SOTW Summer Break

SOTW is taking a summer break and will return in the fall term. Thank you for your attention.

The Hermit

Word spread across the countryside about the wise Holy Man who lived in a small house atop the mountain as a hermit. One day a man from the village decided to make the long and difficult journey to visit the Holy Man. He arrived at the house, knocked and an old servant greeted him at the door.

“I would like to see the wise Holy Man,” he said to the servant. The servant smiled and led him inside. As they walked through the house, the man from the village looked eagerly at his surroundings, anticipating his encounter with the Holy Man. Before he knew it, he had been led to the back door and escorted outside…

The Peacock’s Tail

There was a time when the peacock could fly higher than any other bird, over the trees and nearly up to the sunlit clouds. One day after soaring above the earth, the peacock landed near a quiet pool and glimpsed his reflection in the water. Horrified, he saw that his feathers were dull brown, without a single scarlet plume or gold crest among them. “This is terrible!” he cried. “I would pay any price if only I could be beautiful.” And he fell asleep that night still lamenting his plainness…

Fill Yourself with Truth

As an emperor was coming out of his palace for his morning walk he met a beggar. He asked the beggar, “What do you want?”

The beggar laughed and said, “You are asking me as though you can fulfill my desire!”

The king was offended. He said, “Of course I can fulfill your desire. What is it? Just tell me.”

And the beggar said, “Think twice before you promise anything. It is a very simple desire. You see this begging bowl? Can you fill it with something?”

The emperor said, “Of course!”

He called one of his viziers and told him, “Fill this man’s begging bowl with money.” The vizier went and got some money and poured it into the bowl, and it disappeared. As he poured more and more into the bowl, the moment the money hit the bowl disappeared. The begging bowl always remained empty.

Diamonds, pearls and emeralds were poured into the bowl, as the emperor’s treasuries were becoming empty.

Finally, it was the evening, and the emperor dropped at the feet of the beggar and admitted his defeat. He said, “Just tell me one thing: of what is the begging bowl made?”…

Seven Wonders

A group of geography students studied the Seven Wonders of the World. At the end of that section, the students were asked to list what they considered to be the Seven Wonders of the World.

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student, a quiet girl, hadn’t turned in her paper yet. She asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list…

Go With the Flow

While walking along a riverbank at some rapids, an old man slipped on a wet rock near the edge and fell in. Onlookers watched in horror as he was swept toward and then over a high waterfall. However, there was great joy when he emerged bruised but otherwise unharmed downstream. “How did you manage to survive?” asked one man…

Effort and Patience

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 teacher. After traveling 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 artist’s in the country,” the young man replied. “How long must I study?”

“Ten years at least,” the master answered.

The young man 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…

Great Waves

In the early days of the Meiji era there lived a well-known wrestler called O-nami, Great Waves.

O-nami was immensely strong and knew the art of wresting. In his private bouts he defeated even his teacher, but in public was so bashful that his own pupils threw him.

O-nami felt he should get help. Hakuju, a wandering teacher, was stopping in a little temple nearby, so O-nami went to see him and told him of his trouble…

Roots of Enlightenment

“Many teachers say that spiritual treasure is something one finds alone. So why are we all here together?” asked a disciple of the Sufi master Nasrudin…

Cure for Sorrows

There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to the holy man and said, “What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?”

Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, “Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life.” The woman went off at once in search of that magical mustard seed.

She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door, and said, “I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me.”

They told her, “You’ve certainly come to the wrong place,” and began to describe all the tragic things that recently had befallen them…