Anthony de Mello's Parables of the Master
Cryptic, witty, and surprising wisdom from a renowned spiritual leader.
BY: Anthony de Mello
"You listen," said the Master, "not to discover, but to find something that confirms your own thoughts. You argue, not to find the truth, but to vindicate your thinking."
And he told of a king who, passing through a small town, saw indications of amazing marksmanship everywhere. Trees and barns and fences had circles painted on them with a bullet hole in the exact center. He asked to see this unusual marksman. It turned out to be a ten-year-old child.
"This is incredible," said the king in wonder. "How in the world do you do it?"
"Easy as pie," was the answer. "I shoot first and draw the circles later."
"So you get your conclusions first and build your premises around them later," said the Master. "Isn't that the way you manage to hold on to your religion and to your ideology?"
"All human beings are about equally good or bad," said the Master, who hated to use those labels.
"How can you put a saint on an equal footing with a sinner?" protested a disciple.
"Because everyone is the same distance from the sun. Does it really lessen the distance if you live on top of a skyscraper?"
To a social worker the Master said,
"I fear you are doing more harm than good."
"Because you stress only one of the two imperatives of justice."
"The poor have a right to bread."
"What's the other one?"
"The poor have a right to beauty."
One night the Master led his disciples into the open fields below a star-studded sky. Then, pointing toward the stars, he looked at the disciples and said, "now concentrate on my finger, everyone."
They got the point.