Inspiration: Folk Tales & Stories

Sharing Sutras

Sharing Sutras

A farmer requested a Tendai priest to recite sutras for his wife, who had died. After the recitation was over the farmer asked: “Do you think my wife will gain merit from this?” “Not only your wife, but all sentient beings will benefit from the recitation of sutras,”...

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Lord Krishna and the Two Kings

Lord Krishna and the Two Kings

It is told in India that Lord Krishna wished to see if the kings of his land were wise. So he called first a king named Duryodana. Duryodana was known as a cruel man and the people in his kingdom feared him. Lord Krishna told Duryodana that he was to take a journey...

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The Tortoise and the Wisdom of the World

The Tortoise and the Wisdom of the World

A Nigerian Folk Tale One day, Ijapa the tortoise became determined to make sure that he was the wisest creature in the whole universe. He did not want any other creature challenging his superior wisdom, so he decided to gather all the wisdom in the world for himself....

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The Lion and the Mouse

The Lion and the Mouse

A mouse woke up the big lion. As the lion was about to eat him, the mouse protested: “Please forgive me and let me go, and I may some day help you.” The lion agreed to this, although he laughed at the idea that a little mouse could help him. Now one day the lion was...

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Back to Front

Back to Front

‘Reasonable people always see things the same way,’ said the Khan of Samarkand to Nasrudin one day. ‘That is just the trouble with “reasonable” people,’ said Nasrudin; ‘they include at least some people who always see only one thing out of a potential two...

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The North Wind and the Sun

The North Wind and the Sun

The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger, when a traveler came along wrapped in a warm cloak. They agreed that the one who first succeeded in making the traveler take his cloak off should be considered stronger than the other. Then the North...

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Blind Men and the Elephant

Blind Men and the Elephant

In a distant village, a long time ago, there lived six blind men. One day the villagers announced, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.” They had never seen or felt an elephant before and so decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go...

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Night and Day

Night and Day

On certain occasion, while dusk was approaching, a Master asked his disciples if they knew how to tell when the night ended and the day started. The first of them said: —When you see an animal at the distance and you can distinguish if it is a cow or a horse. —No...

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Share Your Corn

Share Your Corn

On certain occasion a reporter asked a farmer if he could reveal the secret of his corn, which won the contest of the best product, year after year. The farmer confessed that it was due to the fact that he shared his seed with his neighbors. ”Why do you share your...

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Shammai and Hillel

Shammai and Hillel

One of famous account in the Talmud tells about a gentile who wanted to convert to Judaism and who stated that he would accept Judaism only if a rabbi would teach him the entire Torah while he, the prospective convert, stood on one foot. First he went to Shammai, who,...

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Free Bird

Free Bird

In China, there was a prince who made a show of his compassion by setting doves free. Once a year, the air was filled with beating wings. But a tear shone on the cheek of his bride, and the prince asked her why. "Dearest," she said, "the doves are freed because they...

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How to Fix the World

How to Fix the World

A scientist was very worried about the problems of the world and was determined to find means to diminish them. He spent days enclosed in his laboratory searching for answers to his doubts. One day, his son, seven years old, invaded his sanctuary and decided to help...

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The Switch and the Rock

The Switch and the Rock

When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day...

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Four Hungry Pilgrims

Four Hungry Pilgrims

Four pilgrims gathered together to travel to India: a Persian, a Turk, a Greek and an Arab. The four pilgrims were resting by the banks of a river when a man,  seeing that they were pilgrims, offered them some rupees so that they could get breakfast. When the man had...

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Gandhi and the Boy Who Ate Sugar

Gandhi and the Boy Who Ate Sugar

During the 1930s, a young boy had become obsessed with eating a lot of sugar. His mother was very upset with this. But no matter how much she scolded him and tried to break his habit, he continued to satisfy his sweet tooth. Being totally frustrated, she decided to...

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The Fox and the Crane

The Fox and the Crane

A FOX invited a Crane to supper and provided nothing for his entertainment but some soup made of lentils, which was poured out into a broad flat stone dish. The soup fell out of the long bill of the Crane at every mouthful, and his vexation at not being able to eat...

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The Farming Brothers

The Farming Brothers

In days gone by, two brothers, Raul and Johan, who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 35 years of farming side-by-side in central Germany, sharing machinery, and trading labour and goods as needed without a single problem...

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Why We Shout in Anger

Why We Shout in Anger

A Hindu saint, who was visiting river Ganges to take bath, found a group of family members on the banks, shouting in anger at each other. He turned to his disciples smiled and asked. “Why do people shout in anger shout at each other?” Disciples thought for a while,...

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House of 1000 Mirrors

House of 1000 Mirrors

In session 5 of our book study of Karen Armstrong's "Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life," on Mindfulness, we have a five minute journaling exercise reflecting on this passage by the Dalai Lama: “When I became enlightened the whole world became enlightened too.” We...

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If I Were to Give You an Orange . . .

If I Were to Give You an Orange . . .

A teacher was teaching mathematics to a child. She asked, “If i give you an orange and an orange and an orange to keep, then how many oranges will you have in your bag?” Within moments child confidently replied, “Four.” The teacher was disappointed because she was...

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