Once a farmer went to tell the Buddha about his problems. He described his difficulties farming-how either drought or monsoons complicated his work. He told the Buddha about his wife-how even though he loved her, there were certain things about he wanted to change. Likewise with his children-yes, he loved them, but they weren’t turning out quite the way he wanted. When he was finished, he asked how the Buddha could help him with his troubles.
The Buddha said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.”
What do you mean?” railed the farmer. “You’re supposed to be a greater teacher!”
The Buddha replied, “Sir, it’s like this. All human beings have eighty-three problems. It’s a fact of life. Sure, a few problems may go away now and then, but soon enough others will arise. So we’ll always have eighty-three problems.
The farmer responded indignantly, “Then what’s the good of all your teachings?”
The Buddha replied,”My teaching can’t help with the eighty-three problems, but perhaps it can help with the eight-fourth problem.”
What’s that?” asked the farmer.
The eighty-fourth problem is that we don’t want to have any problems.”