The following was originally a Daily Dharma offering from Tricycle.
In a famous parable, the Buddha imagines a group of blind men who are invited to identify an elephant. One takes the tail and says it’s a rope; another clasps a leg and says it’s a pillar; another feels the side and says it’s a wall; another holds the trunk, and says it’s a tube. Depending on which part of Buddhism you grasp, you might identify it as a system of ethics, a philosophy, a contemplative psychotherapy, a religion. While containing all of these, it can no more be reduced to any one of them than an elephant can be reduced to its tail.
– Stephen Batchelor, Buddhism Without Beliefs; from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book.
I’m so glad to find this image of the elephant and the blind men. We often use this parable. To have this image is so good.