Thursday, May 01, 2008

I Need to Learn More from Children's Books

We borrowed the wonderfully illustrated book, Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth from the library recently. It has a thoughtful panda who tells stories about mindfulness. According to Wikipedia, Zen Buddhism emphasizes emphasis on mindful acceptance of the present moment, spontaneous action, and letting go of self-conscious and judgmental thinking. I thought I was relatively zen-like is most areas until I hit this one story. Here I paraphrase from memory:

A young monk and an older monk were walking along and they met a woman who was complaining that she couldn't cross a puddle. She was extremely rude to her servants who were busy holding her bags. The young monk ignored her and walked by. The older monk picked her up, carried her across the puddle and set her down. The woman didn't even thank him. The two monks walked for several more hours, while the young monk seethed about this rude woman. Finally he asked the older monk, "Why did you help that woman who was so rude that she didn't even thank you?"

The older monk replied, "I put her down hours ago, why are you still carrying her?"

Oh man, I am terrible about holding grudges! Just see these posts. One of my worst traits. Like the title says, I need to learn more from children's books.


Bigqueue said...

Nice post! Very good lesson that we can all benefit from too.

I think that Buddhists seem to get it right most of the time too.

Thanks.....your post has saved me from buying the book too! (Lessons learned on a budget :-)

Anonymous said...

I bought this book because of the beautiful illustrations, but I also have much to learn from the story.