Tag Archive for: Buddhism

I am often reminded of this old Chinese fable about a farmer and his horse.

There are many varying versions of the story, but it goes something like this:

Alan Watts’ telling of the story.

The Chinese farmer’s attitude illustrates a deep understanding of how seeming bad fortune can often be a blessing in disguise. And vice versa.

I believe I first learned this story from Derek Sivers, whose telling I’ll quote in full below, along with his 1998 song based on this classic parable:

My favorite fable (塞翁失马)

A farmer had only one horse. One day, his horse ran away.

His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

A few days later, his horse came back with twenty wild horses following. The man and his son corralled all 21 horses.

His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

One of the wild horses kicked the man’s only son, breaking both his legs.

His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

The country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer’s son was spared, since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted.

His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

Reprinted from Sivers.org here. Listen to Derek’s song “Still Too Soon to Tell” below:

If you enjoy this timeless parable, and the beautiful song Derek composed to retell the tale, you might find my exclusive interview with him here interesting.

moonset king thailand

A cloudy night, a God-King’s final day, the moon says goodbye.

Respectful Condolences for the King of Thailand

It is with great sadness that I share the news: the day has come, as of royal announcement yesterday, His Majesty King Rama IX has vacated the throne.

Universally adored across Thailand for his dedication to his people and their unique culture, I pray he rests in peace after a lifetime of hard work and commitment to bettering his society. With great respect, and heartfelt condolences, I stand with my Thai friends and the country as a whole as they go through this important time of mourning.

I have spent many years as a guest in this remarkable community thanks only to the generosity of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and been treated with absolute grace and love by the vast majority of its beautiful people.

Though I will never fully know what it’s like to be born Thai, the country and its people will forever hold an immensely special place in my heart, and I am forever grateful for the profound spiritual and personal growth opportunity this has given me, and thankful to have come to understand a fair bit about the Thai culture and their love for a great leader who many looked up to as the father of a societal FAMILY — the Dhammaraja, Chao Chiwit.

This will be a time of reverence and ceremony that may very well be difficult for many Western viewers to comprehend. Start here for a good introduction.

The coming days, weeks, and months will likely be different for many of us. I highly recommend as foreigners that you show respect, and more importantly empathy for the mourning of the Thai people, have patience as shops may be closed, events canceled, entertainment zones/nightlife is downplayed, and some things may become a bit more inconvenient.

If you want to follow the local situation on the ground here in Thailand, here is my recommended Twitter shortlist.

There is no reason for alarm, though it may be expected to wear black, or dark, muted colors for the coming 30 to 99 days depending where you are, pay attention for official announcements, news updates, and cultural cues from your Thai friends, but let’s all remember that we are guests here and right now is a time for quiet reflection, humility, sympathy, and love.

In His Majesty’s own words:

“A good person can make another person good; it means that goodness will elicit goodness in the society; other persons will also be good.”

I’m bookmarking this page to return to soon for further research on the Theravada Buddhist concept of the Dhammaraja (ธรรมราชา) and the Ten Guiding Principles for a King (defined as the virtues of a righteous ruler):

King Bhumibol and His Enlightened Approach to Teaching

Thai father's day

Celebrating the King’s birthday and Thailand’s Father’s Day holiday on December 5th shortly after arriving in the country in 2008.

Thai King Bhumibol Benny Goodman

His Majesty the King is playing jazz with Benny Goodman

Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Long Live the King

Every year during the Thai Loi Krathong holiday, here in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand, the Lanna (northern Thai) festival “Yee Ping” takes place at Mae Jo. The streets are decorated with lights and lanterns, and here, many thousands of beautiful Lanna-style floating lanterns (khom loi) are launched into the air simultaneously, creating a starfield of glowing fire and sky lanters over Chiang Mai.

This is what I missed my 10-year high school reunion for.

If you get a chance, nothing compares to witnessing this spectacle with your own eyes, but if you missed this year’s event or you don’t want to spend the hundred dollars or so for the trip up north to Mae Joe, here’s a short video compilation so you can see it for free!

Many thanks to Stacey Herbert for some of the great still photos!

Make sure you stay til the end for fireworks!!

If you enjoy this…

Come join us in the REAL Magical Kingdom

…this January 7th, 2019 in Thailand for a transformative 5-day Hero’s Journey immersion with fellow entrepreneurs and creatives. Click here to learn all about our upcoming HERO Week  Leadership Retreat!