Conversations in the Elevator: An Update of an Old Buddhist Tale

There once was a very wealthy man who had everything he could possibly want…but he was discontent.  He wanted to know what was the point of it all.  He was told to seek out the Buddha.  At this time Buddha had gone through his “questioning and fasting” phase and was now in the “fat and wise” stage.  Besides being fat and wise, he also was living on top of a nearly unreachable mountain.  The rich man hired a team and set out for the mountaintop.  Five months of journeying and a considerable percentage of his wealth later, the rich man finally arrived at the Buddha’s abode.  He told the Buddha that he was happy in all things, but he wanted to know what the Buddha knew.
“What’s the meaning of it all?” 

Buddha nodded in thought and sat for an hour…and another…by the time that three hours had passed he was nearly at his wits end. 

Out of patience he pleaded, “Well?!?”

The Buddha looked at the man, smiles, and says, “You are the Buddha.” 

The rich man was disgusted.  He spat upon the ground. 

To himself he thought, “Months of travel and the better part of my fortune gone, and that’s all he has to say?!?”

To the Buddha he said, “You are a pig!”

The Buddha nodded. 

The rich man stood perplexed, “What?”
“That’s the answer.”
“What’s the answer?”

“Buddha sees Buddha; pig sees pig.”

In a similar vein, this morning I got on the elevator with a woman who works in my office and a random delivery man.

The man said, “You shucked?”

In this story, I’m the one that is perplexed.

He repeated, “You shucked?  Something shucked you in morning?”

I shrugged, helpless to understand his question.

“Your hair…it’s shucked.”

He made a “scared” face and I realized that he’s referring to my Mohawk.

“No.  I did this on purpose.”

He got off laughing and it dawned on me.

“Shocked,” I said to the other passenger.


“He was saying ‘shocked’!”

“Yeah.  What a douche-bag.”

“Really?  I thought he was being friendly.”

She said nothing out loud in response, but her face clearly said, “You’re a douche-bag, too!” 

Moral of the story:

Friend sees friend; douche-bag sees douche-bag.

This entry was posted in New York Life, Philology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Conversations in the Elevator: An Update of an Old Buddhist Tale

  1. Amie says:

    Recent social interchanges in my life reminded me of hearing a friend tell this story (the buddha one, not the douche-bag one 🙂 ) in college, but I couldn’t remember the exact verbiage of the story, so I Googled “Buddha sees Buddha.” Lo and behold… the very story… on the very friends website. Guess I don’t have to ask you for it after all, Jason 🙂 It’s a good one. Both the story and the friend 😉

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