There is a popular saying that "whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over." It is usually attributed to the great writer Mark Twain, but whoever actually said it could hardly have known just how intense that fighting would become as water gets scarcer.
Fighting over water is not new, it is as ancient as human beings on earth.Even in Buddha's times people had the possessive attitude towards natural resources.
Osho tells a penetrating story how Gautama Buddha resolved the water dispute between two kings.
Buddha was holding his camp by the side of a river, and he was surprised to see armies standing on both sides of the river. There were two kingdoms and the river was their boundary, and they had been fighting for generations over which kingdom the river belonged to . And they had not been able to decide -- so many times they had made the river red with blood and the fight had continued. Buddha had his camp there and the generals of both the armies came to seek his guidance. Just by chance, they entered his camp at the same time. They were shocked at this strange coincidence, but now there was no way to go back.
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Buddha said, "Don't be worried; it is good that you have come together. You both are blind, your predecessors have been blind, too. The river goes on flowing, and you go on killing people. Can't you see a simple fact: you both need water, and the river is big enough. There is no need to possess the river; and who can be the possessor? All the water is flowing into the ocean. Why can't both of you use it? One side belongs to one kingdom, the other side belongs to the other kingdom -- there is no problem. And there is no need even to draw a line in the middle of the river because lines cannot be drawn on water. And use the water; rather than fighting."
The generals understood that their fields and their crops were dying because they had no one to take care of them. Everyone was busy fighting. First they had to decide who possesses the river, only then could they water their fields. The stupid human mind thinks only in terms of possession. The man of insight thinks of utility.
Buddha simply said, "Use it! And come to me again when you have used all the water. If there is still be a problem, we will see what to do about it. But come to me again only when you have finished all the water."
The warriors looked at each other, they felt trapped but they had no answer. They went back feeling like fools. We don't know what the outcome was, whether they saw their folly and ended the war or they are still fighting. But the water is still flowing as abundantly, as compassionately as ever.