Regular Everything, by John Aske

How often, acting upon our need for comfort and security, do we sacrifice our freedom and happiness?

Stupa (chorten), 17th–18th century Tibet. © Metropolitan Museum of Art We all like things to be regular, and what’s wrong with that, you might reasonably ask? We all want stable conditions as well. We don’t want anything to change, either — we want it to stay the same — or more or less, always.

Having a regular job, regular meals and somewhere regular to sleep at night can only be good, better than sleeping in a ditch and being hungry all the time. The gravedigger at Drewsteignton preferred to sleep under a hedge, he told me, because a roof ‘made the place stuffy,’ but he was an unusual man. Continue reading “Regular Everything, by John Aske”

Knowing The Future, by Trevor Leggett

Sometimes we persist in a course of action although it ought to be perfectly clear that it will lead to a disaster…

Stairwell Art © @TessaMacDermotSometimes we persist in a course of action although it ought to be perfectly clear that it will lead to a disaster. Afterwards in the memory of the event we unconsciously persuade ourselves that our action was not really so stupid.

There are situations where both cause and effect are visible at the same time which brings out the idiocy before our very eyes. One instance would be in an aircraft where a film is being shown to passengers in one section and another copy of the same film is projected to passengers in another section. In a seat from which both screens are visible one can see the same film being run at the same time. The two films are about a minute out of sync with each other and result in us seeing the actors in one scene vigorously playing their part whilst on the other we see the consequences of what they were doing the previous minute. Continue reading “Knowing The Future, by Trevor Leggett”

The Gold Bar, by Ananda Dulal Sarkar

There were many kingdoms in ancient India varying in physical size and military might. More often than not, the bigger and stronger powers absorbed the smaller and weaker ones by unprovoked military actions. A king always accompanied his army and led it if he belonged to the Kshatriya class…

Stupa. Photo: © Paul HeatleyThe victorious king gave a command, ‘Put the prisoners of war to death.’

‘Mahaharaj!’ exclaimed the astounded General, ‘that is against the dharma (code) of the warrior class (Kshatriya) to which I belong.’

‘I do not belong to your class,’ replied the king dismissively. ‘I am of the lowest class. My dharma does not forbid the killing of prisoners who fought against me.’

There were many kingdoms in ancient India varying in physical size and military might. More often than not, the bigger and stronger powers absorbed the smaller and weaker ones by unprovoked military actions. A king always accompanied his army and led it if he belonged to the Kshatriya class.

The General raised his voice, ‘In that case you should not have come to the battlefield!’ The General was a mercenary. He continued, ‘There are strict rules regarding warfare. A strong power must never attack a weak one. A bowman must not shoot at an infantryman fighting with staves and swords. It is mandatory to allow a fleeing enemy to escape. A dead soldier’s family has to be looked after.’ Continue reading “The Gold Bar, by Ananda Dulal Sarkar”

Clinging to Self, by Bhikkhu PA Payutto

A fun short story. The moral of this story is: if you want to say ‘there is no one who creates karma,’ you must first learn how to stop saying ‘Ouch!’

Standing Buddha, Sri lanka Photo: © Hazel WaghornA certain Mr Porng went to visit the abbot of a nearby monastery, and he asked, ‘Luang Por [Reverend Father], the Buddha taught that everything is not-self and is without an owner—there is no one who commits karma and no one who receives its results. If that is the case, then I can go out and hit somebody over the head or even kill them, or do anything I like, because there is no one committing karma and no one receiving its results.’

No sooner had Mr Porng finished speaking than the abbot swung his walking stick down like a flash. Mr Porng could hardly get his arm up fast enough to ward off the blow. Even so, the stick struck solidly in the middle of his arm, giving it a good bruise. Clutching his sore arm, Mr Porng said, ‘Luang Por! Why did you do that?’ His voice trembled with the anger that was welling up inside him. Continue reading “Clinging to Self, by Bhikkhu PA Payutto”