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Immovable Mind

I watched a movie, ‘Ninja‘ Wednesday, where the Sensei was trying to teach two promonate successors the supreme lesson, (Fushosin) ‘The Immovable Mind,’ so that they could one day take over his role as ‘Soke’ or head of the martial arts school.

He described one student as being like that of a Tiger, strong and feirce. Then described the other student as being like that of the wind, he came in as a small breeze and has grown into a strong wind. That each needed to learn from the other’s traits to become the Soke.

Fudoshin (immovable mind and heart) is a Japanese term that describes a state of equanimity or imperturbability literally and metaphorically.  It is a philosophical or mental dimension attributed to a (usually Japanese) martial art which adds to the effectiveness of the more advanced practitioner.


Fudoshin and its Continuing Relevance

By Stephen Fabian


Sparkling crystal clinked with seasonal good cheer as the revelers toasted each other. Garbed in gowns, suits, and other formal evening wear, the foreign ministers, diplomats, and general VIPs and their spouses basked in the light and warmth of fellowship and bounty at the gala event. Suddenly an explosion shook the assemblage, bursting the dreamlike party image and replacing it with a nightmare, like the twisted plot of a cinematic thriller. Gunfire erupted stark and loud and was met by shouts and screams, and the mass of nearly 400 people milled about confusedly. Doors burst open and shots cracked over their heads, sending the guests headlong to the floor. Armed and masked guerrillas swarmed through the official residence. 

“Everyone down,” came the snarled command, “and don’t raise your heads unless you wish them blown off!” Screams were nearing hysteria. “Silence!”   

The shots and shouts subsided, replaced by an electrified quiet punctuated with stifled sobs. Fatigue-clad men glared ominously over the inert horde, and then leveled their weapons at an unexpected sight: one VIP remained standing, visibly unshaken by the violent infiltration.

 A rebel moved closer, shoving the still-warm barrel of his gun towards his face. “Who are you?”   

The man faced gun-barrel and glare without flinching. “I am Morihisa Aoki, ambassador of Japan.” His voice was forceful and unwavering. “These are my guests, and they are unarmed. You will respect them and cause them no harm.”   

Awed, the guerrillas’ eyes widened, and for a brief moment fingers tensed on triggers. But bold themselves, the guerrillas could admire grudgingly the courage of their captive. The rebel leader nodded. “All right. No one will be harmed.” Guns were lowered, and an audible sigh spread among the hostages. 

Fudoshin. This is a Japanese expression based on the Buddhist guardian figure Fudo Myo O, who is unflinching in his defense against wickedness. Figuratively translated, fudoshin means “unmoving mind/heart”or “immovable mind,” and connotes the imperturbability as well as courage of the truly mastered self. It is the mind/heart from which have been purged all impurities and weaknesses in the resolute process of forging artistic and self-mastery. While historical examples of the demonstration of fudoshin in Japanese monks and warriors are not uncommon, the above scenario is not from Japan’s feudal and relatively isolated past, but from its contemporary and international present. 

The scene described is based on newspaper reports of the takeover in Peru of the Japanese ambassador’s residence by Tupac Amaru guerrillas during an evening Christmas party on December 17, 1996. Although I know nothing of the Japanese ambassador’s past or training, it is clear that he is a man who has learned to govern his thoughts, words, feelings and actions. He has discovered self-mastery, and has applied it strategically and intelligently to help bring an explosive and potentially deadly situation under level-headed control.         

(read more here!)

Then, no thoughts of past failures or future problems will exist in the mind, and a truly positive mental state will result—fudoshin, the “immovable mind.”

Immovable Mind

‘May your mind be immovable’


Charles Plumb was a navy jet pilot. On his seventy-sixth combat mission, he was shot down and parachuted into enemy territory. He was captured and spent six years in prison. He survived and now lectures on the lessons he learned from his experiences.

One day, a man approached Plumb and his wife in a restaurant, and said, “Are you Plumb the navy pilot?”

“Yes, how did you know?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb was amazed – and grateful: “If the chute you packed hadn’t worked I wouldn’t be here today…”

Plumb refers to this in his lectures: his realisation that the anonymous sailors who packed the parachutes held the pilots’ lives in their hands, and yet the pilots never gave these sailors a second thought; never even said hello, let alone said thanks.

Now Plumb asks his audiences, “Who packs your parachutes? ….. Who helps you through your life?…. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually?……. Think about who helps you; recognise them and say thanks.”


The story goes: upon completing a highly dangerous tightrope walk over Niagara Falls in appalling wind and rain, ‘The Great Zumbrati’ was met by an enthusiastic supporter, who urged him to make a return trip, this time pushing a wheelbarrow, which the spectator had thoughtfully brought along.

The Great Zumbrati was reluctant, given the terrible conditions, but the supporter pressed him, “You can do it – I know you can,” he urged.

“You really believe I can do it?” asked Zumbrati.

“Yes – definitely – you can do it.” the supporter gushed.

“Okay,” said Zumbrati, “Get in the wheelbarrow…”


I saw this on “Transformers 3” and thought how cool, they are as close to flying like a bird as you’ll ever get.








The Queen made a memorable entrance at the Olympics (!_!)


may your parachute always open and the ground greet you softly~


A tale is told about the Buddha, Gautama (563-483BC), the Indian prince and spiritual leader whose teachings founded Buddhism. This short story illustrates that every one of us has the choice whether or not to take personal offence from another person’s behaviour.

It is said that on an occasion when the Buddha was teaching a group of people, he found himself on the receiving end of a fierce outburst of abuse from a bystander, who was for some reason very angry.

The Buddha listened patiently while the stranger vented his rage, and then the Buddha said to the group and to the stranger, “If someone gives a gift to another person, who then chooses to decline it, tell me, who would then own the gift? The giver or the person who refuses to accept the gift?”

“The giver,” said the group after a little thought. “Any fool can see that,” added the angry stranger.

“Then it follows, does it not,” said the Buddha, “Whenever a person tries to abuse us, or to unload their anger on us, we can each choose to decline or to accept the abuse; whether to make it ours or not. By our personal response to the abuse from another, we can choose who owns and keeps the bad feelings.”


a ‘good pebble’

A British family were on holiday in a rented motor-home in the USA. Travelling through California they visited the Magic Mountain amusement park close by Los Angeles. Mid-afternoon, halfway through what was turning out to be a most enjoyable day at the park, Mum, Dad and the three kids came upon a particularly steep plummeting ride. In the queue, the ride attendants strongly warned everyone about the risks of losing hats, spectacles, coins and keys, etc., and these warnings were echoed by large signs around the ride. During the ride, Dad lost the keys.

Due to the fact that the motor-home was a replacement vehicle resulting from a breakdown earlier in the holiday, there were no spare keys. And there were six keys on the lost bunch: ignition, front doors, side door, fuel tank, propane tank, and storage cupboards.

The park attendants drove the family back to the motor-home, suggesting the least damaging ways to break into it.

Fortunately a window had been left slightly open, enabling the middle son to be put in and to open the doors from the inside.

Inside the motor-home Mum and Dad discussed what to do. They were stranded.

Middle son (all of six years old) said he’d got a key – said he’d found it – but no-one was listening properly. “Perhaps it will fit, I’ll get it.” (The optimism of young children of course knows no bounds.)

Not thinking for one second that little lad’s key would fit, Dad tried it. Incredibly the key fitted the ignition – and the driver’s door. Middle son is a hero. It seems he’d found the key in a cupboard when packing his clothes soon after the motor-homes were swapped after the first vehicle broke down.

The next day back at the camp site, Dad called a local locksmith to see what could be done.

“I might be able to make new keys from the locks, if you bring the vehicle to me,” said the locksmith, so the family drove to the locksmith, whose business was in a small shopping centre in the California countryside.

The locksmith looked at the motor-home, and said he’d try. “If you come back in an hour I’ll know better what I can do for you.”

The family went to the nearby shops and a coffee bar to pass the time. Dad returned to the locksmith to see how things were going. The locksmith says he thought he could make new keys for all the locks, but it would be a long job.

In fact the job took the locksmith most of the day. The family hung around the locksmiths, visited the shops again, and generally made a day of being at the little shopping centre. While working on the locks and the keys, the locksmith talked with the family about England, about America, about the rides at Las Vegas, about motor-homes, about business, about locks, about families and kids, about lots of things.

Late on in the afternoon the locksmith said that he’d nearly done – “But you have time to go get something to eat if you want. When you come back I’ll be done.” So the family went to a burger bar for something to eat.

An hour later the family returned to the locksmith’s shop. It was 4pm and they’d been at the shopping centre since 10.00 in the morning.

When Dad entered the locksmith’s shop the locksmith was smiling. He put two new gleaming bunches of keys on the counter. “Here you go – a new set of keys for all the locks, and a spare set too,” said the locksmith, “And I tell you what I’m going to do…”

Dad offered his credit card, gratefully.

“You know, I’ve had such a great time with you guys today,” says the locksmith, “You can have these for free.”

This is a true story. It happened over ten years ago. I still tell people about it now, like I’m telling you. The company is Newhall Valencia Lock & Key, in the El Centro Shopping Center, Canyon Country, California. This little company gave me and my family an experience that transcended customer service, and I was delighted when I found their business card in my kitchen drawer the other day, because it prompted me to share this story and to properly express my thanks.

Just a final note – I’m not suggesting that great customer service is about giving your products and services away. Obviously that’s not a particularly sustainable business model. What I’m saying though, is that there are times when you’ll see opportunity to do something really special for a customer, or for another human being, and when you do it, the ripples of your ‘good pebble’ can stretch around the world, and last for years and years. So, within the boundaries of what’s possible and viable for you, drop in a good pebble whenever you can and make some ripples of your own.


I use to have a habit of picking up pretty pebbles. I would polish it by rubbing it with my thumb, calling it my worry stone. Then when I came across another that was riddled with worry I’d give them the pebble.


may you give a ‘good pebble’ today, the ripple of goodness will spread.



“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

“When it is raining hurtfull words, simply use an umbrella.”

The term “crab mentality” is used to describe a kind of selfish, short-sighted thinking which runs along the lines of “if I can’t have it, neither can you.” This term is especially widely used among Filipinos, who use it specifically to refer to people who pull other people down, denigrating them rather than letting them get ahead or pursue their dreams. As a general rule, an accusation of having a crab mentality is a poor reflection on someone’s personality.

This concept references an interesting phenomenon which occurs in buckets of crabs. If one crab attempts to escape from a bucket of live crabs, the other crabs will pull it back down, rather than allowing it to get free. Sometimes, the crabs seem almost malicious, waiting until the crab has almost escaped before yanking it back into the pot. All of the crabs are undoubtedly aware of the fact that their fate is probably not going to be very pleasurable, so people are led to wonder why they pull each other back into the bucket, instead of congratulating the clever escape artist.

The crab mentality is a reflection of the famous saying “we all like to see our friends get ahead, but not too far ahead.” Learning to recognize the crab mentality in yourself is a very good idea, especially if you work or live in a highly competitive environment.   this article found… here!


I just happen to walk in to a situation yesterday, where a fellow employee was downing everyone around him. I listened for a moment while getting the equipment I needed then walked over to him. “Hey, dude, do you see what is going on here?”

He asked, “what?”

I explained, “You are in a rut, a hole, and instead of allowing others to help you, you are trying to drag every one else down into that hole with you!” Of course rather than except the advise he began trying to be-little me, so I replied, “Listen, I am on a mountain, your in a hole in a dark valley, your going to be a while trying to drag me in that hole with you. I don’t have that much time, gotta go.” And I left for my next duty. (don’t allow others to pull you into the holes they have dug for them self. Offer to help and if they don’t want the help, move on. For some people are like turtles, in order to teach them to sing, it will take a lot of time and patience.)

The farthest a man’s feet are from the earth, the farther he is from himself. (go bare-footed now and then and see what I mean)


Japanese Zen master Sesso warned, “There is little to choose between a man lying in the ditch heavily drunk on rice liquor, and a man heavily drunk on his own ‘enlightenment’!”


A young monk brought two potted plants into the monastery’s garden while the Zen master looked on. “Drop it,” instructed the master. The young monk gently let down one pot. “Drop it,” again ordered the master. The monk let go the second pot. “DROP IT!” roared the master. The young monk stammered, “But… I have nothing more to drop.” “Then take it away,” said the old master, smiling.


Tao-hsin (580-651), stated: “The wise man does nothing, while the fool is always tying himself up.”


Huang-po is said to have been unusually tall. Master Nan-chu’an couldn’t help but remark: “Your body is unusually big—isn’t your straw hat too small?” Huang-po replied: “Perhaps… but the entire universe is within it.”


Yunmen sang:
The cloud and the moon, both the same.
Valleys and mountains, each different.
Are they one, or are they two?
Wonderful! Splendid!


One summer day the venerable old Chao-chou proposed a little contest of Zen repartee with his attending disciple, Wen-yuan: to see who could identify himself with the lowest thing in the scale of human values. Chao-chou began: “I am a donkey.” Wen-yuan: “I am the donkey’s buttocks.” Chao-chou: “I am the donkey’s dung.” Wen-yuan: “I am a worm in the dung.” Chao-chou, unable to think of a rejoinder, asked, “What are you doing there?” Replied Wen-yuan: “I am spending my summer vacation!” Chao-chou laughingly conceded defeat.


Zen … is the sound of sunshine! The water’s song! The wind’s kiss and the enlightenment from a flame! ~Art


hope your present is wonderful


Introducing, …Kung Chew, a creation from my mind, a drawing that turned into a full blown character as the kids helped me to create his adventures. In 2007 he was all over our living room in different comic strips and in 2010 he came alive in a blender / computer graphics movie we all took delight in using our voices for the characters. The movie,…”Kung Chew and the Zen Gum ball


(click to enlarge)

Kung Chew and Master Bubble make a pilgrimage to obtain a Zen Gumball. On the trail they are attacked by the ABC gang (already been chewed) and get out of this by blowing a huge bubble and as it pops they disappear, with-out hurting anyone!

When they arrive in town, Kung Chew meets up with his girl friend, Chic as Master Bubble goes on to obtain the Zen Gumball. The Gumball machine is in POP’s candy store. Master Bubble places the quarter in, turns the knob and out comes a Gumball with words of wisdom stamped on it. (like a fortune cookie) Master Bubble saves the gumballs for emergencies and to spread the wise words for others to chew on mentally.

The opening has always been the same in the cartoon and the movie…However his adventures are still only begining.


(click to enlarge)


Deep in the forest of rubber trees and chic. (Chic is the tree for which Gum is made.

Kung Chew works hard, mastering his Art, wriggling through excercises.

He imagines himself dueling an army, defeating them single handedly, one by one, blow by blow.

When out of no-where a bee lands on his arm. Kung Chew became riddled with fear and ran as fast as he could …away!

Master Bubble was meditating nearby, watching with one eye open as Kung Chew and the Bee went flying by. He had a bewildered look on his face.


The Bee came and landed on Master Bubble’s leg…………..Kung Chew crept up with a big stick then swung to hit the Bee.

“Smack,” Master Bubble reached up and stopped Kung Chew from hitting the bee.

“You train to defend yourself against multiple attackers, yet you run like a rabbit from a one inch insect?”

“Perhaps the Bee was attracted to your sweetness and wanted to bite you rather than sting you.”

Kung Chew stood silent for a moment, with a bubble-dumb look upon his face, pondering Master Bubble’s words.


I think the unique thing about this is that it grew from the family, ideas from my wife, the kids. The Movie has alot to it…I think it ended up being a little longer than 15 minutes, with music like… “I want candy!” and of course in the end they all play instruments and sing this song with dance and a great guitar scene.

Now when I say great remember, I am not a computer graphic guru, it was my first attempt and I learned alot about doing such a project. It took a year to make, with dubbing out voices and getting the mouths to match sound. In one scene, when Master Bubble turns around fast, he comes all apart and goes back together in the flash of an eye, the physics was to much for him, I tell the kids, but the wife knows, the physics was to much for me. (giggle)

Blender was not that easy to learn. (It is a free game making software that allows creation of graphics and has a movie mode) I spun off after kung chew and tried to make a movie called, “Thirteen Dragons,” (about the thirteen Shaolin fighting monks.) But that is when it got frustrating and I gave up on being a computer graphic designer since it takes so long for one person. When I watch a CP movie like pixel or ‘Kung Fu Panda’ I notice they have about 50 plus people to create a movie and that wouldn’t make it easier but probably a lot faster than a 15 minute clip taking an year to make.

I have now decided to try and make a childrens book with this charactor. Every one who comes to the house gets to see the movie and say’s it is a grand idea, do something with it. So, I am still churning out paper after paper with this little guy and his adventures, entangled with wisdom quotes, humor and traditional martial arts ethics and a message in every tale. I have placed Kung Chew into the Zendictive story of “Carrying your Burdens” and “House of a thousand mirrors.” Now, that I am down this week,  and can’t do much out of bed, I have picked up the pen again. When the body is down the mind still ticks. “You can’t keep a good man down!”…………so, what do you think???

As soon as I can figure out how, I will place clips of the movie on the blog, (remember, I’m still learning how to work with all this media stuff!) In fact I still can’t figure out how to burn it on a CD or DVD to get it off this computer!



enjoy your day


No Sword is a story about Tsukahara Bokuden, a sword master who, after seeing his sons, brothers and pupils die on the battlefield, realizes that victory can also be achieved without bloodshed. Thus, he starts his own school which he calls Mutekatsu Ruy, where he teaches exactly that.

One day, while crossing Lake Biwa, Bokuden is challenged to a fight by a rowdy samurai. Bokuden wins the fight without even drawing his sword: he leaves the samurai stranded on an island. “No sword.”  (this excerpt found here) a collection of Samurai stories in a book by Eric A. Kimmel.


The Art of fighting with-out fighting

The story above sounds a lot like Bruce Lee’s, “The Art of fighting with-out fighting,” (in the movie, ‘Enter the Dragon’) Bruce Lee is challenged by an aggressive bully. The Man asked Bruce, “What is your style of fighting?”

Bruce answered with, “The Art of fighting with-out fighting.”

The Man replied, “Show me this style.”

Bruce said, “Alright, we will get in this little boat and paddle over to that Island for there is no room on this ship.” The Man thought for a moment then agreed. Bruce jump over and hung on to the rope for the little boat and allowed the challenger to get in first. Once the Man was in the boat, Bruce released the rope’s length until the end and then trailed it to the back of the boat and tied it off. “The Art of fighting with-out fighting.”


Whip them with your mind

In the studio I would have students go through senarios where a bully would be picking on them and armed them with tactics that I called, “Whip them with your mind.” Being in a martial arts class it is imparitive that they not engage in a fight unless absolutely necessary. Meaning if they grab you, defend yourself, until then do what ever you can to avoid the conflict.

I would have the student place their hands together (like they are praying) and say, “please do not hurt me!” With this the hands are in front of the student and more ready for any defensive blocks of strikes or grabs. “It is better to be humble with knowledge than a bloody victor.” (more often the bully has what he wants, a way out with his or her humility intact.

“It is better to extend an open hand rather than to swing a fist in anger.”

“Rather than fight, invite them to the studio and have them see what you can do before any one gets hurt.”

Riddle them with wit, “If we fight, we both lose and I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be a loser.” explain consequences, if they are at a school they will both be suspended and if they are at work they will both lose their jobs. Is it worth it.

Whipping them with your mind is a much greater achievement than hurting them with physical confrontations.


have a wonderful day


On one occasion the Master told the story of an old ceramic pot of inestimable price for which he had paid a fortune at a public auction.  The pot had been used for many years by a beggar who ended up his life in misery, totally ignorant of the value of that object with which he had begged.

When the disciple asked the Master what that vessel represented, the Master told him: “Yourself”.

The disciple asked him for an explanation, and the Master proceeded: “You center all your attention in the insignificant knowledge that you acquire through books and from the masters.  It would be better that you focus your attention on the vessel in which you keep it.”


Temple of the mind by Art~2005

A temple is a structure
that houses prayer,
words built from thought
and heart beats shared.

Sweeping spider webs
from the temple’s rooms
inside the mind lays
the tools to broom.

For their is no light
within the skull
only enlightenment,
let no mind dull.

Train the body
sharpen the mind
enrich the spirit,
strong temple signs.

Dust to dust or
an idea is sown
for rust may preceed us
watching new temples grown.

Humble when shaking
the hand of another
your opening the door
of someones sacred temple.


The irony of this post is that I had to put my vessel/temple in the hospital yesterday with 104.5 fever. I am home now but may need a few days to recoup. I had this post in my drafts and it seemed fitting. They said I have pneumonia, don’t know how that happened, they are telling me that I just won’t slow down long enough to heal, guess I’ll have to now~

Strenghten the body, sharpen the mind and enrich the spirit



Nadia spent the whole autumn sowing and preparing his garden. In the spring, the flowers opened, and Nadia noticed a few dandelions that he had not planted.

Nadia pulled them up. But the seeds had already spread, and others grew. He tried to find a poison that would kill only dandelions. An expert told him that any poison would end up killing all the other flowers too. In despair, Nadia sought help from a gardener.

‘It’s just like marriage,’ said the gardener. ‘Along with the good things, there are always a few inconveniences.’

‘What should I do, then?

‘Nothing. They may not be the flowers you intended to have, but they are still part of the garden.

…..and at least they are flowers…..


marriage is a garden, the more you tend it the more beautiful it becomes. Weeds will sprout where an un-tended garden grows.


The wedding ring, a symbol that their life revolves around yours, The two complete the circle of life.


Together the newlyweds planted the seeds in the new garden. He tilled and made the rows while she poked holes and planted the seeds. Together they watered what they sowed. When the plants produced, he picked the vegetables while she would cook them and together they delighted in the meal together.

Over the years, she would go to the store and buy the vegetables and cook the meals. He may or may not be home for supper because he worked extra hours to make the income needed to pay the bills: the two cars, the insurance, clothes and shoes for the children. The garden lay barren.


I recall the story where a Monk and his disciples came to a river and bathed in the refreshing waters. Not far down river was a married couple yelling at the top of their lungs. A disciple asked, “Why do they feel the need to yell at each other when clearly they are so close.”

“When they first fell in love, their hearts were so close that they need not say a word, merely look at one another and they could relay their feelings. Over the years their hearts grew farther and farther apart to the point that now, even though they stand so close to each other they have to yell in order to be heard.”


It is simple, you get out of it what you put into it, be it a garden or be it a marriage,

 may your life be filled with Love~


This story was written by Brio Keegan ~Oct 2011 (re-blogged)

In a wealthy land, a sage opened up a school on top of a desolate hill to teach the people a better way of living. The people in that land thought that his lessons will make them even wealthier, so a lot of people tried to get into the school. Despite the large volume of applicants, the school only had a handful of students because the sage wanted to test each aspiring student and see if he or she was ready. As such, getting into the school became a status symbol for the inhabitants of that land.

One day, the only son of the richest family came up to the sage’s school since he was also aspiring for a better life for himself and to boost his family’s reputation. After climbing up the thousand steps, he arrived at the gate of the school, and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Oh great sage, give me an opportunity to study at your school!”

His plea was heard, and soon, the gate opened to reveal the smiling sage followed by a servant who was carrying a jar. Then, the sage said, “Come and walk with me.”

The rich, young man and the servant followed the sage as he wandered all over the hill. The sage gave odd commands like “look up,” “look down,” “squint your eyes,” and “peep through your fingers.” They did these pointless things as they walked. When they reached a stone jutting out from the hill’s face, he said, “That’s your first lesson, and now, I’ll check if you’ve learned. This is an opportunity,” while pointing at a green shoot growing from the stone. “What is this?” the sage asked.

While waiting for his answer, the sage instructed the servant to fetch water further down the hill.

“It’s a plant growing on a rock, Teacher,” said the beaming young man.

The sage turned his back and said, “Try to look again, and come back tomorrow. Tell me the right answer.”

The young man was crushed to hear that he was wrong, but he was determined. He ran back to his father’s extensive collection of books about plants to identify what was growing on the rock. Then, he went back to the sage.

“It’s a Notholaena sulphurea, the fern that’s growing on the rock!” he exclaimed, but the sage gave the same answer, “Please look at it again. Come back tomorrow and tell me the right answer.”

Thinking that he’s closer to the right answer, he went back to his father’s library to identify the rock that’s jutting from the hill. Again, he went back to the sage.

“The Notholaena sulphurea is growing on a rock made out of gypsum,” he said proudly.

The sage smiled, and said, “Look more closely. Then, come back tomorrow and tell me the right answer.”

This time, he felt frustrated. He threw a temper tantrum because he was still wrong. While he was stomping around, the servant of the sage saw him. Curious to know what he was doing sobbing in the middle of the arid hill, the servant asked, “Why are you crying?”

“I can’t get this stupid test right,” said the young man in an exasperated tone.

“If you think this test is stupid, you might be spitting up in the air. Soon, that spit will land on you,” replied the servant.

“What are you saying – that I’m the stupid one?” the young man growled angrily.

“No,” the servant said. “Do you want to know the answer?”

“Well, of course I do!” the young man snapped.

“What did Teacher say to you when he pointed at the plant?” asked the servant.

Mockingly imitating the sage, the frustrated young man said, “This is an opportunity.”

“Exactly!” smiled the servant.

With a puzzled expression, the young man said, “I don’t get it.”

“Do you want to know the answer?” the servant repeated his question.

“Why do you keep on asking that? You didn’t tell me the first time, so why should I even answer your question? Why are you even talking to me? You’re just a servant!”

“I can see that you won’t get it at all, so being a humble servant, I’ll ignore your rude remark and help you with the answer,” the servant said. Before the young man could protest, the servant pointed at the plant again and started talking, “According to Teacher, everything is opportunity, and if you don’t see life like that, you’d need to change vantage points. More than the scientific name of the plant or the type of stone that it is growing on, which is the obvious way of looking at this test, you needed to look at the plant and the rock differently to see that it’s a metaphor for opportunity. The plant doesn’t have any other place to grow on, so it took the chance to grow in the crack and make the most of it. Look at it now. It already has a second leaf growing. It didn’t give up, much like Teacher. Each day, he took the opportunity to make you change your vantage point and asked you to come back. He didn’t say you failed, did he? He gave you all the clues, but you ignored all the opportunities that he gave you, so now, I’m off to tell him that you gave up. Even now, you have the opportunity to learn, yet you still refuse since the explanation is coming from a servant.”

Off the servant went and the young man was left downtrodden. He went home to his father’s house to tell him of the bad news, but the servant’s words echoed in his head. Everything is opportunity, and if you don’t see life like that, you’d need to change vantage points. Then, he realized something. When he went to see his father, instead of announcing the bad news, he said, “Today, the Teacher taught me to see everything in life as an opportunity. Because I’ve learned that lesson, I was also able to learn a lesson on humility.” With that one lesson, the young man learned a better way of living, which he practiced until the day he died.


may opportunity knock on your door every day



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Emma (Sunshine),

wedding day