The 84th Problem

A man once came to see the Buddha to get help with his problems.

After the man had told the Buddha about one of his problems and asked for help, the Buddha replied: “I cannot help you get rid of this problem.”

The man was surprised that the Buddha could not help him.

So the man told the Buddha about another problem. He thought to himself, that: ‘The Buddha should at least be able to help me with this problem.”

However, the Buddha told him, “I cannot help you with this problem, either.”

The man started to get impatient.

“How can it be that you are the perfectly enlightened Buddha, when you cannot even help people get rid of their problems?” he asked.

The Buddha replied, “You will always have 83 problems in your life. Sometimes a problem will go, but then another problem will come. I cannot help you with that.”

“So, what can you help me with, then?”

“I can help you get rid of your 84th problem.”

“But what is my 84th problem?” asked the man.

“That you want to get rid of your 83 problems.”

— Adapted from a Buddhist parable.


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