Saturday, 6 April 2013


  In arabic, the language used by Islam, the word for patience is shabr (sha as in shaft and br as in saber, mintly read)

  But the word shabr impies more meaning, all interconected just by looking at them. We don't need to be a etymology professor to discern them. They are persistence, perseverance, self restraint.

  So, here's one story :

The Monk and the Samurai

Retold by John Porcino

There was once a samurai warrior who traveled to the distant home of an old monk. On arriving he burst through the door and bellowed, "Monk, tell me! What is the difference between heaven and hell?"
The monk sat still for a moment on the tatami-matted floor. Then he turned and looked up at the warrior. "You call yourself a samurai warrior," he smirked. "Why, look at you. You're nothing but a mere sliver of a man!"
"Whaaat!!" cried the samurai, as he reached for his sword.
"Oho!" said the monk. "I see you reach for your sword. I doubt you could cut off the head of a fly with that."
The samurai was so infuriated that he could not hold himself back. He pulled his sword from its sheath and lifted it above his head to strike off the head of the old monk. At this the monk looked up into his seething eyes and said, "That, my son, is the gate to hell." Realizing that the monk had risked his life to teach this lesson, the samurai slowly lowered his sword and put it back into the sheath. He bowed low to the monk in thanks for this teaching.
"My friend," said the monk, "That is the gate to heaven."
Reprinted with permission from Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope: Stories of Peace, Justice & the Environment, edited by Ed Brody, Jay Goldspinner, Katie Green, Rona Leventhal, and John Porcino, New Society Publishers, 1992. New edition 2002.
Here's another story :

Once in Arabia perhaps (i recall my memory of the story here), lived a couple, a husband and a wife (not adulterous couple as accepted in crazy countries nowadays). One day, the husband got an isnpiration to engrave his sword, as customary in all over the world untill today, to put inscription(s) on one's bladed weapon. His choice of writings was "shabr".

So, one day, out of necessity, he had to leave his wife and infant boy to do something important abroad, and maybe for a long time. Indeed it took long time in the end. Years of it.

Upon returning home, while overawed by joy, he rushed to their tenthouse. Only to catch sight of a handsome, fine, yet un-known young man coming out of it. Angry at first sight, he immediately drew his sword, and quicly catch the sight of the engraving he himself had chosen to put many years earlier. The insciption "shabr".

So, he entered the tent first, having withdrew his sword and hold his temper, to find his overjoyed wife. He then asked her kindly, "who was that very fine young man coming out of our tent just earlier?"

She so proudly replied "honey, that man was our grown up son": )

May we all derive good lessons from those simple stories. The simple ones are sometimes the best in dealing with this complex life.