"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Book Pick of the Week - Zen Shorts

My favorite picture book to date is Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth. I won't even talk about the brilliant artwork inside the book. It's the words that really speak to me.
The book consists of a few kids meeting a giant panda bear which has moved in next door. The panda bear tells them each a story. The stories are based on Zen meditations, and although all three are wonderful, it's The Heavy Load which I think about so often in my life.
The Heavy Load essentially tells us to let negative things go. In this story, a woman is rude to two monks who carry her across a river. The younger monk keeps thinking about it and thinking about it for hours, until finally he brings it up to the older monk to vent his frustration.
I don't have the quote exactly right, but the older monk says something like this. "I stopped carrying that woman back at the river. Why are you still carrying her?"
If something bad happens - let it go. Like when the person cuts you off while driving. Or a salesperson is rude to you. Or a customer is rude. Don't carry their burden around. Release it and move on.

I read this book to my son when he was about four, and to be honest, it never kept his attention. Now, with him at six, I should try again. He may "get it" more.

On a side note, check out this story from my other blog. Kids are truly miraculous.


HipWriterMama said...

Thanks for this recommendation. I'll have to check out this book.

Shawn said...

Excellent ... so glad you mentioned this. I'm behind in my blog reading .... will check this out for sure.

James said...

My wife bought this book for one of my kids and we all really enjoyed it.

I am a huge fan of watercolor art so I agree 100% with you about the art.

PJ Hoover said...

It is great, isn't it? I reread it even when the kids aren't around!