The following is a story and the basis for a joke that circulated around the world for decades. The story, never fully understood or appreciated by the west made a joke of the man seeking “the meaning of life.”

A man goes to the Himalayas seeking truth and enlightenment.  He spends weeks searching the hills for a reclusive master.  He finally finds the master and asks that he be apprenticed to the master to find enlightenment.  The master takes him down to a stream and bids the man to kneel besides the waters.  He takes the mans head and holds it under the water.  The master asks,

“Do you want to find enlightenment?”

The man now released answers, “Yes.”

The master again asks the question,

“Do you wish to find enlightenment?” as he again holds the mans head under water.  This ritual is repeated all afternoon.  Finally, after the master holds the man head under water for a particularly long time, to the point of almost drowning the man, the master asks the same question.  This time the man, exhausted and almost drowned says,                 “No.”

What does this story mean or convey?  One interpretation is that he didn’t really want to obtain enlightenment.  Another is that the price for wisdom is usually too high.  Another is that we do not really want to change our beliefs because we have too much invested in them.  Another answer is that no one really, however baptized, wants to or can change.  What does the story mean to you?



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