Once there were five hundred monkeys, one of whom thought he was very clever. One night this monkey saw the reflection of the moon in the lake. He proudly informed all the other monkeys, ‘If we go to the lake and collect the moon, then we will be the heroes who saved the moon.’ At first the other monkeys didn’t believe him. But when they saw with their own eyes that the moon had fallen into the lake, they decided to try to save it. They climbed a tree and held each other by the tail so they could reach the shimmering moon. Just as the last monkey was about to grab the moon, the branch broke and they all fell in the lake. They didn’t know how to swim and they all struggled in the water as the image of the moon shattered in the ripples. Driven by the hunger for fame and originality, we are like these monkeys, thinking that we are so clever in discovering things and convincing our fellow humans to see what we see, think what we think, driven by ambition to be the savior, the clever one, the seer of all. We have all kinds of small ambitions, such as impressing a girl, or big ambitions, such as landing in Mars. And time after time we end up in the water with nothing to hold on to and not knowing how to swim.
Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse