These are a few of my favorite things: #15 (I’m a Nobody by Emily Dickinson)

I’m a Nobody by Emily Dickinson

Emily dickinson

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us
Don’t tell—they’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public—like a frog—
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

 This poem literally speaks to me, ‘cos in a world full of people who worship the rich & famous & who want their 15 minutes of fame, I (and few  kindred souls) am (are)  happy being a nobody .

People will go to any lengths to gain fame, even become buffoons in front of the world in the so called reality TV shows. I simply don’t understand the charms of fame. Celebrities say that they enjoy being recognized everywhere, & I’m like what? What’s the benefit whatsoever to be never left alone peacefully to do your own things as you please rather than pleasing an audience all the times?  The poem satirizes glory seekers as well as their admiring fans. Much as I don’t understand the desire for fame, I understand celebrity worshiping still lesser. I’ve incredulously witnessed masses standing out in sun for hours to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrity. I couldn’t care less about a movie-star or a sport celebrity. What I value is my own being n people who are near n dear to me in my own little world.

Perhaps I’m of  tradition of people like Chuang Tzu who revel in their own glory & being rather than being worshiped by masses. If you want to be famous you are really a puppet to what people want from you.

 Once, when Chuang Tzu was fishing in the P’u river, the king of Ch’u sent two officials to go and announce to him: “I would like to trouble you with the administration of my realm.”

Chuang Tzu held onto the fishing pole and, without turning his head, said, “I have heard that there is a sacred tortoise in Ch’u that has been dead for three thousand years. The king keeps it wrapped in cloth and boxed, and stores it in the ancestral temple. Now would this tortoise rather be dead and have its bones left behind and honored? Or would it rather be alive and dragging its tail in the mud?”

“It would rather be alive dragging its tail in the mud,” said the two officials.

Chuang Tzu said, “Go away! I’ll drag my tail in the mud!”

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February 8, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Happiness, My lifestyle, My Values, Parables, Poetry, Reflections/Musings, Wisdom. Leave a comment.

The Cake is Delicious (Living in the Present Moment): Zen Moments #8

English: Cake

English: Cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Greatest appeal of Zen for me is it’s focus on Present Moment, Zen does not concern itself with concepts like past lives, future lives, God, etc…it’s premise is pure & simple: Now is the only reality we can experience, we should be happy in the present moment, rejoice in simple things that surround us rather than worrying unnecessarily about things which may or may not come to pass.

There was an old Zen monk. He was on his deathbed. The last day had come, and he declared that that evening he would be no more. So followers, disciples, friends started coming. From far and wide people gathered. One of his old disciples, when he heard that the master was going to die, ran to the market.

Somebody asked: The master is dying in his hut, why are you going to the market?The old disciple said: I know that my master loves a particular type of cake, so I am going to purchase the cake.

It was difficult to find the cake, because now it had gone out of fashion, but by the evening somehow he managed. He came running with the cake. And everybody was worried — it was as if the master was waiting for someone. He would open his eyes and look, and close his eyes again.

 And when this disciple came, he said: Okay, so you have come. Where is the cake? The disciple produced the cake — and he was very happy that the master asked about the cake. Dying, the master took the cake in his hand, but his hand was not trembling. He was very old, but his hand was not trembling. So somebody asked: You are so old and just on the verge of dying. The last breath is soon to leave you, but your hand is not trembling.

The master said: I never tremble, because there is no fear. My body has become old, but I am still young, and I will remain young even when the body is gone. Then he took a bite, started munching the cake. And then somebody asked: What is your last message, Master? You will be leaving us soon. What do you want us to remember?

 The master smiled and said: Ah, this cake is delicious.

This is a man who lives in the here and now: This cake is delicious. Even death is irrelevant. The next moment is meaningless. THIS moment this cake is delicious. If you can be in this moment, this present moment, this presentness, the plenitude, then only you can love.

June 28, 2012. Tags: , , , . Death, Happiness, Inspiration, Parables, Wisdom, Zen. 1 comment.

Zen & the Art of Dying:Zen Moments #3

Daruma by Hakuin Ekaku (白隠 慧鶴, January 19, 168...

Image via Wikipedia

A samurai once asked Zen Master Hakuin where he would go after he died. Hakuin answered ‘How am I supposed to know?’ ‘How do you not know? You’re a Zen master!’ exclaimed the samurai. ‘Yes, but not a dead one,’ Hakuin answered.

A General and a Zen Master

During the civil wars in feudal Japan, an invading army would quickly sweep into a town and take control. In one particular village, everyone fled just before the army arrived – everyone except the Zen master.

Curious about this old fellow, the general went to the temple to see for himself what kind of man this master was.

When he wasn’t treated with the deference and submissiveness to which he was accustomed, the general burst into anger.

“You fool,” he shouted as he reached for his sword, “don’t you realize you are standing before a man who could kill you without blinking an eye!”

But despite the threat, the master seemed unmoved.

“And do you realize,” the master replied calmly, “that you are standing before a man who can be killed without blinking an eye?”

Usually people are interested in finding whether there is a life after death. Zen teachers say it is better to focus on the present moment than worry about the afterlife. The real question is not if there is life after death but if there is a life before death. As far as life after death is concerned there are just 3 possibilities: either we die n that is the end of our story or we keep reincarnating till we achieve nirvana or we pass on to other realms of existence…we can never be really sure of which of this 3 actually happens until we are, errr, well actually dead. Like the famous Greek Philosopher Epicurus said “When we are, death is not & when death is, we are not”. So what happens after death is really unimportant. It is a mystery for us the living. But death is certain that much is pretty sure & in fact though we hate to die, paradoxically it is death which makes life exciting or even bearable. Imagine being immortal, that would be a fate worse than death. So we as human beings are not meant to figure out what happens after death but rather how to make the most of life in face of impending death. The answer is we must learn to live each moment fully. To squeeze the juice out of each moment. It is said those who live wisely are not afraid to die. Only those who live half heartedly, die half heartedly. Just like we get a good night’s sleep after a day well spent, we can get a good death after a life well spent.

“There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment.”

Yamamoto TsunetomoHagakure (c. 1716)

February 9, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Buddhism, Death, Happiness, Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Parables, Reflections/Musings, Wisdom, Zen. 4 comments.

Buddhism in Bite Size Lessons: Lesson #16: 83 Problems-A Buddhist Parable

English: Paintings of Buddha meditating

Image via Wikipedia

A farmer had many complaints. He told the Buddha all about how difficult his life was. It seemed that the weather never cooperated the way that he wanted. It was either too wet or too dry, so his crops often failed. Also, while his wife was a good woman, she was much too critical of him, and lately his children were showing no gratitude for anything that he did for them. Furthermore, his neighbors were much too nosey and seemed to always be interfering in his affairs by spreading gossip about him.

The farmer, finishing his list of complaints, looked expectantly to the Buddha for a solution and was surprised when the Buddha said the he could not help him. According to the Buddha all human beings have 83 problems and that is just the way life is. While you can work hard and solve a few problems, once you do others will soon take their place. Upon hearing this, the farmer, in exasperation, asked, “Then what is the good of all your teaching?” The Buddha replied, “My teaching can’t help you with the 83 problems, but perhaps it can help with the 84th.” “What’s that?” the farmer asked. “The 84th problem,” the Buddha said, “is that you don’t want to have any problems.”


January 3, 2012. Buddha, Buddhism, Parables. Leave a comment.

Why walking the talk is not as easy as waxing eloquent on deep Philosophies

For the last few days I’ve been focusing on learning wisdom from the wise Greek philosopherEpictetus, today I wrote a post on how to react (or how not to react) to insults, I received quite a positive feedback on the post & was pleased as punch with myself on having such deep thoughts. Among other things I said ‘we should not let people push our buttons, if they shout, let them, we should not shout back, etc etc…but come evening my hubby got mad at me over something trifle & spoke a little sharply to me, & the next moment I found myself paying his rudeness back in kind, I yelled for 2 mins & then suddenly recalled the wisdom from Epictetus, Buddha & Osho. I suddenly stopped in my tracks…this reminded me of a humorous story I had read sometime ago:

Su Dongpo , a famous Chinese poet, wrote the following poem to describe a state he had experienced in meditation:

I bow to the god among gods;
His hair-light illuminates the world.
Unmoved when the Eight Winds blow,
Upright I sit in a purple-golden lotus.

(The “eight winds ” in the poem referred to praise & ridicule, honor & disgrace, gain & loss, and pleasure & misery  – interpersonal forces of the material world that drive and influence the hearts of men. .

“He sent the poem to the Great Master Foyin , and the Master’s reply was two words: ‘Fart, fart.’ As soon as Su Dongpo saw the Great Master Foyin’s criticism, he couldn’t get it out of his mind, and he rushed across the Yangtze—he lived on the south side of the river and Great Master Foyin lived on the north side—to find the Master and scold him. He wanted to tell the Master that he had written an enlightened poem, and so how could the Master possibly have replied, ‘Fart, fart?’

“In fact, when Great Master Foyin criticized him, not only did Su Dongpo fart, he blazed forth and wanted to scorch Foyin to death. And so he rushed across the river and burst unannounced into the Master’s quarters and shouted, ‘How could you possibly scold someone and slander him that way by writing “fart, fart”?’

“Foyin replied, ‘Who was I slandering? You said that you were unmoved by the Eight Winds, but just by letting out two small farts I’ve blown you all the way across the Yangtze. And you still say that the Eight Winds don’t move you? You don’t have to talk about eight winds; just my two farts bounced you all the way up here.’

“Then Su Dongpo thought, ‘That’s right. I said that I’m unmoved by the Eight Winds, but two words have been enough to make me burn with anger.’ Realizing that he still didn’t have what it takes, he bowed to the Master and repented.

So while I was basking in my philosophical glory for last few days, a little thing disturbed me…but does that mean that we should simply stop trying to aim for serenity, naah that is not the case.

“Have you ever watched a stonecutter at work? He will hammer away at a rock for perhaps a 100 times without a crack showing in it. Then, on the 101st blow, it will split in two. It is not that blow alone which accomplished the result, but the 100 others that went before as well.”

So we should keep on trying & one day slowly but surely we’ll break our rocks & walk our talk.

September 13, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Buddhism, Humor, Inspiration, Parables, Philosophy, Reflections/Musings, Teaching Stories, Wisdom. 1 comment.

Finding Happiness the Epictetus Way #6

Epictetus on dealing with insults:

‘It is not he who reviles or strikes you who insults you, but your opinion that these things are insulting’

‘If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.’

If anyone tells you that such a person speaks ill of you, don’t make excuses about what is said of you, but answer: ” He does not know my other faults, else he would not have mentioned only these.”

My commentary: 

Eleanor Roosevelt has said that no one can make us feel inferior without our consent. It takes two people to insult, one to give & one to receive it, so if we simply refuse to get insulted no one can insult us even though they might say bad things about us. There’s a beautiful incident from Buddha‘s life which goes like this (As narrated by Osho):

Buddha was passing through a village. The people of that village were against him, against his philosophy, so they gathered around him to insult him. They used ugly words, vulgar words. Buddha listened. Ananda, Buddha’s disciple who was with him, got very angry, but he couldn’t say anything because Buddha was listening so silently, so patiently, rather as if he was enjoying the whole thing.

Then even the crowd became a little frustrated because he was not getting irritated and it seemed he was enjoying. Buddha said, ”Now, if you are finished, I should move – because I have to reach the other village soon. They must be waiting just as you were waiting for me. If you have not told me all the things that you thought to tell me, I will be coming back within a few days, then you can finish it.”

Somebody from the crowd said, ”But we have been insulting you, we have insulted you. Won’t you react? Won’t you say something?” 

Buddha said, ”That is difficult. If you want reaction from me, then you are too late. You should have come at least ten years ago, because then I used to react. But I am now no longer so foolish. I see that you are angry, that’s why you are insulting me. I see your anger, the fire burning in your mind. I feel compassion for you. This is my response – I feel compassion for you. Unnecessarily you are troubled.

”Even if I am wrong, why should you get so irritated? That is not your business. If I am wrong I am going to hell, you will not go with me. If I am wrong I will suffer for it, you will not suffer for it. But it seems you love me so much and you think about me and consider me so much that you are so angry, irritated. You have left your work in the fields and you have come just to say a few things to me. I am thankful.”

Just when he was leaving he said, ”One thing more I would like to say to you. In the other village I left behind, a great crowd just like you had come there and they had brought many sweets just as a present for me, a gift from the village. But I told them that I don’t take sweets. They took the sweets back. I ask you, what will they do with those sweets?”

So somebody from the crowd said, ”What will they do? It is easy, there is no need to answer. They will distribute them in the village and they will enjoy.”

So Buddha said, ”Now what will you do? You have brought only insults and I say I don’t take them. What will you do? I feel so sorry for you. You can insult me, that is up to you. But I don’t take it, that is up to me – whether I take it or not.” Buddha said, ”I don’t take unnecessary things, useless things. I don’t get unnecessarily burdened. I feel compassion for you.”

Osho says if we react to insults, it’s like we have given the remote control of our happiness to other people, they can agitate us whenever they want.

‘Watch how many things you do unconsciously. Somebody says something and there is anger. There is not even a single moment’s gap. It is as if you are just a mechanism — somebody pushes a button and you lose your temper. Just as if you push the button and the fan starts moving and the light goes on. There is not a. single moment. The fan never thinks whether to move or not to move; it simple moves.
This is unconsciousness, this is mindlessness. Somebody insults and you are simply controlled by his insult.”

So if someone says something bad about it, we should think that it’s got nothing to do with us, but everything to do with their own nature. Let them behave according to their nature & let us behave according to our nature.

Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was again stung. The other monk asked him, “Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know it’s nature is to sting?”

“Because,” the monk replied, “to save it is my nature.” 

The Best way to deal with an insult is not trying to top it up & insulting the person who insulted us in retaliation, the best way is to ignore it & go our way.

Finally it should be understood that people are bound to say one thing or another no matter what we try to do, so it’s wise to use our common sense & do what we deem the best in a given situation rather than twisting & turning trying to please them. Let them insult us but let us not make fools of ourselves in reaction to those insults. This story from Aesop’s Fables demonstrates this point wonderfully:

The Man, the Boy and the Donkey

Once a man and his son were walking to the market with their donkey. A countryman noticed that the donkey was walking alongside them and laughed, “You fools, what is a donkey for but to ride upon?!”

So the man decided to put his son on the donkey and they went on their way. A little while later they passed a group of men. One of them said, “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

The man then ordered the boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women. One of them said to the other, “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

The man didn’t know what to do at first. He thought and thought and finally decided to put his son up in front of him on the donkey.

Soon they reached the town. There too the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The man stopped and asked them what they were scoffing at. The people said, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey?”

The man and the boy got off. They had to think of what to do all over again. At last they had an idea. They took a long pole and tied the donkey’s feet to it. Then they raised the pole to their shoulders and carried the donkey upside down.

They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to the market bridge. The donkey accidentally got one of his feet loose and kicking out, caused the boy to drop his end of the pole.

In the struggle that followed, the poor donkey, with his forelegs tied together, fell over the bridge and drowned.

September 13, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Buddha, Buddhism, Greek Philosophers, Happiness, Inspiration, Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Osho, Parables, Philosophy, Reflections/Musings, Teaching Stories, Wisdom. 12 comments.

Finding Happiness the Epictetus Way #5

Epictetus, (Artist's Impression), 1st/2nd cent...

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EpictetusStoic philosophy is not concerned with the usual complicated subject matter of philosophy, such as Ontology & Physics but it concerns itself with ways to make life easier & happier for an average person. Perhaps that is the reson for it’s appeal even today.

Today’s Maxim:

If you want to improve, reject such reasonings as these: “If I neglect my affairs, I’ll have no income; if I don’t correct my servant, he will be bad.” For it is better to die with hunger, exempt from grief and fear, than to live in affluence with perturbation; and it is better your servant should be bad, than you unhappy.

Begin therefore from little things. Is a little oil spilt? A little wine stolen? Say to yourself, “This is the price paid for apathy, for tranquility, and nothing is to be had for nothing.” When you call your servant, it is possible that he may not come; or, if he does, he may not do what you want. But he is by no means of such importance that it should be in his power to give you any disturbance.

My commentary:

Worrying is the most futile of our mind’s activities, because it achieves nothing. There’s a very apt poster which says that there are only two times you should not worry: When you can do something about the problem & when you can’t do anything about a problem.

“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

Worry never robs tomorrow of it’s sorrow. It only saps today of it’s joy.” –Leo Buscaglia

“Practice being content, your world will become worry free.” (Still Thoughts-Jing Si Aphorism)

Mark Twain said it well when he quipped: “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

if there’s something you can do about the situation, why worry. If there’s nothing you can do about it, why worry!”

You may remember the A.A. Milne stories of Winnie-the-Pooh and Pooh’s friend Piglet. Piglet was an inveterate worrier: “Supposing that…?” “What if…?” “Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?” We are told that, after careful thought, Piglet was comforted by Pooh’s reply of “Supposing it didn’t?”  I can’t resist mentioning another favourite reference from the same books, this time from Eeyore: “It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily. “So it is.” “And freezing.” “Is it?” “Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.” (http://www.legalsecretaryjournal.com )

There’s a Buddhist/Zen story that illustrates how Human mind is accustomed to seeing only the bad situation instead of focusing on the good that is there:

There was once an old lady who worried all the time. Her elder daughter was married to an umbrella merchant while the younger daughter was the wife of a noodle vendor. On sunny days, she worried, “Oh no! The weather is so nice and sunny. No one is going to buy any umbrellas. What will happen if the shop has to be closed?” These worries made her sad. She just could not help but cry. When it rained, she would cry for the younger daughter. She thought, “Oh no! My younger daughter is married to a noodle vendor. You cannot dry noodles without the sun. Now there will be no noodles to sell. What should we do?” As a result, the old lady lived in sorrow everyday. Whether sunny or rainy, she grieved for one of her daughters. Her neighbors could not console her and jokingly called her “the crying lady.”

One day, she met a monk. He was very curious as to why she was always crying. She explained the problem to him. The monk smiled kindly and said, “Madam! You need not worry. I will show you a way to happiness, and you will need to grieve no more.”

The crying lady was very excited. She immediately asked the monk to show her what to do. The master replied, “It is very simple. You just need to change your perspective. On sunny days, do not think of your elder daughter not being able to sell umbrellas but the younger daughter being able to dry her noodles. With such good strong sunlight, she must be able to make plenty of noodles and her business must be very good. When it rains, think about the umbrella store of the elder daughter. With the rain, everyone must be buying umbrellas. She will sell a lot of umbrellas and her store will prosper.”

The old lady saw the light. She followed the monk’s instruction. After a while, she did not cry anymore; instead, she was smiling every day. From that day on she was known as “the smiling lady.”

Ajan Brahm says ‘The possibilities for the future are infinite. When we focus on the unfortunate possibilities, that’s called worry. When we remember the other possibilities, which are usually more likely, that’s called freedom from worry.’

There’s this cute song by Bob Marley ‘Don’t worry About a thing’ & Connie Talbot’s rendition :

 

September 12, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Buddhism, Greek Philosophers, Happiness, Inspiration, Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Parables, Teaching Stories, Uncategorized, Wisdom. 4 comments.

Finding Happiness the Epictetus way #2

IMG_3591

Image by Eka Wangsa via Flickr

After laying emphasis on focusing our attention to ‘things under our control’ & giving up struggling on ‘things outside our control’, the next thing Epictetus deals with in Enchiridion  are the concepts of ‘impermanence’ & ‘clinging‘.

He says “With regard to whatever objects give you delight, are useful, or are deeply loved, remember to tell yourself of what general nature they are, beginning from the most insignificant things. If, for example, you are fond of a specific ceramic cup, remind yourself that it is only ceramic cups in general of which you are fond. Then, if it breaks, you will not be disturbed. If you kiss your child, or your wife, say that you only kiss things which are human, and thus you will not be disturbed if either of them dies.”

“Never say of anything, “I have lost it”; but, “I have returned it.” Is your child dead? It is returned. Is your wife dead? She is returned. Is your estate taken away? Well, and is not that likewise returned? “But he who took it away is a bad man.” What difference is it to you who the giver assigns to take it back? While he gives it to you to possess, take care of it; but don’t view it as your own, just as travelers view a hotel.

“If you wish your children, and your wife, and your friends to live for ever, you are stupid; for you wish to be in control of things which you cannot, you wish for things that belong to others to be your own. So likewise, if you wish your servant to be without fault, you are a fool; for you wish vice not to be vice,” but something else. But, if you wish to have your desires undisappointed, this is in your own control. Exercise, therefore, what is in your control. He is the master of every other person who is able to confer or remove whatever that person wishes either to have or to avoid. Whoever, then, would be free, let him wish nothing, let him decline nothing, which depends on others else he must necessarily be a slave. “

Further Analysis:

Buddhism also stresses on the importance of understanding ‘impermanence’ and ‘attachment’ to attain Equanimity & Peace of mind.

Buddha said “Whatever is subject to oirigination is subject to destruction”  Impermanence is a fact of life. He said that suffering is not inherent in the world of impermanence; suffering arises when we cling. When clinging disappears, impermanence no longer gives rise to suffering. The solution to suffering, then, is to end clinging, not to try to escape from the transient world.

It is possible to find ease and grace in the world of change; it is possible to trust the mind of non-clinging and so find our liberation within the world of impermanence. One means of reducing clinging is to see the transient nature of what we cling to. This insight can either show us the futility of trying to find lasting happiness in what is impermanent, or it can encourage us to examine deeply why we cling.

 There is a very interesting story by Ghou Zeng , ‘Letting Go of Illusive Sentimentality’ where a non Buddhist encounters how Buddhists understand & deal with death. The non Buddhist comes across a father whose son dies after a snake bite when the father & son are working in a field. The father is unperturbed & continues to work.  The non Buddhist is shocked beyond belief & asks the father is he not sad, to which the father replies “What for?  Death is an element in life.  The prosperity and withering of things has its own clock.  Now that the person is dead, if he is kind, there will be kind arrangements for him.  If bad elements in his life have matured, he will experience retribution right away.  What good can I do to the dead person if I
cry?” .

Not only this the father asks the non Buddhist to go to his house & tell his family that he would need only one lunch that afternoon. Hearing this the non Buddhist is not only shocked but angry too. He things the father is the most selfish unfeeling person in the world who is not even skipping his lunch when his son has just died. Anyways he reaches the man’s house & passes on the message to the mother, sister & wife of the dead boy. Surprisingly their reactions are very similar to that of the boy’s father. They take the news as if it is something very normal & expected. They are neither shocked nor sad.

The non-Buddhist asked, “Aren’t you sad about your son’s death?” The old woman said, “This son came to my family out of his own will.  I didn’t ask him to come.  Now he is gone.  I cannot keep him.  We are like travelers spending the night at the same inn.  The next day, all of us leave for our own paths. No one can keep anyone else.  In fact, there’s no need to keep any one.  It is the same between my son and me.  I cannot direct my son’s coming and going.  It follows his karmic predestined relationship.”  The non-Buddhist heard this and thought that the couple was truly cold-blooded.

The sister remarked, “He’s already dead.  Why should I be sad?  We are like logs tied into a raft.  We are sailing together in the water.  When a big storm comes, the raft falls apart.  Each log follows its own way with the current.  The logs cannot be combined together any more.  We have become sister and brother due to random reasons and have come to the same family.  However, life is different for everyone.  There isn’t a set time for life and death.  He has left before I do.  What can I do as a sister?”

The wife said calmly:  “Our marriage is like flying birds in the sky.  They rest together at night.  They go out their own ways to find food at the next dawn.  Every one has each one’s destiny.  It is his fortune that he doesn’t have to come back once he flies.  I cannot replace him.  I cannot bear his karma for
him.  We are like people who get to know each other on our journey.  We have to go our own ways sooner or later.”

Then he meets Buddha, he didn’t ask any questions.  However, Buddha read his mind and asked, “What has made you so sad?”

The non-Buddhist told the story of the farmer family to Buddha.  He thought that the farmer family didn’t have any love not to mention compassion.  He didn’t think this kind of things should happen.

Buddha smiled & said “The family you met wasn’t wrong on the principle.  They knew that they couldn’t forever keep their human flesh.  When a person dies, everyone cries loudly for him.  What good does it do to the dead person?  Moreover, life has birth and death.  Happiness at birth and sadness at death are signs of the confusion that the secular world has towards life and death.  The circle of life and death never stops.”

After hearing the guidance from the Buddha, the non-Buddhist suddenly understood.  From then on, he converted to Buddhism and became a diligent monk.

The story of Kisa Gautami

Kisa Gautami was a young woman from a wealthy family who was happily married to an important merchant. When her only son was one-year-old, he fell ill and died suddenly. Kisa Gautami was struck with grief, she could not bare the death of her only child. Weeping and groaning, she took her dead baby in her arms and went from house to house begging all the people in the town for news of a way to bring her son back to life.

Of course, nobody could help her but Kisa Gautami would not give up. Finally she came across a Buddhist who advised her to go and see the Buddha himself.

When she carried the dead child to the Buddha and told Him her sad story, He listened with patience and compassion, and then said to her, “Kisa Gautami, there is only one way to solve your problem. Go and find me four or five mustard seeds from any family in which there has never been a death.”

Kisa Gautami was filled with hope, and set off straight away to find such a household. But very soon she discovered that every family she visited had experienced the death of one person or another. At last, she understood what the Buddha had wanted her to find out for herself — that suffering is a part of life, and death comes to us all. Once Kisa Guatami accepted the fact that death is inevitable, she could stop her grieving. She took the child’s body away and later returned to the Buddha to become one of His followers.

September 8, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Buddha, Buddhism, Greek Philosophers, Happiness, Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Parables, Philosophy, Reflections/Musings, Teaching Stories, Wisdom. 10 comments.

What is Really Impotant in Life? :Putting Things in Perspective

 

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university lecturer. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the lecturer said: “If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. “While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.”  What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other’s cups.”

“Now, if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn’t change. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it.”

Don’t let the cups drive you… enjoy the coffee instead.

 

Other Parables/Teaching Stories on my blog:

https://ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com/category/parables/

Movie Reviews on my Blog:

https://ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com/category/movies/

Book Reviews on my Blog:

https://ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com/category/books/

Travelogues on my Blog:

https://ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com/category/travelogues/

Know More About Me:

https://ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com/about/

https://ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com/category/i-me-myself/

 

April 10, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Parables, Slacker-Sutras, Slacking, Teaching Stories, Wisdom. 4 comments.

Parable:“The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable people.”

A physician gave some rather whimsical advice to a patient, an aggressive, go-getter type of businessman. Excitedly the businessman told the doctor what an enormous amount of work he had to do and that he had to get it done right away or el…se things will fall apart.

“I take my brief case home every night and it’s packed with work,” he said with nervous inflection.

“Why do you take work home with you at night?” the doctor asked quietly.

“I have to get it done,” he fumed.

“Can’t someone else do it, or help you with it?” asked the doctor.

“No,” the man snapped. “I am the only one who can do it. It must be done just right, and I alone can do it as it must be done, and it has to be done quickly. Everything depends upon me.”

“If I write a prescription, will you follow it?” asked the doctor.

This, believe it or not was the prescription. His patient was to take off half-day a week and spend that half-day in cemetery.

In astonishment the patient demanded, “Why should I spend a half-day in a cemetery?”

“Because,” answered the doctor, “I want you to wander around and look at the gravestones of men who are there permanently. I want you to meditate on the fact that many of them are there because they thought even as you do, that the whole world rested on their shoulders. Meditate on the fact that when you get there permanently the world will go on just the same &, as important as you are, others will be able to do the work you are now doing.”

The patient got the idea. He stopped fuming & fretting. He got peaceful and developed a more competent organization & his business is in better condition.

Bottom Line: No one is indispensable. So you might as well relax n do your own thing

January 20, 2011. Tags: , , . Parables, Teaching Stories, Wisdom. 1 comment.

Buddhism in Bite Size Lessons: Lesson #14: A Buddhist Story

One day a famous government officer met a highly respected elderly master. Being conceited, he wanted to prove that he was the superior person.As their conversation drew on, he asked the master, “Old monk, do you know what I think of you and the things you said?”
The master replied, “I don’t care what you think of me. You are entitled to have your own opinion.”
The officer snorted, “Well, I will tell you what I think anyway. In my eyes, you are just like a pile of dry shit!”
The master simply smiled and stayed quiet.
Seeing that his insult had fallen into deaf ears, he asked curiously, “And what do you think of me?”
The master said, “In my eyes, you are just like the Buddha.”
Hearing this remark, the officer left happily and bragged to his wife about the incident.
His wife said to him, “You conceited fool! When a person has a heart like a pile of dry shit, he sees everyone in that light. The elderly master has a heart like that of the Buddha, and that is why in his eyes, everyone, including you, is like the Buddha!”

August 17, 2010. Tags: , , , . Buddha, Buddhism, Parables, Wisdom. 1 comment.

This is Equanimity n Resilience: A Chinese Parable

I would like to share my favorite Chinese parable with you…which made me look at life’s problem in a new light…you never know what gift a problem might bring…& what looks like a misfortune initially might just be another blessing in disguise.

Here is a Chinese story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck?

Who knows?

Everything that seems on the surface to be an evil may be a good in disguise. And everything that seems good on the surface may really be an evil. So we must bear all the circumstances that the life brings with Equanimity n Resilience n with an attitude that this too shall pass.

🙂

April 26, 2010. Tags: , , . Inspiration, Parables, Wisdom. Leave a comment.

Chicken Soup for an Idler’s Soul: The Mexican Fisherman, My Hero, My Alter Ego

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs…I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you!

“You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.

“Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends!”

December 4, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , . Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Parables, Reflections/Musings, Slacker-Sutras, Slacking, Wisdom. Leave a comment.

Like Chuan Tzu & The Tortoise I too would Prefer To Just Crawl In Mud :-D

As Chuang-tzu was fishing in the river P’u, two high officials arrived from the king of Ch’u and said, “Sir, the king requests that you come to the capital and serve as his prime minister.”

Without turning his head, Chuang-tzu answered, “I have heard that in Ch’u there is a sacred tortoise that died there, three thousand years ago. The king keeps its shell in the temple, wrapped in silk and encased in a golden box. Now if you were this tortoise, would you prefer to be venerated in such a way, or would you rather be alive again, crawling around in the mud?”

“The latter, certainly,” said the officials.

Chuang-tzu said, “Give my compliments to His Majesty, and tell him that I am happy right here, crawling around in the mud.”

July 26, 2009. Tags: , , . My lifestyle, My Values, Parables, Slacker-Sutras. Leave a comment.

Mulla Nasurrudin & Green Chillies : Think About How it Applies in Your Own Life

On his way from Persia to India, Mulla Nasrudin saw a man selling a small long green fruit which he had never seen before.  Curious, he asked the vendor:  “What is this lovely fruit?”

“Chillies. Fresh Green Chillies,” said the Vendor.

Mulla Nasrudin gave the vendor a gold coin and the Vendor was so overjoyed that he gave Nasrudin the full basket of green Chillies.

Mulla Nasrudin sat down under a tree and started to munch the Chillies and   within a few seconds, his mouth was burning. Tears streamed down his cheeks, his nose watered copiously and there was fire his throat.

But, utterly nonchalant, Nasrudin went on eating the chillies and his condition began to get worse and worse.

Seeing his pitiable condition, a passerby asked, “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you stop eating those hot Chillies?”

“May be there is one that is sweet, “Nasrudin answered. “I keep waiting for the sweet one!” Nasrudin said and he kept on eating the fiery Chillies.

On his way back, the passerby saw that Mulla Nasrudin’s condition had become even more terrible, but he kept on eating, and the basket of Chillies was almost empty.

“Stop at once or you will die.  There are no sweet Chillies!” the passerby shouted at Nasrudin.

“I cannot stop until I have finished the whole basketful,” Nasrudin said, croaking in agony, “I have paid for the full basket   I am not eating Chillies anymore.  I am eating my money”.

July 25, 2009. Tags: , . Parables, Teaching Stories. 1 comment.