Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 10: A Taoist Tale

In order to choose a tale to share I looked at my favorite stories from 101 Lessons of Tao by Luke Chan.  It has many fable style tales with Chan's thoughts at the end helping the reader apply the lessons.
I chose two that mean something to me today, I'm going to paraphrase to save space and avoid plagiarism.

A Charging Bull's Tail
     In this tale, a rich man is bragging about his paintings, claiming one to be the most accurate painting of a bull he had ever seen.  When a boy raised around buffalo comes to run an errand for the rich man, he laughs at the sight of the painting.  The rich man bristles, claiming the boy obviously knows nothing about painting.  The boy agrees, but states that he does know about buffalo, and the position of the bull's tail in the painting was wrong, and indicated a weak animal.  The rich man was embarrassed and stopped bragging about his paintings.

The lesson here is that humility will allow us to learn from everyone, and even those of seemingly lower status have something they can teach us.

     This is the story of a teacher and student talking about the importance of speaking concisely.  The teacher asks the student to think of animals that make a lot of noise that no one pays attention to.  The student accurately names crickets and toads.  Then the teacher asks for an animal that people do pay attention to.  The student suggests a rooster, as the village wakes up at its crow. 
     The teacher then asks the student which he would rather be, a cricket that nobody listened to, or a rooster that speaks once and commands attention.

The lesson here is choose our words wisely, as the more we talk, the less people tend to listen.

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