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  • 7/9/2003

#e67500">The blind beggar,
on the power of compassion

THERE was once a blind man who all the time cried, ‘Have pity! I am doubly blind, people of this passing time. Attend therefore, and show me double compassion, for I have two blindnessess, and exist between them.’
‘We see your one blindness well enough,’ remarked someone. ‘What may the other blindness be? Pray explain.’
‘I have an ugly voice, an unpleasing tone,’ he replied. ‘An ugly voice, and blindness – there you have the double. My ugly cry makes people annoyed, so that their affection is diminished by my cry. Wherever my ugly voice betakes itself, it becomes the source of anger, annoyance and hatred. Have double compassion upon my double blindness; make room in you hearts for one who is denied all room.’
The ugliness of his voice was lessened by this lament, so that the people with one heart took compassion upon him. By telling his secret, his voice was made beautiful by the sweet accents of the voice of his heart. But the man whose heart’s voice is also evil, that triple blindness dooms him to everlasting exile.
Yet it may be that the bountiful ones who give without cause will lay a hand upon his hideous head. Since the beggar’s voice became sweet and plaintive, the hearts of the stony-hearted became soft as wax.

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