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1. AN EMPTY POT:
A CEO of a company is going to retire. He decided to appoint one of the managers within the organization as the new CEO. He invited all the managers to a meeting, and gave a seed to each of them, and said: “Sow the seed and bring me the plant. After looking at the plants, I will decide who should be the next CEO.”
After a few days, all of them brought their plants, except one. The ones that brought the plants looked down upon the other. The current CEO announced that the one who did not bring any plant but the empty pot is the next CEO. Everyone there was surprised. Then the CEO said that he gave bad seeds to all of you. “But, he is the only who is honest in bringing the empty pot. Whereas you all have bought seeds elsewhere and sow the seeds.”
The incumbent CEO said that his wife told him to take the empty pot.
2. A FOREST:
Once upon a time, there was a kingdom. The rule in the kingdom is that anyone can be a king, but only for 9 years. After 9 years, the king will be taken over a river and will be left in an island, which is full of wild and cruel animals.
One after another, many people became kings. After 9 years of rule, each of them was taken over the river and was left in the island. Each of them wept to the boatman, expressing how much they are going to miss their family and comforts of the palace.
After many years, a king is being taken across the river. The king was remarkably calm and appeared peaceful. Looking around, he was enjoying the beauty of the surroundings. The boatman was utterly surprised. After prolonged hesitation, the boatman finally asked the king:
“Maharaja! I have taken so many kings on this river to the island. All of them were visibly sad and had endlessly wept. But, you are the first one, who shows no worry and shed no tears. On the contrary, you seem to be filled with heart-full of joy and happiness. Are you not afraid of the cruel animals you are going to face in the island?"
The king then replied: “I ruled the kingdom with honesty and took care of the needs of my people with love and understanding. Also, I had already laid out a plan for my life after my rule ends. As I know that the island I will be taken into is full of cruel animals, first I had sent a contingent of soldiers, who had killed them. Then I had sent architects, who had laid out the design for a hermitage, gardens, water falls, and landscapes. Then I had sent gardeners, who had developed and nurtured beautiful gardens, and also planted trees that will produce delicious fruits. Finally, I had sent artisans, who had built a hermitage and other facilities, and raised exotic birds and animals such as parrots, peacocks, deer, rabbits, etc.”
The king paused, although the boatman was listening with great amusement, and then resumed, rather nonchalantly. He said that he has no regrets of not being king any more as he has performed his duties diligently towards his people, and his life is going to be the way he planned it.
3. DANCING AND ENLIGHTENMENT:
Two disciples, an elderly man and a young boy, were sitting in mediation under a tree. Seeing their teacher coming towards them, the elderly man asked the teacher:
“Master! I have been doing meditation for so many years. When will I get enlightenment?”
Showing the middle three fingers of his right hand, the master replied: It will take three life times for you.
Hearing that reply from his master, the elderly man stood-up and said that he does not want to waste his life any more doing meditation for enlightenment and walked out from there.
Turning towards the young boy, the master pointed to the tree (under which the boy was sitting) and said it will take for you to be enlightened as many life times as the number of leaves on this tree.
The boy suddenly stood-up and started dancing joyfully.
The master was surprised and asked the boy: "I thought you would also leave meditation and run away. Why are you dancing joyfully, instead? "
The boy replied: "Master! I thought you would say I will never get enlightened. But you said that I will get enlightened after some many life times, if I continue to meditate from now on. Because it is certain that I will get enlightened in some life time, I feel happy."
Then the master told the boy that he is already enlightened.
(Source: "Stumbling into Infinity" by Michael Fischman. Michael mentioned in the book that he had heard this story from a spiritual guru - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living Foundation, in India).
4. TO ACCEPT THE GOLDEN CROWN OR NOT?
One day, Buddha and one of his disciples were sitting under a tree. A villager approached them, and started abusing Buddha for preaching something different from his beliefs. Buddha was just looking at that man. The disciple was losing patience and asked Buddha for permission to thrash that man. Buddha quietly warned the disciple to keep quiet.
After a while the villager left the scene. Then the disciple told Buddha that if we silently listen the people such as that villager, from tomorrow more people would abuse us; if we teach lesson to one man, then people will be careful before abusing us.
Buddha said to his disciple: Suppose I have a golden crown, which is gifted to you. And you have accepted the gift. To whom the crown belongs to?
The disciple replied that the crown would belong to him once he had accepted it.
Buddha: "If you refuse to accept the gift, to whom the crown belongs to?"
The disciple: "If I do not accept the gift, the crown will remain be with you, therefore, it belongs to you."
Buddha then summarized that the villager tried to gift me some of his words, but I refuse to accept his "gift" of words. When I do not accept the "gift", the words will remain with him. When I do not accept the words, I do not have to respond to them. So, what I want to do is my choice, even when his words are provocative. That's how I want to make a right choice even at the wrong time.