The 10 Tokens of Wisdom

Joan Marques - Ed.D., MBA.
Burbank, California

A wizard, on his way to the Sangha, came across a weary eying stranger who seemed a long way from home. "Good evening," said the wizard, "Peace be with you;" upon which the stranger replied, "Oh, dear wise one, please end my cause for wandering, and share with me the 10 tokens of wisdom."

The wizard elucidated, "The 10 tokens of wisdom, young person, are not omnisufficient but rather omnifarious, as every person should develop his or her own wisdom principles: We all have a different call, and therefore meet with different challenges, from which we have to learn different lessons. Hence, all I can share with you are the 10 tokens as I have come to formulate them on my personal journey to freedom, and the only reason I will share them with you is because I believe that they may encourage you to start contemplating on your own."

Then the wizard and the stranger found a little rock under a fig tree, whereupon the wizard started,

    1. Keep your ears open and your mouth shut. This is not to say that you should never speak again, but rather that you should realize that through constant talking you don't obtain any new knowledge. Speak only when you are asked to, and listen for most of the time.
    2. Learn to see the futility of attaching yourself to material as well as immaterial possessions, for either they will sooner or later leave you, or you them. Therefore, be unafraid of letting go whenever you feel that the purpose is served.
    3. Abstain yourself from negative thinking, which includes mindsets such as jealousy, hate, discontent, and dislike; for they merely engender restlessness within you, and through that, they contribute to the cycle of destruction in the world.
    4. Either abstain yourself entirely from passion or make sure you have it well under control, for being led by passion can only be considered positive when the fulfillment of good causes is involved. Unfortunately, passion has often been known to get one engaged in actions, which one only regrets when maturity sets in.
    5. Give whatever you can to whomever needs it. However, beware of the two main mistakes made in this regard: A) Never assume that another one needs what you perceive him or her to, based on the fact that it is customary in your culture and not in his or hers. Rather, wait till you are asked for help. B) Never assume that the kind of help YOU can provide is the only and best one there is. Your help comes forth from your personal perspectives, but it may not fit into someone else's.
    6. Accept the natural cycles from life to death, youth to old age, and health to illness, for while you should do everything in your power to live as healthy and energetically as possible, you should also realize that life is not eternal, and that aging, illness, and death will occur regardless of how many sophisticated tools you will use to defy them. Gracefully accepting every stage takes courage, but it will enhance your contentment.
    7. The world is your home. Beware, therefore, of attaching yourself to one place, group, or culture as your only place of abode. The time to move on could arrive any moment. It is better to familiarize yourself with- and understand as many cultures as you can, as this will liberate you from engaging in ridicules such as ethnocentrism and misplaced patriotism. Neighborhoods, regions, countries and continents may be different, but none is better than the other.
    8. Recognize your blessings and be thankful for them. Blessings come to you all the time, and in many ways. Oftentimes you may not realize the good deed that the universe bestowed upon you, for you may have turned your back toward it, or have had your eyes closed. So, be thankful anyway: definitely for the blessings you do recognize.
    9. Respect. Not just other people, but also the vegetation, all that breathes, and everything else that comprises of the environment. Respect the elements. Be in awe. And realize your futility.
    10. Stay awake. Keep learning. Don't be blind for anything that happens around you. However, withhold yourself from judging, because what you see is only a fragment of what really is. Just learn your personal lessons from it in silence, and move on.
Then the wizard got up, made a gentle bow for the stranger, and proceeded his way to the Sangha.