Heard this Zen story while listening to a spiritual discourse online recently. A blind monk was on a pilgrimage. It was getting dark. Seeing him walking in darkness, a noble-hearted man came forward and offered him an oil lamp. ‘I am blind, carrying this lamp is not going to be of any help to me’, said the monk. ‘May be’, said the man, ‘but it will help others to see you and save you from being hit by someone as you walk in darkness’. The monk was convinced, he accepted the lamp and continued his journey. After a while, someone banged into him and he fell on the ground. ‘Sorry, it was too dark. I didn’t see you walking against me’, said the one who knocked him down. The monk asked, ‘didn’t you see the lamp I am carrying? ‘Your lamp was probably blown off in the wind’, he said stretching out his hand to help the monk get up.
‘Someone else’s light will not lead us in our spiritual journey. Our inner light alone can help us progress in it’, concluded the preacher.
“Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom,
lead thou me on;
the night is dark, and I am far from home;
lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene; one step enough for me.”