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stories

stories     

 

Snow White and Rose Green

Once upon a time there were two sisters and one got married and one didn't.
Or, once upon a time there were two piglets and one went to market and one didn't, or, one was straight and one wasn't.
The point is, whatever they did or failed to do, they were a great disappointment to their poor mother. Luckily for them, the two sisters loved one another. When they saw that their mother was growing more and more unhappy, they proposed to her that she cut them in half and out of the two good halves make one splendid one. Their mother refused in high indignation, but she was so wretched that the dutiful daughters went to a surgeon. The surgeon obligingly sawed them in half, then interchanged halves and stuck them together. But there were still two of them. This was a problem. So they went back home and said to their mother, "Now choose the good one." But their mother was furious that they had even thought of such a scheme. "You did it to mock me," she told them angrily. "You are both bad children." When the two sisters heard her say this, the Good One wept, but the Bad One smirked.

Suniti Namjoshi
From: From the Bedside Book of Nightmares, Fiddlehead, Frederection, 1984

 

The Human Condition / Stop the Train

The story is told of a man who, being late for a trip, arrived at a railroad station and jumped onto the first available train. Extenuated, he dozed off for a while and then upon waking up, saw the train rumbling along at full speed toward an unknown destination. He began querying everyone, complaining aloud and finally crying and shouting. He demanded that the train stop to let him off. The more excited he became, the more the other passengers, eerily silent and sowncast, seemed puzzled by his behavior. Finally a kind old man told him, "don't you know, this train has only one destination, the ocean depths from which no one ever returns." Once we are born, our final destination is death -- the deep ocean. Why fret and fuss? All we can do is to use our time on earth to develop the Bodhi-mind, seeking Enlightenment for ourselves and others

From Thus Have I Heard, edited by Minh Thanh and P.D. Leigh

 

The Crow and the Pitcher

A crow perishing with thirst saw a pitcher, and hoping to find water, flew to it with delight.  When he reached it, he discovered to his grief that it contained so little water that he could not possibly get at it.  He tried everything he could think of to reach the water, but all his efforts were in vain.  At last he collected as many stones as he could carry and dropped them one by one with his beak into the pitcher, until he brought the water within his reach and thus saved his life.

From Aesop Fables

 

A Tale of Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee woman told her grand daughter about a debate that goes on inside people. She said, "My dear, the battle between two wolves is inside us all. One is selfish and fearful. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, desire, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is unselfish and without fear. It is peace, love, joy, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith."
Her granddaughter thought about this for a minute and then asked: "Which wolf wins?"
"The one you feed the most," her grandmother replied.

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throwing starfish

“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"
The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."
"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said,

"It made a difference for that one.”

Loren Eiseley

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Milarepa's Last Testament

as told by Lama Surya Das

After the enlightened Cave-yogi and songmaster Milarepa left this world, a scrap of rice paper was found inscribed with his handwriting. His ascetic followers were astounded, for it stated that beneath a nearby boulder was buried all the gold that ascetic Mila had hoarded during his life.
A few eager disciples dug around and under that large rock. In the earth they discovered a ragged cloth bundle. Opening the knotted bundle with shaking hands, they discovered only a lump of dried shit.
There was another scribbled note as well. It said: "If you understand my teaching so little that you actually believed I ever valued or hoarded gold, you are truly heirs to my shit."
The note was signed "The Laughing Vajra, Milarepa."

 

Similes of Ajahn Chah

Lumber

If you don't bother to train your heart, then it remains wild, following the ways of nature. It's possible to train that nature so that it can be used to advantage. This is comparable to trees.
If we just left trees in their natural state, then we would never be able to build a house with them. We couldn't make planks or anything of use to build a house with. However, if a carpenter came along wanting to build a house, he would go looking for trees in their natural state. He would take raw material and use it to advantage. In a short time he could have a house built.
Meditation and developing the heart are similar to this. You must take this untrained heart as you would take a tree in its natural state in the forest, and train this natural heart so that it is more refined, more aware of itself, and more sensitive.

 

Crooked tree

The essence of our practice is to watch intention and examine the mind. You must have wisdom. Don't discriminate. Don't get upset with others if they are different. Would you get upset at a small and crooked tree in the forest for not being tall and straight like some of the others? That would be silly. Don't judge other people. There are all varieties. No need to carry the burden of wishing to change them all. If you want to change anything, change your ignorance to wisdom.

 

Mulian

In China people believed in a purifying life in the hereafter, complete with judges and warders, who could punish the dead for the sins they committed during their life. A well-known example of this is about the quest of Mulian, the disciple of the Buddha, who found his deceased mother.

Mulian is searching his mother. Therefore he has to descend through the porches of the Yellow Wells, the residence of the dead, because his mother doesn't live anymore. Mulian passes horrible purgatories. Finally he finds his mother in the most deep hell, where her body is nailed down with 49 long nails. The mother, who was sent to this hell because of sins she had committed in former lives, is constantly hungry. The reason is, that her neck grew so thin, that the food can't be swallowed. Besides, every time when Mulian offers her food in the temple of the ancestors, flames light it when the food arrives at his mother's mouth, so that she can't eat it..
Mulian can't endure the suffering of his mother and begs for the Buddha's help. The Buddha advices him to bring food offerings to the hungry monks at the fifteenth day of the seventh month. When Mulian does so, his mother is set free and she goes to heaven.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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The life of the Buddha

Buddha was an Indian prince, who was born more than 2500 years ago on the slope of the Himalayas. During his youth, he was surrounded by young and beautiful servants, and was living in three luxurious palaces. He was well educated and prepared to be the King.
The young prince adventured outside his palaces when he grew up. He saw some of the human sufferings such as aging, sickness and death. He also came across a monk who appeared to be happy, peaceful and liberated, yet free of material possessions.
His interest in finding ways to relieve the human sufferings grew stronger and stronger.
He eventually left his palaces and family.
He followed various sages and their practices for six years in his search for ways to relieve human sufferings. Despite a lot of progress, he was not able to find the ultimate truth.
He went into deep meditation underneath a big tree one day. He vowed not to leave it until he found the Truth. And there he attained enlightenment in early dawn one day.

After his enlightenment, he started to turn the Dharma wheel, teaching the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold path to his followers.
The Buddha continued to teach the Noble Eightfold Path, the path to end sufferings:
· Moral discipline through right speech, right action and right livelihood.
· Mental calmness through right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
· Supreme wisdom through right view and right thought.

The Buddha passed away after over 45 years of teaching.

 

A feudal lord and Japanese cherry blossoms

There lived a feudal lord in the north of Japan. He had his castle and had many Samurais serving for him. It was in the beginning of spring. It was the top season for Japanese cherry blossoms ( Sakura blossoms ). In fact, there were many cherry trees around his castle, whose blossoms were in the full bloom.
One night, as it was a clear night, he got out of his castle and walked around it.
A moon was clearly seen in the night sky, and tree blanches were bent with bunches of cherry blossoms in full bloom. He was enjoying the nice fragrance of the blossoms.
When he came to a pond, he found someone there. He looked carefully and realized that she was a young woman. The woman was elegantly dancing along the pond.
Her dance movement was so elegant and beautiful that he spontaneously began to sing for her. The woman continued her dance in harmony of his song.
When her dance came to an end, the feudal lord started to dance. Then, the woman began to sing for him with a beautiful voice. When his dance came to an end, she again started dancing. The feudal lord and the woman danced alternately. As time passed, he realized that his heart had been completely fascinated with the woman, her voice and her dance. He walked up to her and extended his arms to hug her in his arms.
Then, the dawn came. He was at a loss what to do because there was no one in front of him. The woman wasn’t there any more. He looked around and noticed that cherry blossoms on a branch were smiling at him.

S.Y.

                       

 

Dandelions

A man who took great pride in his lawn found himself with a large crop of dandelions. He fried every method he knew to destroy them. Still they plagued him. Finally he wrote the Department of Agriculture. He enumerated all the t

hings he had tried and closed his letter with the question: “What shall I do now?”
In due course the reply came: “We suggest you learn to love them.”

[ I was proud of my lawn but I too was plagued with dandelions that I kept fighting with every means in my power. So learning to love them was no easy task. I began by talking .to them each day. Cordial. Friendly. They maintained a sullen silence. They were smarting from the war I had waged against them, and were suspicious of my motives. But the day came when they smiled. And relaxed. And we started to be friends. My lawn, of course, was ruined. But how attractive my garden became! ]

The Song of the Bird

 

Just Two Words

There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. Af

ter spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to the head monk. "It has been ten years," said the head monk. "What are the two words you would like to speak?"
"Bed... hard..." said the monk.
"I see," replied the head monk.
Ten years later, the monk returned to the head monk's office. "It has been ten more years," said the head monk. "What are the two words you would like to speak?"
"Food... stinks..." said the monk.
"I see," replied the head monk.
Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the head monk who asked, "What are your two words now, after these ten years?"
"I... quit!" said the monk.
"Well, I can see why," replied the head monk. "All you ever do is complain."

 

The Soup of the Soup of the Duck

A relative came to visit Nasruddin bringing a duck as a gift. So the bird was cooked and eaten. Soon a stream of guests began to call, each claiming to be a friend of the friend of the ‘man who brought you

the duck.’ Each one, of course, expected to be fed and housed on the strength of that hapless bird. The Mulla bore it manfully till the day a stranger arrived and said: “I am a friend of the friend of the kinsman who brought you the duck.” And, like the others, he sat down, expecting to be fed. Nasruddin placed a bowl of steaming water under his nose. “What’s this?” asked the stranger. “This,” said the Mulla “is the soup of the soup of the duck that was brought me by your friend.”

[ One hears of people who became the disciples of someone who experienced the Divine.
How can you transmit a kiss through a messenger? ]

The Song of the Bird

 

We'll See

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.
"Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.
"We'll see," the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.
"How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.
"We'll see," replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
"We'll see," answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
"We'll see" said the farmer.

 

 

 

Crooked tree

The Crow and the Pitcher

Dandelions

A feudal lord and Japanese cherry blossoms

Just two Words

The Life of the Buddha

Milarepa's Last Testament

Mulian

Similes of Ajahn Chah

Snow White and Rose Green

Stop the train

The Soup of the Soup of the Duck

A Tale of Two Wolves

Throwing Starfish

We'll see

 

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