Thursday, October 29, 2015




There was an old farmer who had worked hard for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said.

 "Maybe," the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors said.

"Maybe," replied the old man.

The following day when the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the untamed horses he was thrown and his leg was broken. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy.

"Maybe," answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

"Maybe," said the farmer.

How non-judgmental the farmer was. Unfortunately, we are used to divide events in our life into "good" or "bad." We judge everything we go through and give it a certain label.

We are basically like the neighbors who visit the farmer in that we don't fully understand the notion of interdependence. In fact, the farmer demonstrates the reality of this life. All is interconnected, there is no good or bad.

Life is a set of different cycles that occur at different stages in our life. However, it's not about the incident that takes places, it's about our perception of it. Like the farmer, we should practice non-judgment, and refrain from labeling events.

"Everything changes"

There once lived a king who was continuously torn between happiness and misery. The smallest things could make upset him one way of another, so happiness easily turned into disappointment.

One day the king sent for a wise man who was reputed for being enlightened. The king said to him, "I want to be like you. Can you bring me something that gives balance in my life? I will pay whatever price you like." The wise man replied, "I may be able to help you, but the price is so great that not even your kingdom would be enough payment for it. Therefore I will give it to you as a gift, if you will honor it." The king gave his assurances, and the wise man left.

A few weeks later the wise man returned, and handed the king a box. The king opened the box, and found a simple gold ring inside. The inscription on the ring read, "Everything changes." "What is the meaning of this?" the king asked. The wise man replied, "Wear this ring always. Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch the ring and read the inscription. That way, you will always be at peace.

Like the king, we are moved by the smallest things. The silliest event, or person, can make us miserable. However, the moment we realize that everything changes, we see life differently. We won't be as attached to the results. Moreover, our reaction will be less intense, and more logical.

"Is that so?"

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a wholesome life. A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. One day the parents discovered the girl was pregnant. She would not confess who the father was, but finally she named Hakuin.

In great anger the parents went to the master. "Is that so?" was all he would say. When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as an outcast by the village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. "Is that so?" Hakuin said as he accepted the child.

A year later the girl told her parents the truth that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the market, and not Hakuin. The parents went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, and to get the child back. In yielding the child all Hakuin said was: "Is that so?"

We rarely accept what happens with us but fight it one way or another. Sometimes, we are faced with responsibilities we didn't plan for. Hakuin shows us the importance of accepting responsibilities as part of life. Once we realize that, things will inevitably change.

It doesn't matter what our reputation is, or what others think of us. We are the only ones who truly know ourselves, and the world won't matter as much once we acknowledge our worth.


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