Father and Daughter Story
28 Jun 2013
I find the Buddhist story below very insightful.
A father and daughter used to perform in the circus. The father would place a very long bamboo stick on his forehead, and his daughter would climb to the top of the stick. When they did this, people gave them some money to buy rice and curry to eat.

One day the father told the daughter, 'My dear daughter, we have to take care of each other. You have to take care of your father, and I have to take care of you, so that we will be safe. Our performance is very dangerous.' Because if she fell, both would not be able to earn their living. If she fell, then broke her leg, they wouldn't have anything to eat. 'My daughter, we have to take care of each other so we can continue to earn our living.'

The daugher was wise. She said, 'Father, you should say it this way:" Each of us has to take care of himself or herself, so that we can continue to earn our living." Because during the performance, you take care of yourself, you take care of yourself only. You stay very stable, very alert. That will help me. And if when I climb I take care of myself, I climb very carefully, I do not let anything wrong happen to me. That is the way you should say it, Father. You take good care of yourself, and I take good care of myself. In that way we can continue to earn our living.'

The Buddha agreed that the daughter was right.

This page attributes the story to Thich Nhat Hanh. It reminds me of oxygen mask guidelines in aeroplanes: "Please wear the mask yourself before helping another person next to you, including your child".

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