Author Topic: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink  (Read 24676 times)

DSFriend

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You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« on: April 14, 2012, 10:44:02 AM »
Have you met anyone who refused to make a change and remain close minded no matter what you say or do?

In the corporate world, a big sum of fund is allocated yearly for team building, employee development etc just to bring about more productive workforce. These employees are very fortunate. Some may not have such luxury at work, in school, at home, while growing up...

Millions of self help books circulates in the publishing world and a copy or two can be found on the shelves of most homes. Religion strives to provide a solution.

The way I look at it, help and solution is prevalent and easily available.

If we were to say that we can't make the horse drink.. then what would make the horse drink?

hope rainbow

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2012, 12:19:48 PM »
Surely we can force someone to do something, through law, through intimidation, there are many ways to force someone to do something, but that is not the solution is it?

There are examples of modern societies where religion is "forced" onto people, and if it is not religion, it is the appearance of religion: forbidden to eat this or that, forbidden to wear this or that, obligation to wear this or that, obligation to pray, obligation to go to prayer hall, etc...
Doesn't sound much like religion to me...

Does it really benefit people when they engage in outward religious practice when they do it out of obligation?
Does this make them resent the tradition they are obligated into?
Or is it that they do create merit, even though they do things by force?

It seems logical to me that acting with faith in what we do is more potent than acting out of obligation.
When faith is cultivated, then there is no need to obligate.

So to make the horse drink, there is no other way than to make the horse WANTING to drink.
How do we do that? I bet there would be a different method to apply to every single horse...
I doubt we'd find a unique answer to that question.

Dolce Vita

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2012, 01:10:59 PM »
We sure cannot make a horse to drink if the horse is not thirsty. However, if we know where the water is, we should still lead the horse to it.

As far as Buddhism is concerned, it is mentioned in the Lamrim that for a person to want to engage in spiritual practice, he/she must first acknowledge that life is a suffering. This is the same scenario as mentioned in the horse and the water. We know that Dharma is the ultimate solution to our suffering, we should be skilful to make this known to people. We cannot force them to practise or believe but at least let them be aware of Dharma. One of these days, they will find Dharma to be useful. Most importantly is our own transformation, when people see how easy it is for us to deal with problems, how our attitude towards things or people surrounding us have change for better, they will be convinced.

Therefore, there is no need to force a horse to drink. Show the horse where the water is and how by drinking the water it helps to ease the thirst.

Tenzin K

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2012, 03:17:39 PM »
The horse will eventually drink just the matter of when is thirsty.

Some horses will take a very long time to realize that they need to drink but some realize it earlier due to their karma. For those that realize it much later is the one that make us worry.

What we can do is to create the platform, situation or condition for them to realize it. As dharma practitioner, our motivation is from our compassion heart and in order to able to benefit people we can never give up. We cannot force them but we can find out what make them need to drink the water.   

dondrup

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2012, 04:45:41 PM »
Using this analogy of the horse drinking water we are able to understand why Dharma is not being put into practice. There are many reasons why we can’t force a horse to drink water:
 
1)   The horse is not thirsty
2)   The horse does not know it has to drink water when it is thirsty
3)   The horse does not know what water is
4)   There is no water in the environment where the horse lives
5)   The horse finds it hard and painful to drink water
6)   The horse perceive the water as something else which is not drinkable
7)   The horse is too sick to drink water

Q

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2012, 05:17:25 PM »
I like how Dondrup said it and identified why we can't force a horse to drink water. I also agree with all that the very reason of not understanding suffering is the cause of not practising the Dharma, even when it is right infront of them or someone has brought them in...
 
Besides these reasons, I believe strongly that the very reason a person does not engage in Dharma is because of their lack of knowledge and understanding. Because it is due to this lack of knowledge that a person fails to see the value of the Dharma and it's benefits in the long term basis. Just like a horse... if a horse have the cognitive ability to understand the reason why it's keeper want's it to drink water is due to a long journey that may be treacherous and barren, then perhaps the horse will drink the water.

I always see people that decide to pick samsaric activities over Dharmic ones as those who fail to understand why they should do so, only they don't lack the cognitive ability but perhaps lacking in merits. I have always believed that it is through our sincere practice that will lead people into Dharma. And it is through our transformation that we create a conducive environment for those close to us to practice the Dharma as well. It is through here that they will eventually meditate and understand what the Dharma is all about. Hopefully when they reach this state, of having knowledge and understanding... they will not morph into a mule

Manjushri

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2012, 08:15:53 PM »
It is true, you can lead a horse to water, but however you try, the horse won't drink it, and probably never will if he/she's not destined to drink it. But at the very least, at least the horse was brought to the water.

Dondrup's analogy sums it up nice. Kind of reminds me of Lamrim and the different pots. Of course, the reasons the horse doesn't drink the water is not just limited to what has been said. Can be due to a whole lot of other reasons, depending on what "water" means here. Seems like most has taken on the meaning of water as Dharma.   

If we were to say that we can't make the horse drink.. then what would make the horse drink?

I don't think that there's anything you can do (that's not threatening of course) to make the horse drink if the horse doesn't want to drink. It's like someone's sick, you bring them to the doctor, but they don't want the treatment. The horse doesn't know that the water is nourishing... maybe when the horse sees you nourished from the water, then in time, it'll start to drink it. But until that clicks within its capacity to comprehend, then I don't think one can force the horse to drink.

kurava

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2012, 11:34:41 PM »
Yes, this is so true.

Buddha dharma is like the sun, it's warmth and light is free for all but if one chooses to hide in the dark where no light can penetrate then he/she is like the stubborn horse !

To experience the benefit of dharma, one must first realizes that one NEEDS it because he/she is 'sick'.

This process of realization has been put as an analogy of -
someone sick (us) -> meets a doctor (Buddha) -> takes medication (Dharma) -> road to recovery (walking the spiritual path)

Without taking the first step, you cannot proceed to the second one. Therefore if the horse doesn't think it is thirsty, it will not drink the water even if you lead the horse to it.

Positive Change

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2012, 04:53:21 AM »
It is true, and we (I especially) tend to forget because we live in a modern society in which we am made to think that the whole world enjoys the freedom that I enjoy.

It is true, we have examples of modern societies in which religious practices are imposed onto an entire country. And i wonder, does this really benefit?

One could also argue the fact that any society has rules that are imposed onto the whole community. Hence it being called a society which in definination is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society

for example, in some countries we can only marry one person at the time (monogamy), whilst in other countries we can marry more than one (polygamy)... so which one is the free country or which one is correct even?

Eventually, I believe that sincere and pure motivation in spiritual actions and faith in one's spiritual practice is the best foundation for one's actions.

Otherwise it is plain hypocrisy, ain't it?

vajratruth

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2012, 06:35:45 AM »
Using this analogy of the horse drinking water we are able to understand why Dharma is not being put into practice. There are many reasons why we can’t force a horse to drink water:
 
1)   The horse is not thirsty
2)   The horse does not know it has to drink water when it is thirsty
3)   The horse does not know what water is
4)   There is no water in the environment where the horse lives
5)   The horse finds it hard and painful to drink water
6)   The horse perceive the water as something else which is not drinkable
7)   The horse is too sick to drink water

I like this analysis and it applies very much to our attitude towards dharma. We being the "horse".

As an ignorant animal, we are not even aware that what we thirst for is the water of dharma. We feel a thirst and we look everywhere but within ourselves for something to quench that thirst. Ultimately everything we do fail to meet our expectations and we become "thirsty" again.

A lot of people do not know what dharma is and what it can do to satisfy this thirst. Some suffer even more severe obscurations and see water as poison. These are the people we can drag to dharma but cannot get dharma into them.

An animal like a horse to water may even be better than human beings to dharma. A thirsty horse will drink by instincts but a human being who badly needs the dharma does the opposite.


sonamdhargey

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2012, 07:06:28 AM »
Yes aren't we surrounded with people like that? Aren't we like that as well in some point of our life?

We cannot force a horse to drink but we can lead the horse to where the water is and that is as much as we can do. When the horse is thirsty it will know how to drink.

It also depends which type of water source that we lead the horse to. If we lead a horse to a contaminated water, that water will have detrimental effects on that horse if that horse drinks it.

Klein

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2012, 09:18:20 AM »
Have you met anyone who refused to make a change and remain close minded no matter what you say or do?

In the corporate world, a big sum of fund is allocated yearly for team building, employee development etc just to bring about more productive workforce. These employees are very fortunate. Some may not have such luxury at work, in school, at home, while growing up...

Millions of self help books circulates in the publishing world and a copy or two can be found on the shelves of most homes. Religion strives to provide a solution.

The way I look at it, help and solution is prevalent and easily available.

If we were to say that we can't make the horse drink.. then what would make the horse drink?

Dear DSFriend,

Not all self help books get to the root of the problem. So even if people practise what they read in these books, they may only give them temporary solutions. After awhile, they will lose interest because they realise they are back to square one, being unhappy.

I think making the horse drink is not difficult in general. But making the horse drink CONSISTENTLY is the big challenge. It takes a lot of effort to be consistent. How many people has that kind of perseverance?

Different people are attracted to different things in life. There is no singular solution to making the horse drink the water. What's most important is that we practise what we've learnt and transform for the better. It's more convincing if we walk the talk. If we can't even figure out how to drink the water consistently, how are we to teach others? Illogical.

jeremyg

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2012, 11:40:59 AM »
A phrase which I like very much is:

"The only person that can help you, is you"

And for me the horse analogy applies very much to it. No matter how much you knowledge, you give to a person, if they don't want it they won't absorb it in. Even if you force them into that knowledge, because they didn't want to know it in the first place it will be very hard for them to retain it. And if you force them into doing something, they may not be doing it for the right reasons. I am a believer in letting people find things out themselves, many people like to learn, discover things by themselves, then they are stronger believers, and have more faith.

So yes you can lead a horse to water, but with no means can you make it drink if it does not want to.

biggyboy

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2012, 04:37:10 PM »
We, the human are just like the horse here.  We can't force a horse to drink even if we bring him where the water is.  It is all up to him to drink as he has his own mind and setting his mind to it.   Should he be thirsty, he will drink, otherwise he would not. 

It is so similar to when one offer others information, knowledge and guidance it will still depend on that person whether he/she wishes to integrate the information/guidance into their life.  Should the person wishes to change he/she would integrate the information (in this case, similar to drinking the water). 

Information/guidance are given and easily available everywhere.  What we do with that information is totally up to us.  We can't force someone to change their life.  The desire to change is an internal impetus.  Just like when one advises a drug addict or an alcoholic all kinds of information about why these taking drugs and excessive drinking are self destructive, how it will harm themselves and their loved ones, etc. etc... unless they are "thirsty" for change, they will "drink" the knowledge and integrate that knowledge for change.

pgdharma

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Re: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2012, 03:41:16 PM »
We can't force the horse to drink but we can show him where the water is. When the time comes when he is thirsty he will know how to get there and drink to quench his  thirst.

When a person's mind is close and stubborn, he will not be able to accept the dharma. However, we should skilfully let them be aware of the dharma and plant dharma seeds into them. They may not be able to accept it but when sufferings arise, they will realized that dharma is useful.