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An explorer, a white man, anxious to reach his destination in the heart of Africa, promised an extra payment to his bearers if they would make greater speed. For several days, the bearers moved along at a faster pace.

One afternoon, though, they all suddenly put down their burden and sat on the ground. No matter how much money they were offered, they refused to move on. When the explorer finally asked why they were behaving as they were, he was given the following answer: “We have been moving along at such a fast pace that we no longer know what we are doing (for money). Now we have to wait until our soul catches up with us.”

Paulo Coelho

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(~_~)

The tiger’s whisker

Once upon a time, a young wife named Yun Ok was at her wit’s end. Her husband had always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.

When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Yun Ok. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. She was desperate.

As Yun Ok approached the hermit’s hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: “I hear you. What’s your problem?”

She explained the situation. His back still to her, he said, “Ah yes, it’s often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it?”

“Make me a potion!” cried the young wife. “Or an amulet, a drink, whatever it takes to get my husband back the way he used to be.”

The old man turned around. “Young woman, your request doesn’t exactly fall into the same category as a broken bone or ear infection.”

“I know”, said she.

“It will take three days before I can even look into it. Come back then.”

Three days later, Yun Ok returned to the hermit’s hut. “Yun Ok”, he greeted her with a smile, “I have good news. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger.”

“What?” she gasped. “Such a thing is impossible!”

“I cannot make the potion without it!” he shouted, startling her. He turned his back. “There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I’m very busy.”

That night Yun Ok tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?

The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away.

The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast.

So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger (thank goodness for that! she thought) though she knew from footprints on the ground that the tiger – and not a smaller mountain creature – had been eating her food. Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger’s head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.

After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away (again, thank goodness! she thought, though she knew that someday, in order to get the whisker, she’d have to come closer to it).

Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers.

“Actually”, she thought, remembering its almost kittenish look as she set down a fresh bowl, “it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it.” The next time she visited, she glanced up at the tiger briefly and noticed what a lovely downturn of reddish fur it had from over one of its eyebrows to the next. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.

Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: “Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?” While petting the tiger with one hand, she held one whisker at its base and, with the other hand, in one quick stroke, she carved the whisker off. She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time.

The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. She ran to the hermit’s hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: “I have it! I have the tiger’s whisker!”

“You don’t say?” he said, turning around. “From a live tiger?”

“Yes!” she said.

“Tell me”, said the hermit, interested. “How did you do it?”

Yun Ok told the hermit how, for the last six months, she had earned the trust of the creature and it had finally permitted her to cut off one of its whiskers. With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.

“Yun Ok”, the hermit said softly, “you no longer need the whisker. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?”

Yun Ok stood speechless. Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do.

 

Source: Korean fable

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have a zen-filled day

(~_~)

A DRINK OF WATER

To honor the memory of my beautiful son,
Who was taken from me much too soon….
But not before showing me the true face of God,
In a little sunburned body.

September 1, 2000

It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt seven farmers before it was through.

Everyday, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn’t see some rain soon…we would lose everything.

It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes. I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn’t walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort…trying to be as still as possible.

Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods. This activity went on for an hour: walk carefully to the woods, run back to the house.

Finally I couldn’t take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be seen…as he was obviously doing important work and didn’t need his Mommy checking up on him). He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked; being very careful not to spill the water he held in them…maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods.

Branches and thorns slapped his little face but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site.

Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him…he didn’t even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift it’s head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy’s hand.

When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree. I followed him back to the house; to a spigot that we had shut off the water to. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip slowly fill up his makeshift “cup”, as the sun beat down on his little back.

And it came clear to me. The trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn’t ask me to help him. It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him. His little eyes just filled with tears.

“I’m not wasting”, was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him…with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life.

As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops and more drops and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride.

Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. That miracles don’t really exist. That it was bound to rain sometime. And I can’t argue with that…I’m not going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm…just like the actions of one little boy saved another.

Author Unknown — Sent in by Patricia Love

                                                                                                      (~_~)  

 An old man was sitting in the courtyard of his house along with his son who had received a high education. Suddenly a crow perched on a wall of the house. The father asked the son: What is this? The son replied: It is a crow. After a little while the father again asked the son: What is this? The son said: It is a crow.

After a few minutes the father asked his son the third time: What is this? The son said: Father, I have just now told you that this is a crow. After a little while the old father again asked his son the fourth time: what is this? By this time some expression of irritation was felt in the son’s tone when he rebuffed his father: Father! It is a crow, a crow. A little after the father again asked his son: What is this? This time the son replied to his father with a vein of temper. Father: You are always repeating the same question, although I have told you so many times that it is a crow. Are you not able to understand this?

The father went to his room and came back with an old diary. Opening a page he asked his son to read what was written. What the son read were the following words written in the diary:

‘ Today my little son was sitting with me in the courtyard, when a crow came there. My son asked me twenty-five times what it was and I told him twenty-five times that it was a crow and I did not at all feel irritated. I rather felt affection for my innocent child. ‘

The father then explained to his son the difference between a father’s and a son’s attitude. While you were a little child you asked me this question twenty-five times and I felt no irritation in replying to the question twenty-five times and when today I asked you the same question only five times, you felt irritated, annoyed and impatient with me.

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What is it?

I happened to see this little frog,

I said, “What is this? This is cute.”

This is Zen Frog. This App can be downloaded and used as a screensaver. It states it has a setting for how often the eyes blink and a clock that can come and go by a touch.

Then as I was researching this little guy, I came across some ceramic zen frogs for the garden. (now that I might buy for my garden this year! )

Of course living on the river, we have more than enough frogs to go around. The dogs and cats stay busy chasing these little creatures around. On a still summer day you can not hear yourself think due to the toad serenade.

I come to a conclusion as to why frogs are rubber-y, going to work at 5 am, I see these guys hopping across the road in the head lights and it amazes me how high they jump and hit the ground and bounce into another leap.

There once was a curious frog
Who sat by a pond on a log
And, to see what resulted,
In the pond catapulted
With a water-noise heard round the bog.

Jang Ku-Song the hermit was busy sitting
when he heard frogs croaking. It made him
recite

The croaking of frogs on moonlit nights in early spring
pierces the world from end to end, makes us all
one family.

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There is zen in everything

zen is not about eliminating thoughts but about illuminating them

(~_~)

A cactus stood all alone in the desert, wondering why it was stuck in the middle of nowhere.

“I do nothing but stand here all day,” it sighed. “What use am I? I’m the ugliest plant in the desert. My spines are thick and prickly, my leaves are rubbery and tough, my skin is thick and bumpy. I can’t offer shade or juicy fruit to any passing traveler. I don’t see that I’m any use at all.”

All it did was stand in the sun day after day, growing taller and fatter. Its spines grew longer and its leaves tougher, and it swelled here and there until it was lumpy and lopsided all over. It truly was strange- looking.

“I wish I could do something useful,” it sighed.

By day hawks circled high overhead.

“What can I do with my life?” the cactus called. Whether they heard or not, the hawks sailed away.

At night the moon floated into the sky and cast its pale glow on the desert floor.

“What good can I do with my life?” the cactus called. The moon only stared coldly as it mounted its course.

A lizard crawled by, leaving a little trail in the sand with its tail.
“What worthy deed can I do?” the cactus called.

“You?” the lizard laughed, pausing a moment. “Worthy deed? Why, you can’t do anything! The hawks circle way overhead, tracing delicate patterns for us all to admire. The moon hangs high like a lantern at night, so we can see our ways home to our loved ones. Even I, the lowly lizard, have something to do. I decorate the sands with these beautiful brushstrokes as I pull my tail along. Buy you? You do nothing but get uglier every day.”

And so it went on, year after year. At last the cactus grew old, and it knew its time was short.

“Oh, Lord,” it cried out, “I’ve wondered so long, and I’ve tried so hard. Forgive me if I’ve failed to find something worthy to do. I fear that now it’s too late.”

But just then the cactus felt a strange stirring and unfolding, and it knew a surge of joy that erased all despair. At its very tip, like a sudden crown, a glorious flower suddenly opened in bloom.

Never had the desert known such a blossom. Its fragrance perfumed the air far and wide and brought happiness to all passing by. The butterflies paused to admire its beauty, and that night even the moon smiled when it rose to find such a treasure.

The cactus heard a voice. “You have waited long,” the Lord said. “The heart that seeks to do good reflects My glory, and will always bring something worthwhile to the world, something in which all can rejoice – even if for only a moment.”

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with patience, the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.

(~_~)

 

 the cactus (story found here)

… by Art~

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A zen master and a student were sitting by a lake and silently watched nature and all its beauty when the student broke the silence by saying, “I can,t wait till this weekend. The feast of the full moon. There will be fruits, fish, laughter and there is talk of fire works.”

The zen master said nothing, he just kept looking across the lake. The student leaned forward and gazed curiously at the zen master. “Master? Did you hear me?”

“Yes,” replied the master. “I hear you.” He continued to sit, absorbed in his surroundings. Sitting as still as a statue, peering across the lake like a soldier with a thousand yard stare. The student re-adjusted his sitting and imitated the master.

But after a few moments the student asked, “What is the lesson today?” The master sat quietly, motionless, peering forward. “Master?”

“Is it not obvious?” The master replied. “I am becoming one with the granite rock in which we sit upon.” It was then that the student took notice of the giant stone in which they sat on. He looked at the large rock that sat next to the lake. Noticing its shape and size, reaching a hand out and feeling the texture of the stone.

  “But we are humans,” the student stated, “we are nothing like a rock.”

“On the contrary, we have a few things in common with a stone. One is being hard headed.” The master chuckled. “There is a lesson in everything,” the master continued. “The sun teaches us to be warm and shine like a light for others. The trees teach us to bend with the wind, to be resilient in that which comes our way. To grow and reach outward. The water teaches us that we are a body and our emotions are expressed like the surface ripples. To be clear and transparent with honesty and purity.”

“What does the rock teach us?” The student asked with curiosity. Looking at the large slate of granite in which he sat.

The master looked down, reached out and picked up a stone then handed it to the student. “It teaches us to be patient. To sit in stillness and watch as the world unfolds. This rock we sit upon has sat for thousands of years, never moving, never speaking, watching the sun rise and set. Watching the moon change from a full moon to a new moon over and over again, as we watch others grow and change, all the while never changing. It has been rained upon, sat in the blisstering sun, lapped at by the water in the lake, covered in snow and allowed the snow to melt away. It endures all that comes without a whimper or unchanged.”

“We are the same,” the master continued, “We as humans are bombarded with problems and they melt away, we see the seasons come and go. There is a time to move like the wind and then there is a time to sit like a stone. This rock has beared children, like that in your hand, a bit of itself shared with the world. Become as solid in your thoughts and beliefs as a rock in the elements. Obtain the patience of a stone.

……… Art~ 2013

this story came to me after reading this

~~~~~~~~

a word from the mouth is like a stone from a sling

(~_~)

Art~

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