BY SOFO ARCHON
Here’s one of my favorite Taoist short stories, showing how unpredictable life can be, and teaching that we’d better not be attached to it, whether in success or in failure, if we’d like to live with peace of mind.
There was a farmer whose horse ran away. That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck. He said, “May be.” The next day the horse returned, but brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbors came exclaiming at his good fortune. He said, “May be.” And then, the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg.
Again the neighbors came to offer their sympathy for the misfortune. He said, “May be.” The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of the broken leg the farmer’s son was rejected. When the neighbors came in to say how fortunately everything had turned out, he said, “May be.”
Source: Tao: The Watercourse Way, by Alan Watts
Photo courtesy of james j8246
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