Once, a man approached the Buddha, seeking the Enlightened One’s help. After narrating one of his problems to the Buddha, he asked the latter how he could get rid of it.

“I cannot help you with this problem,” said the Buddha, to the man’s surprise.

The man then related another problem. Surely, the Wise One would be able to help him with this matter at least?

But the Buddha merely smiled gently and said, “I can’t help you get rid of this one, either.” The man lost his patience. “How can you be the Enlightened One if you cannot help people resolve their problems?” he blurted.

The Buddha replied: “There will always be 83 problems troubling you. Occasionally, one problem will disappear, but it will be replaced by another one. I can’t change that.” Even more confused now, the man queried the Buddha: “So is there any help you can give me?”

The Buddha answered: “I can help you be free of the 84th problem.”

“And what is that?” asked the man.

“The fact that you want to be rid of those 83 problems!” replied the Buddha.