Saturday, February 11, 2012

A field full of shallow holes

The immature student seeking the water of knowledge, said the Buddha, will dig a three-foot well here, a three-foot well there, until he has a field full of shallow holes, but no water.

I heard this on the radio, and I thought: Oh dear. Sounds like me. Perhaps I should devote myself to digging just one deep well.

Except that although this feels like a saying of the Buddha, I have it on good, I'm tempted to say unassailable, authority, that it isn't. He should have said it, and for all anyone knows he did, but no such statement has ever been attributed to him.  A pity really.

It seems more likely there's an ancient proverb from India about the desert: if you want to strike water, don’t dig ten wells six feet deep, dig one well sixty feet deep.