A young crown prince was proposed by Buddha. He had seen all kinds of gratification in his life; he had lived only for fulfillment. Then he became a bhikshu, a monk. All the other bhikshus were very much astonished about his conversion.
They implied,”This young prince is becoming a bhikshu! He has never gone out of his palace; he has never walked without his chariot; the path he used to walk on would be covered with silk carpets! But now he wants to become a monk! What kind of foolishness is he thinking of doing?”
Buddha said that man’s mind always moves between extremes – from one extreme to the other. Man’s mind never stops in the middle. Just as a pendulum of a clock moves from one end to the other but never stays in the middle, in the same way the mind of man goes from one extreme to the other. Up to now this man had lived at one extreme – indulgence of his body; now he wanted to live at the other extreme – abandonment of his body. Later, this happened.
While all the bhikshus would walk on the road, the prince, who had never walked anywhere except on the most valuable carpets, would walk on the trail where there were thorns! When all the bhikshus would sit under the silhouette of a tree, he would stand in the sunlight. When all the bhikshus would eat once every day, he would fast one day and eat another day. Within six months he became a skeleton, his good-looking body turned black and his feet became wounded.
After six months Buddha went to him and said, ”Shrona!” – this was his name – ”I want to ask you one thing. I have heard that when you were a prince, you were very good at playing the veena. Is it true?” The bhikshu said, ”Yes. People used to say that there was no one else who could play the veena like me.” Buddha said,”Then I have come to ask you one question – maybe you can answer.
My question is that if the strings of the veena are too loose, can music begin or not?” Shrona started laughing. He said,”What kind of question are you asking? Even children know that if the strings of a veena are too loose then music will not begin, because sound cannot be created on loose strings, one cannot pluck them. So music cannot arise out of loose strings.”
Then Buddha said,”And if the strings are too tight?” Shrona answered, ”Music does not arise out of strings which are too tight either; because strings which are too tight break, the moment they are touched.” So Buddha asked,”When does the music begin?” Shrona said, ”Music arises when the strings are in such a state that we can neither say that they are very tight nor can we say that they are very loose. There is a state of the strings when they are neither loose nor tight. There is a point in-between, a midpoint. Music arises only there. And an expert musician, before he starts playing, checks the strings to see if they are too loose or too tight.” Buddha said,”Enough! I have received the answer! And I have come to tell you the same thing. Just as you were an expert at playing the veena, in the same way I have also become a master of playing the veena of life.
And the rule which applies to the veena also applies to the veena of life. If the strings of life are too loose then music does not arise, and if the strings of life are too tight then also music does not arise. One who wants to create the music of life, first makes sure that the strings are not too tight or too loose.
Buddhism in nutshell!!
The present is the offspring of the past and becomes, in turn, the parent of the future. If one believes in the present and in the future, it is quite logical to believe in the past.
How are we to account the special gift of Buddha, kalidasa, kalamegam, panini, Homer, Plato, Ramanujam, Mozart, pascal, Beethoven, Raphael, Viswanathan Anand etc.
Every form of pleasure is a prelude to pain.