Bai Juyi (772-846 CE) was an important poet and government official of the Tang Dynasty in China. He once asked a monk for the most essential Dharma instruction, and the monk replied by quoting the Buddha’s summary teaching, “Avoid harm. Do good. Purify the mind.”
Bai Juyi was not impressed, “Every child of three years knows these words. What I want to know is the most profound and fundamental teaching of the Buddha.” The monk replied, “Every child of three years knows these words, but white-haired men still fail to put them into practice.”
Source: Children and Old Men
Two monks were returning to the monastery in the evening. It had rained and there were puddles of water on the road sides. At one place a beautiful young woman was standing unable to walk across because of a puddle of water. The elder of the two monks went up to a her lifted her and left her on the other side of the road, and continued his way to the monastery.
In the evening the younger monk came to the elder monk and said, “Sir, as monks, we cannot touch a woman ?”
The elder monk answered “yes, brother”.
Then the younger monk asks again, “but then Sir, how is that you lifted that woman on the roadside ?”
The elder monk smiled at him and told him ” I left her on the other side of the road, but you are still carrying her.”
The aggregate of form, the material body, tells me where I am.
The aggregate of feeling tells me how I am.
The aggregate of perception tells me what I am.
The aggregate of volition tells me why I am.
The aggregate of consciousness tells me I am the center of all this.
They all change; they all lie.
Source: Five Liars