Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category
A Burden too big
A classic tale
There was a man seeking “enlightenment”
He went walking far into the mountains in search of knowledge
He met many sages and asked them about enlightenment
There were many different opinions about it and he became confused
Some talked of a “purple light” or a soaring spirit
There were stories of heavenly sights and sounds
Tales of immortals with super human powers
He was asked to serve masters, to receive teachings
Told it took years of servitude to a master or a school
Or to embrace suffering, or hedonism, or denounce all things
To become a renunciate or a hermit or a servant
Told to study scriptures, count beads, pray to gods, become a monk
Encouraged to use herbs, drugs, potions, become vegetarian
Write poetry, play music, exercise, or meditate
He was told it can not be done in this life
That he wasn’t smart enough
Or dedicated enough.
To keep seeking….
One day, on a far away mountain trail, he came across a weathered old man carrying a huge burden of tea on his back.
He greeted him with his burdensome question.
“Sir, can you tell me about enlightenment?”
The man did not speak, he simply took off his massive backpack and set it down on the path and breathed a sigh.
Suddenly, the seeker understood…… Just set down your burden!
He couldn’t believe how simple it was, and how simply the old man was able to tell him the answer to this question he had carried with him for so long!
He bowed to the old man in homage of his great wisdom. He was struck then with another question, he asked the still silent old man,
“Tell me sir, what then, what’s after enlightenment?”
The old man silently picked up his pack, and continued walking along the path, disappearing into the mist.
A Classic Zen Tale from Japan
There was a great samurai who was traveling the country looking for answers on the nature of the universe.
He went to a famous Zen Buddhist master and asked him; “Please tell me the nature of Heaven and Hell”
The master scowled and replied back, “You stupid samurai, you‘re supposed to be such a “great warrior” how dare you ask me this question. You are such a fool if you do not know the difference, and who do you think you are bothering me with such an inane question. Go away idiot!”
Enraged, the samurai drew his sword and held it above the masters head letting out a war cry as he did. “I’ll kill you for you what you have said”
The Zen master calmly pointed his hand towards the samurai and said, “That, is Hell”
Embarrassed, the regretful samurai sheathed his sword, fell to his knees, bowing profusely and apologized by saying, “I am so sorry master, you have enlightened me. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your great words. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom with me.
The smiling Zen master tipped his head, opened his arms and said, “And that, is Heaven.”
One day I was eating lunch with my children. My pre-teen daughter was enjoying a green leafy salad when my 5-year-old son asked me “Daddy, where does lettuce come from?”
Not wanting to miss an opportunity to stimulate his thinking I replied, “Well son, it comes from Heaven.”
He gave me that tilted head look and asked, “What! How can that be?
I continued, “It’s like this, have you ever seen a lettuce seed?”
He shook his head “no”,
“Well, it’s really really small, you can barely see it. There is no lettuce in it, just a recipe for lettuce, you need to add Heaven”
“How do you do that ?” he said.
“Well,” I went on, “you need to plant the seed in the Earth, that’s a part of Heaven” I reminded him. “Then, the sun light shines down on it from above, you know, another part of Heaven, and then ‘poof’ you’ve got lettuce”
“Hmmmm… I get it,” he said. Then he gave me the strangest look ever, I could just feel him thinking, and out popped his next question. “Daddy, where do I come from?”
“Well sweetie, you come from Heaven too!”
“What? Aw come on Daddy, how can that be”
“It’s like this, have you ever seen a human seed?”
He shook his head “no” “
Well, it’s really really small, you need a microscope to see it. There is nobody in it, just a recipe for a person, you just need to add Heaven”
“How do you do that?”
I said, “Eat your salad!”
A Classic Taoist Tale
There was a farmer with a beautiful stallion. He was the envy of all his neighbors.
One stormy night, after a barrage of thunder, the farmer awoke to discover that his prize stallion had run off.
The neighbors all said, “How awful; your wonderful horse is gone!”
The farmer casually replied, ” I don’t know”
About a week later, his neighbors were surprised to see that the horse had returned, and with him a new mare.
The neighbors said, “How wonderful; your stallion has returned and he has brought with him a beautiful new mate!”
The Farmer simply said, I don’t know.”
The next week as the farmer’s son was attempting to break in the new mare, he took a fall and broke his arm.
The neighbors exclaimed, “How terrible that your son has broken his arm, and with harvest so soon!”
The farmer merely said, ” I don’t know.”
After yet another week there came to the village a government man. He was on a mission to conscript “all able- bodied men” into the army to guard the country from the invading enemy horde.
The Neighbors happily stated, ” How fantastic that your son’s arm is broken, now he need not go off to war!”
The farmer just said……
“I don’t know.”