About two thousand five hundred years ago, Shakyamuni Buddha used the parable of the lotus flower to explain the basic attitude for conveying the Truth. He taught in this way:
“Some lotuses extend their stems up out of the water and produce beautiful, big flowers. These lotuses bloom by themselves. They are complete in themselves, there is nothing that you have to do to help them.
On the other hand, some lotuses remain at the bottom of the pond, buried in mud, unable to rise above the surface of the water. These are extremely difficult to bring to flowering, great patience is required.
“However, there are lotuses lying just below the surface of the water, which only have to grow a fraction more to rise up out of it. If you make the effort to help these lotuses, they will succeed in lifting their heads and turning into magnificent blooms.”
The basis of conveying the Truth is to help the third type of lotus blossoms that the parable describes, those that need only a gentle nudge to awaken. People who are about to emerge from out of the water, and who need make only a little more effort or need only a little more help will blossom beautifully with a little outside assistance.
On the other hand, there are people who bloom by themselves, who when asked if they want happiness, will reply that they are already quite happy, and satisfied with their lives. It is a fact that there are people who live wonderful lives and although they may follow the words of people they respect, they will not be convinced by the words of people who seem less happy than themselves. Unless these people become interested in religion in their own right, they may well claim to have no need of it.