Stories From The Heart


Giving blood
More Precious than a Gem
A miracle for $1.10
Instructions for life
Smile !
Stilson’s leap
Making a difference
Balancing effort and patience
The value of Bodhicitta
The Inner Jewel
Transforming Anger
Non-violent parenting
Empty box
A monk fathering a child?


A little girl was ill in hospital with a rare blood disorder and was badly in need of a blood donor but a match could not be found. As a last resort, her six year old brother was checked as a match and much to everyones relief, he was.
Both his mother and Doctor sat the little boy down and explained how they would like his blood to help his sister so she would not die.
The little boy waited a few moments then asked if he could think about it.
It wasn’t the reaction the mother or Doctor expected but they agreed……
The following day the little boy sat in front of the Doctor with his mother and said he agreed to give his sister what she needed.
The hospital staff moved quickly for his sister was fading quite fast.
So the little boy could understand what was happening, he was placed in a bed next to his sister and so the transfusion began. Quickly, the colour and life began flooding back into the little girl and every one was over joyed.
The little boy turned to the Doctor and quietly asked, “How long will it be before I die?”

You see, the little boy thought that by giving his blood, he was giving his own life, which is why he took a little time to think about it……….


Jerry is the manager of a restaurant in America. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would always reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” Many of the waiters at his restaurant quit their jobs when he changed jobs; they would follow him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was always there, telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! No one can be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”
Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, I have two choices today. I can choose to be in a good mood or I can choose to be in a bad mood. I always choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I always choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I always choose the positive side of life.”
“But it’s not always that easy,” I protested.
“Yes, it is,” Jerry said, “Life is all about choices When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. It’s your choice how you live your life.”

Several years later, I heard that Jerry accidentally did something you are never supposed to do in the restaurant business: he left the back door of his restaurant open one morning and was robbed by three armed men. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found quickly and rushed to the hospital. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw Jerry about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Want to see my scars?”
I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.
“The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, after they shot me, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or choose to die. I chose to live.”
“Weren’t you scared?” I asked.
Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the Emergency Room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘He’s a dead man.’ I knew I needed to take action.”
“What did you do?” I asked. “Well, there was a big nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything.” ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Please operate on me as if I am alive, not dead’.
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.
I learned from him that everyday you have the choice to either enjoy your life or to hate it. The only thing that is truly yours – that no one can control or take from you — is your attitude, so if you can take care of that, everything else in life becomes much easier.

Image courtesy Geoff Wise: PRECIOUS THAN A GEM

“A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.
But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”
Author Unknown (from Bob Gould in the Yahoo Club: Admirers of HH the Dalai Lama)


It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Wal-Mart. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day.
She had been shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle-faced image of innocence.

Her voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in: “Mom, let’s run through the rain.” she said.
“What?” mom asked.
“Let ‘s run through the rain!” she repeated.
“No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit.,” mom replied.
This young child waited about another minute and repeated: “mom, let’s run through the rain.”
“We’ll get soaked if we do,” mom said.
“No, we won’t, mom. That’s not what you said this morning,” the young girl said as she tugged at her mom’s arm.
“This morning? When did I say we could run through the rainand not get wet?”
“Don’t you remember? When you were talking to daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!”

The entire crowd stopped dead silent.
I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain.
We all stood silently.
No one came or left in the next few minutes.
Mom paused and thought for amoment about what she would say.

“Honey, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If GOD let’s us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing,” mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case.
They got soaked.
But they were followed by some who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.

Author unknown – from

A MIRACLE OF $1.10 (claimed to be a true story)

Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, “Only a miracle can save him now.”
Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good.
Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!
“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.
“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”
“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.
“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”
“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you,” the pharmacist said, softening a little. “Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”
The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does you brother need?”
“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.”
“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago. “One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.
“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents – the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specialising in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.
“That surgery,” her Mom whispered. “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”
Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents …… plus the faith of a little child.

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law……


1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realise you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. You’ll die, but may achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and compassion with reckless abandon.


Image courtesy Geoff Wise: smiled at a sorrowful stranger.
The smile seemed to make him feel better.
He remembered past kindnesses of a friend
And wrote him a thank you letter.
The friend was so pleased with the thank you
That he left a large tip after lunch.
The waitress, surprised by the size of the tip,
Bet the whole thing on a hunch.
The next day she picked up her winnings,
And gave part to a man on the street.
The man on the street was grateful;
For two days he’d had nothing to eat.
After he finished his dinner,
He left for his small dingy room.
He didn’t know at that moment that he might be facing his doom.
On the way he picked up a shivering puppy.
And took him home to get warm.
The puppy was very grateful
To be in out of the storm.
That night the house caught on fire.
The puppy barked the alarm.
He barked till he woke the whole household
And saved everybody from harm.
One of the boys that he rescued
Grew up to be President.
All this because of a simple smile
That hadn’t cost a cent.

STILSON’S LEAP (from a book of which the title I lost)

Image courtesy Geoff Wise: a grey day in late November 1941, a squadron of Spitfires was flying back towards Britain across the English Channel. The sky was low, with few breaks in the clouds. They had just broken up a formation of enemy bombers and, while most pilots were now low on fuel, all would make it back safely to the base if luck held.
Then flames leaped out from beneath the cowling of the commanding officer’s plane, and thick, black smoke spewed from his exhausts. The whirling propeller slowed, then froze, and his aircraft, trailing smoke, began hurtling down towards the sea.
The cockpit canopy slid back, and the commanding officer tumbled out. His parachute opened. The others watched him drift down through the wind and silence towards the ocean, which splashed and foamed below.
Dropping lower, they saw him hit the sea, then, supported by his life-vest, rise up and swim away from the entangling parachute lines. He waved them off, but awkwardly, as if he were injured. Despite his signal, they circled over him until their fuel was dangerously low. They would wait for his life raft to bob up to the surface before they left him.
But the raft never surfaced. A shard of metal had torn it, perhaps – or a bullet had pierced it, or the flames had destroyed it. No matter. Without a life raft he could never survive in those cold waters.
The other pilots radioed his position over and over, though several were flying with almost dry tanks.
The new acting squadron leader knew there was nothing more they could do. It was his job to bring the squadron home. Cursing the foul luck that had caught them so close to home, he gave the order for them to continue back to their base.
But a man named Stilson, ignoring all orders to leave, and refusing to acknowledge any radio contact, only gained altitude while still circling over their downed commander. At three thousand feet, Stilson’s canopy slid back, the graceful green-and-brown fighter arched over, and Stilson tumbled from the warmth and safety of the cramped little cockpit, falling free.
His parachute blossomed above him, as he floated down towards the foaming sea. The sun broke through the clouds, and a mile away his empty plane ploughed into the waves, kicking up a long plume of rainbow spray, and, settling in the water, sank from sight.
The other pilots saw Stilson float down, strike the choppy, glinting surface of the Channel, sink, then come frothing up into the sunlight. They saw him cut loose from the shroud lines and kick free of the sinking chute. They saw his inflated raft pop up to the surface, saw him pull himself in and paddle over to where the commander was still struggling feebly in the bitterly cold water. They saw him haul the officer into the tiny raft with him. On their next pass – their last – the others saw both men bobbing in the life raft together. Next, the clouds closed in, obscuring all.
The others all made it back safely – just barely. They filled out their reports and waited. No word came. In the morning the sky was peaceful and clear, and they flew over a bright, blue, calm, sparkling sea.
But no trace of either man was ever found.


A friend was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed that the local native kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things out into the ocean. As my friend approached even closer, he noticed that the man was picking up starfish that had washed up on the beach, and, one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water. My friend was puzzled.
He approached the man and said. “Good evening, friend. I was wondering what you are doing.”
“I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.”
“I understand,” my friend replied, “but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many. And don’t you realize this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?”
The local native smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”

Image courtesy Geoff Wise:

Coming across a monk praying while circumambulating a holy building, Geshe Tenpa said, “How pleasant to walk around sacred places, but you know, it’s far better to practice the wonderful Dharma.” The monk took his words to heart and began earnestly studying the scriptures. One day Geshe Tenpa came across him and commented, “How commendable it is to study the scriptures, but you know, it is far better to practice the wonderful Dharma.” The monk took his words to heart and took up intensive meditation. One day Geshe Tenpa came across him and said, “How blissful to be lost in one-pointed meditation, but you know, it’s far better to practice the wonderful Dharma.” The monk was completely confounded. In desperation he begged, “Master, teach me what to do.” Geshe Tenpa smiled and replied, “Just stop grasping at things.”


There is a story about a young man in Japan who wanted to be the greatest martial artist of the land. He thought that to reach this goal, he must study with the best instructor, who lived many miles away.
One day he left home to go study with this great Zen teacher. After travelling for several days, he arrived at the school and was given an audience with the teacher. “What do you wish to learn from me?” the master asked.
“I want you to teach me your art and help me become one of the best martial artists in the country,” the young man replied. “How long must I study?”
“Ten years at least,” the master answered.
The guy thought, ten years is a lot of time. I want to get his done sooner than that. I don’t have that much time. Certainly if I try harder I can complete this task quicker. So he asked the master, “What if I studied twice as hard as everyone else? How long would it take then?”
“Then it would take twenty years,” replied the master.
The guy thought, ‘That’s even longer! I don’t want to spend twenty years learning something. I’ve got other things to do with my life. Certainly if I tried really hard I could learn it much quicker’.
So the student asked again, “What if I practised day and night with all my effort, then how long would it take?”
“Thirty years,” was the master’s response.
The young student became confused and wondered why the master kept telling him it would take longer.
He asked the master “How is it that each time I say I will work harder, you tell me that it will take longer?”
“The answer is simple. With one eye focused on your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the way,” the master said.

(Another way of saying this is, “With half your attention on your goal, you only have the other half to focus on the work.” Any endeavor takes effort, but it also takes patience. If we have one without the other, we get off balance. with only effort, we try and try but get frustrated when we do not see results as fast as we would like. Or we get burned out and tired very quickly. With only patience and no effort, we never really put our full attention to a task. We never give it the commitment we need. This is as true with school work as it is with a meditation practice as it is with sports. in the story, the master knew that the student had enough effort; what he needed was to balance that effort with patience.)

“Just say Om! – A Teenager’s Guide- Your Life’s Journey” (Soren Gordhamer)


I was at the temple when I had a sudden stomachache. I dashed to the nearest restroom… and to my expectations, being a busy day with hundreds of people, it was out of toilet paper. I struggled to the next available toilet- a less “popular” one, searching desperately in each cubicle. Thank goodness there was a roll with a few scanty rounds of paper on it. I had an urge to rip it all out, to use all of whatever was left. But the thought struck me that there might be another poor fellow out there facing the same problem I did. Brimming with gratitude to the last person who saved some paper for me, I used slightly less than half of what was left…
About two hours later…. Surprise, surprise… I was hit by another stomachache! Once again, I dashed to the restroom- the first which I approached earlier. Nope, it hasn’t been stocked up with fresh rolls of paper yet. Feeling rather hopeless, I returned to the less “popular” one, almost convinced there would be no paper left… Surprise, surprise… in the same cubicle I used, whatever remained of the paper still remains. The “others” that I had thought of saving paper for turned out to be myself! I became the “others!” Guess what I did? Brimming with gratitude to the last person who saved some paper for me, even though it was me, I used only half of what was left…

What is the moral of the story? It pays to be grateful- to have a heart of gratitude to all the blessings in life- even if it is mere toilet paper in a public toilet. We should never “squander” our blessings by taking them for granted. Whatever goes around comes around in the name of karma. It pays to be kind, to have Compassion for others- because you never know who it could be! In the end, being kind to others is being kind to yourself too.

From: [email protected]; contribute your article or your thoughts [email protected]


In days of yore, an older master was traveling along a country road, followed by a disciple carrying his bags. As they walked, they saw lands being plowed while farmers and oxen were strained to the utmost. Countless worms and insects were killed in the process, and birds were swooping to eat them. This led the disciple to wonder to himself, “How hard it is to make a living. I will cultivate with all my strength, become a Buddha and save all these creatures.” Immediately the Master, an Arhat able to read the thoughts of others, turned around and said, “Let me have those heavy bags and I will follow you.” The disciple was puzzled but did as instructed and walked in front. As they continued on their way with the hot sun bearing down on them, dust swirling all around them, the road stretching endlessly in front, the disciple grew more and more tired. It wasn’t long before he thought to himself, “There are so many sentient beings and there is so much suffering, how can I possibly help them all? Perhaps I should try to help myself only.” Immediately, the Master behind him said, “Stop. Now you carry the bags and follow me.” The puzzled disciple did as told, knowing he was not supposed to ask questions. He took up the bags again and walked behind. This sequence repeated itself several times. The Master walked in front with the disciple carrying the bags, then the disciple in front with the Master carrying the bags, back and forth, until they stopped for lunch. Then the disciple gathered his courage and asked the reason why. The Master said, “When you had exalted thoughts of saving all sentient beings, you had the Bodhi Mind, the mind of a Bodhisattva, and I as an Arhat had to follow you. But as soon as you had selfish thoughts, you were no longer a Bodhisattva, and being junior to me in years and cultivation, you had to carry my bags!”


See the weary traveler;
How he suffers carrying everything he owns,
Ten years worth,
Twenty years worth,
Wondering why.
Upset at how the years have gone.
And many have taken him in,
Offering him shelter from the constant storms.
But the storms are within him.
And in his anger, he can always find something wrong;
“The bed is too hard”
“They were not so kind”
“I am not welcome anywhere”
“This is not the truth I was meant to find”.

One day he met a calm man
That in anger, he could not shake.
The men greeted each other with smiles and bows,
One in kindness, the other, fake.
“Would you take tea with me?”, the calm man asked
“Yes thank you.” the angry man replied.
So the man set off to make his tea
Leaving the angry man there for awhile.
And while he waited, his anger grew,
Harsh and loud like a storm of the sea.
He thought long about how rude his host was
For keeping him waiting,
And what he would say when he returned;
How he would show him humility.
Hours past and day became night
Finally the calm man returned with just one cup of tea.

“This is the best tea from my village.” he said,
“We serve it for only most honored guests.
It takes a very long time to brew
because we can only pick and steep the leaves
when the leaves are just right.”
The angry man sat staring at the beautiful tea cup
and the hot tea steaming inside
In it, he could see the many people picking the leaves.
He could hear their prayers and chants,
He could see their smiles,
How heavy their burdens were,
And yet, how light their lives seemed.
He looked deeper and could see the earth blossoming
The simply beauty of both flowers and trees.
At the bottom of the cup there was a single tea leaf
Rolled up like a pearl
“You left something in my tea.” he said quietly.

The calm man smiled and touched the mans hands.
“Many decorate themselves with jewels.” he said,
“But the grandest most beautiful jewel of all, is within.
Hidden beneath our fragility,
Hidden far beyond our every day sight,
Buried in the places we’d rather not go,
Beneath all the hurt we’d rather deny,
So in our tea, the curled green leaf is a reminder
to cultivate the inner jewels that cannot be seen.”

“Then why did you offer it to me?” the angry man asked,
“I am not worthy of such things.
I hate and rage, am ungrateful and unkind.
I am a foolish man, foolish, cruel and blind.
I have hurt more than I have helped,
and have left so many feeling angry and used.
Why give me such a gift?
Why share with me this “precious jewel”?

“Every being is worthy.
Every being has such worth inside,
No matter how deep they bury it,
No matter how hard it is to find,
We offer only what we have to give
And ask nothing of you in return.
Drink the tea my friend,
May we all work with joy to cultivate and share
the very best of ourselves
We cannot always stop the storms,
But we can always learn to act in love, not abuse.”
By Jenifer Edward


Mahatma Gandhi provides a perfect example of how anger can be harnessed. As a young, unknown, brown-skinned lawyer traveling in South Africa on business, he was roughly thrown from the train because he refused to surrender his first-class ticket and move to the third-class compartment. He spent a cold, sleepless night on the railway platform.

Later, he said this was the turning point of his life: for on that night, full of anger because of this personal injustice, as well as the countless injustices suffered by so many others every day in South Africa, he resolved not to rest until he had set those injustices right. On that night he conquered his anger and vowed to resist injustice, not by violence or retaliation, but through the loving power of nonviolent resistance, which elevates the consciousness of both oppressed and oppressor.

We may never be called on to liberate a people or lead a vast nation, but Gandhi’s example can apply in a small way in our own lives, when we decide to return goodwill for ill will, love for hatred, in the innumerable little acts of daily life.

“I have learned through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy,
even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power that can move the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi


One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live.
They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”
” It was great, Dad.”
“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.
“Oh yeah,” said the son.
“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered: “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.
Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”


Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-violence, in his June 9 lecture at the University of Puerto Rico, shared the following story as an example of “non-violence in parenting”:

“I was 16 years old and living with my parents at the institute my grandfather had founded 18 miles outside of Durban, South Africa, in the middle of the sugar plantations. We were deep in the country and had no neighbours, so my two sisters and I would always look forward to going to town to visit friends or go to the movies.

One day, my father asked me to drive him to town for an all-day conference, and I jumped at the chance. Since I was going to town, my mother gave me a list of groceries she needed and, since I had all day in town, my father ask me to take care of several pending chores, such as getting the car serviced. When I dropped my father off that morning, he said, ‘I will meet you here at 5:00 p.m., and we will go home together.’

After hurriedly completing my chores, I went straight to the nearest movie theatre. I got so engrossed in a John Wayne double-feature that I forgot the time. It was 5:30 before I remembered. By the time I ran to the garage and got the car and hurried to where my father was waiting for me, it was almost 6:00.

He anxiously asked me, ‘Why were you late?’ I was so ashamed of telling him I was watching a John Wayne western movie that I said, ‘The car wasn’t
ready, so I had to wait,’ not realizing that he had already called the garage. When he caught me in the lie, he said: ‘There’s something wrong in the way I brought you up that didn’t give you the confidence to tell me the truth. In order to figure out where I went wrong with you, I’m going to walk home 18 miles and think about it.’

So, dressed in his suit and dress shoes, he began to walk home in the dark on mostly unpaved, unlit roads. I couldn’t leave him, so for five-and-a-half hours I drove behind him, watching my father go through this agony for a stupid lie that I uttered.

I decided then and there that I was never going to lie again. I often think about that episode and wonder, if he had punished me the way we punish our children, whether I would have learned a lesson at all. I don’t think so. I would have suffered the punishment and gone on doing the same thing. But this single non-violent action was so powerful that it is still as if it happened yesterday. That is the power of non-violence.”


The story goes that some time ago a man punished his 5-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was
tight and he became even more upset when the child pasted the gold paper so as to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.” The father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box was empty. He spoke to her in a harsh manner, “Don’t you know, young lady, when you give someone a present there’s supposed to be something inside the package?” The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh, Daddy, it’s not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was full.” The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arm around his little girl, and he begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later and it is told that the father kept that gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. And whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems he would open the box and take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.


This is a story about one of the great Tibetan kadampa masters of the 11th century, the monk Langri Tangpa who wrote the ‘Eight verses of mind training‘,:

There was once a woman who gave birth to a baby girl. The woman had already lost one baby and was frightened that her baby girl would also die. The woman told her mother how worried she was and her mother told her that children given Geshe Langri Tangpa to be looked after would not die.

Later, when the little girl fell ill, the woman took her to see Geshe Langri Tangpa, but when she arrived she found him sitting on a throne giving a teaching to a thousand disciples. The woman began to worry that her child would die before the end of the teaching. She knew that Geshe Langri Tangpa was a Bodhisatta and would show patience, and so she walked up to the throne and in a loud, rude voice she said; ‘Here, take your baby. Now you look after her!’ She turned to the audience and said; ‘This is the father of my child’, and then turned back to Geshe Langri Tangpa and pleaded softly; ‘Please don’t let her die.’
Geshe Langri Tangpa just nodded his head. As if he really were the father of the child, he wrapped it tenderly in his robes and continued his teaching.
His disciples were very suprised and asked him; ‘Are you really the father of that child?’ Knowing that if he were to say no, the woman would have been thought crazy and the people would have laughed at her, Geshe Langri Tangpa said that he was.
Although he was a monk, Geshe Langri Tangpa acted like a real father for the child, delighting in her and caring for her.

After some time the mother returned to see if her daughter was well. When she saw how healthy the child was she asked Geshe Langri Tangpa if she could have her back again. The Geshe then kindly returned the girl to her mother.

When his disciples understood what had happened they said; ‘So you are not really the father after all!’ and Geshe Langri Tangpa simply said; ‘No, I am not.’ “


There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend, who was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry her boyfriend. One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. She could see everything, including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, “Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?”

The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote a letter to her saying – “Just take care of my eyes dear.”

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