Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth is the sweetest children’s book I have ever read.
Stillwater, a giant panda “with a slight panda accent” arrives in the backyard of three children one day when the wind blows him off course. He ends up staying and, over the course of a few days, spending time with each child. He tells each of them one ancient Zen story.
The stories are about good luck and bad luck, carrying around negativity with you longer than you need to, and materialism. Of course, they are filtered down quite a bit into incredibly short stories and examples.
An author’s note at the back of the book explains what Zen means:
“Zen is a Japanese word that simply means meditation. In Zen, the teachings of the Buddha have always been passed down from teacher to student…When you look into a pool of water, if the water is still, you can see the moon reflected. If the water is agitated, the moon is fragmented and scattered. It is harder to see the true moon. Our minds are like that. When our minds are agitated, we cannot see the true world.”
Reading this book is a meditative experience all on its own. The stories are as good for children to learn as they are for us non-children to keep in mind in our daily lives. Definitely one to keep on hand 🙂
images via Zen Shorts