The man was thirsty in the night. It was a projection. Even in the full moon night a skull is a skull and the dirty water is dirty water. But he was thirsty; it was his thirst that projected clean, crystal clear water in a beautiful bowl. And he drank with joy. In the morning he was not thirsty and there was sunlight. He looked at the bowl; it was a dirty old skull – and he had drunk from it! If he had known that it was a skull filled with dirty water, he would have rather suffered thirst than drink from it. But his thirst projected an illusion.
We are doing it every moment of our lives, projecting illusions – about people, about things – and getting frustrated continuously, disgusted.
The story is saying to you: these are the moments; if you can understand that it was your projection, this is the time to laugh at yourself, at your own stupidity, at your own foolishness. That will be an act of tremendous intelligence. And it will be freeing you from that constant projection, frustration – that whole vicious circle.
An old monk with his young disciple was passing through the forest, going to another town. But the young man was very much puzzled, because the old man had never walked like that – he was almost running and clutching his bag. Once in a while he would feel something inside the bag. The young man could not imagine what he had in the bag. And the old monk was again and again asking, “Will we be able to reach the town before sunset?”
The young man said, “Even if we don’t reach, we have nothing to fear. We can stay in the forest. We have stayed here many times, so it is not new. But today you seem to be strange.”
The old man said, “We will discuss it later on. First, be fast. I don’t want to stay in the forest tonight.”
By the side of the road was a well, and the sun was just setting. Before the sun set they washed themselves. They were really tired. They drank, and while the old man was washing his face he gave his bag to the young man and told him, “Be careful.”
The young man said to himself, “He has never been this way before.” And out of curiosity he looked into the bag. In the bag he was carrying two bricks of gold. Now everything was clear: why the monk cannot stay in the forest, why for the first time he is so afraid.
While the old monk was washing his face and doing his evening prayer, the young man threw those two bricks into the forest, found two stones weighing almost the same as the bricks, and put them in the bag. The old man finished his prayer in half the time – he was in such a hurry! He immediately took the bag from the young man and the weight showed him that everything was okay. They rushed on. After a mile, it was getting dark. The old man said, “It seems to be difficult to reach to the town, and this place is dangerous.”
But the young man said, “Don’t be afraid. As far as the danger is concerned, I have thrown it by the side of the well.”
He said, “What do you mean, you have thrown the danger by the side of the well?”
He said, “Look into your bag and you will know.”