parable of the blind men and the elephant ［群盲評象の譬］ ( gummō-hyōzō-no-tatoe): A parable that appears in the Mahāparinirvāna Sutra, in which it is related by Shakyamuni Buddha, and in other Buddhist texts. A king instructed his high minister to assemble a group of blind men, bring an elephant before them, and have each of them touch it. The king then asked each of them to describe the elephant to him. One blind man, stroking the elephant’s trunk, insisted that the animal resembled a pestle; another, pressing his hands against the elephant’s stomach, said that it was like a pot; a third, who touched the elephant’s tail, reported that the elephant resembled a rope; and so on. In the sutra, Shakyamuni likens the king, who knows the true form of the elephant, to the Buddha’s wisdom, the high minister to the Mahāparinirvāna Sutra, the elephant to the Buddha nature inherent in all living beings, and the blind men to ordinary people who are ignorant of the reality of their own Buddha nature.