In saving others, we save ourselves

This is one of my all-time favorite cartoons; in English it’s published in “Zen Speaks,” by Tsai Chih Chung.*  This is from the original Taiwanese edition.
 

“One day, the Buddha Shakyamuni was meditating when he heard the sounds of beings crying out in great pain. As he looked throughout all realms, he saw that the cries were coming from a hell realm.

There, one man in particular was begging him for help.o

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Using his sublime abilities, the Buddha looked into the man’s past:

He’d been an infamous brigand, for whom no deed was too evil.

“Alas,” thought the Buddha, “did he do no good?”

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oThere had been one time, after robbing a village, that he made an effort to avoid stepping on a spider.

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“So,” thought the Buddha, “let the spider save him now.”

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With this the spider sent a single strand of silk down into the depths of hell.

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The man grabbed ahold and began climbing out. However, everyone else was also trying to climb up that single strand.

“Hey! This is mine! Get lost!” And he cut the thread below him, dropping all those other people back into hell.

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  However, in the next moment, the thread just above him broke, almost as if some hand, perhaps his hand, had reached down and cut it.

 

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There’s no saving myself alone.
Only by including others, can I be saved.
 

 
* Tsai Chih Chung is a gifted artist, and an incredible interpreter of the Chinese classic texts of wisdom. If you were ever the least bit curious about the great philosophers of China, check out his books.