Today I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite stories which always make me be mindful of life. It is not a Japanese story, but a Chinese tale called “Saiou’s Horse” , written on Enanji (Huainanzi in Chinese), chatpter 18.
Once upon a time, in a border town in China, there was an old man (called Saiou) who was good at telling fortunes. He had a wonderful horse. And he loved it very much.
One day, his horse suddenly left him and crossed the border to the other country.
The neighboring country was called Ko (Ebisu) and it had a strong army. When people tried to cross the border, they attacked relentlessly. So the old man had no choice but to give up.
His neighbor gathered at old man's house to comfort him. They thought he was deeply grieving. However, on the contrary, he wasn’t sad at all. He smiled and said, “This unlucky event is the source of my happiness or luck.”
A few months later, surprisingly, his confidence became a reality. His horse returned to him and furthermore another great horse followed.
The people, seeing this miracle, said to the old man, “Wow! You got a big bargain. You must be happy, aren’t you.” People envied him.
However, he didn’t look happy. He frowned at this fact and said, “This will lead me to bad luck.”
What the old man said was right. The result was that his only son rode on the great horse and then fell off the horse. He was badly injured. People visited his house and inquired after his son's’ injury. Saiou said to them, as before, “This unlucky event is the source of luck.”
One year passed by and Ko (Ebisu), the neighboring country, eventually invaded the border town. A war began. Almost all the (9 out of 10) young men died as a result of the battle. However, Saiou and his son were saved because his son was excluded from military service due to his injury. And they say that they lived a peaceful life....
Whenever I am disappointed, sad, unhappy and in despair, I try to recall this story since I believe this unhappiness can lead to the happiness in the future.
Some people say "Ishikawa Sensei is an optimist." But it's not true. I am trying to be a super optimist. When I am happy, I try to forget this story of Saiou!!! I don't need to think this happiness is source of unhappiness when I am happy so that I can enjoy the happy moment. I need this story when I am unhappy. I think my postive way of thinking is thanks to this story which is also related to the basic idea of Buddhism.