I’m going to tell a story. It’s a story that has been floating around in my head for years, perhaps decades. I don’t know where it came from. It’s likely I once heard a teacher tell it. Or maybe I read it somewhere. I’m sure I have also embellished it a bit over the years. If anyone recognizes the story, please let me know.
It goes like this. Long ago, in a far-off land, there was a doctor. He was a very skillful doctor. He was able to precisely diagnose the medical problems of everyone who consulted him and to give them prescriptions for medications that were extremely effective in curing them. His fame spread far and wide.
But not everyone who went to see him was cured.
Some people gratefully received their prescriptions, went home and copied them out in their best handwriting on to the most expensive paper. They then pasted them on a wall next to a picture of the doctor. Each morning and evening they would burn incense and bow three times in front of the prescriptions and the picture of the doctor. And whenever they were feeling particularly unwell, they would recite their prescription, sometimes up to one hundred times. But strangely they were never cured. In fact, their sicknesses slowly got worse.