Monday, January 23, 2012

When Fortune Turns Its Frown Upside Down

There is a famous Buddhist parable that goes like this*:
One morning, an old man finds a horse wandering around his yard.  He takes the horse into his pasture, and his neighbors say, “What great fortune!” but the old man just replies, “We’ll see.”
His only son goes out to train the horse, but the horse throws his son and breaks the young man’s leg.
The neighbors say, “What great misfortune!” and again the old man says, “We’ll see…”
Then the army raids the village, conscripting all of the able-bodied men.  But the old man’s son is spared because he has a broken leg.  And the neighbors say, “What great fortune!”
And the old man says, “We’ll see.”
I've been doing my best to remember this parable lately...  When life seems to be ringing my doorbell mostly so I will find the flaming bag of dog doo on the front porch, I tell myself at least it will keep the Jehovah's Witnesses away.  (The reverse--to assume that any good fortune might soon reverse itself--has always come much more naturally to me.)
 Optimism is not second nature to me, or even third.  It takes cultivation.  I am trying.  Send me good mojo.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go blow out the flaming dog doo and make a wish.
*Or so I am told.  I’m not a Buddhist.  My hairdresser is, but in that way that means she has a big gold Buddha by her cash register, with dollar bills tucked into his random tuckable spots and fruit around his feet.   She wasn’t familiar with the story.


  1. Most of the people are not much into religious things just like your hairdresser. The parable you narrated is very beautiful and has so much lessons to be learnt within it.

  2. Yeah... I have heard this story many times and that's truly right. We relate everything with luck and are too quick in making decisions.