The Tale Of The Monk And The Scorpion

“Once in a monastery two monks walked about doing their morning duties. As they passed a small bowl, filled with rain, they saw a scorpion was drowning in the water. One monk reached in to save the creature. As soon as his fingers touched the panicking Scorpion, it stung him and the monk dropped the Scorpion back into the water. The monk sighed, and reached back in. This time he got his grip a little firmer, but still dropped the Scorpion when he was stung. He kept reaching in, as his friend looked on in confusion. After dozens of attempts, the other monk spoke up saying “Brother, why do you keep trying to save that scorpion? It stings you every time you come near it” the monk paused before reaching in again. As another sting bit into his hand, he smiled “Because it is his nature to sting, and my nature to save. Don’t forget brother, soon either I’ll stop feeling the pain of the sting and he will be saved, or he will stop being afraid and be saved.’ Compassion cannot be stopped so easily.’”
The tale above shows us something very special, we can’t change our behaviors or our thoughts based on the behaviors or thoughts of others. Think about it next time somebody bother you, don’t let it change your behavior. Stop, do not react right way, think; are you going to act as you? Or are you going to act as the person that is bothering you? Are you going to be you? Or are going to act like somebody else? Be yourself !!! Monk or Scorpion? It is always your decision!

My thoughts, now is your turn. What do you think?

Be my friend here and at Facebook, destiny or choice? We will see…
NeoNeo NeoNeo
41-45, M
23 Responses Feb 1, 2012

I disagree with not changing based on others' behavior. Sometimes realizing how our behavior effects others allows us to grow.

If he wants to save the Scorpion so bad, why not just tip over the small bowl of water? There is always a path of least resistance.


That was very deep and thought provoking....

Well, honestly I think I'd be more the monk that said "why?" because I don't want to be stung by a scorpion and the one getting stung may have been wrong. On another note maybe it would have been better to use a tool to get the scorpion out rather than bare hands. That's my two cents. Hope you don't mind a little constructive criticsm.

Thank you all for the great comments !!!!

ah, neoneo.... <br />
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thank you so very much for posting this. <br />
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many, many times i have been stung...and continued to do what i felt that i had to do...sometimes with success, often without. many times i have been advised to give up..occasionally i have paused but never yet given up.<br />
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your story helps me understand myself and my personality a little better. <br />
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with love and respect, robbie

A good fable.<br />
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In life people often move from this compassionate way due to becoming jaded and cynical. I<br />
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In my own life I have found that "taking the high road", despite its many falls, bruises and disappointments, leads to occasional glimpses of great beauty through the clouds. often this approach in life leads others to "rise" to the occasion and show unexpected (or uncharacteristic)nobility and compassion.<br />
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Like the monk, I shall continue to try living that me it is a goal worth reaching for as the ideal. Keep on striving....

I liked that parable as well but I found myself thinking that while the nature of another person, who is doling the abuse, is a reality, we as beings also have free will and higher level thinking than a scorpion.<br />
I've learned that compassion, and putting one's self out there invariably results in nothing good for myself, (speaking over a 20 year period).<br />
In fact, on the whole, it's been the opposite.<br />
So I would say, be compassionate, but be wary and not too willing to put yourself out there:to the point where the scorpions capitalize on YOUR nature and prevail at your expense.

This sounds about right on Life: people will sting you, but you got to stay strong and keep loving. Sometimes you literally do have to keep reaching in and getting stung--like when you work with someone and you have to talk to them every work day. <br />
I think I will have this down when I'm 50 or 60. Right now I am just mending my stings and bites.

I remember something like this happened when I was a child. I was at a lake and saw a bee drowning in the water. I grabbed it out of the water because I didn't want him to drown. The moment I had him out of the water he stung my finger. I shouted to my mom that I was stung by the bee, I almost cried. One minute later I saw the bee had stopped moving, I started crying because I wasn't able to save him. When I was a little older the same thing happened but that time I saved the bee with a stick instead of my hands. My mom still remembers it and thinks it's cute how much I loved animals (and still do). Well that's my story and This story rememberd me of it. :). But shouldn't the monk drop dead or something? I thought scorpions were deadly?

The scorpion is one of God's annoying creatures ,but not a deadly one like a recluse spider. Compassion can be limitless for those who do small harms ,but for those who do grave harm it is very limited. Moral people must not live in fear of those who can cause great harm so much that it becomes an excuse to live indifferent to the suffering of others. I would suspect that this monk seeing it is a spider would reach into the bowl without concern for it's origin.

The monk failed to learn from his experience; he is sinfully stubborn. He set out to "save" the scorpion without adapting his ministry to the nature of the scorpion. Many well meaning people try to save someone else in the way they want to save them rather than in the way that will actually produce the desired result. . . . The ministry is tailored to the minister rather than the one being ministered to, which is backward.<br />
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Instead, the monk should have reached in with a spoon to lift out the scropion. <br />
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LESSON: Never force someone to receive what you want to give, rather give what they actually need in a manner that they can receive.

Thank you ALL for the great comments !!! Please if you have time please share it in my blog too.<br />

Simply.."No matter where you go..there you are.

What I got from the parable is that it is man's nature to be compassionate, kind and loving. This endures as it comes from their heart, whereas their opposites are manmade, and ba<x>sed on interpretations. Not from the heart. The latter creates conflict inside, while the former can heal such conflict. But there is no blanket solution, each situation requires heartfelt reflection. If we considered all the possibilities of an action we would die before we acted. A bird may have eaten the scorpian, but it may also have found its way to love. We cannot know all outcomes. We can only go with the flow-of our heart. Peace to everyone.

Nice thinking fellows He could have used a forked stick or anything but i believe the moral of the story is Compassion does not stop easily Love everything and you will have time to learn things that really matter not feeling bad about nasty things you did.<br />
Love is difficult to show to a scorpion you could have saved him then a bird snaps him up gulp he is gone The moral of the story is more important Love and kindness ??<br />
I see a lot of kindness in all the comments, keep loving !

I agree with Confrazzled that this is an interesting illustration. If the monk realized that one way wasn't working then a different approach would have been better. Both parties would die without achieving anything. The monk from the poisoning and the scorpion from drowning. Even if we have the best intentions, sometimes we have to step back and think before reacting.

An interesting parable, but . . . why not tip out the bowl? Just because the monk thinks his way is the best way to help, doesn't mean the scorpion agrees. There can be more than one solution to a single problem. Despite our best intentions, help is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Sometimes we need to change our tactics to find the most effective solution, for everyone. Sure, it's without the glory of swooping in, and saving the day. But that's not the point of compassion anyways, is it?

thats a good story, but i am almost certainly the scopion

i really enjoyed this, it really gives you something to think about.<br />
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i really liked the insight to remember that all creatures come from different walks of life, even from the same species. Everyone see's through different lenses ba<x>sed on their instinct, background and experiences. It's important to respect that with anyone or thing you meet, to realize that there are reasons different people or things have different perspectives on the same situation. <br />
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for example with this situation, the scorpion would have believed he was going to be eaten by the monk, and was protecting himself by pushing the monk away, while the monk was only reaching out to try and save him. <br />
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It's hard to see past your own lens sometimes to try and see what someone else may be seeing, or where they are coming from with their approach. However try to imagine everyone’s intentions are good because most people’s are. <br />
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Another aspect of this story i really liked was the strength of sticking behind your morals and beliefs. That has to be the most important lesson anyone can learn. If you can't stick to your own values and character, you will lose yourself. If you don't stay true to your principals and don't stand for what you believe in, you won't be able to stand at all. <br />
i really believe that.

Dear Uhyta, I loved your comment !!! Thank you for share it !!!

Ah, I've been stung, and haven't even been able to save all that I've tried to, but I wouldn't undo it, or change my attitude for the world. Life is good.

Great parable...I always try and remember that you must look at the nature of a thing to understand it correctly. Things vary from creature to creature.