Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Stolen Axe

There are some wonderful Taoist stories that illustrate what happens when we tell stories that send us into the Pit of Illusion. This story brings back a lot of memories of myself before I learned to Live in Truth.

A man went out to the wood pile one morning to chop wood, but could not find his axe.  He searched frantically in every place he normally left it, but it was in none of those places. As he searched he noticed his neighbor’s son lurking lazily about the neighbor’s well.  “Ah ha!” said the man. “Surely this young man has taken my axe.  Look at the way he shifts from foot to foot as if he is afraid I will know. And the guilty look on his face. Surely he has taken my axe. But he will not get away with this. I will make him pay for his thievery.”

All the rest of that day the man fumed and plotted what he would do to the boy, and he slept little that night as he thought about his terrible neighbor who had raised a son to be a thief.

The next morning, still vexed with thought, the man went out to his garden to pick some vegetables and there by his shed found the missing axe and remembered that he had left it there.

As he began chopping wood, he again saw the neighbor’s son walking about the well. “My how the boy has changed,” said the man to himself. “The guilty look has completely left his face.”

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