MAN, BOY AND DONKEY

A man and his son were once going with their donkey to market. As they were walking along by his side a countryman passed them and said, “You fools, what is a donkey for but to ride upon?” So the man put the boy on the donkey, and they went on their way.

But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said, “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the man ordered his boy to get off and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other, “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the man didn’t know what to do, but at last, he took his boy up before him on the donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at.

The men said, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours – you and your hulking son?”

The man and boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, until at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them until they came to a bridge, when the donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle, the donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together, he was drowned.

Source: Joseph Jacobs, The Fables of Aesop
(London: Macmillan and Company, 1902), no. 63, pp. 149-51

CONSIDER THIS

Try to please everyone, and you will please no one.

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.”

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” – From “Self-Reliance” in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s first series of essays

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EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL

The disciple, visiting the master, exclaimed, “Wow, wow, wow! This is a beautiful patch of land you live on!”

And the master, looking at the disciple, with a hint of a smile, responded saying, “When you have a beautiful mind everything, and everyone, and everywhere is beautiful.”

Source: Based on a short conversation I had with  Venerable Ashin Sunnya,
Chief and Principal of Jivita Dana,
the hospital in Thanbyuzayat, Mon state, Myanmar.

CONSIDER THIS

  • What does it mean to have a beautiful mnind?
  • Would you consider your mind to be a beautiful one?  If yes, what do you think makes it so? What makes your mind beautiful?

YOU BE JESUS

A mother was preparing pancakes for her two sons one Saturday morning. Kevin and Ryan just loved pancakes. In fact, they loved their mom’s pancakes so much that on this particular Saturday morning they began to argue (as brothers will do) over who would get the first pancake. Five-year-old Kevin and three-year-old Ryan were not only fussing; they were also pushing and shoving, trying, each one, to be first in line and get the first pancake.

Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson, so she said, “Boys, boys! Calm down! I want to ask you a question. If Jesus were here with us this morning, what do you think he would say?” No answer. “Well,” she continued, “I’ll tell you what he would say. He would say, ‘Please let my brother have the first pancake; I can wait.’ ”

In reply, five-year-old Kevin said, “Great idea, Mom!” and then he turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”

James W. Moore, The Best of James W. Moore:
Thoughts on Faith and Grace from a Master Storyteller
(Abingdon Press 2012) pages 21-22

____________________________
Here’s a shorter version of the same story

A mother was making pancakes one Saturday morning for her two little boys. The brothers began squabbling over who was going to get the first pancake. Mom, as mothers often do, saw an opportunity to teach her little boys a lesson. “You know, if Jesus was here he’d say ‘My brother can have the first pancake.’” So the five-year-old turns to the three-year-old and says, “OK. You be Jesus.”

Source: Jeff Dietrich, Broken and Shared,
(Marymount Institute Press / Tsehai Publishers;  2011) page 295

CONSIDER THIS

“The Son of Man came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.” –Matthew 20:28

It’s not just 5-year olds that come up with such logic.  Although we may believe that Jesus has set up an example of servanthood – putting others first – oftentimes we too are a little bit like Kevin, waiting for the other person to be Jesus.

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ARE YOU CERTAIN?

There was a Jesuit who was on the witness stand once after witnessing a crime and the defense lawyer was hammering away at his testimony. “Are you certain you saw this? Are you certain you saw that?”

After a while, the Jesuit replied, “Look buddy, I teach philosophy. Some days, I’m only 50 percent certain I exist.”

Source: Fr Richard G. Malloy, Being on Fire,
(Orbis Books, 2014) page 21

CONSIDER THIS

“Most of us don’t suffer the philosopher’s malaise. We know we are here. We know we are the person we were yesterday. None of us really think we are living a dream. We know. We know that we know. To say I don’t know would mean that I, at least, know that—that I don’t know. Therefore to claim one doesn’t know is self-refuting. Even to say you don’t know proves you’re a knower.” (Richard G. Malloy, Being on Fire, pages 21-22)

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WAKE UP AND STAY AWAKE

The disciple, wanting to tease the master, said with a chuckle, “Here’s a question for you. Imagine that you’re sleeping. Imagine that you’re dreaming. A big lion is chasing you. You try to run away and you see a tiger coming in front of you. You turn sideways, but every side you turn to, you find a ferocious animal coming after you. How can you escape?”

And the master, with a twinkle in his eye, and confidence is his voice, said, “Wake up!”

Source: As retold by Philip Chircop

CONSIDER THIS

By waking up, one enters a whole new world of reality, different from that of the dream world. What was a huge problem in the dream state becomes a non-issue in the waking state.

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”Henry David Thoreau, Walden

 

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WHO CARES WHAT YOU THINK?

A young man went to a Zen master. After practicing for a time the student went off on his own with instructions to faithfully send a letter to the master every month, giving an account of his spiritual progress.

In the first month, the student wrote, “I now feel an expansion of consciousness and experience of oneness with the universe.”

The master glanced at the note and threw it away.

Next month this is what the letter said: “I finally discovered the holiness that is present in all things.”

The master seemed vaguely disappointed.

A month later, the disciple enthusiastically explained, “The mystery of the one and the many has been revealed to my wondering gaze.”

The master yawned.

Two months later another letter arrived: “No one is born, no one lives, no one dies, for the self is an illusion.”

The master threw up his hands in despair,  because each letter was asking for a response, “Is this it? Is this it? Is this it?”

After that, a month passed, then two, three, five, and then a whole year. The master thought it was time to remind the disciple of his duty to keep him informed of his spiritual progress. So he sent the student a letter. The disciple wrote back, “Who cares what you think?”

When the master read those words, a great look of satisfaction spread over his face. “Finally, he got it!”

Source: Based on Jack Kornfield, After the Ecstasy, The Laundry:
How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path
(Bantam, 2001) page 119

CONSIDER THIS

Of course I care about what you think and I will listen intently to what you have to say and be present to what you have to share, but regardless of your thoughts and your words of advice, I know that many of life journeys I have to take unassisted.  Some paths are meant to be navigated by me and me alone. There will always be friends at the end of that road – to wipe your brow and perhaps give you a pat on the back for reaching the end of your quest unscathed, but the passage itself is a solitary journey.

Some paths are meant to be navigated by you and you alone. There will always be friends at the end of that road – companions to wipe your tears and your sweat, fellow seekers to give you a pat and speak a word of encouragement – but the passage itself is a solitary journey.

 

 

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THE TWO CRABS

“Why in the world do you walk sideways like that?” said a Mother Crab to her son. “You should always walk straight forward with your toes turned out.”

“Show me how to walk, mother dear,” answered the little Crab obediently, “I want to learn.”

So the old Crab tried and tried to walk straight forward. But she could walk sideways only, like her son. And when she wanted to turn her toes out she tripped and fell on her nose.

Source: The Aesop For Children: Top 100 Childrens Classics
(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Children’s Classics edition, 2014) page 11

CONSIDER THIS

    • Do not tell others how to act unless you can set a good example.
    • Your actions speak so loud I cannot hear what you’re saying.
    • The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer. -Matthew 23:1-3