Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take several days. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

A Sufi Story

taiyakitaiyaki Veteran
edited February 2011 in Arts & Writings
An old man was sitting at the gate of a town and a man riding on a horse stopped to ask him, "What are the people of this town like?"

The old man asked, "Why do you ask this?"

The rider said, "The people of the town I have come from were very indecent. I was upset and disturbed by them, I had to leave that town. Now I want to become a resident of some new town so I am asking you how the people are here."

The old man said, "Brother, you had better move on. The people of this town are even viler, more wicked and indecent than in your town. Here you will get into more trouble, so go and look somewhere else." The rider moved on.

Just behind him a bullock cart came to a halt and the man looked around and said, "Grandfather, how are the people of this village? I am searching for a new home."

The old man asked again, "How were the people of the village you have left?"

Tears came to the eyes of that man. He said, "I didn't want to leave - I was helpless, I had to leave. The people of that village were very loving. Now whenever I live in the memory of those people will torment me. I was helpless and I was in economic difficulty. I had to leave just so I could earn a living; I need to try my luck somewhere else. But I just have one desire, and that is that whenever my luck improves I will return there. I will reside in that village and in the end I want to die in that village. If I could not live there, then at least I want to die there."

The old man said, "You are welcome. You will be even more loved by the people of this village than the people in your previous village."

A man was sitting there listening to all this. First he heard what the horseback rider said and the old man's reply. Then he heard what this man on the bullock cart said and the old man's reply. This man said, "You have really surprised me. To one man you said that this village is very vile and wicked and to just move on. And to the other you said that this village has very loving people, that you have no need to go anywhere else, you are welcome."

The old man explained, "You see in people what you yourself are. People are the same everywhere. The real problem is about you. Remember this."

-Not sure where it was found.


  • thanks for sharing
  • Thanks except sometimes it's just not that way. _/\_
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    No, it is. I have seen this for myself.
    The more bitter I have been, the more it has evinced bitterness from others.
    The kinder and more compassionate I have been, the more I have received a similar response....

    I like this thread. It would be nice to use as a melting pot for anecdotal stories with a message to them...
    Like "the Cracked Pot", or "the bag of nails", or even "the wooden bowl"....
  • It is a sweet story, and there is a lot of truth in it, but like Floating Abu I think it is not an absolute truth.

    It is true that we see what we want to see, and it is also true that when we behave friendly, people will behave friendly in return. But all of this is true to a certain extend.

    You can have bad luck, and then you have to go.
    I’m with the rider!

    The reason for pointing this out is that I heard a similar story from a monk (one I respect a lot by the way).
    The story is about a married couple. I will be brief. The woman gets a lot of beating from her husband. She keeps a kind, loving and forgiving attitude about it. She loves him. Many years go by. Many visits to the hospital later the man sees the light and stops beating her.
    The monk told it better. And his point was that love will conquer hate, just hold on to it.

    It is sound Buddhism, but I firmly disagree.
    When you are being abused, get up and leave.
    Respect yourself.
  • Yeah I think thats a bad story zenff. Its like your eating rotten food and if you love it it will turn fresh.
  • Also the old man actually lied twice.
    He should have said: "I can’t tell you what the people in this town are like because I see them with my eyes and you will see them with yours."
    If that is what he really thinks.
  • Floating_AbuFloating_Abu Veteran
    edited February 2011
    I think what is true is that we all have the same elements of love, hate, anger, joy etc. This is what bonds us in this human life, and we see what we are also capable of. We empathise because we know too we could hate, love, kill, save. And were it me in those conditions - name any - how could you guarantee you would also not be THAT. That is a fact, I believe.

    ..And to the degree we empathise, understand and see, it does not mean that hating people will love because we might love them - but it means that we can have (maybe) a firmer and more clear mind ground to see 'what is' including the very real realities and also sadnesses in and of life.

    Of course it helps if we are loving and kind for example, but if we expect like to be repaid in like I think that is an unrealistic expectation. I think it is better to see realistically but also, if possible, act from a place of better 'clarity'. And maybe as Thich Nhat Hanh promotes, understanding. Anyway it is a lot to ask I think.

    Clarity is a possible product of Buddhist practice, for those so inclined but even that definition can be subject to misunderstanding.
  • Floating_AbuFloating_Abu Veteran
    edited February 2011
    No, it is. I have seen this for myself.
    The more bitter I have been, the more it has evinced bitterness from others.
    The kinder and more compassionate I have been, the more I have received a similar response....
    Apparently there is an effect on this world. One person smiles, another is happier, round and round etc
  • "Smile and the whole world smiles with you"

    This does not necessarily mean that the world is actually smiling; I think it means that we are being optimistic. Even so, if there is a seed of happiness in a person, then our joyfulness and optimism can bring that out. It can cheer people up.

    It's very effective,
Sign In or Register to comment.