Wisdom Story: “True Tranquility”
“Once upon a time in ancient China, the Emperor was in his study, looking over volumes of diplomatic documents. He found it hard to concentrate, so he summoned his most trusted Minister. When the Minister arrived, he saw that the Emperor was pacing back and forth, looking irritable.
The Emperor said to him: “I wish to focus on the affairs of the state, but my mind is unsettled and agitated. When I feel like this, I need something I can look at to help me regain tranquility. Have the best artist in the land create a painting that has the power to calm me down. I want the theme of this painting to be ‘True Tranquility.’”
“As you command, Your Majesty.”
A few days later, the Minister reported that there were three artists widely considered to be the best in China. They were equally talented, so he brought all of them into the palace. Once they understood what the Emperor wanted, they began to paint.
When the work was done, the Emperor went into the studio with the Minister to see for himself. The first painting they looked at depicted a placid lake surrounded by mountains. It was a beautiful scene; the surface of the lake seemed perfectly still and conveyed a peaceful feeling. The Emperor smiled: “This is beautiful.”
The second painting showed a snowscape. It evoked the silence after a snowfall, a deep silence that went beyond mere lack of noise, because the snow banks absorbed all sound. Both the Minister and the Emperor nodded their approval. “Very insightful,” said the Emperor.
They looked at the third painting, which featured a waterfall. “I am sorry, Your Majesty,” the Minister said. “It looks like this artist did not understand my instructions to paint a scene of serenity. Let me discard this painting, and we can choose from the first two.”
He reached for the painting, but the Emperor stopped him: “No, wait.” He stared at it for a moment longer, and then said: “This is the painting for me.”
“What? But – Your Majesty! How can this waterfall compare to the other two in representing tranquility? I do not understand!”
“The waterfall is not the most important thing in this painting,” said the Emperor. “Look again.”
The Minister took another look at the painting, more carefully this time. He saw that there was a tree next to the waterfall. One of the branches of the tree held a nest. A bird was sleeping inside that nest.
“See how the bird is able to relax and rest even though the deafening torrent is so close to it,” the Emperor pointed out. “It has such a profound quietness within that external conditions have no power to irritate or disturb. Now that is the essence of True Tranquility!””
When was the last time the you compare yourself to the little bird in the nest it wasn’t disturbed by the raging water fall?
What do you do now to cope with the stresses of life that you can share with others to help them too?
Written and compiled by Paulette Motzko
High definition Wallpaper Images from Zedge.