That was all. The obvious is not the actual. And they believed, those two hundred people, that he has written down his name and address and tucked the paper under the windshield. The man had gone, those two hundred people had gone. Nobody bothered about what he had written.
If you take a parable as the obvious, you will miss the whole point of it. The obvious is not the actual. The actual is hidden, very deeply hidden – as if a diamond has been hidden inside an onion. You uncover, you uncover…and then layers and layers of onion…and then the diamond is revealed.
A parable is a diamond hidden in an onion. The obvious is not the actual. The actual is totally different. A parable is a way of saying some truth of tremendous import but in such a way that even a child can understand, can feel that he has understood. But a parable needs deep understanding to be discovered. A child can feel he has understood and even a very mature person may feel that something goes on eluding him.
A parable is both simple and very complex. It is a story on the surface; it is a secret within.
Jesus talked to the masses in parables, small stories. Ordinary people could understand them. And if you work on them, even extraordinary intelligences may miss the point. Nobody has talked like Jesus. His parables are the most beautiful in the whole history of the human mind.
Buddha tells stories, but they cannot be compared to Jesus’ parables. Buddha’s stories are plain. They say something, but whatsoever they say is obvious. They are not parables, they are stories. They are to explain something. He will say something, and to make it explicit, he will tell a story. The story is secondary. The story can be dropped because he has asserted the truth first and then he explains the truth by the story. It is not a parable. When the truth is hidden in the story and is not asserted outside the story, then it is a parable.
Buddha’s stories can be dropped because whatsoever he has said in the stories he has also said directly. He will always say the truth first and then he will say the story – to explain it. Buddha’s stories are explanatory.
Jesus’ parables are not explanatory. Whatsoever he wants to say, he says in them. You have to dig deep, you have to move inside the story – and a parable is like a Chinese box: box within box, box within box. You go on and you find another smaller box inside. A parable has many layers, as many layers as there are types of man.
Gurdjieff uses the categorization of seven types of man. The first type, number one, is body-oriented. If he listens to the parable, he will only touch the body of the parable, the surface. The obvious will be the actual for him. He will listen to the story, he will enjoy the story, he will go home and tell the story to his children. They will also enjoy, and everybody will forget about it. It is a story to be enjoyed.