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Pil Seung

Location: Penang, Malaysia

April 07, 2009

What are your priorities?

When I was waiting for my turn at the dental clinic to have a root canal procedure done a couple of months ago, I happened to pick up a magazine at the waiting area. It really caught my mind but it also made me think. I love to think, to exercise my brain. Most of the people I know are conformists, I found out that I am not. Let me try to recall the story off my memory and share it here.

My recollection is definitely different from the original version. Everyone has the tendencies to add and remove details due to their own experiences. We will talk about "Rashomon" someday.

There was this wandering Buddhist monk who managed to walk a long distance and eventually, saw a big mansion. He thought of asking for assistance from the tenants, maybe just for a glass of plain water, or just for a small shelter to get a few hours of rest before continuing his journey.

He was greeted by an old lady and her daughter-in-law. Apparently, the old lady was the head of the family. Her son went out to do some business. They were in the pearl business as the monk could see. The old lady was counting some pearls at that moment and there was this one big mother-of-all-pearl (not to be confused with nacre or mother of pearl).

As a devoted Buddhist, the old lady was very receptive of the monk and invited him to have a seat. She got her daughter-in-law to go into the kitchen to prepare some tea and vegetarian food. They had some conversations and pretty much centered around the practice of Buddhism, like some kind of questions and answers session.

Out of a sudden, the daughter-in-law called the old lady from the kitchen and the latter went in right away to her assistance, leaving the monk in the hall.

[to be continued...]