Wednesday, July 18, 2007

buddhist parable on possessions

Although this is a Buddhist parable on possession of things, it is still applicable to our modern day preoccupation with money.
Call me cold-hearted but I rarely believe folks who say, "I'm broke." (I do empathize with the internal war of these situations.) However, generally truth be told it could be much worse. You just have to look around a bit and you've got something much worse materializing. People prostitute themselves the most when it comes to money and getting the things we think we need.

Releasing the Cows
(Told by Master Thich Nhat Hanh)

One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by. The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by.

The farmer said, "Monks, I'm so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don't know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself.

The Buddha said, "My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction."

So the farmer thanked him and ran away, and the Buddha turned to his monks and said, "My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don't have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy.

"That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing (laughter). You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows."

Oh, and for more of these look here


Anonymous said...

something that I have said to only a privileged few is that my buddhist history has often prepared me more for my Christian walk than the chruch. But I get pretty scared to say that most of the time.

espíritu paz said...

I don't claim to be Buddhist in any sense, however, I do wish to honor "Christian ideals" in other cultures and religions. This is the heart of what Paul was after when he engaged the intellectuals at the Areopagus in Acts 17. After all God did create us all and left his fingerprints all over us. I'm glad about that because the truth others do carry--it's an amazing exchange when it rubs off on me. It would be a unlovely thing if I was the one that held all the answers and all that another could do was to be recreated like a blank slate under my administration. Under the H.S.'s administration, yes. Not mine. One pastor who worked amongst the Muslims actually said that Muslims have much to teach American evangelicals by way of oneanothering and working together and being obedient to one another, for it is a Godly value of their culture which American evangelical culture has not developed.

Roger said...

There is much the Buddha can teach us followers of Christ, and I think the world will be a much greater place when we realize that the divine truth can be found in many places.

chad said...

Funny how "christ" is in every comment for this wonderful Buddhist story. Obviously, people are not reading and understanding the story.

steven bergg said...

The person credited with passing this parable on, Tch Nhat Hahn has written a book about Christianity and Buddhism and all that they have in common. Though for me, there is one big difference. I do not consider Buddhism to be a religion.