Our View of Human Nature

Unitarians believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  Recently, a Sedona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship member shared this related story, originally told by Rama-Krishna, a 19th century Hindu mystic:

Tapobana was a spiritual master, who employed a devoted, hard-working disciple to assist him. Tapobana valued the disciple’s caring service, but thought him rather stupid.

One day, a visitor told Tapobana that he’d just seen the disciple walk on water — strolling calmly across the nearby river as easily as one crosses a street.

Tapobana was stunned and called in the disciple to ask, “Is it really true that you crossed the river by walking on the water?”

“Yes, I did, master, what could be more natural?” replied the disciple, “But it was only thanks to you, blessed one.  At every step I repeated your saintly name — doing that upheld me.”

Tapobana thanked him and thought to himself, “If my disciple can walk on water, surely I can, too.  The miracle took place in my name, so I must possess power I did not suspect, and holiness of which I was not fully aware.  Too bad I never even tried crossing the river as if I were crossing a street.”

At that, Tapobana stood up and walked straight down to the river bank.  Without hesitation, he set his foot on the water, took another step, and with unshakable faith loudly repeated, ”Me, me, me, me…”

Sadly, he sank like a stone.

[SUUF Member Paul Friedman continues to provide weekly articles for publication in the Red Rock News. This article – or a variation thereof – appeared in the Jan 6, 2023 issue]