• Elias Hicks, a Quaker farmer, once had an abundant wheat crop when his neighbors’ fields did poorly. Speculators knew that the price of wheat would rise, and they offered to buy Mr. Hicks’ crop at a high price, but he declined to sell. Later, when his neighbors began to suffer from the effects of the poor growing season, Mr. Hicks sold them wheat — but at the normal price, not at the higher price.
• According to legend, the monks who studied at the Shaolin Temple had a unique graduation ceremony. They were sent to the temple’s maze of underground passageways and had to find their way out by passing many tests. In one test, the monk came to a wall on which were hanging many weapons, a broom, and a sign saying, “Choose one.” The monk would select one, and then go into the next room, which turned out to be filled with scorpions. If the monk had chosen the broom, he was able to simply sweep the scorpions out of his way. Getting through the room was much more difficult if the monk had chosen a sword. At the end of the underground passageways, one final door needed to be opened, and the only way to open it was to use one’s bare arms to lift and move a searingly hot cauldron decorated on each side with dragon designs. In moving the cauldron, the monk’s graduation diploma — the figures of the dragon — were burned into his arms.
• Two monks and a woman crossed a river on a ferry. One monk ogled the woman, then he winked to his companion, so the woman slapped him. The monk then closed his eyes, but a few minutes later the woman slapped him again. The monk said, “What have I done wrong? I had my eyes closed!” The woman said, “You have been thinking about me with your eyes closed — and that is worse than ogling me with your eyes open!”
• Before one seeks truth in faraway places, one ought to find the truth that is available at home. Yang Pu wished to study Buddhism under a great Buddhist teacher, so he left his home and went to Sichuan Province. However, he met an old man to whom he confided his ambition. But the old man asked, “Wouldn’t it be better to seek Buddha rather than a teacher?” “Of course,” said Yang Pu, “but where is Buddha to be found?” The old man said, “Go home. When you see a person wearing a blanket and with shoes on the wrong feet, that person is Buddha.” Yang Pu returned home, where his mother, who was not fully dressed, heard him. She was so happy that he was home that in order to run to greet him she threw a blanket around herself and put on her shoes so hurriedly that she put them on the wrong feet.
• When Dovid Goldwasser acted as Rabbi at a summer camp in Poland for Jewish adults, he met many people who had stories to tell about the Nazis and the death camps. One man, Boruch Segal, told about being lined up to be deported to Buchenwald by the Nazis. A mother in line, who was not observant as a Jew, saw a Rabbi and ran over to him so he could bless her infant daughter. The Rabbi blessed her daughter, saying, “May your daughter live a long life and may she one day become a leader of her community.” After telling this story to Rabbi Goldwasser, Mr. Segal pointed to a woman nearby — a leader of one of the groups at the camp — and said, “She was that baby.”
• When Kathleen O’Connell Chesto, a Christian, was a young girl, she looked into a mirror and complained about a perceived lack of beauty. Her mother overheard her complaints, then told her, “Don’t you dare criticize my handiwork!”
• One of the studio heads at Paramount invited Groucho Marx to a screening of Samson and Delilah, starring the muscular Victor Mature and the beautiful Dorothy Lamarr, then the studio head asked Groucho how he liked the movie. Groucho pointed out the one glaring fault the movie had: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man’s bust is bigger than the leading lady’s.” For a long time thereafter, Groucho wasn’t invited to screenings at Paramount.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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