Monday Zen: The Antique Dealer's Plate

A man was gifted a plate by his wife. It had beautiful drawings. The man was an antique dealer. Every day at the market, he would eat lunch from his plate.

Soon, his wife passed away. The man was grieving, but he still ate from his favorite plate every day. One day, the plate fell down and broke into a thousand pieces. The man was devastated.

A fellow stall owner told him: “I know someone who can teach you how to fix it. But he lives far away.” The man went to seek the plate fixer. After one year of traveling, he found him. The plate fixer helped the man reassemble the pieces and the man returned home.

At first, he was happy. But the plate never felt quite the same. One day, it broke again and, again, the man was devastated.

Another stall owner told him: “I know someone who makes plates just like this one. But he lives far away.” The man went to seek the plate maker. After one year of traveling, he found him. The plate maker taught him how to make his own plate and, with it, the man went home.

At first, he was happy. But still, the plate never felt quite the same. One day, it broke again. Again, the man was devastated. But he was tired. He could not travel far anymore.

A fellow stall owner told him: “I know someone who sells plates just like this one. He has a new stall on the market.” Happy that he wouldn’t have to travel far, the man went and bought a plate just like his.

At first, he was happy. But that plate, too, never felt quite the same. One day, it broke again.

As the man looked at the broken pieces on the floor, a stranger passed by his stall. He said:

“You are lucky. It was just a plate.”

At that moment the man was enlightened.


All suffering is resisting or desiring change. When change wants to affect us and we reject it, we suffer. When we wish for change where none happens, we suffer.

Everything in life is transient. A tiny traveler going a small distance that’s part of a much larger journey. Humans, animals, plants, objects. Nothing lasts forever.

This includes our feelings, thoughts, relationships, opinions, and attitudes. People die. Feelings change. Relationships end. Attitudes evolve.

Like the man trying to save his plate, we sometimes go on symbolic journeys to preserve what can’t be preserved - or to change what can’t be changed.

In the end, acceptance is the only thing that works. Because change is the only constant of life. It comes when it comes, and you’ll meet it when it does.

Accept this permanent impermanence, and suffering disappears.

-Nik

PS: I made this one up myself. It’s hard to keep them short and witty, but I love trying to get better!


About Monday Zen: Most people hate Monday. Why? In a good life, it’s a day like any other. At the very least, it shouldn’t be worse by default. That’s what Monday Zen is for: To make sure you start the week with calm, poise, and determination.

Let’s not derail our trains of thought before they leave the station. Let’s enjoy the journey.


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