Wisdom Story – 252

 

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There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.

One day he passed a wealthy merchant’s house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How powerful that merchant must be!” thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. “How powerful that official is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a high official!”

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. “How powerful the sun is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the sun!”

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. “How powerful that storm cloud is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a cloud!”

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. “How powerful it is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the wind!”

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it – a huge, towering rock. “How powerful that rock is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a rock!”

Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. “What could be more powerful than I, the rock?” he thought.

He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.

Source

 

Not Quite a Wisdom Story…

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…but worth pondering none the less.

While Seietsu was the master of Engaku in Kamakura he required larger quarters, since those in which he was teaching were overcrowded.

Umeza Seibei a merchant of Edo, decided to donate five hundred pieces of gold called ryo toward the construction of a more commodious school. This money he brought to the teacher.

Seisetsu said: “All right. I will take it.” Umezu gave Seisetsu the sack of gold, but he was dissatisfied with the attitude of the teacher. One might live a whole year on three ryo, and the merchant had not even been thanked for five hundred.

“In that sack are five hundred ryo,” hinted Umeza.

“You told me that before,” replied Seisetsu.

“Even if I am a wealthy merchant, five hundred ryo is a lot of money,” said Umezu.

“Do you want me to thank you for it?” asked Seisetsi.

“You ought to,” replied Umeza.

“Why should I?” inquired Seisetsu. “The giver should be thankful.”

Source

Wisdom Story – 251

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I know I said there would be no more new Wisdom Stories, but what’s to prevent us having them when something shows up?  This little gem is by our friend, the late-lamented Tony de Mello.

“There are three stages in one’s spiritual development,” said the Master. “The carnal, the spiritual and the divine.”
“What is the carnal stage?” asked the eager disciples. “That’s the stage when trees are seen as trees and mountains as mountains.”
“And the spiritual?” “That’s when one looks more deeply into things—then trees are no longer trees and mountains no longer mountains.”
“And the divine?” “Ah, that’s Enlightenment,” said the Master with a chuckle, “when trees become trees again and mountains, mountains.”

[Source]

Wisdom Story – 4 redux

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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!