Thursday, December 9, 2010
The Frog in the shallow well - A Chinese Fable
I was writing about how spirituality is multidimensional, and how I have in the past missed its dimensions; so I was reminded of this Chinese Fable I recently heard. I think it is good material for a dinner table story tonight. Here it goes ... - Shiv
Once upon a time there was a Frog who lived in a shallow well. The shallow well is the only place he has ever come into contact with, as well as a puddle of murky waters. Whenever he looks up through the opening of the well above, he would exclaim excitedly: “Wow! The world is so big!” Little did the Frog know the real world that lies outside of his well.
One day, the Frog met a Turtle, who came from the East Sea, at the edge of his well. The Frog boasted of his perfect little biding: “I am so happy! When I go out, I can jump about along the edges of the well. When I come home, I can rest in the holes inside the well. I have the water which comes up to my armpits, and the mud to play with. When I look at the small worms, crabs, and tadpoles, I realize none of them can compare to me. I am the lord of this well, and I am very, very pleased!”
The Frog then said to the Turtle:”I know this is the best place in the world. You are welcome to stay here if you like.”
The Turtle shook his head, “Even a distance of a thousand miles cannot give you an idea of the sea’s width; even a height of a thousand meters cannot give you an idea of its depth. In the time of the great floods, the waters in the sea did not increase. During the terrible droughts, the waters in the sea did not decrease. The sea does not change along with the passage of time and its level does not rise or fall according to the amount of rain that falls. The greatest happiness is to live in the Sea.”
After hearing the story, the Frog of the Shallow Well was shocked and became suddenly aware of his ignorance.
Personal LESSON (by Shiv)
Lesson for the kids: This story reminds us that we should not ignore what we don't know and just be satisfied with what we have. Because the world has better things in store for us. For example, I know you like Pizza the best, but you should try some other foods as well; you may not know what you might like sometime!
My lesson: This frog is actually quite likable -- he is happy with what he is, and he is willing to share his happiness with others. However, he is ignorant of what lies outside his world. Somewhat like me before I started reading books from all around the world, I thought what I had read was enough. Expanding my reading has geometrically increased my understanding of even what I had read before. So, to myself I have made a promise: "Lest ignorance happiness curtail, let the light of wisdom prevail."