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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...
Long ago in ancient Japan, lived a devout Shinto monk. He lived a simple life but was often distracted in his prayers by the hustle and bustle of the city...he felt as if his neighbors and friends were polluting his soul. One day he decided to undergo a Harai, a purification ritual that would cleanse his body and mind….He set off on a long and dangerous journey to a mountain shrine, which took many days..but he was glad for the peace and solitude it gave him. After returning home, the peace he found was so great that he wanted to hold onto it for as long as possible, and so he continued to do the pilgrimage another 99 times. He would walk alone on his journey to the mountains, ignoring every distraction in his quest for balance.
Rain, storm, or shine; he made the long journey. Eventually, his devotion and practice began to reveal the world of the Kami. The man was able to see and understand the spirits and spiritual essence of all things, like the wind and the rocks...
One day a man decided to question the choices he had made in his life up to that point and thought to himself, “what is the origin of decision? Why do we decide things one way or another, and what determines that choice?” To discover this noble truth, he set off on a journey worldwide to find the answer to his question.
Like the prophets of the Abrahamic faiths, he began his travels in Jerusalem. Since it was often considered the center of the world and a meeting place of major modern religions, he deemed it a fitting place to start. On his way up the Via Dolorosa, however, he came across an elderly Asian man. The man resembled an old Taoist sage, the likes of which hadn’t been seen for a long time. The Sage sensed the young man’s gaze upon him and said, “For thousands of years my people have been making careful observations of the stars and planets and our universe as a whole”
The young man, impressed, nodded and began to ask, “Oh Great...
A holy man was having a conversation with God one day and said, ‘ God, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.’ God led the holy man to two doors.. He opened one of the doors, and the righteous man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. The table's center was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water.
The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished.. They were holding spoons with very long handles strapped to their arms, and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful. But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.
God said, ‘You have seen Hell.’ They went to the next room and opened the door. It was precisely the same as the first one. The large round table with the large pot of stew made...
There once lived a great warrior; though quite old, he could still defeat any challenger. His reputation extended far and wide throughout the land, and many students gathered to study under him.
One day an infamous young warrior arrived at the village. He was determined to be the first man to defeat the great master. Along with his strength and skill, he had the uncanny ability to spot and exploit an opponent's weakness.
He would wait for his opponent to make his first move, thus revealing a weakness, and then would strike with merciless force, at lightning speed.
No one had ever lasted in a match against him beyond the first move.
Much against his concerned students' advice, the old master gladly accepted the young warrior's challenge.
As the two squared off for battle, the young warrior began to hurl insults at the old master. He threw dirt and spit in his face, and for hours threw every manner of insult at his opponent known to humankind, but the old warrior stood there,...
A man comes to a master to ask how much man is independent and free. Is he free, or is there a limitation? Is there something like fate, kismet, destiny, a God who makes a limitation beyond which you cannot be free?
The mystic answered in his way – not logically but existentially. He said, “Stand up.”
The man must have felt this was a stupid kind of answer, “I am asking a simple question, and he is asking me to stand up.” But he said, “Let us see what happens.” He stood. And the mystic said, “Now, raise one of your legs.”
By this time, the man must have been thinking he had come to a madman; what has this to do with freedom, independence? But now that he has come. There must have been a crowd of disciples, and the mystic was so respected; not to follow him would be disrespectful, and there was no harm. So he lifted one of his legs from the earth, so one foot was in the air, and he was standing on one foot.
And then the...
A university profession went to see a zen master… While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about zen! The master poured his visitors' cup to the brim, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!” The professor blurted. The Zen master replied, “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
The man got the message, took a deep breath, and nodded. The master continued.
See not one thing as a thing, but all possibilities of what it may be. A cup is a cup in your mind, and To someone else, it could be a weapon; it could even be a hat. At this moment, it is a river, and now let us drink from the river of wisdom. He stopped pouring, and both of them picked up their tea.
“Uhh, what about the mess?” the...
The once was a great monastery high up in the mountains of Tibet.
One day, when the spiritual teacher and his disciples began their evening meditation, the cat who lived in the monastery started making noise.
So much noise that it completely distracted them. So the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice to meditate in peace.
Years later, when the teacher died, tying up the cat continued during their meditation sessions. And, when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up.
Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.
The Parable of the Ritual Cat is a story about the questioning of authority and rituals. Today, there are endless rituals, beliefs, and ideas about the world that extend back into views from ancient times. But how many of these are our own, and not someone...
The Prime Minister of the Tang Dynasty was a national hero for his success as both a statesman and military leader. But despite his fame, power, and wealth, he considered himself a humble and devout Buddhist. Often he visited his favorite Zen master to study under him, and they seemed to get along very well. The fact that he was prime minister apparently did not affect their relationship, which appeared to be simply one of a revered master and respectful student.
One day, during his usual visit, the Prime Minister asked the master, “Your Reverence, what is egotism according to Buddhism?” The master’s face turned red, and in a very condescending and insulting tone of voice, he shot back, “What kind of stupid question is that!?”
This unexpected response so shocked the Prime Minister that he became sullen and angry. The Zen master then smiled and said, “THIS, Your Excellency, is egotism.”
The Parable of the Ego is a lesson in managing our...
The parable of the sandcastles is the first episode in the Patch Parables series. This animated series explores different ancient parables and short stories to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.
This episode starts with a few children playing by a river. Each child is making their own sandcastles in which they all defend from each other. They were all made perfectly, making sure everyone knew who’s was who’s. Once they were built and complete, one of the children walked over to another sandcastle and kicked it over, destroying it to the ground.
The owner of the castle flew into a rage, attacking the child who kicked his castle to the ground. The child whose castle was ruined called out to the other children, telling them his castle has been spoiled.
They all ganged up to attack the poor child, beating him with sticks and stomping on him repeatedly. Then they continued as they had been previously doing. They told each other to keep away from their castle, it’s...