Satoshi’s Book Club

They say the possibility of a person getting killed in a car accident is eight times higher than that of winning the lottery. However, our expectation level is much higher for winning the lottery than getting killed in a car accident. That’s why when we experience misfortune, we often wonder why we have to go through such a painful experience. Śākyamuni Buddha taught that all the outcomes in our lives, whether good or bad, are the result of our own causes. I’d like to plant good seeds and wait for good fruits. Now let’s read a story from the book, Unshakable Spirit.

Long ago, a husband and wife who ran an inn heard that Japanese ginger could cause forgetfulness. One day a man who looked wealthy, carrying a great big bag, came and booked a room. Hoping to make him forget his bag when he left, the greedy couple decided to offer him a meal consisting entirely of ginger: ginger soup, stewed ginger, ginger salad, and so on.

When she brought him his tray, the wife said apologetically,

“We are country folk and haven’t much to offer. I made a few dishes using ginger from our garden. Please help yourself.”

The customer was overjoyed. “Ginger, is it! My favorite. Looks delicious!”

As they went to sleep, the couple whispered that if they just served ginger again for breakfast, he would be sure to go off and leave his bag. “I’ll buy you a fine dress,” the husband promised, “and maybe get me some fancy clothes too.” Dreaming of such things, they went to sleep.

In the morning, she took in the breakfast tray. “Good morning, sir. I’m sorry I can’t offer you anything fancier, but you were so pleased with last night’s supper that I took the liberty of cooking ginger again this morning.”

“Excellent. I see! Ginger-flavored soup, stewed ginger, fried ginger. Yum, yum.”

When he had finished his meal, the customer waved goodbye and set off in fine spirits.

“Well,” said the husband, “I’ll go right up and search his room! I’m sure he must have forgotten something. Let’s see, maybe in the closet? Or the bookcase? I know, it must be in the bathroom. Hmm, nothing under the desk. I’ll lift up the floorboards and check. Nothing there either. That’s funny, he didn’t forget anything after all!”

Just then the wife came running. “Oh no!” she said. “We forgot to have him pay his bill!”

A man and his wife were talking eagerly about what they would do when they won the lottery.

“What if we win a hundred million dollars?”

“Let’s go pick it up together.”

“Someone might try to rob us.”

“We should take it straight to the bank.” “What do you want to spend it on?” asked the husband.

“A big house,” answered the wife. “And a piano for our daughter.”

“I think I’ll get a fancy car.”

“Good idea. We could all go on a trip somewhere far away.”

Just then their daughter came in and burst out laughing. “What are you talking about! You’ll never win the lottery. Talk about counting your chickens before they’re hatched!” Disasters will happen to other people; good things will happen to me. That’s what we all assume.

(Unshakable Spirit, Winning the Lottery Will Happen to Me, Disasters to Somebody Else)

Satoshi Hasegawa, Missionary

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #30 | 2013, Satoshi’s Book Club

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