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Seeds of Dharma

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Brief stories of Wisdom

Misty Nahuel

To Enzo, Maura and Matías, my best teachers.

I would have liked to read these stories to you when you were little, but I know that the seeds of this wisdom germinated in Enzo's heart, making the world he left brighter than the one he arrived at. And I know that they are also germinating in you and that they will plant seeds for a better world.

I love them.

Hand drawing tangled clew.

The Gift of Wrath

In a small town, there lived an old man known for his wisdom and serenity. One day, a young man, known for his short temper and anger, decided to challenge the old man. He believed that he could provoke the wise man until he became angry.

The young man began to insult the old man, shouting insults and trying to provoke him. However, the old man simply listened silently, with a slight smile on his face. After a long while, the young man, exhausted and frustrated by the lack of response, gave up.

"Why don't you respond to my insults? Why don't you get angry?" the young man asked, confused.

The old man looked the young man in the eyes and said calmly, "If someone gives you something and you don't accept it, who does the gift belong to?"

"To the one who tried to give it," the young man responded, without hesitation.

"It is the same with your anger," said the old man. "If I do not accept your anger, it is still yours. Anger is a gift that you intend to give me, but it is my choice not to accept it. And without my participation, your anger has no effect."

The young man remained thoughtful, shocked by the old man's wisdom. This encounter changed his perspective, teaching him that anger only lives where it finds space and that, although it can be difficult, maintaining our inner peace is a personal choice.

This story teaches about the power of serenity in the face of provocation and the importance of choosing how we react to the actions of others. It reminds us that, although we cannot control the behavior of others, we can decide not to allow it to affect our inner peace.

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The Moon in the Water

On a clear night, a young monk and his teacher were walking through the forest. Passing by a pond, the young monk stopped, fascinated by the reflection of the moon in the water.

“Master,” he said, “the moon looks so beautiful in the pond. It seems so real, like I'm trapped in water.”

The teacher smiled and threw a small stone into the pond, disturbing the water and scattering the reflection of the moon.

“Where is the moon now? Have we lost it?” the teacher asked.

The young monk remained thoughtful and as he watched the water, it slowly returned to calm and the reflection of the moon was rebuilt.

“Now I see what you mean, master. The moon has always been in the sky, not in the water. Our perceptions can deceive us.”

The teacher nodded. “Just as the moon is reflected in water, our thoughts and emotions are reflected in the mind. If we believe that these reflections are reality, we cling and suffer. But if we remember that they are only reflections and not the true essence, we can find peace.”

This story teaches about impermanence and the illusory nature of perceptions. It reminds us that, like the reflection of the moon in water, our thoughts and emotions are fleeting and do not define ultimate reality.

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The Problem That Didn't Exist

A man came to the monk of a small village visibly disturbed. “Master,” he said, “my mind is full of problems and worries. “I cannot find peace, day and night I am distressed.”

The monk smiled and said, “Bring me a problem that really exists.”

Confused, the man thought carefully and began to talk about his financial problems, his relationships, and his fear of his old age. To each problem he presented, the monk asked: “But is this problem with you now, at this moment?”

Finally, the man realized that although his worries seemed enormous in his mind, in the present moment, in the monk's presence, there were no real problems that he could show.

“Ah,” said the monk, “you see that most of your problems exist in the past or the future, but not in the now. Live fully in the present, and many of your problems will disappear.”

The man left with a new understanding, learning to focus on the present moment to find the peace he so sought.

This story highlights the Buddhist teaching of living in the present moment and the idea that many of our problems are created by our minds clinging to what was or what could be, rather than what is.

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The Monk and the Scorpion

One day, a monk was sitting by a river, enjoying the tranquility of the moment, when he noticed a scorpion struggling in the water. Without hesitation, the monk reached out his hand to save the scorpion, but in the process, the scorpion stung him. Despite the pain, the monk tried to save him again, and again the scorpion stung him.

A passerby watching the scene approached the monk and asked: "Why are you still trying to save the scorpion when it is clearly still hurting it?"

The monk looked at the passerby and said calmly: "The nature of the scorpion is to sting, but that should not change my nature, which is to help."

This story reflects the Buddhist teaching of compassion and perseverance. It teaches us that we should not abandon our kind and compassionate nature, even when faced with adversity or the harmful behavior of others. True compassion involves acting with kindness without expecting anything in return, even in the most difficult situations.

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The Bag of Potatoes

There once was a teacher who, to teach about resentment, gave each of his students a sack and a collection of potatoes. "For every person you hold a grudge against," he told them, "write their name on a potato and put it in the sack."

Some bags became very heavy.

"Carry this bag with you at all times for a week," the teacher instructed. The students started the week with some ease, but as the days passed, the sack became heavier and heavier, and the potatoes began to rot, giving off an unpleasant odor.

At the end of the week, the teacher said, "This is what resentment feels like. Like rotten potatoes, they weigh on your life, contaminating everything you do. If you learn to let go, you can leave this weight behind."

The students understood the lesson. By freeing themselves from the physical weight of potatoes, they understood the emotional relief that letting go can bring. They learned that, although it is not always easy, letting go of resentment would allow them to move forward lighter and in peace.

This story illustrates the importance of letting go and how resentment can be a burden in our lives, affecting our happiness and well-being. It teaches that, to live in peace, we must learn to let go of those "potatoes" that we carry unnecessarily.

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The Poisoned Arrow

One day, a warrior approached Buddha, defiant. "Master," he said, "before I become your follower, I need you to answer my questions. Do gods exist? What is heaven like? Is the universe eternal?"

Buddha responded with a question: "If you were shot with a poisoned arrow, what would you do? Would you wait to know the identity of the archer, the type of poison, or the direction the arrow came from before allowing someone to remove it?" "

"No, master," the warrior replied. "First I would like the arrow removed to save my life."

Buddha nodded. "In the same way, while you suffer in this world, the most important thing is to eliminate the pain and find the path to peace and liberation. Questions about the gods, heaven, and the universe are like the poisoned arrow. They are not "crucial to the task of freeing yourself from suffering."

This tale teaches about Buddhism's practical approach to spirituality, emphasizing the importance of addressing suffering directly and seeking enlightenment and inner peace, rather than getting lost in endless metaphysical questioning.

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The Monk and the Thief

One night, a monk was meditating in his cell when a thief broke in. The thief began looking for something of value to steal, but all he found were holy books and meditation objects. Frustrated at not finding material wealth, he turned to the monk.

"You are a fraud!" the thief shouted. "I was told you were a man of great wealth!"

The monk opened his eyes, looked at him serenely and replied: "It is true that I possess great wealth, but it is not the kind that you can carry with you."

The thief, confused and curious, asked, "What kind of wealth are you talking about?"

"The wealth I possess is inner peace, happiness and knowledge. These are riches that no one can steal and that are available to everyone, including you, if you are willing to seek them."

The thief remained silent, reflecting on the monk's words. For the first time in his life, he felt truly poor.

"How can I find this wealth?" he finally asked.

"Begin by stopping looking outside for what can only be found within," the monk responded, offering to sit and learn.

That night, the thief took nothing tangible from the monastery, but he left with a new perspective, marking the beginning of his own spiritual journey.

This story highlights the value of inner over material riches and shows how even a seemingly negative encounter can become an opportunity for teaching and spiritual growth.

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The Tea Master

Once upon a time there was a famous tea master who was known throughout the country for his exquisite tea and his ability to teach through the tea ceremony. One day, a proud university professor came to visit him to learn about the art of tea and seek spiritual wisdom.

Upon arrival, the tea master greeted him cordially and they began the ceremony. While the master prepared the tea with great care and attention, the teacher began to talk about his own theories and knowledge, without paying much attention to what the tea master was doing.

When it was time to serve the tea, the tea master placed the professor's cup in front of him and began to pour the tea. The cup was filled to the brim, but the master continued pouring. The tea overflowed, spilling onto the table and the floor.

"It's too full! There's no room left!" the professor exclaimed.

"Like this cup," the tea master said calmly, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I teach you about tea if you don't first empty your cup?"

The professor remained silent, realizing his mistake. He understood that to truly receive wisdom and knowledge, he must first be empty of preconceptions and be open to learning.

This story illustrates the importance of humility and an open mind in learning and personal growth. It reminds us that to truly absorb new teachings and experiences, we must be willing to empty ourselves of our previous judgments and beliefs.

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Bamboo and Oak

In a beautiful garden, a young bamboo tree and a sturdy oak tree grew side by side. Oak prided itself on its strength and solid structure, while bamboo was thin and flexible.

One day, a powerful storm hit the garden. The oak resisted with all its strength, refusing to bow to the wind. The bamboo, on the other hand, bowed gracefully with each gust, swaying and bending without breaking.

The next day, the garden woke up devastated. The oak had fallen, its trunk had broken by the force of the wind. The bamboo, however, was still standing, barely disturbed by the storm.

"How is it possible that you have weathered the storm, being so flexible and thin?" asked the fallen oak to the bamboo.

The bamboo replied: "My friend, I learned that it is better to bend in the wind than to resist and break. My flexibility is my strength."

This story teaches the importance of adaptability and humility. It reminds us that, in life, we will face unexpected storms and challenges. Sometimes, resisting with force is not as effective as adapting to circumstances, reminding us that true strength often lies in the ability to be flexible.

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The Mother and the Mustard Seed

Once upon a time there was a mother who had lost her only son, immersed in deep pain, she refused to accept his death. In her desperation, she heard about a great sage who could perform miracles and thought that he could return her son to her. With a heart full of hope, he went to look for him.

When he found the wise man, he begged him to return his son. The wise man, seeing his pain, said to him: "Bring me a mustard seed from a house where no one has ever died, and I will use its power to return your son to you."

The woman, full of hope, went from house to house looking for such a seed. However, in each home, I discovered that everyone had experienced the loss of loved ones. As she shared her stories of pain and loss with others, she began to realize that she was not alone in her suffering.

Finally, he understood the wise man's lesson: death is a natural part of life, and the pain he felt was a feeling shared by everyone at some point. This realization brought him comfort and he began to accept his son's death, finding peace in compassion and connection with others.

This story teaches about the universality of suffering and the importance of accepting death as part of life. It reminds us that, although the pain of loss is immense, we are not alone in our experience and that sharing our pain can help us find comfort and healing.

This small collection of stories is an invitation to explore Buddhist wisdom in short stories. Each story invites you to meditate on the essence of our existence.

May these pages be seeds that germinate in your heart, guiding you towards a deeper understanding of yourself and reality.

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Misty Nahuel