Buddhist Tales

Solving Problems

Long ago, there was a kingdom with a pond. One day, the people of the kingdom spotted something shining in the pond. They quickly reported this to the king. The king realized that it must be a gem! He quickly ordered his soldiers to empty the pond and get the gem. He made sure that only a few trustworthy soldiers could get the stone so that no one else could get the gem. After lots of hard work, the pond was finally empty, but the gem was not there! The king was angry and suspicious that someone took it. He ordered the soldiers to refill the pond, and when they did, the gem was suddenly back! The king tried again, making the soldiers empty and refill the pond. But each time, the king could not get the gem. No one could figure out why the gem was disappearing.

At this time, the bodhisattva (Buddha in one of his earlier lives) was the king's most trusted adviser. After the king tried twice to capture the gem, he went to his adviser for help.

"I have tried twice to empty the pond and retrieve the pond, but each time, the gem disappears!" said the king.

The adviser sat by the pond for a long time to think about the problem. He thought about why the gem would disappear when the pond was emptied, then he figured it out. He ran back to the king to show him.

"Do you have a bowl?" asked the adviser. The king gave him one.

He filled the bowl with water, and brought the king to the pond with the bowl. He gave the king the bowl.

"Can you see a gem inside this bowl?" asked the adviser.

"Yes!" said the king to his surprise.

"Look up." said the adviser.

Above the king was a tree with a bird's nest. Inside the bird's nest, there was a gem. The adviser explained that the gem that the king saw in the pond and the bowl was just a reflection of the actual gem in the bird's nest above. The king then got his soldiers, and retrieved the gem from the tree. By thinking about the cause of the gem disappearing, the adviser was able to figure this out.

Next time, when you're stuck on a problem, think about the cause of the problem. Like the adviser, you will be able to solve problems much easier that way.



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