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A Thousand Words

Last night, the wife, my little 9 year old daughter and I watched the movie, “A Thousand Words.” I was taken by the movie’s ‘zen’ appeal and of course ‘Eddie Murphy’s’ comic charm. Even my lil girl laughed and loved the movie that was charming and filled with a wonderful message of, “the power of words.”


After stretching the truth on a deal with a spiritual guru, literary agent Jack McCall finds a Bodhi tree on his property. Its appearance holds a valuable lesson on the consequences of every word we speak.

Eddie Murphy is Jack McCall, a fast-talking literary agent, who can close any deal, any time, any way. He has set his sights on New Age guru Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis) for his own selfish purposes.

But Dr. Sinja is on to him, and Jack’s life comes unglued after a magical Bodhi tree mysteriously appears in his backyard. With every word Jack speaks, a leaf falls from the tree and he realizes that when the last leaf falls, both he and the tree are toast. Words have never failed Jack McCall, but now he’s got to stop talking … or he’s a goner.

A Thousand Words


Words are a powerful tool, but not just the words but the passion and emotions that we use with them matter as much as what we say. As in the story with Buddha and the lake, where a married couple scream at each other because their hearts have become distant, even though they stand next to each other. When their love was new and fresh, their hearts were so close that they did not need words, the heart knew what the other was feeling.


I see this movie in so many others, you can’t take a hammer and pound zen into them. No matter how many stories, parables or quotes you throw at them, they just don’t get it. Like watching a dog chase it’s own tail, never going anywhere spiritually in life, just existing. In this movie, Eddie Murphy has to go through a harsh trial to understand, passion, a better way of living and of course the power of words. Needless to say, I recommend to all, watch this movie.

 words are tied to emotions like a tree’s root reaching into the earth.


choose your words wisely


One day, a spider and a silkworm crossed paths and struck up a conversation. The spider said to the silkworm,

“I admit your silk is better than the silk from the spider. It is yellow and white, dazzling and bright. You use the silk that you spin yourself to make a beautiful comfortable cocoon, which you live inside thinking falsely you are kings. You dream in your little cocoon until the women put you in scalding hot water and peel your silk off strand by strand. Then your beautiful cocoons are all gone. What a shame, though you have the ability to create such beauty, then die because of it, is this not stupid?”

The silk worm thinking about what the spider said, answered:

“Our actions are actually like suicide, but we spin silk so that people can weave beautiful fabrics, giving all the people the ability to look beautiful. Can you really say our labor is a waste?

Look at you spider, your whole reason for weaving is to make a trap that will let you eat the little bugs that fly into it. You may not regret it, but don’t you at least think that is a little cruel?”

Bowing his head, the spider left.

With his words, the silkworm reminded the spider that in the end, humanity makes wondrous things out of his thread, while the spider is killed and his webs are brushed away with a broom.

Moral: On one hand, many people think it is a waste to do things that do not personally benefit them. These people cannot understand why making sacrifices for the benefit of others would be either logical or acceptable. On the other hand, there are some people who are satisfied knowing that their sacrifices benefit others. They have learned the joy of service to others.

When we learn to look up from our small needs, leave our egos behind and look at the broader picture and needs of humanity, we have taken a significant step on the path to enlightenment.

(note: You see it all the time, online and on the streets, “webs” of deceit made to trap you for the gain of the all mighty dollar. There are a lot more spiders than there are silk worms, yet there are still a great number of silk worms that sacrifice themselves for others, which are you?)




Once upon a time there was a serpent that was persecuting a firefly. The poor firefly fled from the ferocious predator, using all the energy created by fear to speed him along.

The serpent, however, never considered giving up his pursuit, so he chased the poor firefly run away one day, and again for the second day.

The ordeal continued, until the third day.

Without the strength to continue, the firefly stopped and asked the Serpent, “May I ask you three questions?”

The Serpent said with a haughty tone, “I’m not used to answering anyone, but since I am going to devour you, you can ask me anything”.

“Am I part of your food chain?”

“No” answered the Serpent

“Did I hurt you or provoke you in any way?” asked the firefly.

“No” repeated the serpent.

“So, why do you want to devour me?”

“Well”, said the Serpent, “because I can’t stand to see your shining light.”

In your life, there will always be “serpents” that will come about to try to steal your light and dreams; you will have two options:

You can stop shinning your light, so no serpent will be after you any longer, or you can let your light shine even brighter and learn how to deal with people like that. But it will always be your choice.




Did you know~ Outdoors, spider’s make their webs facing south. (South of the equator they make them facing north… always toward the sun)


~In the spider web of facts many truths are strangled~


Once, Guru Nanak with his disciple Mardana was traveling through Bengal in India. They walked from village to village on foot. They were very hungry and tired. They wanted some food and rest. They could go no further so they went to a village to stay for the night.

Near the village they met some people. Guru Nanak stopped and said, “We are travelers. We have been walking for a long time. Now we are hungry and tired. Can you give us some food to eat and a room to sleep for the night?”

People: “Go away. We don’t care for any traveler.”
They asked many people but everybody in the village was rude and unkind to them. They had to spend the night outside. They also went to sleep hungry.

They got up early in the morning next day, chanted and prayed to God. After prayers, Guru Nanak said “May these people stay here in this village forever.”

They set out on their journey once again. Mardana was very upset. He was very angry with the people of the village. He did not like the Guru’s blessing for the bad people. But he did not say anything.

Next day, they reached another village. The people of that village were very good. They welcomed everyone who came to their village. They were very kind to Guru Nanak and Mardana. They served them good food with loving care. They gave them nice beds to sleep for the night. Next morning when they got up, Guru Nanak and Mardana again began to pray. They prayed to God for good of all.

After the prayer, Guru Nanak said “May the people of this village scatter.”

Mardana felt very upset once again. He said to Guru Sahib, “Lord, I cannot understand your wish. You wish the good to scatter away and the unkind to stay happily in one place. You curse the good but you bless the bad.”

Guru Nanak ji replied, “Listen to me, my dear Mardana. I have not cursed the good people. I wish these good people to scatter and live in other parts of the world. Wherever they go, they will make the people good. If there are more good people, the world will be happier. The bad people of the other village are good-for-nothing. They will make other people rude and unkind wherever they go. It is therefore better that they stay in their own village”.

source: The Good and The Bad


Once there were three people who took a walk in the country. They happened to see a man standing on a hill. One of them said, “I guess he is standing on a hill to search for lost cattle.”
    “No,” the second said, “I think he is trying to find a friend who has wandered off somewhere.”
    Whereas the third said,”No, he is simply enjoying the summer breeze.”
    As there was no definite conclusion, they went up the hill and asked him,”Are you searching for strayed cattle?”
    “No,” he replied.
    “Are you looking for your friend?”
    “No,” again.
    “Are you enjoying the cool breeze?”
    “No,” yet again.
    “Then why are you standing on the hill?”
    “I am just standing” was the answer.


‘Don’t judge a man till you have walked a mile in his shoes’ … comes to mind, for example; I was on an outing with a co-worker the other day and we saw a lady standing on the street corner. Of course a comment came out that she was probably a ‘street walker’ working the corner, till we stopped at the red light and saw she had a bucket and was collecting money for charity. Assumptions are gremlins toying in the mind.

I recall, years ago when I was a ‘Hot Shot driver’ and went to the big city of Houston. I had stopped into a ‘Taco Bell’ to get a bite to eat. There in the parking lot was a man who appeared weathered, (homeless, a vagrant, or worse for wear) He told me he was hungry and wanted a couple dollars to get a bite to eat. I told him I was going inside and would buy him a burrito or something to eat. He refused, he wanted a couple dollars (or what ever I could spare) I told him I only had twenty dollar bills and would be happy to buy him something, but he refused. I found this odd but went in and got me some food and left.

When I got to the first red light, while opening up my bag to eat, I noticed that my ‘hand truck’ (dolly) was missing out of the back of my truck. I had watched the truck closely and was only inside the Taco Bell for a short time so when did the dolly come up missing. I turned around and went back to the Taco Bell and looked around, there was no vagrant and little was ‘open’ around the area except a bar. I went into the bar and there sat the vagrant (with a drink) and next to the bar was my dolly.

I went straight up to the bar and the vagrant took off in a dead run. I explained to the bar-tender that the dolly sitting there had been stolen out of my truck and it did have my name on it. The bar-tender said he had paid ten dollars for the dolly and that if I wanted it back I would have to give him ten dollars. I asked if I could use his phone to call the police and have them settle the matter. He relinquished the ‘Hand cart’.

Thoughts of grabbing the vagrant and beating a lesson into him come to mind, but I knew that would be useless, and would probably get me in more trouble than what the vagrant had done. My goal was to retrieve what was rightfully mine. With that being achieved, I left with my ‘Dolly’.

I had a handful of thoughts about this incident. Every thing has a lesson in it, and I certainly learned a lot from this experience. I had come to realize that ‘should have’ and ‘could have done’ are like assumptions that are nothing more than gremlins toying in the mind.


may your path be pleasant and serene


The disciple said to the master: “I have spent a great deal of my life seeing things that I should not, wishing for things I should not wish for, making plans I should not be doing.”

The master invited the disciple to go for a walk.  On the path he pointed out to a plant and asked the disciple if he knew what that was.

“Belladonna.  It can kill someone who eats its leaves.” Stated the student.

The master then said, “But it cannot kill someone who only contemplates it.  In the same way the negative desires cannot cause any evil, if you do not allow yourself be seduced by them.”


When Noah was planting a vineyard, Satan appeared to him and asked permission to help him.

Satan brought first a lamb, killed it and poured its blood over the furrows.  Then he soaked the earth with lion’s blood.  Following he trapped a monkey and used his blood in the same way.  And finally it was the turn of a pig.  Then Satan explained to Noah his intentions:

When man would drink the first cup of wine he will turn sweet and happy as the lamb.  With the second cup, he will be valiant and a fighter like the lion, bragging of his power.  Then after the third cup, he will become ridicule as the monkey.  But if he drinks four or more cups he will become a repugnant pig, dirty and bestial, capable of wallowing in mud.


food for thought

How do you like your coffee? Black, with sugar, with cream or perhaps you don’t like coffee and/or prefer tea or cocoa. How do you like the bitter truth delivered to you? Would you like to hear it plain and bitter, or would you prefer it sweetened up a little bit before it is served to you. Sprinkle a bit of french vanilla over the words and make it more to your liking or just spell it out… it is what it is!

I am not a diplomat, so it eludes me why we give millions/billions of dollars to foreign countries when we have hungry and homeless people right here on our soil. (But then again…) I have not seen it yet, but I await the viewing of the movie… ‘Machine Gun Preacher’ …. based on a true story. Basically, a man who has done so many things wrong, finds religion and decides to go to Africa to help feed the hungry and finds that the food and money that is for the hungry is taken by the rebels. (This is the root of most problems with sending money to other countries) The money goes toward buying guns and funding armies. A story where one man made a difference.

Take a stand or go and sit down and have a cup of sweetened coffee. Take the bull by the horns and tame the beast or go sit down and watch the show. You have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. We are not the new Romans headed for a great fall, we are Americans, united and versitile. We are not a Belladonna, we are Americans where the icon is the Bald Eagle… watch us soar!

One may be but a drop of water, but banned together and we can make a wave.

(warrior of virtue and honor)



zen will not tap you on the shoulder, zen must be found



They say that one day man wanted to know the Truth and asked it to God.  God wrote it on a great stone disk and saw that it was too big for man to understand it.  But, answering his request, threw the disk to Earth which broke in many pieces.
Each one that picked up a piece founded a religion, or a Church, or a philosophy, etc. For which every one of them has a part of the Truth, that will be in the hands of humanity the moment all be united.  All united one day!


The clay statue of Buddha reached almost three meters in height.  During generations it had been considered sacred by the inhabitants of the place.  One day, due to the growth of the city, they decided to translate it to a more appropriate site.  This delicate task was assigned to a recognized monk, who, after planning carefully, started his mission.  His luck was so bad that, when moving the statue, this one slipped and fell, cracking in various parts.
Regretful, the monk and his team decided to spend the night meditating over the alternatives.  They were long, dark and rainy hours.  The monk, instead of despairing, focused in finding a way out.  Suddenly, when observing the cracked sculpture, he realized that the light of his candle reflected through the cracks of the statue.  He thought that they were drops of rain.  He drew near the crack and observed that behind the clay there was something, but he was not sure what.
He consulted his colleagues and decided to take a risk that looked like a madness:  He asked for a hammer and started to break the clay, discovering that below it was hidden the Buddha of solid gold of almost three meters of height.  During centuries this beautiful treasure had been covered by ordinary clay.  Historians found proofs that demonstrated that, a one time, the town was going to be attacked by bandits.  The residents, to protect their treasure, covered it with clay to make it look common and ordinary.  The town was attacked and sacked, but the Buddha was ignored by the bandits.  Afterwards, the survivors thought that was better to continue hiding it behind the clay.  Over time, people started to think that the Golden Buddha was a legend or an invention of the old ones.
Until, finally, all forgot the true treasure because they thought that something so beautiful could not be true.
perhaps, Steven Hawking’s is a perfect example of a clay Buddha
food for thought~ 
 thoughts from Art… chew on this…
Do we (some) hide our true treasures we possess inside, just like the clay Buddha. I understand the broken heart and how one will shelter it, to keep from being hurt again. We create a rough exterior in order keep from being hurt, a self defense shield, all to protect the jewel inside ourselves. Much like the villagers covering the gold Buddha in order to protect it, but rather than take the clay away and allow it to shine, it was kept covered with drab clay.
I was watching, Steven Hawking’s Grand Design last night. (If your into reality (or what is reality)) I recommend the 1 hour show on Discovery. (I’m a discovery watcher…. Basically, reality is what you or I make it. For true reality is nothing like our own reality. There are multiple realities, ….. each of us live in the center of our own universe, and each live according to what we have been taught and subjected to.
Truth is, we are made up of millions/billions of cells that make our physical self and even our mental structure. The process allows us to think, feel and generate emotions that make up our whole. Each of us are uniquely different, yet the same basic structure. A living, breathing, body and soul that lives but like a spark of life in the true reality. An amber from the flame in the whole design of things.
Yesterday I stated that we are like fleas on a dog, that is; the planet is the dog, but in the true design of the universe we are like small atoms compared to the reality of the universe. A very small part of the whole and yet each of us feel our problems and our lives are larger than life itself. We are like the hermit crab (a mind inside a shell; our bodies) and we carry our life’s burdens with us. While the waves crash along the shore line and the sun beats down long after we are gone, leaving a shell behind. Be like the cloud that floats through life and sees all the worlds wonders then slowly dissipates and leaves.
may your day be filled with smiles

Who is the Highest?

Author: Sri Chinmoy

Once there was a very pious Brahmin who was utterly devoted to his family deity. He worshipped this deity every day, sitting cross legged in front of the shrine in his home.

One day during his meditation, he observed that the prasad or food offered to the deity, which is customarily eaten by the devotee after worship, was snatched away by a mouse and eaten in front of his very eyes. The Brahmin was astonished to see this and concluded that the mouse was more powerful than the deity. Otherwise, how could it dare to eat the offering? So he grabbed hold of the mouse, and tying it with a string to the place of worship, decided to worship this creature instead of the deity.

He removed the picture of the deity from the shrine, and started worshipping the mouse. One day his cat, jealous of the attention the mouse was receiving, pounced upon the tiny creature. The two had a terrible fight, but of course the poor mouse was killed in the battle.

Now it was quite clear to the Brahmin that the cat was more powerful than the mouse, so he started worshipping the cat whom he had previously neglected. This continued for some time until one day the Brahmin’s dog entered the room of worship. Seeing the attention that the cat was getting from his master, the dog became furiously jealous and violently attacked the cat. The unhappy cat was bitten and scratched all over and bled in many places. When the Brahmin considered the situation, it became quite clear to him that the dog was more powerful than the cat.

So he removed the cat from the place of worship and placed the dog there instead. He now began to worship the dog, who was tied with a rope to the shrine. The animal’s continual barking, however, was a source of great irritation to the Brahmin’s wife. One day in utter exasperation, she threw a brick at the barking dog. It landed on his head with a thump. The poor dog was in great pain and cried piteously over his wound.

The Brahmin, hearing the whimpering of the poor dog, came into the room, and seeing what had happened, concluded that it must be due to the superior power of his wife.

So he decided to let the dog go and to worship his wife. He said to her, “At long last I realise that you are the most powerful. Only you can be the object of my adoration!”

The wife was thunderstruck at these remarks, to say nothing of being puzzled and embarrassed. How could she be the object of his adoration, she thought, since all her life she had been made to feel like his servant, constantly at his beck and call? She finally consented, however, since she had no alternative.

Now the Brahmin’s wife had become his object of adoration and worship. He addressed her with words of devotion and praised her divine qualities. So devoted was he that he had the impulse to worship her even when she was asleep. He would awaken her and make her take her place at the shrine where he could adore her. Or if she were in the shower, he would call her to come out. No matter what she was doing she would have to stop and come to the shrine to be worshipped.

Finally the Brahmin’s wife became so fed up with this farce that she told him the whole thing was nonsense. At this he became furious. “Nonsense?” he echoed. “How dare you criticise my wisdom?” And he yelled at her loudly. The poor frightened woman began weeping bitter tears.

Now, seeing his own power, it became very clear to the Brahmin that he was the strongest of all. So he started worshipping himself, saying, “I am God, I am the greatest, I am everything.”

But it did not take him much time to realise that he was merely a prey to his desires. It was his desires that were compelling him to action, either good or bad. So since his habit was to worship the most powerful force, he started worshipping his desires. But he quickly gave this up, for he saw immediately that his desires had no strength of their own. It was his senses that compelled the desires to possess and be possessed.

Then the Brahmin started worshipping the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. He was now pondering deeply on these subtle things which he was worshipping. After much thought, he concluded that it was the mind which was responsible for the functioning of the senses.

So he began worshipping his mind, and felt proud that he had progressed so far from the ignorant animals he had worshipped only a few months before. But he found that his mind was far from satisfaction, and even farther from perfection. So he catered into his heart.

The heart, in spite of having peace and joy and harmony, was still lacking in absolute fulfilment. He was yearning for the supreme power. He concluded that the heart was not enough, so he entered into his soul.

There, in union with his own soul, he got the first glimpse of his divine fulfilment. He plunged deep into the spiritual life. But the individual soul, he found, is not all pervading or all fulfilling. He aspired for the highest. He went even deeper. Deep within he discovered the Supreme Self.

Here, at the end of his journey, the Brahmin saw that the Supreme Self is the most powerful. The Supreme Self, which has neither beginning nor end, is all pervading and all fulfilling. The Supreme Self, which is both Creator and Creation, is the Highest.


Human beings are spiritual creatures, the proof is in the diversity of all cultures and their religions, the base similarity is… worship! ~Art


may your day be filled with…


Zengetsu, a Chinese master of the T’ang dynasty, wrote the following advice for his pupils:

Living in the world yet not forming attachments to the dust of the world is the way of a true Zen student.

When witnessing the good action of another encourage yourself to follow his example. Hearing of the mistaken action of another, advise yourself not to emulate it.

Even though alone in a dark room, be as if you were facing a noble guest. Express your feelings, but become no more expressive than your true nature.

Poverty is your treasure. Never exchange it for an easy life.

A person may appear a fool and yet not be one. He may only be guarding his wisdom carefully.

Virtues are the fruit of self-discipline and do not drop from heaven of themselves as does rain or snow.

Modesty is the foundation of all virtues. Let your neighbors discover you before you make yourself known to them.

A noble heart never forces itself forward. Its words are as rare gems, seldom displayed and of great value.

To a sincere student, every day is a fortunate day. Time passes but he never lags behind. Neither glory nor shame can move him.

Censure yourself, never another. Do not discuss right and wrong.

Some things, though right, were considered wrong for generations. Since the value of righteousness may be recognized after centuries, there is no need to crave immediate appreciation.

Live with cause and leave results to the great law of the universe. Pass each day in peaceful contemplation.


Upon meeting a Zen master at a social event, a psychiatrist decided to ask him a question that had been on his mind. “Exactly how do you help people?” he inquired.

“I get them where they can’t ask any more questions,” the Master answered.


~may you be fearless and free always~


This story is few centuries old when wooden blocks were used to preserve the holy words.
Tetsugen was a Great devotee of Zen in Japan and although he has left the body he is still very much alive in many hearts. During his time Sutras (Holy scripts) were available in Chinese language only.
Zen had started in china and from there it flourished more in Japan and now it is reaching to people all over the world. Tetsugen decided to print these Sutras (Holy scripts) in wooden blocks. It was a big project as 7000 wooden blocks were required.
Tetsugen himself did not have the money so he started traveling around the country and collecting the funds. Few people gave money lavishly but mostly people were miser in their donation but Tetsugen thanked each person from his heart full of gratitude. After 10 years Tetsugen had enough money to start publishing the Sutras.
Incidentally at the same time the river overflowed and many families were in distress. Tetsugen took the money he had collected for the project and used it to help the starving families.
Then again Tetsugen started collecting the money to raise the funds for the books. It took him several more years to collect the required fund. Incidentally this time an epidemic followed in the country. The generous Tetsugen again distributed the money he had collected to help the starving people.
Now for a third time Tetsugen again started collecting money. Finally after twenty years, his wish was fulfilled. He managed to print the Sutras in to wooden block.
The wooden blocks which were produced by Tetsugen are available at the Obaku monastery in Kyoto. The Japanese people tell their children that Tetsugen had made three sets of sutras and first two invisible sets of sutras surpass even the last.
Source: This story originally published in the book “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones”

Strengthen the body, Sharpen the mind and Enrich the spirit


wisdom riddle

An elderly oriental man woke one morning and as always he gathered his trinkets and loaded them on a cart and went toward the market for his daily duties of selling his merchandise for a hand full of coins.

At the market he set up for selling and laid out his goods for display and waited. After a short time he realizes that it will be a slow day for there was not that many people at the market to make purchase so he decides to take advantage of the time and pray for a profitable day.

He bends down and opens the side doors on his cart and pulls out two small, gold Buddha statues. The statues are very heavy, 25 pounds each. He lays out his make-shift shrine of incense and these two small statues and begins to pray for a profitable day.

While this elderly oriental man is praying a couple of thugs happen by and see the two golden Buddha statues. They start walking toward the old man and the man takes note that these men coming toward him are known thieves. He quickly makes the decision rather to load the cart and make a run for it or to grab his prize statues and run. He decides to do the latter and takes up the  two statues and makes a run for it.

The thieves get to the cart and fumble through it and find nothing of worth so they then take after the old man and his two golden treasures. They chase the old man for awhile and come to a gorge. The man stands at the gorge where a rope bridge reaches across the very deep canyon. There is a sign at the very unstable rope bridge , that reads;

‘This bridge will only support 150 pounds of weight’.

The old man calculates this for a moment as the thieves come closer and closer. The old man weighs 125 lbs and each Buddha weighing 25 pounds. The old man takes off across the bridge, with both golden Buddha statues and makes it across… how did he do this with out exceeding the 150 lb weight limit?

(~try to answer this with-out scrolling down to find the answer~)



The elderly oriental tossed one of the Buddhas in the air and as it came down, before catching it, he tossed the other Buddha statue in the air as he caught the first one. Doing this until he reached the other side, there-fore he never exceeded the 150 lb weight limit.


If you are an American when you go into a bathroom and an American when you come out of the bathroom, what are you while you are in the bathroom?



When one does not know what it is, then it is something; but when one knows what it is, then it is nothing. What is it? 

answer: A Riddle!

Sharpen the Mind (one)


what do you see?


not everything is as it appears to be…

Life’s a maze, love’s a riddle

may you enjoy every moment while time wittles


 Happy Mother’s Day


the cake

Sometimes we wonder, “What did I do to deserve this?” or “Why did God do this to me?” Here is a wonderful explanation! A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she has failed in algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, “Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.”
“Here, have some cooking oil,” her Mother offers.
“Yuck” says her daughter.
“How about a couple raw eggs?”
“Gross, Mom!”
“Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?”
“Mom, those are all yucky!”
To which the mother replies: “Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!


Life works the same way. Many times we wonder why did we go through such bad and difficult times.  We just have to have faith and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!


Once there was an elderly widow, Chen Ma, who lived with her only son inside a forest in the Shanxi Province. Her son was one of the tiger hunters licensed by the local magistrate, following the same profession of his father and grandfather before him. His share of the profits from the sale of tiger skins, meat and bones was sufficient to keep the small mud hut well provisioned for himself and his old mother.

All was well until a particularly bitter winter. During a snowstorm, Chen Ma’s son was separated from his fellow hunters and became food for a hungry tigress.

After her initial shock and grief subsided, Chen Ma took stock of her own utterly desperate situation — an old woman left all alone. She went and implored the magistrate to provide her with compensation for the loss of her son, who was her only source of support. The magistrate decreed that henceforth, she would have a small share of profits from the kill of each tiger by the hunters. Needless to say, his decision was not taken well by the hunters, who had plenty of mouths of their own to feed — both old and young.

So, when the hunters succeeded in killing the tigress that ate Chen Ma’s son, they decided not to give her a share of the profits. Instead, they brought her the tigress’ newborn cub. He was a small quivery ball of golden fur with wobbly legs and toothless gums.

The rope they tied around his neck was so tight that it was practically choking him. Instantly, Chen Ma’s heart went out to this helpless creature, whose jade-green eyes were glistening with tears.

After the hunters left, the tiger cub wobbled to where Chen Ma sat and lay at her feet. She bent down to rub his ears and he licked her shoes with his soft tongue.

The elderly widow looked at the tiger baby and sighed. “They told me to butcher you, to salt and smoke your flesh for my meat supply. Your skin would make warm boots for my feet; your bones are good for making Tiger Bone Wine to ease the pain in my joints. But oh, how can I bear to kill you? You are so young and vital, while I am so old and frail.”

And so, Chen Ma untied the rope from the little tiger’s neck and fed him a paste of cooked roots with her fingers. Her son had a good supply of grains and roots in the attached shed and she planned to stretch the food out to last the winter.

When the store of the firewood was running low, Chen Ma was unable to keep her bedroll on top of the kang warm (a kang is a bed base built of bricks with space for a small fire). So she slept curling against the baby tiger, whose soft fur was cozy and warm.

Once ever so often, women from nearby villages would bring sewing for Chen Ma to do. She was very handy with a needle. They paid her for her labor with dried venison and small sacks of grain. At first they did not find the little tiger’s presence alarming; he was no bigger than a piglet. However, when spring came, he had grown into the size of a calf, showing a full set of teeth and claws. The women told their hunter husbands and the men came to kill the young tiger.

Chen Ma armed herself with her son’s hunting spear and threatened to gut anyone who dared to harm her beloved pet.

“I’ve lost both husband and son. This tiger is the only companion I have now. I shall go to the magistrate and request to adopt him as my son.”

The hunters thought the old woman had become mad and jeered at her. But since she was so determined, they dared not kill her tiger without the magistrate’s permission. So they followed Chen Ma and her tiger all the way to the official’s judgment hall.

“Venerable Mother,” said the magistrate. “Your request is most unusual. Are you not afraid that some day the tiger might revert to his wild nature and devour you?”

“Honorable sir,” replied the old widow with tears in her eyes. “What is there to fear? I have lived too long. The only worry I have now is being left utterly alone. Please let me adopt this young tiger, for he has become like a son in my affections.”

The kindly magistrate did not have the heart to refuse such an ancient woman’s pleading. So he had his assistant draw up a document for the tiger’s adoption.

In order to protect the tiger from the hunters’ arrows and spears, the magistrate ordered a large copper pendent made to hang around the beast’s neck. The words “Fu Chee” were engraved on the pendent meaning Tiger Son. To show her deep gratitude, Chen Ma knelt down in front of the magistrate and knocked her forehead three times. Then she led Fu Chee back to their home in the forest.

By next winter, Fu Chee had grown into his maximum size. Chen Ma’s hut was in danger of collapsing whenever the tiger became playful. Reluctantly, she allowed Fu Chee to make his home inside a cave nearby.

However, the affectionate tiger came back to visit his adopted mother often, always bearing a gift in his mouth — a dead deer or a large piece of tree branch. Also, he still liked to lick her shoes and to have his ears rubbed. Chen Ma’s needs were being cared for just as if her natural son was still alive!

After Chen Ma died at the ripe old age past one hundred, the hunters noticed Fu Chee guarded her tomb nightly. They left him unmolested as he had never attacked any humans or domestic animals. This went on for a number of years and then one day the tiger was seen no more.

Out of deep respect and admiration for the filial tiger son, the hunters erected a small stone monument at Chen Ma’s tomb with Fu Chee’s story engraved on it. Henceforth, Fu Chee became a household legend in that part of Shanxi Province.

~ ~ The End ~ ~

Hug Your Mother…

Every now and then, science and intuition converge and seem to affirm things we knew all along. ……..

…….”Hugs”, physical contact of this nature is associated with measurable and meaningful attenuation of blood pressure and heart rates in adults. If hugs from significant others can help blunt our physiologic response to life’s inevitable stressors, perhaps repeated instances of warm contact and feelings of closeness to others may mitigate the negative effects that life’s hassles can inflict on bodily systems… more

……Oh—and don’t forget to give mom a big hug on Mother’s Day (and another to dad on Father’s Day). You’ll both be better for it…

have a zen-sational day


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Emma (Sunshine),

wedding day