Friday, November 20, 2015

The Wooden Bowl

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and a four-year-old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together every night at the dinner table. But the old man's shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon and when he grasped the glass, milk often spilled on the table cloth.

The mess irked the son and his wife. "We must do something about father," said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating and food on the floor."

So a small table was set in the corner, where grandfather was to eat alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner at the table. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his bowl was served in a wooden bowl. Often when the family glanced in the grandfather's direction, he had a tear in his eye as he ate alone. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps. He asked the child, "What are you making son?" The boy looked up from his project and sweetly replied, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food from when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled innocently and went back to work.

The parents were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled or tablecloth soiled.

Are you worried that your children don't listen to you?

Instead shouldn't you be more worried that they are watching you?

~Taken from "How full is your cup?: 64 stories that can transform the way you look at life" by J M Sampath~

The Holy Cat

Each time the guru sat for worship with his disciples, the ashram cat would come and distract them. So he ordered them to tie her up when the ashram was at prayer. After the guru died, the cat continued to be tied up at worship time. When the cat expired, another cat was brought into the ashram to make sure that the guru's orders were observed faithfully at worship time.

Centuries passed and learned treatises were written by the guru's scholarly disciples on the ritualistic significance of tying up a cat while worshipping.

What holds you from seeking to know why you do what you do?

Have you bothered to understand the purpose behind many of the things you do in life?

~Taken from "How full is your cup?: 64 stories that can transform the way you look at life" by J M Sampath~

Black Balloon

Raju was a dark complexioned little boy. He stood watching the balloon man at the country fair attracting customers by releasing a red balloon, a blue balloon, a yellow one and a white one. They all went soaring into the sky until they disappeared. The little boy asked, "Sir, if you send the black one up would it go as high as the others?"

The balloon man, understanding the boy's question, snapped the string that held the black balloon and as it soared upwards said, "It is not the colour son. It's what is inside that makes it rise."

What makes you feel inferior or superior to others?

Are you not unique and much more than how you look and what you have?

~Taken from "How full is your cup?: 64 stories that can transform the way you look at life" by J M Sampath~

This Too Shall Pass

Once upon a time there lived a king who was very powerful. His court was attended by wise men from many lands. One day he gathered them and announced, "I wish to test your wisdom. Bring for me, before sunset, a gift that will make me joyous when I am unhappy and sober when I am indulgent."

In the evening he called for the wise men to see what they had brought him. The wise men paid their respects to the king and placed before him a ring on which was inscribed, "This too shall pass."

How stuck are you with the pleasures and pains of life?

Is there anything that is permanent?

How do you keep moving forward in life?

~Taken from "How full is your cup?: 64 stories that can transform the way you look at life" by J M Sampath~

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fault Finding

The pupils of the Tendai school used to study meditation before Zen entered Japan. Four of them, who were very close friends, promised one another to observe seven days of silence.

One the first day all were silent. Their meditation had begun auspiciously, but when night fell and the oil lamps were growing dim, one of the pupils could not help exclaiming to a servant, "Fix those lamps!"

The second pupil was surprised to hear the first one talk. "We are not supposed to say a word," he remarked.

"You two are stupid. Why did you talk?" asked the third.

"I am the only one who has not talked," announced the fourth pupil.

How often do we find fault in others?

What holds you from using this instinct to find and rectify some of your own faults?

~Taken from "How full is your cup?: 64 stories that can transform the way you look at life" by J M Sampath~

Mahan - the Great

Along the bottom of the river Ganges lives a village of creatures whose way of life was to cling tightly to the rocks on the river bed, and to resist the current of the river. One of them, 'Siddharth the adventurous', got tired of clinging. The monotony wearied him. He decided to place his trust in the current and allow it to take him where it would. His parents and friends cautioned him about the current, "It will smash you against the rocks and kill you." But Siddharth did not heed them and let go. Immediately he stumbled and was tossed against the hard rocks, which strengthened Siddharth's resolve not to cling again.

In time, the current lifted him free from the bottom and he got bruised and hurt no more. The clinging creatures saw him and marvelled at him, hailing him as 'Mahan - the Great'. Siddharth swaying in the current said, "I am no greater than any one of you. Dare to let go and the river will lift you free and you will discover your true worth." The creatures, still clinging, cried, "Mahan!" Siddharth flowed past, leaving the creatures to cling and make legends of a Mahan.

What are some of the things you are clinging to?

What holds you from letting go?

~Taken from "How full is your cup?: 64 stories that can transform the way you look at life" by J M Sampath~

The Lost Key

A neighbour found Nasruddin on his hands and knees near a lamp post, searching for something. The neighbour asked, "What are you searching for?"

"My key."

Now, both men got on their knees to search. After a while the neighbour asked, "Where did you lose it?"

"At home."

"Good Lord! Then why are you searching here?"

"Because it is bright here!"

Do you end up searching for solutions where it is convenient, rather than where you actually need to look for them?

How serious are you about solving your problems?

~Taken from "How full is your cup?: 64 stories that can transform the way you look at life" by J M Sampath~