August 30, 2023

Jampa and the sage of the silent pond

Once, in a monastery high in the Tibetan mountains, there lived a wise old monk. He was known for his calm charisma and insightful advice. Many young apprentices lived in the monastery, but the youngest and most curious among them was Jampa, just eight years old.

Jampa often felt restless, especially after visits to the nearby village or on busy school days. “I don’t understand,” he said to the monk, “whenever I come back from the village or have had a hard day at school, my head is like a hive full of buzzing bees.”

The monk smiled and led Jampa to a quiet pond behind the monastery. “Fill this cup with pond water and look inside,” he said. Jampa did as he was told and noticed that the water in the cup was cloudy. “That’s how my head feels too, everything is messed up,” he commented.

“Put the cup down and let’s wait a bit,” the monk suggested.

After a few moments, the water cleared. “What happens if you shake the cup now?” the monk asked. “The sand swirls up and the water gets murky again, right?” guessed Jampa. “Exactly,” the monk confirmed, “and then when you put the cup back down?”

“The sand settles and the water becomes clear again,” Jampa concluded.

“It’s like your mind. Give it time to rest, and the clarity will return by itself,” the monk explained.

“But there’s something else that puzzles me,” Jampa added after a small pause. “On those stressful days, I notice that I get angry and sad faster. Sometimes it’s even hard for me to be happy.”

The monk nodded. “That’s a good observation. Imagine the murky water is like a river with strong currents. On days when your mind is agitated, you are more easily carried away by these currents.”

Jampa understood. “And what can I do to not be so easily torn by my emotions?”

The monk looked deeply into Jampa’s eyes. “Meditation is your quiet place on the banks of this river. Meditation is like letting the glass stand. There you can learn to observe your thoughts and feelings without being carried away by them. If you observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad, the murky water will clear. Good or bad, who knows? You remember that story?”

Jampa’s eyes lit up and he nodded.

From then on, Jampa took time for meditation every day, and gradually it became easier and easier for him to face both the inner and outer storms calmly. And so, although still so young, he became an example to all in the monastery of how to find inner peace even in the midst of the storm.

Copyright & Copyright Text & Image, Dominik Habichtsberg, 30.08.2023

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