This too shall pass

This is a nice story about the impermanent nature of things in life. I first heard it during my first Vipassana Meditation retreat.

Here’s is the story by Nikhil Gangoli as found on the 1stholistic website:

oldman-with-ringA rich old man died leaving two sons. They decided to separate dividing all the properties between themselves – fifty fifty. After all the matters related to property were settled the two brothers came across a small packet carefully hidden by the father. The packet contained two rings – one was an expensive diamond ring and the other was an ordinary silver ring costing only a few rupees.

Seeing the diamond ring the elder brother developed greed and desired the ring for himself. He explained to the younger brother – This packet is obviously a family heirloom and not part of the joint family property. Our father evidently desired the diamond ring to be passed on from generation to generation and stay within the family. Being the elder brother I will take the diamond ring. You had better take the silver one.

The younger brother smiled and agreed.

The younger brother was curious as to why the father had preserved the silver ring, which had very little value. He took out the ring and examined it. One the ring was written the words – “This too will pass”. The younger brother said – “Oh this was the motto of my father – This too will pass. He replaced the ring on his finger.

Time passed. Both brothers went through the ups and downs of life. The elder brother used to get highly delighted when spring came and he was prosperous. He lost his balance and developed greed and attachment. When the good phase went away and winter approached he became highly anxious. He needed to medication and sleeping pills to be able to sleep. When that did not help he completely lost his balance. He needed visits to the psychiatrist and electric shock treatments. This was the brother with the diamond ring.

The younger brother when spring came, enjoyed it but remembered his father’s motto – This too will change. He did not get attached to his circumstances but enjoyed them while they lasted. When spring passed he said to himself – It was inevitably going to pass and now it has done so. So what? Similarly when winter approached and circumstances became bad he did not become agitated but remembered – This too will pass. Thus he was able to preserve his sense of balance through all the ups and downs of life and lived his life happily.

You may also like:

Where are the coins? How are they disappearing?

This is a story from my childhood, a rather funny story that I want to share with you:

street-fighter-arcadeBack when I was around 8 to 9 years old, I found a small amusement center where they had a few arcade games, and a couple billiard table.

These places were frequented by what my parents would call: “Thugs, impolite, and people with bad influence”. They did not want me to go to this place because as far as they know this place could be dangerous for a young schoolboy.

Of course, I was afraid too of bad influence but the arcade games are irresistible.

To prevent me from going, my parents will not give me money or they would ask me how I am spending my time and money.

In a sense, after school I should be back home and any other activity should be close by and my parents should know where I am at all time.

As a young kid, I had to find an excuse, a legitimate excuse to justify the time when I am able to sneak out, go to that place and play.

The other problem was that I needed money so I can go there and play!

One day, I was going through my dad’s drawer and I found a bag full of quarters. “Jackpot!”, I said to myself.

This bag had so many coins that no way my dad kept a count of them. I figured if I take a few each day, go play for one hour or so, then no one would notice.

What was my excuse regarding where I would be spending my time? I would tell my parents I have to go to the library and study with a friend. The library was just across the street from that arcade place, a perfect excuse. My friend too, wanted to play with me, so we both had good excuses.

Each time I would go with my school buddy, we would cover each other’s lies and backs. We would make sure no one saw us coming in or out from the arcade place. After all, in a small town, everybody knows everybody.

This charade went on for a while: I would steal a few coins, make excuses and go play Street Fighter, Contra and all those old arcade games that still gives me nostalgia when I think about them!

After a while, the bag of quarters eventually ran out. It took a while for my dad to notice, but when he did, he asked me: “Where did all the coins disappear?”

I was afraid but I had to tell the truth. My dad was not happy about it but he knew that if I had my own video game console then I won’t be spending money outside or go to that place at all.

Two weeks later, my dad returns home with a Nintendo NES System!

I stopped going to the Arcade games place and started playing at home. This started a new phase in my life where I become addicted to video games. I became so good at playing that my friends would lend me a game just so that they sit next to me and watch me play it from beginning to end in a matter of hours.

Continue reading

The king and the three ministers

king and ministerOnce upon a time, a king summoned his three ministers and asked each minister to take a bag, go to the palace’s garden and fill that bag with all kinds of delicious fruits.
He clearly told them not to ask anybody for help and not to rely on each other. Each one should fulfill this task by himself.
The first minister set about filling the bag with all the best fruits and vegetables. He wanted to please the king, so he made sure he chose carefully. By the end of the day, he had filled his bag with the best and delicious fruits he could find.

Continue reading

An encounter with an Amway / WWDB recruiter

amway-logoThe other day, I was in Starbucks, working on my laptop, until I said hello to the lady that just came in and sat next to my table and started chatting.

What follows is my story and experience from meeting with an Amway/World Wide Dream builders recruiter.

I will make efforts to be as objective as I can and share with you the short journey that unfolded thereafter. Continue reading

The story of the two water pots

This is yet another classical story that has been circulating around and I would like to share with you:

two-pots
A water bearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house. The cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it
spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.
“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer.
“What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house.
Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.
But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.
For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers
to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Moral of the story: Always be grateful even if you don’t see the good things in the bad things immediately. Do not fall in the “compare and despair” trap. Learn about yourself and your qualities.
flower separator
You might also like:

The young professor and the old layman

On board of a big ship a simple old man met a young professor and they started to have conversations along the journey. Every night the man came to the professor’s cabin, trying to learn something from the learned man.

On the first night, the professor asked: ‘Old man, do you know what Geology is?’
‘Oh, Professor Sir, I never went to school, I know nothing about Geology. Could you tell me what it is?’ replied the man.
‘Oh, poor old man, you don’t know what geology is. It’s the science of the earth. You’ve wasted a quarter of your life.’ said the professor.
The old man felt so sad, if the professor said that he wasted a quarter of his life than it must be true.

On the second night, the two men met again and the professor asked: ‘Old man, do you know what Oceanology is?’
‘Professor Sir, I am just a simple man, I don’t know that Oceanology is. What is that sir?’ replied the old man.
And the professor said: ‘Oh, poor old man, you don’t know what oceanology is. We are sailing and you don’t know the science of the sea. You’ve wasted half of your life.’ The old man felt so sad, so incredibly sad, he just found out that he wasted half of his life.

On the third night, still eager to learn, the old man came to the professor’s cabin and was asked: ‘Old man, do you know what Meteorology is?’
‘Professor Sir, you know I am just a simple man, I don’t know that Meteorology is.’ reply the old man.
‘Oh, poor old man, you don’t know what geology is; you also don’t know what oceanology is. And now you don’t know what meteorology is. It’s the science of the sky and the weather. You’ve wasted three quarter of your life,’ said the professor.
The old man felt so sad, so incredibly sad, he just found out that he wasted three quarter of his life.

On the fourth night, the old man ran into the professor and start asking: ‘Professor Sir, Professor Sir, do you know swimmology?’
‘Old man, I know a lot of things, but I’ve never heard of swimmology. What is that?’ replied the professor.
‘Do you know how to swim, Sir?’ Asked the old man.
‘To swim? I didn’t have time to learn how to swim; I was busy learning other things. I can’t swim,’ said the professor.
‘Oh poor professor, you’ve wasted all of your life. If you had known swimmology, you could have swim to the shore because the ship is sinking now.’ said the old man.

Origin: Dhamma 10 days discourse by S.N Goenka