments that have been made. Thank you !

  6. Simon says

    I’m with Pat. This was way above my pay grade so thanks for the enlightened comments.

    Have a great weekend everyone.

  7. Katy Appleton says

    Oh, so it wasn’t just me then. I felt toooooooooo embarrassed to say “I didn’t understand it”. Thanks Pat and Simon!

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