25 October 2015

posted 23 Oct 2015, 06:49 by C S Paul   [ updated 23 Oct 2015, 20:57 ]
25 October 2015

Quotes to Inspire

  • "If you have learned how to disagree without being disagreeable, then you have discovered the secret of getting along—whether it be business, family relations, or life itself." — Bernard Meltzer
  • "It will not do, my friend, to grant an easy indulgence to natural appetite and desire, for they ever seek to be our masters." — T.S. Arthur
  • "With lies you may get ahead in the world—but you can never go back." — Russian proverb
  • "We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." — Cynthia Ozick
  • "We in India do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate." — Unknown
  • "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." — Thomas Jefferson (1743—1826)
  • "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are." — John Wooden
  • "It is your attention and not your intention that determines your destination." — Unknown
  • "ANGER is only one letter short of DANGER." — Unknown
  • "Great minds have purpose, others have wishes." — Washington Irving
  • "As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do." — Andrew Carnegie
  • "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." — Eleanor Roosevelt
  • "Cold words freeze people and hot words scorch them, and bitter words make them bitter, and wrathful words make them wrathful. Kind words also produce their image on men's souls; and a beautiful image it is. They smooth, and quiet, and comfort the hearer." — Blaise Pascal

The Tiger's Whisker
A Korean fable

Once upon a time, a young wife named Yun Ok was at her wit's end. Her husband had 
always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.

When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Yun Ok. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. 

She was desperate.

As Yun Ok approached the hermit's hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: "I hear you. What's your problem?"

She explained the situation. His back still to her, he said, "Ah yes, it's often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it?"

"Make me a potion!" cried the young wife. "Or an amulet, a drink, whatever it takes to get my husband back the way he used to be."

The old man turned around. "Young woman, your request doesn't exactly fall into the same category as a broken bone or ear infection."

"I know", said she.

"It will take three days before I can even look into it. Come back then."

Three days later, Yun Ok returned to the hermit's hut. "Yun Ok", he greeted her with a smile, "I have good news. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger."

"What?" she gasped. "Such a thing is impossible!"

"I cannot make the potion without it!" he shouted, startling her. He turned his back. "There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I'm very busy."

That night Yun Ok tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?

The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away.

The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast.

So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger (thank goodness for that! she thought) though she knew from footprints on the ground that the tiger - and not a smaller mountain creature - had been eating her food. 

Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger's head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.

After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away (again, thank goodness! she thought, though she knew that someday, in order to get the whisker, she'd have to come closer to it).

Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers.

"Actually", she thought, remembering its almost kittenish look as she set down a fresh bowl, "it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it." The next time she visited, she glanced up at the tiger briefly and noticed what a lovely downturn of reddish fur it had from over one of its eyebrows to the next. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.

Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: "Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?" While petting the tiger with one hand, she held one whisker at its base and, with the other hand, in one quick stroke, she carved the whisker off. She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time.

The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. 

She ran to the hermit's hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: "I have it! I have the tiger's whisker!"

"You don't say?" he said, turning around. "From a live tiger?"

"Yes!" she said.

"Tell me", said the hermit, interested. "How did you do it?"

Yun Ok told the hermit how, for the last six months, she had earned the trust of the creature and it had finally permitted her to cut off one of its whiskers. 

With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.

"Yun Ok", the hermit said softly, "you no longer need the whisker. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?"

Yun Ok stood speechless. Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do.


Peace of mind

Once Buddha was walking from one town to another town with a few of his followers. This was in the initial days. While they were travelling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there and Buddha told one of his disciples, ?I am thirsty. Do get me some water from that lake there.?

The disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple thought, ?How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!? So he came back and told Buddha, ?The water in there is very muddy. I don?t think it is fit to drink.?

After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked fit to be had. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.

Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said, ? See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be ... and the mud settled down on its own ? and you got clear water... Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. 

You don?t have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless.?

What did Buddha emphasize here? He said, ?It is effortless.? Having 'peace of mind' is not a strenuous job; it is an effortless process. When there is peace inside you, that peace permeates to the outside. It spreads around you and in the environment, such that people around start feeling that peace and grace.

The Hedgehogs

It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold.

The hedgehogs, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. 

This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions.

After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.

Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.

The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities.

Gratitude – Good comes around

At the end of the nineteenth century in America, two children from poor families 
were admitted to the university. In order to earn some money to pay for their school fees and living expenses, they thought of a plan to make money. They decided to organize a concert for a famous pianist and hoped to earn some money from the commission. They found a famous pianist of that era, Mr. Ignace Paderewski.

The manager of Mr. Paderewski and the two young men discussed the terms and agreed that the maestro would receive US$2000 for the concert performance. The maestro was agreeable to the proposal and thought the payment was sufficiently attractive. But to the two young men, US$2000 was a huge sum. If the income for the performance did not reach two thousand dollars, they would lose money.

The two young men signed the contract and commenced to work their hearts out in order to put on a successful concert. At the end of the concert, after totaling the money they had collected from the concert, they found out that they only had made $1600.

They gave all the one thousand six hundred dollars to Mr. Paderewski and also gave him a check for four hundred dollars, promising to honor the check as quickly as they could. Mr. Paderewski was touched by the two poor youngsters and tore the four hundred dollar check to pieces. He then handed over the one thousand six hundred dollars to the two young men and said, “Please deduct your school fees and living expenses from this money. Then from whatever is left of it, take ten percent of it as the commission for your effort. I will take what is left.” The two young men were moved to tears.

Many years later, at the end of World War I, Paderewski returned to his native Poland and became the Prime Minister of Poland. As a result of the devastation from the war, the country was experiencing financial difficulty and people were starving. Tens of thousands of hungry citizens were appealing to him for help. He rushed everywhere but was unable to solve the great crisis. Having no other alternative, he approached the head of the US Food and Relief Administration, Mr. Herbert Hoover, for assistance. When Mr. Herbert Hoover received the request, he immediately replied that he would send a large quantity of provisions to Poland.

Not long after that, more than ten thousand tons of provisions arrived in Poland. The tragedy in Poland was averted. Prime Minister Paderewski wanted to thank Mr. Herbert Hoover in person and made an appointment to meet with him in Paris.When the two men met, Mr. Herbert Hoover said: “You need not thank me. It is I who must thank you. Prime Minister Paderewski, perhaps there is something that you may have long forgotten, but I will remember it forever! When you were in America, you helped two poor university students. I was one of them!”
People who have noble characters and command respect from others often do a lot of things to help other people while expecting nothing in return.

Those who benefit from their generosity tend to start doing the same things themselves. Because of this, benevolent people sometimes received unexpected benefits in return for their good deeds.

It is a natural rule that revolves around the cycle of cause and effect. The universal truth is that genuine kindness and compassion will shine through the ages and won’t fade with the passage of time.

Just for Laughs

Non-Partisan Pastor

A new pastor of a Presbyterian church in a southern city found himself in a difficult position due to the fact that two officers in his church were running for mayor. The young preacher had to walk with much caution the impartial, equal-time line.

At the post office one morning, a church member who was flagrantly partisan asked, "Pastor, what do you think about the election?"

"I'm praying about it," the pastor told her.

"Well, what are you praying for?" the partisan Presbyterian wanted to know.

And the preacher told her, "I'm just thanking God for the secret ballot."


Did you know ?

  • There are 200,000,000 cell phones in use in the United States, more than one per every two human beings in the country. 
  • More than 2,500 left-handed people are killed each year from using products that are made for right-handed people. 
  • For every person on earth, there are an estimated 200 million insects. 
  • There are 2,000,000 millionaires in the United States. 
  • 1.5 million Americans are charged with drunk driving each year. 
  • A Georgia company will mix your loved one's ashes with cement and drop it into the ocean to form an artificial reef. 
  • The Washington Times newspaper is owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. 
  • The busiest shopping hour of the holiday season is between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm on Christmas Eve. 
  • In 2002, women earned 742,000 bachelor's degrees. Men earned only 550,000 during the same year. The difference is growing so large that many colleges now practice (quietly) affirmative action for male applicants. 
  • Most of the deck chairs on the Queen Mary 2 have had to be replaced because overweight Americans were breaking the
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