Priceless Wisdom: The Other Side – A Profound Zen Story

One day a young Buddhist on his journey home came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours on just how to cross such a wide barrier. Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river.

The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher, “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river”?

The teacher ponders for a moment looks up and down the river and yells back, “My son, you are on the other side”.


Explanation Of The Wisdom


As human beings it seems as though we are constantly trying to get somewhere. More stuff, better job, next vacation, I think we can all relate to the young Buddhist in this Zen story about the other side. It is almost as if we are shouting to the world, How do I get OVER THERE? Or more implicit, right HERE is not enough so how do I get over THERE?

Therein lies the beautiful message of the story. We are already there. There is nowhere to get to.

Life is beautiful right where we are at. This moment is perfect exactly how it is. Life unfolds the way it unfolds. Our context, our view of this world will be our experience. Einstein said our greatest question is whether we view the Universe as kind or as evil?

When I hear someone express frustration in where they are at in life, I always ask a simple question– And then what?

For example:

person: ‘if only I could get a different job.’

me: ‘and then what?’

person: ‘then I will make more money’

me: ‘and then what?’

person: ‘then I can buy that house/vacation/car’

me: ‘and then what?’

person: ‘then I will be happy?’

The actor Jim Carrey once said “I wish everyone could experience being rich and famous, so they’d see it wasn’t the answer to anything.”

The other side is not the answer. Once we stop striving to GET SOMEWEHRE, we get off the hamster wheel and we find peace in this moment because it is all we have.

Call to Action:

  • Stop. Breathe. Get that there is nowhere to get to. This moment right now is perfect.
  • Get off the hamster wheel, take note when you are on this never-ending wheel and take gratitude for this moment.

To realize this, you must meditate and self enquire.  In essence, you must start living from the present moment. This requires concentration, awareness and mindfulness skills.

There is only one way to put this wisdom into practical living: start a daily meditation practice and start an investigation towards enlightenment.

Theory, debates, reading, listening, talking, arguing and knowledge will only get you so far. 

You must “walk the talk”.

If in doubt, remember the priceless wisdom.

“Meditate on the breath (mindfulness meditation to build concentration and awareness skills) and then self-enquire (the teachings of Ramana Maharshi) until you are free of all psychological sufferings and ego. (aka enlightenment)

Do this everyday and trust in the process that eventually your mind will be healed.


Because all good things require training and patience.

Know that as long as you do the work, the results will eventually follow.”

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