Wisdom Story – 235

War3

 

From the Canadian Jesuit, Philip Chircop:

Once upon a time there was a man who was against war.  He got many people excited about his mission and built a large organization to speak out against the war.  Eventually people got tired and gave up on him and the mission.  He ended up standing outside the capital with an anti-war poster all alone.

One day, a passerby, noticing the lone protestor,  walked up to him and asked him in a chiding voice: “Do you really think you’re going to change the world?”

The man replied: “No, but I hope by showing up, the world will not change me.” 

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Wisdom Story – 234

Coffin 2

A farmer got so old that he couldn’t work the fields anymore. So he would spend the day just sitting on the porch.

His son, still working the farm, would look up from time to time and see his father sitting there. “He’s of no use any more,” the son thought to himself, “he doesn’t do anything!”

One day the son got so frustrated by this, that he built a wooden coffin, dragged it over to the porch, and told his father to get in. Without saying anything, the father climbed inside. After closing the lid, the son dragged the coffin to the edge of the farm where there was a high cliff.

As he approached the drop, he heard a light tapping on the lid from inside the coffin. He opened it up. Still lying there peacefully, the father looked up at his son. “I know you are going to throw me over the cliff, but before you do, may I suggest something?” “What is it?” replied the son. “Throw me over the cliff, if you like,” said the father, “but save this good wooden coffin. Your children might need to use it.”

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Wisdom Story – 233

Archery_target

 

After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer.

The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. “There,” he said to the old man, “see if you can match that!” Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain.

Curious about the old fellow’s intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit. “Now it is your turn,” he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground.

Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. “You have much skill with your bow,” the master said, sensing his challenger’s predicament, “but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.”

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[Image by Casito is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.]

Wisdom Story – 232

Sparrow

The Ministry of Agriculture decreed that sparrows were a menace to crops and should be exterminated.

When this was done, hoards of insects that the sparrows would have eaten descended on the harvest and began to ravage the crops, whereupon the Ministry of Agriculture came up with the idea of costly pesticides.

The pesticides made the food expensive. They also made it a hazard to health. Too late it was discovered that it was the sparrows who, through feeding on the crops, managed to keep the food wholesome and inexpensive.

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