STORIES, FABLES, PARABLES back to the Soulfood Page

Welcome to my Water Bowl  --  from David Shaner Sensei


Grandmother's Basket -- a Tale from Germany

When Grandmother returns from Sunday service, her grand-daughter asks: "Grandma, what was the father preaching about in his sermon today?"
Grandmother shakes her head, "I can't remember, dear..." The girl, annoyed, returns "But then, why do you go to church at all when you don't remember what's said there!"
Grandmother smiles and empties her knitting basket. She hands it to the girl: "Please go and fetch me water!"
"In this basket, Grandma? Impossible! With all the gaps and cracks, it won't even hold a thimble full!"
Grandma, still smiling, says "Please!"
And the girl, though angry about this stupid old woman, goes and does as bidded. She returns, triumphantly: "I knew it, there won't stay a drop in it!"
Grandmother takes the basket and looks at it, scrutinizing: "But it is cleaner now, can't you see?"


The Cracked Pot -- a Chinese Fable

A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One pot had a crack in it, 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 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 to his house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect 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 2 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, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."
The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?

"That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day while we walk back, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

  Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them.


The Stone Cutter

Once upon a time there was a stone cutter. The stone cutter lived in a land where a life of privilege meant being powerful. Looking at his life he decided that he was unsatisfied with the way things were and so he set out to become the most powerful thing in the land.

Looking around his land he wondered to himself what is it to be powerful. Looking up he saw the Sun shining down on all the land. ""The Sun must be the most powerful thing that there is, for it shines down on all things, and all things grow from it's touch."" So he became the Sun.

Days later, as he shone his power down on the inhabitants of the land, there came a cloud which passed beneath him obstructing his brilliance. Frustrated he realized that the Sun was not the most powerful thing in the land, if a simple cloud could interrupt his greatness. So he became a cloud, in fact, he became the most powerful storm that the world had ever seen.

And so he blew his rain and lightning, and resounded with thunder all over the land, demonstrating that he was the most powerful. Until one day he came across a boulder.

Down and down he poured and his thunder roared, lightning flashed and filled the sky, striking the ground near the boulder. His winds blew and blew and blew, and yet, despite all his efforts, he could not budge the boulder. Frustrated again, he realized that the storm was not the most powerful thing in the land, rather it must be the boulder.
So he became the boulder.

For days he sat, unmovable, and impassive, demonstrating his power, until one day, a stone cutter came and chiseled him to bits.

Moral: Sometimes the most important thing to remember is that you have everything you need already, right inside of you. Power is an illusion.


 

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