The Lord Buddha said that there was an elephant a cow and a rabbit who wanted to cross the river.
Firstly, the rabbit went to the riverbank. His feet cannot reach the bottom of the river. He made the effort to use his feet to paddled in the river. He reached the other side in the end. He has overcome his difficulties even though he has short legs. Secondly, the cow tried to cross the river. His legs can reach about 1-2 metres off the bottom of the river. When he meets the deep water, he made the effort and paddled until he reached the other side.
Finally, the last one to cross the river is the elephant. He can walk easily all the way through the river. Because he has a huge body and his feet reached the riverbed.
The wisdom of disciples and the followers is small just like the rabbits they cannot reach to the riverbed.
The wisdom of *Pacceka-buddhas is deep like the cow’s legs which can touch only some places of the riverbed.
*Pacceka-buddhas is a Buddha who has won enlightenment by himself but does not teach others. The wisdom of the Lord Buddha who can attain the noble truth (Ariyasacca) is similar to the elephant’s legs who can walk on the riverbed from one side to the other.
These three animals cross the river successfully in the end in their own way. The wisdom of disciples and followers is low but they can still achieve their goals. They will understand the noble truth (Ariyasacca) but not as deep as Paccekabuddha and the Lord Buddha.
If you desire to have the deeply insighted wisdom of the Lord Buddha, you have to cultivate the 30 supreme perfections (*Pāramī).
*Pāramī is qualities to be perfect or Dasa-Pāramī.
- Equanimity to praise and blame.
If you desire to know as Paccekabuddha, you have to complete just a half of the Pāramī, i.e. like the cow crossing the river. If you desire just to be able to understand the noble truth, cultivate your wisdom as disciples, i.e. like the rabbit crossing the river.
Breathing mindfully feeds your mind and body. It makes you calm, relieve you from restlessness, greed, anger and delusions. Just be mindful and observe “rising and falling” of your abdomen. This creates a conscious state of mind and mindfulness. This means you are not obsessed by defilements. Your mind is free and independent.