Who knows what’s good or bad? This parable explores this contrast of ideas and perspectives. There is an old story of a Chinese farmer who accidentally left his gate open, and his horse ran off. His foolish neighbor came over to console the wise farmer, who simply replied with “Who knows what’s good or bad?”
The next day, the horse returned with a large band of other horses following her. The neighbor came over to congratulate him on his good fortune. The wise farmer just replied, “Who knows what’s good or bad?”
Then, the wise farmer’s son broke one of his legs trying to ride one of the new horses. The foolish neighbor visited them to console him again, with which the wise farmer once again replied with “Who knows what’s good or bad?”
When the army then passed through, looking for more people to add to their army, they passed over the son because of his broken leg. The neighbor came to congratulate him on being...
A man once visited the Buddha, looking for him to help solve his problems. He started to describe his different problems. After he asked for help on one of his issues, the Buddha said that he could not help with that problem.
The man was surprised that the Buddha could not help him, but carried on and asked for help with another problem. The Buddha replied again, saying he could not help him solve that issue either.
The man got impatient. He asked how it was possible that the Buddha is the most perfect, enlightened man, but he can’t even help others solve their problems? The Buddha said one will always have 83 problems in their life. Some will leave, and others will come up and he cannot help anyone with that.
The baffled man then asked, “What can you help me with then?” The Buddha said he could help him with his 84th problem. The man asked what that was, to which the Buddha replied with “That you want to solve your other 83 problems.”
This episode is a two-parter! The first one is very short and sweet. It starts with 2 monks who need to cross a great river to reach the village on the other side. As they begin, they see a woman struggling to get across the river by herself.
One of the monks swiftly picks her up and carries her across to assist in her journey. For monks, even being in the presence of a woman is forbidden, so this was a very courageous act. As the 2 monks continue their journey, finally the other monk bursts out “How could you do such a thing?! How could you ever touch a woman?!”
The monk laughs, telling the other monk “I put that woman down miles ago, and yet you are still carrying her.” How true indeed.
This parable teaches us not to hold too tightly to our thoughts and to practice seeing our thoughts as things too. We must be in a state of flowing if we wish to be mentally balanced.
Patchman goes on to tell another quick parable. It is the parable of the water pots. An...
This episode begins with a stonecutter. As he chips away at a rock, he sinks deeper into a feeling of dissatisfaction with himself and his position in life.
He walked through the town and passed the house of a very powerful merchant. Inside, there were many fine items and other important people all talking together. He became very envious and wished he could be just like the merchant. Eventually, he worked enough to become as powerful as the merchant.
Now he was envied by those who were less fortunate than him. Then, he saw a high official pass by, being carried in a fancy sedan chair and escorted by guards beating gongs. Everyone bowed before the official, and the man thought “I wish I could be a high official.” And then, he became one.
He was carried around in his sedan chair, feared and hated by the people who had to bow before him. One day, the sun was blazing hot and made him very sticky and uncomfortable in his chair. The man thought the sun was so powerful,...
Once there lived a small village of little creatures, along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the water swept over them all, young, old, rich and poor. They all clung to the rocks and shrubs at the bottom of the river, for this was all they knew.
They had all learned from birth that they must cling and hold onto something or else the current would sweep them into an unknown abyss. This resistance was their way of life.
Then one day, one of the creatures became tired of clinging. He said he would die of boredom if he continued to hold on forever. He trusted that he current would take him where he needed to be, even if he couldn’t see it.
The other creatures laughed and called him a fool. They said the waters would kill him much faster than boredom would, but the creature didn’t care. He trusted in the flow of the river.
When he first let go, he was initially thrown around the bottom of the river, hitting rocks and sticks. But as time went on, and he...
There once was a young archer, a champion of bows and arrows, with great technical skill. He could shoot an arrow directly hitting a bullseye, then shot another arrow that split the first one in half.
The young man was quite boastful about it as well. He demonstrated this bullseye after asking an old zen master, who was known for his archery skills, to challenge him. He thought he could win no problem.
The old master simply waved his hand, beckoning for the young man to follow him. Curious about the master's intent, the young man followed him. The master led him high up into the mountains.
He took him to a spot where two cliffs met and were connected by a very old and unstable log in between them. This log was surely unfit to stand on, yet the master carefully walked along with it.
He stood in the middle of it and drew out his bow. He aimed for a tree, far away on the other side of the cliff and hit it straight in the middle.
As he gracefully stepped off the log, he told the young...
This beautiful parable is an old Taoist story, told by Chuang Tzu.
The great Taoist master Chuang Tzu once had a vivid dream that he was a butterfly. He fluttered through the bushes and the trees, having a simple consciousness. He no longer had any awareness of his individuality as a human. All he knew was the life of a butterfly.
He flew around the gardens, experiencing fully the existence of a mere insect. Suddenly, he awoke and was taken out of his dream. He sat up and looked around. He thought to himself, “Was I a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly, dreaming that I am a man?”
Which one is it? Could it be both? This amazing parable explores the nature of reality itself. Are we merely dreaming of this reality together? Is our experience on earth one huge collective dream that we are all engaging with? Who’s to truly know?
This also relates to the process of death, something that may seem very scary when it’s not truly...
The Parable of the 2 dragons was a collaborative effort from several young animators who wished to try their hand at making a parable. This story takes on the classic tale of a Cherokee chief telling his grandson about life and has changed the representation of wolves into dragons for this story.
As the chief and his grandson sat around the fire, he told his grandson that there was a war going on inside him. There are 2 dragons that were in a constant battle. One of the dragons is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, and regret. He is greed, pity, guilt, resentment, and lies.
The other dragon is good. He is joy, peace, and love. He is humility, empathy, and compassion. He is the truth.
The chief told his grandson that this same battle is going on within him and every single person on earth as well. The young boy looked up to his grandfather curiously. He asked, “Which one will win?”
The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”
This is a classic parable that...
There once was an ancient Taoist master who was a great philosopher and strategist. He had a wide array of different skills, which made him sought after by a few rulers. They wanted to use him for his abilities to advance their own personal goals.
One of the rulers, King Wei sent his courtiers to find the Taoist master at his home and invite him to be the leader's chief counselor. Many people would find this job to be a blessing or an honor.
When they went to his home, they found him fishing by the river bank. The courtiers saw his living situation and thought he would surely jump at the opportunity for high status and many riches.
As they approached him and showed him the invitation he told them a story. Once upon a time, there was a sacred turtle that happily lived its life in the mud. It would roll around all day, enjoying its freedom in nature. But because it was considered a sacred turtle, it was captured by the king’s men and taken to the palace. There, they killed the...
There was once a poor man who led a donkey from one kingdom to another. Every day he needed to cross a river that was guarded by men from the kingdom he wished to enter.
The border guards suspected he was smuggling something, so they would always inspect him and his donkey thoroughly. They’d search through his pockets, the saddlebags on the donkey, but never found anything.
As time went on, they saw the man had much nicer clothing and had bought a larger house. They knew something must be up, and inspected him even more thoroughly. In the end, they didn’t find anything on him.
After 30 years of this, one of the border guards finally retired. One day as he was walking through the village, he saw the old man who would pass with his donkeys. He ran up to him and told him he was no longer a border guard and could not arrest the man. He pleaded to know, for his own peace of mind, what the man was smuggling all those years ago.
The man acquiesced and agreed to tell him now...