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These Short Zen Tales Taught Me Important Life Lessons

 Zen stories are the ancient words of wisdom and deeds of Zen masters, which have been passed on through the ages. These tales tend to be insightful, enigmatic, and are fun to read and understand. 
The great thing about most Zen stories is that you don’t need a thorough understanding of the practice to feel them. They are usually stories about life that anyone can relate to and learn from. Sometimes, they make you think and sometimes they make look within yourself. Most importantly, they aim to illustrate various elements of truth.
Here, we have shared a few enlightening Zen stories we feel you will enjoy. These multi-layered parables are sure to captivate you and will hopefully provide a fresh perspective of observing life. 

1. The Moon Cannot Be Stolen

Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, master
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, mountain
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, thief
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, monk
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, thief
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, hut
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, moon
Moral:
The Zen master has found a way of life that keeps him content. He was not attached to any material possessions and gave away all the clothes he had to the thief without a second thought. However, he does wish he could offer his appreciation of nature or enlightenment to the man. The moon in this story is a symbol of that contentment and peace. It shows us that there’s much more to life than attachments to materialistic things. 

2. Muddy Road

Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, rainy evening
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, cloudy
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, leaf
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, temple
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, monks
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, burden
Moral:
The story implies that sometimes letting go is important. We can often torture ourselves mentally and emotionally by holding on to things we did. Life doesn’t always follow a said script. And sometimes, rules are bent and broken. However, carrying the mental wounds long after a chapter has closed is like punishing yourself. So breathe deep and let it go. 

3. A Cup of Tea

Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, rainy
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, teapot
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, tea and cups
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, tea
Moral:
The classic Zen story illustrates that learning a new skill requires an open mind. Much too often, we tend to believe we know everything, especially when we start getting better at a new skill we just learned. Moreover, many seekers come loaded with their predetermined notions about learning something new and that makes the simple essence difficult to pierce through.
So, empty your “cup” completely and new insight will flow through naturally and spontaneously. 

4. Conquering Anger 

Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, river
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, anger
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, disciple
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, anger management
Moral:
Self-control is much better than dealing with problems caused by anger. Our anger is caused by outside influences and only we can put it under check. Rage erupts spontaneously and can be harmful to you and those around you. Keep the words of the Zen master in mind and whenever your temper rises and with time you should learn to keep your anger in check and develop a placid temperament. 

5. Paradise 

Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, desert
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, wall
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, oasis
Thought-Provoking Zen Parables, sacrifice
Moral:
The moral of this parable is pretty simple: lend a hand, when you can! Sometimes we walk the path of self-indulgence and other times the path of sacrifice for others. It takes courage to leave the "wall" in such a scenario to go and look to help others while not giving in to your own desires instead. The story also asks us a moral question we must make at some point in our lives: whether to act for the benefit of ourselves or to act in a way that will help others.
Share these wonderful stories with your loved ones...
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