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The alchemist picked up a book that someone in the caravan had brought. Leafing through the pages, he found a story about Narcissus.
The alchemist knew the legend of Narcissus, a youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned. When he fell, a flower was born called the Narcissus. But this was not how the author of the book ended the story. When Narcissus died, the author said that the goddess of the forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears.
“Why do you weep?” the goddess asked. “I weep for Narcissus,” the lake replied.
“Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus,” the goddess said, “for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand.
“But… was narcissus beautiful?” the lake asked.
One day, Zhuangzi and a friend were walking by the river.
“Look at the fish swimming about,” said Zhuangzi, “they are enjoying themselves.”
“You’re not a fish!” replied his friend, “ there's no way that you could truly know that they’re enjoying themselves.”
“You are not me.” replied Zhuangzi, “so how could you know that I do not know that the fish are enjoying themselves?”
"I am not you, to be sure, replied his friend. So, of course, I don't know about you. But you are not a fish, so the case is complete…..you do not know that the fish are happy.
Zhuangzi smiled….."Let's go back to the beginning. You said, How do you know the fish are happy? But you already knew that I know it is asking me this. I know it right here above this river.”
This parable comes to us from the book of Zhuangzi, one of the two foundational texts of Taoism that contains stories that...
Shortly after telling the sower and the seeds' parable, he came across a man possessed by demons and healed his illnesses. But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Baalzebul, the prince of demons, that this man drives out demons.”
Christ turned and called to them. When they came close, he stated with a parable, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Baalzebul, by whom do your people drive them out?
While this parable is Christian and serves to show the power of God, the central idea of unifying your kingdom has some great value in itself. Throughout our daily lives, many of us attempt to multitask far too often; we will go 100 miles an hour and try to do 100 different things sometimes because we believe we only have so much time in the day or gain...
An oldie but a goodie, the Parable of the Sower and the Seed tells us of our relationship to God's presence within, and what happens if we nurture it, or simply cast it away. It's always up to you!
Once upon a time, Jesus approached a town on his journey. Word had spread of his arrival, and soon a great crowd came together around him and people from this town and the next village. As they listened to his words, he said in a parable.
“Listen!... A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up since they had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them, yielding no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and...
The Parable of Wanting God tells the remarkable tale of a Hermit who is absolutely brutal - and uses this brutal-ness to inflict lessons of wisdom and enlightenment to all who meet him... Pray you do not have to, save for in this short cartoon ^_^
A hermit was meditating by a river when a young man interrupted him.
“Master, I wish to become your disciple!” said the young man.
“Hmmm, why?” The hermit asked.
“Well, like… you know… to find God and stuff.” The young man responded.
The hermit jumped up, grabbed the man by the scruff of the neck, and then dragged him into the river and plunged his head under the water.
After holding him there for half a minute, with him kicking and struggling to come back up, the hermit finally pulled him up out of the river. The man coughed up water and gasped to catch his breath. Then the hermit asked…
“Tell me… what did you want more than anything when...
A Taoist story tells of an older man who accidentally fell into the river rapids and was dragged down to the bottom of the river, entirely out of sight. Onlookers feared for his life and rushed down to the riverbank, trying to see him.
Miraculously, as they ran down a river bend, they came to a shallow section, and they found the older man walking out, completely unscathed.
The people all rushed to his side and asked him how he managed to survive.
“I became one with the water, instead of trying to force the water to do what I wanted it to. Plunging into the swirl, I came out with the swirl. I surrendered to the flow, which ebbed up and down naturally. This is how I survived.”
Naturally, we don’t recommend you jump in some rapids and take this literally...but this parable has some great insights if you know how to apply it. Often, spiritual people spend their lives swimming upstream, fighting a powerful current in their...
A young student approached his guru one day and said: "Master, you have spoken so much about karma, but I do not yet understand it. How can I truly learn?"
The guru smiled and gestured for the student to follow. The two walked silently to the edge of the village where workers were busily engaged in making bricks for a house...The two stood and watched the brickmakers' activity for some time, and the guru asked: "Now do you understand karma?"
"No, Master," the student replied. The guru paused and slowly nodded his head. He cleared his throat. "What are the workers doing?"
"Making bricks," the student responded.. "Very good. And what happens to the bricks once they are made?" Said the Guru
"They are put in a stack," the student said. “And then,”? The guru asked. “Well..they are used to build a house!” The student responded, getting more agitated because he could not see what a single brick had to do with karma. The exchange continued, elaborating on...
This is a Burmese teaching story about a tyrant whose armies have laid waste to the country. As he crosses the land, he comes to a stop at a small village and is informed by his generals that the local population has all run away into the hills; everyone, that is, except one monk who refuses to leave his monastery.
Enraged at such impudence, the Tyrant marches directly to the monastery to confront the monk. He kicks in the door and stomps up to the monk, who is meditating peacefully in the center of the hall.
“Don’t you know who I am?!” The Tyrant Growls. “I could take out my sword and cut you in two without blinking an eye!”
The monk, without moving, replies serenely. “Don’t you know who I am? I could sit here while you take out your sword and cut me in two, without even blinking an eye.”
When we have acceptance, we are no longer attached to this world's transitory things, even our physical survival. As Jesus advises in...
The Buddha tended to tell his disciples not to waste their time and energy in metaphysical speculation. Whenever he was asked a metaphysical question, he remained silent. Instead, he directed his disciples to more practical efforts.
One day, when he was questioned on the problem of the infinite vs the finite, the buddha said:
“Whether the world is finite or infinite, limited or unlimited, the problem of the liberation of your suffering remains the same. Suppose a man is struck by a poisoned arrow, and the doctor wants to take out the arrow immediately, but suppose this wounded man does not want the arrow removed until he knows who shot him, his age, his family, and why he was shot in the first place. What do you suppose would happen?
If he was to wait until all of these questions were answered, then he might surely die before coming to an understanding. Life is so short, it must not be spent in endless metaphysical speculation that does not bring us any closer to the...
Long ago, there was a small village on the edge of a river. The people there lived in harmony with nature; each other, and life were good. One day as a villager began his early morning stroll, he noticed that their once-vibrant river was looking slightly murkier than usual and contained some sludge and pollution resting on the banks.
The villager quickly went out of his way to clear the pollution away, seemingly restoring the flow. The next day the same villager noticed two lifeless fish in the river. He called for help, and both fish were scooped out from the waters. The following day debris started to build up, and the river's flow started to become constricted, cutting off water to the village. Naturally, the villagers organized themselves quickly, setting up watchtowers and training teams of swimmers and environmentalists who could resist the swift waters and dislodge the debris. Clean up squads were soon working 24 hours a day to keep up with the increasing pollution. But each...