Wednesday, June 30, 2010

~ The Sage ~

The Sage .......

There was a famous sage called, Sadat, who lived high up in the Himalayan Mountains, far away from humanity. He choose a simple life and spent most of his time meditating. People from all over the globe would travel for days on end to meet him and ask for his advice.

Once such a group of people approached sage Sadat with their problems, but they were unruly and fought amongst each other, because all of them wanted to speak first. Sage Sadat, a peaceful man, watched the commotion and finally said out loud, "Silence!"

The people were awe-struck and immediately kept quiet. Then sage Sadat said, "Sit down in a circle on the ground and await my return!"

He went into his little cottage and soon returned with some sheets of paper, pens, and a small cane basket. He passed out the paper and pens, and placed the basket in the middle of the circle. Then he told the people to write down the one most important problem they were troubled by and put it in the basket.

When everyone had finished, the sage shook the papers in the basket so as to mix them and calmly said, "Now pass the basket around and pick up which ever paper is on top. Read the problem and if you choose, make it your own or take back your own problem."

One by one the people picked out a paper and read each other's problems and were horrified. They came to the conclusion that their worst problem no matter how bad, was better than the next person's problem. Within minutes each of them exchanged their problems, and when they finally had their original paper in hand they felt content. They thanked the sage Sadat and went on their way.

Note: All of us have problems which we complain about and think are great, until we realize that someone else's are greater! Right?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

~ The Story Of The Talkative Woodcutter ~

The Story Of The Talkative Woodcutter ...

In a far away land lived a certain woodcutter. Every day he chopped wood in a large forest outside his village. At the end of the day he carried the wood back to sell in the village. After twenty years of chopping wood he grew tired of it and one day shouted out loud for all the trees to hear him, "I don't want to do this anymore! I will cut one last load of firewood and then look for the bones of our father Adam, who brought us all this pain and trouble upon us, and burn them up."

At that instant, God sent an angel to him in the form of a woman. The angel asked him what he was doing, and the woodcutter replied, " I am searching for the bones of Adam. I want to burn them, because of all the pain and trouble he brought us."

The angel said, "What if someone were to free you from all this work and weariness?"

Delighted, the woodcutter replied, "I would thank them a thousand times!"

So the angel said, "Then I will transport you to a garden where you will never have to work, but you must promise that no matter what you see there, you will not utter a single word."

The woodcutter agreed, and the angel clapped her hands together. In a flash, the woodcutter found himself in a beautiful garden filled with tall trees, clear streams, and lots of delicious fruit.

After a little while, the woodcutter saw a man cutting wood. He was cutting the live branches from the trees and leaving the dead ones. The woodcutter thought about his promise to the angel, but as he watched the man work, he could not restrain himself from saying, "Mister, don't you know that you should cut the dead branches and leave the live ones?"

The man paused and said, "Have you been here long?"

The next instant the woodcutter was back near his village with his axe, and he began to wail and beat his breast in anguish. Once again the angel appeared before him and asked what had happened. When the woodcutter told her, the angel said, "Didn't I tell you not to speak?"

"I promise I will not say a word if you let me go back," said the woodcutter. So the angel clapped her hands and the woodcutter was back in the heavenly garden.

After a little while, the woodcutter saw a gazelle running through the garden and an old man hobbling after it. Without thinking, the woodcutter shouted, "That gazelle is bounding here and there, old man. When will you give up and stop hobbling after it?"

The old man stopped and said, "Have you been here long?"

The next instant, the woodcutter was back at his woodpile in the thicket outside the village. Again he wailed and moaned, and once more the angel returned.

"Please have pity on me," said the woodcutter, "If you give me one more chance, may I be cursed if I speak again." The angel agreed, and in an instant the woodcutter was back in the heavenly garden.

Aware of his mistakes, the woodcutter remained silent for three days, but then he saw four men struggling to move the millstone of an oil press. They would all lift the millstone on one side and it would topple over onto the other side. Then they would move to the other side and repeat the same process. The woodcutter thought to himself, "Should I tell them or not? These men are senseless. I have to tell them."

So the woodcutter shouted, "Men, if you want to carry that millstone, you should lift it from all sides!"

One of the men turned to the woodcutter and said, "Have you been here long?" And the next instant the woodcutter was back at his woodpile.

The woodcutter wailed and wailed, and once more the angel appeared in front of him. The woodcutter begged and pleaded to return to the heavenly garden, but the angel said, "Your father Adam only sinned once. You have committed sin upon sin upon sin, so your place shall be here among the firewood until the end of your days."

Note: The woodcutter complained about his work and placed the blame on Adam (God's first human creation), but when he was given the opportunity to live a better life, he was made to realize how easy it is to sin. I think there are lots of morals in this tale from Palestine.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

~ Trust ~

Trust ........

"..It is mistrust that misleads; sincerity always leads straight to the goal..."

With regard to trusting people, a person may think, 'Is it right to believe in anything a person says? Is it right to trust everybody? There are many people who are not worthy of trust; shall we then trust everybody in order to develop our trust?' The answer is yes. Perhaps we will have failures, but we will only trust another person when we trust ourselves, when we have faith in ourselves then we will have faith in another. Without faith in ourselves we can never have faith in another; to have faith in another is to have faith in ourselves. It does not matter if once or twice we are disappointed, but if we are afraid of being disappointed even once in our lives, perhaps we will doubt all through life, and so there will never come a time when we will be able to trust anybody, even ourselves.
There are many things that can develop our trust. Sometimes an unworthy person can become worthy of trust.

There is a story of a man who was traveling with a caravan through Arabia. Among the travelers were some who had money with them for their expenses. They came to a place where it was said that robbers were likely to be and that everybody should take care of his own purse as many caravans had been robbed in that area. This young man also had some money, but he thought to himself, 'I have no place to keep my money. I will find some man with whom I can leave it. To whom can I give it for safety?' He was wondering if there could be any village or habitation, but he could see only a tent some distance away from where the caravan had come to a halt. So he went and found a man sitting smoking his pipe in the tent. He went up to him and said, 'I do not know you, sir, but I have heard there are robbers here and that many caravans have been robbed, and I am a poor man. I thought I should protect my money, if I could only find someone to whom I could trust it, having found this tent, I feel I should entrust it to you. He left the purse, and returned to the caravan. When he arrived he found that the caravan had been robbed, and all had lost their money. He was very glad he had escaped. They were all moaning and lamenting about their losses. He thought that he at any rate was safe. Then they described the robbers, saying how many of them had come, how many had been there.

He returned to the tent to fetch his money again. He found the same man smoking there, but he was surrounded by many men, for he proved to be the chief of the robbers. The others were all sitting there, fighting and disputing what share each should take, and the chief was helping them to divide their spoil. So the young man was afraid to go nearer; and at the same time could not help thinking how foolish he was not to have kept his money, for while he was bringing it the robbers had come, and so he would have escaped anyway. The others had lost everything, but he had fooled himself. While he was thinking this, and was about to turn away, the chief called out for him to be fetched. He approached the chief trembling, because he believed that now even his life was in danger.

The chief said, 'Why did you come here, why are you turning back?' The young man asked, 'Are you not the head of the robbers? Then why should I not wish to go? What use can it be to come?' The chief answered, 'Man, I received your money to keep; I did not rob you of it. You trusted me. The money is therefore in my trust. Even if I am a robber, I am not dishonest. I gain by robbery, not by breaking trust. You trusted me with your money, and your money is safe. Here it is for you to take back again.' So the young man was delighted, reflecting what a good thing trust is, in as much as one may have faith even in a robber, for he had proved himself trustworthy.

We can see this in our everyday life. A servant, a helper, an assistant, a co-worker, a partner, can be made either trustful or distrustful, trustworthy or unworthy of trust; this we do ourselves by our own faith. How true it is that when faith is beginning to fail, when doubts begin to come, the loss of faith goes on until a person begins to doubt his nearest and dearest friends. Husband can doubt wife; wife can doubt husband, brother can doubt sister; parents can doubt children. One can doubt one's nearest friend, and in the end one doubts oneself. That is the utmost limit; from then on life can be nothing less than torture.