Rajeshwar Upadhyaya, Editor-in-Chief, The Leadership Review

Rajeshwar Upadhyaya, Editor-in-Chief, The Leadership Review

February 8, 2015

It was 2500 years ago. The Buddha had established a sangha. Had many disciples practicing the various techniques of meditation that could lead to ripeness. A preparedness for the final meta-conceptual leap. From where the fundamental interconnectedness of things is grasped — where the burden and mystery of all this unintelligible world is lightened.

A disciple walked up to him. His robe was old, wretched, tiered, and woebegone. In many places patched and re-patched. The fabric now barely held together. He walked up to the Buddha and requested that the store manager give him a fresh robe. The Buddha looked. Yes indeed it was true the robe was old, tattered, wretched and woebegone.

He instructed the store manager to release a fresh pair to the bhikku (seeker). The bhikku took the fresh piece and stayed on with his daily discipline of activities.

That night the Buddha could not sleep. He thought about the robe — old tired wretched and woebegone. And thought about the fresh one too. And the bhikku. Thought about his request. The store. The manager.

Late into the night it was. The Buddha rose slowly from his bed. Walked up to the sleeping bhikku and asked him – bhikku bhikku wake up! wake up! I need to know how do you like the fresh piece?

Good! said the bhikku himself being a light sleeper.

Good… good! said the Buddha. What did you do with the old robe?

It was torn and old and the fabric was gone almost; so I made a bed sheet out of it.

Ooh said the Buddha. Good… good. And what did you do with the old bed sheet?

That was torn in many places and it being large I cut it and made curtains from it. It now hangs there and shades the room.

What about the old curtain? What did you do with those?

I made those into many pieces of mops. So the floors can be cleaned with them. And distributed to those some who needed mops.

Aah I see…I see …and what did you do with the old mops?

I tore them into many smaller pieces and made wicks out of them. And distributed those to some who needed to replenish their lamps. And the lamp that burns so brightly in your room come from the wick made from the mop. The flame alive, joyous, serpentine sometime in the breeze…and sometime still… as still as a Chinese vase in perpetual motion…

The Buddha heard this out. Smiled and was satisfied. He saw the metaphor complete its own narrative. ‘nibbana’ yes ‘nibbana’ is the final blowing out …nay the final bowing out of the flame of life itself not unending anymore.

He retired to the room. This then is the principle of among other things, the principle of frugality. The elimination of muda…the leanness in thought word and deed.

The Occam’s rule: its foolish to do with more where less will suffice.