Vials in the Ocean

I’m reading a book called “The Tantric Mysticism of Tibet” by John Blofeld. His writing is clear and concise: his explanations are within the grasp of even someone like me, who has very limited knowledge of Buddism.

In the section I’m reading now, Blofeld compares all of us to vials of water in a vast ocean, or at least says we tend to view ourselves as individual ‘vials’. In fact, he says there are no vials; they’re just an optical illusion. Really, all that exists is the ocean. The cockroach and I are both part of that ocean. The beggar on the street and I are both part of that ocean. George W. Bush and I are both part of the ocean.

And therein lies the challenge for all of us. If we don’t want to feel hunger ourselves, how can we walk past a beggar in the street without providing him or her with food? If we don’t want to be inhumanely treated ourselves, how can we turn a blind eye when we know that animals and humans and the earth itself suffer inhumane treatment every day? If we don’t want our own ‘vials’ cracked or broken, then what makes us think it’s OK to crack or break the ‘vials’ of others?

Most of us were raised on words of “treat others the way you’d like them to treat you” or something similar. But somewhere along the way, many of us have forgotten this most basic of principles. If we all took a vow to adopt this one simple (well, maybe not so simple) tenant, think how changed our world would be!

One thought on “Vials in the Ocean

  1. How very interesting. I’d like to do away with borders between countries but they are just an illusion as well. I’ll have to think about what this means for my day-to-day life.


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