3 Stories About Enlightenment

Clouds over the mountains.

A young girl about 10 years old sitting in the corner asked with red eyes: 'Boss, what about Heaven? How many days?' (Image: via Pixabay)

Enlightenment manifests in many different forms and in many different ways.

3 stories about enlightenment

1. Let it go

There was an old blacksmith who made his living by selling iron pans, kitchen knives, and scissors. Whenever people passed by, they would see him lying on a bamboo chair with a radio in his hand and a Yixing teapot beside him.

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One day, an antiquities merchant traveled by the blacksmith shop, and saw the teapot. He immediately recognized that it was made by a famous pot master. He negotiated with the blacksmith for 100,000 yuan (about $14,800) to buy it.

The blacksmith was shocked at first, and then he refused because the teapot was left by his grandfather.
After the merchant left, the old blacksmith couldn’t sleep. He stared at the teapot because he had never dreamed that it was an antique. He began to worry about whether the teapot might be lost.

Teapot, cups, and a serving dish.
“He stared at the teapot because he had never dreamed that it was an antique.” (Image: Rocksee via Flickr)

A couple of days later the merchant came again. This time the price was 200,000 Yuan cash upfront. When neighbors heard the news, they all came to the blacksmith’s house and wanted to see what the expensive teapot was like. Because there were too many people, a child accidentally hit it and broke the teapot.

The child’s parents were shocked and hurried to make apologies, saying that they couldn’t afford such a valuable thing even if they went bankrupt. However, the old man was not angry and said with a long sigh: “Forget it, I haven’t been at ease since the day I knew this teapot was valuable. Now I’m at ease again.”

2. How long will it take to get to heaven?

Artist's rendering of a man walking up a staircase into a bright light with clouds all around.
“The ticket to that place is very expensive.” (Image: Photojogtom via Dreamstime)

It was a cold morning on a regular weekend. My mother didn’t make breakfast. I went to a restaurant and ordered five kimchi dumplings and a hot and sour soup. At this time, the crowd dissipated. I was the only customer left. The boss threw the dumplings into boiling water and chatted with a few female employees who were making dumplings.

The boss said: “You have to give me a vacation schedule.”

“Can we take consecutive days of vacation?” one employee asked.

“Yes,” the boss replied.

“How long can we have?” the employee asked.

“Restaurants focus on service. Therefore, we need a certain amount of manpower to maintain the service level. Here is the deal. The further away the family lives, the longer the vacation time. The person who lives in Kaohsiung can have one day off on New Year’s Eve,” the boss replied.

“Boss, I live in Taichung. How many days?”

“Two days.”

“I live in Taipei.”

“My home is in Yilan.”

A young girl about 10 years old sitting in the corner asked with red eyes: “Boss, what about Heaven? How many days?”

The employees fell silent. Unable to answer the little girl who came there to work and study, the boss asked her why she asked that.

“My father and mother were in an accident with a car as they rode bikes to work half a year ago. Grandma said they went to Heaven.” After listening to the little girl, the boss walked over to her and patted her shoulder.

The boss said: “The ticket to that place is very expensive. You must study hard and save money so that you can afford such a ticket in the future. This coming New Year, if you have nothing to do, you can come to make dumplings. I will pay you 10 days’ salary for one day’s work.” After hearing this, the little girl blinked her eyes and nodded.

3. Great wisdom

Former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson made himself look silly when he was a child and many people in the town liked to make fun of him. One day, one of his classmates held a dollar bill and a five-cent piece and asked Wilson which he would choose. Wilson answered without thinking: “I want the 5 cents.” His companions laughed at him: “Ha-ha, he wants 5 cents instead of a dollar.” They spread jokes everywhere about him.

Dollar symbol and stack of coins in concept of saving for retirement.
“The joke spread throughout the school.” (Image: Tanu2534 via Dreamstime)

Many people didn’t believe that Wilson was so stupid, and they all went to ask him the same question about money. The answer was always the same. Every time Wilson replied: “I want the 5 cents.” The joke spread throughout the school, and every day someone fooled him the same way and left satisfied.

Finally, his teacher heard about it and asked Wilson: “Can’t you tell the difference between a dollar and 5 cents?”
Wilson replied: “Of course, I can. But if I ask for $1, no one will ask again and then I won’t make five cents.”

The teacher realized suddenly after hearing this that Wilson just didn’t want to put his mind on petty cleverness for a small profit and pretended to be confused. Later, he became the President of the United States.

Translated by Patty Zhang

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