General Buddhism => General Buddhism => Topic started by: bambi on July 01, 2012, 05:07:19 PM

Title: The tail
Post by: bambi on July 01, 2012, 05:07:19 PM
There is a story about a princess who had a small eye problem that she felt was really bad. Being the king's daughter, she was rather spoiled and kept crying all the time. When the doctors wanted to apply medicine, she would invariably refuse any medical treatment and kept touching the sore spot on her eye. In this way it became worse and worse, until finally the king proclaimed a large reward for whoever could cure his daughter. After some time, a man arrived who claimed to be a famous physician, but actually was not even a doctor.

He declared that he could definitely cure the princess and was admitted to her chamber. After he had examined her, he exclaimed, "Oh, I'm so sorry!" "What is it?" the princess inquired. The doctor said, "There is nothing much wrong with your eye, but there is something else that is really serious." The princess was alarmed and asked, "What on earth is so serious?" He hesitated and said, "It is really bad. I shouldn't tell you about it." No matter how much she insisted, he refused to tell her, saying that he could not speak without the king's permission.

When the king arrived, the doctor was still reluctant to reveal his findings. Finally the king commanded, "Tell us what is wrong. Whatever it is, you have to tell us!" At last the doctor said, "Well, the eye will get better within a few days - that is no problem. The big problem is that the princess will grow a tail, which will become at least nine fathoms long. It may start growing very soon. If she can detect the first moment it appears, I might be able to prevent it from growing." At this news everyone was deeply concerned. And the princess, what did she do? She stayed in bed, day and night, directing all her attention to detecting when the tail might appear. Thus, after a few days, her eye got well.

This shows how we usually react. We focus on our little problem and it becomes the center around which everything else revolves. So far, we have done this repeatedly, life after life. We think, "My wishes, my interests, my likes and dislikes come first!" As long as we function on this basis, we will remain unchanged. Driven by impulses of desire and rejection, we will travel the roads of samsara without finding a way out. As long as attachment and aversion are our sources of living and drive us onward, we cannot rest.

What would you have done if you are the princess?
Title: Re: The tail
Post by: Dorje Pakmo on July 01, 2012, 06:17:02 PM
Dear Bambi,
Thank you for this interesting story of “The Tail”.
I think this story is telling us that we often wallow endlessly in our problems which in actuality are very insignificant. This stubbornness and self pity state of mind often hinder our progress and if we keep complaining and keep focusing on a particular problem, it only serves to magnify it and make us more miserable.

It is like a small little smudge in the centre of a piece of white drawing paper. We may see that small little smudge as dirty and imperfection to that piece of paper. Why not look “outside” the smudge? There’s still so much space to work with. We can paint around it, and even over it. Instead of focusing on small little flaws, why not explore other possibilities and appreciate what we have to work with?   

We should live our life feeling grateful and blessed for everything we have. Do not let small problems stop and trap us from excelling in life. Everybody faces difficulties from time to time; such is the law of impermanence, nothing is bad or good forever. Hence, always focus and look for good qualities, and all flaws will become smaller and even disappear. We in turn will become much happier.  ;)

Thank you.
Title: Re: The tail
Post by: Big Uncle on July 01, 2012, 06:35:56 PM
That is an interesting teaching and story for kids as well as for adults. I believe everyone meets with obstacles and problems. No matter how rich, poor or easy, your life have been, you would most definitely have met with problems. How we deal with the problem would determine how well they are solved and whether the problem would recur.

There's one teaching I read that I learnt regarding meeting with crisis is not to focus on the wall but instead focus on the space beyond the wall. When we keep thinking of the wall/problem, we get stuck. However, when we shift our attention to the space beyond the wall, we naturally and psychologically look for ways to overcome the problem in order to arrive at a sensible solution to any problem.

If our problems have consistently been about the most trivial matters that involve just our own need and wishes, then we would suffer tremendously as we grow older because it show tremendous laziness and selfishness. That's another perspective regard this matter.
Title: Re: The tail
Post by: ratanasutra on July 01, 2012, 06:59:56 PM
The interesting story always bring our attention but the most importance is what we have learnt from it and are we going to apply it in our life or just a sake of learning?

Princess just an example which reflect to most of us as we are so into self cherishing mind so everything that concern ourself is always the biggest one. We only focus in ourself even is just a little tiny things, our time, energy, effort etc are put into it which only lead us to more suffering like princess case.

When i was young, my friend and i liked to complain about our hairs as she has curly hair and want to have straight hair, as for me i have straight hair but want to have curly hair, unfortunately it can't be exchanged otherwise for sure we did it.. Now when i think back, how silly we were, we never think about how about the people who bold and doesn't hair!!! how are they feeling. Gosh..what we are complain about?.. It make me shut up..

If i were a princess, well... it was a big lesson to learn and i hope it still not too late. i better solve the issues one by one, starting from cure my eye first while try to detecting the tail...

Title: Re: The tail
Post by: Carpenter on July 01, 2012, 08:38:49 PM
In life, many of us regardless of adult of children, we tend to hang on the problem we had, even when there is a solution provided in front of us, the medicine is there, but we refuse to take. So what make us any difference from the princess?

Sometimes when we focus on those little tiny problem in our life and we make it like a big deal, we actually loses the chance for bigger things to happen in our life, our ego is so strong until we draw such an unnecessary attention to us, yes, some people might enjoy because they felt important when everyone are looking at him, but you know what, because of this, we had showed people how stupid we are, just like the princess, she had showed everyone in town that how foolish she is by holding on such a small issue.

Lesson to be learned from here, never get hang on on the tiny issues that happen in life, because it happen every time, but instead, we should focus on the bigger ones and more important one.
Title: Re: The tail
Post by: DS Star on July 01, 2012, 09:32:47 PM
This story is very suitable to teach kids regarding facing reality - in this case, having small eyes.

Often the parents will spoil the kids, especially those too busy to personally care for them. I notice nowadays, kids don't really bother if their demands will burden their parents. In old days, we would not dare to ask for anything as we do not want to put extra pressure to our parents who had been working very hard to earn their livings and to put food on our table.

I guess time had changed, and with better living standards, parents shower their kids with expensive gifts to compensate for the lack of time they can spend with the kids. This act will make the kids to be more self-centered as well as not able to see the bigger picture and too indulge in their own little fantasy world.

I recalled a real story of how a girl in Singapore committed suicide when she could not contact her online boyfriend; earlier in the day her computer was sent to repair and the technician had wiped out all her data.

Parents, teachers and everyone, we really need to let the kids know that the world has so much to offer that just their online 'friends', avatars and games...
Title: Re: The tail
Post by: Jessie Fong on July 02, 2012, 12:08:09 AM
The princess was obsessed with the sore spot on her eye.  She was too occupied with it, not wanting to accept any medical treatment.  She was too focused on it.  ?She acted as if it was the most important thing.

Different people arise to the situation in different ways due to their perception of what is happening, how they would solve the problem.  I believe that the "fake" doctor was a person who saw through what the princess was going through - that she was pre-occupied with her feeling that the sore spot was starting to become an ugly spot.

He mentioned about the tail to take her mind off the sore spot and concentrate on the new problem.  But she was easily tricked into believing that the tail would grow on her.  In doing so, she had taken her mind of the sore spot and onto the imaginary tail.

Title: Re: The tail
Post by: biggyboy on July 02, 2012, 09:07:08 PM
Moral of the story is move on and not caught up with the tiny menial problems that we have or had for it does not serve much purpose or none at all.  In fact, it creates more problems for ourselves and others for we do not move along with the tide and look beyond for bigger picture.  Many times, we tend to focus too much on trivial small little thing and creating so much attention, time wasting and creating unnecessary problems to act of selfishness. 
Title: Re: The tail
Post by: kurava on July 03, 2012, 03:44:33 AM
Our mind can only focus on one thing at any single moment. If one does meditation, one will understand this easily.

I 've often heard from mothers that when their children fall ill, they can be so focused on taking care of the sick child that they forget about their own tiredness, hunger or  even illness. This is how cherishing/ focusing on others will bring benefit to one self . Sometimes monks can even sit calmly to let fire devour on their bodies in order to send a strong message for the larger goal of benefiting others. This also demonstrates how mind can overcome matter.

The physician understands this and skilfully directs the Princess' attention from her "sore eye" to something else. Well, if only the Princess can focus on something virtuous such as how to help others in her country , that would have been wonderful.
Title: Re: The tail
Post by: KhedrubGyatso on July 03, 2012, 03:53:03 AM
There can be many takes on this story.
I see the princess as an example of someone who wants attention . This becomes so strong that she subconsciously don't want to be cured , delaying treatment and purposely making it worse so that she continue to receive attention. People who commit suicide can have strong elements of this to proof a point  until they are so consumed that they will even destroy themselves.
The guy understood her psychosis and merely switch the focus of her attention to her imaginary tail.
If i am the princess, I would hv just followed the dr's advice. Why prolong suffering esp when it is the physical type that can be cured ! Although her eye is cured, she is still suffering and will continue to suffer because she had not learnt to stop cherishing herself.