An excerpt from Living Tao, by Ilchi Lee.
The fable of the blind turtle appears in the Buddhist scripture, the Agama Sutra. The turtle lives in the ocean and sticks its head above water to get relief for its weary body only once every hundred years. One day, when the turtle stuck its head above the water, it encountered a wooden log with a hole in it, floating on the surface of the ocean. Quite by accident, the turtles head went right into the hole at the moment it lifted its head out of the water. The blind turtle was able to rest thanks to that piece of wood very comfortably.
Ilchi Lee reflects to us that the fable of the blind turtle is a beautiful metaphor for our journey toward the Tao, the background and motive power of everything existing in the world.
He is pointing out just how difficult it is for us to become one with the Tao in our lives, lives that surround us with dazzling phenomena and capture our senses on all sides. It’s like the probability of a blind turtle waiting a hundred years to stick its head above water, and in that instant, encountering a piece of wood that has been floating on the vast ocean. What’s important is that hard and unlikely things can happen. We can encounter Tao by our efforts.
The longing to bloom into a flower must start to emanate from our hearts, even if we live tough, intense lives that capture our senses. The seeker's heart is critical in the course of becoming one with the Tao. Unless you feel the Tao in your heart, in the very cells of your body, how can you “know” the Tao. It is crucial that we are aware we have the seeker’s heart and the thirst to know the Tao within us, and that we continue to develop this. It is up to us to choose.