Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Three Questions

Pyramid Lake, Jasper, Alberta
"Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?" Did you ever wake up asking yourself this question?  Maybe not in those exact words but you know what I mean.  Ajahn Brahm, an upside down Therevaden  monk,  has cleverly anticipated our question and written a book to help us find the culprit.  How can you not love this title?   I'm a total sucker for a sense of humour especially if there's a handful of  wisdom thrown in to seal the deal  .  And he's a good listen here, with a generous truckload of Dharma talks.

In one of the stories from the book, an emperor after much study, found he only had to ask  3 questions to receive all the wise guidance he needed.

Here are the questions.  Don't cheat.  Answer first.  Read second.  Find out your batting average.  Remember Babe Ruth.

1 When is the most important time?
2 Who is the most important person?
3 What is the most important thing to do?

That's right, according to Ajahn Brahm, answer these questions correctly and you can never go wrong in any situation.

Let's compare notes.  You probably guessed that the answer we're looking for in number 1 is "now".  You're a good test taker.  Now if we could just remember this in each moment, especially the dung loaded ones!

Question 2.  I got this one wrong.  The interesting answer is, "the person you're with" which includes you!  Ajahn Brahm reminds us, "Communication and love, can only be shared when the one you are with, no matter who they are, is the most important person in the world for you, at that time.  They feel it.  They know it.  They respond."  He points out that when we are the only one around then we are the most important person we're with!  " Do you ever say, "Good morning, me.  have a nice day!" he asks.

And question # 3, did you get this one?  Nada.  I was really stumped.  One answer, for all situations?  What is the most important thing to do?  "to care" he says,which he describes as bringing together "careful and caring.  The answer illustrates that it is where we are coming from that is the most important thing."

Now we can go out into the world armed with 3 things and not be dangerous.  We have some new tools in the spiritual toolbox, especially helpful when the next truckload of dung is delivered.


  1. Wow. These questions - and answers - will surely stick with me, as I didn't get any of them!

    #1 - Bedtime
    #2 - Depends
    #3 - Just live life...

    Not very "spiritual" I know... But good for a laugh!

    From the Dung Heap :)

  2. Mystic - Ha! love answer #1 especially, yes, why didn't I think of that, especially during this hibernation season! Perhaps we are spiritual dung beetles???

  3. #1: Now (yep, that's a no brainer)
    #2: You
    #3: How can I help?

    But . . . in the moment? More likely, "Now," "Me," and "What's in it for me?" That's more honest.

  4. #1 here and now
    #2 everyone around me
    #3 can I help you?

    ...So maybe not too full of dung?! ;o) I love that, "Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?" haha... Always room for improvements though. I'm not sure I've ever greeted the day with, "Good morning, me. have a nice day!" Hello, day...yes... but maybe I ought to throw myself in the mix more. Good morning, Carole! Happy Day ((HUGS))

  5. Thanks for sharing another good teaching. I got #1 but forgot to include myself in #2 and chose forgiveness for #3 (maybe that says more about my holding grudges than anything else??).

  6. I'm pretty telling at the answers. 1. now 2. me 3. love me...I think I'm a 'want-to-be-hermit' or at least I don't give myself too much trouble. (plays best alone)

  7. Barry - yes! we are these strange Dr Jeykyll and Mr Hyde combos!

    Tracy - we are works in progress that's for sure and that load of dung challenges us! Good morning to you and your beautiful Norway. This is the time of year I was in Norway many years ago, so my little peninsula reminds me of Norway.

    RH - It is a good teaching. I like simple things like this that I can use to orient myself during the day. Yes, that was a surprise to me too! Include yourself.

    Blue Sky - I think as Barry said, these are the honest answers if we look at our feelings and how we behave! And some of us do need more alone time. I certainly do!

  8. Nicely done. I was afraid to answer the questions. Fear of getting them wrong. HA! Now I am trying to remember the answers....As usual, a wonderful post. Whenever I am allowing life to challenge me, I ask myself...what would Zen Dot have to say about this?
    Still thinking about intimidation as a form of pride....So applicable to so many other moments in life.

  9. 1. now
    2. ?
    3. do unto others as you would want others to do unto you

  10. what a lovely post - I didn't cheat (as you will be able to tell from my left field answers!)

    1. when I'm with my children
    2. my family, my community
    3. love

    (see I bravely posted my initial honest answers...)

  11. Mary - yes, fear of getting them wrong. I realized that's why I came up blank on #2 & #3! ah, I'm honoured, gosh, darn!

    Carole - I like your #3, it is the same as the emperor's, don't you think? 2 outa 3, that's no dung heap!

    ronnie - Yay for bravery. I see we're in the company of a spiritual warrior!

  12. Just read your post and thought to add my answers too.

    1. Now
    2. Me, but probably should be God
    3. To do good

    Guess I wasn't too far off which makes me feel a bit good. In truth, in reality and not sitting in front of my computer, the answers would all change...except maybe #3.

  13. my answers were now, me, and just be.

    i listened to the video talk on fear and found it excellent. thanks for the link and intro to this wonderful teacher.

  14. 1. Now
    2. No one is more important than anyone else
    3. Be kind

    But I have to admit Barry's alternate answers play a big part too.

    Great post!

  15. Jennifer - Good point "it's amazing how quickly the answers can change" I so agree with this! in the blink of an eye, sometimes!

    suki - yes Ajahn Brahm is an amazing combo of wisdom and humour. another fellow I really like is Howie Cohn from San Francisco, not as funny but a lovely open, grounded version of the Dharma.

    David - yeah Barry's alternates operate somewhere in the shadows (or sometimes way out front) And I like your take, "no one is more important than anyone else". I so enjoy it when there is Dharma discussion or answers to questions like this as people bring so much to the circle that never even crosses my mind.

  16. Hello Zen Dot... I am home from my big trip to Japan... thank you leaving such a wonderful wish for my trip. I had a terrific trip.. will work on your 3 questions because I sense some wisdom will come with the answers...

  17. Your trip pictures look awesome! I'm sure there is much to digest from your travels now that you are home!