Stories

I tell everyone a different story, that way nothing's ever boring.  Jane Siberry

The cracked pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole he carried across his neck. One pot had a crack in it, while the other 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 home.

 

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 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 apologise to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load 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 there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pots side? Thats because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, youve 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.

How many apples do you have?

A teacher teaching maths to 7-year-old Arnav asked him, ’’If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”

 

Within a few seconds, Arnav replied confidently, ’’Four!’’

 

The dismayed teacher was expecting him to say three. She was disappointed. Maybe the child did not listen properly, she thought. So she repeated, ’’Arnav, listen carefully. If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?’’

 

Arnav had seen the disappointment on his teacher's face. He calculated again on his fingers. But within him he was also searching for the answer that would make the teacher happy, not necessarily for the correct one.

 

This time hesitatingly he replied, ’’Four . . .’’

 

The disappointment stayed on the teacher's face. She remembered Arnav liked strawberries. She thought maybe he didn't like apples, and that's making him lose focus. This time, with an exaggerated excitement and twinkling in her eyes, she asked, ’’If I give you one strawberry and one strawberry and one strawberry, then how many will you have?’’

 

Seeing the teacher happy, young Arnav calculated on his fingers again. There was no pressure on him, but a little on the teacher. She wanted her new approach to succeed.

 

With a hesitating smile young Arnav enquired, ’’Three?’’

 

The teacher now had a victorious smile. Her approach had succeeded. She wanted to congratulate herself. However, one last thing remained. Once again she asked him, ’’Now if I give you one apple and one apple and one more apple how many will you have?’’

 

Promptly Arnav answered, ’’Four!’’

 

The teacher was aghast. ’’How Arnav, how?’’ she demanded in a little stern and irritated voice.

 

In a voice that was low and hesitating, young Arnav replied, ’’Because I already have one apple in my bag.’’

 

The lesson? When someone gives you an answer that's different to what you expect, don’t assume they're wrong.

For its own sake

A Zen Buddhist teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, ’’Why are you riding your bicycles?’’

 

The first student replied, ’’The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!’’ The teacher praised the student, saying, ’’You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do.’’

The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path." The teacher commended the student, "Your eyes are open and you see the world."

The third student replied, ’’When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo.’’ The teacher gave praise to the third student, ’’Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.’’

The fourth student answered, ’’Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings.’’ The teacher was pleased and said, ’’You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.’’

The fifth student replied, ’’I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.’’ The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, ’’I am your student.’’

 

Moving on

A Zen master and his student were walking by a river when they came upon a sex worker seeking to cross the river. The Zen master promptly picked her up and carried her over and then put her down. The master and student continued walking. 

 

A few hours on, the student was so agitated he finally had to ask, ’’Master, how could you touch and help that sex worker? That’s against what we believe in!’’ To which the Master replied, ’’I left her by the river. Why are you still carrying her?’’

 

Perfect responses


Q. In which battle did Napoleon die?  

A. His last battle

Q. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?  

A. At the bottom of the page

Q. River Ravi flows in which state?  

A. Liquid

Q. What is the main reason for divorce?  

A. Marriage

Q. What is the main reason for failure?  

A. Exams

Q. What can you never eat for breakfast?  

A. Lunch and dinner

Q. What looks like half an apple?  

A. The other half

Q. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?  

A. Wet 

Q. How can a person go eight days without sleeping?  

A. No problem, they sleep at night 

Q. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?  

A. You will never find an elephant that has only one hand 

Q. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in other hand, what would you have?  

A. Very large hands 

Q. If it took eight people ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four people to build it?

A. No time at all, the wall is already built

Q. How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?  

A. Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack

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