A zoologist observed the antelopes on both sides of a river in the Savannah, noticing that their running speed and reproductive capacity were not the same.
The ones on the east bank of the river ran significantly faster than those on the west bank, and their reproductive capacity was also stronger. To explore the reasons, the zoologist put ten west bank antelopes on the east bank.
Image from https://www.soarlegs.com/travelers-guide-savannah-georgia/
In a short period, he found that wolves had eaten most of the west bank antelopes, and there were only three left. That was the answer: the antelopes on the east bank were stronger because wolves lived nearby, and to avoid the wolves, they had to run faster and longer. The west bank’s flock was weaker because they lacked a group of powerful natural enemies, so they were hunted first.
So we need to thank the suffering, the competitors, and the troubles in our lives because, without them, we would not be nearly as powerful or intelligent.
Buddha said that affliction is but Bodhi, and because of trouble, we want to learn and grow. Because of competitive opponents, we then have the power to know how to struggle.
Some people are always afraid to face trouble and look forward to just staying in a comfortable and pleasant environment. Those who live a comfortable life are blinded from seeing the problem. Comfort will make us not to want to grow. So thank all the troubles and unhappy things in your life, because they are our teachers, and they show up in our lives to teach us wisdom.
A Zen master was meditating in the river, when he heard the sound of struggling. He saw a scorpion splashing in the water when he opened his eyes. He reached out and pulled it out, but he was stung by the scorpion. He put the scorpion on the shore, continued to meditate.
After a while, he heard the sound of struggling again. He opened his eyes and saw that the scorpion had fallen into the water again. He picked it up again to put it back on the shore; he was stung again, of course. But he continued to meditate. Again, after some time, the same misfortune happened again.
A fisherman nearby said to him, “Are you stupid, don’t you know the scorpion will sting?” The Zen master replied, “I know, the scorpion stung me three times.” The fisherman was puzzled. “Why do you still want to save it?” The Zen master replied, “The sting is its nature, but compassion is my nature, and my nature will not change because of its nature.”
At this time, he heard the sound of the struggling again. Yes, it was that same scorpion. He looked at his swollen hands and then looked at the struggling scorpion in the water; he reached out again without hesitation. Before he could pick up the scorpion, the fisherman gave him a dry branch. The Zen master used this branch to pick up the scorpion and place it on the shore instead.
Image is from A Safer Way to Milk a Scorpion – D-brief
The fisherman smiled and said, “It is right and proper to be merciful. But if you want to be compassionate to a scorpion, you have to treat yourself the same. To be able to be compassionate to the others, we should have the means to do that.”
When you can be kind to yourself, then you can be kind to the others. I liked the story; it reminds me of the saying: “It is not easy to be a nice person.” Indeed, It is in their nature for a kind person to do a good deed. But the object of doing good is not necessarily good; the result of doing good does not necessarily bring you the good fruit. Why is this so? As the fisherman said: “You need the means of compassion to be able to be compassionate to others.”
Compassion is right, but you need to apply it to both the scorpion and yourself. It reminds us that the means of compassion are first to be accountable to yourself and then to be accountable to others. If a person cannot even take care of himself, how can he take care of others? When you can treat yourself well, then you are qualified and able to treat others well.
The Zen master often have an insight for the philosophical things that make people suddenly see truth, but they are confused about simple things. Everyday people on the other hand, understand simple and down to earth truths that show that zen is in everyone.
The original text is in Chinese (http://blog.xuite.net/deivyavan/blog/206053768), I translated it into English so you can enjoy this enlightening story.
Life has three states; you can be a pessimist, an optimist, or a philosopher.
The pessimist sees the world from the foot of a mountain and sees the path as dark.
The optimist sees the world from the mountainside and sees the flowers first.
The philosopher sees the world from the top of the mountain and sees the whole world.
The pessimist says: life is like a cup of bitter wine, the turbidity is bitter.
The optimist says: life is like a glass of wine, every drop is fragrant.
The philosopher says: life is like a cup of clear spring water, it is refreshing whether it is warm or cold.
The pessimist sees the sorrow of the withered flowers.
The optimist sees the splendor of the flowers blooms.
The philosopher sees the hope of the fruits that come from the flowers.
A pessimist sees the life and death of a man.
An optimist sees the sweetness of life.
The philosopher sees the spring, summer, autumn, and winter of life.
The pessimist shows a tendency to go a dark corner.
The optimist greets the bright side only.
The philosopher spans the two kingdoms of Yin and Yang.
The pessimist complains about the wind.
The optimist waits for the wind to change direction.
The philosopher adjusts the sails.
The optimist lives by subtraction; they reduce sadness.
The philosopher lives by division and shares the joy.
The original text of this article was in Chinese. The author is unknown.
Life will always be a little disappointing
Destiny is unfair, society is cruel, and love is gone.
I want to strive to make a good life for my family
But I feel powerless from time to time
In the face of various disappointments
Some people have complained, were lost, been confused and become numbed
And even give up on themselves
While some people choose to stay and face it
After realizing the truth of life, still love it
Those who see the light in their hearts and their eyes
Can always have ordinary or difficult days and live the tenderest of all
1) Under a bridge in Xi’an, a homeless man creates art
Although he did not have any formal teaching, he uses his brush to paint the beauty from books and his memories
The soul has nowhere to set, so he chooses to wander
Although material is scarce, the spirit is rich,
Enough to let the man overcome his old sadness.
There is a quiet heart, and there are lotuses everywhere
His name was Wei Zhao, and after his death, people realized that he had been quietly donating to poor students all his life.
How cute to see the way he reads his book
5) Victoria of Brazil, a middle aged mother who raised her children by collecting junk, was admitted to Brazil’s most prestigious institution after self-teaching using the books that she found in
6) At the door, a young mother lights a candle and sings a happy birthday song to her child
7) A house suddenly caught fire, but the parents escaped with their children. They watched their burning house, and it was too late to save the house when the fire engines came. The father told the family: “The house can be rebuilt, what is most important is that you are safe. We can not change, we should just face it.” So the family took a happy group photo in front of the burning house.
When we have each other, then we have a home.
8) A dog disabled in a car accident faced euthanization if no one adopted her.
Until she met Mike, a man who went through the same misfortunes as her, so she and Mike became close friends.
Life is not perfect, but no difficulty can bring us down.
Think positive, and do not fear sadness.
9) On the street corner at late night, a little boy squatted at a wooden table, doing his homework diligently by the light from the restaurant nearby. Five years ago, his house was destroyed by a fire and his father passed away. His mother begged for a living, but he still loved to study, despite the hardships of life.
Life is hard, but please have faith.
10) A boy who was learning to play the flute had no audience, but a little black cat appeared to be in love with it.
“Ah…actually, I do not understand, but I wanted to accompany you.”
11) One summer afternoon, a father who had not come home for a long time had a serious afternoon tea and dance with her.
Every day, every meal deserves to be taken seriously and gently
12) After the war, a teenager was quietly reading in the doorway of a bombed bookstore. There was chaos around him, but his heart was still.
In an age when most people are rushing down the road, be a person who occasionally looks up at the stars.
Maugham said in “The Moon and Sixpence” that I had tried my best to live an ordinary life, which was probably the fate of the majority.
However, in this lifetime, some people have been looking down to the ground for sixpence, while some people have looked up to see the moon in the sky.
As to the bored life, some people choose to accept fate, but the heart of those who don’t paint a flower in a dull life, and draws poems from suffering.
What is more important than life is attitude and life style. The person who loves life, regardless of the fate of his cards, always tries to play fairly.
There is no such thing as a rich life, but you can try to put down the book and take a long afternoon nap.
Otherwise you may not have time to park your car and leave a footprint in the path of the waves of the maple trees, nor you can make time for playing chess to enjoy the temporary break.
When you start to live your life seriously, you will find that meals and your vegetable are really good, and you won’t be complaining anymore. You will only be in awe of life.
Whatever the world does to you, may you be as brave and hopeful as ever.
Note: The original Chinese text was from QQ_shijuezhi. It is rather long, so I took the liberty to pick major sections to translate into English here. May you find time to enjoy this article.
Three people went out; the first one carried an umbrella, the second one had crutches, and the third one was empty handed.
On their way back, the first one got wet even with his umbrella; the second fell and got hurt even with his crutches, but the third one was all right.
Image from AFA Journal
Because the one carried an umbrella and walked as if it was not raining, the rain soaked him. Because the second one walked on the muddy road with his crutches as if the road was not treacherous, he fell all the time. The third had nothing with him, so he was careful – he tried to avoid the rain; he trod down the muddy road carefully, so nothing bad happened to him.
Moral of the story:
Most of the time, people do not fail because they have nothing, but they fail because they are too confident in what they have.