Too Many Cows

Excerpt from transcription of a Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh:

Many of you may not have heard about cow releasing. The story is like this: One day the Buddha was sitting with his monks in the woods. They had just finished their mindful lunch and were about to start a question and answer session. A peasant passed by and asked the Buddha, “Dear monk, have you seen my cows passing by here?”

The Buddha said, “What cows?”

“My cows, six of them, I don’t know why but this morning they all ran away. I had also cultivated three acres of sesame seeds, but this year the insects ate them all. I think I am going to kill myself. I have lost everything!”

The Buddha said, “Dear friend, we have not seen your cows passing by here. You better look for them in the other direction.” After the farmer had gone, the Buddha looked at his monks and smiled and said, “My dear friends, do you know that you are lucky, you do not have any cows to lose.”

--Thich Nhat Hanh, Cultivating Compassion and Understanding


     I have too many cows not worth having.  I'll be compassionate and not offer you any.     



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