Wisdom Story – 246

512px-Finnish_lumberjack_in_1944

 

It was the annual lumberjack competition and the final was between an older, experienced lumberjack and a younger, stronger lumberjack. The rule of the competition was quite simply who could fell the most trees in a day was the winner.

The younger lumberjack was full of enthusiasm and went off into the wood and set to work straight away. He worked all through the day and all through the night. As he worked, he could hear the older lumberjack working in another part of the forest and he felt more and more confident with every tree he felled that he would win. At regular intervals throughout the day, the noise of trees being felled coming from the other part of the forest would stop.

The younger lumberjack took heart from this, knowing that this meant the older lumberjack was taking a rest, whereas he could use his superior youth and strength and stamina to keep going. At the end of the competition, the younger lumberjack felt confident he had won. He looked in front of him at the piles of felled trees that were the result of his superhuman effort.

At the medal ceremony, he stood on the podium confident and expecting to be awarded the prize of champion lumberjack. Next to him stood the older lumberjack who looked surprisingly less exhausted than he felt. When the results were read out, he was devastated to hear that the older lumberjack had chopped down significantly more trees than he had. He turned to the older lumber jack and said: “How can this be? I heard you take a rest every hour and I worked continuously through the night. What’s more, I am stronger and fitter than you old man.”

The older lumberjack turned to him and said: “Every hour, I took a break to rest and sharpen my saw.”

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Wisdom Story – 245

zen

Tetsugen, a devotee of Zen in Japan, decided to publish the sutras, which at that time were available only in Chinese. The books were to be printed with wood blocks in an edition of seven thousand copies, a tremendous undertaking.

Tetsugen began by travelling and collecting donations for this purpose. A few sympathizers would give him a hundred pieces of gold, but most of the time he received only small coins. He thanked each donor with equal gratitude. After ten years Tetsugen had enough money to begin his task.

It happened that at that time the Uji River overflowed. Famine followed. Tetsugen took the funds he had collected for the books and spent them to save others from starvation. Then he began again his work of collecting.

Several years afterward an epidemic spread over the country. Tetsugen again gave away what he had collected.

For a third time he started his work, and after twenty years his wish was fulfilled. The printing blocks which produced the first edition of sutras can be seen today in Obaku monastery in Kyoto.

The Japanese tell their children that Tetsugen made three sets of sutras, and that the first two invisible sets surpass even the last.

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Wisdom Story – 244

Solomon_Judah_Rapoport

Rabbi Moshe took a trip to a strange land. He took a donkey, a rooster, and a lamp. Since he was a Jew, he was refused hospitality in the village inns, so he decided to sleep in the woods.

He lit his lamp to study the holy books before going to sleep, but a fierce wind came up, knocking over the lamp and breaking it. The rabbi decided to turn in, saying, “All that God does, he does well.” During the night some wild animals came along and drove away the rooster and thieves stole the donkey. Moshe wake up, saw the loss, but still proclaimed easily, “All that God does, he does well.”

The rabbi then went back to the village where he was refused lodging, only to learn that enemy soldiers had invaded it during the night and killed all the inhabitants. He also learned that these soldiers had traveled through the same part of the woods where he lay asleep. Had his lamp not been broken he would have been discovered. Had not the rooster been chased, it would have crowed, giving him away. Had not the donkey been stolen, it would have brayed. So once more Rabbi Moshe declared, “All that God does, he does well!”

 

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Wisdom Story – 243

tomato

There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit not a vegetable.

Wisdom is knowing not to include it in a fruit salad.

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