15.3.15

Is That So?



Is That So?
 
There was a monk who lived on the edge of a small town, much to the delight of the townspeople. Whenever he ventured into town to help someone, everyone came out of their homes to give him gifts from their gardens, calling out to him, "Oh, Teacher, we're so fortunate to have you living nearby! You are such a wonderful person! You do so much good, Teacher! Your presence is such a blessing!"
 
To all of this, the monk would always reply, "Is that so? Is that so?"
 
One day a young woman came to the monk's hut and said, "Oh, Teacher, I'm in terrible trouble. I'm pregnant and my family will disown me. The young man who I love so much has fled to another town because my family would certainly do him harm. I have nowhere else to turn and no one else to ask for help."
 
The monk replied that she could live in the back room and help around the house and she would then have the security of a home for her child.
 
Well, now when the monk went into town, he was reviled. "You dirty old man! Look how you have betrayed our trust and taken advantage of that young woman! How could we have ever believed in you? What shame you have brought on us!" And they hurled rotten fruit at him along with their insults.
 
To all of this, the monk would always reply, "Is that so? Is that so?"
 
After a while, the father of the child returned to the town and presented himself before the family, saying, "I have spent the past two years learning a trade in a neighboring town and now I am able to provide a home for your daughter and grandchild." The family was overjoyed. Although it wasn't the best of situations, it was so much better than they had feared that they welcomed their daughter and grandchild back into the family with open arms.
 
How different it was when the monk came into town then. The townspeople lined the road every time, presenting him with gifts of food and calling out, "Oh, Teacher, how could we have ever doubted you? Look at the wonderful thing you have done! We are so ashamed! Please forgive us! You are such a wise and compassionate person! We are so fortunate to have you living nearby!"
 
To all of this, the monk would always reply, "Is that so? Is that so?"


While there is no single interpretation that would do justice to this story, it certainly speaks to the equanimity of the monk. Against the backdrop of praise and condemnation, he holds himself apart from "what everyone thinks" even as he acts with the most compassionate and involved sense of responsibility. Whether in public or the workplace or in the privacy of home life, people will misread our intentions and jump to conclusions that cast us in a bad light. The most straight-forward lesson of this story, then, is that by continuing on the most ethical course of action our true intents become known. This, however, can be a short-lived vindication as the same thing may happen all over again: We ought not be pulled off-center by shallow praise any more than by shallow criticism.

The monk in this story serves as a model by maintaining emotional detachment from the transient opinions of others while never withdrawing from personal involvement with others' real needs.

Other lessons can be derived from this story by looking at the events from the perspective of each of the other characters (the parents, the young man, the young woman, the townspeople) and considering how simply each of them could have maintained their own equanimity in the face of circumstances.
                                                                                                                     [source: The Happiness Institute]


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Da Da has wicked sense of humor. Confucius say; "when you care about what other people think, they hold you prisoner". Take no prisoners!

A Man Called Da-da said...

Yeah, well Da-da told this same monk story to his young charges, 7 + 9YO Bronko + Nagurski, and these miscreants walked around saying, "Is that so?" to everything Da-da said for about a week.

Confucius also said: "Give advice and expect a brick to the head." Or something like that.

Anonymous said...

Is that so? Karma thinks your charges are sarcastic, been following Lynn from Psychic Focus, very intriguing website.
Thanks for keeping humor to lighten the topics.

A Man Called Da-da said...

Da-da's thanks back. While "HUMOR" is ostensibly the only functional arrow left in Da-da's clunky quiver, it's also often the only way to existentially cope when dealing with so many weird and potentially disturbing topics. Half the time, Da-da feels like Hawkeye from M.A.S.H.!

Anonymous said...

Karma feels like Radar from MASH, knows things before they happen. You can't unknow what you know.

Anonymous said...

Dada, I worry about my kids' future because of how society is rapidly changing.

A Man Called Da-da said...

It's perfectly normal and understandable to be worried, esp as a parent; Da-da NEVER used to worry or be fearful until he had kids. It's an old part of ourselves, and was actually designed to cause fear. The good news is that things, while apparently chaotic and seemingly non-stop-dangerous and ominous... really aren't. Things are actually getting better behind the scenes (truly amazing things are happening), not that the MSM would tell you. The MSM and their handlers push the FEAR button on us so many times a day that people are starting to ignore it; that which is repetitive is noise. Da-da stopped watching TV and listening to the radio long ago, and without those fear conduits active in your life, things start to calm down and become really nice. Delightful, in fact.

As for kids and society... it should be noted that our "kids" aren't technically kids at all: they popped out fully capable spirits who are not only indestructible, but also fully *responsible* for their own life paths. You can only do so much as a parent. The rest is up to them. Luckily, we can just now see the head of a Golden Age crowning, peeking at us through the... ok, you get the idea.

Frilly talk aside, note that Da-da restricts technology with young children. He doesn't allow his kids to play video games. Or use cellphones. Or stare at small screens. Or use tablets. We don't have any. Instead, we read. Sketch. Go for walks. And we talk about the world. (It should be noted that Da-da lives on a highly unusual piece of property, so we talk about spirit things A LOT. We have to.) Doing things like this ameliorates fear, and prepares kids for being full-fledged good people, in Da-da's humble opinion. He could be wrong, but the thing in the closet says that he's not.

Most importantly, show love. All the time. Be in love. Paint LOVE on the side of your minivan. Wear LOVE pants. Ok, skip the love pants. But love will see you through most anything.

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