Zen Talk: A Buddhist Story about Learning to Let Things Go

Two Buddhist monks were walking along a path when they came to a shallow, muddy river. A woman in a beautiful dress waited there, not wishing to cross for fear of ruining her beautiful dress. One of the monks lifted her onto his shoulders – something that he was absolutely not supposed to do – and carried her to the other side, where he set her down (dress intact) and proceeded along the path with his fellow monk. After a few hours, the second monk, unable to continue keeping quiet about what he understood as a violation of the code by which they lived, asked his companion, “Why did you pick that woman up and carry her across the river?” The first monk replied, “Are you still carrying her? I put her down hours ago.”

I love this story. It illustrates an absolutely wonderful life lesson that we should all take to heart. This is about letting things go: breathing in deeply and exhaling, letting out the negative thoughts, feelings and emotions and not thinking about them anymore.

I’m not going to drone on about the power of positive thinking or the importance of a Buddhist technique known as mindfulness or the psychological practice known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I am going to state simply that our thoughts, whether positive or negative, greatly affect the way we feel and think, and when we dwell on the negative and that which makes us upset or tense or angry, we are only harming ourselves.

When a moment has passed, it is in the past and that is where it should stay. Sometimes wrongs must be righted (when you insult someone, that’s in the past but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apologize for it later), but for the most part, dwelling on things that can’t be changed only clouds our minds and thoughts, preventing us from living in and enjoying the present and moving forward to a better future.

Let it go. Move on.

This story is a wonderful illustration of this important life lesson and I think about it all the time whenever I find myself dwelling on the unchangeable.

What sorts of things do you dwell on unnecessarily? What do you think of this story? Do you have a technique for learning to let things go?

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Enjoy more Zen Talk.

Advertisements

Cartman is Ordained by God in “Something You Can Do with Your Finger,” South Park Episode 409

This episode is wonderful for a few reasons. On a religious note, we can’t help but appreciate Cartman’s attitude and approach towards God. Not only does he believe that God has ordained him for what he is to do (start a boy band) but he challenges God, even demonstrating his fright after doing so (he calls God a pussy and then insists he was just kidding).

This episode plays upon a common theme in our thinking: that we think God wants what we do and that he is responsible for our successes and failures. Now, I’m not challenging the notion that there’s anything wrong with thinking that God has a hand in our lives. Lots of people think that and who would I be to tell them that they’re wrong?

However, this notion does bring the fact to light that it hardly makes sense for God to have chosen us for every activity that we want to do – or that he then holds us up as a test. It reminds one an awful lot of Genesis chapter 22, in which God commands Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, even though he has just given Isaac to him at the most unlikely time in Abraham and his wife, Sarah’s, lives.

Do you like this episode? Why or why not? Do you think God has a hand in everything we do?

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Read about other South Park episodes.

Stan Dances His Heart Out in “You Got F’d in the A” South Park Episode 805

You Got Served was a terribly stupid movie that did not need making. However, the dance moves were pretty kick ass. It reminds me a lot of Step Up and Step Up II. Pretty frickin’ stupid but great dance moves. As someone who can’t dance to save his life, quality dancing impresses me tremendously.

In this episode of South Park, Stan and his friends get served (they are danced at aggressively) and can’t dance back. When Randy Marsh can’t stand the idea of his son getting served, he shows him how to dance and makes Stan stand up for himself. Then we get a dance off with Lil’ Kim as our hostess. Hooray!

Did you like this episode? Can you dance? What kind of dancing? Have you ever been served?

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Read about other South Park episodes.