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Buddha: the middle way (India)

A scene from the film "A Little Buddha", where Siddhartha, after seeking enlightenment in asceticism, finds the essence of Buddhism: the Middle Way.

For six years, Siddhartha and his followers lived in silence and never left the forest.
For drink, they had rain.
For food, they had a grain of rice, or a broth of mud, or the dropping of the passing bird.
They were trying to master suffering by making their minds so strong they would forget about their bodies.
Then, one day, Siddhartha heard an old musician on a passing boat, speaking to his pupil:
- If you tighten the string too much, it will snap, and if you leave it too slack, it won’t play.
Suddenly, Siddhartha realized that these simple words held the great truth, and that in all these years he had been following the wrong path.

- If you tighten the string too much, it will snap, and if you leave it too slack, it will not play.

A village girl offered Siddhartha her bowl of rice, and for the first time in years, he tasted proper food. But when the ascetics saw their master bathing and eating like an ordinary person felt betrayed, as if Siddhartha had given up the great search for enlightenment.

- Come and eat with me.
- You have betrayed your vows, Siddharta.
- You have given up the search.
- We can no longer follow you.
- We can no longer learn from you.
- To learn is to change. The path to enlightenment is in the middle way. It is the line between all opposite extremes.

- If I can reach enlightenment, make this bowl float upstream.

The Middle Way was the great truth Siddhartha had found the path he would teach to the world.

SIDDHARTHA (also spelled "Siddharta")= A spiritual teacher from ancient India and the founder of Buddhism, better known as Buddha (= The enlightened). He was born about 500 years before Christ. He was born a prince, but left everything to reach wisdom and true happiness. Today, there are about 350 million Buddhists in the world, most of them in Asia, but Buddhism has also heavily influenced other Asian religions, such as Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, etc. Today, it’s living a revival and expanding even in the West.

BROTH= Soup. The water in which meat, fish, or vegetables have been boiled; stock.

MUD= Wet, sticky, soft earth, as on the banks of a river.

DROPPING= Something dropped. The excrement of animals. In this context it can be either meaning, we don’t really know.

MASTER= If you master something, you become an expert on it; you totally control it.

PUPIL= A student under the direct supervision of a teacher or professor.

TIGHTEN= To stretch fully.

SNAP= To break suddenly with a brisk, sharp, cracking sound.

SLACK= loose, not tight.

REALIZE= To comprehend completely or correctly. To come to a rational conclusion by reasoning.

PATH= Way.

ASCETIC= A person who renounces material comforts and leads a life of austere self-discipline, especially as an act of religious devotion.

BETRAY= To be false or disloyal to someone. To lead astray (to make people get lost); deceive.

GIVE UP= Stop trying.

ENLIGHTENMENT= Getting a cosmic understanding of the universe or feeling united to God. In Buddhism & Hinduism: a blessed (happy) state in which the individual transcends desire and suffering and attains (gets) Nirvana (a paradisiacal feeling or state).

VOW= A vow is a solemn promise or commitment.

UPSTREAM= In a direction opposite to that of a stream's current. If the river flows to the east, moving upstream would be floating to the west.

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