A diligent young student lived across the river from his Master. One day the student sent an inspired enlightenment poem to his teacher, proudly announcing “Sitting still upon the purple golden lotus, the eight winds cannot move me.” In response, the Master wrote the word “fart” across the poem and sent it back.
Full of indignation, the student rushed out of his house and ordered the ferry to take him quickly to the other shore. Outraged, he felt he deserved an apology. When he got to his Master’s door, he found a note saying “The eight winds cannot move me, and yet one fart blows me across the river.” Deflated and humbled, the young student realized how blinded he was by his so-called spiritual “attainment”.
As recounted by Kittisaro, in Listening to the Heart, written by Kittisaro and Thanissara
[According to the Buddha, the eight winds are gain and loss, pleasure and pain, praise and blame, and fame and disrepute.]
It’s so easy for me to fall into the trap of seeing myself as special, evolved and wise. After all, I’m now an author, right? … Just so much blather. Not at all what is true. I choose to let go rather than puff up, to float rather than press, to smile at the heavens rather than wave my arms.
False modesty? I don’t think so. Those words aren’t even in the realm of my being. All I have to do is look in your eyes, and hold my gaze there for a bit, to see that we’re the same, you and I. The same wants, the same beauty, the same essence peeking out from behind our worldly clothes.