The Buddhist parable of the One-Eyed Turtle was taught to help people appreciate their good fortune in being able to encounter a flawless teaching and a mentor capable of awakening in them a desire to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime, just as they are.
Attaining Buddhahood just as we are suggests becoming the person we can look into a mirror and see; and, while not being oblivious to our character flaws, a person ever-ready to commit to becoming a finer, more contributive human being.
A Buddha is a person who values developing his or her Humanity above any smaller goals formulated to enrich some personal space. A Buddha knows that happiness cannot be predicated upon closing our eyes to the suffering of our friends. No true happiness exists that defines itself by not being as bad off as others.
So, how rare is it to even entertain such thoughts? That’s why the parable of the one-eyed turtle was taught to help us see how far we have come as a species….and how far we have yet to go.
As the parable would have it, there is a one-eyed turtle who lives under the sea. After immeasurable lengths of time, he is granted a reprieve to return to the surface; and, if this poor creature can locate a floating log that has a space that can accommodate his anatomy so that this back remains cool and his belly warm, he can remain on the sea’s surface. If it cannot find such a log within seconds…it is back to the depths for countless aeons.
How rare is our present existence as human beings?