Bad luck, Good luck

An old Zen story goes like this: An old Chinese farmer had a mare that broke through the fence and ran away. When his neighbors learned of it, they came to the farmer and said, “What bad luck this is. You don’t have a horse during planting season.” The farmer listened and then replied, “Bad luck, good luck. Who knows?”

A few days later, the mare returned with two stallions. When the neighbours learned of it, they visited the farmer. “You are now a rich man. What good fortune this is,” they said. The farmer listened and again replied, “Good fortune, bad fortune. Who knows?”

Later that day, the farmer’s only son was thrown from one of the stallions and broke his leg. When the neighbours heard about it, they came to the farmer. “It is planting season and now there is no one to help you,” they said. “This is truly bad luck.” The farmer listened, and once more he said, “Bad luck, good luck. Who knows?”

The very next day, the emperor’s army rode into the town and conscripted the eldest son in every family. Only the farmer’s son with his broken leg remained behind. Soon the neighbours arrived. Tearfully, they said, “Yours is the only son who was not taken from his family and sent to war. What good fortune this is…”

Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit” by Caren Golman

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