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Monkey Wisdom


I have Rev. Goto (NY PL church) for this expression.  He had my complete attention today while explained to the members PL Principle #9. I will not have a mind to be dishonest.  The set of 21 Principles are there for us to help us live our lives following the 21 Precepts.  Today Rev. Goto talked about Principle #9. He always like to give us an example of the lesson so that we better visualize and understand the teaching.  Like all good teachers, he doesn’t talk forever, he says what he has to say, and then cheerfully leaves us with an embedded image and lesson to ponder and assimilate.

He related a story to us that came to him through another PL Minister, Rev. Ono.  The story takes place years ago, in a different time.  An elder in a small viillage decided to organize a festival that would take place in the square at the village shrine.  For the occassion he had asked that everyone come with one item of food, and one bottle of sake (Japanese rice wine)

This was a time before bottled sake, villagers made their own sake, and kept it in traditional jars or containers made f wood or ceramics.  The idea was that each villager would bring a container of their sake, and it would be poured into one large sake barrel, for the enjoyment of the community.  This ‘sake cocktail” would be a sharing and each member participating would be honoring their fellow neighbours.

Once the mixture was prepared, the party started.  The village elder took a sip from the barrel to start the festivities, took a sip, and stood back in surprise, calling out…”oh m God, what is wrong with the sake?  It tastes like water!”    Hmmmm. how could sake turn into water?  It was clear that the sake had not changed into water, but that it had been water in the first place.  Each guest at the party who was to bring sake, had decided to bring water instead.  It was a precious commodity, and they thought no one would notice.  However,  they were not the only ones to have that thought and to act on it.  Monkey wisdom… since the majority thought to be deceitful, the few who did bring sake, had their sake diluted by all the water.

When we live with a pure and honest mind, our actions and our thoughts bring a joy and satisfaction to what we do, for us and those around us.  We should live with one mind, a mind that says “there is nothing to hide between God and myself”  Just because you think no one is looking or will know, God knows.

This story although told with humor, shows us that as humans our ego does not always motivate us in the “right” direction.    All people have a mind capable of thinking in a manner that is not always “honest” –  Let us do our best to live with a mind that will apply makoto (sincerity) to being honest in all we do and say.



sorry I couldn’t resist.

Blessings to each and everyone of you.  You are so Loved!

Namaste – Oyashikiri




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