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 One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soap box, which happened in one of Japan’s biggest cosmetics companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soap box that was empty. Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department.

For some reason, one soap box went through the assembly line empty. Management asked its engineers to solve the problem. Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high- resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soap boxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent whoopee amount to do so.

But when a workman was posed with the same problem, he did not get into complications of X-rays, etc but instead came out with another solution. He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soap box passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.



(Moral of the story: Always look for simple solutions. Devise the simplest possible solution that solves the problem. So, learn to focus on solutions not on problems. “If you look at what you do not have in life, you don’t have anything; if you look at what you have in life, you have everything”)

A turn of the screw

There was an industrialist whose production line inexplicably breaks down, costing him millions per day. He finally tracks down an expert who takes out a screwdriver, turns one screw, and then – as the factory cranks back to life – presents a bill for £10,000.

Affronted, the factory owner demands an itemized version. The expert is happy to oblige: “For turning a screw: £1. For knowing which screw to turn: £9,999.”

Author: Oliver Burkeman in “The Guardian Weekend”, 13 August 2011

food for thought

Life is 90 percent maintenance so get busy…

In our ever growing technical age things seem to get more complex but when it comes down to it, it is our convenience that grows accustom to mechanical equipment…when in fact all we ‘need’ is air, water and companionship, but let the power go out or our computer go down and our addiction becomes apparent and our wants throw a fit. Just remember that wants and needs are two different things.

Speaking of soap (he he he ) how many of you sing in the shower?

slippery situations are hard to grasp.

Hoping you slip through your day wonderfully!


There lived a foolish man in a small state called Zheng; in China.  One day he was going to buy himself a pair of new shoes. So he measured his feet with a piece of string and cut it to match the size of his foot. But he was in such a hurry to set out that he left it at home.

Knowing the market would be closed by afternoon, he wasted no time in shopping for his shoes. At a shoe store, he picked out a pair which he liked very much, but before he could make up his mind, he wanted to measure them against the string to make sure the size was right. He felt in the pocket only to find that it was not there.

He said apologetically to the storekeeper: “How forgetful I am! I’ll have to go back to fetch the measurement. without it I don’t know the size.”

With these words he put down the shoes and hurried off as fast as his legs could carry him. When he got home. he found the string lying on the chair. He grabbed it and ran back to the market at the same speed as he dashed home.

But it yet took him quite a while and the shop was already closed then. He stared at his string, looking sad. “I should have brought the string the first time!” he said.

Someone nearby heard him and asked: “Did you buy the shoes for yourself or someone else?”

‘For myself, of course.’ he answered. ‘Then why don’t you try them on by yourself?’

Writer Comment

Zheng Ren Mai Lu; A Foolish Man Buys Shoes is used to satirize those who believe only in dogma and ignore objective reality. It tells us not to always believe in the official “textbooks” or what the statistics say. Sometimes we’ve got to think about things in a different way – “thinking outside the box” – and adjust our plans or actions accordingly.

tis story found here… Chinese Story Online


another zendictive related tale… Change

may you fare-well through life this day

Chuan and Jing joined a wholesale company together just after graduation. Both worked very hard.

After several years, the boss promoted Jing to sales executive but Chuan remained a sales rep. One day Chuan could not take it anymore, tender resignation to the boss and complained the boss did not value hard working staff, but only promoted those who flattered him.

The boss knew that Chuan worked very hard for the years, but in order to help Chuan realize the difference between him and Jing, the boss asked Chuan to do the following. Go and find out anyone selling water melon in the market? Chuan returned and said yes. The boss asked how much per kg? Chuan went back to the market to ask and returned to inform boss the $12 per kg.

Boss told Chuan, I will ask Jing the same question? Jing went, returned and said, boss, only one person selling water melon. $12 per kg, $100 for 10 kg, he has inventory of 340 melons. On the table 58 melons, every melon weighs about 15 kg, bought from the South two days ago, they are fresh and red, good quality.

Chuan was very impressed and realized the difference between himself and Jing. He decided not to resign but to learn from Jing.

My dear friends, a more successful person is more observant, think more and understand in depth. For the same matter, a more successful person sees several years ahead, while you see only tomorrow. The difference between a year and a day is 365 times, how could you win?

Think! how far have you seen ahead in your life? How thoughtful in depth are you?

this story found here…inspirational stories/life


There was a man working very hard, in the hot sun, digging a ditch. When a Friend happened to walk by and see the man digging in the ditch under the hot sun.

The man walked up to him and asked, “Why is it that you work out here under a blistering sun, using a shovel and sweating over dirt while your boss sits over there in an office, in the air conditioning and probably has his feet propped up on his desk?” 

“I don’t know,” answered the man that had been digging in e ditch all morning. “I’ll go and ask him.” He huffed. He crawled out from the hole he was in and marched over to the bosses office and went in.

The boss, sure enough was sitting in the comfort of an air conditioned office and his feet were propped up on his desk. “Boss, I have a question. Why is it I am out in the hot sun, digging a ditch while you sit in the air conditioned office?” The man bellowed.

“Simple,” the boss answered. “Intelligence.”

“Intelligence?” The man mumbled. “I don’t understand!”

“See that hammer?” The boss pointed to a hammer sitting on a shelf. “Pick it up and bring it over here.” The man did as his boss asked. “Now,” the boss started, “Hit my hand.” The boss set his hand on the desk.

The man, now holding the hammer looked confused. He thought a moment then raised the hammer and swung it toward his bosses hand that rest on the desk. The hammer came down and the boss pulled his hand back just before the hammer hit the desk. The boss sit back in his chair and said, “That is intelligence.”

The worker laid the hammer down and left the office. He went back into the hot sun and walked over to the hole he had been digging. The Friend walked up and quickly asked, “Well, what did he say?”

“The boss said that the difference between me and him is intelligence.” The worker stated.

“What? That’s all?” The Friend huffed. “Intelligence?”

“Well,” started the worker. “See that shovel?” The worker pointed at the shovel. “Pick it up.” The Friend picked up the shovel. “Now, hit my hand.” The worker put his hand over his face.


have an intellectual day


made this for my lil ‘sunshine’ last night


A gambler once said to the Master, “I was caught cheating at cards yesterday, so my partners beat me up and threw me out of the window. What would you advise me to do?”
The Master looked straight through the man and said, “If I were you, from now on I would play on the ground floor.”

This startled the disciples. “Why didn’t you tell him to stop gambling?” they demanded.

“Because I knew he wouldn’t,” was the Master’s simple and sagacious explanation.

A monkey and a hyena were walking through the forest when the hyena said, “Each time I pass by those bushes there, a lion jumps out of them and mauls me. I don’t know why.”
“I’ll walk with you this time,” said the monkey, “and side with you against the lion.”

So they started to walk past the bushes when the lion pounced on the hyena and nearly mauled it to death. Meanwhile, the monkey watched the proceedings from the safety of a tree that he had run up the moment the lion appeared.

“Why didn’t you do something to help me?” moaned the hyena.

Said the monkey, “You were laughing so much I thought you were winning.”


The guru sat in meditation on the riverbank when a disciple bent down to place two enormous pearls at his feet, a token of reverence and devotion.The guru opened his eyes, lifted one of the pearls, and held it so carelessly that it slipped out of his hand and rolled down the bank into the river.The horrified disciple plunged in after it, but though he dived in again and again till late evening, he had no luck.

Finally, all wet and exhausted, he roused the guru from his meditation: “You saw where it fell. Show me the spot so I can get it back for you.”

The guru lifted the other pearl, threw it into the river, and said, “Right there!”

these stories found here  … Spiritual Story by Anthony de Mello

Laughter is the best medicine and….
he who laughs at life enjoys life more.
may your day be filled with laughter

Who is this fat guy? A Buddhist Monk that travels around with a cloth bag over his shoulder and gives out candy to children. Is it Santa Claus? In Japan he is known as Hotei.

He is an enlightened person that has gained a large belly, like the fat-bellied buddhas you may have seen in Chinese restaurants. 

Hotei (this is the Japanese form of the name) has been one of the favorite figures of East Asian popular religion for almost 1000 years; he is known everywhere and to everyone.  Entering Chinese Buddhist temples today,

Hotei’s biographies report that he lived in the first half of the tenth century.  He had no home; he lived as a wandering monk.  Most sources describe him with a round head and an obese, uncovered belly.  The name “Hotei” literally means “hemp-bag”, but was also slang for a glutton. 

Some sources state that he carried a hemp bag over his shoulder.  When he received food by begging, he would immediately taste it and put the leftovers in the bag.  The bag also apparently contained various rubbish, bricks and stones.  Crowds of children would often crowd around him, drawn especially by curiosity about his bag.  Sometimes he would spread out the miscellaneous contents of the bag on the ground, pick up one object at a time, saying “Look here, look here.  What is this?  What is this?”

A particularly famous story about him:  He met a stranger on the road who asked him, “Why did Bodhidharma come from the West?”  (Since Bodhidharma came to bring the Zen lineage from India to China, the question is code for; “What is zen,” or “What is truth.”

Hotei said nothing; he put down his bag and crossed his arms.  The stranger said, “Is there nothing else to it?”   At that Hotei picked up his bag and walked off.  (See if you can understand this presentation.  Clue:  Think wisdom and compassion; think letting go/taking on the burden.)

Hotei may be a composite figure, based not so much on one historical person as much as a type of person, an eccentric or “mad monk,”  who wandered without practicing any obvious discipline or meditation. 

The function of Hotei in East Asain popular religion can be compared in several ways to the function of Santa Claus in American Christianity.  Both figures mediate (create a living connection) between popular values in the society on the one hand and ideals of the greater tradition elite on the other. 

 Santa Claus arrives, like Jesus, on Christmas day; like God, he knows who has been naughty and nice, so you better watch out for Goodness sake.  He embodies a spirit of selfless giving, or charity to all, the core spirit of Christian values. his robust appearance and loud and contagious laughter are trademark for a jolly spirit with Santa Claus as well as Hotei. 

Likewise, Hotei has obvious connections to Zen.  His habit of pointing out objects and asking what they are is a Zen technique; his robes are Buddhist; and there are specific Zen stories about him, he enters the marketplace with helping hands, mixing with fishmongers and barmaids and dirty street kidsTo the Chinese, his fat belly clearly suggests material abundance and prosperity, while his laughing smile is much more inviting than the stern rebukes of a Zen master. 

Santa Claus and Hotei:  They both carry big bags over their shoulder, and in both cases children are eager and curious about the contents of the bag. So I derive that Santa Claus was/is a zen master. Perhaps he drifted to the north pole with elves, grew a beard in order to deal with the cold and set up shop. Over the years he has acquired reindeer and a broader audience and instead of giving out candy, he now gives out toys. Hey, it could be!

have a happy and jolly holiday

 Merry Christmas

A woman who was traveling alone in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, the woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing in his great fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the woman.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

The woman smiled, “The joy of giving!”


moral: the joy of giving, I have known people that would give you the shirt off their backs if you asked for it. It is a rare quality from those who have no ties to material things, instead they live finding joy in giving to others.



he who gives, lives joyously…

Ryokan, a zen master, lived the simplist kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to steal.

Ryokan returned and caught the theif there, “You have come a long way to visit me,” he said to the prowler, “and you should not return empty handed. Here take my clothes as a gift.”

The theif was bewildered but took the clothes and slunk away.

Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused. “I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.”


have a joyous day


Hermit in a shell
against ocean swells
bluer than the sea

Sandy trails bled
over mountainous dunes
beaten by a woman with a broom!

Secluded rejuvenation
strengthened his legs
with weighted shoulders
carried his burden bed

Then picked up by a bird
carried across the burning beaches
to a merridian of kinship words

Dropped on his head
stars circled above
a crack in the hull
from a helpful gull

The Hermit was crabby
found a new shell
there he dwells
but not quite yet happy

A big gust of wind
rolled him over again
his legs stuck up in the air

The rains poured down
and he nearly drowned
he thought it would end right there

The tide came in
and swept him away
he still lives to this day.

A time or two he may have fell
but he strives and doing well
the Hermit in his shell

Art~  2004


Oppertunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in over-alls and it looks like work.

Thomas Edison

Funny Friday

(a little wisdom/humor in a tale of a little wiener dog)

A wealthy man decided to go on a safari in Africa. He took his faithful pet dachshund along for company rather than leave it at a kennel for the duration of his vacation. One day, the dachshund started chasing butterflies and before long, the dog discovered that it was lost.

So, wondering about, it noticed a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the obvious intention of having it for lunch. The little dog thought, “Okay, I’m in deep trouble.” Then it noticed some bones on the ground close by and immediately he settled down and chewed on the bones with his back to the approaching leopard.

Just as the leopard was about to leap, the dachshund exclaimed loudly, “Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more leopards around here?”

Hearing this, the leopard held his attack in mid-stride. A look of terror came over him and he slinked away into the trees. “Woo,” said the leopard, “That dog nearly had me.”

Meanwhile, a monkey, who had been watching the whole scene from a near-by tree, figured he could put his knowledge to good use and trade this information for protection from the leopard. The monkey decided to tell the leopard the truth about what the little dog had done.

The dachshund saw the monkey run over and talk to the leopard and figured that the monkey was telling the leopard about the little dog’s ploy and knew something was up. The monkey did indeed tell the leopard about the tricky little dogs method in exchange for the leopard to never eat the monkey. The leopard and the monkey struck a deal.

“I have been made a fool of?” The leopard huffed, “here monkey, hop on my back and see what is going to happen to that conniving little dog.”

Now, the dachshund saw the monkey hop on the leopards back and the leopard was now running toward him. “What am I going to do now?” Thought the little dog.

Instead of running the little dog sat down with his back to the approaching leopard with the monkey on its back. The dachshund waited and when the leopard was close enough to hear, the dachshund said, “Where is that darn monkey. I sent him off an hour ago, to bring me another leopard.”


moral: A little ingenuity goes a long ways. One of my favorite sayings is, “Whip them with your mind, not your fist.” I would say the little dachshund did just that.

have an ingenuity day


Murdered Mistletoe

tip-toe tossed rocks
didn’t do alot
to bring it down

a holiday ornament
kisses, nestled in nature
in the penthouse of a tree top
it was found

twigs, dirt-clods and a screwdriver
thrown up at it
came back solo,
to the ground

objective solved
murdered mistletoe
with a shot-gun round




(this is a true story, we were trying to get the Mistletoe out of a tree and using the shot-gun turned out to be the fastest and best method.)

have a merry kissmas


The Twelve Days of a Zen Christmas

On the first day of Christmas I will give to thee,

a bow humbly (~_~)

On the second day of Christmas I will give to thee, two doves of peace

…and a bow humbly (~_~)

On the third day of Christmas I will give to thee, three turtles of patience,

 …two doves of peace and a bow humbly. (~_~)

On the fourth day of Christmas I will give to thee, four candles of enlightenment,

… three turtles of patience, two doves of peace and a bow humbly. (~_~)

On the fifth day of Christmas I will give to thee, five keys of tranquility,

The key to tranquility is acceptance

the key to acceptance is awareness

the key to awareness is balance

the key to balance is harmony

the key to harmony is tranquility

….four candles of enlightenment, three turtles of patience, two doves of peace and a bow humbly. (~_~)

On the sixth day of Christmas I will give to thee, Six Haiku’s of nature,

As the wind does blow                                        falling to the ground

        Across the trees, I see the                      I watch a leaf settle down

                Buds blooming in May                           in a bed of brown


The wind is blowing                                  the beaches waves hit
It is blowing very hard                           sounding of flooding water
I don’t like the wind.                                 soothes aches all over

The flowers                                                       a broken tree cut
Reached the sky                                             brings no shade to the weary
As on the grass I lie                                      then what good is it

…five keys of tranquility, four candles of enlightenment, three turtles of patience, two doves of peace and a bow humbly. (~_~)

On the seventh day of Christmas I will give to thee, seven bells of awakening

…Six Haiku’s of nature, five keys of tranquility, four candles of enlightenment, three turtles of patience, two doves of peace and a bow humbly. (~_~)

On the eighth day of Christmas I will give to thee, eight books of wisdom,

….seven bells of awakening, Six Haiku’s of nature, five keys of tranquility, four candles of enlightenment, three turtles of patience, two doves of peace and a bow humbly. (~_~)

On the Ninth day of Christmas I will give to thee, nine razors for head shaving,


…eight Books of wisdom, seven bells of awakening, Six Haiku’s of nature, five keys of tranquility, four candles of enlightenment, three turtles of patience, two doves of peace and a bow humbly. (~_~)

On the tenth day of Christmas I will give to thee, ten zen stones and a rock garden,

…nine razors for head shaving, eight Books of wisdom, seven bells of awakening, Six Haiku’s of nature, five keys of tranquility, four candles of enlightenment, three turtles of patience, two doves of peace and a bow humbly. (~_~)

On the eleventh day of Christmas I will give to thee, eleven smiles of happiness,

 …ten zen stones and a rock garden, nine razors for head shaving, eight Books of wisdom, seven bells of awakening, Six Haiku’s of nature, five keys of tranquility, four candles of enlightenment, three turtles of patience, two doves of peace and a bow humbly. (~_~)

On the twelfth day of Christmas I will give to thee, twelve zen stories

enemies of the mind    4 blind men an an elephant

nails in the fence   Butter and Stones  self worth   forgiveness

winds of forgiveness   bucket of water  happiness  

armadillo’s song     praying to say the right thing

shake it off

…eleven smiles of happiness, ten zen stones and a rock garden, nine razors for head shaving, eight Books of wisdom, seven bells of awakening, Six Haiku’s of nature, five keys of tranquility, four candles of enlightenment, three turtles of patience, two doves of peace and a bow humbly. (~_~)


…and a dog that loves to meditate!

Have a heart felt holiday season

there are 12 days till christmas… 



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Emma (Sunshine),

wedding day