Archive for the ‘allegory’ Category

The Starfish Story

January 8, 2009

[ Author unkown ]

As the old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a boy ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea.

He finally catching up with the boy, he asked why he was doing this.

The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun.

” But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish, ” said the old man.

” How can your effort make any difference ? ”

The boy looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it safely in the waves.

” It makes a difference to this one, ” he said.


July 24, 2008

[Author Unknown]

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

“ Lord, You said that once I decided to follow You, You’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed You most You would leave me. “

The Lord replied, “ My son, My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only set of footprints, it was then that I carried you. “

Colors of the Rainbow

July 8, 2008

[ Author Unknown ] 

Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel: all claimed that they were the best, the most important, the most useful, the favorite.

GREEN said: “Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, leaves, trees – without me, all animals would die. Look out over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.”

BLUE interrupted: “You only think about the Earth, but consider the sky and sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing.”

YELLOW chuckled: “You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth to the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me, there would be no fun.”

ORANGE started next to blow her temper. “I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangos, and pawpaws. I don’t hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you”.

RED could stand it no longer. He shouted out: “I am the ruler of all of you! I am blood! Life’s blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire to the blood! I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poppy and the poinsettia. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon!”

PURPLE rose up to his full height. He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: “I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am a sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me, they listen and obey”.

Finally, INDIGO spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just as much determination: “Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace.”

And so all the colors went on boasting and quarreling, each convinced of their own superiority. Soon, their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening! Thunder rolled and boomed! Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear drawing close to one another for comfort. In the midst of the clamor, RAIN began to speak: “You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don’t you know you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me.”

Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands. The rain continued: “From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of colors as a reminder that you can all live in peace. The rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow”.

And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.


June 16, 2008



十一年前母亲把我送上了火车,从那以后,我一刻也没有停止探索这个世界,二十年里,从北京到上海,从广州到香港,从纽约到华盛顿,从南美到南非,从伦敦到雪梨,我游荡过五十多个国家,在十几个城市生活和工作过。每到一个地方,从里到外,就得改变自己以适应新的环境,而唯一不变的是心中对母亲的思念。IP 电话卡出现后,我才有能力常常从国外给母亲打电话,电话中母亲兴奋不已的声音总能让我更加轻松地面对生活中的艰难和挑战。然而也有让我不安的地方,那就是我感觉到母亲的声音一次比一次苍老。过去两年里,母亲每次电话中总是反复叮嘱:好好再外面生活,不要担心我,一定要照顾好自己,不要想着回来,回来很花钱,又对你的工作和事业不好,不要想着我……



从我打电话告诉母亲的那一天开始到我回到家,有两个月零八天,后来我知道,母亲放下电话后,就拿出一个小本本,然后给自己拟定了一个计划,她要为我回家做准备。那两个月里母亲把我喜欢吃的菜都准备好,把我小时候喜欢盖的被子“筒” 好,还要为我准备在家里穿的衣服……这一切对于一个行动不方便的,患有轻微老年痴呆症的75岁的母亲来说是多么的不容易,你肯定无法体会。直到我回去的前一天,母亲才自豪地告诉邻居:总算准备好了。 







我要走前,母亲从床底下吃力地拉出一个小纸箱,打开来,取出厚厚的一叠剪报。原来我出国后,母亲开始关心国外的事情,为此他还专门订了份《参考消息》,每当她看到国外发生的一些排华辱华事件,又或者出现严重的治安问题,她就会小心地把它们剪下来,放好。她要等我回来,一起交给我。 她常常说,出门在外,要小心。几天前邻居告诉我,母亲在家看一曲日本人欺负中国华人的电视剧,在家哭了起来,第二天到处打听怎么样子才能带消息到日本。那时我正在日本讲学。


“妈妈,那一张剪报是什么? 给我看一下。”我问。















February 15, 2008










How Poor Are We?

January 30, 2008

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him 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.”

Isn’t perspective a wonderful thing? It makes you wonder what would happen if we all give thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don’t have.

We All Need A Tree!

October 25, 2007

I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.

When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation.. His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing’s for sure, those troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children.. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning I pick them up again.” “Funny thing is,” he smiled,” when I come out in the morning to pick ’em up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance. We all need a tree!

Stories of Thien

October 23, 2007

[A tale from the book by Venerable Hue Can and Nick Mills]

In his Early sermons Buddha told this following story :

Once there was a rich old man who had four wives. One day the man was very ill. Knowing that death was coming soon, he summoned all the wives and declared, “When I was well I loved you all dearly. I provided you all with luxuries that no girl in the town would ever dream of. I made sure that all of you had servants to wait on your every need. Now I’m about to die. I feel very lonely. My wish is that you join me when I die.”

He expected that the youngest and most recent wife, who he favoured, would happily responded to his wish. Yet her answer was, “My dear husband, I am sure that your adore me the most. You keep me with you at all times, both day and night. I appreciate your love so I’ll see you off at the door.”

The man was deeply disappointed. He looked at his third wife with hope. The woman replied, “You neglected me most of the time. You only showed interest in me for your own benefit, whenever I could render you a service or appreciate your generosity. nevertheless, to show my gratitude I will see you off at the gate.”

The man turned his desperate look to the second wife. The woman said, “When you were well wherever you went, although you didn’t take me like the fourth sister, you always mentioned my name to everybody. Often you boasted about me. For that consideration I will see you off at the service and accompany you to your last moment at the cemetery.”

Three remained the first wife whose existence te man always ignored. To his surprise the woman said, “I’m your first wife. I was betrothed to you when I was very little. Since then my duty has been to be with you, although you forget me all the time. But I will never separate from you. Be assured that whenever you go, I will be your loyal companion.”

The man signed his last breath.

Buddha concluded the story as follows :

We sentient beings, regardless of gender, have these four wives. Who are they ? The fourth wife — money. The third wife — family and friends. The second wife — fame. The first wife — your karma.

Karma is an action which is continuously repeated to form a habit. Eventually we accept its outcome. Karma can be changed. All you need is to be strong and determined to detach from your habits.

What the Modern Woman Wants

October 15, 2007

A 15-year old Singaporean, competing against 16- to 18-year-olds, has won the 2004 top prize in a writing contest that drew 5,300 entries from 52 countries.

In the annual Commonwealth Essay Competition, Amanda Chong of Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) chose to compete in the older category and won with a piece on the restlessness of modern life. Her short story, titled What The Modern Woman Wants, focused on the conflict in values between an old lady and her independent-minded daughter.


The Carpenter

September 27, 2007

一个上了年纪的木匠准备退休了。 他告诉雇主,他不想再盖房子了,想和他的老伴过一种更加悠闲的生活。他虽然很留恋那份报酬,但他该退休了。




木匠完工后,雇主来了。他拍拍木匠的肩膀,诚恳地说: 房子归你了,这是我送给你的礼物。

木匠感到十分震惊:太丢人了呀…… 要是他知道他是在为自己建房子,他干活儿的方式就会完全不同了。



人生就是一项自己做的工程, 我们今天做事的态度 决定了明天住的房子


Check Up

August 7, 2007

Can you sleep when the wind blows?

July 3, 2007

Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic . They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic , wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals.

Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. “Are you a good farm hand?” the farmer asked him.

“Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man.

Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, h ired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work.

Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters.

He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!”

The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.”

Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down.

Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

When you’re prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life?

The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm.

Carrot, Egg & Coffee

July 3, 2007

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them
sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.

The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity .. boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I ? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

The Elderly Woman with Two Urns

June 26, 2007

An elderly Chinese woman had two urns, each hung on the ends of pole which she carried across her neck.

One of the urns had a crack in it while the other urn was perfect and always delivered a fill portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the House, the cracked urn arrived only half full. For full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half urns of water. Of course, the perfect urn was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked urn was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”

The old woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other urn’s side?” “That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.”

“For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”

往事’堪’回首 妙妙

March 12, 2007