Monday, July 25, 2011

The Tree and the Shrub

A young woman approached a Zen Monk and asked, "Why are you always so blissful and happy, and why am I not?"

The Monk responded, "I will tell you my secret.  First, look outside of the window. Do you see the large tree that towers above all others?"

She said, "Yes, I see it."

The Monk asked, "Do you also see that small shrub by its side?"

She said, "Yes, I see that, too."

The Monk continued, "I have never heard the shrub saying to the tree, why are you so big, while I am so small? Why do you reach toward the sky, while I remain near the ground? The tree is big, and the shrub is small, but so what? Both are unique. Both serve the purpose they were put on this earth for. They don't compare themselves, even though they stand side by side.  Both are perfectly happy."

The Monk continued, "You are unhappy because you are constantly comparing; you are living in comparison. I am happy because I have dropped all comparison; I have simply accepted myself as I am. That is my secret."

"But I would also like to improve myself," replied the young woman.  "I want to be better at certain things in my life, things that I believe will make me happier."

"Good for you", replied the Monk. "Go and do those things, but do not compare yourself to others while doing them."

The Monk continued, "I learned this lesson many years ago, anyone who bases their happiness upon comparisons to others, is destined to be unhappy."


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