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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Story of the Cracked Pot

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots , each hung on the ends of a pole , which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water , at the end of the long walk from the stream to the house , the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily , with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course , the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection , and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure , it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself , because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The old woman smiled , "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path , but not on the other pot's side?" "That's because I have always known about your flaw , so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path , and every day while we walk back , you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are , there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

UPDATE: I wanted to add this comment to Greenwoman to the post:

I tend to think that my "negative aspects" don't do anything but cause pain. However, everything we are, do, think, etc. is used to grow in some way. We are like an organic garden in that way!! Exciting that nothing goes to waste!!! :)

~Peace to all beings~

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John Wood said...

That's a really wonderful story. Something for us all to meditate on.
All the best,

Greenwoman said...

Mmmm...It's a good thing to remember that my flaws often help others grow. Thanks for the reminder.

Avusa said...

Hi James, now you can see my blog in english…
just go to and click where it's written translate!

Be welcome…

Lans Hobart said...

That was a great story. Thanks for sharing it and reminding me that our flaws are often not a negative.

"James" said...


Isn't it?? It's so touching and reassuring. It's one that I read and reread and keep finding more and more levels. I am going to meditate upon it quite often I think. I'll be saving this one for sure and committing it to memory.


Yes indeed. I tend to think that my "negative aspects" don't do anything but cause pain. However, everything we are, do, think, etc. is used to grow in some way. We are like an organic garden in that way!! Exciting that nothing goes to waste!!! :)


Excellent. I'll be right over to check it out. I wish I spoke more languages.


You're quite welcome. I love to pass one inspiring stuff to others. We are all connected after all and when others benefit, so do I.

Johnny Newt said...

A beautiful post James, very moving and deeply true.

trinitystar said...

James hope you are well,
not been posting for awhile.
needed time out to reflect as one does sometimes.
This is a wonderful story which gives hope and strength to those that feel like this ... there is a purpose
hugs for you. :o)

Johnny Newt said...

just saw your question about the Kanji for "Mujo"
or more correctly romanized as "Mujou"
To awnser your question completely there are other ways to convey the idea of impermanence in traditional kanji, but the particular one I ahd posted is an old zen calligraphy that is slightly more abstract, as zen teaching usually is. The top symbol
stands for "mu: which I'm sure you already know translates as "nothingness" or "no thing"
the bottom kanji actually translates as "normal" or "same" the idea in this calligraphy is then "Nothing remains the same" or "No thing is permanent"
I hope this helps without being confusing.

"James" said...


It is beautiful isn't it. I'll be reading it and re-reading it often.

And thank-you for the information on the mujo kanji.


I understand the need to retreat a bit and contemplate. Enjoy your sabbatical.

Anonymous said...



Sowing the right seeds and nurturing the right seeds, having the right plan and treading the right path along with reliability of the plan made the beautiful flower grow.

I would underline that the author missed in this narrative is that cracked pots are only prolific if the mentors disseminate the right seedlings. Imagine if the woman would have sown thorns instead of flowers. vision, fortitude, integrity and dreams are integral part of great foolish personality. That what differentiates the outcome amidst crack pots like Churchill and Hitler. One a saviour of a nation other a slaughterer and slayer of a people, one insignia of freedom other picture of genocide.

To be a crackpot and head strong is one thing, to self nurture that muted capacity before its burst is quite another challenge. Our faults if unchallenged can lead to huge implosions, knowing the fault is the first step. Woman knew it from day one therefore she intended a plan. Unfortunately most of us are unaware of the faults within, we never realize what hampers us.

Realisation of faults should lead to opportunity cost calculation, woman thought that beautiful flowers on public pathway leads to a general good plus provide flowers to everyone, a great act of charity and balance. She gave up the extra half gallon of water for 'general good' intentionally . Using the fault towards strength for all mavericks like us is another challenge we confront and face every day.

On reliability and consistency, imagine if woman would have kept changing the sides of the crack pot one day on the left the other on the right, even sowing the right seeds would not have worked. Life is a thorny and knotty process and living it to its full requires one thing i.e. consistency. Minus these elements and 'cracks' are very vicious.

The evenness of the road map is the most vital thing. I have learned over years being a biggest crack pot of all times is that I was guided along with little nudge, push, shove and elbow. I listened to elders,, I know when I am erroneous, I say sorry when I am off beam, I have no arrogance when I know egotism and conceit will lead to self ruin. The reason most of the 'good crack pots' survive are varied, tell your children to incorporate these values alongside being a crack pot. Crackpot survival is all about clever living and wretchedly we can still fail.

Let's implore that we all realise that what a crack pot we are but let's not be a 'imprudent' one. This is the challenge largely that we should be bothered with. This is the moral of the story you sent today. Thanks for the intellectual provocation.

wanda said...

is pretty old history
if I have the same negative aspects of negative results mean that's why I always use viagra online

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