The Porcelain Vase and the Rose By Paulo Coelho
Alessandra Marin tells the following story: the Grand Master and the Guardian shared the administration of a Zen monastery. One day, the Guardian died and a replacement had to be found. The Grand Master gathered together all the disciples in order to decide who would have the honour of working at his side.
‘I am going to set you a problem,’ said the Grand Master. ‘And the first one to solve that problem will be the new Guardian of the temple.’Once this briefest of speeches was over, he placed a small stool in the middle of the room. On it stood a priceless porcelain vase containing a red rose. ‘There is the problem,’ said the Grand Master.
The disciples looked in some perplexity at what was there before them: the rare, sophisticated designs on the porcelain vase and the elegance of the flower. What did it represent? What should they do? What did this enigma mean? After a few moments, one of the disciples got to his feet and looked at the master and at his fellow students. Then he walked resolutely over to the vase and threw it to the ground, shattering it.
‘You are the new Guardian,’ the Grand Master said to the student. And as soon as the student had returned to his place, he explained. ‘I made myself perfectly clear. I said that there was a problem to be solved. Now it does not matter how beautiful or fascinating a problem might be, it has to be eliminated.
A problem is a problem. It could be a very rare porcelain vase, a delightful love affair that no longer makes any sense, or a course of action that we should abandon, but which we insist on continuing because it brings us comfort.
There is only one way to deal with a problem: attack it head on. At such moments, one cannot feel pity, nor be diverted by the fascination inherent in any conflict.’
It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It’s that they can’t see the problem. –G.K. Chesterton
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. –Albert Einstein
When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity. –John F. Kennedy
It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it. Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope. — Blessed Angelo Roncalli (Pope John XXIII)
I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much. — Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta