Wisdom Story – 4 redux


First of all, let me assure you that I do not plan on repeating each and every Wisdom Story because some of them, frankly, were less wise than others!  The fourth in the series, however, is worthy of a revisit.

After ten years of apprenticeship, Tenno achieved the rank of Zen teacher. One rainy day, he went to visit the famous master Nan-in. When he walked in, the master greeted him with a question, “Did you leave your wooden clogs and umbrella on the porch?”

“Yes,” Tenno replied.

“Tell me,” the master continued, “did you place your umbrella to the left of your shoes, or to the right?”

Tenno did not know the answer, and realized that he had not yet attained full awareness. So he became Nan-in’s apprentice and studied under him for ten more years.

[Source: http://www-usr.rider.edu/~suler/zenstory/awareness.html]

When this was first posted, it drew some very interesting comments.  Maura found herself, “thinking that mindfulness reminds me of Sherlock Holmes and presence of Miss Marple. They both have to approach the mystery but they each have very different paths in coming there. I guess I just take it for granted that there is more than one way to get were we all want to be. For me if it is too easy to become too mired in the “mindfulness” of detailed things and miss being present to the people God has put into my path for a reason.”

As I get older, I find that I’m getting less mindful or, at least, less capable of remembering whether or not I even brought an umbrella, let alone thinking about which side of my shoes I place it!

Wisdom Story – 3 redux

Honshu - Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi

Here’s the original story:

During a momentous battle, a Japanese general decided to attack even though his army was greatly outnumbered. He was confident they would win, but his men were filled with doubt. On the way to the battle, they stopped at a religious shrine. After praying with the men, the general took out a coin and said, “I shall now toss this coin. If it is heads, we shall win. If tails, we shall lose. Destiny will now reveal itself.”

He threw the coin into the air and all watched intently as it landed. It was heads. The soldiers were so overjoyed and filled with confidence that they vigorously attacked the enemy and were victorious. After the battle, a lieutenant remarked to the general, “No one can change destiny.”

“Quite right,” the general replied as he showed the lieutenant the coin, which had heads on both sides.

There were two distinct approaches in response. The late lamented Eric pondered about, “how often we approach God with our same-sided coins and shut out the blessings God wants to shower on those open to giving God the options of differing-sided coins,” while Maura took a much more concrete approach, “There are far too many times when we are like the soldiers fed a half truth to push us into an activity that those in authority believe is right but which may not in fact be.”
What, I wonder, is your reaction?

Wisdom Story – 2 redux

Burma - Silhouette of monk

A sage wandered the countryside and, as he passed near a village, was approached by a woman who beseeched him to help a sick child nearby.

He went to the village, and a crowd gathered around him, for such a man was a rare sight. The sick child was brought to him, and he said a prayer over her.

“Do you really think your prayer will help her when medical care has failed?” yelled a man from the crowd.

“You know nothing of such things! You are a stupid fool!” said the sage to the man.

The man became very angry with these words and his face grew hot and red. He was about to say something, or perhaps strike out, when the sage walked over to him and said: “If one word has such power as to make you so angry and hot, may not another have the power to heal?”

And thus, the sage healed two people that day.

[Source: http://www.storiesofwisdom.com/the-wise-sage/]

I originally ran this story on the 21st October, 2009.  At that time, devoted PFO-er Michele made the following comment:

I clicked the link for the stories of wisdom and found this at the end of the story you cited, Paul: “Language does have the power to change reality. Therefore, treat your words as the mighty instruments they are – to heal, to bring into being, to nurture, to cherish, to bless, to forgive.” – Daphne Rose Kingma.  This week I needed the message from both the story and the quote. Thanks.

Original Wisdom?


beautiful tree

This is the first Wisdom Story I ever posted – on the 12th of October 2009.  At the time, I had no idea that there would be 249 of them to follow…

A peasant came running up to a holy man, who was resting under a tree. “The stone! The stone! Give me the precious stone!”

“What stone?” asked the holy man.

“Last night I dreamed that I would find a holy man who would give me a precious stone that would make me rich forever,” replied the peasant.

The holy man rummaged through his bag and pulled out a stone. “He probably meant this one,” he said as he handed it to the peasant. “I found it on a forest path a few days ago. You can certainly have it.”

The man looked at the stone in wonder. It was a diamond, probably the largest diamond in the whole world; he took it and walked away. All night he tossed about in bed, unable to sleep. Next day at the crack of dawn he woke the holy man and said, “Give me the wealth that makes it possible for you to give this diamond away so easily.”

It deals with freedom from the desire to possess things.  I remember a wise Superior once told me, “It’s amazing how some Jesuits will generously give up the big things, but then cling fiercely to the insignificant, little things that remain.”  I’m afraid I’m one of those people.