A zen master and a student were traveling through the countryside. They had been to the next village and heard a sermon from a well known spiritualist. It was winter and the sun sank fast in the evening sky, causing the chilled air to become even colder.

“I really liked the sermon from the spiritualist,” blared the student through chattering teeth. “His speech was full of fire and excitement. His words ignite my thoughts and warm the soul. Don’t you agree?” He asked.

The zen master stopped and began gathering some wood for a fire. The student did the same. “Yes, exactly, the sermon was full of fire.” The zen master replied. He pitched the wood together and struck a match, lighting a fire under the gathered wood. The two sat next to the flames and extended their arms to warm the hands. The sun disappeared in the night sky as the moon rose and the cold wind blew.

“See how the flames dance above the wood?” The zen master asked.

“Yes,” answered the student.

“The fire seems brilliant and mesmerizing?” The master said. “But without the wood there would be no fire, the root to the flames life.” The two hovered over the fire and absorbed the warmth.

“I better get more wood,” said the student, “If were going to be here all night?”

“We are not,” replied the master. He reached over and grabbed a twig, racked it across the fire and scattered the flames and destroyed the camp-fire. All that was left was red hot coals. The master pulled from his pocket, two small tin boxes. He opened the boxes and placed a red hot coal in each then wrapped them in cloth. He took one of these and placed it in his pocket and offered the other to the student. Then he took a small cloth and wrapped the end of a stick with this cloth and placed it over the coals and blew into it till it ignited again. He then caught the ‘cloth on the stick’ on fire and stood up.

“We are ready to travel,” the zen master said. With a torch to light their way and hand warmers in their pockets. “It is the coals that makes the heat and allows the flame to live.”

The student placed his wrapped tin in his pocket and placed his hands around it to warm his hands. “This works nicely,” the student spat.

“It is the same with people,” the master began, “A warm heart can start a fire in another’s. The fire may dazzle and light up a life, but it is the root of the flame that matters the most. When a heart is on fire others may see it and be dazzled by it, but more importantly they can feel its warmth.”

By Art~



Sometimes when a small child is playing and filled with joy. I can’t help but smile.

When the love of my life looks at me, wordless, and smiles, it warms the heart.

Holding new-born pups.

A song that fires the emotions.

Reading a good short story with a great moral.

(What warms your heart?)

May your warm heart ignite others