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Stress Management for Health Course

Chinese Zen Teaching

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Chinese Zen Teaching


Learn to take an overview of your experiences and changes.  Many benefits are not immediately obvious.  Often life is shaped by a series of unpredictable events.  Consider the lessons in this ancient Zen teaching story of an old Chinese farmer.


There was once an old farmer who had a mare.  One day the mare broke through the fence and ran away.  Now you have no horse to pull your plough at planting time, the neighbour said.  What bad luck this is.


Good luck, bad luck, replied the farmer, who knows.


The next week the mare returned bringing with her two wild stallions.


With three horses you are now a rich man. The neighbour said, What good fortune this is.


Good fortune, Bad fortune, the farmer said, who knows?


That afternoon the farmers only son tried to tame one of the stallions, but he was thrown and broke a leg.  Now you have no one to help the planting, the neighbour said, What bad luck this is.


Good luck, bad luck, the farmer said, who knows.


The next day the emperors soldiers rode into town and conscripted the eldest son in every family, but the farmers son was left behind because of his broken leg. 


Yours is the only eldest son in the province who has not been taken from his family, the neighbour said.  What good fortune this is . . . .


Each of lifes events can be seen as a challenge, but also an opportunity.

(p460 Benson H. Wellness Book)

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