Thursday, December 4, 2008

Zen Tales: The Pearl of Wisdom

This is the story of little Ozzy.
He was the 4456th son of Mother of Pearl and of all his brother and sisters he was the smallest oyster in the bunch. He was always a little slow – as oysters go – and nobody thought he would accomplish anything in life.
As expected, when time came to pearl out little Ozzy turned out to be a failure.
All his brothers and sisters proudly displayed their pearls but no matter how hard he tried little Ozzy came out empty.
He was the laughing stock of the oyster culture and ashamed of himself he decided to run away and save his family from humiliation.
One dark night he sneaked out and went into the open ocean.
When the first rays of the sun started shining, tired of pulling his shell all night, he stopped by a big rock and started sobbing.
- Hey! What’s with the crying? – It turns out that the rock was just an old turtle doing his morning meditation.
- I am a total failure and disgrace to my family. I am an oyster without of pearl. Would you please eat me and put me out of my misery?
- Well, I am a vegetarian – said the turtle – But I tell you what. I will give you the pearl of wisdom so you wouldn’t be a pearless oyster anymore.
- The pearl of wisdom, what is that? – asked Ozzy
- It is the most magnificent, amazing, perfect pearl in the ocean. - said the turtle. It will give infinite wisdom to any one that wears it. Just open up and say aaa!
As Ozzy open up his shell the turtle picked up a round pebble and shoved it in.
- How do you feel? – Asked the turtle
- Wow! That feels great, big and heavy. I shell go back and made my family proud.
- Wait, wait! You cannot go back to your family. – Said the turtle.
- This is a magic pearl and if you show it to any one it will turn into a rock.
Very disappointed but very happy at the same time, little Ozzy thanked the turtle and left to look for his fortune in the underwater world.
He decided to be a monk and spend the rest of his life helping the poor and the sick.
Ozzy went from place to place imparting his new found wisdom with anyone he met.
Soon his reputation and fame grew and creatures from all over the ocean, the poor and the rich, the humble and the powerful, came seeking his wise advice.
He was a great teacher and counsel and many generations of disciples followed him.
In time his pearl of wisdom became legend.
After years and years of travel, feeling that his end is near Ozzy decided to go back home.
News of his return traveled fast and all the oysters, his brother and sisters and his little nephews were waiting with great anticipation.
It was a triumphant return and they gave him the highest honors. They all gather around in the town square to listen to his life story. At the end his nephews shouted.
- Uncle Ozzy can we see the pearl of wisdom, can wee see it please?
Oh, what the heck. Said Ozzy to himself. After all I don’t need it anymore.
So he opened up its shell for the first time since he had met the turtle.
And there it was, glowing in brilliant radiance, the most magnificent, amazing, perfect pearl in the ocean.


Lydia said...

I truly loved this, Buddha. Tell me, did you write this and the other Zen Tales you've told, or are these tales from your studies with masters? I've been meaning to ask. They are wonderful.

Buddha said...

I heard The Frog and the Scorpion story in a simple version and I took the idea and developed it.
All the other ones are truly original.
The use of koans, parables, metaphors and story telling is part of the Zen practice.
Rather than teaching you dogma it points you towards the truth and hopefully you will discover your own path of enlightenment and atain awakening to the true self nature.
And that is what many students of Zen or any other beliefs are missing.
Your path as your life are unique. You cannot simply copy it from the scriptures.

Jannie said...

I am wondering if any of his family ever came to see him while he was away all those years spreading his wisdom?

Buddha said...

That sounds like a funny idea.
Could it make the story better or should I leave it to the reader's imagination?
I'll have to think about it.