Take It Easy

You Can Lead A Horse To WaterYou know the old adage, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’. I believe it means that you can introduce an idea to someone, but you can’t make them accept the suggestion.

So it is with Nichiren Buddhism, or in fact any religion, but let’s talk about Buddhism in this instance.

I have many friends who show an interest in my Practice. They ask lots of questions, often offer their views and sometimes will join me in Diamoku or Gongyo.

I find that the most difficult thing about this, is to feed their inquisitive nature without allowing my own enthusiasm to take over. It is so easy to appear evangelical and that can be a most unattractive trait, particularly for someone who is just taking the first tentative steps.

If you were teaching a child to swim, you wouldn’t take them to the poolside, explain a little about how to do the breast stroke and then push them into the deep end to experience it for themselves. At best, they might flounder their way back to the side, never to ask you for guidance ever again, at worst they might get into real difficulties, need rescuing and develop such a phobia, that they would never go near deep water again.

And so it can be with Buddhism. Like learning to swim, Buddhist practice can open up amazing new vistas on the world and be a life-long pleasure, but it has to be introduced gently, wisely and at the right pace for each and every individual.

To try to rush someone into Buddhism, or swimming for that matter, may be depriving that person of a life-changing journey, so show some wisdom and let them go at their own pace.

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