The Unsung Melody

Back in 1940s, there was a black pianist who played at a club in Southern California.  He was an amazing pianist, and many regulars frequented the club just to hear him play.  One day, a drunken patron put up a strange request “Sing for me.”  The pianist was reluctant—the only time he had sung in public was during his choir days at his father’s(..)

LEAN ON ME

A woman is practicing driving in the countryside. The instructor, her husband, is in a terrible mood because of work-related stress. He keeps yelling at her inapt navigation, the erratic speeds, and the jerky brakes. The woman becomes increasingly nervous and shaky with his constant badgering. Eventually, her car swerves off the road, lands into a deep(..)

The Flip of Legacy

Many years ago, a man woke up and picked up his morning newspaper from the doorstep. As he opened the newspaper, much to his horror and distress, he read his name in the obituary column. The newspaper had reported his demise by mistake. His initial instinct was that of shock. But as he regained his equilibrium, he became curious as to how society viewed his(..)

Heads I Lose, Tails You Win

One day, two travellers arrive at a tribal village and are welcomed by the chief. After a warm welcome, the chief tells them “I have a wager for both of you. The winner gets my beautiful daughter’s hand and my inheritance. The loser gets a pot of gold”. It was a no-lose proposition. The generous offer reflected the chief’s good heart and wealth.(..)

The Exciting Monotony

A heart surgeon took his car to his local garage for a regular service, and ends up striking a conversation with a very skilled but grumpy mechanic. "So tell me," says the mechanic, "I've been wondering about what we both do for a living, and how much more you get paid than me...” "Yes?" says the surgeon. "Well look at this," says the mechanic,(..)

The Bond of Liberty

The Zen teacher’s dog loved his evening romp with his master. The dog would race ahead to fetch a stick, then run back, wag his tail, and wait for the next game. On this particular evening, the teacher invited one of his star students to join him – a boy so bright that he questioned everything, including the disciplinary rules that came with Zen(..)

Two Shades of White

A trekker finds a precious stone in a mountain stream. The next day he meets an attractive woman who has lost her way and is starving. The man opens his bag to share his food. The woman sees the precious stone and asks the man to give it to her. He does so without hesitation. The woman leaves, rejoicing. She knew the stone was worth a fortune. But a few(..)

The Shredded Mystery!

A young executive was leaving the office at 6 PM when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in her hand. "Listen," said the CEO, "this is a very sensitive and important document and my secretary has left. Can you make this thing work?" “Certainly, Madam" said the young executive. He turned the machine on, inserted the(..)

Owner’s pride, without neighbor’s envy

Deep in the countryside, there was a farm with a reputation for producing the best quality corn in the state. Intriguingly, this farmland was not more fertile than the surrounding fields of corn. In fact, the farmer would even share his premium corn seeds with his neighbors right before each sowing season. Still each year, his crop fetched him a price(..)

Hop, Skip, and a Dump!

A hunter in Alaska sighted a majestic mountain lion. Since the wild cat was dangerously close, he fired quickly and aimlessly. He missed. The lion leaped towards the hunter. Fortunately, the lion hopped too high and skipped over the hunter. The relieved hunter returned to the camp and was concerned about his poor aim. So the next morning he went behind(..)

The Eye of Communication

Sometimes, an old circulating message is not a mere ’forward’, it actually does carry a point… An old blind man was sitting on a busy street begging for money. On a cardboard sign, he had written: 'Blind - Please help'. However, no one was giving him any money. A young advertising writer walked past and saw the blind man with his sign and the empty(..)

The Tidy Ways

A young priest was in charge of the garden within a famous Zen temple. Next to this temple there was a smaller temple where lived an old Zen master.  Once the priest was expecting special guests in the evening.  So he woke up early that day and spent a long time carefully raking up and arranging all the dry autumn leaves. As he worked, the old master(..)

The Ducky Tales

Ducks are renowned for their waterproof feathers, and it’s amazing to watch them as they splash around.  The water forms beads on their back and rolls off in a no-nonsense fashion back into the pond.   Lesson?  A leader shouldn’t let personal problems weigh and distract from the goals. Ducks appear to glide smoothly along the surface of the water(..)

A Boy, a Monkey, and the Nuts

Once a poor kid was given an assignment by a teacher on what he wanted to be when he grew up.   The kid did not hesitate for a minute and wrote a seven-page paper about his aim to be the owner of a horse ranch. He covered many details, including an exhaustive plan of the house and the stables. The teacher returned his paper with a big “F”, and then(..)

The Derailed Express

In 1850 it took the average piece of mail five weeks to travel from Missouri to California. This was frustrating, since in 1848 somebody had discovered gold in the California hills and the wild rush was on. America was moving west and needed a much more efficient, streamlined way to communicate with its West Coast. The Pony Express was the answer. Four(..)

To Ease, or Not to Ease!

A little boy brought home a cocoon from a picnic in the woods. He put the cocoon in his garden, and watched it daily in fascination, awaiting it to crack and a beautiful butterfly to emerge! However, the cocoon was too exposed—the urban setting did not protect it from wind, water, and sun. As it struggled to survive, one day a crow scooped down and(..)

The Uncalculated Steps

There was once a group of tiny frogs who arranged a competition.  Their goal was to climb the ladder that was resting against the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race.  The race began. No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. You heard statements such as:(..)

The Blunt Edge

Once there was a group of men—a young, hot-blooded guy and a bunch of old folks. Their job was to chop down trees in the jungle.  The young chap was very hard working. He always continued to work through his break time and often complained that the older folk were wasting time, taking breaks throughout the day to drink and chat. As time went by, this(..)

The Moneyless Guarantee

There was a business owner who was deep in debt and could see no way out.  He sat on a park bench, head in hands.  Suddenly an old man appeared before him.   After listening to the man’s woes, the old man said, “I believe I can help you.”  He asked the man his name and wrote out a check, “Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from(..)

Cruising a Bouncy River

Two travelling monks reached the bank of a river, where they met a young lady of the night. Wary of the current, she asked whether they could carry her across. The first monk just stood there hesitantly, but the second one quickly lifted her up onto his shoulders. Together, the monks waded through the river until they reached the other side, where the(..)

The Bull’s Third Eye

A young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. “There,” he said to the old man, “see if you can match that!” Undisturbed, the(..)

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Adapted | Arun Nathani Blog