A Lesson in Moderation

I do not believe anyone needs to be preached about the merits of cultivating moderation in his/her way of living. Sri Easwaran has addressed moderation in his “Thought for the Day” included below. He quotes Bhagavad Gita and follows that up with a story about Lord Buddha.

I am not posting this to impress on anyone with the merits of moderation though a combination of Bhagavad Gita and Lord Buddha should make even a skeptic reconsider his/her position in this regard. I have posted this because I was impressed by the clever way Lord Buddha teaches one of his disciples.:) I hope you will enjoy the story and Lord Buddha’s lesson will stay with you.


MAY 30

Those who eat too much or eat too little, who sleep too much or sleep too little, will not succeed in meditation. But those who are temperate in eating and sleeping, work and recreation, will come to the end of sorrow through meditation.


Once, when the Buddha was told that one of his disciples was having trouble, he went to the young man’s room to see what the problem was. This young man had been born in a rich family, and he had been trained in music, so he still kept his vina – an instrument something like a guitar – in the corner of his room. When the Buddha entered, he saw the vina and said, “Let me see if I can play your vina.”

The disciple reluctantly brought it forward. He didn’t know that the Buddha had been an expert musician.

The Buddha tightened the strings of the vina until they were about to break. The disciple protested, “You are not supposed to tighten the strings like that, Blessed One; they will break!”

So the Buddha, with tender cunning said, “Oh, yes! Then should I make them loose?” And he loosened all the strings until they couldn’t be played at all. “Here, let me do it for you, Blessed One,” said the disciple, and he adjusted them. “They are now just right, neither too tight nor too loose.”

The Buddha smiled, “Yes, you see, that is what my path is: just right, neither too tight nor too loose. Moderation in everything. Temperance in everything.”

The Thought for the Day is today’s entry from Eknath Easwaran’s Words to Live By.

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