This story took place during the Song Dynasty in ancient China. One day, the poet Su Dongpo and the monk Fo Yin were having tea together in a teahouse. Seeing that Fo Yin was only a monk, the waiter gave him the cold shoulder. However, he accorded a warm reception to Su Dongpo because he was well-known in the district.

Su Dongpo was very embarrassed, and he reminded the waiter to be nice to his friend. However, the waiter kept on ignoring Fo Yin. When paying the bill, Fo Yin handed the waiter a few pieces of silver (the currency used in ancient China) and thanked him humbly. The poet complained, “That waiter was rude to you!” Fo Yin replied, “He was a snob”. The poet continued: “Why were you so polite to him and gave him such a generous tip? “

Fo Yin answered, “Why should I let him dictate my behaviour? Should I get angry because he did not treat me well? Should I bow and scrape to him if he was very polite to me?”

From this story, we learn that we should stand by our principles and remain unaffected by external circumstances. Though others may be greedy, we must not be greedy. If we take control of our own mind, then we will not be troubled by so many afflictions in the world.

Inspirational Short Stories: The Poet and the Monk