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Parable of the Scopes

Dharma Talk – Parable of the Scopes

I would like to start today with a parable:

A Buddhist practitioner went to their teacher and proclaimed “Master, I would like to learn to see the world with the eyes of a Buddha. To do this, I will pursue the universe to its most minute, as well as its most immense. In doing so, I will know the nature of all things and thus achieve liberation.

The master looked at their student and said “There is merit in this approach. Pursue it to its completion and let me know what you find”

The student first chose to pursue knowing the smallest of things. Using increasingly complex microscopes, things in the world became smaller and smaller, from what is visible to what is unseen, from organisms to molecules, then further to elements, then electrons, nuetrons, protons and still further until a point where things could not be broken down further.

Having satisfied the quest of knowing things to their smallest, the student shifted to identifying the largest of things. Using increasingly complex telescopes, things in the world grew larger and larger, from moons to planets, from Suns to solar systems, from increasing large galaxies to the entirety of the universe itself.

Having spent many years on this endeavor, the student was satisfied in their knowledge of all things large and small , able to describe the very fabric of the universe from it most grand to its most infinitesimal, the whole and the pieces, the building blocks and what is built. All these things were known and able to be described.

The student when back to his teacher and said “Master, I have discerned the nature of all things, atoms and moons, particles and galaxies, the whole universe is known to me. Surely, I must see with the eyes of a Buddha!”

What do you think the Master said?


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