2 Stories About Wisdom

Blossoms on a tree branch.

As ancient wisdom teaches us, if you change your mindset, you will change your attitude; if you change your attitude, you will change your habit; if you change your habit, you will change your fate. (Image: John Morgan via Flickr)

Good luck or back luck — it all depends on how you look at it

Wisdom can be as simple as changing your point of view. An old Zen master went on a trip and stayed overnight at an elderly woman’s place. The Zen master noticed the woman cried every day, and he wondered why. He finally asked: “Why do you cry all day long? Can you tell me what’s on your mind?” 

The old woman replied: “I have two daughters. The elder daughter married a cloth-shoe seller, and the younger one married an umbrella seller. When it is sunny, no one buys my younger daughter’s umbrellas, and when it is rainy, no one buys my elder daughter’s shoes. This is why I am always sad.”

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The Zen master said: “Now I understand. But you are wrong.” The old woman said: “There is nothing wrong with a mother worrying about her daughters. I know worrying does not change anything, but I cannot help it.” The Zen master said: “There is nothing wrong with your worries over your daughters. But why not be happy for them? When it is sunny, your elder daughter’s shoes will sell well, and when it is rainy, your younger daughter’s umbrellas will sell well. You should be happy for them every day. What is there to be sad about?”

The yin and yang of the Tao.
When it is sunny, your elder daughter’s shoes will sell well, and when it is rainy, your younger daughter’s umbrellas will sell well. (Image: Vchalup via Dreamstime)

The Zen master’s words made the old woman suddenly see the situation in a new light. From then on, whenever she thought of her daughters, no matter whether it was sunny or rainy, she always smiled. 

Change starts with your mind

As ancient wisdom teaches us, if you change your mindset, you will change your attitude; if you change your attitude, you will change your habit; if you change your habit, you will change your fate.

One day, while visiting a friend’s home, I noticed a plate on her door that read: “Let go of your troubles before entering the door; bring happiness with you when coming home.” 

After entering their house, I felt that the couple was very kind, and their two children were poised and polite. There was an atmosphere of peace, harmony, and warmth in their home.  

Naturally, I asked about the plate. The wife looked at her husband smilingly: “Please explain it.” The husband looked at the wife gently: “You can explain it better because it was your idea.” 

Words of wisdom:  'Let go of your troubles before entering the door; bring happiness with you when coming home.'
‘Let go of your troubles before entering the door; bring happiness with you when coming home.’ (Image: Akarawut Lohacharoenvanich via Dreamstime)

Finally, the wife slowly said: “One day, when I was on my way home after a difficult day, I saw a weary, dark face with furrowed brows and troubled eyes gazing back at me from the mirror in the elevator. I was frightened by myself. I started to think about how my children and husband would feel when they saw me like this. What would I feel if I saw a face like this? I thought of the silence of my kids at the dinner table, and the coldness of my husband.”

She paused briefly and smiled at her husband before continuing: “I came to a realization, and I decided from then on to do things differently. On the second day, I wrote the message on the plate and nailed it to the front door to remind myself about practicing this new rule. As it turned out, not only did it remind me, but the whole family was also reminded. The change it brought to our family was a miracle! In addition, not only did our family benefit, but the guests who visit our home also become joyful.”

Such wisdom from a wise and discerning woman!    

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