A student once asked master Bassui, ‘Are you saying that someone who sees his own nature and is free from delusion is innocent of error, even if he does something which breaks the Buddhist precepts?’ He replied, ‘If someone’s actions come from their essential nature, how could they be breaking the precepts?’
A carpenter went home after shutting down his workshop. A snake entered his workshop.
The snake was hungry and hoped to find its supper lurking somewhere within. It slithered from one end to another and accidentally bumped into a double-edged metal axe and got very slightly injured.
In anger and seeking revenge, the snake bit the axe with full force. What could a bite do to a metallic axe? Instead the cobra’s mouth started bleeding. Out of fury and arrogance, the cobra tried its best to strangle and kill the object that was causing it pain by wrapping itself very tightly around the blades.
The next day when the carpenter opened the workshop, he found a seriously cut, dead cobra wrapped around the axe blades. The cobra died not because of someone else’s fault but faced these consequences merely because of its own anger and wrath.
Sometimes when angry, we try to cause harm to others but as time passes by, we realize that we have caused more harm to ourselves. For a happy life, it’s best we should learn to ignore and overlook some things, people, incidents, affairs and matters.
It is not necessary that we show a reaction to everything. Step back and ask yourself if the matter is really worth responding or reacting to.
Here is a story as told by Dr. Wayne Dyer
“If I were to squeeze an orange as hard as I could, what would come out?” I asked.
He looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, “Juice, of course.”
“Do you think apple juice could come out of it?”
“No!” he laughed.
“What about grapefruit juice?”
“What would come out of it?”
“Orange juice, of course.”
“Why? Why when you squeeze an orange does orange juice come out?”
“Well, it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside.”
I nodded. “Let’s assume that this orange isn’t an orange, but it’s you. And someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, says something you don’t like, offends you. And out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, fear. Why? The answer, as our young friend has told us, is because that’s what’s inside.”
It’s one of the great lessons of life. What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you? If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. It doesn’t matter who does the squeezing—your mother, your brother, your children, your boss, the government. If someone says something about you that you don’t like, what comes out of you is what’s inside.
And what’s inside is up to you, it’s your choice.
When someone puts the pressure on you and out of you comes anything other than your best response, it’s because that’s what you’ve allowed to be inside.
அந்தப் பழைய காலுறை! (இஸ்லாமிய நற்சிந்தனை)
அவர் அறிஞர். செல்வந்தரும் கூட. தனக்கு மரணம் நெருங்குவதாக உணர்ந்தார். தன் மகனை அருகழைத்தார்.
மரண சாசனம் போல ஒன்றைச் சொன்னார்: “என் அருமை மகனே, விரைவில் நான் உங்கள் அனைவரையும் விட்டுப் பிரிந்து விடுவேன். என்னுடலைக் குளிப்பாட்டி சடலத்துணி சுற்றுவீர்கள். அப்போது என்னுடைய ஒரேயொரு வேண்டுகோளை நிறைவேற்றுவாயா?”
“என்னவென்று சொல்லுங்கள் தந்தையே!” என்றான் மகன்.
அறிஞர் கூறினார் : “என் சடலம் அதற்குரிய துணியால் சுற்றப்படும் போது, என்னுடைய பழைய காலுறைகளில் ஒன்றை என் கால்களில் அணிவித்துவிடு. இதுதான் என் எளிய கோரிக்கை”
ஊரில் மிகப் பெரும் செல்வந்தர் தன் தந்தை. ஆனால், என்ன இது விசித்திரமான கோரிக்கை என்று நினைத்துக் கொண்டாலும், எளிய ஒன்று தானே என்று மகனும் ஒப்புக் கொண்டான்.
அதற்கடுத்த சில நாள்களில் அந்த முதியவர், தன் சொத்துகளையும், மனைவி மக்களையும் விட்டுவிட்டு மாண்டுப் போனார். அவரை உலகிலிருந்து விடைகொடுத்து அனுப்ப உறவினர்களும் நண்பர்களும் குழுமிவிட்டனர். உடல் குளிப்பாட்டப்பட்டது. பிரேத ஆடை உடலில் சுற்றப்படும் நேரம் நெருங்கியது. அப்போது மகனுக்கு தந்தையின் வேண்டுகோள் நினைவுக்கு வந்தது. மெல்ல எழுந்து, குளிப்பாட்டியவரிடம் சென்று தந்தையின் ஒரு காலுறையைக் கொடுத்து “இதனை என் தந்தையின் கால்களில் அணிவியுங்கள்; இதுவே அவரின் இறுதி விருப்பமாகும்” என்று கூறினான்,
“முடியாது; முடியவே முடியாது” மறுத்தார் குளிப்பாட்டும் பணியாளர். “இல்லை, இது என் தந்தையின் ஆசை; நீங்கள் செய்துதான் ஆகவேண்டும்” என்று சொல்லிப் பார்த்தான் மகன். ஆனால் அவர் அசைந்து கொடுப்பதாக இல்லை. “இஸ்லாத்தில் இதற்கு இடமேயில்லை; எனவே, வாய்ப்பில்லை!” என்றார் உறுதியாக.
மகனோ மீண்டும் மீண்டும் கேட்டுப் பார்த்தான். அந்தப் பணியாளர் கடைசியாகச் சொன்னார். “நான் சொன்னது, சொன்னது தான். வேண்டுமானால், நீ மார்க்க அறிஞர்களை; தீர்ப்பளிப்பாளர்களைக் கேட்டுவிட்டு வா; நான் சொல்வதைத் தான் அவர்களும் சொல்வார்கள்”. அதன்படி அங்கு குழுமியிருந்தவர்களில் அறிஞர்களை, மார்க்க அறிஞர்களை அணுகிக் கேட்டபோது அவர்களும் அதையே சொன்னார்கள் “ஆமாம்! ஷரீஅத்தில் இதற்கு அனுமதி இல்லை தான்!”
இக் களேபரம் நடைபெற்றுக் கொண்டிருந்த சமயத்தில், வயது முதிர்ந்த ஒருவர், அந்த மகனை நெருங்கினார். “தம்பி, உன் தகப்பனார் அவரது சடலம் துணியிடும் வேளையில் உன்னிடம் சேர்ப்பிக்க வேண்டுமென்ற நிபந்தனையோடு ஒரு கடிதம் என்னிடம் தந்திருந்தார். அதை உன்னிடம் தரும் நேரம் இதுவென்று நினைக்கிறேன்” என்று கூறி ஒரு கடிதத்தை அவனிடம் கொடுத்தார்.
இறந்த அறிஞரின் நீண்டகால நண்பர் அவர். தனது தந்தையின் கடிதத்தை ஆவலுடன் வாங்கிப் படித்தான் மகன். அதில் பின்வருமாறு எழுதப்பட்டிருந்தது.
“என் மகனே! அனைத்து செல்வங்களையும் விட்டுவிட்டு இதோ நான் இறந்து விட்டேன். என் நிலைமையைப் பார்த்தாயா? என்னுடைய சொத்துக்களிலிருந்து ஒரே ஒரு பழைய காலுறையைக் கூட மேலதிகமாக என்னுடன் கொண்டு செல்ல முடியவில்லை; நாளை இந்த நிலை உனக்கும் வரலாம். இந்தப் பொருட்களும் செல்வங்களும் சொத்துகளும் இவ்வுலகிற்கு மட்டும் தான். ஆனால், இவற்றை, இந்தப் பொருட்களை நீ நேர்வழியில் ஈட்டி, நேர்வழியில் செலவழிப்பதன் மூலம் கிடைக்கிற அருள்வளம் இருக்கிறதல்லவா; அது, அந்த அருள்வளம் தான் மறு உலகிலும் உதவும். ஆகவே, இந்தச் செல்வங்களையும், சொத்துகளையும் இறைவழியில், மற்றவர்களின் வயிற்றுப் பசிக்கும், அறிவுப் பசிக்கும் உணவாகும் வகையில் செலவிடு. அப்படி செய்தால், இரு உலகிலும் ஆதாயம் பெற்றவனாக ஆவாய்!”
அந்த நிமிடம் வரை உள்ளத்தில் பெருகியிருந்த ஆணவமோ மமதையோ சடசடவென எரிந்து பொசுங்குவதைப் போன்ற உணர்வுடன் கண்களில் நீர் கோர்க்க, தந்தையின் சொற்களை உறுதிமொழி எடுத்துக் கொண்டான் மகன்.
In my youth I respected the world and life, I needed not anything but peace of heart;
And yet I changed despite myself and believed in Iktumi’s lies. He seemed to know all the truth, he promised to make me happy.
He made me ask Wakantanka for wealth, that I might have power; I was given poverty, that I might find my inner strength.
I asked for fame, so others would know me; I was given obscurity, that I might know myself.
I asked for a person to love that I might never be alone; I was given a life of a hermit, that I might learn to accept myself.
I asked for power, that I might achieve; I was given weakness, that I might learn to obey.
I asked for health, that I might lead a long life; I was given infirmity, that I might appreciate each minute.
I asked Mother Earth for strength, that I might have my way; I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for Her.
I asked to live happily, that I might enjoy life; I was given life, that I might live happily.
I received nothing I asked for, yet all my wishes came true. Despite myself and Iktumi, my dreams were fulfilled.
I am richly blessed more than I ever hoped, I thank you, Wakantanka, for what you’ve given me.
-Billy Mills , Oglala Lakota (1938-)
A husband is tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep and this does not let his wife fall asleep.
She asks him what’s wrong.
He responds, “I owe money to our neighbor, the loan is due tomorrow but I can’t pay it”.
She picks up the phone and calls their neighbor, “Sorry to bother you so late but my husband can’t pay that loan back tomorrow” and hangs up.
Then she turns to her husband, “There, I fixed it. You can go to sleep in peace now, let the neighbor stay awake tossing and turning in his bed”
The moral of the story is that you need to fight fire with fire: let your feelings be known.
You will either get a positive response and your life can become better; or you will get a definitive “No” and you can start the healing process.
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
Years ago, I was walking along the sea shore and I saw a little fish about three or four inches in size. But this little fish was in so much worry, flapping again and again, lying on the dry sand. I do not know whether it was a male fish or a female one. Let’s say it was a male fish, so that the fish could be addressed as ‘he’. So I looked in his eyes and he just looked in total confusion, frustration and misery. Somehow or other a wave had washed this little fish up and there he was, lying on the sand. The fish could not breathe properly. He was flapping and suffering.
Now I could have got a female fish and put next to him; would that be of any help? I could have got some mango lassi with some nice sanitized straw and put it next to him. I could have got him a diamond ring or a ruby crown. I could have offered him a BMW. Would anything of that make him happy?
Because he was out of his natural element, nothing could make him happy. So I tried to pick up that little fish and throw him back into the ocean. But he was so intensely worrying that every time I picked him up he just flapped so hard that he flapped right out of hand back into the sand. And I picked him again, but again he flapped out of my hand into the sand. At least 5 times I picked him up and he flapped out.
I was his well wisher trying to save his life but he could not recognize me, because he was just in such a state of trauma. Finally, with both my hands I cupped him and trapped him so he couldn’t get out; then I threw him as far as I could into the ocean.
Rabbi Isadore was a wise teacher. A student asked, “How is one to know the precise time when night
ends and day begins?”
One student volunteered, “It is when one can distinguish between a dog and a sheep in the far distance,
that is when day begins.”
Another said, “It is when you can tell the difference between a fig tree and a date tree, then night is fully
“No, it is neither of those things,” said the Rabbi. “It is when you can see your brother or sister in the face
of a stranger. Until then, night is still with us.”
A man approached the Blessed One and wanted to have all his philosophical questions answered before
he would practice. In response, the Buddha said, “It is as if a man had been wounded by a poisoned
arrow and when attended to by a physician were to say, ‘I will not allow you to remove this arrow until I
have learned the caste, the age, the occupation, the birthplace, and the motivation of the person who
wounded me.’ That man would die before having learned all this. In exactly the same way, anyone who
should say, ‘I will not follow the teaching of the Blessed One until the Blessed One has explained all the
multiform truths of the world’ – that person would die before the Buddha had explained all this.”
Source: The Teachings of the Buddha by Jack Kornfield
A Zen monk named Ichhi labored his whole life in the kitchen of the great monastery at Lake Hakkone.
He deemed himself a failed monk because he had been assigned the koan of “What is the sound of one
hand clapping?” since his earliest days in the congregation and had never been able to solve it. It was
now fifty-five years of seeming failure, and he was nearing the end of his lifetime.
But as he lay dying he suddenly realized that he cradled a great peace in his soul. Gone was the striving
for enlightenment, gone was the stridency of his loins, and gone was the haunting koan — for he had
found the stillness of no longer striving in this exquisite silence alone in the attic in the soft dark at the end
of his life.
It was only then, when there remained no more questions nor need for answers (or even the need for
breathing) that Ichhi heard at last the whooshing silence of one hand clapping
The great Buddhist saint Nagarjuna moved around naked except for a loincloth and, incongruously, a golden begging bowl gifted to him by the King, who was his disciple.
One night he was about to lie down to sleep among the ruins of an ancient monastery when he noticed a thief lurking behind one of the columns. “Here, take this,” said Nagarjuna, holding out the begging bowl. That way you won’t disturb me once I have fallen asleep.”
The thief eagerly grabbed the bowl and made off – only to return next morning with the bowl and a request. He said, “When you gave away this bowl so freely last night, you made me feel very poor. Teach me how to acquire the riches that make this kind of light-hearted detachment possible.”
There was a group of elderly gentlemen in Japan who would meet to exchange news and drink tea. One
of their diversions was to search for costly varieties of tea and create new blends that would delight the
When it was the turn of the oldest member of the group to entertain the others, he served tea with the
greatest ceremony, measuring out the leaves from a golden container. Everyone had the highest praise
for the tea and demanded to know by what particular combination he had arrived at this exquisite blend.
The old man smiled and said, “Gentlemen, the tea that you find so delightful is the one that is drunk by
the peasants on my farm. The finest things in life are neither costly nor hard to find.”
Socrates believed that the wise person would instinctively lead a frugal life.
He himself would not even wear shoes; yet he constantly fell under the spell of the marketplace and would go there often to look at all the wares on display.
When one of his friends asked why, Socrates said, “I love to go there and discover how many things I am
perfectly happy without.”
In ancient India there was a King called Janaka, who was also a sage. One day Janaka was taking a nap
on his flower-strewn bed with his servants fanning him and his soldiers standing guard outside his door.
As he dozed off, he had a dream in which a neighboring King defeated him in battle, took him prisoner,
and had him tortured. As soon as the torture began, Janaka woke with a start to find himself lying on his
flower-strewn bed with his servants fanning him and his soldiers on guard.
Once again he dozed off and had the same dream. And once again he woke up to find himself safe and
comfortable in his palace.
Now Janaka began to be disturbed by several thoughts: While he was asleep, the world of his dreams
had seemed so real. Now that he was awake, the world of the senses seemed real. Which of these two
worlds is the real one, he wanted to know.
None of the philosophers, scholars, and seers he consulted could give him an answer. And for many
years he searched in vain, till one day a man called Ashtavakra knocked at the door of the palace. Now,
Ashtavakra means “entirely deformed or crooked,” and he got that name because that is exactly what his
body had been from birth.
At first the King was not disposed to take this man seriously. “How can a misshapen man like you be the
carrier of a wisdom denied to my seers and scholars?” he asked.
“Right from my childhood, all avenues have been closed to me – so I avidly pursued the path of wisdom,”
was Ashtavakra’s reply.
“Speak, then,” said the King.
So this is what Ashtavakra said: “O King, neither the waking state nor the dream state is real. When you
are awake, the world of dreams does not exist and when you dream the world of the senses does not
exist. Therefore, neither is real.”
“If both the waking and the dream states are unreal, then what is real?” asked the King.
“There is a state beyond these two. Discover that. It alone is real.”
There was a person coming to a new village, relocating, and he was wondering if he would like it there, so he went to the zen master and asked: do you think I will like it in this village? Are the people nice?
The master asked back: How were the people on the village where you come from? “They were nasty and greedy, they were angry and lived for cheating and stealing,” said the newcomer.
Those are exactly the type of people we have in this village, said the master.
Another newcomer to the village visited the master and asked the same question, to which the master asked: How were the people in the village where you come from? “They were sweet and lived in harmony, they cared for one another and for the land, they respected each other and they were seekers of spirit,” he replied.
Those are exactly the type of people we have in this village, said the master.
A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: “Is there really a paradise and a hell?”
“Who are you?” inquired Hakuin. “I am a Samurai,” the warrior replied.
“You, a soldier!” exclaimed Hakuin. “What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar.” Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: “So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head.”
As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: “Here open the gates of hell!” At these words the Samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.
“Here open the gates of paradise,” said Hakuin.
The Taoists have a famous teaching about an empty boat that rams into your boat in the middle of a river. While you probably would not be angry at an empty boat, you might well become enraged if someone were at its helm.
The point of the story is that the parents who did not see you, the other kids who teased you as a child, the driver who aggressively tailgated you yesterday – are all in fact empty, rudderless boats. They were compulsively driven to act as they did by their own wounds, therefore they did not know what they were doing and had little control over it.
Just as an empty boat that rams into us is not targeting us, so too people who act unkindly are driven along by the unconscious force of their own wounding and pain.
Until we realize this, we will remain prisoners of our grievance, our past, and our victim identity, all of which keep us from opening to the more powerful currents of life and love that are always flowing through the present moment.
When Bankei held his seclusion-weeks of meditation, pupils from many parts of Japan came to attend. During one of these gatherings a pupil was caught stealing. The matter was reported to Bankei with the request that the culprit be expelled. Bankei ignored the case.
Later the pupil was caught in a similar act, and again Bankei disregarded the matter. This angered the other pupils, who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief, stating that otherwise they would leave in a body.
When Bankei had read the petition he called everyone before him. “You are wise brothers,” he told them. “You know what is right and what is not right. You may go somewhere else to study if you wish, but this poor brother does not even know right from wrong. Who will teach him if I do not? I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave.”
A torrent of tears cleansed the face of the brother who had stolen. All desire to steal had vanished.
An old American Muslim lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson.
Each morning Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading his Quran. His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could.
One day the grandson asked, “Grandpa! I try to read the Quran just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Qur’an do?” The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water.”
The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You’ll have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead.
The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try again. At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house.
The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Grandpa, it’s useless!” “So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.”
The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out.
“Son, that’s what happens when you read the Qur’an. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and out. That is the work of Allah in our lives.”
Muslims would encourage everyone to share this story, for Prophet Muhammad had said : “The one who guides to good would be rewarded equally”.
One day, Buddha was walking from one town to another with a few of his followers.
While they were traveling, they happened to pass by a lake. They stopped to rest there and Buddha asked one of his disciples to get him some water from the lake.
A disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake.
As a result, the water became very muddy. The disciple thought, “How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!”
So he came back and told Buddha, ”The water in the lake is very muddy. I don’t think it is suitable to drink.”
After a while, Buddha again asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water.
The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the mud had settled down and the water was clean so he collected some in a pot and brought it to Buddha.
Buddha looked at the water then looked up at the disciple and said, “See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be and the mud settled down on its own. It is also the same with your mind. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time and it will settle down on its own.”