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A merchant sent his son to learn the Secret of Happiness from the wisest of men.
The young man wandered through the desert for forty days until he reached a beautiful castle at the top of a mountain.
There lived the sage that the young man was looking for.
However, instead of finding a holy man, our hero entered a room and saw a great deal of activity; merchants coming and going, people chatting in the corners, a small orchestra playing sweet melodies, and there was a table laden with the most delectable dishes of that part of the world.
The wise man talked to everybody, and the young man had to wait for two hours until it was time for his audience.
With considerable patience, he listened attentively to the reason for the boy's visit, but told him that at that moment he did not have the time to explain to him the Secret of Happiness.
He suggested that the young man take a stroll around his palace and come back in two hours' time.
"However, I want to ask you a favor," he added, handing the boy a teaspoon, in which he poured two drops of oil.
"While you walk, carry this spoon and don't let the oil spill."
The young man began to climb up and down the palace staircases, always keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon.
At the end of two hours he returned to the presence of the wise man.
"So," asked the sage, "did you see the Persian tapestries hanging in my dining room? Did you see the garden that the Master of Gardeners took ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?"
Embarrassed, the young man confessed that he had seen nothing.
His only concern was not to spill the drops of oil that the wise man had entrusted to him.
"So, go back and see the wonders of my world," said the wise man.
"You can't trust a man if you don't know his house."
Now more at ease, the young man took the spoon and strolled again through the palace, this time paying attention to all the works of art that hung from the ceiling and walls.
He saw the gardens, the mountains all around the palace, the delicacy of the flowers, the taste with which each work of art was placed in its niche.
Returning to the sage, he reported in detail all that he had seen.
"But where are the two drops of oil that I entrusted to you?" asked the sage.
Looking down at the spoon, the young man realized that he had spilled the oil.
"Well, that is the only advice I have to give you," said the sage of sages.
"The Secret of Happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon."
Paulo Coelho Story from the Alchemist
Why do you call me "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is a like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.
Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage?
His father takes him into the forrest...blindfolded...and leaves him....alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night...and not take off the blindfold until the ray of sun shines through it. He is all by himself. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.
Once he survives the night...he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience. Each boy must come into his own manhood.
The boy was terrified...could hear all kinds of noise...Beasts were all around him. Maybe even some human would hurt him. The wind blew the grass and earth... and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically...never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could be a man.
Finally, after a horrific night...the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he saw his father...sitting on the stump next to him...at watch...the entire night.
We are never truly alone. Even when we do not know it, our family and friends are watching out for us...sitting on a stump beside us.
Keiji, a long-time Zen student, approached his master and said: “I don’t see how there can be any enlightenment that sets you free once and for all. I think we just get ever greater glimpses of Buddha-nature, the vastness that is our true Reality. It’s an ever-expanding process.” The master, looking penetratingly at Keiji, replied. “That may be what you think. But what is your experience, your experience right now?” Keiji looked momentarily confused. “My experience right now, Master?” “Yes. Do you know yourself as Keiji, having ever-expanding experiences of Buddha-nature? Or do you know yourself as Buddha-nature, having the experience of Keiji?”
A horse suddenly came galloping quickly down the road. It seemed as though the man had somewhere important to go.
Another man, who was standing alongside the road, shouted, "Where are you going?" and the man on the horse replied,
"I don't know! Ask the horse!"
A group of people are standing at a river bank and suddenly hear the cries of a baby. Shocked, they see an infant floating--drowning--in the water. One person immediately dives in to rescue the child. But as this is going on, yet another baby comes floating down the river, and then another! People continue to jump in to save the babies and then see that one person has started to walk away from the group still on shore. Accusingly they shout, "where are you going?" The response: "I'm going upstream to stop whoever's throwing babies into the river.
During a momentous battle, a Japanese general decided to attack even though his army was greatly outnumbered. He was confident they would win, but his men were filled with doubt. On the way to the battle, they stopped at a religious shrine. After praying with the men, the general took out a coin and said, “I shall now toss this coin. If it is heads, we shall win. If tails, we shall lose. Destiny will now reveal itself.”
He threw the coin into the air and all watched intently as it landed. It was heads. The soldiers were so overjoyed and filled with confidence that they vigorously attacked the enemy and were victorious. After the battle, a lieutenant remarked to the general, “No one can change destiny.”
“Quite right,” the general replied as he showed the lieutenant the coin, which had heads on both sides.
There once lived a king who announced to prize the artist who would paint the best painting depicting peace. Many great painters sent the king several of their best art pieces. One of the pictures among the various master pieces was of a calm lake perfectly mirroring peacefully towering snow-capped mountains. Overheard was a blue clear sky with fluffy clouds. The picture was perfect. Most of the people who viewed the pictures of peace from various artist thought that it was the best among all.
But when the king announced the winner, everyone was shocked. The picture which won the prize had a mountains too but it was rugged and bare. The sky looked very angry, there were lightning. This did not look peaceful at all. It looked like the artist has mistakenly submitted his painting depicting storm rather than peace. But if anyone looked closely at the painting, he could see a tiny bush growing in the cracks in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her next. In the midst of the rush of angry weather, the bird sat on her nest with peace.
The peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise or trouble. Peace means to be in the midst of all the chaos and still be calm in the heart. The real peace is the state of mind, not the state of the surroundings. The mother bird at her her calm, despite her chaotic surrounding indeed was the best representation for peace.