Saturday, September 29, 2007

Chicken or duck


This is a short story that I love dearly written by Ajahn Brahm who is the abbot of a monastery in Australia. In his book, “opening the door of your heart”, Ajahn Brahm relates wise teachings from his saint-like and renowned teacher, Ajahn Chah. I hope Ajahn Brahm don’t mind I put his story of timeless wisdom here.

This was a favourite story of Ajahn Brahm teacher, Ajahn Chah of northest Thailand. The title is named “The chicken and the duck”. A newly married couple went for a walk together in a wood, one fine summer’s evening after dinner. They were having such a wonderful time being together until they heard a sound in the distance: ‘Quack! Quack!’


‘Listen,’said the wife, ‘That must be a chicken.’
‘No,no. That was a duck,’ said the husband.
‘No, I’m sure that was a chicken,’ she said.
‘Impossible. Chicken go “Cock-a-doodle-doo”, ducks go “Quack! Quack!” That’s a duck, darling,’ he said, with the first signs of irritation.
‘Quack! Quack!” it went again.
‘See! It’s a duck,’ he said.
‘No dear. That’s a chicken. I’m positive,’ she asserted, digging in her heels.
‘Listen wife! That….is….a…duck. D-U-C-K, duck! Got it?’ he said angrily.
‘But it’s a chicken,’ she protested.
‘It’s a blooming duck, you,you….’
And it went ‘Quack! Quack!’ again before he said something he oughtn’t.
The wife was almost in tears. ‘But it’s a chicken.’
The husband saw the tears welling up in his wife’s eyes and, at last, remembered why he had married her. His face softened and he said gently, ‘Sorry, darling. I think you must be right. This is a chicken.’
‘Thank you, darling.’ She said and she squeezed his hand.
‘Quack! Quack!’ came the sound through the woods, as they continued their walk together in love.


The point of the story that the husband finally awakened to was, who cares whether it is a chicken or a duck? What was much more important was their harmony together , that they could enjoy their walkl on such a fine summer’s evening. How many marriages are broken over the unimportant matters? How many divorces cite ‘chicken or duck’ stuff.


When we understand this story, we will remember our priorities. The marriage is more important than being right about whether it is a chicken or a duck. Anyway, how many times have we been absolutely, certainly and positively convinced we are right, only to find out we were wrong later/ Who knows? That could have been genetically modified chicken made to sound like a duck!


( For the sake of gender equality and a peaceful life as a monk, each time Ajahn Brahm tell the story he usually swithch around the one who says it’s a chicken and the one who say’s it’s a duck)


From this story, I always remind myself not to spoil any relationship because ‘chicken or duck stuff’. The lesson from this timeless teaching can apply in us from all walks of life….

3 comments:

Jayson said...

I love this story too.

paulojosverde said...

It's all about the femininst regardless of truth, honesty and traditional family values.

paulojosverde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.